January 7, 2006
Masters of his own domain
By TJ MADIGAN - Calgary Sun
With Chris Masters, it's tough to tell when it's the character talking. And that's a good thing.
While some wrestlers live their gimmick to a disturbing level, and others completely break character when the red light is off, Masters seems to have fun slipping in and out of his cocky heel persona, the Masterpiece.
In an interview with the Calgary Sun this week, the 22-year-old WWE star was full of the same bravado his character spouts on Raw each Monday -- but with a knowing wink-wink-nudge-nudge that he's perfectly aware we're all in on the joke and just wants to get a laugh or two out of groggy sports writers on early morning media calls.
When asked if he was surprised to be part of the Elimination Chamber at such a young age, Masters responded with a completely straight face: "No, not really. After all, I'm a physically superior specimen."
Yet later, after getting even the WWE media relations rep to crack up with laughter, Masters was willing to give the Chamber some serious thought.
"When I found out I was doing the match, I realized I'd never been in a hardcore match or even a cage match before," he said. "Yet here I am going into the Elimination Chamber after less than a year in WWE. It's pretty exciting."
And, undoubtedly, a bit scary too.
The Chamber is one of WWE's biggest gimmick matches, a six-person bout with the ring surrounded by a 10-ton steel cage. Two wrestlers start out the match, with the other four locked in glass chambers in each corner.
At five-minute intervals, another wrestler enters the fray, until all six have entered the ring. Then it's a process of elimination until one man is left standing.
The Chamber match goes down tomorrow night at the New Year's Revolution pay-per-view, with Masters, Shawn Michaels, Kurt Angle, Carlito and Kane all challenging for a HREF="http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Wrestling/Bios/cena.html">John Cena's WWE title.
It's elite company, but Masters says he knew he was going to be given a spot in the match, even before WWE writers told him.
"Once I found out I was up for a qualification match, I didn't even have to know who I was facing, I knew I was in," he said.
But as well as his long-awaited shot at a major main event match, Masters is also excited to work with the Heartbreak Kid again.
"I grew up watching Shawn Michaels and it's awesome to work with him," Masters said, before slipping back into character and adding "but that doesn't change the fact that he's old and should be hanging up his boots right about now."
With such a big match on the horizon, Masters reflected on some of the other gimmick-style matches he'd like to take part in down the road.
"I would like to work the easiest and most painless match possible," he said with a laugh.
"No, seriously, I'd also love to do a Hell in a Cell or a ladder match some day, if I felt I could pull it off.
"But we'll see how I feel after the pay-per-view because I'm sure the Elimination Chamber will hurt."
The Chamber match airs on New Year's Revolution tomorrow night at 6 p.m. Also on the card is a women's title match between Trish Stratus and Mickie James and an intercontinental battle involving Ric Flair and Edge.
Here in Calgary, fans can see the action on pay-per-view, at most city movie theatres and at Bottoms Up Sports Pub on 17th Ave S.W.