Former WWE Developmental Talent Knuckles Mansen Discusses His Time in WWE Developmental
Posted by Larry Csonka on 12.21.2013
- Former WWE developmental talent Knuckles Mansen (real name Kevin Nikel) spoke about his time in WWE developmental. Here are the highlights…
Where his name originated from: "During my tryout 18 months ago, Bill Demott started calling me Knuckles because of my look and so when I got the job they asked me for a nickname so I said "Knuckles sounds good." I loved it, my trainer down in West Memphis called me "knuckles" so it stuck with me."
How he wound up in WWE: "I had put a package together and sent it to FCW and Tom Pritchard called me and invited me down on a Sunday and five days later he was gone. So my tryout was early in Demott's career in NXT. My tryout went great, I loved the Performance Center. We all worked our asses off and after my four day tryout it took a little while to get the call back."
How his moveset was decided upon arriving in NXT: "There are quite a few trainers and classes. There are a lot of vultures flying around there who will take the move if they like it so I was careful. I just worked with the great trainers. At the performance center, there is a man there who is just great. Norman Smiley, he is a surgeon in the ring. It was incredible. I would love to say I could do The Big Wiggle so I am going to yeah, I can do the wiggle."
Origin of the clown character he portrayed at NXT shows: "I had worked with Matt Borne two years ago. We were a tag team kind of deal. After Matt died, it was on my mind for awhile and I wanted to show some other things that I could do. I didn't want to be Doink, I wanted to be a creepy guy outside your window with the makeup on."
Whether training at NXT is more about wrestling, or playing a character: "They separate everything. Character development creative is a mix of everything but most of it is in the ring learning a mix of techniques. Some of the guys who came in with me knew nothing and they came out of it looking great. Lots of training, training, training. You should know what you're doing by the time you get out of there."
Who he would like to face on the independent circuit: "Chris Hero. He got released before I did. He was my first match at NXT and I would love to work with him again. Other guys, not so much. I don't like to call people out. I would love to go work with anyone in Japan, or overseas."
His biggest influences in the wrestling industry: "I was born in 1984 right around the time Hulk Hogan defeated Iron Sheik, so Hulkamania was huge when I was a kid. Scott Hall and Steve Austin were always huge in my book. Coming from Memphis I was really into Spudnick Monroe. If anyone doesn't know him, you need to watch Memphis Heat."