Things aren't always as wonderful as they seem. Duke "The Dumpster" Droese knows that all to well.
Droese left WWF in 1996 while battling a bad drug problem. Outside of untelevised tryouts, he wouldn't be seen on WWF TV again until WrestleMania X-Seven's gimmick battle royal in 2001. He was able to get in contact with WWF and made his appearance happen.
"They didn’t reach out. I reached out to them. It was interesting. I was working for the company down in Florida that I wrestled for before I went to the WWF the first time, Sunshine Wrestling Federation, who had then just become Florida Championship Wrestling, which was before it was a developmental place for Vince. One of the guys that worked through them came up to me one day and said, ‘Dude, they’re going a gimmick battle royal. You need to call somebody and get in on that,'" Droese said.
As he tells Fightful, he was still within the grips of substance abuse. It tainted his experience, and left him without the positive memories most have in their WrestleMania moments.
"Even working for these guys down in Florida, I was on a lot of drugs. It was bad. It should have been a great, awesome moment. My WrestleMania momen. But, in all reality, I was on drugs so bad—I was going to the Methadone clinic in Miami—so, I had to get extra Methadone to take to WrestleMania with me so I wouldn’t get sick and withdrawals during the weekend. I barely made it. I had to drink alcohol at the end of it. I made it back home. But, it wasn’t a great WrestleMania moment because I was in no condition to wrestle. But, thankfully all I had to do was walk around the ring and act stupid with a bunch of older guys. Nikolai Volkoff screaming at [the Iron] Sheik, Brother Love beating up Jim Cornette, all of us just goofing off. Eventually Doink the Clown clotheslined me out of the ring on the wrong side and twisted my shoulders out of place. But, you know, it was WrestleMania and I will say walking out in front of 65,000 people was amazing in the Astrodome," Droese said.
Today, Droese helps others that experience the same trials and tribulations he has. He's far removed from the lost memories of days that should have been life highlights.
You can see our full interview with Duke "The Dumpster" Droese at the top of the page, and follow him on Twitter at this link.