One star had multiple chances to return to WWE, but he rejected the offers every time.
After winning the first season of Tough Enough in 2001, Maven Huffman remained with WWE until he was released from his contract in 2005. Following his exit from the sports entertainment giant, he appeared in a number of television projects, and eventually landed a job with the Home Shopping Network.
Speaking in a new video on his YouTube channel, Maven opened up about meeting with Pat Patterson about a potential return to WWE, but being hesitant about the opportunity.
“I ran into Pat Patterson. Pat was one of Vince’s right-hand guys, and Vince trusted Pat. Pat asked me, he was like, ‘Maven, do you ever think about coming back any?’ I told him. ‘Yes, I do think about coming back. I think about it almost every day, but Pat, I’d be worried, man. What if I leave my job? What if I leave the money that I know is coming in?’ Pat told me right then and I should have listened to him. He said, Maven, you have the rest of your life to make money. Follow what you love.’
“I played it off, ‘Okay. Sure.’ I didn’t think much of it,” he continued. “A few weeks after that interaction with Pat, I got my first call from [WWE] head of talent relations, Johnny Ace. In that first phone call, he was like, ‘Have you thought about coming back?’ I told him what I told Pat, ‘Yeah, of course I have, Johnny. I think about it all the time.’ He said, ‘You’ve been gone long enough that if you come back now you, won’t be the Tough Enough kid anymore.'”
Continuing, Maven explained that while he doesn’t believe Tough Enough held him back in his career, it did create a hurdle for him to overcome when it came to being taken seriously as a WWE Superstar. While the opportunity to come back as renewed character was tempting, Maven was concerned about his financial responsibilities following the passing of his mother.
“I’m not saying that Tough Enough held me back, it did not. Tough Enough gave me the career that I had. However, in order to transition from just being the Tough Enough kid to an actual working wrestler, a la John Morrison, a la The Miz, you have to be able to get out of that aura that people view you in as, ‘He’s just a Tough Enough kid.’ During my first run, I don’t think I ever did.
“Johnny thought that would be a great opportunity to repackage me, bring me back in as a heel, instead of a babyface, because I was a way better heel than I was a babyface. You know what? He’s probably not wrong and it probably would have worked. I told him my concerns with money. I was like, ‘Listen, Johnny, I’ve got a house in Virginia, a place [in Florida], I have real-world responsibilities. It’s not like the first go-round where, if this didn’t work out, I was going to move back in with my mom until I landed back on my feet. She’s gone, I have responsibilities.’
“He told me he was going to bring me back in on the exact same downside guarantee that I left on. I don’t remember if it was either [$150,000 or $175,000], and he was like, ‘We’ll put you back in developmental at FCW for a couple of months until you get your wind back, until we get the writing team something to meet with you about to bring you back in.'”
“I Should Have Accepted His Offer” – Maven On Not Returning To WWE
Maven went on to admit that he should have accepted the offers to return to see what would happen; according to the star, the time for that opportunity is now long past.
“What I should have done was I should have accepted his offer, I should have told him, ‘Give me two weeks. Let me do the proper thing. Give me two weeks.’ Then I should have went to my bosses at the Home Shopping Network, told them I had an opportunity, gave my two weeks, and I should have given everything I had back to the business, just to see what could have happened.
“At 46, it’s just not a realistic possibility anymore. Too much time has passed. My body doesn’t feel as good as it did back then. I’m not nearly as athletic as I was back then. My workout regimen now is stretching, not working out, and that’s just to make sure my back doesn’t hurt the next morning. The HSN job, I’m not going to say anything, that was a great job, the money was great, the days were even better.
“The HSN job I could have done now. I could have done 5 years after that, I could have done after I gave wrestling another shot. So I don’t know what would have happened. I don’t know. I might have went back they might have repackaged me and then people might have still been like, ‘Oh, here’s that dumb Tough Enough kid again, man. Didn’t we have enough of them the first time?
“Or I might have went back as a little bit more of a veteran in the business, learning what I had learned on the indie scene, learning how to become a better worker and I might have been a bigger asset to the WWE.
“Unfortunately, that’s something that I’m never going to know, but you know what? I’m okay with where I’m at now. I’m okay with my little bit of a slot in the history of wrestling. The only thing we can control is the present, and that’s what I try to do day in and day out.”
In a previous video, Maven described a terrifying incident where a fan held a gun to his head.