On most days I wouldn't want to be Mark Cuban. There is a laundry list of problems that come from being a rich, outspoken, famous NBA owner. We don't have to name them as nearly all of them are in the paper on a daily basis. However, if there was ever a time I wanted to be Mark, it was Monday night at the American Airlines Center when he hosted WWE Monday Night Raw.
The beauty of being Mark Cuban in this instance is that he is a tall, brawny guy and doesn't look that out of place in the ring with those muscled-up professional wrestlers. I would imagine every other NBA owner would look like Little Gilligan up against Giant Skipper if they tried to go toe-to-toe with the translucent Irishman Sheamus.
Monday night was Mark Cuban's second appearance on WWE, and even though it has been six years since he was body slammed by Randy Orton, the story line picked up right where it left off - a lot like a daytime soap opera. It was as if no time had passed between the 2003 Survivor's Series and Monday night's Raw event.
The exposed hatred between Orton and Cuban spilled into the crowd as Orton and his cronies, Cory Rhodes and Ted DiBiase, went straight to Cuban in his ring-side seat and challenged his manhood. Cuban would later in the evening banish Rhodes and DiBaise from the arena for the night, and Orton stopped just short of ringing Cuban's neck in front of 20,000 fans before thinking better of it and retreating backstage.
The night's finale created a new story line that will surely pop up in the future. Cuban, as host of the evening, was the moderator of the presser, promoting the upcoming showdown between Cuban ally John Cena and top challenger and resident pale-skinned Irishman Sheamus. Cuban asked a series of questions to each combatant, and during most of dialogue Sheamus screamed and yelled, promising the destruction of Cena in the showdown this Sunday.
Cena for the most part had no comment until near the end when he went on a diatribe, stating his long history as a champion of the WWE. Cena asserted that regardless of Shamus' prediction of his demise, that he would certainly be the one standing at the end of the upcoming battle.
The "conversation" naturally turned into an all out-brawl, ending with Cena unconscious on the mat, and Cuban bear hugged and slammed through a conference table that had been thrown into the corner of the ring at the start of the scuffle. After witnessing Sheamus' cowardly bully transgression, four of Cuban's NBA teammates (Shawn Marion, James Singleton, Tim Thomas, and Drew Gooden) jumped the barrier to come to Cuban's rescue. Sheamus wisely back-peddled his way out of the arena.
Inside Dish tracked down Cuban after the event in the most effective way that anyone can ever catch up with him (via e-mail) and asked him about the action-packed evening.
ID: First and foremost, how is your back after being bear-hugged and slammed into the conference table at the end of Raw on Monday night by Sheamus? And what was your biggest fear going into the night?
MC: My back is really sore because of how I got twisted when I hit the table. It bent me nearly all the way over. I have taken loads of Advil and had on a heating pad for the last few days. My biggest fear about the entire night was not getting all the promos out accurately. Being guest host requires promoting upcoming events and if you are not familiar with all the alliances, rivalries, or don't have a detailed knowledge of WWE history, it would be easy to screw up. I had to know exactly what to say, so I was nervous as hell that I wouldn't get them all right. Considering it's a live show, there were no do-overs!!!
ID: When they asked you to host the RAW event this time did you have to think about it, considering the sneak-attack neck-wrenching body slam at the hands of Randy Orton in 2003?
MC: What? No way....I didn't even think. It was an automatic 'Heck Yes!'
ID: Were you shocked at how big your role in the event was this year compared to 2003?
MC: No, because I have seen all the guest hosts on Raw this year. They all had big roles so I knew I was in for an exciting night.
ID: Which was more fun: being the host, a ref, or actual fighter that you turned into during the press conference for the Showdown?
MC: Pushing Sheamus and getting slammed was the most fun, even if it was painful. The time I feared most for my safety was when I was reffing the match between Kofi and Randy. It was a more complex situation because I had to make sure Kofi won and to keep Randy off of him, which meant staying close to the action. I had to be ready so I could go in for the quick count. During the match while they were going at it all over the ring, I was just telling myself to 'stay balanced on my toes' so I could get out of the way in case those giants got close to running me over and flattening me!
ID: When you were face-to-face with Sheamus, what was going through your mind?
MC: I had never really been in a situation like that before when I was deliberating challenging someone. As I got closer and closer to him I just keep saying to myself, 'Watch his hands.' I thought I might be able to get my hands up if he came after me up high. Of course, he hits me with a knee to the midsection. He got me really good and put me down, but I was just glad he didn't connect just a little higher which would have knocked the wind out of me or a little lower which would have been...well...you know what that would have been.
ID: Can you believe that you actually pushed Sheamus? Did you want to take it back as soon as you did it?
MC: I wasn't surprised at all. You can't step in the ring and be afraid. It was just a natural reaction to being in that situation, I guess. I didn't want to get flattened so I just had to protect myself.
ID: How did you become such a big ally of John Cena? If you could pick any tag-team partner, would he be your guy?
MC: I met John before he got into the WWE. I did some promo work for him to help jumpstart his career. I've been following him ever since. As for him being my partner? Are you nuts? Absolutely, he would be my partner!!! Did you see him in that ring? He's a monster!
ID: When you walked out into the ring to start hosting the show, were you surprised at how many people were actually attending the event?
MC: Definitely NO. It's the WWE in Dallas. I knew it would be jam-packed!
ID: When you were the ref for the Kofi Kingston and Randy Orton match, were you afraid that you might actually get tangled up in the fight?
ID: Did you have to pay someone to let you be the ref for the Kingston and Orton match?
ID: With such a blatant quick count on Orton, aren't you afraid that the fans might see through your obvious payback attempt? And do you think that Orton will consider things square now, or will he continue to hold a grudge?
MC: I wasn't trying to hide anything. Everyone in the building and watching on TV knew I hated Orton for what he did to me the last time I was in the ring. As guest host, I had authority to make myself referee. He didn't have a choice but to just deal with it. If he hadn't cheated to beat Kofi the previous week, he never would have been in that position. I don't really care if he holds a grudge.
ID: You seemed like you were a natural out there in the ring in all your roles...were you having as much fun as you seemed like you were having?
MC: WAY MORE!!!