Dave Mastiff has had a storied career within the world of professional wrestling, competing across various promotions including Rev Pro, Impact Wrestling, World Of Sport, PROGRESS Wrestling and, of course, NXT UK. From being involved in high profile matches on network television, during NXT Takeover premium live events and whilst headlining independent shows up and down the UK, Mastiff’s strong style and powerhouse nature became one synonymous with British wrestling.
After finishing up with NXT UK as it transitions into NXT Europe, PWMania.com got the chance to speak exclusively to Mastiff about his career to date. You can check out the complete interview below:
You were part of the United Kingdom Championship Tournament. How did it feel to be recognized for the great work you had done on the emerging independent scene and now placed on a two-day network special that garnered much attention?
“From a personal standpoint, I felt more rewarded for performing at the Royal Albert Hall. That building is synonymous with British entertainment – Last Night of the Proms, Strongman events in the early 20th century, etc. It was a great event to be part of.”
Working every day at the development center must have been a joy. What did you learn from the trainers there and how did it differ from the work you had done across multiple independent promotions?
“Everyone you train with has a different perspective on pro wrestling. You need to take the best from each one you encounter. I felt fortunate that people like Robbie and Regal always has time for me and looked out for me. People may not realize but those two gents had a significant impact on my career even before signing with WWE. Learning from Triple H was also wonderful because he just has so much attention to detail. He’s a fantastic leader too I believe.
“As for the joy, for me, the joy came in being at the PC with a group of lads who I’ve spent so much time with on the independents. We shared a journey for many years and it was great to enjoy working for the market leader (financially) together.
“It differed of course because it’s a television-centric product but I’d had a lot of previous experience with that.”
You had a great feud with Eddie Dennis, resulting in a Takeover match at Blackpool. How did it feel to get the win in such a strong match?
“Thank you. The crowd that night was phenomenal. What an incredible atmosphere to experience. You don’t forget those moments. We had to make sure the bout delivered and was unique to the rest of the show. That was the important thing to me.”
What were your favorite moments on screen at NXT UK?
“For me I relished the build-up and the last man standing match with Joe Coffey at Takeover: Cardiff. I believe that was the highlight for me personally and also for the brand.
“Other than that I enjoyed the skits Jack Starz and I did earn his cut and also mocked other teams such as Die Familia. Jack and I came up with those skits together on our own and the mega-talented Shaun Ryan put his great spin on them for filming.”
You accomplished a lot on the independent scene before joining WWE. You return with a lot more experience. Do you have plans to wrestle for many promotions and make a mark in them throughout the rest of the year?
“I’ve really not thought too much about it all. I don’t feel like I’ve anything to prove so I guess I just want to have fun and work with some great talents and hopefully teach them what I’ve learned over the last 20 years too.”
What were the most invaluable lessons you learned from the trainers at WWE?
“The most important thing I’ve learned is to stay true to your own beliefs. When you’ve been doing this for a prolonged period of time, nobody knows you better than yourself. Others can give you helpful hints but they don’t know your persona as well as you do.”
How did you find out about your release from NXT UK and were there any rumblings that they would be coming?
“No rumblings. We had a meeting and we’re told it was closing. We were told the Europe thing was in the pipeline. They then made a press release seconds after. Then we all got the calls releasing us.”
NXT Europe. What have you heard and is this something you want to be part of?
“Nothing. Anything that’s said is guess work by anyone. They need to do a lot of work before it comes to fruition and it would need to be the right offer for me.”