The former WCW World Heavyweight Champion was set to kick off the show, but he was nowhere to be found backstage as the show went on the air. He showed up a few minutes later completely stunned and unstable.
In a recent interview with Wrestling Buddy, former WWE writer Vince Russo shared that Vader was underneath the RAW stage as the pyro went off to start the show. He didn't suffer any serious injuries and was able to compete in his match.
"I guess the funniest backstage story bro that'll never forget that was so funny was, we were just about to go live with RAW and Vader was in the first match. And we're all at the gorilla position and Vader is nowhere to be found. And Vince [McMahon] is screaming at the top of his lungs and we're counting down 5-4-3-2... bro we hit the pyro, we hit Vader's music, we have no idea where he is bro." (1:18:15-1:18:50)
Vince Russo continued:
"All of a sudden he comes walking out from underneath the stage, literally bouncing off of walls not knowing where he is. Bro he was under the stage when the pyro went off. So whether he was warming up underneath there, whatever he was doing, bro the pyro went off right next to him, he was practically deafened. He was definitely stunned and then he had to go out and work his match. That was a pretty funny story, I'll always remember that." (1:18:51-1:19:30)
Vader was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in April this year
The Mastodon is regarded as one of the best big men in wrestling history. He has held many top titles during his career such as the IWGP Heavyweight, IWGP Tag Team, WCW World Heavyweight and WCW United States Heavyweight Championship.
During his career, he has shared the ring with many iconic stars such as The Undertaker, Sting and Hulk Hogan. He was posthumously inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame during WrestleMania 38 weekend.
If you use any of the above quotes, please credit Wrestling Buddy and H/T Sportskeeda for the transcription.