At this year’s GaymerX2, the biggest celebrity attraction was WWE Superstar, former member of Nexus and one half of the Prime Time Players, Darren Young. (Oh yeah, he’s also the first openly gay professional wrestler to come out while an active competitor in the WWE.) Being the wrestling fan I am, I bugged the hell out of Nick to help hook me up with an interview, and the good guy Nick managed to work it like a champion.
So here it is, my short interview with Darren Young!
Kevin Schaller: What do you think of the show? Did you get to see anything?
Darren Young: Oh yeah, GaymerX has been amazing. When I first found out I was gonna be a part of GaymerX2, I said “Man, this is a great opportunity for me.” My manager told me in January, and I said “I want it to happen now.” Now that I’m here, I wish it could be a week long. But yeah, I’ve been able to see a lot of the things, and people are amazing here in San Francisco.
Kevin: You got to walk around the floor a bit, play some games?
Darren: Yeah, I was heavily playing WWE 2K15. It’s gonna be off the hook when it comes out. I always play as myself, playing my mom, playing my boyfriend, playing the other guests that were there. Had a great time at the WWE 2K14 booth.
Kevin: Just a personal note, I beat Triple H playing as Darren Young. I knocked him OUT.
Darren: That’s amazing! My mom did the same thing, she whipped a couple people’s asses using me, so that’s a great thing.
Kevin: Speaking of WWE and your day job, how’s your knee? How’s rehab going?
Darren: Rehab is going well, I rehab twice a day. Trying to get healthy. They say I should get back October, but I’ll come back when I’m healthy. It’s very important this doesn’t happen again.
Kevin: You’re “Mr. No Days Off," So that has to be a pain to be watching it and not be in the action.
Darren: Exactly. It definitely gets to me. But I’m busting my butt in rehab, and I’m here at GaymerX, and I’m doing a plethora of other things. I’ve been a part of the NY and LA GLAAD Parade, been a part of the GLAAD Awards, done some speaking engagements since I’ve been injured. So I’m keeping busy.
Kevin: The way that you came out, the TMZ interview, I just wanted to know… were you expecting a question like that?
Darren: No, I was approached by TMZ, and they asked me a couple questions. And one of the questions they asked was “Could a gay WWE superstar be successful?” And I answered openly and honestly, and I felt at the time it was the right decision. From there I went to my hotel room, and I was sick as a dog, and I called one of my best friends and I asked him what I should do from what had happened. And I was nervous of how I was gonna be perceived by TMZ. I was afraid of losing family and friends. It was a big fear. But WWE assured me that everything would be okay, and they’ve had my back from the very beginning.
Photo courtesy of Robin Rosser, the fantastic mother of Fred Rosser.
Kevin: So wait, was that your first, open “coming out”?
Darren: Yeah. I mean, I’ve been approached by TMZ plenty of times, and they’re great people. But they asked me that question, and I answered it openly and honestly.
Kevin: Because I remember when I came out, and I didn’t do it on television. And I was nervous as hell! I can only imagine.
Darren: It was definitely nerve-wracking.
Kevin: Have you heard Stone Cold Steve Austin’s support?
Darren: Yeah, I sure have. I couldn’t believe it. And I thanked him, too. Austin’s a great guy. And Randy Orton, and CM Punk, those guys are great. They’ve had my back. Especially when CM Punk had his match with Brock Lesnar at Summerslam. After his match, CM Punk was busted up, and he came up to me, and he came up to me and congratulated me. And he said if I have any issues to let him know. That meant a lot to me.
Kevin: Have you been in touch with CM Punk since he took his sabbatical?
Darren: No, no. He’s doing his own thing, and more power to him. He’s living his life the way he wants to.
Kevin: Last year was your first time in a WWE video game. Your first time on the main disk.
Darren: Yup, and it was such an honor to be a character in the video game.
Kevin: And you’re doing it again in this upcoming 2K15.
Darren: And I’m very excited about that, too. They need to do some work because I have a new haircut and a new look, so they’re gonna have to make some adjustments. And I’m excited to be a part of it.
Kevin: What was it like to go from that straight-up cut, the Nexus cut…
Darren: The Buckwheat?
Kevin: Yeah! To go from that to the fro?
Darren: I got rid of it because it was a little too distracting. So I went from being Buckwheat, to having a fresh afro, and that stuck with me for a little bit, and now I’m just rocking the fresh faux-hawk.
Another photo courtesy of Robin Rosser.
Kevin: So you’re hopefully going to be back in a couple months, get back hopefully in Titus O’Neal’s face.
Darren: Yeah, you never know. You never know what’s gonna happen. The WWE is very unpredictable.
Kevin: Do you have any other plans on the horizon right now?
Darren: I’m actually in the process of writing an autobiography. So I’m very busy with that while I’m on the injured list. Keeping busy with a lot of the anti-bullying campaigns with WWE, our “Be A Star” rallies are all over the world. Germany, France, everywhere.
Kevin: Thanks a lot for talking to me!
Darren: You got anything else?
Kevin: Naw, I was keeping it short ‘cuz I know you’re busy. And it’s a good thing you’re a nice guy, otherwise I’d have to beat you up.
Darren: I’m off the clock now, you’ve got to pay me to fight!