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Where Are They Now? The Mean Street Posse
It's not easy looking tough in a pair of khakis. Yet for a brief period in WWE history, the Mean Street Posse did just that. (PHOTOS)
Representing the "rough" streets of Greenwich, Conn., the Posse consisted of Rodney, Pete Gas and Joey Abs, three young men who were skyrocketed from relative obscurity to the forefront of the hottest show on cable television in the summer of 1999.
And it all began because of a childhood friendship between Rodney and WWE Executive VP, Global Media, Shane McMahon.
"I've known the kid since junior high when he came to Connecticut from the Cape," Rodney said of his friendship with Shane. "We met Pete Gas in high school. From then on we were all pretty good friends."
Before the trio ever caused havoc on Raw and SmackDown, they were a high school principal's worst nightmare. They roughhoused on the high school football team, goofed off in Spanish class and raised hell on the weekends in Shane's monstrous pickup truck.
"We were known for having a good time," Pete Gas revealed. "I can honestly say I've never had a bad time with Shane."
Growing up around WWE Superstars like Hulk Hogan and "Macho Man" Randy Savage had an influence on both Rodney and Pete Gas, but neither man seriously considered pursuing WWE as a career. It wasn't until Shane McMahon called his friends into his office one fateful Friday in 1999 that their unexpected rise would begin.
"Rodney and I used to work out at the WWE gym," Gas said. "And one day Shane said to us, ‘What are you guys doing Sunday? Can you do me a favor?'"
At the time, Shane was embroiled in a bitter rivalry with X-Pac over the now defunct European Title. As the champion, Shane wanted to ensure he wouldn't lose his gold at WrestleMania XV, so he recruited his old friends to watch his back.
"We were sitting in the front row [at WrestleMania XV], and I remember looking around at the crowd and seeing signs with our names on them. It was so exciting," Pete Gas said.
After Rodney and Pete Gas helped Shane retain his title, they figured it would be their last appearance with WWE. But, somewhat unexpectedly, the Mean Street Posse caught on with the WWE Universe.
"They way we acted on TV is pretty much how we acted in real life — just being goofs and having fun," Rodney said.
As the Mean Street Posse's popularity continued to grow, it became more important that they get in the ring. Although Rodney and Pete Gas were both in training, the two weren't quite ready to compete against top WWE Superstars. Simply put, the Posse needed a ringer. Enter Joey Abs.
A strapping, 6-foot-3 powerhouse from Cameron, N.C., Joey Abs got his start in the wrestling business working with his neighborhood friend, Matt Hardy. As young men, the two aspiring Superstars, along with Matt's brother, Jeff, would drive up and down the Eastern seaboard, performing as enhancement talent at WWE events.
"I was sitting around when WWE called and said, ‘You're flying to Memphis, you're doing SummerSlam.'" Abs recalled. "I got my stuff together and flew to Memphis, They gave me khaki pants, a T-shirt and a sweater vest, and I was part of the Posse."
It would be easy to point out the obvious contradiction of the Southern boy joining up with the buttoned down Connecticut contingent. In truth, the men had more in common than one would think.
"We weren't tennis player rich kids," Rodney said. "Obviously, Shane comes from a wealthy family, but the rest of our families were blue-collar, working people."
Now a trio, the Posse became an integral part of a wild rivalry involving Shane, Triple H, Test and Stephanie McMahon. Their involvement in this war would earn Joey Abs a unique distinction in WWE history.
"I was the first person Stephanie ever slapped in the face," Abs said.
From there, the threesome became involved in WWE's growing hardcore division. During this time, WWE had a Hardcore Championship, which was defended under a 24/7 rule. This meant the title could change hands anytime, anyplace, anywhere. And, more often than not, it did.
"We fought on a luggage carousel in an airport," Abs remembered.
"I don't know how they let us do it, but we were all waiting for our luggage and [Hardcore Champion] Crash [Holly] was there," Gas added. "We jumped Crash and I was able to get the pin."
Newark Airport wasn't the only peculiar place the Posse battled for the Hardcore Championship. They also waged wars in a laundromat, a circus and a memorable Hardcore Battle Royal at WrestleMania 2000.
"That was awesome," Abs said. "It was WrestleMania and I got to win the Hardcore Title for a couple minutes."
Despite the bumps and bruises they suffered at the hands of double-tough competitors like Hardcore Holly and Ron Simmons, the Posse actually enjoyed competing in these dangerous matches.
"Even when we went out and got blasted with chairs from [JBL], it was so fun," Rodney said. "You can take a little pain. Big deal. It goes away."
The Mean Street Posse's fearless performances in these matches also earned them the respect of their peers.
"We didn't pay our dues the way a normal wrestler pays their dues," Gas said.
"Everyone killed us, then they respected us," Rodney added.
After the Hardcore Championship was unified with the Intercontinental Championship, the Mean Street Posse competed in various tag team matches before being sent to WWE's developmental territory, which was then located in Memphis, Tenn. After competing there for 18 months, the three members of the Posse were released from their WWE contracts.
"To be honest, I was a little heartbroken about being let go," Rodney said. "We trained for so long, but we never got the opportunity to show it."
At the time, Mr. McMahon had recently acquired WCW, and ECW had just gone under. WWE was basically the only game in town, and the Posse had limited options.
While Rodney and Pete Gas appeared on a few independent shows, Joey Abs never wrestled again. Instead, each man returned to their hometowns, and their normal lives away from the ring. (PHOTOS)
For Joey Abs, this meant moving back to North Carolina and joining the family business.
"I drive a wrecker and work at a body shop with my dad," Abs said. "We do all kinds of redneck stuff — paint cars, horse trailer stuff, state inspections. Pretty much what I did before wrestling."
While Abs still misses the rush of performing in front of the WWE Universe, he is happy to be around the people he loves.
"I missed being away from my family," Abs said. "I was a mama's boy and was always centered around my family. That's really important to me."
Joey Abs still runs into his old friend Matt Hardy from time to time, although the two men had a falling out years ago.
"Matt and I had issues," Abs revealed. "We were best friends for a lot of years and I did him wrong. I don't know what his feelings are, but I don't wish him any bad at all. We just went different ways."
Today, Pete Gas works for W.B. Mason, a major office supply company. He enjoys staying active, especially through his favorite hobby.
"I play softball five nights a week in the summer if not more," Gas said.
Gas was recently recruited to the WWE softball team by the team manager, WWE Hall of Famer Howard Finkel.
"The Fink's great," Gas said. "I came this year and hopefully we'll pick up some other guys and practice a little more."
Gas is still a die-hard WWE fan and remains good friends with Shane and Rodney and keeps in contact with Abs whenever he can. Abs and Rodney, however, lost touch in recent years.
"That's my fault," Rodney said. "I probably should've kept in contact. Once you have family, you know how it is."
Since leaving WWE, Rodney has gotten married and fathered two daughters, ages 4 and 7.
"It's the greatest thing to be a father," Rodney said. "I have a nice family, two beautiful girls. What more could you ask for?"
Rodney is also in the process of expanding his Glen Ridge, N.J.-based landscape management company, a prospect he is very excited about.
"I don't want this to be a father-and-son business," he said. "I want this to be a big business where I have 20 or 30 trucks."
And, according to Rodney and Pete Gas, the Mean Street Posse is always ready to get back in the ring.
"If Shane ever called, my bag would be packed and I'd be headed out the door going wherever he needed me to go," Gas said.
While the transition from the international spotlight of Raw and SmackDown to regular suburban life was difficult for all three members of the Posse, they all agree that they had some of the best times of their lives with WWE.
"I think I have this love for wrestling that'll never go away," Rodney said. "Maybe other people will never understand it, but I wouldn't change the good or the bad for anything. It was a great time and I'll always remember it."