I've been wrestling since I was 18 years old. And within the first five months of my wrestling career, I'd already had three concussions. And for years after that, I would get a concussion here and there, and it gets to the point that when you've been wrestling for 16 years, that adds up to a lot of concussions.
I used to be vegan. I'm not anymore, but I don't eat hardly any meat. But it's nice for me to go to a place like Chipotle where I can get some fresh veggies, some brown rice, some black beans, and all that kind of stuff.
My health is 100% more important than coming back to wrestling. Being a good father is more important than going out there and expounding on my belief that doing more hammerlocks in wrestling is good for the business!
For some reason, the fans got behind me, and I don't know exactly why that is. I wasn't supposed to main event WrestleMania XXX, but the fans were so vocal about it that the fans had no choice but to put me in the match. I've had a lot of lucky breaks.
When I first got to WWE, the head of talent relations was John Laurinaitis, who is now my father-in-law, and the first thing I thought when I saw everything that he had to do is, I thought, 'I would never, in a million years, ever want that job. You could not pay me enough money to have that job.'
I keep trying to convince people that I'm OK to wrestle, and I think that's probably the hard part. A lot of times I'm trying to convince myself, too, that I can wrestle. It's really hard, because the concussion issue is very subjective, and that's the part that a lot of people don't understand.
My No. 1 dream match is Brock Lesnar. And I want that to be a WrestleMania match. I don't know if the WWE will ever let that happen, because they might be afraid he might legitimately hurt me pretty bad.
My brain is - essentially, you take any college football player in the country, because I have had multiple, multiple concussions. I had 10 documented concussions, four post-concussion seizures and so, but, with that said, my brain is no worse than your average college football player's brain, right?
With wrestling, you can't describe how that connection with an audience happens. I can't teach anybody how that happens. The bad things that have happened to me in WWE have made that connection stronger.
Wrestling is different to me. As I talk to other wrestlers, wrestling seems a little different to me than it does to a lot of them. To me, it's about an artistic performance and about honing my artistic performance in pursuit of these minute moments of perfection. These little encapsulations. And none of them are ever perfect.
I have no problem with people eating meat. I would just like it, for the people who do eat meat, for the animals to be treated better. To be treated humanely. Cows in pastures living the life that they're supposed to live. I have no problem with that.
My biggest concern with the whole deal with 'Total Divas' and with WWE - and, you know, they want you to be engaged with social media and all this kind of stuff - I don't want to live my life to entertain other people.
Part of me wants to stay involved in wrestling, because I love it. But the thing I loved most about it was the wrestling part of it. I didn't get into it to be famous or to be a TV star: I got into it because I loved the act of wrestling.
I get this anxiety in cities and places like that. When you grow up in kind of a small town and when you grow up around a lot of green and trees and nature and that sort of thing, sometimes I think it's a little mentally disconcerting to be around this concrete.
As you write about your life, there's a lot of things that you think about that you regret. It's interesting, because one of the things I regret the most is spending so much time focused on wrestling as opposed to focusing on my family.
My favorite wrestler growing up was Dean Malenko. He was a very technical wrestler, and when I trained with Shawn Michaels, he wasn't that kind of a technical wrestler. So, when I finally met Regal in 2001, he was that kind of a wrestler, and all of a sudden, I could ask him things, and he would know what I was talking about and how to do it.