WWE legend Road Dogg is one of the cult figures in the promotions history, but doesn’t remember much about his early days there.
That’s because he admitted he didn’t remember the 1990s at all: “I was on drugs all the time.”
Road Dogg Jesse James, real name Brian Girard James, has experienced many ups and downs during a career that spanned three decades in some of wrestling’s biggest promotions.
His wrestling career began in the 1980s, between tours of duty with the United States Marine Corp.
He joined the World Wrestling Federation, which later became WWE, in 1994 as The Roadie before moving to Road Dogg Jesse James in 1996.
Road Dogg gained mainstream notoriety as one half of the New Age Outlaws, alongside Billy Gunn, where they won five WWF Tag Team Championships and the WWE Tag Team Championship once.
It was a golden age of wrestling, with the New Age Outlaws teaming with Shawn Michaels and Triple H and collectively becoming known as D-Generation X and feuding with other superstars like Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock.
DX’s escapades became legendary and the faction even rode a tank to invade a rival WCW show.
Road Dogg, however, was eventually fired from WWE in 2001 due to numerous “personal problems”, later admitting to drug and alcohol problems.
“First, I was on drugs all the time. I was high. I don’t remember the ’90s because I was in my active addiction,” he told Sportskeeda.
He joined the independent circuit before being hired by TNA and returned to WWE in 2014, but not before taking aim at his former employers.
During his time in TNA, he and Gunn were known as VKM, the initials of WWE owner Vince McMahon, while also mocking Michaels and Triple H.
He later admitted that his addictions made him bitter after his dismissal and that he would have fought his former friends if given the chance.
“It was all about me and how come you didn’t stand up for me and keep me around. I was a liability. I would have fired me too. But at that point,’ How dare you? You son of a gun.'”
Returning to WWE, Road Dogg began working as a producer before becoming the head writer for SmackDown.
He then took a position at the WWE Performance Center, before being released in 2022.
There was no animosity between him and Vince McMahon and he even revealed how he was put through drug rehab for free by the company owner.
He said: “My whole life it was SmackDown, and that’s the way to be in WWE. We’re married to it. It got hard and I couldn’t hang on. I’m went to NXT where I thought I might stay for a while, and I did, but then they made some business decisions to trim some fat and, it’s no secret, I enlarged.
“They fired me and 14 other people, it was a business strategy. I called him and said, “Hey, thanks. Not only did he pay me for ten years and give me ten years of life experience, he sent me to rehab, for free. He saved my life and he did the same for my brother. Are you bitter at this guy? Something is wrong with you. He’s a great leader, he’s a leader of men, that’s for sure.”
A few months later, James, 13 years sober, was rehired as senior vice president of live events, replacing Jeff Jarrett.