Highspots Shoot Interview with Mr. Hughes

This was filmed in 2005

The host was Michael Bochicchio

It runs at two hours and thirty-eight minutes long

 

Hughes is asked about his athletic career. He talks about being an Adidas, Parade, and McDonald’s All-American in Football, Wrestling, and Track while in high school. Hughes says he was highly recruited by schools like Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Iowa to name a few then went to Kansas State.

 

He talks about always wanting to be a wrestler and how his dad took him to Memorial Hall in Kansas City as a kid. Hughes tells a story of how he took a recruiting visit to Kansas State when they played Oklahoma and asked Steve Williams about getting into the wrestling business. Williams asked where he was from and said to get in touch with Bob Geigel and that he’d put in a word.

 

We get a recruiting story. He talks about going to Iowa University and how they really wanted him to sign but he went to Kansas State and lost his virginity and decided to sign there. Hughes said that when he told Iowa of his plan to sign elsewhere, Bill Snyder came down and flew to his home and was begging him to change his mind and actually crying at one point. He then goes into how if a school really wants you to sign and you can bring them more money they’ll do whatever it takes to get you to sign and keep the star athletes happy when they are at the school. Hughes also said that every school he visited slipped him an “envelope” and told him not to say anything. Hughes said no one will speak up against this as no one wants to lose their perks and freebies and they’ll get their names scrubbed off the books and that its a big business.

 

After school, Hughes called up Geigel, who knew all about him and his football career and even waived his training fee. He trained with TC Carter, Brian Clark (Adam Bomb), and a few others veterans like Harley Race, Rufus R. Jones, and Sonny Myers would come in for a bit. Hughes said the wrestling today is garbage and asks how many times can you do a TLC Match without getting surgery.

 

Hughes played in the NFL during the strike of 1987 but left as he saw the politics that were taking place and wasn’t going to get a job and saw guys there who had bad knees and did not want to end up that way.

 

His first opponent was Bulldog Bob Brown and impressed enough to stick around and talks about working with veterans who took him to school each night and you learn that way instead of working other guys who were “green” like himself. Hughes says in his school he teaches them to work this way and wants the people to be entertained and have the stuff look legit.

 

He jokes about loving Harley Race but hates riding with him as he drives 100 mph and drinks a ton and its tough to keep up.

 

In the AWA he made his TV debut. He made a $150 in his debut show. Hughes said that Verne Gagne loved him and had him travel with Ox Baker to start. He was promised a push and that he’d be one of their stars but this was in 1990 and the company would close soon after that as Hughes said they were not drawing and could not compete with WWF and WCW.

 

When he AWA went under, Jody Hamilton called him up about coming into WCW to work with Lex Luger. At the time, Ole Anderson was the booker and Ole said he liked the way he looked and wanted to make him a heel as they had the same finishing move (Torture Rack). Ole asked him how much it would take for him to come in as Hughes said $300 per night.

 

On Lex Luger, Hughes said that at first he wouldn’t sell for him. After a match, Hughes pulled Luger aside and said he knows he’s supposed to put him over but it will not mean anything if he doesn’t sell anything and after that they had good matches. On his Football Helmet match against Lex Luger, Hughes said it was the worst match he ever had and that Luger did not want to sell there, even with Lawrence Taylor in his corner and the fact he was going over.

 

Hughes said he started getting the best reactions on the show and guys like Ric Flair were getting jealous as Hughes does not understand that as getting over and bringing more fans to the shows makes everyone more money.

 

He liked the Motor City Madman and said he was a great guy who paid for his travel and would help him out a lot but the company fucked him over at the end as he said once the company feels their is nothing left they get rid of you.

 

We get a story of someone messing with his hat during a TV taping at Center Stage. Someone messed with his hat and he asked an enhancement talent who did it and said it was Rick Steiner so Hughes confronted him and said Steiner apologized as he talks about guys in wrestling “trying” you all the time and how you have to take care of yourself unless it will continue.

 

Hughes said that Dusty Rhodes gave him the bodyguard gimmick. He did not have a problem with it and said Dusty told him to come up with a look and a new name and he picked the Mr. Hughes name because he wanted his legitimate name floating around. Dusty then stuck him with Luger as Hughes said he did not take a bump for about six months as he stood there and looked intimidating. He then said the story was going to play out with him turning against Luger and he would fight him as a heel again but with a different gimmick and he would get the title, that Luger would win back at a PPV. However, Hughes heard from Paul Heyman later on while he was in ECW that Luger shot down the storyline.

 

On some of his other opponents in WCW, Hughes loved working with Brad Armstrong and said he was a classy guy who would do stuff in the ring with him and said wrestling would be easy if everyone worked like Brad. He puts over the entire Armstrong family as being a great group. He talks about his first match in Japan was against El Gigante, who did not want to do anything in the ring as Hughes said Gigante would complain to the office because he snored loudly on the plane and that continued when they were in the WWF. He liked teaming with Vinnie Vegas (Kevin Nash) and considered him a friend but that he was really green at the time. Hughes said that Dustin Rhodes killed their feud as he started to date Alexandra York. He then talked about jobbing to Dustin in thirty seconds at the request of Dusty and they got pissed he did not sell the bulldog longer than he did.

 

He talks about WCW wanted to turn him back into the Big Cat as a babyface but he did not want to as he didn’t think there was any money in that. They had an angle where Junkyard Dog would headbutt him and break his glasses but then help him up and the next week they would be tag partners but Hughes said he gave his notice after shortly after that.

 

On the rumor he had a stroke, Hughes said he kept jobbing to people and sold on the mat for a long time and they thought he has actually hurt so he got checked out and went home to see his father after it was over.

 

They now talk about his time in ECW. Hughes said the first show he wrestled in ECW had about 15 people in attendance but they slowly started to get buzz. At first, Hughes said he got paid in cash every night but as it grew more popular the company lost track of their business sense. He also talks about not doing the crazy hardcore matches and that they wanted to put over people who wrestled that style as Hughes said he was taught to protect himself in the ring. He left as he was not going to juice or job out to unknown guys as he wanted to protect his character because it was how he made his living.

 

He went back to ECW a couple of years later but they only wanted him to put over Spike Dudley so he did what they wanted and he left. Hughes said Spike weighed about 125 lbs and he was over 300lbs and it didn’t make any sense.

 

Hughes got into the WWF as he was in Puerto Rico after the company did not sign him at that time but he called up and spoke with Sgt. Slaughter, who said he would call him back if his name came up during a meeting. Slaughter called back and said Vince McMahon was interested and he was flying to Atlanta the next day so he drove to a WWF show in Augusta, GA. JJ Dillon told him to wrestle against an enhancement talent as Hughes said the guys told him he had to bump around and sell for the guy to get a job as a rib but he met with Vince afterwards and got a job and was even told to put his gear back on and wrestle for the TV taping.

 

While in the WWF, Hughes said he was partying a lot and did drugs in WCW and the WWF heard about that but Hughes swore to them he was clean and was hired to work with the Undertaker.

 

Back on drugs, Hughes said he smoked a little weed in college but did not mess with cocaine until he got into WCW as he had the money and hung around beautiful women. He also said he did not have an addiction but dabbled around and swore he never came to work under the influence.

 

He talks about being built up to face the Undertaker and how he got to go over Randy Savage and Bret Hart then they filmed the angle where he attacked the Undertaker. Hughes said he hit Taker about twenty times with the urn but it was edited down to three for TV. Hughes said they used real caskets for their match and puts over the Undertaker for being professional in the ring and that they had the crowd going.

 

Hughes tells a story of how he was traveling to a hotel and asked a few guys to borrow some money until he got his advance but someone ratted him out to the office that he was knocking on doors early in the morning looking to get money for drugs and the next day there was drug testing. Hughes said they were testing their anyway and had to pee in a room with Blackjack Lanza and one of the referees. He then said that Bret & Owen Hart told him not to take the test unless everyone else has to do so but Hughes said he was clean and pissed in the cup. The next day he was told to go home after his match and that Vince would call him. Vince called and said he heard some stuff and the company had a lot of headaches with the steroid trials and couldn’t deal with anymore. Hughes asked if the test came back but Vince did not know then Vince told Hughes that he would have Adam Bomb, who lived close by, come to his house and get the urn back for the Undertaker. When asked, Hughes said he knows who ratted him out but would not say and said he hasn’t seen him since but if he did, he’d knock out his teeth.

 

He talks about how there is a lot of backstabbers in the WWE that would cut someone’s throat to keep their job. Although, he has nothing bad to say about Vince but that most of the people working for him are ass kissers.

 

On his brief return to the WWF, Hughes said he got into shape and sent a video package to Bruce Prichard for a character called the “Millennium Man.” He was brought into Stamford, CT to see if he was in ring shape and was told to move at a faster pace than before and he did a good job and after meeting with everyone he was signed. However, he was not used with that gimmick and said they tried to give it to Chris Jericho but Hughes at a patent on the name.

 

Hughes said that he was careful who he hung out and road with and mostly kept to himself. He did ride with the Big Bossman and called him a great guy.

 

Hughes calls wrestling a “white man’s business” but denied his butler character was racist and talks about how wrestlers have to play a role and cites Adrian Adonis and Adrian Street playing certain characters and getting them over.

 

On his fight with Ken Shamrock, Hughes said that Jericho was stiffing Shamrock with kicks but Shamrock was yelling at him for it and punched him in the jaw as Hughes said he wore a mask that saved him from a broken jaw. They head back for their interview as Shamrock flipped out on him as Hughes told him he’s a professional who does not stiff people. The next day, Shamrock apologized as Hughes said he was a man for doing that.

 

He inured his quad working with the Dudley Boys on Smackdown when he tagged with Jericho. Hughes said he was trying to keep it a secret and wrapped it up as he had a program with Ron Simmons lined up but during a match after his quad got hurt he said he couldn’t continue and went home and got checked out as he pulled his quad.

 

After he healed up, he went down to Memphis and trained but they gave him his release. Hughes said the company said they could let him go early to WCW but refused as he still had three months left on his deal and would have lost out on paychecks.

 

He puts over the WWE for being good to him though as they’ll give him tickets when he comes to town and puts over Vince again.

 

When asked about racism in wrestling and if he had any specific incidents, Hughes said 9 times out of 10 the white guy will get his hand raised over the black guy. The interviewer then asks about a specific incident where he encountered racism as he tells a story of what happened in WCW. Bill Watts took over the booking and called him up to offer a contract. Magnum TA worked in the office and called him up to say Watts wanted to talk. Hughes went to the office and saw Dusty there as he was talking to Watts. Hughes then said that Watts opinion of him changed after seeing Dusty there and mentioned a lot of guys told him there was prejudice in the company of guys who were nice to their face but would stab you behind the back and said they were primarily the management, not the guys in the locker room. He talks about hanging out with white guys his whole life and some of his best friends are white too but he can also easily spot out racism.

 

The interviewer asks him about a rib Owen Hart played on him that was included in Martha Hart’s book. Hughes did not remember so the interviewer read it and how Owen was impersonating a hotel manager over the phone that wanted to meet with him before he left due to stealing towels and set up a meeting that took place when he was supposed to leave for the show. Hughes still doesnt remember and joked he might have been drunk that night and said there were many incidents of joking around so its tough to remember.

 

Hughes then tells us a road story when he was on a plane during his first WWF run. He talks about how loud his snoring was and when he went to sleep, he felt stuff on his nose as they put shaving cream on his hands then tried to take off his sunglasses and they would not come off as someone superglued them to his head. He went to the bathroom and saw his t-shirt was all cut up. He came back and no one was around him anymore as the Steiners and Fuji were behind him. Hughes was able to clean up and got out another shirt from his bag and saw how everyone was laughing as he tried to think who did this to him. He asked Fuji, who denied knowing, then got up and asked the flight attendant but they did not know either. However, he saw a little kid walk by and asked him and he said it was Mr. Fuji. Hughes then talked to Fuji and found out it was Fuji and the Steiners. Hughes then said he got them back at the arena when he pissed in their bags and zipped them back up. Hughes said the prank they pulled on him was funny though and laughed before telling the story. Hughes told them later on he got them back and said it was all in good fun.

 

Today, he wrestles on Independent shows and trains at the WWA 4 school in Atlanta where he is the head trainer. Hughes said he trains the “old school” way and how he was trained himself. He also does not sell false hopes but will can help you make it if you have the ability and the willingness to work hard.

 

He believes wrestling will go on the upswing again and psychology will come back instead of just highspots and people will come back to watching wrestling if the promoters embrace the old school methods. He says the backstage segments are garbage that’s not wrestling and says its Hollywood and to go back to interviews and stuff in the ring and how no one wants to buy a seat to watch “General Hospital” and they want to see actual wrestling.

 

Hughes closes by saying he does the best he can to portray a bad guy and puts over his psychology, bumps, and wrestling.

 

The last five minutes are of him at an outdoor Independent show wrestling someone who I could not identify.

 

Final Thoughts: Well, Mr. Hughes certainly does not lack any confidence nor does he think much of today’s wrestling. I did like the interview as he did not pull any punches. I also liked him telling us of his college football career and what he thinks of the sport and his recruiting visits. He was also candid when it came to racism, politics in wrestling, and how he was against “garbage wrestling.” While mentioning his drug use, he did skirt over that a little bit though and given how he bounced around a lot after leaving WCW, he might have been someone difficult to work with because he did have size, a great look, and an athletic background any major wrestling company would want.

My one complaint was how the interview was structured as it jumped all over the place regarding his career. A few times it was tough to follow as a result and the interviewer providing more of a timeline would have helped.

Anyway, I enjoyed this interview and do recommend it as Hughes is a good subject with interesting stories. He was able to hold my attention throughout.

 

You can purchase the DVD for $9.99 by clicking here and you can rent it for $4.99 by clicking here . Also, you can view this if you are subscribed to the Highspots Network.

 

Here is my schedule for the rest of the week:

Friday: WWF Madison Square Garden 11/25/89

Sunday: Mid-South Wrestling 8/26/82

Sunday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 11/26/89

Monday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 12/2/89

Tuesday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 12/3/89

Wednesday: WWN Mercury Rising Supershow 4/1/17

Thursday: RF Video Shoot Interview with Dan Spivey