Vince McMahon doesn't see WWE Superstars as actors.
Back in July 2021, Vince McMahon visited the WWE Performance Center, a rarity according to Scotty 2 Hotty (Scott Garland). According to Garland, who had worked there as a trainer for five years, this was the only time he had seen Vince visit the facility.
Speaking with Fightful's Sean Ross Sapp (interview above), Garland explained how he decided to sit in the front row of Vince's meeting and ask a question despite his tendency to sit in the back and try to blend in.
"So, he came to the Performance Center one time the whole time I was there. Maybe six months ago. I was always the guy in the talent meetings, or any meeting in life, I would sit in the back row not wanting to be seen. He came there, he gave a speech and I was like, ‘You know what? I’m gonna sit in the front row and I’m gonna be the first one to ask a question because I feel like I have a legitimate question.’ [Because we’re] always going out doing these tryouts for all these athletes—NFL, Major League Baseball, everything but bowlers and golfers, pretty much, they’re hiring," he said.
Garland suggested looking into theatre actors for Performance Center recruits instead of just athletes, an idea he felt strongly about especially since much of Broadway was shut down due to the pandemic. Unfortunately, Vince was not receptive, saying that 'We are not actors. We react.'
"So I said to him, and I had this idea for a while where Broadway is shut down. All these live shows around the world shut down, right? All these performers are out of work, so I said to Vince—I asked the second question—I said, ‘We’re always doing these tryouts for the athletes. Is there any thoughts to doing a tryout specifically designed for these live theatre performers?’ Because I can remember going to see Lion King on Broadway and there were all these dudes swinging around up on the stage, they’re shredded. They look like athletes, they were probably athletes at some point in their life, got hurt and then fell into theatre or maybe they just looked like an athlete. That’s what we do; we’re performers who react to off crowds. So you would take these people who look like athletes, but they understand the importance of the theatrical part. Because sometimes that’s a hard thing to teach, say, a football player who’s been taught, ‘Hey, just win, win, win, win, win, get that ball in that end zone. You don’t worry about the crowd.’ Whereas somebody who’s done a show every day, two shows on the weekends, they might understand," Garland stated. "So I said, ‘Is there any thought to doing an open tryout for these people?’ His answer was, ‘We are not actors. We react.’ I was like, ‘Okay. I guess that’s dead in the water,’ even though we have acting class and promo class and bringing in acting coaches…we’re not actors."
The former WWF Light Heavyweight Champion thought he made a good point, though he isn't sure if Vince McMahon knew who he was.
"I thought it was a good point, but I don’t think he knew who I was. I honestly don’t. I’m sure he got my reports, the live event reports go out to everybody, I’m sure he got those that I would write with the name Scott Garland on there. But I don’t know if he knew that I was the guy that played this Scotty Too Hotty character years ago. I never got any feeling that he knew who I was. I remember I saw him in Toronto. We had a Takeover in Toronto and we went to Survivor Series—a bunch of us went to that thing—and I saw him in the back, he just happened to be coming out of his office as I was walking by. I shook his hand, but I don’t know if he knew who I was and then the only other interaction was that time at the Performance Center. Honestly most of that time, it was good just to fly under the radar, to just be left alone and do my job."
In September 2021, NXT underwent a change, adopting the 2.0 moniker, giving younger talents more screen time, and using a new, brighter, more colorful stage, among other things. Garland says the change was a tough one to go through as a lot of the people who had been there for years believed wholeheartedly in the "We Are NXT" slogan.
"Yeah. I don’t know. It was eggshells around there before it happened [the meeting with Vince]. Nobody knew why they were coming," he began by saying. "Then Hunter said it was a good thing and they just wanted to talk to us and give us his direction on where he wants to go with this thing. Then all of a sudden it changed. I don’t know. It was hard to go through. We had such a cool thing. NXT was such a cool vibe to it and everybody worked so hard and made it. I keep saying that ‘We Are NXT’ was not just a marketing hashtag or slogan. That was a real thing. The Garganos, Ciampas, Coles, O’Reilly, all those guys, me—we believed that. We were proud to be part of NXT. We would roll into WrestleMania weekend or SummerSlam weekend and steal the weekend. Those guys and girls would go out there and deliver and deliver a product that WrestleMania just couldn’t keep up with or SummerSlam just couldn’t keep up with. I think the formula was beautiful. It was five matches, about a two hour / two hour twenty minute show. So good, and then you watch WrestleMania the next day and it’s eight hours long. There’s nothing in the world I want to do for eight hours."
As for his thoughts on NXT 2.0, Garland offered up the following:
"I think the idea behind it is good. It’s gonna give a lot of younger people an opportunity to get seen and be shown. I feel for a guy like a Kona Reeves or Wesley Blake or some of those guys who never really got a chance on the old one, the opportunity, this will be such a great chance for those guys."
Not having fun at work anymore, Garland departed WWE on November 23. Back on the independent scene, Scott already has dates booked with GCW and ISPW. Scott recently open the YouTube channel and posted a video reflecting on his 30-year Journey. You can view the video here.