This was filmed on December 15, 2016
Rob Feinstein is your host
It runs at one hour and fifty minutes long
He talks about growing up in Brooklyn. Brawler said he was from the Bensonhurst neighborohood and it was controlled by organized crime but today that neighborhood is more Russians and Chinese than Italians.
Brawler said he watched wrestling with his brother as a teenager and never thought he would wrestle the guys he was fans of when they were at the end of their career. When he was 17, Brawler went to the Savoy with his friend because the wrestlers hung out there and saw King Kong Mosca taking a piss outside of the door then kept going each month and tried to talk to the wrestlers and eventually Arnold Skaaland said if he wanted to be a wrestler and sent him to Long Island. Brawler said that Skaaland loved Crown Royal and at the time it was a cash business he’d keep everything in his briefcase and leave it under his bed then would go to the bar but no one ever thought to steal the money.
During the training, Saito gave Brawler a suplex and said he was “heavy” as Brawler at the time thought it was a compliment because he was in good shape but realized it was not the case. Brawler said he had no clue how to go up for the move.
Brawler talks about studying biochemistry before getting into wrestling. He said school came easy to him and he went to St. Francis College but wanted to be a wrestler more than anything.
He said the WWF kept telling him to go to other towns then TV tapings. Brawler also credits guys like Hulk Hogan for smartening him up as when Hogan came in fresh from “Rocky 3,” Brawler was starstruck so Hogan told him to stop “marking out” but did go to Vince and said he wanted Brawler with him where ever he went as Brawler traveled first class with Hogan for a while. Brawler said he made a lot of money but did not know anything about taxes at the time, either.
Brawler is asked about a show was run back in this era. He said in a battle royal for instance, you were just given numbers of the eliminations and went from there but today they have you remember moves and sequences.
He talks about the importance of enhancement talent as they help create top guys but after the “Monday Night War” they stopped using them as every RAW today has top guys going against each other.
Brawler said his first televised match was against Ivan Koloff and how after that people were asking for his autograph in Brooklyn despite the fact he got destroyed as just being on TV once made you recognizable.
We get some Iron Sheik stories as Brawler said he would go into a restaurant or bar and demand freee food and beer from the waitress because he won an Olympic Medal and was the Ayatollah’s bodyguard then would cuss them out when refused.
Brawler talks about several other talents. He said Pedro Morales had a temper and really hit you hard in his comebacks then would flip out and toss chairs backstage if something went wrong in his match. Brawler said Bruno Sammartino complimented him for being a safe worker and requested to work with him on TV as a result. He talks about Bret Hart, who told him always read a book in the locker room and never get involved in the conversations and how he helped him out early on in his career. They talk about Bob Backlund who never bought furniture for his house and takes showers at the local YMCA in order to save money on his water bill. Brawler said he drove Andre the Giant around and one day had him meet his mother. Brawler said Andre was happy and hugged his mother and was always good to him. He wrestled his first match in MSG against Mad Dog Vachon, where he got hit in the head with a chair about five times and was usually reckless in the ring. Brawler said that Sgt. Slaughter is a great guy but that Big John Studd was not a personable guy. Brawler puts over working with Paul Orndorff and how he looked great in the ring and never hurt anyone.
We get a crazy Roddy Piper story. Brawler said he was with Piper, who wanted to go to some biker bar. They went inside as Brawler said it was filled with bikers and everyone stopped when they entered. Piper ordered two shots of Jack Daniels then one biker, who might have been the leader of the gang, came over and gargled one of the shots then spit it back into the glass. Piper then proceeded to pick up the glass and shoot it back and told the biker it was nice to know him and after that everyone laughed and they all had a great time.
He said that Vince Sr. cared about the territories while Vince Jr. went into everyone’s backyard but now is trying to create the Territories with the Performance Center but you do not learn the same way there as opposed to the territories and you get people who are much less passionate about the business.
Brawler said that when George Scott came in as the booker, he wanted to get rid of Hogan and bring in Ric Flair.
We get a rib story where Marty Jannetty turned over the case that contained the rats used to feed Jake Roberts’ snake Damien and the building became infested to the point the WWF had to pay for a $16,000 extermination bill.
He talks about working against the Ultimate Warrior and how you had to let him catch his breath after his entrance and back off of him then let him work the match. Brawler then said Warrior cried when speaking to him at the Hall of Fame because he did not knock him in the DVD. Brawler also said the company had Warrior job to him to test his attitude and Brawler told Warrior about this at the time and Warrior did the job.
Brawler loved going to Australia and said when Hugh Jackman guest starred on RAW, he recognized Brawler from a show in Australia and did not know anyone else on the roster, including John Cena whose name he could not pronounce.
He became “Kim Chee” for Kamala as Brawler said that Kamala constantly complained and would never manage his diabetes. Brawler also talks about how Kamala buried him in his book for taking his money then later on he told Brawler it was a “rib.” Brawler said that Kamala made a fortune when feuding with Hogan. Brawler did enjoy working against Kamala in the ring though and made a lot of money as Kim Chee.
Regarding the Brooklyn Brawler character, he believes that Bobby Heenan created the gimmick and chose him in the role. Originally, Brawler was told he would be a tough guy from Brooklyn and come in on “Prime Time Wrestling” and whack the Red Rooster from behind with a stool but said he really wanted to use a billy club and looking back said it would have been the better choice. Brawler also said Rooster complained about doing jobs. He loved Heenan, who told him to roll around in the mud to become a dirty brawler-type character and that is why his attire was dirty. Brawler tells us that Heenan would play a rib on people and put 151 proof rum in their drinks when they went to the bathroom. One night, Heenan did that to Brawler, who told Heenan he would piss on him if he pulled this on him, so Brawler was so drunk he did in fact piss on Heenan. The next morning, Heenan thought he pissed himself but Brawler told him what happened.
Brawler talks about Heyman and puts him over for having a sixth sense in wrestling. He talked to Heyman about wanting to go to ECW but Heyman said he made the wise choice by staying in the WWE, where he lasted for 32 years.
He talks about the Abe “Knuckleball” Schultz and coming up with the gimmick. Brawler loved doing it but Vince called him up and needed him to be Doink the Clown and had him fly to Detroit from Cleveland to get the Doink outfit from Matt Borne’s wife and then have someone do the makeup where he wrestled Bret Hart in Calgary. Brawler said that he was replaced by Phil Apollo as Doink because Bam Bam Bigelow was his friend and pushed for him in the role.
On wrestling as one of The Knights after the 1993 Survivor Series, Brawler said he replaced Jeff Gaylord, who he called a “trainwreck” of a person.
Brawler talks about The Rock starting out and being there when he signed his contract. He said Rock tried to hold out for more money by saying WCW was offering a deal but Brawler told him to sign because Rock had no money at all during this time. He then goes on about The Rock failing to get over as a babyface as he was shoved down the fans throats so he changed up his character and got over that way.
On working in producing and taping guys doing promos, he said that John Cena was a natural and that Ken Kennedy and MVP were also excellent.
He worked with Harvey Whippleman behind the scenes and said he was afraid to fly after a flight where there was such bad turbulence the oxygen masks dropped from above and drove everywhere. Brawler said Whippleman was even in the car when Joey Marella had his fatal accident but still continued to drive everywhere.
Brawler is asked about several other talents. He said the rumors of Randy Savage locking Elizabeth in a closet were not true and that Savage pissed off Vince by appearing in WCW when he was going to go back to the WWF. He talks about Steve Austin being outspoken and a bit of a loner as Brawler said he hated the Ringmaster gimmick. Brawler said he loved Curt Hennig and tells a story of how he would go to pet stores and buy mice and put them in people’s bags and pockets. He traveled with Jimmy Snuka and said he was a character but now does not even know his own name. Brawler doesnt believed that Snuka killed Nancy Argentino. He said that Koko B. Ware is experiencing health problems and wanted him to testify in the concussion lawsuits but Brawler said he would side with the WWE in the hearings and that the company has changed the way they do testing for concussions. He also said that Hercules was a wild person and recalls on a European tour he came in after a night of partying and was so shitfaced he was standing on the bed and peeing on the ceiling. Brawler said that Ronnie Garvin would take liberties with people in the ring. He put over Ricky Steamboat for being the first guy to give him a competitive match on television and after that others followed suit. Brawler also liked the Big Bossman and said he liked to smoke a lot of pot. He said that if Sid Vicious wanted to do business then he would be a multi-millionaire.
On who was the biggest star in WWE history, Brawler said that Steve Austin made more money but that Hulk Hogan was the biggest icon.
Regarding Triple H, Brawler said he is becoming a “mini Vince” and its inevitable that he will take over the company with Stephanie but he thinks the shareholders will see that Vince was the brains of the company.
He talks about how scary it was for the WCW talent when they got bought out then recalls Buff Bagwell yelling at him after being told he could no longer wear his top hat as part of his entrance, which was something that came from Vince.
Brawler is asked why Roman Reigns is not getting over. He says it was due to him being forced on the fans and how the fans have to make the decision on whether or not they like someone. Brawler then adds how he thinks its much easier to be a heel today because too many times the faces are forced upon the fans and it fails.
On leaving the WWE, Brawler abruptly declines to state what happened.
Today, Brawler said he is running an Independent promotion in Michigan and takes dates for other shows too. He said he is even doing better now than when he worked for the WWE. He does not have a desire to return today.
His advice for talents trying to get into the WWE is to be in the best shape of your life and build up your cardio because they will blow you up to weed people out. He also talks about writing a book about his career.
Final Thoughts: I thought this was an entertaining interview and Brawler showed some insight and told some good stories. However, he is very pro-WWE philosophy and unwilling to speak negatively about them. The guy seems likable and I can see how he stayed employed for years as he does not hold grudges or sets out to make any enemies. The stuff about being close to Hogan at the infancy of Hulkamania was news to me.
Brawler refused to say how he left the WWE and would not even confirm if he left or was fired. He did not express a desire to return but did thank the McMahon Family at the end of the interview. He also kept talking never “stooging” anyone” off to the office.
Overall, it was a good interview and definitely entertaining for longtime fans of the WWE. I’d recommend it for those people.