Arn Anderson Shoot Interview

Arn Anderson Shoot Interview



Arn Anderson Shoot Interview
(The interview was conducted before the death of WCW.)

How he got started- Arn (then
wrestling under his real name, Marty Lunde) worked some TV matches on TBS for
Georgia against Bullet Bob Armstrong and Brad Armstrong, Bob’s son
and Road Dogg’s more talented brother. Bob liked him and, when he went back to
Pensacola, invited Arn to work for him there. He worked for them for a few weeks
in Southeastern Championship Wrestling, then he sent Arn to Bill Watts
Mid-South territory when he was done with him.

He worked in
curtain-jerkers for 5 months in Mid-South then, when Matt Borne (Doink
the Clown) was leaving Mid-South for Georgia and needed a tag partner to come
with him, Junkyard Dog thought about Arn because Arn looked like Ole
Anderson
and figured he could pass as an Anderson family member. Watts set
up everything with the Georgia office and he headed out there.

Ole as a
booker- Tyrant, loud, intimidating, VERY knowledgeable, very fair, had tunnel
vision, and was the one guy he was the most afraid of in the business. Watts was
the same way.

Teaming with Ole and Tommy Rich against the Road
Warriors
– Arn and Borne were being groomed for the National Tag Titles slot
but Borne fucked up (which is a pattern of his from many accounts) and got
released. The Road Warriors got their spot because Ole needed a hot team badly.
Arn, Barry Darsow (Demolition Smash), Joe Lightfoot and others
wrestled against the Road Warriors and Rick Rude for the Road Warriors’
first 10-day tour in the company and it nearly killed them. No matter what he
went through for the rest of his career, nothing was as bad those 10
days.

The Road Warriors- They were instantly over and everyone saw money
with them immediately. Putting Paul Ellering with them was a stroke of
genius.

Other people he worked with in Georgia- Tommy Rich, the greatest
babyface of his time. Larry Zbysko was smart about the business. Paul
“Mr. Wonderful” Orndorff
gave him some of the best advice he ever got…
“You’ve got potential. Stay in the gym, keep your body right, learn how to talk,
and learn how to wrestle. They can’t deny you.”

Was he discouraged
because of his body? Not discouraged because of it. He was more concerned with
learning to wrestle than getting ripped and shredded.

His mentors back
then- Tim Horner was his first teacher and taught him every night for
five months. Ole, Borne, and Ted Dibiase.

Dibiase helped him a lot
while Arn was a curtain jerker in Mid-South and Dibiase was a main eventer
there. When it came time to leave for Georgia, Arn asked Dibiase how he could
thank him and Dibiase told him “If you ever get as good as I think you will, do
the same thing for another young guy”, which happened to be Bill Goldberg
in Arn’s case.

Moving to Mid-Atlantic- Ole was doing nothing with him
after his run against the Road Warriors was done, so he went to Pensacola and
worked there for about a year and a half. He worked with all the Armstrongs,
Jimmy Golden, Ron Fuller, Robert Fuller (Colonel
Parker
, Tennessee Lee), Jerry Stubbs, the Tonga Kid,
and others. He worked on TV a lot and got to do plenty of interviews. Around
that time, Ric Flair came down and made him an offer to bring him to
Charlotte. He and Ric had been friends whenever Ric would come through Georgia
and Arn would be his driver (driving the champion around was supposedly an honor
back then).

Dusty Rhodes– Was a bit awestruck meeting him after he
had watched him for years. Dusty said he’d give him the ball and, if he got some
yardage, his position would go up. It did after his first series in Mid-Atlantic
against Manny Fernandez.

Memories of beating Wahoo
McDaniel
in the TV tournament finals- It was his first major title and that
winning the belt was about as important to him as wrestling Wahoo, who was a
legend by that point.

Memories of working with Magnum TA– Some of
the most intense and stiff matches he’s ever had. He wanted to be the best
wrestler in the world and he’d let you know that in the ring, but it was all
money. He would have been one of the greatest of all time if he hadn’t wrapped
his Porsche around a tree in 1986.

Locker room reaction to Magnum’s
accident- “It killed us all.” It was the biggest injury they’d seen at the time
because the style was more conservative back then. The doctors had said they
didn’t think he’d even make it through the night. There was a lot of closeness
with everyone in the territory, even if they were rivals in the ring.

The
Four HorsemenJim Crockett had an interview where Ole, Arn,
Flair, and Tully Blanchard, who had all teamed together in various
combinations before, were promoting three different matches (he thinks they were
Tully vs. Dusty, Ric vs. Magnum, and Ole and Arn vs. the Road Warriors). It
dawned on him during the interview that they were like the Four Horsemen of the
Apocalypse, so he used it to build up the matches. As soon as the interview
ended, Tony Schivone came around and told them they had something special
there, so they took off from there.

Ego problems within the Horsemen?
There were always personal ego problems outside the business, but never during a
match. They were always trying to outdo each other in the ring and steal the
show if they were in different matches, but there was no real tension,
ESPECIALLY if they were all in a match together like Wargames.

Teaming
with Ole- “Greatest single learning experience I’ve ever had” because Ole and
Gene Anderson were some of the best tag wrestlers ever. Unfortunately, a
lot of the principles they used have been lost in time because tag wrestling has
degenerated over the years.

Was it hard being heels because they were so
over? It was easy in the ring but was hard to do anything outside of it because
they were loved. It was when renegades were just starting to be cool all around,
and they were supposedly one of the first heel groups to get over like that. “It
wasn’t a low-class redneck thing, we carried out everything in
style.”

Working with Ronnie Garvin– “I wished I’d have just found
a building to jump off…” Ronnie Garvin and Buzz Sawyer were two guys
who could beat the shit out of you. Garvin could stretch you with just his legs.
However, Garvin didn’t have any problems with taking it in
return.

Working with Dusty Rhodes- Most charismatic guy he’s ever
wrestled. He could fans into the arena and then perform well. You saw Dusty’s
charisma in the matches, not his substandard body. Dusty loved working with
Tully because he could make Dusty look great.

Nikita Koloff– They
didn’t get along at first. Nikita was smart enough to know what he wanted from
the business, worked hard, then walked out of the business instead of hobbling
out. He respects him for that. The main bone he had to pick with Nikita was that
he’d be rough some of the underneath guys.

Was he disappointed he didn’t
get to work with Flair then? No, because he loved working alongside him as his
partner back then. Since Flair was responsible for getting him into that
position, he didn’t complain.

Rock and Roll Express– The matches
he and Ole had against them were the most fun he ever had. “Ricky Morton
was the most over guy ever back then with the girls that I’d ever seen.” If you
started pounding on him, people would start jumping the rails to get
you.

Working with the Road Warriors in Mid-Atlantic- They were more
polished, and having Ellering work with them did wonders. Road Warrior
Hawk
was a bit volatile, though, which could be scary in the ring
sometimes.

Did Vince McMahon ever contact him? He was sent
messages through wrestlers, but never anything official.

What was the
locker room vibe for the UWF purchase/invasion- It was a huge misuse of
resources. With their TBS show, they could have just gone into Watts’ territory
and run him out of business instead of buying out his money-losing territory. He
attributes the UWF purchase directly to Crockett’s financial troubles, which
caused him to sell out to Ted Turner in 1988. Going out west to run shows
and flying everyone all over the place didn’t help. Instead of running them
separately or using the good talent that the UWF had when they bought them,
Crockett instead used them to put over his guys for the most part. (Sting
was the only UWF guy brought in who wasn’t completely jobbed that I know
of.)

Jim Crockett as a promoter- Don’t know him well. He didn’t let a lot
of people close to him emotionally.

Ole leaving the Horsemen- The other
Horsemen figured that things were going to get worse eventually, and Ole
deciding to go home was the first sign of trouble. Lex Luger was
cosmetically a great fit but wasn’t the right choice to replace Ole. Nothing’s
ever as good as the original anyway… the nWo, the Horsemen, the
Midnight Express, etc.

Lex Luger- He had a great attitude back
then, wanting to learn and willing to listen. Very business-savvy. One of the
best self promoters ever. Lex parlayed his look into being a multi-millionaire.
Nothing negative to say about him.

Did people complain about Dusty’s
booking? Of course. If you aren’t wrestling the guy you want to wrestle or in
the town you want to wrestle in, you were pissed. Being a booker is a
“thankless, pain-in-the-ass job.”

Bunkhouse Stampede matches- Fun but
brutal . A lot of people weren’t paying attention because there were 25 other
people in the match, so there were broken ankles, blown out knees, stitches, and
so forth. The first mass deal like that of its time.

Working with
Barry Windham– Barry’s a phenomenon. He could party all night then come
in and work an hour or 90 minutes and never have to go to the gym. “All-around
cowboy and sweetheart of a guy.” “If Barry had 5 grand, keys to a Porche, and a
woman, he was content.” That was why he never put as much effort as he should
have into the business. It would have been a shortcoming but things worked out
for him… Barry married a VERY wealthy woman who Arn claims owns half of south
Georgia. Wrestling Barry was a dream.

Did he prefer working singles
matches or tags? Tags.

Memories of the first Crockett Cup- He thinks he
and Tully didn’t do well and were put out early by the Fantastics but doesn‘t
remember for sure. Great concept, great promotion, but going into a building
like the Superdome was a mistake because they could have filled up a smaller
building instead of filling about 1/4 of the Superdome. “If you’ve got 50 people
not making any noise, bumps hurt 10 times as much.”

Wargames- He was the
first guy in the first Wargames match and doesn’t think that match was ever
topped by subsequent ones. It was a draining match because he was in there about
35 minutes and was taking bumps left and right. The only Wargames to even come
close to the first one was the one at Wrestle War 92 with the Dangerous
Alliance
(Arn, Rick Rude, Bobby Eaton, Steve Austin, and Larry
Zbysco) against Sting, Nikita Koloff, and three other guys I don’t
remember.

Were there any plans to break up the Horsemen around that time
(mid-1987)? No.

Lugar getting kicked out of the Horsemen- There was a
Bunkhouse Stampede battle royal in which JJ Dillon was supposed to win
but Luger said “Screw that” and won it himself. They decided to bounce Lugar out
of the Horsemen and bring Barry Windham in to take his place. From a wrestling
standpoint, it was the best unit in Horsemen history.

Working with Luger
every night- His knowledge wasn’t where it was supposed to be but he overcame it
with just sheer power. He was in tremendous cardio shape, too, so he didn’t get
blown up.

Were the Horsemen tight outside of the ring? Yes… it was just
like their promo where they said they do everything together except share a
room.

Do you keep in contact with Tully? He ran into him by pure accident
when he went out to eat the week before. They haven’t kept in touch and have had
past disagreements, but figures they’ll talk again in the
future.

Midnight Express- He was really close to Bobby Eaton, about as
close as he is to Flair. They’d travel together a lot. He says that the original
version with Dennis Condrey, rather than the one with Stan Lane,
was the best tag team they ever faced.

How did their negotiations with
Vince McMahon come about? “There were some incidents in the front office”
dealing with the Turner sale and Crockett’s finances. They were really hot and
were working with the Midnight Express. Crockett had made promises contract-wise
which didn’t come true, so they put out feelers to Vince. When they got a
positive response from Vince, so when they had a bad experience on TV in Houston
(which he refuses to go into) and Crockett didn’t handle it properly, they
started making plans to jump.

Was Flair shocked? He didn’t believe it.
He actually called up Tully and Arn the next night and asked them when they were
getting to the building, then started crying when he realized they weren’t
coming.

How did Vince handle it? Vince sent them first-class tickets, had
a limo take them to his house, and sat around his pool to put a deal together.
That night, they flew back to Philadelphia, gave their notice to Crockett and
Dusty, and lost the tag titles to the Midnight Express. (This situation has
become a bit infamous over the years considering how hot the feud was and how
hyped it was on TV for it to end at a house show with no notice.) Ric Flair was
so shocked that he called them up the next day when they didn’t show up, asked
them what was up, and cried when he realized they really were leaving.

He
claims that the locker room was probably split over them leaving, because some
loved working with them and drawing money against them while others wanted their
spot. He says it was the end of the boom times for Crockett because the Horsemen
carried the NWA to that point, which is debatable considering how the Dusty
finishes involving the Horsemen helped kill off towns. He then goes on to
justify it by saying that the Horsemen were typically in the top three matches
for years, which is mostly true (it depends if the Midnight Express and the Rock
and Roll Express were facing stiffs like the Russians that night).

Vince
McMahon- Most intelligent, smoothest, most articulate man he’s ever met. He made
you feel like you were walking on air. In the 14 months he was there, they
treated him better than he’d ever been treated. The only reason he left was that
he had a three year old son and was working 24 days a month, with none of those
dates being near his home in Charlotte, and he couldn‘t take it
anymore.

Difference in the locker rooms- The politics were completely
different. There are stringent locker room rules, some are said and some are
unsaid. There are cardinal rules you just don‘t break. (Hmm…. sounds familiar)
He says the typical case with WWF guys is that they stay around until Vince
McMahon has to run them off. People who have the lucrative runs with Hogan
pulling down $500,000 a year tend to be WWF 4 Life. They tried to keep shady
stuff out of the locker room because the grind was so bad that the locker room
had to be a sanctuary and had to be very positive.

Why were they paired
with Bobby Heenan? They were scared that Vince was going to change around
their gimmick, but were relieved when Vince assigned Bobby as their manager and
only changed their name instead of their gimmick. At that time, Heenan was only
managing top guys like Andre the Giant, Haku, and Rick Rude. They didn’t
need him to do the talking, but they weren’t going to turn down a guy as good as
that.

What was Hulk Hogan like? He was all business. He never saw
Terry Bollea… just Hulk Hogan. He pretty much stayed in his own locker room.
He was nice and polite, but mostly stayed to himself.

Did they see
potential in the Rockers? They were better than the Rock and Roll Express
from a workrate perspective. “Shawn Michaels could do anything” while
Marty Janetty was just great.

Demolition– Barry Darsow
(Smash) is one of his best friends. Demolition whacked Tully around a bit
because his reputation as an asshole preceded him, but he did just fine against
them.

Different demands in ringwork between the WWF and WCW- The ring was
harder for one. There were a lot of 30-minute draws. At the level they were at
(upper-midcard), they had to work hard to stand out because guys like Curt
Hennig
and Bret Hart were very impressive in the ring and were at
about their level. You’d have to go out and do your best against guys like the
Bushwhackers, as well as against great teams like the
Rockers.

Working big shows in the WWF vs. WCW- The WWF is as different as
night and day to WCW. Everything down to the lighting grid and the video quality
were difference.

Working with Strike Force– They only worked with
them at Wrestlemania 5, but it was still great because Tito Santana and
Rick Martel are good workers. They weren’t happy with how short the match
was, though.

Dealing with the exposure in the WWF vs. WCW- After spending
a year in the WWF, they were bigger stars than they ever were in WCW even though
they’d been on top in WCW. It was all due to Vince’s choice timeslots for his
syndicated shows and being in so many great markets.

Hart
Foundation
– They worked with them a lot. Bret was a great wrestler. Jim
“The Anvil” Neidhart
was similar to Road Warrior
Animal
.

Ultimate Warrior– Kept to himself, quiet, intense.
Vince had decided to make him a star even though he wasn’t going to be a great
wrestler and it worked.

What were their final days in the WWF like after
giving notice? Vince told them they’d make more than the last year, but they
weren’t given a total and they were already about $50,000 behind what they’d
made in the previous year. Around this time, they cracked and decided they had
to go back to the Carolinas. They told Vince about their situation and asked him
to either catch them up on the $50,000 they were behind on or give them a
release. They knew he was seriously considering what they’d said because he
skipped his daily visit to the gym in order to think about it. (Vince’s schedule
at that time was like clockwork, in that he’d handle business in the morning and
go to the gym in the afternoon and he rarely put off his workouts). He waited
until the next TV taping a few weeks later to give them a decision, which was
that if they wanted to go they could give 90 days notice, which they took him up
on. He didn’t mistreat them at that point in time, going as far as to put them
on the Saturday Night’s Main Event, which was a large payday because they got
paid by NBC and the WWF. They actually made more money on the way out than they
had been making, but their minds were made up.

What was the WCW
management like when they returned? Totally corporate. Jim Herd didn’t
know crap about wrestling and was only a casual fan instead of a die-hard one.
He says that the actual day-to-day operations can be performed by any executive
coming in from another company, but that only someone who knew a lot about
wrestling could make the right decisions about who to sign and for how much.

What was the locker room like? “Inmates running the asylum.” (That’s
what EVERYONE says about WCW on these shoots.) He says that a certain core of
guys ran things but at least they knew more than Jim Herd, who he calls an
idiot. He says it’s worse than it is today (with today being late 2000 or early
2001).

Working with Flair against Buzz Sawyer and The Great Muta
“It was like a bar fight every night.” He doesn’t know if Buzz doesn’t like him
or didn’t like everyone, but he was a badass and could do some serious damage.
Muta was great, though. He didn’t enjoy the matches because he was cast in the
wrong role (a face) for one thing.

The Horsemen turning on Sting- They
were supposed to turn the company around by building up Sting to take over from
Flair, but Sting blew his knee out and was out for six months.

His series
with the Steiners– He’s wrestled them about 1000 times with 5 different
partners and only remembers beating them once (with Bobby Eaton in 1992). “I
don’t think I can beat Rick Steiner’s 8-year old kid. Something in the
genetics.”

Sid Vicious as a Horseman- They recruited him because
they needed a power guy and had success with Lex Luger in that role in the past.
He was so intimidating that it worked for a while. Front office problems sent
Sid to the WWF, though.

Ole Anderson leaving WCW- They weren’t paying him
much and the business was starting to change so that his ideas weren’t meshing
well with the young guys. He eventually said “Screw it” and decided to
retire.

Working against Doom (Ron Simmons and Butch
Reed
)- Reed was hilarious, like The Cat (Ernest Miller), but
was also a badass. Ron Simmons “is in a league of his own” and calls him
a Steiner. The Steiners used to play ribs on people for just the fun of it. Arn
asked Simmons once why the Steiners never taped him to a chair and Simmons just
responded with a look that seemed to say “You’re shitting me, right?” Simmons
never went to the gym often in the late 80’s / early 90’s but could still bench
500 pounds when he went. “He’s a genetic freak.“ Current WWE referee Teddy
Long
was a great addition to their team, although Woman (Nancy
Sullivan
, now married to Chris Benoit) was better to look
at.

Matches with Bobby Eaton- It’s hard to tell how good he is until
you’re in the ring with him. He isn’t a muscled guy but he’s great wrestler and
it was a learning experience.

Ric Flair leaving for the WWF right before
Great American Bash 91- The reaction in the locker room was similar to when he
and Tully left in 1988, in that a lot of people were sad Flair left because they
drew against him while others wanted his spot on top. Unfortunately, the balance
of power shifted to Vince at that time. He wishes that Flair had come in with
them in 1988, which had been discussed, although it never came about. “If Ric
had come with us, we’d still be there.” He was glad to see him go to the WWF
because Vince would treat him right, but it was a few years too late to have the
impact he should have had. (According to some sources, Flair was supposed to be
interviewed by Brother Love at Summerslam 88, but Jim Duggan got that
spot since Flair didn’t make the jump.)

Being in the Dangerous Alliance
and his relationship with Paul Heyman outside the ring- Paul E. was a
bullshitter, but if you cut through all that he was a good guy. He sometimes
wished something was some way so hard that he believed that it was that way. The
Alliance was VERY talented, including himself, Paul E, Madusa, Steve
Austin, Bobby Eaton, Larry Zbysco, and Rick Rude. He said that WCW wasn’t
capable of promoting such a group at the time. Promoting their product was
ALWAYS WCW’s shortcoming.

Memories of tagging with Eaton against Ricky
Steamboat
and Dustin Rhodes– Around the 56 minute mark of a match in
the Omni, Dustin just lost it and started hallucinating and screaming. He
figures that it was because Dustin was so blown up. “It was one of the strangest
things I’ve ever encountered.” Dustin didn’t even remember it when asked about
it the next day.

Ricky Steamboat- Probably the best babyface in the
history of the business. Was a gentleman and everything about him was perfect
for his role.

Locker room response to Bill Watts’ arrival- It was one of
impending dread. When they found out what he WAS doing, they were scared
shitless. Since Watts made his money off cutting costs (and salaries) instead of
drawing more people, he pissed off a LOT of people quickly. Arn took his salary
cut personally, but is thankful he was bright enough to talk himself into a
program with Bill’s son Eric and to sit at home and get paid for six months.
What pissed him off most was that Watts told him that his team with Eaton was
the best in WCW, but that “you’ve been here too long.”

Were the boys
upset about Eric Watts’ push? “It was worse than Dustin Rhodes’ push
because at least Dustin was a good performer and was humble. Eric wasn’t.” They
don’t blame Eric for it, though, because Bill put him in that
position.

Working for Smokey Mountain Wrestling for a few shows- They
weren’t doing anything with him, so Gary Juster booked him with Smokey
Mountain right before he was going to come back to WCW. He puts over Jim
Cornette
for treating him right and says it was a lot of
fun.

Reforming the Horsemen at Slamboree 93- He wasn’t particularly happy
that they reformed the Horsemen again because it gets more watered down every
time they do it, but the fans were making the Horsemen sign as soon as Flair
came back. Tully was VERY close to coming back, but that his salary demands and
the number of days he wanted to work each month was WAY out of line compared to
what the rest of them were getting, so we ended up with Paul Roma
instead.

Working with Flair against the Hollywood Blondes (Steve
Austin and Brian Pillman)- They belonged together. He puts over Austin
heavily and says he saw something in him back then. He suggested that the office
just let him be what he is (which is the basis for Stone Cold Steve Austin), but
they never did anything with it. Pillman’s “Loose Cannon” gimmick was one of the
best performances of all time “and I’m not sure that all of that was really an
act.”

Wrestling Cactus Jack (Mick Foley)- “I don’t remember
working with him. I regret that I never did.”

Kip Frey as a boss-
“He was tremendous to work for… in fact, we had a nice deal lined up right
before he was fired, so I wish he’d stayed.”

Working with Paul Orndorff
and Steven Regal (now William Regal in the WWE)- He was a big
Orndorff fan and enjoyed working with him because their styles are similar.
Regal was years ahead of his time and made him look foolish in the ring with
that English style.

Working matches in New Japan against Steve Austin- It
was the first day over after the flight, so jet lag screwed up what should have
been a great match.

Initial impressions of Eric Bischoff as a
boss- He seemed good when he started because he had vision and foresaw
overtaking Vince. He didn’t think they could do it, but was happy that they were
trying a new direction for the company.

Hogan coming into the company-
Guys who knew a lot about the business were happy he came in because it meant
5000 more asses in seats each night.

His brief run with ECW- It came
about because WCW booked him and Bobby Eaton out to them and put them on
opposite sides of a tag match with Terry Funk and Sabu. “It was
horrible to watch” because Terry and Sabu were taking care of themselves instead
of putting on a great match. (Sabu and Funk brawled all over the building and
pretty much set a mark that they couldn’t reach, so he put a headlock on Bobby
and the place went silent)

How was Paul E different from the Dangerous
Alliance days to the ECW booker days- He caught him before he bought out Tod
Gordon, so it was great.

Joining Robert Fuller’s stable and working
against Terry Funk and Dustin Rhodes- “Working with Terry outside of ECW is
great.” He says that Bunkhouse Buck (Jimmy Golden) was a great wrestle
who happened to be cast in a one-dimensional role. “The cowboy thing has been
done to death”, so they should have had a new gimmick.

Honkytonk
Man
in WCW- HTM didn’t like what was laid out for him (jobbing to Johnny
B. Badd
at Starrcade 94), so he went home and Arn was put in his slot. His
one regret in the business is that he was seen as an upper-midcard guy because
“they never needed me until they needed me until they needed me, and then it was
to fill ANY void and be taken for granted.” He wants to be remembered not for
the best performance in wrestling history but, rather, that he never had a
shitty one.

Jobbing to Renegade– He didn’t have a problem with it,
but everyone else had a problem with it but the office guys who put it together.
“It was another Van Hammer or PN News situation. The guy was very
nice but was put out there way before he should have been and it cost him his
life.”

Did the atmosphere change a lot when Hogan came in? No, because
Hogan didn’t have as much of an affect in the locker room as much as the front
office due to his creative control. Being able to take care of himself has kept
Hogan on top for years, which is good for him but it means that he’s scrapped
booking plans that affect everyone else.

Wrestling Ric Flair in late
1995- It was the only time he ever puked before a match (Fall Brawl 95). He
never wanted to wrestle him because it was his best friend and that he doesn’t
think anyone ever bought it. The one good thing is that he got to see up close
how good Flair was. It was a personal victory for him not to get booed out of
the building in the middle of Flair Country (Asheville, NC).

Memories of
Brian Pillman around the Bookerman incident at Superbrawl 6- He didn’t know what
was going on at the time and very few people did. He didn’t mind that Pillman
and Sullivan were working him because he just wanted something to succeed at
that time. (Pillman ended his “respect” match against Kevin Sullivan
early by saying “I respect you BOOKERMAN!” on the mic. Arn and Flair came out to
brawl with Sullivan to fill the remainder of the time alloted to the
match.)

Working with Vader– “Oh, God… He almost killed Ric and I
both in a handicap match in Daytona.” It was hard to do anything to him because
he was 450 pounds and very wide.

What did they think about Nitro going
head-to-head with RAW- He didn’t see the sense in it because they thought it
would split the audience instead of increasing it. It hurt the business in the
long run, though, because Nitro was better than the Pay Per Views. He said the
match list for the average Nitro looked like a list of dream matches in a
wrestling magazine.

Steve “Mongo” McMichael– He loves him to death
but knew he was going to be limited as a wrestler. He said if Mongo had no money
in the bank that he’d have had the enthusiasm to learn the
business.

Injuring his arm- It’s a direct result of his neck injury. The
first time he got injured was when Marty Janetty put him in a victory roll in a
Madison Square Garden match. He cracked a vertebrae but had to work that night
in Boston, too. Thankfully, it was a tag match so Tully covered for him a bit.
When he wrestles the Steiners in the 90’s, his right arm went out on him after a
powerslam and it was never the same. Right before Halloween Havoc 97, his neck
was really bothering him as his neck was REALLY screwed up at that point. The
night before the PPV, he started lifting weights and couldn’t close his hand
anymore because a bone chip had shifted and cut off control to his hand. He
wrestled Lugar on that PPV even without use of his left hand and worked another
two months on a limited schedule. In January, his hand kept getting worse and
both it and his arm started to atrophy. The doctor told him to stop, but he kept
going. Eventually, he had trouble lacing up his boots, Bischoff noticed it and
asked him about it and, when he found out about his hand, sent him to the
doctor. Eventually, he was split open and all the bone chips were removed but it
ended his in-ring career.

How did you feel about it? “I wanted to die.
I’ve never felt anything like that and I’ve torn my groin muscle before.” He was
on Percocets, Valium, and a morphine drip and he still was feeling everything.
Eventually, it got tolerable. He started back in the gym after that and was fine
until a guy slapped him on the back and asked him how he was doing, which caused
his whole system to shut down again. It dawned on him then that he was about to
retire.

The retirement speech- “The realist thing I’d ever done. If I’d
been looking at Ric’s face, I wouldn’t have been able to go through with it.” It
was hard on him trying to figure out how he was going to provide for a wife, a
newborn, and an 11-year old kid. The company treated him right and he was
already somewhat of a road agent anyway, so it worked out. He’s 80% pain free
now, but there’s no protection left in his back.

Kevin Nash and
Scott Hall coming over to WCW- He wasn’t sure what to think because they
knew it was two of Vince’s top guys, but no one thought it would be nearly as
successful as it was. The whole picture changed when they jumped.

The
Curt Hennig feud- When Curt accepted the Horsemen position then jumped to the
nWo, it died for a while. Eventually, a bunch of backstage arguments involving
Mongo, Chris Benoit, and Dean Malenko brought the Horsemen unit back. He
thinks that no version of the Horsemen after the Windham group were ever treated
right, though. If it helped guys move up the card, he’s happy for them but it
did nothing for him and Flair.

How’s life now? Fine. He’s happy with
where he is.

Helping Goldberg with promos and other things- “I wrote
Bill’s promos for him.” Sometimes it was easier for someone who knows his
character to write for him than him to write his own stuff. Eventually, Bischoff
came to him to coach Goldberg on his matches. He thinks that Goldberg being a
quality guy makes him feel that much better about helping him.

Was it
hard dealing with guys that had high guaranteed contracts? Sometimes. He’s still
one of the guys even though he works in the office, so he can see the wrestler’s
perspective. He thinks that making the wrestler feel good about what they’re
doing makes things go much better than telling them what they’re going to do.
He’s just a messenger. He also cleans up what’s given to him, and he thinks he
does a good job of it.

Did Flair’s problems with Bischoff strain his
relationship with Bischoff? Yes, because Flair is always his friend and he’s
very close to him. He thought that WCW’s attempt to fire Flair in 1998 was bad
for the business because Flair’s willing to give them what they ask and is
always a very entertaining segment. “Flair’s a 14-time world champion and I
think he’s only won those 14 matches.”

The mental hospital angle with
Flair- Flair wasn’t happy with it, but did the best he could with it.

Was
David Flair ready for the push they gave him? Yes, because it was only
supposed to be a one-time deal on Pay Per View, but was received so well that
David was given a contract he wasn’t ready for. He suggests taking him off TV
and training him for 3 years before bringing him back, although he doesn’t have
the necessary passion to be a great in the business.

Best worker in the
business today- “Chris Benoit, no hesitation.”

Best match he’s ever had-
“Ric, in Asheville, because of the reaction”, although he had some great ones
with the Rock and Roll Express.

What was Eric Bischoff’s downfall?
Bringing in guys like Master P and the KISS Demon who were
leeching off of WCW’s fame and not giving them anything in return. They didn’t
need anybody to draw the numbers they did, but they did stupid shit like putting
Will Sasso of MAD TV on Nitro. Stuff like that cost them huge (Money-wise
and in poor fan response).

Reactions to Vince Russo coming in- He
had a whole different psychology. He was a great storyteller. If shaving Flair’s
head was made into the biggest thing in WCW history, it would have been worth
it. However, Russo never got the reactions of all the wrestlers on the situation
and never had a payoff with the situation. Russo spread himself so thin that
nothing meant anything. Putting himself on TV all the time was definitely a
mistake.

Will Vince McMahon and Bischoff work together? I don’t see it
happening, but they’ll do it if it’s necessary. They’re both motivated and
intelligent, but Vince is very autonomous while Eric had limited total autonomy.
Vince runs his own company while Eric runs someone else’s company. He would work
for Vince again if the deal was right but doesn’t want to be on the road 24 days
a month.

The Bash 2000 business with Hogan and Russo- “Every time I think
it’s real, it isn’t. Everytime I think it isn’t, it’s real. I won’t comment
either way.”

What does WCW need? They need a boss with the final say.
They have a lot of guys plugging holes who aren’t responsible for it, so they’re
getting screwed on the situation. Until there’s a direction, they’re just going
to keep spinning their wheels.

Kevin Nash’s booking- He did a good job
and doesn’t think he pushed himself and his friends too far. There will always
be that point of view, but it’s always from people who aren’t getting the
benefit.

What does he think about Vince possibly buying out WCW- It’s a
little of everything… Vince would bring direction and total autonomy, but
there would be no competition to watch out for and less room for the wrestlers
to bargain with Vince. The best thing for everything is to have two thriving
companies, and three is better, and there are a lot of people whose livelihood
is riding on it.

His favorite angle he was ever involved in- Dusty in the
parking lot was great, as well as he and Zbysco slamming Barry Windham’s hand in
the car door at Halloween Havoc 91.

The most underutilized guy in the
company- Booker T. In fact, in an in-house article where he was asked who
the next three stars would be in 1999 or 2000, he said Booker, Scott
Steiner
, and Chris Benoit. He also thinks that Lance Storm and
Elix Skipper can be great, but only if Skipper’s style doesn’t get him
permanently injured.

At what point did he say “Wow! I’ve made it”-
Probably when he wrestled Ronnie Garvin in a 30-minute match on Worldwide and
lost 7 seconds left. Dusty later told the whole crew at a meeting that if he
ever had to show people what wrestling should be, he’d show that
match.

Best tag partner- Bobby Eaton from a business point of view,
although Tully’s the best in-ring partner.

Best rib- The Steiners
stripping Dallas Page naked in the middle of the ring during a battle
royal. Page rolled out of the ring and Oliver Humperdink gave him his
shirt to cover himself with and EVERYONE was more appalled at the shirtless
Humperdink than the naked DDP.

Where does he see the business in 5 years?
To be successful, they need to go back to basics. They need to put some iron in
the officials from the commissioner down to the refs. That will allow heels to
get heat by cheating again because they’re actually breaking rules again. They
also need to cut out the chairs, wrenches, belt shots, etc. Longer matches and
less time of people walking down the hall. More of the old-school NWA formula
with one guys’ entrance, another guys’ entrance, a match, an interview before or
after it, and announcers’ commentary about the whole situation before they move
on. “Vince is doing this right now” (must be late 2000, when guys like Angle and
Benoit were running wild). More wrestling and less T+A.

Who taught him
how to do a promo- He wasn’t properly taught. It goes back to what Orndorff told
him early in his career. “People will listen to you if you talk TO them instead
of talking AT them. Give them an example of something they see every day so they
can understand.”

Is there anything he wants to say to his fans? Yes, “The
depression I’ve had, and that other people have had, is a direct result of
losing the fans’ emotion and involvement, which was why I would leave my house
on Christmas morning to go work a show instead of playing Santa for my kid. My
success is your success.”

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