pete gas

The Mean Street Posse were one of the most memorable stables during the biggest boom period in professional wrestling history. Former Mean Street Posse member Pete Gas recently sat down with stillrealtous.com to discuss his new book, “Looking At The Lights: My Path From Fan To A Wrestling Heel.” The book beautifully captures Pete’s dream turned into reality of becoming a wrestler for WWE in the middle of the Attitude Era.

“I never knew how to get started but thank God for Jon Robinson because he was able to really help me out. He won an award last year for The Ultimate Warrior book,” Gas stated in an exclusive interview. Robinson wasn’t the only one to lend Pete a helping hand. Superstars Adam “Edge” Copeland and John Bradshaw Layfield also joined in on the fun and contributed touching forewords. Gas explained why he selected the two former World Champions to help tell his story. “Not only were they a huge part of the Attitude Era but they were huge influences on my career. JBL, the way he wrapped the chair around my head on Monday Night Raw back in December of 1999…Getting his respect was something I felt really strongly about. I got it that night,” Gas laughed. He continued, “I had to make a few phone calls to get his number. I finally got it. I asked him and he said he would be honored to do it. It was the icing on the cake for me because the business is all about respect.”

As for Edge? “Edge was always a big influence on me in the locker room. After a match, I would come back from the ring. He would be behind the curtain and he would ask me, ‘Why did you do this? Why did you decide to do that move?’ He would help me with the philosophy of a match and with certain moves,” Gas nodded. He elaborated, “He was always there for me as a friend. It was a natural fit for him to write a foreword. I love his foreword — it is hysterical.”

The hysterics don’t end there. Throughout the book, Gas shared funny and personal stories of growing up with childhood friend Shane McMahon. When describing their friendship, Gas said, “Shane and I joke about everything. I always call him an adrenaline junkie. He was always the type of kid…I call him a kid because in my mind, we are still kids,” Gas smirked while catching himself. He continued, “He’s fearless. He really is.  Some of the things that he does, inside and outside of the ring is just mind boggling at times. When he takes a dive off of the TitanTron — those things are just natural for Shane.” Gas would never miss out on an opportunity to watch what his friend would do next. “Whenever Shane had a big match that involved an insane stunt, I actually used to run through a side door and go into the crowd because I wanted to see it live and not on a television. I would hide. Of course I would get exposed because I would let out a yell cheering for him,” Gas had more glowing words for the man that would help him realize his childhood dream. “He’s always been a huge fan of mine as a person. I love him to death like a brother. He’s always been fearless. He loves the business so much that it’s a natural fit that he continues to do stuff like that.”

When asked if Shane O’Mac ever told him unbelievable stories, Gas said, “Shane’s not the type of guy to tell a crazy story. Shane lives by one word and he does it very, very well. That word is kayfabe. He keeps everything hush hush to even his buddies. He would never tell us what we were doing next — it was always on a need to know basis.” Gas then went into detail about how he had zero idea that Shane would return to WWE to face The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 32. “When he came back last year, I spoke to him earlier that day. When I did, he told me he was dropping off a guitar at his son’s school. What he failed to tell me that he then was driving up to the Westchester County Airport to jump on a plane to head to Monday Night Raw.” In awe, Gas said, “When I saw him on television, I was just blown away. I spoke to him later and told him, ‘You kayfabed me you son of a bitch!’  He just laughed and said, ‘I didn’t kayfabe you. I just didn’t tell you what I was doing next.’ He always has a way of working around stuff.” The story got even better. “He told me when he got to Detroit he hid in a production truck so nobody would see him. It wasn’t until five minutes before the show was supposed to begin that he snuck into the Gorilla Position and that’s when it became a huge moment. He didn’t want anyone backstage to leak out the secret that he was there. That’s kayfabe.” Gas currently feels the industry is lacking kayfabe. He said, “That’s a missing element in the business. He was able to do it. If people had known that he was going to be there, the surprise factor wouldn’t have been as huge. When he came back, that was big news. He was doing interviews on television shows because he was back and it was a big deal.” Gas nodded, “It did a lot to help boost the company for Wrestlemania last year. It’s a dying art. If there was less social media and more people being genuinely surprised, I feel that the business would be even bigger and that much more special.”

Shane wasn’t the only McMahon that Gas wrote about.  In his book, Gas told an amazing story about how Stephanie came up with a gimmick called ‘Flower’ for him when they were kids. When asked how ‘Flower’ would do in today’s WWE, Gas chuckled, “It wouldn’t do too well. ‘Flower’ wouldn’t have done well as far as a character. It wouldn’t have done well back then and it certainly wouldn’t do well right now.” He paused before following up, “As far as I go, I can do a much better job in the ring now than I could back then.”

Gas went on to give readers of stillrealtous.com an inside peak of the memorable encounter. “The story was hysterical though. I’ll never forget it. Shane had a massive pool table. We would play pool for money. The topic of wrestling would come up in Vince’s house quite often. Someone started talking about what their wrestling name would be if they were involved,” Gas continued, “We were having fun with it. Everyone was coming up with these different names like Rhino. Our friend Billy — we used to call him Rhinohead so we were calling him Rhino. Everyone was giving their opinion So I asked Steph, ‘Hey. What do you think my name would be?’” Gas sighed, “She said without missing a beat, ‘Flower.’ I went, ‘What? That is the worst name ever!’ She was like, ‘Yeah, you can come out with pedals around your head and you can wear green because you are a stem.’ All I could say was, ‘That’s horrible! Do you think I’m soft? Is that why I’m a flower?’ I was so upset.” He followed up by saying, “But she had this huge smile on her face and she was adorable. It was a great moment. It was funny as hell. If I see her now, and I say the word flower…She knows exactly what I am talking about. We call each other ‘Flower.’”

Beyond the McMahon family, Gas wrote about a variety of different former WWE Superstars in his book. One of them being Stevie Richards. “Everything that Stevie does, he’s very passionate about. He has a great love for cats. Obviously, the wrestling business itself — he loves it to death. His mind was always constantly thinking 24/7 about wrestling. Stevie had so much focus on the things he does. His passion always shows.” Gas stated. He continued, “He loves video games. Back in the Attitude Era, I used to play a lot of Dominos. But prior to me playing Dominos, one thing I remember is that Mark Henry or Stevie would always bring their video game system of choice at the time. They would bring these games and there would be tournaments backstage of Madden and college football.” Gas shifted gears and talked about The World’s Strongest Man picking a particular team. “Mark Henry, because he went to Texas, had to always have the Texas Longhorns ‘cause they had Ricky Williams on the game,” Gas recalled.

Not everything was fun and games. As Gas started gaining a following with his sudden exposure of playing a bad guy on WWE television, fans began throwing coins at him.  Gas went into detail in his book about the infamous Albany story. “Oh boy. We had no idea…We were kept in the dark about everything. We had done these vignettes and Shane called us to come to Monday Night Raw in Albany. When we got there, there were two corvette convertibles for us,” he said. Gas explained, “We were going over the match — how we were going to pull up, get out of the cars, beat up X-Pac and all take off. It was a little chilly that night too. When we were going over the match, all of the sudden I heard this clicking sound. We didn’t know what it was. All of the sudden, I looked down and saw quarters.” Gas continued, “There was a parking garage about 20 yards away from us. Up on the third floor, we saw people throwing the coins at us. We knew we were portraying bad guys, but this was our first time seeing real heat. I always knew wrestling fans were passionate, but the night in Albany really showed me it was more than I ever anticipated.”

There was a reason why fans felt that strongly on that particular night. Gas explained the psychology of wrestling. “The key to wrestling is getting a reaction from the crowd. The way I looked at it, for some reason — I just got it. As far as getting the moves down, I had to learn those because I had no experience. Mentally, I understood and I was able to pick up where people were getting reactions,” he stated. Gas continued, “I just knew by selling, taking all of the finishers and really putting over my opponent would keep me around longer. That’s what I wanted the most. Once you get a taste of it, it’s like a drug. You need to have it more and more.” Gas said that was part of the reason why he wrote his book. “The book talks about how we are involved and become addicted to the industry. It makes it that much harder when you get released because it is something that becomes a big part of your life. I knew that WWE wanted me to make my opponent look like Superman. I knew by doing that, it would keep the Mean Street Posse around longer.”

Gas touched on how Internet culture has changed the wrestling industry. Gas candidly stated, “I’m glad the internet wasn’t as strong back then. I would have read the comments. I remember being in Memphis, Tennessee one night reading a couple of nasty comments about my weight and I remember being pretty pissed off about it. Now, if you break wind — it will be all over social media, you know?” He then explained that the book will give people a new perspective on his career. “I love the fact that people get it. The reason for the book is to give people an understanding of what we had to go through and what we had to do as far as sticking around goes. Once people read the book, they will have a different outlook on the Mean Street Posse.” Gas smiled, “They literally took two guys off of the street and put us in the ring with the best in the business. We survived. We turned what was supposed to be a two week gig into a three year contract.”

When asked if another Mean Street Posse cinderella story can happen in today’s WWE, Gas said, “The one thing that is well known in the wrestling business is that you never say never. No one ever thought Hulk Hogan would come back after all those years he was gone. You never know what will happen. But the odds of another Mean Street Posse story happening again…it really is slim to none.” Gas explained why. “It is dangerous.  Rodney and I would talk going from city to city. The one thing we would always say is, ‘Whatever offense we get in matches — let’s not get the guy hurt.’  You can hurt someone and paralyze them by taking their finish if you don’t do it properly. Our whole thing was to be aware and not hurt anybody.” Gas reiterated his role in the industry. “The key was to make sure our opponents would look good and make the McMahon family proud. They gave us the opportunity and we weren’t expecting it. We didn’t ask to take on the role — they asked us.  We never wanted to let them down because of how much they meant to us.”

Gas goes into detail in “Looking At The Lights” about the rush he would get by being a WWE Superstar. Gas said, “It was one of those situations where I thought, ‘God, that was great. How great it would be to have that lifestyle?’ To be able to perform in front of fans. We were getting booed. Anytime you are getting either cheered or booed you are getting that reaction from the crowd. That’s what Vince wants.” Gas then explained how he always did his job to the best of his ability. “We gave that to Vince. Also from our standpoint, to get that reaction from the fans…it was a whole different kind of lifestyle unlike any other job in the world.” It certainly was very different from his previous job. “When I was with a production company, I was technically behind the camera. Now all of the sudden I get to be in front of the camera and it’s a totally different animal. It’s a great feeling and it becomes addictive. When it was taken away and we thought it was over, we were happy with it,” Gas said. He reflected, “We were excited that we got the opportunity to do it but it was kind of like, ‘Man. I wish we could keep doing this thing.’  It was depressing but it was one of those things where you had to get over it.”

One moment that Gas recalled as being ultra surreal was taking on the hardcore legend himself, Mick Foley. “I remember that night well. We were trying to gain respect in the locker room. We didn’t pay our dues like everyone else did. We didn’t go to a wrestling school then do the Indy scene in the hopes of getting discovered and receiving a try-out to make it to the next level. There is only a small percentage of people who successfully do that.” Gas explained, “At first, a lot of the guys were cool with us because they thought we would be there for a cup of coffee. Then all of the sudden when we came back, they asked, ‘What are they still doing here?’ There were a group of guys like Edge and Prince Albert who were our friends and were excited to see us come back.” Not everyone shared the same sentiment however. Gas said, “Then there were guys, without pinpointing anyone, who were a little bit on the fence as to why we were there. In their minds, we were taking away air-time from them when they paid their dues. The only way we could truly pay our dues was to pretty much put people over and take a beating.” Gas was determined to succeed. He continued to explain, “We wanted to show not only the fans — but the boys in the back, that we were tough. We weren’t there to ride Shane’s coattails. We were there to do a job and we did it. We got heat with the crowd.”

Heat from the crowd wasn’t the only thing Gas got that night. The wrestler explained, “When we faced Mick that night, Mick was supposed to hit us with chairs. I was on a kick of saying how I wanted to prove how tough I was. I said to Mick, ‘Listen. I’m trying to get respect in the locker room and I really feel the only way we can do it is if you lay it in and we take it. Feel free to lay in that chair shot tonight.’ And he did. He really did. I asked for it and I got it.”

Being hit with chairs wasn’t the only difficult thing Gas had to endure in his time with WWE. Commentary was another task put in front of him. Gas stated, “I played college football. I played in front of some big crowds. You see the people and you hear the people. It is very different from doing public speaking in front of millions of people all over the world. It could be very intimating and it’s something you really need to get used to.” Gas recalled the time he had to sit next to veteran commentators Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler. “It was a learning experience. By the time we got to working with JR and The King that one night…We had never done it before. It’s like anything else. When you don’t do it and all of the sudden you are asked to do it, you get unsure of yourself. As time goes on, you get more comfortable. Any person can become accustomed to something if they keep working at it.” He went on to give his thoughts on some of the best talkers in the industry. “I actually think the microphone work is more difficult. The Rock, in my opinion, is the best. Rock, Ric Flair and Dusty Rhodes…When those guys had the mic — everyone listened. Everyone wanted to hear what they had to say next. That is what makes a character stronger, especially now. More so than the ability in the ring.”

On the subject of true WWE Superstars that stand the test of time, Gas wrote a heartwarming reflection on Chyna in his book. In an exclusive with stillrealtous.com, he stated, “She beat the shit out of me when we did leg work together.” Gas laughed before continuing, “She went through a lot in the beginning because she wasn’t as feminine as the other girls. I heard she got picked on and teased a lot, as did Nicole Bass who also recently passed away. As time went on and she became more relaxed and more accepted. She became much more comfortable around everybody — that’s when I was there.” Gas glowed as he shared fond memories of his late friend. “She was such a big name at the time and everyone went crazy for her because she was something they have never seen before. Backstage, even with all the popularity and all the fame she got with it, she walked down the halls and would stop to say hi to everybody.” Gas continued, “She always had a big smile on her face. She was on Cloud 9. She was happy. She’s another person that constantly loved the business and was a part of it. She always took everything seriously in regards to getting better. Nutrition. Working out. It really made it that much more difficult to see her years later where she had to turn to adult films.” Gas shook his head and said, “Being criticized for doing stuff like that. You knew she was in a bad way and she had demons of her own. It was so sad to see someone who was on top of the world to seeing her hit rock bottom.”

On a lighter and happier note, Gas talked about the feeling he got when performing in the World’s Most Famous Arena. “I have goosebumps every time I think about Madison Square Garden. Being backstage, as soon as guys arrive at the building — everyone steps it up. It’s time to turn it on even more than normal because everyone hypes it up backstage. It’s intimidating because the fans are knowledgeable.” Gas explained, “They know what they are looking at and they know when you screw up. The first time getting to work MSG, Rodney and I are coming out with The Rock against Stone Cold Steve Austin. You can imagine the pressure of not only being at the Garden, but being involved with the two top stars in the entire history of wrestling. It really was a rush.”

Another high point in the career of Pete Gas was when he shared the honor of having the highest rated segment in Monday Night Raw history with Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco. “During the Monday Night War, to have that rating was a huge honor. It really made a statement with regards to the business and where it was. Now, I don’t see it happening. You really have to have a character that gets over with the crowd in order for them to be that interested,” Gas told stillrealtous.com.  He then explained what went on backstage before the infamous match. “Patterson didn’t want us to have any offense in that match at all because he was afraid we were going to hurt him. It was understandable. I got it. We expected that and we wanted to put them over. People wanted to see those two legends perform again, especially at their age,” Gas said. He continued, “People also wanted to see us get our butts kicked again because we had a feud with the stooges for a while and it was all coming to a head that night. It’s all about getting that reaction from the crowd.”

The reaction from the crowd opened the eyes of the people in the office. Gas was about to become an official contracted wrestling superstar. “Shane called us after the ‘Love Her or Leave Her’ match at SummerSlam 1999.  He handed us a 9×13 manila envelope.  He said, ‘This is for you guys. We would like to bring you back as the Mean Street Posse.  These are three, 1 year contracts we are offering you.’ We thought we were done.  All of the sudden, the dream lives on. Now to know we had contracts was amazing.” Gas cherished that moment. His hard work paid off. “I remember my heart was racing and I was so excited. Every emotion was pouring out of me. I remember just letting out this scream of excitement. It was one of those things where you didn’t want to say goodbye and then to have that happen…It was an amazing feeling. It really was,” he said.

The SummerSlam match that got Gas hired also turned a former behind the scenes foe into a close and dear friend. Gas told stillrealtous.com, “When we first got there, Test was one of those guys who questioned why we were there. When we started doing the storyline with Test, it was different from when Bradshaw would hit me with a chair. Test kicked me in the throat one time.” Gas laughed, “It was a series of events where he was being really stiff with us. I don’t mind working stiff because it allows you to sell something a little bit more. When someone throws a punch at you and it’s off by six inches, it’s harder to sell that. When someone makes some sort of contact…it comes off better.” Gas thought Test was taking it to a different level. “There is a difference between making someone pay their dues and being a douche. I feel he was being a douche. When I got kicked in the throat, I remember looking up at him. I yelled. He didn’t like me and I didn’t like him. But we had to work together,” he stated. Gas added, “As the storyline evolved, leading up to the week before SummerSlam — I still didn’t have a good feeling about him. We spent the week together going over the match — and we nailed it. It went exactly as planned.”

It was during that time where their friendship started to bloom. “We worked a long time, then we would go out to dinner or grab a couple of drinks. I remember one night, Shane wanted to take us out to Morton’s Steakhouse for a good dinner. We went and you could tell there was a mutual respect after that. We bonded. I then became very close to him.” Gas then told a personal story about a moment that still stands out to him. “A year before Test died, I was in the WWE office and I went over to someone in the video area because someone wanted to borrow my DVD of that match. I was able to grab a couple of them and I called Test. I said, ‘Give me your address.’ I sent him a copy.” Gas explained what happened next, “A couple of weeks later, Test said, ‘Hey. I finally had time to sit down and watch that match and I just want to say thank you. That match really put me on the map.’ He got it because we were putting him over and making him look like Superman.” Gas smiled, “I knew he appreciated us putting him over but actually hearing him years later meant so much to me. He was a huge part of the storylines back then. That was a great feeling. Ten days before he died, I spoke to him on the phone and we were talking about doing a tour in Europe.” Gas explained the nature of the phone conversation. “He told me, ‘I’m talking to the promoter to get you on the tour.’ Then he joked, ‘Maybe I’ll even put you over.’ We both know he wouldn’t, of course.” When hearing the news about losing his friend, Gas said, “It was really, really tough for me. I called Prince Albert and we talked.”

With Wrestlemania right around the corner, Gas couldn’t help but recall the time he got to participate in the Hardcore Battle Royal, “I remember Bradshaw saying, ‘This is Wrestlemania. Don’t be afraid to lay it in and put on a good show. Afterwards we will apologize for giving each other potato shots.’ Everyone was so amped up to be a part of Wrestlemania — that we actually did that.” Gas explained, “When you watch the match, at one point Viscera raises this box fan and it cut open three guys. Me being one of them. Viscera hit me square in the head. The camera goes around the corner to where we were. You can see a hand in crowd point at me.” Gas paused before reflecting, “I remember hearing his voice distinctly. I felt liquid coming down my nose. I hear the guy saying, ‘Look! Pete Gas is bleeding.’ I look down and sure enough, it’s coming out of me real good. It’s probably the size of a softball, the puddle that was forming. I knew if I got a good amount of blood out, it would make the match look more believable.” Shrugging his shoulders, Gas said, “I had a crimson mask on my face. I was always thinking of the business first before myself.”

Fans expect to see new talent being called up the night after Wrestlemania. Gas sees potential in the entire NXT crew. “They are all so talented. It is not fair to only name a couple of the guys. I see a lot of potential in No Way Jose. He’s a guy who really gets the crowd going. I love how passionate the NXT fans are. They know everyone’s entrance music. The fans are really in tune with it. It reminds me of the old ECW days.” He continued, “I’m a huge Bobby Roode fan. Everything from the entrance music to the way he works. He is a great heel. He’s just one of those guys. Tye Dillinger is another top guy. All of the people you see in NXT are eventually going to the next level. I’d be shocked if you didn’t see great success out of all of them.”

Before departing, Gas said his book will give fans an inside look at the industry from a truly unique perspective. “If you’re a true fan of wrestling or if you’re a fan of the Attitude Era — you are going to love this book. It discusses all the big stars from The Undertaker to The Rock to Steve Austin to Mick Foley. There are stories about everyone in there.” He continued, “Any true fan that watches wrestling on a Monday night, they often ask themselves, ‘I wonder what it would be like to be in the ring with The Rock?  What would it be like to get a Stone Cold Stunner?’ I lived that. I was taken off the street and put into that position.” He glowed, “I’m proud of my career and now you can live vicariously through me. You’ll get a good kick out of it because there are a lot of funny stories as well. JBL said to me, ‘It was such a pleasure to see someone not have an axe to grind against the company.’ That’s the truth.” Gas concluded, “I appreciated every minute while I was there and it made it that much more difficult when it was time to leave. Jon Robinson tends to believe there will be a movie made out of the book. I think it’s funny but that would truly be amazing. We’ll see. Only time will tell.”

You can follow Pete Gas on Twitter by clicking here. You can also buy his book, “Looking At The Lights: My Path From Fan To A Wrestling Heel” by clicking here.