Former WWE Superstar Fred Rosser (Darren Young) has revealed that he was the one that pitched Vince McMahon on the idea of working with Bob Backlund.
Bob Backlund was a legendary WWE superstar that had two very different runs as the WWE Champion. From December 1979 to December 1983, Backlund was a babyface WWE Champion that held the title for an incredible 1,470 days. More than a decade later in 1994, Backlund held the WWE Tile (which he won in controversial fashion at Survivor Series 1994) for a whopping three days.
In 2016, Bob Backlund returned to WWE as a life coach of Darren Young. The phrase “Make Darren Young Great Again” was used as a parody of the “Make America Great Again” phrase that Donald Trump used for his Presidential campaign in 2016.
Currently wrestling using his real name Fred Rosser, the former Darren Young spoke to Under The Ring about how the pairing with Bob Backlund came about because he knew that his tag team run with Titus O’Neil as the Prime Time Players wasn’t going to last forever.
“You know, tag teams don’t last forever and I knew sooner or later Titus and I would be broken up. So you’ve gotta have ideas. And I had done several autograph signings with Bob Backlund for Special Olympics and the Be A Star anti-bullying campaign. And every time he does autograph signings, he does them standing up, and so do I. So there was a point in my career when I was doing the signing with him, I’m looking over at Bob. And I said to myself, ‘Man, he’s energetic, I’m energetic. I’d love to–‘ And at the time WWE wasn’t heavy into managers, but I said to myself, ‘I’d love to have him as like my — not my manager, but something like my life coach.'”
Rosser noted that when he pitched the idea to Vince McMahon, the now-retired former WWE Chairman loved the idea.
“And it was really my idea, and I’ve said it in many interviews because a lot of guys think that it was just given to me. It was actually my idea. And I wrote it out, I had visuals, I actually kind of mirrored the idea from Mike Tyson and his former trainer Cus D’Amato. Because they’re like strange bedfellows, but Mike was very, very locked in to his trainer Cus D’Amato. so that’s what I did. I took the ideas, I proposed them to Vince McMahon… I proposed the idea to him. He loved it, he called up Bob Backlund personally.”
The former member of The Nexus went on to say that Backlund was very “old school” in terms of how he did things.
“When I was with Bob Backlund, he’s a one-take kinda guy. He’s old school. We never rehearsed a lot, Bob Backlund and I. What you saw was what you got with us.”
Backlund was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013.