Last week, Shane McMahon shook up the wrestling world when he returned to Raw after a near seven-year absence. While it was a surprise to pretty much everyone, it’s quite possible no one was more shocked than one of his best friends, the man the WWE Universe came to know as Pete Gas.
Pete Gasparino first became pals with Shane-O Mac when they were teammates on the high school football team. But a few years later, he and another former teammate, Rodney Lienhardt, would go above and beyond the bonds of friendship when they served as McMahon’s backup on the road to WrestleMania. Dubbed “The Mean Street Posse,” the crew would talk up their toughness and run interference in Shane’s matches – all while dressed in sweater vests and slacks. Joined by a third member, Joey Abs, they even managed to be featured in one of the highest-rated segments in WWE television history, when they fought Gerald Brisco and Pat Patterson in a “Loser Leaves Town” match.
The three were released in 2001, but their legacy remains today. In fact, when Shane returned on Raw, it wasn’t long before social media was buzzing with the possibility of an appearance by the Posse – and let’s just say Pete Gas is ready. While he awaits McMahon’s phone call, the man from the mean streets of Greenwich, Connecticut spoke to Rolling Stone about his memorable run in WWE, growing up with the McMahon clan and why wrestling fans were always wrong about his crew.
Let’s just start with last Monday. What was your reaction when Shane McMahon’s music hit on Raw?
I think I was like everyone in that arena and around the world: shocked. I had no idea that was about to happen, even though I had talked to Shane. He hadn’t mentioned it at all. It was a long time coming for me. I always felt that Shane should have never left, but that’s his own decision. It was electric. When I spoke to him the following day, I told him that I always knew he’d get an amazing reception if he ever came back. But even I couldn’t imagine it being as great as that was. It was really special.