Highspots Shoot Interview with Lance Russell

This was filmed in August 2005

Michael Bochicchio is your host

It runs at one hour and eighteen minutes long

 

Lance is asked about getting started in the wrestling business. He was doing sports at a TV station in Jackson, TN when one day the manager said they were starting a live wrestling show and asked if he had ever done wrestling before. Lance said he had not but was a fan and knew enough about it and that’s how it all got started.

 

When he started, Lance said the promoters never talked to him at all about the business.

 

On being a fan growing up in Ohio, Lance said he really doesnt remember the names of the guys he at shows in Dayton. Lance then says he might be the oldest representative of wrestling in the world and feels blessed about that.

 

He talks about being friends with Gordon Solie and talks about how they would trade interviews with those who were going from Florida to Memphis. Lance says he started in wrestling three years before Solie.

 

Lance is asked about the Tupelo Concession Stand Fight. He said people have tried to duplicate it, even in Memphis, but it never come out the same because people thought it was all planned out but they improvised most of the match. Lance also said they sent the tape out to be played the following day.

 

He credits Jerry Jarrett for coming in as a booker and livening up the Memphis promotion.

 

On Andy Kaufman, Lance said he meditated for an hour before coming out to see Lawler for the first time. He also said Kaufman thought he was one of the “boys” and loved getting heel heat. He also loved wearing the neck collar and wore in everywhere. Regarding the “Man on the Moon,” movie, Lance said the wrestling part was a bit convoluted and unfocused.

 

The host brings up Terry Funk crediting Lance for making the empty arena match good because he thought it was awful until Lance got it over. Lance said that was very nice of Funk to say but it was an eerie match to call and a special match for the time.

 

Lance is asked about several people he worked with. He said Jimmy Hart is great at what he does and has a lot of imagination and spirit. On Lawler, Lance said he knows him better than any other wrestler in the world. He said Lawler got into wrestling when he did some drawings of wrestlers that his dad sent into the station and puts over his artistic ability. Lance calls Lawler the most complete wrestler he knows and threw the best punches he’s ever seen. Lance said he almost passed out when Jos Leduc cut his arm and blood squirted everywhere and thinks Lawler might have put him up to that. He said that Jackie Fargo could sense the audience better than anyone and that his feud with Lawler was his favorite.

 

On why the Memphis Territory did not rely on the NWA Champion as much as the others, Lance said that it was almost a guaranteed sellout when the NWA Champion came in because they worked with Lawler then says Memphis did use the NWA Champion but that the lines into the arena were not as noticeably big than in other territories, who saw a huge spike in sales. He thinks Bill Dundee is pound-for-pound the toughest guy he has ever seen and recalls a match against Lawler where they laid into each other so hard that after the match both of their faces were swollen. Lance also puts over Buddy Landel and how great he was on the mic. He said Randy Savage was a great athlete and a hard worker too.

 

Lance also puts over Jeff Jarrett for working hard in the gym and in the ring, more so than any other promoter’s son he has ever seen and would have made it in any promotion.

 

When asked about Tojo Yammamoto’s training, Lance said he would chop a guy until he bled in the chest to find out whether or not he wanted to be a wrestler.

 

Lance said that Eddie Gilbert was going to be a journalist but instead shifted all of his focus to becoming a wrestler.

 

We get a story about Jackie Fargo. Lance said Fargo and Lawler always ribbed each other. On a drive from Memphis to Nashville, Fargo blew by Lawler on the highway. About 15 minutes later, Lawler saw a guy hitchhiking naked and they got closer and saw that it was Fargo himself, who was playing a rib.

 

The interview closes with Lance saying he was blessed to do this for a career and called it a fun way to make a living.

 

Final Thoughts: Lance comes across as a great guy here and everyone who has met him says the same thing. The interview was conducted at 1am after a fan convention (Wrestling Reunion 2) and he had to be up early for a flight back home the next day so they did not have a ton of time to speak and go through his career as it was just Lance telling a few stories about the people, matches, and angles in Memphis. Lance’s voice makes for easy listening and it would have been fun for a podcast appearance but this was not the most informative interview. I’d give this a listen if it makes way to the Highspots Wrestling Network but there just is not enough here to warrant a purchase on DVD or Digital Download unless you’re a hardcore Memphis fan.

 

You can purchase this on DVD or via Digital Download by clicking here

 

Next week, I think I’ll recap the “Ask the Elite” live appearance from Highspots Studios that will be filmed Monday. If that someone is not available, I’ll recap the Teddy Hart “Breaking Kayfabe” shoot from Kayfabe Commentaries.