PODCAST RECAP: Colt Cabana’s “Art of Wrestling” w/Adam Rose discussing his hardships, WWE career, and reaction to being released


The Art of Wrestling with Colt Cabana
Episode 322– Adam Rose
October 6, 2016
Report by Chris Davidson, PWTorch.com / PWPodcast.com contributor


Adam Rose details his wrestling career, including his WWE release

Colt Cabana reflects on the lives of Jim Lynam and Bison Smith   


0:00 – Introduction

6:49 – Song of the week

10:45 – Adam Rose interview

19:35 – Adam Rose talks about his WWE gimmicks

23:08 – Adam Rose talks about coming to America

26:11 – Adam Rose talks about growing up in South Africa

36:33 – Adam Rose talks about his early wrestling career

40:45 – Adam Rose talks WWE tryout and time in developmental

46:56 – Adam Rose talks E:60 and his son’s illness

54:59 – Adam Rose talks WWE exit and domestic violence arrest

1:01:14 – Colt wraps up the show

1:03:53 – Easter Egg


0:00 – Introduction – Colt opened the show teasing “The Wrestling Road Diaries 3”, which he swears is coming soon. Colt discussed Adam Rose’s success in WWE, and gave a brief rundown of Rose’s career. Colt said that if anyone can relate to dreaming about going to WWE and getting the dream cut short, he can. Colt said he’s doing okay, and talked about a recent show in Kansas City, as well as a new promotion in the Kansas City area. Colt reflected on the Jim Lynam Memorial Tournament he participated in for AAW, and encouraged listeners to go look up a Bison Smith match to remember him.

6:49 – Song of the week – The song of the week this week is “Twisting” by Detroit.   

10:45 – Adam Rose interview – Adam Rose opened talking about his recent match with Slick Wagner Brown and remembering seeing him in South Africa before he came to America. Colt asked about the variance of independent matches, and Rose said that he’s seen a difference, but he’s had some great shows. Colt asked what Rose was looking for as an independent wrestler, and Rose said that he’s been enjoying being able to do whatever he wants. Colt mentioned longer storytelling, and Rose said that it basically doesn’t exist because promoters only bring wrestlers in for a show. Rose discussed being able to get support from 18-35 year old males with his character, which he hadn’t been able to do in WWE. Rose called his character “Sesame Street” because it was mostly appealing to children and, according to Triple H, he had become the interpretation of his character rather than the character itself. Rose went into realizing how his character changed to the “Sesame Street” style that it ended up being, specifically singling out when WWE started purchasing Rosebud costumes at Party City. Rose said that sometimes you are so into a gimmick that you do whatever you can to make it work without questioning it, and have to step away to really understand what went wrong.

19:35 – Adam Rose talks about his WWE gimmicks – Rose began questioning his gimmick the first day he appeared on RAW because they wouldn’t turn off the lights to make his entrance work. Prior to that, they had changed his music in NXT, and eventually they had him doing ads for Twisted Tea. Rose mentioned the “five versions” of Leo Kruger that he had done prior to creating the Adam Rose gimmick. Rose said that his character went over well in Europe, but the campy aspects of the character didn’t translate well to America.

23:08 – Adam Rose talks about coming to America – The campiness of Rose’s gimmick led to a brief discussion of Donald Trump running for president, and Rose said that he has his green card and plans to be in America for the rest of his life. Rose said that he wanted success, but actually moving to America was the hardest part. Rose credited Justin Gabriel for telling him to make the jump, and Rose discussed other South African wrestlers who could have succeeded in American wrestling. Rose joked that he and Gabriel aren’t exactly the most representative of South Africa’s demographics, and he’s surprised that they are the guys WWE wanted.  

26:11 – Adam Rose talks about growing up in South Africa – Colt mentioned apartheid, and Rose said that people don’t really know about that. Apartheid ended when Rose was 14, and he remembers it, but it seems very far away. Rose praised Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk for ending apartheid. Rose grew up a “church kid”, and his father was a minister. Rose and his brother were both into wrestling as children, but his brother didn’t enjoy participating. Around the age of 15 or 16, Rose approached Justin Gabriel’s dad about wrestling and was turned away. Rose and Colt discussed the ruggedness of wrestlers in South Africa at that time. Rose ended up opening shows with Justin Gabriel for about a year, and Gabriel’s dad kept them working. Rose told a story about sealing a car with Gabriel, while they were unlicensed and drunk. When Gabriel’s dad found out about it, he was upset that they hadn’t invited him. Rose called himself a “horrible little teenager” and dropped out of high school after being expelled from various schools for getting into fights. Rose moved schools a lot, including one year where he moved six times, and he got tired of not being able to settle in. Rose’s dad got him into technical school, but Rose dropped out and ran away from home for two years. Rose started working in bars at age 15, and at 14 had a friend who owned a night club. Rose didn’t want to move with his parents, and his back up living situation fell through, so he ended up selling clothes to make enough money to buy a half loaf of bread and a pack of chips each day to live. Colt asked if it felt similar to wrestling, because of the amount of hustling that went on. Rose said that it was a completely different lifestyle, and he was still spending time with his friends without them knowing he was sleeping in public toilets.   

36:33 – Adam Rose talks about his early wrestling career – Rose remembered never eating out of the trash, but when he was once tempted to eat a burger someone threw into the trash after one bite, he knew he needed to go home. Rose reached out to his parents and they took him to meet Gabriel’s dad. Rose had been touring arough South Africa for about 13 years before he got signed by WWE. Rose joked that he was semi-retired when he was signed. Rose knew some wrestling, but he was actually shown ring psychology by wrestlers who visited South Africa. Rose compared the structure of a match to power bars in video games, where each wrestler gets beat down to low power, and then the match doubles down on their energy.

40:45 – Adam Rose talks WWE tryout and time in developmental – Gabriel eventually convinced Rose to travel to America for a tryout camp, at the cost of his relationship with his girlfriend and all of his money, which led to him being signed. Rose’s tryout match was with a Polish wrestler who he couldn’t understand, so he just beat him up for a bit then let him go over. Rose returned to South Africa, and about three months later they offered him a contract. About a year later, all the paperwork was sorted out and Rose was sent to FCW. Rose was in developmental for five years, and he was “going nuts” running the same drills over and over. Rose said that sometimes he gets a little crazy, but he still remembers his love of wrestling when he has surreal moments. Colt talked about the change in wrestlers from big guys in bars to guys who grew up loving wrestling.

46:56 – Adam Rose talks E:60 and his son’s illness – Colt asked about Rose appearing on ESPN’s E:60 program, which Rose said “elongated” his career. Rose was told he was only getting a two to three year mid-card run, but he hoped he could make it last longer. Rose found out recently that he wasn’t supposed to be the key character of the E:60 episode. Rose detailed his son’s omphalocele, and the process of helping him learn to survive. Rose recalled showing up to train because he was afraid of losing his job, despite being in the hospital with his son all of the time. Rose said his son is about one year behind developmentally, and said he was glad to be in America since his son’s may not have gotten the care he needs if he was in South Africa. Rose discussed providing for his family, but also knowing that he needs to be around for his kids. Colt asked if Rose has found the spot he wants to be in. Rose said WWE was the better spot financially, but being away from his family did more harm than good.

54:59 – Adam Rose talks WWE exit and domestic violence arrest – Colt asked about Rose’s WWE exit being mutual. Rose called his Adderall suspension “BS”, and said WWE was just looking to fire him. Once Rose’s other issues arose, he asked to be released, since he didn’t want “the chopping block over his head”. Rose said he couldn’t look at social media during his trial, and the presiding judge threw the case out because it was based off of a loophole. Rose still gets tweets about the incident, even though everything is over. Rose talked about having to rebuild his reputation, which he is doing through wrestling. Rose said that he’s in the best place he’s been in a while, and once his new business venture settles in he should be even better. Rose talked again about providing for his family, and joked with Colt about how lazy he would be if he didn’t have kids. Rose plugged his social media and bookings email before signing off.

1:01:14 – Colt wraps up the show – Colt called Rose’s lie on the streets crazy, especially compared to the “pampered life” he’s lived. Colt plugged his upcoming events, thanked his fans, Adam Rose, his tech help and sponsors. Colt noted that the Cubs are doing well, and that brings a smile to his face, before signing off.  

1:03:53 – Easter Egg – Adam Rose talks briefly about being into Dr. Phil, and suggested that everyone buy Dr. Phil’s new book.


Score (9.0): This was one of the more compelling episodes of the Art of Wrestling in recent memory. Adam Rose has had so many difficulties in his life, and the fact that he made it to WWE and continued to overcome adversity was inspiring to listen to. Colt did a great job deftly moving the interview along, but Rose consistently drew me in to his life story. This was a fantastic interview, and I would highly recommend it to any wrestling fan. 

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