During a recent interview with Revolver, Damian Priest commented on meeting The Undertaker for the first time as a kid, his current character, and more. You can check out some highlights from the interview below:
On whether he got into wrestling or metal first: “I was into wrestling first. Being that I was raised in Puerto Rico and the Bronx, the first music I was accustomed to listening to was hip-hop. I didn’t even like rock or metal. [Laughs] Very, very young age. I think I was 13 or 14, a buddy of mine who is a little older, he had a permit and a car that his parents let him drive. So, he’d always drive me around and he was a metalhead. [Laughs] I was like, “Nah, man, turn that off.” And then this is how it started: I told him, “At least play some Undertaker-like music.” That’s how it all started. He played a lot of Metallica for me, then from there I was asking for bands like them and it was Priest, Ozzy and everybody else. That was it for any other type of genre.”
On the picture of him as a kid meeting Undertaker: “So I met him at an autograph signing. I paid to go meet him. I was a teenager and he was my idol. I remember there was a line and I was doing Undertaker impressions and I had people around me and it was cool. Then when I got up to him, I was so starstruck. I couldn’t even speak. And he started laughing, I’ll never forget that. It’s cool now that I got to pick his brain and get in the ring with him and move around with him. It’s the coolest thing. He was the introduction to my love for wrestling and I guess my love for music, which guided me to become a wrestler.”
On having elements of rock stardom in his character: “It all came from the idea of that like “rock-star lifestyle,” the idea of it. You see it in movies, guys destroying hotel rooms. Everything that encompasses the rock star, the rebel, I’ve always just wanted to portray that. It’s who I am. When I came to the WWE, one thing Triple H would talk to me nonstop about was: “We need you to be yourself. You’ve played characters, but that’s not what we’re looking for.” He straight-up told me, “Dude, we talk all the time. We talk music. I want this guy, the cool guy on TV.” At first, it’s like, Oh OK, I can go out there and be myself, that’s easy. Then you realize it’s not as easy, because I’m being a version of myself that I think people want to see. But getting to figure out how I was going to portray myself was basically that: It was be you, but let’s exaggerate that version of you.
“So, I was like, well, I’ll be a rock star. It’s something I love. We used The Dirt, the Mötley Crüe movie as a template for how I would move, how I would act. The party guy. But it’s also not really acting because it’s still me! [Laughs] So with Mötley Crüe, I started looking at my clothing, my tights, my pants to kind of mimic a frontman. I’m headbanging when I come to the stage, the lighting is like you’re at a concert. So, it’s very much musically influenced, as far as that rock-star vibe I’m looking for. Damian Priest, that’s who he is. The only difference is I don’t have a microphone when I come down. [Laughs]”
On Bad Bunny’s WWE run: “He did not come out here to promote something or because he had nothing else to do. He came in because wrestling was one of his dreams. And then when the opportunity presented itself, he was like, “Oh absolutely.” But he didn’t want to just come and do it and leave — he moved from Puerto Rico to Orlando so he could train for months. Man, I’m telling you, he took his licks. He got bruised and bloodied in training every single week. And I watched him every single week get right back up and ask to do it again. I was extremely impressed and then we ended up becoming really good friends in this whole process. Again, it’s that rock-star mindset — he wasn’t even supposed to be as successful as he is in his genre and industry. He was told, “You gotta change, you have to dress like this or speak like this,” and he just wouldn’t do it. He was like, “Well, that’s not making it.” He fought to do everything his way, and that’s that metal attitude to me. A lot of people thought it was odd ’cause I’m a metal guy and he’s clearly not, but we have that same mentality in common that unites us.”