Colt Cabana did motion capture work throughout two full console generations.
Speaking with Fightful's Sean Ross Sapp (full interview above), Cabana detailed how he got involved doing motion capture work while signed to WWE's developmental territory back in 2007. Even after his release in February 2009, Cabana says he continued to be a part of the mo-cap team for WWE video games for another decade afterwards.
"Well, I was mo capping a very long time," Cabana began. "So, when we were in developmental in OVW in 2007, they were using the WWE wrestlers, the developmental wrestlers. I think because I was friendly with Nova, Nova put my name in to be one of the mo cappers. Which was great because I hated being in OVW. So, anything to separate that grind was amazing and we got paid to do it. Then when I got fired, soon after that they stopped using the wrestlers because they didn’t want the wrestlers getting hurt. So, they were looking for outside wrestlers and they remembered that I did a good job in mo-cap, so then I got put on the team. So essentially from 2007 to 2018 was the last time. Maybe even to 2019, I did some mo-cap. A long time."
Cabana was even kind enough to put over his friend (totally on his own and without any prompting), WWE Official Adam Pearce, who was also heavily involved in that line of work.
"Again, people wondering how we make a living, that was always a great part of the hustle. There’s so many people who’ve done mo-cap. Adam Pearce texted me the other day and asked, ‘How come you didn’t put me over in an interview and tell them that I did mo-cap?’ Well, Adam did mo-cap. Adam Pearce did a lot of mo-cap," Cabana shared.
Among the work he did with Pearce was recreating the iconic Hulk Hugan slam of Andre the Giant from WrestleMania III.
"We did Andre / Hogan for WrestleMania 3. He was Andre. He was the biggest guy doing mo caps," said Cabana.
Cabana would then say that he made sure to make the slam as authentic as possible.
"I do. I half-assed slammed him, too. But, the best one that I love doing because I was—I wasn’t a crazy backyard wrestler, but I loved ECW as a kid and I love New Jack. So, I loved stunt wrestling. Which I know I shouldn’t say that. But, obviously, I love watching from afar. I might be Joey Janela’s only fan. I think it’s crazy. It’s very unsafe. You shouldn’t do it at home. But, if you do it, I want to watch it."
Another memorable moment that he got to capture was Mankind's fall from atop Hell In A Cell. According to Cabana, he was a more than willing participant.
"Exactly. So, I got thrown off the cage," Cabana shared. "I did Undertaker / Mankind and I was Mankind. They were like, ‘Who wants to do this?’ I was like, ‘Me, me, me, me, me!’"
He then explained how exactly they go about capturing such a dangerous stunt. Here is what he said:
"They had a ring and then they built a scaffold. They built scaffolds big enough to be the size of the Hell in a Cell, and then there was scaffold up top. They just throw some mats down on the ground and you just get hucked. Ezekiel Jackson was the one who threw me off. He was Undertaker, I was Mankind and I was so excited. Everyone couldn’t believe how excited I was. But, it was so much fun. When I was in high school I would jump out of trees and learn how to roll correctly out of the grass. So, to do this from such a high elevation onto pads where I knew I would be safe was very exciting."
Cabana joked saying, "Ezekiel Jackson made me video game famous."
According to Cabana the programmers of the games were all big fans and would hide secret things within the coding so that he would have his own moves and entrance available in the Create A Wrestler mode. Furthermore, he shared that sometimes there were certain things that none of the performers could replicate and it required someone else being brought in to do it.
"Yeah, there were a couple of things. God, nothing that I can remember. I was going to say, when you started asking that question, I remember they asked for me to put the Billy Goat’s Curse in there in the game and that became a secret hidden thing. Because those guys were also wrestling fans. So, they were like, ‘Let’s get your entrance and your finishing moves.’ They would secretly put it in for the create-a-player stuff.
It’s the programmers who know they have the ability to just put in a move," Cabana said. "They’re super fans and they know all the moves and they know all the cool moves, too. So, they want to put everything in. Some of the fun was they had a good variety of different wrestlers who could play different roles. But, sometimes there was just somebody it was just impossible to get the person to do one of their moves and they would have to bring in somebody special. Some of the times it was the women. Like, no one could do the Melina splits, I think. They had to bring in someone that could do the splits, maybe even Melina at that point. I want to say some of the wrestlers—maybe even like Evan Bourne—just no one could do his shooter the way he does it, so they would have to bring him in. Of course, Hornswoggle I believe had to do his own stuff."
To his own surprise, Cabana shared that one of the moves that no one could get right was Roman Reigns' Superman Punch. Apparently, no one could execute the footwork properly.
"There was one time where none of us could figure out how to do the Roman Reigns super punch. Like, all of our footing was two left feet for everyone and everyone was all like, ‘Oh, this is easy,’ and then we couldn’t do it," Cabana laughed. "Then Sonjay was next and then he couldn’t do it. Then Pearce couldn’t do it. Then Trent couldn’t do it. No one could figure out how to do it."
Colt Cabana currently performs for AEW as a member of Dark Order. The promotion will be getting into the console gaming market soon itself. Though no release date has been announced for their debut effort, they have brought on Hideyuki Iwashita, the director of classic fighting games WWF No Mercy and Def Jam Vendetta.
You can check out Colt Cabana's new Wrestling Anonymous podcast at this link, which features voice messages from wrestling fans around the world. You can also see Cabana on All Elite Wrestling programming each week -- Dark Elevation, Mondays at 7 PM EST on Youtube, Dark Tuesdays at 7 PM EST on Youtube, and AEW Dynamite, 8 PM EST on Wednesdays on TNT.