Taz gives his take.
Last Tuesday was the celebration of 1000 episodes of SmackDown. There were stars from the past and present inside the 'Capitol One Arena' who has forever edged their names in the history of the brand. Names like 7-time World Heavyweight Champion Edge returned, "The Phenom" The Undertaker, Rey Mysterio and many others who were and are focal points on the SmackDown brand were in attendance.
One individual who was not invited to SmackDown 1000 was former two-time ECW World Heavyweight Champion Taz who was the voice of SmackDown along with Michael Cole during what some refer to as the "Golden Era" of the brand. Many fans were questioning for weeks if WWE was going all out with SmackDown 1000 i.e. the fist set and having Michael Cole and Taz call the action. Once SmackDown 1000 was all said and done, Taz booted up his podcast 'The Taz Show' and spoke about his absence. Taz provided some background history on his relationship with WWE and before diving into why he thinks he was not invited to SmackDown 1000, he discussed his departure from the company.
“I left, and I left on my terms." Taz continued, "That’s exactly why, because my contract was up the week going into WrestleMania which was at the [NRG Stadium in Houston/WrestleMania XXV]… But I wasn’t there. That was it, I was done." Taz said. "I was done the Dallas TV before that. It was me and J.R. calling SmackDown. I don’t remember what we were calling but it was in Dallas - that was my last TV and I officially gave notice to Vince. He knew I was gonna give notice because I gave Kevin Dunn notice three weeks prior and they were trying to get me to stay. They were like, ‘Is it money?’ No it’s not money - they offered me a new deal which was a great deal and no, they always took care of me. There was nothing like that. I just needed a fresh coat of paint." He said. "I had to get out of there, and bottom line is, I did offer to work WrestleMania because me and Kevin talked and I was like, ‘Wow, sh*t, I gotta figure this out’ because he didn’t want me to leave and he liked me a lot. They all liked it me it seemed - they wouldn’t have kept me that long and in the role, and it was a thing where, I just had to go and then when he mentioned WrestleMania, I’m like, ‘Listen, I’ll never leave you in a lurch. I’ll fu**ing… just fly me out there. I’ll work the show for free. Don’t worry about paying me, it’s all good.' He’s like, ‘Well I appreciate that. I’ll talk to Vince. We’ll figure out, we’ll work it out’ and then about a week later I saw Vince in Dallas and I officially gave word and shook his hand and said I was leaving in his mock office in Dallas and he and I were hugging and crying and he’s like, ‘I’m gonna miss you’. I thanked him for everything - it was just great."
Taz continued by speaking about his last couple of days in WWE and the interactions he had with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. Taz stated that he was always treated well but it was just time for him to go and then he added his thoughts on how the sports-entertainment company views those who leave on their own terms.
"I remember talking to Stephanie and Triple H. I was getting ready to go out to the announce desk and they were near a tech area backstage and Stephanie’s just looking at me. She’s like, ‘Well I’m just surprised. Why are you doing this?’ She was like… she couldn’t understand why I would leave, and she wasn’t mean, she wasn’t disrespectful, she was just… I said I need to do this. I know for me I need to do this. I appreciate everything you guys have done for me. It’s no ill-will, and she was the same way with me and so was Hunter. They were extremely awesome towards me." Taz explained. "But she was like an adult to an adult, lady to a man, [she] was just wondering why and I [said] I need a break, but bottom line is, I didn’t mean to go that long-winded about it but the thing is I think that… I know that, when you leave there on your terms, and you don’t get future endeavored how they used to do… and I think this might prove point for those of us in the industry that feel this feeling: When you leave on your terms, you’re kind of dead to them for the most part."
Tonight's episode of SmackDown will be live from the 'Prudential Center' in Newark, New Jersey and on tap for the show is a MizTV segment featuring Rey Mysterio, and a singles match between Aiden English and Rusev.
If you are going to use the quotes in this article, please credit 'The Taz Show' with an H/T to Fightful for the transcriptions.