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WWE Tough Enough 3: An Interview with Winner Matt Cappotelliby Mike DeGeorge -- 03/04/2003
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Mike DeGeorge: Tell us about yourself. Who is Matt Cappotelli?
Matt Cappotelli: Who Matt Cappotelli is and what centers my life is my relationship with Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, TE3 did not to represent that part of my life. My faith outweighs every other aspect of my life and I'm very proud of that. I love the outdoors, especially the sunshine. There's nothing better to me than taking my Jeep out for a cruise with the top down. I'm into Jeeps and spend a lot of time wrenching on it and building it up. I also enjoy lifting weights, I have since I was very young. Family is extremely important to me and we are very tight knit. I'm just all about having fun and enjoying life – I'm a very stress free guy.
Mike: How long have you been a wrestling fan?
Matt: I grew up watching Pro Wrestling with my father and brother and attended my first live show at age 8.
Mike: Who are your favorites?
Matt: I am a huge Shawn Michaels fan, he is an icon in the business and paved the way for "slightly undersized" performers such as myself. Most importantly, I admire him as a strong Christian and what he has done in the last couple of years. One match that sticks out in my mind was the Iron Man match at Wrestlemania XII against Bret Hart. What a match – something that I will always remember.
Mike: Was there ever a match or gimmick you saw and thought, “Wow, I wish I would have been involved in that?”
Matt: I loved the Ultimate Warrior growing up – I think his gimmick had a great hook. He exuded so much energy – I can still hear his music and see him shaking those ropes.
Mike: Do you pattern your style after any particular wrestler?
Matt: Not specifically, I would like to be able to encompass various styles. I'd like to take bits and pieces of other wrestlers' styles and make a hybrid of my own.
Mike: What made you try out for TE3?
Matt: It was a shot to live the dream. It was a long shot from the beginning, but I wanted this. TE3 was an opportunity that I had to give a shot, I wouldn't want to look back and wonder "What if?"
Mike: Did you try out for any other seasons of the show?
Matt: I actually missed the deadline for Season 2, and I had to Overnight Mail my video tape for TE3 the day before the deadline – I was almost too late again.
Mike: Did you have a 'plan' going in to the show?
Matt: I was going to be myself no matter what – a lot of people try to put on acts and be someone they're not. I know that the producers would see through those people. I just let my personality loose and did my own thing. I worried about myself and not what everyone else was doing.
Mike: What made you think you have what it takes to be a WWE Superstar?
Matt: I know I have the heart and determination to be in the WWE. I was a walk-on Division 1 football player who had to fight everyday just to get noticed. Not to mention the fact that I had to persevere through four knee surgeries (two on each knee) during that time. I'm the kind of kid that might get knocked down 10 times, but you better believe I'm getting up that 11th time and standing tall. I think my personality suits the WWE very well, I'm an entertainer, I love being in the spotlight and feeling the crowd.
Mike: When the final 13 were chosen, did you think anyone stood out as a threat to you?
Matt: I knew there were threats, but it was so early in the competition that I hadn't singled anyone out. I was very focused on myself and what I needed to do. Jonah and I had bonded early and I knew he would be tough competition. I also knew that John had been on TE2 and was back for his second time around, I knew he would be tough also. On the female end, I thought Jill had sooo much potential for this. She was one of my picks off the start.
Mike: Many people placed you as an early favorite, some even from the first episode. What do you think were the elements that made people instantly see you as a possible finalist and winner?
Matt: Well, if you talk about just the first show or two, I would have to say it was my unique look. I think I stood out somewhat in the lineup and maybe that drew viewers to me initially.
Mike: I have to agree with that. Did you think you had one of the spots wrapped up from the beginning?
Matt: No, I never thought I had anything wrapped up. It was a constant battle – you see positive things from everyone all along the way.
Mike: I'm sure you saw Lance Storm's response to the rib Jonah pulled midway through the series. In retrospect, do you agree that perhaps it was not the best joke to play on the other contestants?
Matt: Yes, I did read Lance Storm's comments. I was the one in the ring with Jonah when he was supposedly "injured." I really thought that I had ended his stint on TE3 and may have done something serious to his health. As everyone remembers, I was very emotional during that situation – how would you feel if you seriously injured one of your close friends? It wasn't the best rib to pull considering how many neck injuries there are in pro wrestling and how many athletes' careers have ended or been paralyzed because of it.
Mike: Which contestants did you feel particularly close to and why?
Matt: Jonah, Eric, John, and Jamie – we've been through so much together and spent the longest time together as a group. I also feel close to Scott, he grew a lot as a person during the show, not just emotionally, but he grew spiritually as well.
Mike: You seemed to get along with everyone. Was there anyone you really had a problem with?
Matt: I generally get along with a wide range of people, so that's never been a problem for me.
Mike: What was the general feeling in the house after Jill left?
Matt: I think we all questioned what her real motive was. But then again, she was one major threat to the competition that was eliminated.
Mike: Did you hear that they asked Amy to come in to replace Jill, since it was so early, and she turned them down?
Matt: Yes, just recently Amy explained that to me. She didn't want to come back and take someone's place – it just wasn't in her heart to do this.1 2 Next-->
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