RF Video Shoot Interview with Charles Wright (The Godfather)


This was filmed in 2006

The interview was conducted by Rob Feinstein

It runs at one hour and twenty-seven minutes long.

 

Wright says he enjoyed wrestling growing up but was not a “mark.” He talks about seeing Rocky Johnson, Ray Stevens, and his favorite, Jesse Ventura at the Cow Palace as a kid in the early 70’s.

 

While working at the Crazy Horse in Las Vegas, they were filming the movie “Over the Top” and got connected with a few of the guys who suggested he become a wrestler and gave him Larry Sharpe’s name and he trained at the Monster Factory.

 

Wright talks about Sharpe taking percentage of his money when he was working for Jerry Lawler in Memphis for about $300 a week. He said his kids and himself were living off of potatoes and water but it turns out the contract he filled out was wrong and it read Sharpe would get 10% for zero years instead of five so he no longer had to give him his money.

 

Regarding the training, Wright joked that learning how to drink was the toughest part and the road is the hardest part in general and really more physical than the wrestling.

 

His first match was held at a race track in New Jersey as he wrestled two guys with one arm tied behind his back. Wright said he was awful then and at the beginning thought wrestling was a “half-assed shoot.”

 

He called himself the “Soultaker” after the character that was tattooed on his arm at the recommendation of his wife.

 

Wright said due to his size and look he was pushed at the beginning but the downside of that not being able to learn to work and he was not ready for the spot.

 

He tells a story of teaming with the Master of Pain (Undertaker) in Memphis against Bill Dundee & Jerry Lawler. Wright said the Undertaker and himself hated Dundee and beat his ass so after that they were not allowed to team together. Wright also said Dutch Mantell tried to fire him but Lawler would not let that happen. Wright said it was because he did not know how to work but since they did not have many people who could draw and he did a little bit Lawler let him stay.

 

He talks about the road trips and driving in a Ford Taurus while it was snowing with Undertaker, Dirty White Boy, Dirty White Girl, and Brian Lee as the show was cancelled and no one told them. He said they made very little money and would put 1,500 a week on the car.

 

Wright laughed and said the best “rats” were in Memphis as they took care of them.

 

On getting into the WWF, Wright said he did work in Japan and Germany when the Undertaker told him he should come to the WWF and Jay Strongbow gave him a call where he presented him with a voodoo character.

 

He goes back to his time in Japan and said one time after getting his ass kicked in a match, Bam Bam Bigelow told him to hit his opponent as hard as he can the next time or else they would not show him any respect. The next night, he decked his opponent, the Black Cat, after a lockup and never had a problem again. Wright said it was incredibly stiff style they wrestled in Japan but he liked that as he said he was a lousy wrestler anyway.

 

Wright said that Vince McMahon was always fair with him and compliments the McMahon family as a whole.

 

He talks about not being ready for a main event angle while Papa Shango in the WWF. Wright said he was too green and naive and thrown to the wolves as Sid Vicious refused to work with the Ultimate Warrior so he was fed to Warrior as a result.

 

Wright talks about wrestling today and how it is less popular due to the fact they do not involve the audience, citing all of the characters and catchphrases during the “Attitude Era.”

 

On other guys in the WWF, Wright said he regrets blowing off Tito Santana’s advice and says he was not taking things seriously. He loves Bob Backlund as a person but says he was one of the hardest people to work with in the ring. Wright said that Ric Flair lives the gimmick. He loved Owen Hart and calls him a funny and talented person that everyone liked.

 

He ended up getting the USWA belt but Wright said he hated it and complained to the point they had Owen Hart take it off of him.

 

Wright said he left the WWF because he was barely making any money then went back to his bar in Las Vegas. He returned with the Kama character as Wright said he had dabbled with boxing and other martial arts. Once again he talks about wishing he had taken it more seriously and sat down with the veterans to learn and improve.

 

When asked about the 1996 Royal Rumble and one of the final few left in the match he said he was just happy to last that long.

 

He talked about not knowing about the beef between Bret Hat and Shawn Michaels until they fought in the locker room, which he said he missed by seconds.

 

Wright left again but came back to join the Nation of Domination. He said Undertaker would call up and convince him to return. He talks about how originally, he was going to be an updated version of Papa Shango but the day he came back it was scrapped as the Kane gimmick was created and he got put in the NoD.

 

On The Rock, Wright said Vince came up to Ron Simmons and himself to say the Rock was going to be a huge star and for them to help him out.

 

Wright talks about the angle where D-X dressed up as the Nation and said it was funny and he was laughing when it happened. He also said it was good for business. Wright also confirms the “shit sandwich” that Mark Henry got and said it was true for Sable too.

 

After the 1997 Survivor Series, Wright said that Vince addressed them all the next day in the cafeteria where he offered to let anyone out of their contracts if they took issue to what he did to Bret Hart. Wright confirmed the rumor that Mick Foley was talking about starting a boycott of RAW that night but nothing came to fruition.

 

He said that Bradshaw came up with the “Brawl for All” contest. Wright said he was so confident he’d beat Bart Gunn that he partied the night before but ended up getting knocked out. He was pissed about working Dan Severn, who beat him by doing takedowns. He also said Ken Shamrock refused to participate because he was not getting paid for it and that he would have won the whole thing.

 

On the Godfather gimmick, Wright said he spoke with Vince to let him know about the stuff he was saying referencing marijuana and how he wanted to reach that audience as Vince was cool with that.

 

He was about to tell a story of when he was in San Diego with the Undertaker and an 18 year old Shane McMahon but laughs and says he’ll “leave that one alone” as it apparently had to with women.

 

Wright said Tiger Ali Singh was hard to deal with and that he rubbed people the wrong way and he just did not work out in the WWF. He likes Val Venis despite his “weird political views.” Wright said he did not care for Stevie Richards as a person and that he rubbed him the wrong way.

 

He talks about Triple H and how the locker room did not like him when he first entered the company. Wright also said he was very smart and would watch every match while he was backstage and took it as seriously as Vince did while most of the others were partying.

 

Vince created the Goodfather character due to all the pressure he was facing from the Network as he was sick of dealing with all the blowback. Wright hated that character as he said the Godfather was more of who he was, someone who liked to have fun and was laid back. Wright added that Vince loved the character and would have the women come out naked if it was allowed.

 

Wright said he thought it was a big mistake for Vince to buyout his competition in WCW because now he does not have anything before adding since he is not a billionaire himself, what does he know.

 

He got released after he came back with a watered down version of the Godfather character then got hurt. John Laurinaitis called him up with nine months left on his contract and he was released. He was offered less money but decided he was done and went back to managing his bar in Las Vegas.

 

Wright said he was not there for the “Flight From Hell” but did witness Kurt Angle slap Big Show, who did nothing about it afterwards.

 

He did not end up going on a tour of WWA as too many problems kept occurring as his flight was downgraded to coach with multiple stops and the amount of money kept going down.

 

Wright came back at 2005 Vengeance as he was contacted by Michael Hayes and agreed to do something fun but did not want to wrestle as he races dirt bikes a few days a week. He also successfully held up Laurinaitis for money.

 

On if he ever refused to job to anyone, Wright said he quit after being asked to job to X-Pac at a PPV while he was the Papa Shango character.

 

When asked about being “ribbed,” Wright said he walked in on Marty Jannetty putting locks on all his stuff and how he threatened him and it never happened again.

 

He does not believe that the lack of “kayfabe” hurts the business as society changes and people get smarter.

 

Wright tells a story of how he walked into his hotel room and it smelled like shit so he went into the bathroom and saw shit everywhere. Right after that, the door knocked and the maid was there saying she was there to clean up the mess because he had a bad stomach as it turned out the Nasty Boys did this.

 

The interview ends with Wright saying he wished he was nicer to the fans and tells them to come to his club in Las Vegas and he will talk with you and sign anything to have.

 

Final Thoughts:¬†Overall, it was an enjoyable interview that breezed along. Wright seems like a decent guy and did not come here to throw anyone under the bus or complain about others. He seemed to enjoy his time in wrestling and when he wasn’t making money he left to go back to manage bars and night clubs. He did mention wishing he had taken wrestling more seriously throughout the interview but at the same time did not seem to have any regrets. At one point in the interview he told us his locker room nickname was “Big Silly.”

You get a sense from watching this that Undertaker kept calling Wright to come back when he left because they were drinking buddies. Then again, he was part of the “BSK” back in the late 1990’s.

I’d mildly recommend this to fans of the Attitude Era.

You can purchase this on DVD for $20 or Digital Download for $14.99

 

Next week I will recap the George Steele shoot from RF Video.

 

Here is my schedule for the next several days:

Friday: WWF SummerSlam 8/28/89

Sunday: Mid-South Wrestling 6/24/82

Sunday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 9/2/89

Monday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 9/3/89

Tuesday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 9/9/89

Wednesday: TBD (If PWG Mystery Vortex IV comes in the mail on time that will be it. If not, likely EVOLVE 78)

Thursday: RF Video Shoot Interview with George Steele


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