In a business like pro wrestling where there are so many people who have done so many things, like Vince McMahon, there is Rick Bassman, who may have literally done everything. Bassman is a former Disney executive who also has a background in martial arts, and also happens to be the man who discovered two young talents named Steve Borden and Jim Hellwig. You may know them both as Sting and The Ultimate Warrior.
In 1999, Bassman founded Ultimate Pro Wrestling and began training pro wrestling talent in earnest. The endeavor resulted in him working closely with WWE, helping to recruit and train wrestlers for the quickly growing pro wrestling powerhouse. And while UPW closed its doors in 2007, Bassman has remained close to WWE and still does business with them to this day.
In an exclusive Haus of Wrestling interview, now available on the Haus of Wrestling podcast feed, Bassman speaks candidly about his experience backstage at WWE Backlash this past weekend in Puerto Rico.
“Oh, you know, just hanging out,” he jokingly began, explaining how he wound up at the show. “I had nothing better to do for the weekend. You know, I have a day job these days, and I run all entertainment and sports industry relations for a company that does hyper-real synthetic media, which is often known as the dark, nefarious, deep fake. And we’re verifiably the number one company in the world doing this now. Far and away the number one, we’re called Metaphysic.
“And we recently did things like brought Elvis Presley back to life to perform on America’s Got Talent, which was hugely viral. We create and produce and distribute ‘Deep Tom Cruise,’ which is a very viral thing on Tik Tok and YouTube and whatnot, and just wrapped a movie in London with the director Robert Zemeckis, where we were aging Tom Hanks and Robin Wright up and back over a period of 50 years.
“So we’re at the pinnacle of that industry right now. And we’ve got a really cool activation potential underway with WWE. So we were there meeting with the top brass about that.”
The backstage goings on of Vince McMahon have been exceptionally newsworthy recently. After stepping away from the industry last year amidst a series of allegations, McMahon’s son-in-law, Paul “Triple H” Levesque, took the creative reigns for the company.
Following the announcement WWE is being sold to Endeavor, McMahon popped back up at Raw and immersed himself in the creative for the show, reportedly serving a blow to WWE locker room morale. McMahon has largely not been seen backstage since, and I pressed Bassman about whether the generational promoter was in attendance for the show for their meeting.
“No, he wasn’t there,” he revealed. “But I got a really nice email from him Saturday morning saying, ‘Hey, I’m not going to make it. But let’s, you know, I’ll talk to the guys after the meeting. And we’ll continue on from there.'”
“I did wind up meeting with the top guys in the company after events. But he was initially scheduled to be part of that, yes.”
What could have caused the returning Executive of The Board to abandon his travel plans for WWE Backlash? For now, we’ll have to wait to find out.
If you use any quotes from this post please give a h/t to Haus of Wrestling for the transcription and link back