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AEW commentator and pro wrestling legend Jim Ross discussed Taz’s WWE run in the early 2000s, on a recent episode of his podcast – Grillin’ With JR. Ross spoke about how Taz’s run never lived up to expectations, saying that he felt that Taz had drawn a “short straw”.
Taz was one of the biggest stars in ECW when he signed for the WWE in 2000. A multiple-time former world champion and tag team champion in ECW, Taz made his WWE debut at the Royal Rumble, choking out Kurt Angle. Despite this excellent start to his WWE career, Taz soon started feuding with Superstars who were lower down the card and never really got a decent push in WWE.
Ross spoke about Taz’s run in WWE and said the following:
Taz drew a short straw there. I thought if we booked Taz like he was utilized in ECW, we had something, that was not the case. I think that was out of defiance in the fact that Taz was a creation of Paul Heyman and ECW and his own work. Sometimes that does not bode well in McMahon land.
Height, god damn seems like it’s all we talk about. Unfortunately it’s true. Taz punching Rikishi, he has to punch up and McMahon would’ve noticed things like that. H/T: WINC
Taz himself has mixed feelings regarding his WWE run. In an appearance on Talk Is Jericho, Taz called his WWE debut against Kurt Angle both the ‘greatest’ and ‘worst’ moment of his career:
It was the greatest moment in my career and my worst. I will explain why it was the worst. When I came out, when I was in Gorilla position, Bruce Prichard was in Gorilla. When Kurt Angle was out there cutting his promo I said to Bruce that I hope they know who I am. I was afraid, because I was from ECW, the ‘small, little bush leagues.’ When they heard the heartbeat of my entrance, the crowd exploded and Bruce Prichard said to me that he thinks they know who I am.
Taz went on to explain that he was not aware that the chokehold he used on his debut would later be deemed an illegal choke.
Taz also added that the botched German Suplex he had hit Kurt Angle with during the match had freaked Vince McMahon out. He attributed the botch to Angle’s inexperience as a pro wrestler back at that time.