Robbie McAllister recently recalled how John Laurinaitis initially had reservations about signing The Highlanders to WWE contracts.
In July 2005, Robbie and Rory McAllister reported to WWE’s Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) developmental system after four years on the independent scene. Before joining OVW, the two men had already competed in televised WWE matches as enhancement talents.
Speaking on “Jofo in the Ring,” McAllister revealed that WWE’s Head of Talent Relations told him The Highlanders would never join the company permanently.
“John Laurinaitis, he basically crushed us and said we’d never have jobs there,” McAllister said. “He said, ‘I can take any guys in OVW and put them in kilts and call them The Highlanders. What makes you different?’ That’s where The Highlanders evolved, just out of that conversation.” [22:16-22:42]
Robbie and Rory McAllister performed as storyline cousins whose characters largely revolved around their Scottish heritage. Despite Laurinaitis’ doubts, they moved to the main roster in July 2006 after almost a year in OVW.
John Laurinaitis’ feedback “almost floored” The Highlanders
It is unclear exactly why Laurinaitis and WWE’s higher-ups changed their opinion on The Highlanders. The former WWE duo performed on the main roster until they received their releases in August 2008.
Reflecting on Laurinaitis’ remarks before they joined WWE, Robbie McAllister admitted he felt hurt by the executive’s brutally honest opinion.
“We were almost floored because it felt like they liked us,” McAllister continued. “We were getting dark matches, this and that, and then to be totally blindsided, ‘We’re not gonna hire guys like you.’ Then we evolved and we became hairy, disgusting-looking Highlanders from the 13th century.” [23:31-23:51]
After leaving WWE, McAllister later tried to return before Laurinaitis made it clear he would never be rehired.
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