Exclusive interview: David Heath, formerly known as 'Gangrel,' on seeing his friend Rikishi enter the WWE Hall of Fame
The bonds of the sports-entertainment industry run deep. Stepping between the ropes and waging war brings the most unlikely people together as friends and brothers. There’s no better demonstration of those ties than the WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Every year, Superstars past and present come together to celebrate a new class of inductees. There’s always a surprising face or two among the crowd — someone whom the WWE Universe hasn’t seen in a while and is happy to see.
This year, David Heath, formerly known as ”Gangrel,” was spotted among the revelers at San Jose’s SAP Center. The leader of The Brood was in attendance as a guest of Rikishi, whom he currently runs a wrestling school, Knokx Pro, with in Los Angeles. WWE.com caught up with the vampire warrior to learn a little more about the relationship between the fanged grappler and the Samoan warrior.
WWE.COM: How long have you known Rikishi? When did you first meet him?
DAVID HEATH: As long as I’ve been wrestling. That’s maybe 27 or 28 years. I worked with Afa, but I first got to know Rikishi and Samu when I was coming in for tryouts. I thought I was doing great when I had my first tryout, they took me out and we had too good a time and I got in a lot of trouble. [Laughs] But the whole family has always looked out for me. Rikishi’s treated me like a brother. Now, we have our wrestling school down in LA. We’ve had it for six years.
WWE.COM: What’s it like working with Rikishi every day at the school?
HEATH: It’s awesome. It’s like working with family. When we train people, we bring them up like family. To be honest, we’re stealing their energy. There are all these young kids with hopes and dreams, while we’re fading to the back. We feed off their energy.
WWE.COM: What was your reaction when you heard Rikishi was being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame?
HEATH: I was very happy for him. Everybody remembers him as Rikishi, but he’s done so much more in this business, with The Headshrinkers and even further back. He’s been wrestling forever, and then you think about his family and the lineage. I’m elated for him. I’m honored that he invited me to be here.
HEATH: It means everything to them. They’re a wrestling family, the Samoan dynasty. Their family runs back so deep in the business. They’re linked to The Rock as cousins. It means everything to them. They’re really proud of Roman and excited for him. Rikishi’s really excited. He’s really happy. I’m really happy for him and the family.