Recently on Talk Is Jericho, the greatest WWE Intercontinental Champion of all time, Chris Jericho, welcomed the ironman of enhancement talents, Steve Lombardi, to the podcast. Lombardi, who also worked behind-the-scenes at WWE, talked about knowing John Cena was going to be a major star very early on. Also, Lombardi, better known as The Brooklyn Brawler, talked about his loyalty to Vince McMahon and the ongoing concussion class action lawsuit lodged against WWE. Finally, Lombardi discussed why WWE is so highly scripted now.
According to Lombardi, who produced the promotional spots for local markets and other videos for WWE, he knew Cena was going to be a star right away.
"I remember Cena came in the room and he didn't come in the room. He was standing around. He had a mohawk. He called himself The Prototype. And, I mean, he was just standing in the back and I said, 'why don't you come in here and cut a promo?. I hear you can talk.' And he starting doing this interview and then he did it in reverse. And then he, like, rewind, kind of deal." Lombardi added, "I went to Vince. I said, 'Vince, we have a ringer.' He goes, 'really?' And then, he [said], 'take him off the dark match and put him on SmackDown.'"
Also, he named MVP and Mr. Kennedy as two other performers he put over to WWE higher-ups.
"A couple of times [Vince has listened]. I put [Cena] over, I put MVP over, I put Kennedy over one time because Kennedy came in and he had some good talent, but he didn't work out, obviously."
Lombardi remains loyal to Vince McMahon despite parting ways with WWE this summer and stated that he would even take the witness stand for WWE in its defense of the continuing concussion litigation if need be.
"This investigator calls me up. He goes, 'apparently, you parted ways with WWE.' He says, 'would you like to join the class action lawsuit for concussions because we're really going after them?' I said, 'I'll join the lawsuit, but it's going to be on Vince's side because your lawsuit is so frivolous. It's stupidity!' He goes, 'why would you say that?' [Lombardi replied] 'Because you're asking me to join the lawsuit and you never asked me if I had a concussion.' I said, 'you're the dumbest man alive.' I said, 'have your attorney call me. I'd love to tell him he's a dumbass too.' Do you know what I mean? He goes, 'you should be bitter!' I said, 'I have no bitterness in me.'"
During the podcast, Lombardi revealed that Roddy Piper would ask him to get WWE brass to let him go off script, but he did not have that type of influence backstage. Lombardi suggested that WWE being so scripted today is due to performers taking liberties and McMahon not being able to trust them.
"It's almost like Vince couldn't trust the guys anymore because some of them took privileges that they shouldn't have [taken]. Do you know what I mean?"