In April 2012, it will be 10 years, a full decade, since Rene Dupree debuted on HWA and OVW TV, progressing quickly to RAW and SD. He became the youngest wrestler in WWE history to win the World Tag Team Championship (age 19); the WWE Tag Team Championship (age 20) and the youngest man in WWE history to win any title. For the past two years he has been working full time with All Japan Pro Wrestling. He is currently in Canada prior to flying out to Doha to work some dates with John Morrison, Chris Masters and others for Qatar Pro Wrestling. We caught up with him at home.
Success came early, Rene - but looking back, ten years on - were you really prepared for all the pressures and politics of life on the road?
RD - I got there too young. They say I broke this and that ‘record’, but its all a work. Some guys forget that.
With hindsight would you say, (1)WWE dropped the ball on you; (2) you dropped the ball on WWE or (3) a bit of both?
RD - I left ‘cause I was fried. That and the Benoit thing had just happened. At the time it was just too much.
The Bob Holly story is history now but I know there are still fans interested. What sparked off that incident?
RD - I got a parking ticket, didn’t pay it - he got mad. He stiffed me a little. My old man gave me worse beatings. No big deal.
There must be highs and lows over 10 years - what were some of the high points for you?
RD - Highs? .... well as a performer getting the crowd to pop for a finish I came up with. And, as a business man, getting a good payday
And the lows?
RD - Losing guys I worked with too young. It f’n sucks.
You’ve seen a number of young wrestlers die during the past 10 years including Lance Cade and Test.
RD - Yes. Cade was a friend. We tagged together in Hustle. Then he re-signed with Vince and he called me like two months later saying he wanted to leave, so I got him booked with All Japan.
Looking back over the past 10 years, who did you learn the most from?
RD - Kai and Sanada - those two guys have a great work ethic. Also working and watching Minoru Suzuki. He’s awesome.
Among the guys you started out with, who stands out but has still to get the recognition they deserve?
RD - Paul London was one of the best workers I’ve been in the ring with.
You manage to attract immediate heat from the fans. What’s your favorite moment?
RD - Some guy tried to punch me in the face when I was working for ECW. He came close - which only proved that I didn’t need a French flag to get heat.