Chuck Palumbo recently spoke with WrestleZone about his wrestling career highlights as well as what he’s been up since leaving WWE. Palumbo spent 14 years in the wrestling business, but also used his automotive background and hosted ‘Rusted Development’ on Discovery Channel. Now, Palumbo says he’s using that knowledge for new ventures, which come in the form of his new “Chuck Of All Trades” series on YouTube.
“After wrestling, I did a few television shows for the Discovery Channel. Some people may or may not know I’ve been building cars and motorcycles my whole life, and it was a transition I was going to make when I got out of the wrestling business, and I did. Then I ended up doing some more TV with the Discovery Channel for a few more years, a couple different shows. I did a worldwide show and then a national show, ‘Lords Of The Car Hoards’ and ‘Rusted Development’. I had a great time on those shows,” Palumbo explained, “but I wanted to start kind of just doing my own thing and show people kind of what I do day-to-day and I thought YouTube would be a great platform for it.
“Doing a show, we could call it a video blog, or whatever you want to call it—I just show people what I do day-to-day, which is restore homes, restore cars, build motorcycles. I like to work with my hands, I grew up with trades, and I have a lot of irons in the fire. I dabble in real estate, stuff like that, so we’re just showing people what we do day-to-day. It’s really raw and if I can inspire a few people to do some of these things,” Palumbo noted, “or if people just want to check it out, I’m just very fortunate that people are interested in it. It’s small, we’re hoping to get more subscribers as we go along, the show’s called ‘Chuck Of All Trades’ but yeah, we’re building viewership little by little. We’ll see where it goes but right now, it’s just about sharing what we do.”
Palumbo’s love of cars and motorcycles also translated to the screen in WWE, as he portrayed a mechanic-like character in two different stints with the company. After splitting from the F.B.I. in 2004, Palumbo played a “greaser” character that he dubbed “Custom Chucky P.”
Palumbo’s 2006 run saw him riding a motorcycle to the ring, but there were still elements to the earlier “Custom” gimmick that drew comparisons to Undertaker’s American Bad Ass character. Undertaker had reverted back to the “Deadman” character in March 2004 and Palumbo made his return to TV in July of that same year, so there wasn’t too much time that had passed without a gearhead-centric character on WWE TV. Asked if there were any conversations about ensuring the characters stood on their own or if there was any resistance, Palumbo said he didn’t really plan it out, and recalls it being a spur of the moment decision.
“Yeah, that’s a super good question. There was no planning, to be blunt. At that time, I wanna say that I didn’t even tell anybody, management or anything, that I was gonna do that. I’ll be honest with you, I think I just threw some clothes on and just went out there and did it, I’m just being honest. In the business, a lot of times, there’s not always a lot of planning, as you probably know. Things happen at the spur of the moment, some guy will say he has an idea and someone will say, ‘I like that, let’s do it’ and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. There was no push behind it,” Palumbo said. “It was just as simple as me going out there and trying. No push, no talk of storyline, nothing like that and as you know, I was gone soon after that.”
Palumbo continued, noting how once he’d appeared on TV with the motorcycle, he heard some criticism about it being a copy of Undertaker’s gimmick. He explained how he’d even talked to Vince McMahon about it and claimed the WWE boss told him enough time had passed, and he should try it to see if it worked.
“It’s interesting because Taker in real life is not really a biker. He had a few motorcycles, but he didn’t turn wrenches. He wasn’t really into it, that was a gimmick for him, and you’re right, for me to do it, it was kinda real for me. Unfortunately, some fans may say that it was a knockoff of what Taker was doing, right? Some fans might feel that, ‘oh, you’re just copying’, which it wasn’t. It was just a matter of Vince and I talking,” he stated. “He’s a motorcycle guy, I’m a motorcycle guy and talking about this and doing it. I remember actually asking [Vince] what Taker was gonna think about it or whatever and he basically said ‘no, that’s over with, just go try it.’”
Palumbo might have been compared to others in WWE at the time, but as it turns out, the original inspiration for his character is often overlooked. Palumbo’s solo career in WWE coincided with the rise of “car culture” shows like Monster Garage and Orange County Choppers, and he says that’s precisely what he was trying to do with his work on WWE television.
“What you just said is so true and no one’s ever said that. I always thought that, you talk about the pop culture and the trends at that time, that’s one of the main reasons why I wanted to do it at that time. That was it right there. You had the Jesse Jameses doing their thing and those shows are just starting to kick off, the build-offs, and those shows were very successful. [They were] very highly-rated shows, the Orange County Chopper show, that show went on for a lot of seasons and those guys made a lot of money and were very successful,” Palumbo explained, “and that’s what I was trying to do. I was trying to bridge that gap and make that work. Unfortunately, a lot of people behind the scenes, they didn’t understand that. They knew wrestling, and it’s not their fault, but I was trying to bridge that gap and ironically enough, years later I go and do a show on Discovery Channel, right? Timing is everything.”