Former WWE creative team member Freddie Prinze Jr. personally walked into one of his old classes and heard a talent who had recited Shakespeare.
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The Hollywood actor’s promo classes became a regular occurrence backstage prior to shows airing live on television, and it gave WWE Superstars the opportunity to hone in on their acting skills. With experience from the big screen as well as his tenure with the company between 2008 and 2009, and again between 2010 and 2012, Prinsie Jr. was able to lead others during his time with WWE.
Though some WWE Superstars took advantage of the classes, 16-time World Champion John Cena reported that he got heat from actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for running them. According to former NXT General Manager William Regal, Prinze Jr. admitted on his podcast this week that he got in trouble with Cena after a lesson because he didn’t understand wrestling. Regal used the classes to his advantage and explained on the episode of Wrestling with Freddie that the actor was on the receiving end of one of those “Sorry you weren’t in time” retribution calls.
“He asked me – this is so crazy. He didn’t have to ask, he’s William Regal,” Prinze Jr. said.
He has this Great British accent, ‘Would you mind terribly if next week I came in and perhaps did a monologue from Shakespeare?’ And I’m like, ‘Wait. What? Do you know Shakespeare? You’re supposed to be the villain. Like, you punch guys when they’re not looking. What do you mean, you know Shakespeare?’ He’s like, ‘Ah, yeah.’ He starts talking to me about various monologues from Shakespeare … He comes in there [the next week], and he kind of looks at me and I say, ‘Hey, Regal wants to go up, he’s gonna cut a promo.’ And my man stands up there and he’s dressed nice, he’s dressed well. And he looks out at everyone, and before he even speaks, he just takes in the room and he gives eye contact to every single wrestler in there, and it’s just, he’s taking his time. And he’s showing them like when you’re in the ring, take it in. Allow your confidence to make silence a comfortable place. That’s something actors hear a lot, right …
“So he takes it all in, and he’s like smiling as they walk towards him. It’s a pleasant moment, and then he hits them with Ariel’s monologue from The Tempest. He’s speaking smack to these guys that come at him, right? Basically, saying like, “Yo, those swords that you have are built from the things I control. You can’t touch me.” Swinging that is like swinging your sword in water. It’ll hurt the water long before it takes one feather off my hat.” The American translation is pretty much what happened here, and it goes on for a while before I stop to remember the details of this point.” And everyone is stone sober as a judge in silence, listening intently. It’s like listening to the greatest closing argument in a courtroom ever. He has captivated me and every single man and woman in that room. Nobody is breathing.”
“And then he stops, and he nods his head and he says, ‘Thank you very much,’ so quietly and humbly. Then he sits down. He sits down like a student then, in amongst the other students. And everybody’s like, ‘No. Screw that.’ They all stand up. They’re clapping, and they’re like, ‘Oh my god!’ And I’m like the first one up, I’m blown away.”