The Brian Kendrick was one of the best stories from last year’s WWE Cruiserweight Classic. The veteran and longtime fan favorite had a very emotional redemption story in the tournament and beyond, and eventually became the second WWE Cruiserweight Champion. He’s seen his career be rejuvenated, and is one of the anchors on 205 Live.
Kendrick has been training wrestlers for a very long time now, and that was his primary focus before getting re-signed to WWE last year. As such, he maintains a trainer’s mindset, attempting to impart his knowledge and expertise to wrestlers who are still finding their way. But in his estimation, the mentality of pro wrestlers has changed over the years, and today’s younger wrestlers are far less interested in sitting under the learning tree and attempting to improve their craft.
Kendrick expounded on this new mentality when he was a guest on Steve Austin’s podcast. Stone Cold agreed with Kendrick’s appraisal, which goes a little something like this. (Transcript via WrestleZone.)
“I just turned 38 this week, and the old man in me—the complaint that I have is that there isn’t any of that anymore where people go backstage and criticize each other about their match. I go back and harass the agents, and I will sit in Gorilla next to an Agent, unless another Agent needs a seat. I will start picking brains; earlier it was [Mike] Rotunda, there was also Paul Heyman, but whoever is there — Dean Malenko, I will start pestering him and I see guys walk by and they’re not asking anyone for advice. When I was there before, Chris [Benoit] or Eddie [Guerrero], I would ask them in advance if you have time would you please watch this match, and they always would, and when I would get back, sometimes they would be screaming in my face, you’re doing a Tornado DDT, it’s not the finish, you’re killing the business, etc.
“Now it’s gone, so I’m stuck with just talking with Agents. If he has a chance to watch I will pick his brain. I’ve been lucky enough to have Rhyno watch a match. Maybe it is just me getting old, but I think that it is getting lost unfortunately is asking these guys who have had success, who have done it all, who have drawn money and just picking their brain and even if you’re in a headlock, and you’re against the rope and you get shot off, why would you let go of the headlock?
“Nobody cares, I’m not saying nobody cares, but the problem is that getting back to the locker room, they have their sweat and their opponent’s sweat [on them], and all they’re doing is looking their name up on Twitter. And so if they can hear all this positive feedback from the fans it’s like, who the hell cares what Dean Malenko has to say? That’s not me saying this, this is the impression I get from them, and I think it’s a shame.”
Obviously, Kendrick doesn’t mean this as a blanket statement for all younger wrestlers, just that he sees this a lot more often than he used to. Don’t take his comments as “Twitter stinks and millennials and social media are dumb”; it’s just a reminder that when there’s a wealth of talent and expertise and knowledge at your disposal, you should probably tap into that once in a while.