You should never try and record people’s conversations, especially if they’re talking in the confines of a space that they feel safe to be able to be honest about an industry that they work in like pro wrestling. After all, even though kayfabe is dead there are still some “tricks of the trade” that wrestlers don’t want to be spread around.
Although pro wrestling has changed a bit, it was certainly not the kind of environment where recording someone should even be jokes about when Shawn Staisak was around in WCW.
Staisak recently spoke to the Two Man Power Trip about a backstage rib he pulled that cost him his gig while in WWE. Apparently, he tried to pull a rib backstage that wasn’t received well at all.
“Looking back and hindsight being 20/20, I just didn’t want to fail. I didn’t want to mess up. The more you think about not messing up what do you think you are going to do? You are going to mess up. I made it hard on myself and I think I got labeled and a couple of things like that tape recorder incident that took place. Honest to God and I have shared this story many times but I’ve read articles and heard these podcasts and the other day I tweeted at (Jim) Cornette because he told a story that I was so paranoid that I was recording people’s conversations and that is so far from the truth.
“I had a tape recorder in my bag because it was encouraged when I was training by Dory Funk Jr. and Tom Prichard to say that when you are on the road for hours to get a tape recorder and record yourself doing promos and work on your craft. I just played a rib on a couple of guys that I was going to play back for them and that backfired. Simple as that and it made me look real bad and I ended up getting fired. I think even though I came back to WWE a year or so later that the stigma was always stuck with me.
“Mike Enos (formerly of The Beverly Brothers) said that professional wrestlers are like junior high school kids with money. I kind of understand that now and everyone jumps on the bandwagon and they just took this little incident and I’ll say maybe it wasn’t little and if I was there and that happened now and I’m in the locker room and I hear of this young ‘rook’ coming in and tape recording me that it would upset me but it was the furthest thing from what their paranoid thoughts were. I wasn’t working for Hard Copy and I wasn’t trying to blackmail anybody it was simply a rib that went bad and I got fired. It is that simple and it just never helped my career.”
When you’re working for a new company, sometimes it’s good not to make yourself too much at home until you’re sure that your brand of humor will be accepted. It obviously didn’t turn out too well for Shawn Staisak which should go on as an example for others who might be in the same position eventually.