Charlie Haas gets a second chance
Charlie Haas was traveled a long-and-arduous road to get back to WWE. Just one day after returning form his honeymoon, both he and his new wife (Miss Jackie) were both released from WWE. Instead of letting his anger get the best of him and throwing in the towel, Charlie Haas dedicated himself to do whatever it took to get back to WWE and continue to live out his dream. After nine months of hard work and competing all over the world, Haas returned to WWE Monday night on RAW with a shocking victory over former tag team partner Shelton Benjamin. WWE.com caught up with Haas to talk about his path back to WWE, his match against Benjamin, what will be different now that he's back in WWE and much more.
WWE.com: What was it like being back with WWE?
Haas: Words can't explain it. The day I got released, that day, I went right to the gym and started working my butt off, trying to get back to WWE. Knowing that all the hard work, never giving up and never losing focus and finally getting back to WWE and being on RAW was so satisfying. It just proves that you should never give up and never quit.
WWE.com: You looked a lot more emotional than you had in the past. What was going through your head Monday night?
Haas: I knew that I wanted to be back in WWE. I had other offers to go other places. But I wanted to come back and prove I belong. In the last nine months, I've traveled all over the world wrestling -- Japan, Italy, England, all over the United States. I've been working mostly on a singles career. It's something I didn't do a lot of in WWE. I've been trying to develop my character and style more. I've also been working with NFL Hall of Famer Randy White. He lives in my town and he's been training me every morning for the last five months. Whether it's boxing, running, weight lifting, we've been doing it all. He's also been teaching me how to be more relaxed mentally and physically when you're at the show or at the big game. I think that helped me against Shelton on RAW. I felt so relaxed and knew I belonged. I had fun doing it. I wasn't tense -- I just had fun. I just thank WWE to give me the opportunity to come back.
I was so tense the first time around. I was always worried about doing everything perfect. I just have to relax. This is who I am. I have the ability. I just have to have fun doing it. Whatever happens, happens. I know I'm at this level because I'm good enough to be here and I deserve to be here. Now, I'm going to make the fans believe in me and show them I belong here, too.
WWE.com: When you were released nine months ago, you were very critical of WWE's creative team. After that, did you think you had burned your bridge with WWE?
Haas: It was just really hard. Both me and my wife (Miss Jackie) were fired on the day after our honeymoon was over. Marriage is for better or worse, and "worse" hit us right when we got back. I was critical. Was I angry? Yeah I was angry, and I said things I shouldn't have said. I'm not going to say I wouldn't say those things again. Given what happened, being released the day after getting back from your honeymoon, there was nothing I felt I did wrong to deserve being let go. But they didn't think I had what it took. I should have controlled my anger, but I was so emotionally distraught. I was starting a new life and all of a sudden I had no income. Not only my legs, but wife's legs too, we were cut out from under us and we had to deal with being unemployed. Did I think they would take me back? No. I'm lucky they're giving me a second chance.
WWE.com: Given everything that's happened, what was it like when you received the call that WWE was interested in you again?
Haas: I was on Cloud 9. I didn't think that would ever happen. I said things that you'd think would have kept me from ever coming back. But it just shows that WWE is forgiving. It just proved that all the hard work paid off. Instead of being bitter and giving up, I worked hard to get back here. I went out and worked all over the world and it showed them that I was still hungry. So, when I heard from them, it was like the best Christmas, birthday and any kind of gift all wrapped into one. This time, I know I'm going to make it work.
WWE.com: How much do you think wrestling overseas helped you get back to WWE?
Haas: I think it helped a lot. Working in Japan was such a different atmosphere. It's a strong-style. It's back and forth. It helped me adapt, because I was learning a new style. The European style is more of a technical, chain-like style. Japanese style is more of a slug it out style. And in WWE you have to provide the entertainment for the crowd, and Italy was a lot like that. So, taking all of that and putting it back together is important. Taking a little from here and a little from there and absorbing everything is what helped a lot.
WWE.com: During your last run with WWE, you spent your entire career on SmackDown. What was it like being on RAW for the first time?
Haas: The only time I had done live television was for pay-per-views. Just being in front of the fans is electrifying. Thank God for my experience on SmackDown and working in front of the fans because I was comfortable on RAW. I felt everything was going well. I just felt like I was at home. Just being back was great. I'm just glad everything went smoothly my first time being back. I learned a lot on SmackDown, and now I hope to learn a lot on RAW.
WWE.com: After being away for so long, were you worried about the crowd reaction?
Haas: I didn't know if the fans would remember me or not. I just hoped I left a good enough impression with them as a tag team competitor that they would remember. I was gone long, but not long enough where it seems like I was coming back too late. I think it happened at the right time, and I hope the fans feel that too. I think they did. It seemed like they got behind me, and I had a great match with Shelton.
WWE.com: What will be different about your time in WWE now that you're back?
Haas: You'll see a new, emotional, fired up Charlie Haas. But at the same time I'll be more relaxed. I'll have a controlled rage, a controlled emotion. And my confidence will be a lot better. I deserve to be there. I won't sweat the small stuff, and I'll shoot for the stars. I've been to hell and back and hell and back again. I know what it's like to wrestle in three WrestleManias and all of a sudden you're wrestling outside of a state fair in Tulsa, OK in front of five people within a matter of months. I was hustling for scraps just to pay my electric bill. I have to make it work. This is probably my last chance, and I have to make it work. I just thank WWE for believing in me and giving me a second chance.