World Wrestling Insanity interview with Chris DeJoseph (Host: James Guttman)
Interview available at WorldWrestlingInsanity.com via ClubWWI.
Fans never forget the image of Dick Johnson. Even if they want to – they can’t. It’s burned in there. James Guttman asks the former BDJ, Chris DeJoseph, about the character itself. Many assumed it was something he came up with himself. That’s not true. In fact, the idea came about when brainstorming people to encounter Vince McMahon backstage while he worried about his upcoming on-air paternity suit. As he tells ClubWWI.com members, the birth of Big Dick came about pretty simple enough:
“(They said) Hey. We need a chubby stripper. DJ – that’s what they call me – DJ, You want to do it? Uhhhh…Sure. What the hell, man. I was 25 years old and excited to do anything.”
As JG points out, the name itself is shocking in that there’s nothing tongue-in-cheek about it at all. In wrestling, plays on words are fairly common but it’s rare that you get a name that really puts it all on the table. You don’t get much blunter than “Big Dick Johnson”. Chris agrees and shares the character’s original names, outfit, and which top WWE star suggested he first wear the thong for his segments. He then shares the story of the name’s creation as the ClubWWI.com interview continues.
“There was a bunch of names. One was “Slim”. They were trying to come up with different names. Then (Former WWE Writer) Dave Lagana, he had a, I think it was actually his, ex brother-in-law whose name was ‘Richard Johnson’. So he goes ‘Hey. How about you be ‘Richard Johnson?’ I was like, ‘Yeah. That’s cool. Dick Johnson.’ So I ended up going to Vince (McMahon) with it and he added, (Vince impression) ‘No! You’re BIG DICK Johnson!’ That was it. Just kind of like – there it is.”
Chris DeJoseph’s character may be memorable, but during his seven years with WWE, he did much more. As a lifelong wrestling fan, he lived his dream of working in WWE creative. He shares the story of how that job came about, misconceptions many fans have about WWE’s creative process, storylines he was proudest to work on, and more. James points out that DeJoseph worked for the company during the Chris Benoit murders. In 2007, right in the midst of a storyline Mr. McMahon death, Benoit killed his wife and son, sending shockwaves through the wrestling community. As a creative member, how do you pick up the pieces after that and how do you rebound from a funeral show – all set to air? BDJ remembers that day and explains to ClubWWI.com members how it definitely altered the creative course they were on including a show that had already been taped for that night.
“I remember going there. We were in Corpus Christi. Still, whenever I go into that building, that’s what I always think about. We were shooting all these scenes for Mr. McMahon’s funeral. I was actually in like three of them. We had his casket. I was in one with Michael Hayes. I was crying the whole time. (laughs) I was crushed that Mr. McMahon was gone. Then, I’ll never forget, we got the news. It was just tragic. Just really shocking and yeah, it was tough to pick up the pieces again. It was, ‘Oh, man. What are we going to do now?’ Especially when you have everything set to go.”
James mentions that it’s one thing to have to rewrite something but given the fact that they had to deal with real life death while playing up storyline death forced them to completely go in a new direction. DeJoseph adds that aside from the Raw death angle, there was Benoit’s new home brand, ECW, to fix too.
“Yeah. It was total irony. Even the guys from ECW. They had to totally reset their storylines. Everything had to change because of it. That’s why, I can’t remember if it was Punk or Morrison – it was Morrison, actually, that’s why he ended up winning the title.”
You can follow Chris on Twitter at @ChrisDeJoseph and you can hear his full 30 minute interview – his first since leaving WWE – right now on ClubWWI.com along with over 250 other top stars ranging from Jerry Lawler to Paul Roma the second you sign up!