|Ole Anderson Shoot Interview (2008)Posted by Brandon Truitt on Jan 5, 2004, 19:30||
Ole Anderson Shoot
How did he get started in wrestling? Grab the book to
find out in detail, but here’s the short version: He was in amateur wrestling
from ten years old until he was in the army. Shortly before he got out of the
army, he was advised by some wrestlers, including Dick The Bruiser and
Verne Gagne, to get into the business.
Did he watch wrestling
before he got in the business? The first time he ever heard of it was when
The Crusher came to Minnesota while he was in college. Crusher was so
popular that you couldn’t help but notice him. He’d only heard that wrestling
was bullshit up until that point but figured there had to be some legitimate
tough wrestlers somewhere. He knew that Verne Gagne was an All American in
football and a national champion in amateur wrestling.
His first match-
It was against Danny Hodge, who was a very decorated college wrestler. He
remembers specifically that he was pulling down $148 a paycheck as a Specialist
4 in the army around that time (1967). Verne Gagne told him his pay would be
about $350, which Ole thought would be his monthly pay until Verne told him it
would actually be his weekly pay.
How did he end up in the Southeast? He
stayed in Minnesota for about a year. After that, he had a choice between going
to Dallas for Fritz Von Erich or Calgary for Stu Hart and took
Calgary because Stu guaranteed him $300 a week. Calgary wasn’t much of a town
back then and he could only take it for a month before he left. Stu was a great
guy but he’d been warned by Wally Karbo beforehand not to get too close
to Stu because Stu liked to stretch big, strong guys.
Erich– Waldo, Archie “The Stomper” Gouldie, and “Sailor” Art
Thomas were the big draws in the territory at the time.
Hart– He remembers Owen and one of his brothers, possibly Bret Hart,
hiding under the ring and shooting them with squirt-guns during the
Lars Anderson– He and Gene Anderson were wrestling
as the original Minnesota Wrestling Crew. Ole and Lars had gone to the same
college and talked on the phone about teaming up, so Ole went down to the
Carolinas, where Lars and Gene were, and then they started wrestling there as
the Anderson Brothers. When Lars left for Minnesota a few years down the
road, Ole and Gene became a tag team full-time.
His pay at the time- He
was pulling down about $30,000 around that time in Minnesota, which was more
than many Minnesota Vikings football players were making. He made about as much
in the Carolinas, although the drives weren’t as Hellish. At least one wrestler
got killed due to the road and weather conditions up there.
Doing a shoot
interview now- He wouldn’t have done it at all before a few years ago but says
that the business is so exposed now that it’s no longer a big
Wrestling in his time vs. today- In his time, people who got into
the business tended to have an amateur background of some kind, although Ole
admits that he wasn’t anywhere near as good as Danny Hodge, Joe Scarpa (Chief
Jay Strongbow), Verne Gagne, or others who started out at that time. While
there weren’t too many real shoots back then, the first few minutes of a match
with Wahoo McDaniel would still hurt like a sonofabitch because he’d chop
you so hard that you’d get blood blisters. There weren’t too many people who’d
stand still and take that kind of punishment in a “fake”
Protecting the business- Lou Thesz and Verne Gagne told him
early in his career that if someone is being charged to watch you work, then
you’re providing entertainment. You always have to keep in mind whether you’re
providing a good show or a bad show. However, his big deal was making anyone who
ever got in the ring with him think that he and Gene Anderson were the toughest
people they’d ever face because they believed in the philosophy of doing a work
so stiff that it seems like a shoot by the end of the match.
He worked out with Lou Thesz a few years ago. They did like 45 minutes of work
in the weight room then Thesz suggested they spar on the mats in the other room.
Even at 86 years old, Thesz was still a great shooter and knocked the shit out
of him and, 30 minutes later when they were done, both were bleeding but Ole was
the worse of the two. Thesz even put Ole in a few shoot holds that were used in
pro wrestling but were never applied properly there.
People from other
territories- He was always warned never to go to Tennessee because it was total
bullshit. Whenever wrestlers from Tennessee would show up and expect to lay out
a match before getting into the ring, they were in for a rude surprise. He
specifically told them “It’s assholes like you who have everyone thinking that
all professional wrestling is the same and that it’s all bullshit.” The
Tennessee guys would all say “Well, that’s how I like it” but very few would
stick around for the match. At least one guy waited until he was out of sight
then bolted for the door and drove off before Ole even realized who was
The reason he was in the business- To make as much money as
possible. Some people were in it to win championships but Ole’s mindset was
“Fuck, I can buy as many championship belts as I want. Don’t mean shit.”
Hall of Fame- He heard he and Gene were considered for the Hall of Fame
but that they weren’t strongly considered because they didn’t go too many places
other than the Southeast. His response to the guy that called up (he never says
Dave Meltzer although he refers to “Some guy in California”) was that the
stupid sonofabitch should have realized that doing something like that would
have meant uprooting his family several times chasing money that might not have
been there instead of staying in areas where he was on top and making a lot of
money. He also says that the people who worked in all those different
territories were people who weren’t good enough to hack it in any one place,
which is why they were always moving around. He and Gene were told by Jim
Crockett Sr., Jim Barnett, and Eddie Graham that they could
stay in Mid-Atlantic, Georgia, or Florida as long as they wanted, which is why
they never left the Southeast. “As stupid as you are, I wouldn’t want to be in
your goddamn Hall of Fame.”
Sidenote- If Ole didn’t want to be in the
Hall of Fame, then why does he go off on this tangent here, in his book, and
ESPECIALLY on the Wrestling Observer Live show during an interview with Dave
What made his team with Gene so special? They didn’t care about
all the pageantry of the business but, rather, were more concerned with being
able to kick everyone’s asses and go as long as they needed to in the ring.
Harley Race was one of the guys who could smoke, drink, kick ass, and go
for a long time in the ring.
Harley Race- Tough guy, although not much of
a wrestler. He’d do all kinds of crazy stuff like kicking the shit out of anyone
who got close to him. He got sued plenty of times but was a very tough guy. He
had a lot of balls. No one would ride with Harley, partially because Harley
would typically drive 85 miles an hour down two lane highways. Harley was crazy
enough that, if he wanted someone else to drive, he wouldn’t even stop the car
to do it. He ended up finding out WHY Harley did that about 30 seconds after he
got behind the wheel, as he looked in the rear view mirror and saw flashing red
lights. Harley DID pay for the ticket though.
Wahoo McDaniel- He
was a great guy to have in wrestling because he was a legitimate athlete instead
of a weightlifter. Wahoo’s nose was broken by Jack Brisco but he still kept on
going in the business.
Gene Anderson- He was another tough one because
they were tagging together in a match against Wahoo and Paul Jones. Wahoo got a
little sloppy with one of his chops and accidentally hit Gene in the mouth,
knocking the top set of Gene’s teeth so that they were bent backwards. They
still finished the match though. Gene went to bed that night, then they both got
up the next morning and went to the dentist, who had to replace all the teeth
that were knocked back. Gene never said a word the whole time. He then asks a
rhetorical question about whether anyone in the business today would do that.
(I’d say it’s because they have more sense than that, although that’s just
People skipping shows- People used to skip them in WCW for a variety
of BS excuses such as “I think I’m getting a cold.” Ole says the only show he
ever missed was after he got stabbed really bad and the doctors thought he could
die. He still wrestled two days later because he would have missed TV for the
week. He split his chest where he’d been stitched up, which happened constantly
for the next few weeks. He’d just get stitched up again then get ready for the
The series against Greg Valentine and Ric Flair- That was
when Valentine and Flair were both good wrestlers. It was unusual to have two
heel teams facing each other at that time. He starts asking rhetorical questions
about who the fans will turn face before answering himself and saying that
they’ll always choose the toughest team, which was himself and Gene.
Being a babyface- He hated it, although it allowed him to turn heel on
Gordon Solie and tell him off on the air. He basically told Gordon that
he didn’t know shit about wrestling and Gordon was in shock the whole time.
Joe Pedicino– He didn’t like this “big, fat tub of shit” either.
Pedicino and Solie were doing a show where they showcased old matches and
someone brought up Ole’s name as being someone unlikable and the other said that
Ole didn’t have any friends in the business and probably never had any friends.
(Sidenote- I’d say it’s true for the most part… the only people I’ve ever seen
that say they like Ole were the Road Warriors.) He called up Solie a few
years ago and asked about getting some pictures and Solie offered to provide him
with a lot of pictures of Ole from his time in Florida as well as 16mm films and
tapes of his matches there. Never got a thing from Solie and never heard a word
out of him after that.
His hand- He’s got a brace on his left hand which
he says is partially due to how he’d decide if someone was big enough to be in
the business. He’d put his finger and thumb around the guy’s wrist and, if they
almost touched, it meant they weren’t big enough to be in wrestling. Magnum
TA was naturally a small-boned guy.
Shoots in the business- They’re
usually only a few seconds long, at which point one says to the other “OK,
you’re stronger or better” and they go back to working.
Did he travel
with Gene most of the time? Yes, because he and Gene were close. They used to
play football against each other in high school then ran into each other again
when Ole was in the army. The conversations between them, though, were fairly
one-sided as Ole would do most of the talking and Gene would say yes, no, or “I
don’t think that’ll work.” (Sounds like the conversations between the two
kidnappers in Fargo… Steve Buscemi did all the talking and the other guy would
only say “Yup” or “Where is pancakes house?”.)
Malenko– He met him in Florida then Boris came up to the Carolinas in the
mid-70s. Boris was pretty tough, as were his sons Joe Malenko and Dean
Malenko, who’s currently a WWE road agent. Boris kept talking up Karl
Gotch at the time until Ole said “How tough could he be? He’s over in Hawaii
hauling garbage right now.” (That was a true comment… Gotch was like a
sanitation commissioner in Hawaii at the time) A few weeks later, Gene drives up
with Boris and someone else in the car. When Ole gets in the back and looks at
the other person in the back, it’s Karl Gotch. Ole basically challenged Gotch
and Gotch threw it back in his face, but did it in a way to where they all
became friendly. (It was something like Ole saying “If you want to kick my ass,
stand in line and pack a lunch.” Gotch turned to him slowly and said “I’ll pack
a lunch because, when I have you in the ring, I want to take all
Wrestling today- He doesn’t like how people today no-sell
everything like Jason in a Friday the 13th movie. Although they’ve got some
legitimate wrestlers in there, they don’t know how to draw a crowd, work, etc.
The audience has also shifted towards being a much younger crowd.
of the interview- No one speaks spontaneously anymore, as everything’s scripted.
They used to cut plenty of promos between 30 seconds and 2 minutes in one day
and would do it spontaneously, not using a teleprompter or cue cards. They’d get
a subject, such as Wahoo McDaniel and Paul Jones in Charlotte and the
stipulations, then would go from there.
The Four Horsemen– He
thinks that Dusty Rhodes came up with the whole thing. He didn’t really
want to get involved in it because he was thinking about retirement, but had
heard that the checks were about to start going up due to merchandising. He
doesn’t remember exactly how much it was, but thinks that he didn’t make squat
off of Four Horsemen merchandise but that the houses went up slightly because of
it. He didn’t like Flair much at the time. Tully Blanchard was okay. He
didn’t know Arn Anderson that well because he’d mainly known Arn as a TV
jobber in Georgia when he was running the territory. He says that Arn had a lot
of the same mannerisms as Gene Anderson, though.
Ric Flair- He’s nowhere
near as good as he thinks he is. Ole says that a lot of people probably say the
same thing about him but his opinion of himself is so high that even a fraction
of it is still pretty far above everyone else.
His role in Georgia
Championship Wrestling- He was the booker of the territory. He was very hands-on
in that job, which not all bookers do, but he feels it was an essential part of
the job to watch all the matches and tell the guys if he thought what they did
was shitty because it affected his money directly as well as their money.
Booking today has a lot of thought that goes into it but that they don’t have
the tools to do it properly.
Who should write the definitive book on how
to book a promotion? Verne Gagne, Bill Watts, and himself would
definitely be on the short list for it. He’s not sure about Pat Patterson
because he was a star but that doesn’t necessarily make him qualified. The top
three matches were all planned well going into it but the undercard matches were
all planned so that there weren’t any major problems. Ole talks about how, early
in his career, he had a match against Rene Goulet that he felt was very
good but Verne Gagne let both of them know that it was the worst match he’d ever
seen. They were booked as the second match on the card but did everything that
they knew, which stole the thunder away from the main event match.
Matches today- It’s just people beating the shit out of each other and
making people kiss their asses, which he’s just heard second hand but he feels
that it’s a bunch of crap. People back in the day could draw a crowd and get
enough heat that people want to kill you. People today can’t get even a fraction
of that because there’s no one around who can teach them. They all felt that it
was “jumping off the top rope, or jumping off the building like Owen Hart, or
grabbing your balls and talking about having two hos who work for
Booking WCW in 1990- Ric Flair, Kevin Sullivan, and Jim
Cornette were booking it before him. He can’t tell you everything that was
wrong because there was so much that was screwed up. The wrestlers weren’t
willing to work by the time he was a booker, and it pisses him off a bit that he
was making about a quarter of what some guys were making at the time. The people
at Turner didn’t have a clue and that he’s not sure what his boss’s claim to
fame was (Jim Herd) but implies he was a clueless putz. The first thing
he was assigned as booker was slashing the WCW budget, which he took from ten
million dollars down to seven million dollars within a few minutes. When he took
it back to his boss, he was told “How is that going to make me look?” because
his boss had been there for several years and couldn’t do what Ole did in a few
minutes. Ole’s response was “I don’t think anyone ever accused you of knowing
anything about wrestling”, which he admits probably didn’t help his position as
he was fired seven months later. In short, everyone thought that wrestling would
be bullshit and that it would be easy to run, but his counter-position was that
movies would also be considered bullshit but that people don’t think making one
of those is easy.
Heavy criticism against him for the Black
Scorpion and Robocop angles- Robocop was the fault of his boss and he
had nothing to do with it. The Black Scorpion started because he was pissed at
his bosses at Turner, “the dumbest bunch of bastards I’ve ever met.” During a
meeting a few months into his term as booker, the Turner suits looked at some of
the booking he was doing in the small towns and decided that the cards he was
booking were no good, so he came up with the Black Scorpion vs. Sting as
a joke and they loved it. None of them, himself included, had any idea of who
the Black Scorpion would be but the Turner suits still loved the idea. At that
point, he was just sitting there collecting a paycheck because he was so sick of
the job. He feels that anyone who watched wrestling at that time and could only
criticize that one thing, then “you’re a bunch of stupid asses to begin with and
it doesn’t make any difference what you people think.”
Talent in WCW at
the time- Flair was okay, Lex Luger was completely clueless, etc. “Tell
me one person who was there at the time who you can remember from the 70s.” (…
I’m not touching this one with a 50 foot pole. You can insert your own comments
here.) He had a bunch of “snot-nosed kids” in the ring but didn’t do too badly
with what he had to work with.