Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sylvan Grenier Interview

By kylefaust


After parting with World Wrestling Entertainment last year, Sylvain Grenier has been able to persevere with his current gig as French commentator for Total Nonstop Action wrestling’s iMPACT! broadcasts on Réseau des sports network near his home of Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Going from the ring to the broadcast booth was a different experience for the former WWE tag champion. However, as a fan of the business, he came to enjoy his position. “The ratings are really good,” said Grenier, who stumbled on the job by accident when he was talking to someone involved in a Quebec show. Carl Ouellet decided to leave his role as announcer for TNA, looking to pursue other opportunities. “At the time I was under contract with WWE, but my contract was only good for the United States,” said Grenier, who recently signed a new deal.

“So I was a little worried at the beginning, but I looked at the contract and there was no problem doing it. I went out for a couple of tryouts. I had a lot of fun. The TNA show is getting better every week. It’s easy to do a good job in front of a good show.

“I was never shy in front of the camera. However, the hard part for me was talking about wrestling in French. All the words and background I have in wrestling is in English. The translation was not easy for me, but it came along week after week. I began to get better. Now we’re up and running, doing really good.”

Grenier, 31, worked a few matches on the independent scene after leaving WWE, but for the past six months was nursing a groin injury he suffered during weight training and allowing his ankle to heal when he slipped on ice in the winter. Today the talented entertainer is back at full strength and ready to hit the road for a host of upcoming shows. He says a big test for him will be wrestling on a card or two with TNA star Johnny Devine.

Despite his current job and an appearance at a house show in Montreal, Grenier has yet to compete in a TNA ring.

“When I went down to Florida I’d talk with Terry Taylor, but they have a full staff right now,” said Grenier. “They have a lot of guys who have a lot of potential and are giving a chance to them. That is one thing I respect about them. The fact they give a chance to the guy who was there before, but time will tell. It’s a pro wrestling company, and I’m a pro wrestler. Why not? One day we can work with each other.”

Grenier left WWE in late summer. It was a period when the superstar wasn’t in the best frame of mind. “I was at a point in my career where there were a lot of things going on,” said Grenier. “There were a lot of things happening, and it was really rough. My contract came up. They didn’t want to renew it, and I was actually fine with it. I thought about it weeks before it happened. I’m not a quitter, so I didn’t want to.

“At this time last year I didn’t feel good and didn’t know where I was going. I didn’t feel comfortable anywhere. It reflected in my attitude with people who were surrounding me. You know you have to be positive and work hard. If you are the owner of a company, and you don’t see the employee giving 100 percent, then have someone else who will do that, you will use that person. That was pretty much what happened. I was fine with it and respect the decision. It was for the best.”

After being discovered by WWE producer and hall of famer Pat Patterson, the superstar came into the company with relatively no background in the business. He was pushed into the spotlight in 2003, serving as a controversial referee for a big match between Hulk Hogan and the Rock at No Way Out. He was then partnered with René Duprée and Rob Conway to form the successful team La Résistance.

“It’s like any business,” said Grenier, a former actor and model. “If you start the first week on the job, and they put you as vice president, they are going to look at you saying, ‘why is he there? Where did he come from?” Wrestling now has a big change for the past 10 years now. We forget the name change World Wrestling Entertainment. That is what they need: entertainers. That is exactly what I am. I needed to learn how to wrestle. That was the hard part. I didn’t need to learn how to entertain because I always had that that in me.”

With all the accomplishments in such a small span, one question remained. Was everything happening too quickly?

“That affected me in the long run,” said Grenier. “In the shorter run I was surrounded by great wrestlers in the beginning. I worked with Scott Steiner and Test, the Dudleys, so it was easy to follow their steps. You can hide the little mistakes. They could help me at any time during the match. In the long run it started hurting me when you have new guys who step up and there are times when you need help, and you are the only one with the knowledge. When I moved with Rob Conway, he took me under his wing, and we had a great two-year run.”

In a business where respect is earned and built on paying ones dues, Grenier could have easily faltered like so many rising stars before him. However, he worked hard and began to prove himself with each match. Grenier looks to do just that as he goes back on the road full time. Only this time it will be on a different playing field.

“The thing that was hard to adjust is that there was nobody to tell you what time to go,” said Grenier. “So it was a good adjustment. It was a totally different atmosphere. It was more relaxed and a lot of fun. You can actually do a lot of things without having someone tell you what to do. It was more like a free adventure. “I had a chance to work with very good guys and old timers, past WWE superstars, so it was a great adventure so far. I met Abdullah the Butcher, Lanny Poffo and Sid Vicious. I had a lot of fun hearing about their experiences and what they are doing. It was refreshing to talk to those people.”

Grenier hasn’t put his eggs in one basket, as the fitness enthusiast recently launched his new website. It’s where fans can contact the performer, get information on staying fit and healthy, as well as purchase Grenier approved health product Grenier is also working to perfect and distribute his own supplement.

As a different person than the one who left WWE one year ago, is a return to the company in the determined competitor’s future? “We’d probably have to talk, but I’m really happy where I am now,” said Grenier.

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