Where Are They Now? Shawn Stasiak

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June 19, 2013

The family eventually settled down in Oakville, Ontario, Canada, when Stasiak was a teen and Stan “The Man” was ready to call it quits. There, Shawn hit a growth spurt and became a champion high school wrestler as a heavyweight. A scholarship to Boise State followed, where Stasiak was a top Division I competitor.

“Amateur wrestling requires so much discipline,” Stasiak said. “All my work ethic up to this point has been because of my amateur wrestling career, and I can’t thank it enough.”

Although Stasiak had been interested in the ring since he was a kid, he did not pursue sports-entertainment after college. It wasn’t until his dad passed away in June 1997 that he got serious about becoming a WWE Superstar. He more or less glossed over this point, but it's an important one: Did Stasiak have a desire to become a professional wrestler? Or did he feel compelled to carry on the family name in the wake of his father’s death?

“Sometimes, second- and third-generation kids feel obligated to get in the family business,” J.R. told WWEClassics.com. “Although it’s admirable, sometimes it’s just not the right decision to make.”

Regardless of his intentions, Stasiak was signed by WWE in January 1998. Yet, instead of being introduced to the world as the second coming of Stan “The Man” Stasiak, he was dubbed Meat. The athlete’s daytime TV good looks and enviable abdominals had set him up to portray what was more or less the male equivalent of the long line of Barbie dolls that had pranced around rings for years. He was, quite literally, a piece of meat for longtime WWE valet Terri Runnels, and he struggled in the spot.

Watch Meat's get caught cheating on Terri Runnels

“I wasn’t too happy about it, to be honest with you,” Stasiak admitted. “Then I looked at it like, ‘Look, it’s your foot in the door. It will be a start and things will change. You’re here, so just run with it.’”

Stasiak’s DNA allowed him to develop quickly, but the persona did not work. Still, WWE fans remember it, because A.) It came along at such an integral point in WWE history, and B.) The name Meat was so absurd it’s hard to forget. Stasiak ditched the moniker eventually and rechristened himself Shawn Stasiak, but then he did something so misguided that it has affected him ever since.

At this point in his life, Stasiak was, admittedly, an overgrown kid who — despite being on the cusp of his thirties with a strict athletic background — could be a little goofy. That’s why he thought it would be funny to record a conversation between Steve Blackman and The British Bulldog without their knowledge.

According to Stasiak, it was meant to be a joke, but in the fiercely private world of professional wrestling, it was the type of thing a rookie simply should not do. By the time Blackman found out he had been taped, the stunt had cost the young Superstar his job and, worse yet, his reputation in sports-entertainment.

“I don’t think Shawn was doing anything mean-spirited,” Jim Ross said. “It was a sophomoric prank that was more serious to the veteran talents than he perceived it would be. You can’t allow yourself to get into a situation where you’re not trusted by your peers.”

Unfortunately for Stasiak, the move painted a scarlet letter on his chest that barely faded for the remainder of his ring career.

“I think there was just too much stigma with it,” he said. “I really don’t know all the real reasons why. You could bash your head up against the wall trying to figure it out, and I think I did for the longest time.”

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