When Chris Mordetzky, otherwise known as the “Masterpiece” Chris Masters, was released for the first time from World Wrestling Entertainment in November 2007, he felt he deserved it. This time, not so much.

Four years ago, two separate violations of the WWE’s Substance Abuse and Drug Policy had resulted in his release being handed to him and at the tender age of 24, Mordetzky found himself losing his dream job, becoming addicted to prescription pills and seemingly travelling down a road that many great men before him have ventured down in professional wrestling.

Chris Masters at a Smackdown house show in Toronto earlier this year. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea

It was in a locker room whilst on a European tour in Spain that Mordetzky decided to get his life back in order, enough was enough.

“When I was released in 2007, I brought that on myself and I accepted it. I was very young at the time and I was thrust into success and the spotlight at such a quick rate, that I was irresponsible and I didn’t really appreciate the opportunities given to me,” he told SLAM! Wrestling.

“I looked in the mirror and it felt like I just reached a point where, while I was enjoying touring and working with different people I thought enough of this, I was 25 at the time and I realized I wanted to get my life back on track, I wanted to get my health back on track and I wanted to be with WWE again.

“I knew I had messed my chance with WWE up, it was my fault and I wanted to put it right and I believed I could get it back if I straightened up and got my life back and in order. I also looked back to the things I had lost in the last four years and it was like I just kept losing and losing and I could see that eventually I would be left with nothing.

“I never took coming back to WWE for granted, I wasn’t even sure I would get the chance to.”

Mordetzky saw his opportunity to show WWE he had beat the demons that had haunted his past, when the company came to the Staples Center in his hometown of Los Angeles, California.

“That night, I went backstage, made my presence felt and I showed them I was a different person and that I had grown in maturity, which I think really translated to them.

“I was with Rob Van Dam, sat next to him in the car when I got the call from WWE after visiting them a few weeks prior. They wanted me back and God knows I was ready to come back, I was 100% drug free, I knew I had my head on straight and I felt ready to return and put things right.

“I was so happy to be back, of course I wanted to prove people wrong but it was more to prove to myself. The reasons behind my release last time, I think always weighed on the back of my mind. I kept thinking is my name that tarnished? Or can I be an example to people in terms of somebody that has turned their life around.”

Mordetzky cites that a speech given by Triple H after WrestleMania XXVI made him see the big picture, realizing that he could offer WWE a lot more than he was doing and that he could be a star.

“I got real hungry once I heard the Triple H speech. He was talking about how well Sheamus had done, Sheamus this, Sheamus that, trying to rally the whole crew and it just clicked with me that I thought I could be the guy that Triple H was talking about, I wanted to kick ass and reach for the brass ring.

“Over the last year and a half I became 100% focused and I was trying to become one of the best in-ring workers that company had. I felt I could do more and that it was my destiny to be in a higher spot in that company, doing something of more substance.”

Unfortunately for “The Masterpiece” his dreams of becoming the companies next big star were dashed when he was released from WWE on August 5th. Having received no word on why he was cut loose, Mordetzky still remains confused by the company’s decision, especially when at the beginning of the year, Triple H told him of some plans he and Vince McMahon had for him.

“I was pulled aside by Triple H on a couple of occasions and he told me that he and Vince had noticed how much progress I had made in the ring, how they were going to use me in a big way, that they would be taking me off TV for three months and then after that, repackaging my gimmick. All of this seemed very genuine, so I had high hopes.

“I thought I had good things coming, everybody was seemingly realizing how hard I had worked so I thought my time was coming. I can’t think of why they released me, maybe I should have taken the initiative and gone to Hunter a few more times with ideas. I wasn’t under any impression at all that I was on a chopping block at all.

“I’ve always loved this business and I didn’t want to be known as the bodybuilder who walked in and got the push. I have heard the criticisms over the years and they have hurt, I was always a wrestling fan and the only reason I ever worked out was to get into this business.”

When asked if he believed WWE dropped the ball by releasing him, Mordetzky wholeheartedly agrees citing that while they gave him a second chance, WWE never really gave him the opportunity to shine.

“I was one of the better all-round guys in that place. You’ve got a lot of guys who are really green and I am at the peak of my career, I really improved upon a lot of my skills in the past year.

“They dropped the ball. It’s no secret; it’s what I’m telling everybody. I take responsibility for the first time, but the second, they didn’t even give me another shot. I mean I never even wrestled on RAW after the draft.

“I felt confident I could have won over the fans, which either didn’t like me or think I wasn’t good enough and I felt I could have also won people over in the company, if given more of a chance. This whole thing is very upsetting and confusing.”

As for the future, Mordetzky believes he could make an impact on another wrestling product and isn’t ruling anything out once his 90-day no compete clause has ended; he even has one interesting idea that he would like to see play out.

“There’s something about the idea of me in a Ring of Honor ring that I really like. It would actually be really interesting as I am basically the poster boy of a sports entertainer which is what the fans of Ring of Honor hate.

“I think it would be awesome to work there and to work with some of those guys would be great, it would be such a contrast of worlds that it might just work.

“There would be major heat and it would be an interesting and unique dynamic having a guy like me in ROH.

“It gets me curious. I would love to perform there.”