There is an interesting contrast within Scott Garland. In the ring, his endless energy and goofy over the top personality made him one of the most popular personalities in the WWE in the early part of this decade as Scotty 2 Hotty. In conversation, he is a soft spoken, quiet guy and surprisingly humble for someone who had achieved so much success at a young age.
“You’ve got to realize I didn’t start as Scotty 2 Hotty, I didn’t get my break until December of ’99, when the Too Cool thing [with] Rikishi took off. I had been working 10 years at that point. I appreciated what I had, and still appreciate what I had,” Garland told SLAM! Wrestling. “It’s just good people around me. Just taking it for what it is, man. It’s wrestling.”
Many people, when achieving that level of success at 26 would be quite arrogant. Not Garland.
“We’re not God, we’re just entertainers. I never really got into that superstar thing. I know what you mean, I don’t see why guys are [arrogant] like that sometimes. There’s no need of it. If they’re like that, karma will get them in the end.”
A former light-heavyweight champion and multiple time tag team champion, Garland struggled in WWE once partners Brian Christopher and Rikishi were released, and spent most of his time in dark matches and on Velocity. He still watches on occasion, and does take pride in his involvement in the early careers of many of today’s rising stars.
“I do watch a little bit. Usually Raw if anything. I catch a little bit here and there. It’s very cool to watch now actually. After Rikishi left, they really never did anything else with me there. So from 2004 to 2007, I was the guy who would work a dark match with a new guy, or I would be the guy who worked a guy’s first match, debuting on TV. Well, guys like John Morrison, The Miz, CM Punk — worked his dark match, pretty much anybody who’s anybody there I worked, if not their first match, then one of their first matches. I feel I had a hand in helping them get a job for some of them, because I could have gone out there and had a stinker intentionally to keep my own job, and keep them from getting a job.
“Not to say they didn’t bust their ass to get there on their own, but in the olden days, there used to be guys that would do that, go out there and have a stinker so a guy wouldn’t get hired. But they always put them with me, knowing they would get a decent match. That’s what I always felt, I was the guy they could go to, and always count on to have a decent match. I wasn’t going to go out there and screw up. So it’s cool to see those guys on there doing well now.”
Since leaving WWE his focus has been on being a husband and father.
“Most of all, it’s just adjusting back into the real world. It’s different. It’s a lot, I don’t want to say harder, but it is an adjustment. You go from being on the road 250, 300 days of the year for 10 years, for the most part, unless I was out with an injury, to being home a lot. Then just trying to readjust — it’s a good thing, don’t get me wrong. I have a five year old and an eight year old. I’m just enjoying being a dad. And just trying to figure out what’s next. I do know that I don’t want to work the schedule that I was working. I have no desire to do that 250, 300 days anymore.”
He’s done a handful of tours for AWR, based out of Ireland, which all lasted a couple of weeks, hitting Ireland, France, Germany, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Romania. And, occasionally, he’ll be found on the small-town circuit.
“The rest is just indies in the States. The indy scene in the States is just completely horrid now, so I don’t really have the desire to really go out and do them. I kind of pick and choose my dates. I do the better ones, WrestleReunion, Dave Herro, guys like that. Those guys are pretty few and far between.”
Fans still react strongly to the character, loudly chanting W-O-R-M and cheering him through his trademark move. He enjoys the more interactive nature of working smaller shows.
“It’s very cool. I really enjoy that part of it, because in the WWE it’s hard to really take the time to talk to anybody. On the WWE level, there’s always hundreds of people there. Now, the max is maybe 200, a good indy now is 200 people. So you can really stop and talk to everybody. Rikishi and the Too Cool thing, we were at our peak in 2000, really, so that was 10 years ago. It’s hard to believe that the Royal Rumble when we danced was 10 years ago. So you think, a kid that was 15 years old is now 25 years old, now an adult, with maybe two kids of his own. It’s amazing high fast time flies. It’s cool to be able to talk with them, and I have a blast doing it.”
He estimates he is doing around 50-60 shows per year, more than he was doing in his final years with WWE.
“I really wasn’t working that much. I wasn’t wrestling much, I should say. I would fly out to do TV Monday night, go to TV on Tuesday, and just sit, they didn’t have anything, so I wouldn’t do anything. Since leaving there I probably had more actual wrestling matches in the last couple of years then I had in my last couple of years there.”
The convention circuit is another way to make money and interact with fans, as well as see old friends and meet influences. Garland participated in January’s WrestleReunion in Los Angeles, and wrestled an exhibition match during the Ring of Honor card against Larry Zbyszko.
“It’s awesome not only for the people that I do know, but people that I’ve never met — Bruno [Sammartino], Stan Hansen, Jushin Lyger, guys I’ve never, ever crossed paths. So that’s cool. I see everybody else that I don’t see, because on the indy scene they’ll maybe bring in one guy, one or two guys from TV, and the rest are local guys from the local promotion. You don’t usually see that many guys unless it’s on the AWR tour I was talking about, where they’ll bring in 8-10 guys. It’s great, man.”
He is critical of the way the independent wrestling promotions run.
“If the indy scene in the States was in better condition and it wasn’t so hard on your mental well-being, I think, where so many of these companies, they want to go out there and staple a couple of posters to telephone poles and they think 10,000 people are going to show up. A lot of times you’re wrestling in front of low numbers. If it wasn’t for that part, it would be the perfect thing for me because I am still able to make a decent living doing it. I’m home most of the week, with my kids, I take them to school and pick them up, take them to gymnastics, take them to T-ball, help coach T-ball, and I get to be a dad, and still live my dream and make a living — it would be the perfect thing. But it’s not that way. Hopefully, it’ll change here, but I don’t see it happening. It’s just in such a bad state now.”
He recently completed his first movie, Ultimate Death Match 3, which also features Abyss, Al Snow, Shane Douglas and Kevin Nash. He shared some details on the film. “It’s a tournament, it’s more of a street fight. It’s in a wrestling ring, it’s all professional wrestlers, but it’s a tournament. The rest of the tournament is a regular wrestling match, but the final match is a fight to the death. The winner gets $10 million, the loser dies. It’s pretty cool.”
Garland holds no bitterness towards WWE, and is now planning for life after wrestling.
“I’m very thankful to them. I don’t agree with everything, the way it went down. But I’m very thankful for what they did, what they allowed me to do. Even the example of the movie I did; if it wasn’t for WWE, I would never have had the opportunity to do the movie. Not that it was a huge movie or anything, but I can say, ‘Hey, check that off the list. I did a movie.’ I just passed my exam for my personal trainer’s certification. It’s something that I’m looking forward to, and that I think I’ll be good at, it’s kind of perfect for what I do. It’ll have the flexible schedule to still do this and start that. Hopefully by the time I’m 40 — I’m 36 now — by the time I’m 40, that’ll be up and running, up and going.”