Eric Bugenhagen (Rick Boogs) "better than ever" following WWE release, thankful for his time there

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2024/01/04/eric-bugenhagen-rick-boogs-better-than-ever-following-wwe-release-thankful-for-his-time-there/

He dove into his time with the company. 

The latest guest to join Chris Van Vliet’s podcast was Eric Bugenhagen f.k.a. Rick Boogs. Bugenhagen spent the last six years with WWE and in September, he was a part of the company’s round of cuts

His time in the company was delved into during the interview. He expressed that he’s ‘better than ever’ and he’s thankful for his time in WWE. There was a portion of the conversation when he spoke about occasions where he was announced as the wrong weight for a dark match. Bugenhagen was announced lighter than what he was.

So anyway, I don’t know if I am allowed to talk about this. I was told I can’t talk about anything creatively. But this isn’t really creative I guess. So anyway, I was doing a dark match. And they were like, ‘Weighed 200’ and I don’t know what they said. Well, first of all, my action figure says 233 pounds at the back, which is a huge slap to my face, like disgustingly slap to my face. Like, I weighed 233 when I was 15 years younger. When I was first trying to bulk and put on bulbous tissue, I was 233. So you know, this has been a long journey. So, I was going to 260 to 270 to 280 to 290. So anyway, it’s dark match time. They’re like, ‘Weighing in at 260 pounds,’ and I’m coming out, and I can’t even focus on the crowd or the match. I’m just thinking about 260 pounds. That’s not right. So I go back there and like, ‘Hey, what are we doing with this?’ Listen, I’ve put on so much frickin’ mass. Okay, and this isn’t just blubber. You know, this is pure, dense bulk. So they’re like, ‘Has anyone seen it?’ So I went to the back, I weighed myself in front of four different people. And I made sure it was all up the totem pole. And then, sure enough, I get this frickin’ dark match next week. And it’s like, ‘What do you weigh in at?’ I was 291.7 or whatever, when I weighed myself. (They said), ‘Weighing in at 260…’ What? And then another thing too, and I won’t say any names. I’ll praise WWE, praise my time there. It was great. Very thankful for everything. But if certain things like this is like, what are we doing?

I’m great (following the release). Yeah, I’m better than ever right now… I mean, where do we want to start? Let’s talk about this. So basically, I started a YouTube channel…

When asked what was his proudest moment from the run, he named debuting on SmackDown. He went on to bring up the Old Spice commercial he was featured in. Bugenhagen did not get into specifics, but said it was supposed to turn into a series but ‘something happened’ along the way that put those plans on ice. 

Debuting on SmackDown (is my proudest moment from my WWE run). Because just from humble beginnings. I got one opportunity in NXT and I think I absolutely hit a frickin’ Grand Slam with it. I was set up to get squashed by Drew Gulak and ended up making some magic out of it and making a name for myself from supposedly just getting squashed. Like, this is the turnaround of things. This is the change of things and it’s just literally went nowhere. I guess this is a lesson, one of those hard lessons in pro wrestling. You know, you’re somebody’s guy or not… And then I got to be that guy for that, which is crazy. Once I did Old Spice — I don’t think this is creative — and I don’t understand. But anyways, like I was told, you can’t talk about anything creatively or whatever it was. I don’t understand. This is my life. I think I can talk about my life. And it’s not creative. So anyways, they needed someone to do this Old Spice ad that looked like a wrestler and was entertaining and had personality and had no TV equity. And like, oh, Rick Boogs, that’s the guy. Old Spice, the people running the ad or whatever just loved it. And they wanted to do it again. But stuff happened and it never happened again, unfortunately. But it was supposed to happen again, like a big whole series.

At WrestleMania 38, Bugenhagen suffered a torn quad and patellar tendon. He tagged with Shinsuke Nakamura to challenge The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships. 

He returned to television on the January 30th edition of Monday Night Raw. He shared that he was originally supposed to be brought back prior to him being fully recovered but those plans were scrapped. 

I mean, I guess (what happened with Vince McMahon led to my release), if you just look at it objectively, like look at my NXT run, and then look at, you know, when I was seen by Vince, and look at that run, and then when management or the whole regime changed again, look at that run. So a lot of people say, ‘Oh, but he was injured.’ I think I can say this, I was supposed to be brought back earlier, like, when I wasn’t even cleared yet, a month or two after rehab. And I was really planning on it, pumped. Oh man, like, I can’t really bend my knee yet. Let’s get back up there. And that was just kiboshed.

Speaking about his second shot at the main roster, he said he saw the writing on the wall as far as how things would play out but he was not actively anticipating it. 

Well, dude, I mean, if you want to talk about my second run on the main roster, I mean, I kind of saw the writing on the wall, but it wasn’t like, alright, well let me get ready for it. This is just basically thank God for my YouTube community and stuff. Because I always knew I had that. I have an awesome community.

The 36-year-old Bugenhagen has only wrestled outside of WWE when he worked dates for EVOLVE. Bugenhagen was one of many WWE talents that were sent to do shows for the promotion. 

He most recently competed in the Slim Jim Battle Royal at SummerSlam