RF Video Shoot Interview with Disco Inferno

This was filmed in 2001

The interview is conducted by Rob Feinstein

It runs for one hour and fifty six minutes long

 

The interview starts with Disco being asked about how he got started in wrestling. He said that after college, a family friend that used to book the traveling for the NWA in the late 70’s/early 80’s, had some connections and said because of a poor job market and the fact his GPA sucked, he decided to train at Bill Eadie’s school.

 

Disco said while it was Eadie’s school, he was mainly trained by Steve “The Brawler” Lawler. He said the best advice he got was how to act in the locker room, like always introduce yourself and how to behave because he saw guys that did not and watched all the heat they got as a result, specifically the “Power Plant” guys in WCW. Disco said he always maintained respect with his employers and those in the locker room.

 

He wrestled in the Northern Georgia independents. Disco said he was given all sorts of whacky gimmicks like a slave, millionaire, and masked man saying there was not much depth.

 

Guys who helped him out at first were Jake Roberts, who Gilbertti said was “messed up” at the time as he traveled with him quite a bit. Although Roberts did all sorts of “sick” stuff, he always taught Disco psychology while they were in the car.

 

On how the Disco Inferno character was created, he said that Raven helped him think it up and that a few of them came up with the name. Disco said Raven is excellent in the ring and has changed for the better now as he is not all messed up on drugs. Disco said he hang with him at the beginning as they were living “live in the fast lane.”

 

He got a job in Memphis as Disco Inferno due to Raven. Disco said he sucked there and only lasted about a month. Disco said that the schedule was brutal, especially the driving. Disco said they drove about 300 miles per day and they stayed at shitty hotels and barely made any money as they lived off of Taco Bell.

 

On some of the talent, Disco said that Jerry Lawler was truly the “King of Memphis” as he witnessed Lawler get pulled over going 100mph and saw the cop say hi and sorry for bothering him then left. He also worked with Scott Taylor, Brian Christopher, and Jeff Gaylord.

 

He talks about working for NWA in Northern, GA. Disco said they had a very low budget then tells a story about filming a promo to hype up a coal miner’s glove match. First off, he said that there were no coal mines near them then they had the referee, who Disco described as “half-retarded” get a coal miner’s glove. An hour later, the referee comes back with an oven mitt so they had to wrap it up with silver electrical tape and use that.

 

Disco first arrived in WCW due to DDP, who was friends with Eric Bischoff. He wrestled Chris Kanyon in a dark match and it went well then after that he got hired. Disco said he was really low on the card but he was just happy to get hired and make a little bit of money.

 

When asked if he considered going to ECW, Disco didn’t think he was good enough as he tells us how back then you think you are good but after watching a tape of a promo he used to get into Memphis, Disco said he was awful and would never give someone a job who was that bad. Disco also said he would have been completely out of his element.

 

On his expectations in WCW, Disco said he thought he would be similar to the Honky Tonk Man, maybe get a run with the TV Title, but it didn’t quite workout that way. He said that Steve Regal helped him a lot, suggesting he wear the pants he did in the ring to fit the gimmick. He said five minutes after he walked in he saw Orndorff beat up Vader. Disco said there was a change within the company as Kevin Sullivan was the booker.

 

Disco said he had a lot of heat from people involved at the Power Plant as DDP was telling them that his character was going to “change the business” and that led to a lot of trainers not caring for him but at the same time, his gimmick was entertaining the wrestlers.

 

About the locker room, Disco said guys like Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan had their own dressing rooms and rarely mingled with the other guys. He says that at the time he was really young and naïve and might have rubbed guys the wrong way by trying to be funny all the time but over time he became friendly with a lot of people.

 

Disco talks about his feud with Dean Malenko and said that for his match at the Great American Bash he had to train extra hard because they were working 16 minutes and most of his matches lasted half that time and due to the fact that Malenko was used to that style. Disco then says that outside of the ring, Malenko is one of the most quick-witted guys, probably second to only Bobby Heenan, and if they let him do that stuff on TV he’d be one of the top 5 guys in wrestling.

 

On his feud with Jacqueline, Disco said he met with Kevin Sullivan and Eric Bischoff for about 45 minutes with regards to a potential feud. Disco said he did not want to do it and felt Sullivan was self-serving in wanting this because Jacqueline was with him on TV. Also, his contract was up in four months and he did not want to hurt his chances signing with the WWF by losing to a girl on TV. He then was told to after that they were going to have him sit at home for six months (His contract ran out after 4) after losing. They then told Disco to think about it for a few days and when he came back to Nitro and told Bischoff he was not going to do the job, Bischoff told him he was in breach of contract and got fired. Disco said he was prepared to get fired and said a lot of the wrestlers and guys on the booking committee also told him not to do the job. When asked, Disco said he does regret what they did because who knows what they would have done with him after that.

 

Disco talks about Bruce Prichard and Jim Cornette from the WWF calling him a few times to ask about his contract status. However, Disco said that nothing materialized and he should have talked with Jim Ross. Disco also talks about how Dave Meltzer published in the “Wrestling Observer Newsletter” that he was signing and called him to say that wasn’t the case so in the next issue, Meltzer published that despite what Disco said, sources indicated that he is getting signed, leading Disco to say that journalists are not always given the right information and how things get lost in translation.

 

After the WWF contacted him,  Sting called Disco from the gym and went to bat for him with Bischoff to return to WCW and  work a program with Alex Wright. When he came back he noticed the nWo was dominating the show. He talks about Kevin Nash and Scott Hall were cool and liked him a lot. He said that Hall went through “binges” outside of the ring but it didn’t effect his performance.

 

Disco did not like working the cruiserweight style as he talks about liking to wrestle the heavyweight style and sell every move instead to doing a ton of flips. He did like working with the cruiserweights once in a while as you could toss them around. He liked working with Juventud Guerrera and Kidman, who he liked the best when he was part of the Flock due to his character.

 

He thought that the reason Eric Bischoff had a falling out with Ric Flair was all due to Hulk Hogan pulling the strings as while both guys were older, Flair was by far the better worker and talker at that point and how Flair was jealous as a result. He hinted that a lot of the guys in the locker room felt the same way.

 

On Goldberg and if guys were jealous of his push, Disco said they were and references the “pay your dues” stuff from the veterans that were complaining but notes that at the time, there was nowhere to go and do that as the territory system was obsolete. This leads him to say that guys at the Power Plant are paying their dues as they get heat when they go into the locker room.

 

Disco said that as WCW grew more successful, the company rested on their laurels and were wasting TV time during the show with useless segments. He then says who wouldn’t have an ego though, regarding Bischoff, as he was producing the top show on cable TV but that they became a victim of their success. He talks about being frustrated seeing the company get worse. He also talks about Hogan’s faction and the Hall & Nash faction were all “pulling the strings.”

 

He talks about the locker room reading “the sheets” and how they talked about all the tension in the company. Disco said one day everyone thought Hogan and Nash were going to have a fist fight but that never materialized as it always came down to business with them.

 

On working with Konnan, Disco liked their matches and said there characters made for a good feud. Disco said he was easy to work with but the only problem with him is that he does not bump well so it benefits Konnan to work with a smaller guy who can take most of the bumps.

 

Disco said most of the midcard guys were tight with each other and they usually went out together. He also did not have any enemies. Disco mostly traveled with Rey Mysterio, Konnan, Juventud, and Kidman. He was also friends with Chris Jericho.

 

He describes working with Public Enemy as “horrifying” due to Johnny Grunge being a terrible worker. He also said that they thought of themselves as huge stars. Disco said that Alex Wright hated Grunge and made him do stuff in the ring that he did not want to do.

 

Disco talks about Flair being treated like crap on TV despite the fact he was still better than 90% of the roster.

 

He then talks about how Goldberg was scheduled to feud against a faction for several months after his streak ended but that was scrapped because they panicked due to a low TV rating.

 

Disco then talks about how a lot of the midcard talent felt that Kevin Nash was burying them as he mentioned to Nash himself at one point is that the problem with Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko are not that they are too small, because Nash was almost 7 -feet tall making everyone small by comparison, but that they should not be going up against people that much bigger.

 

On the five things Disco believes it takes to draw money in wrestling, he lists: Good physique, good interview skills, take crazy bumps, good actor, or a good worker. He said there is no surprise guys with all of those skills are at the top besides Mick Foley, whose acting and bumping are far above everyone else to make up for that. Disco then says acting is probably the most important thing needed to draw ratings on TV, suggesting guys should learn how to talk and act.

 

At the end of WCW, Disco said they would write the show then hand it in to the production crew, who stonewalled them as they felt they did not know what they were doing. Disco then talks about how bad the production values were, noting when Buff Bagwell and Booker T did their match on RAW the WCW production was used and it came off terribly as they did not look like stars.

 

Disco thought that Bret Hart coming into the company as a babyface was a mistake as he was a strong heel in the WWF when he came in and feuded with Flair, who was much better than him on the mic. Disco also said that Hart did not get along with Hall & Nash at this time. Disco said that he was always cool with Bret.

 

On Chris Jericho going to the WWF, Disco said everyone thought it was tremendous as Jericho was extremely talented but not getting a push in WCW.

 

He said he got along okay with Buff Bagwell but when asked if is reputation of being difficult was worthy, Disco said it was, noting how quickly he got fired by the WWE. He even said the boys were placing bets n how long he would last there. Disco personally didnt think Buff would last a month then said how Chris Kanyon won the pool as he had July 8th as the date. He then talks about Ernest Miller and said that he was doing nothing as a babyface but in the locker room was a shit-talker so Disco went to the office and said he needed to be a heel.

 

When asked if the locker room got frustrated when business was bad yet the same guys remained on top, Disco said yes then points out how Hogan is a great draw but when it reaches the point where its visible that he barely walk out to the ring, it shows that he can probably not go out and wrestle. Disco said that is fine if you are in a “Jim Duggan” spot but as a top guy he was completely stale and there was no value in him as a top guy when you had the Rock and others main event for the WWF, noting that a 45 year old guy had no value as the top guy in WCW. Disco said guys like Chris Jericho were ready as a top heel in WCW, he thought that Perry Saturn & Dean Malenko should have been a top team, and that even Sting was always over but would come back out of shape. He thought that Vampiro’s character was cool and that it was well-produced but he was hated backstage. Disco also said that Rey Mysterio and Juvy should have been pushed as smaller superhero types and Booker T should have been a “Michael Jordan” type.

 

When Vince Russo replaced Bischoff, Disco thought it was good as he was a fan of the WWE TV at the time. Disco also said the older crew resisted Russo. He also said that Russo was in over his head then talks about how you could trace every problem with WCW to the fact that they never really had a boss because someone had to answer to another person and it was just a bad business model as the inmates ran the asylum. He said Russo wanted to push the younger guys but that the veterans put a stop to that. Disco said both Russo and himself saw the business similarly, especially regarding the older guys who were way past their primes and could not compete in the ring.

 

Disco talks about a few other guys. He said that Evan Karageis was a cocky and athletic guy but would constantly forget things, especially in longer matches. He then said that David Flair did not know how to wrestle and when they made him try to do more stuff it got worse as he was a terrible actor and wrestler.

 

On Bill Busch replacing Russo, Disco said it was ridiculous because the rating jumped from 2.8 to a 3.5 and guys like Scott Steiner and Jeff Jarrett were furious as to what was going on in the company.

 

He was not surprised that the Radicals left for the WWE, noting how Kevin Sullivan was a backstabber and no one could trust a thing he said.

 

Disco said on the booking team, he butted heads with Russo over ideas, stating that Russo wanted to do a lot of skits with wrestlers that were bad actors. On the ideas he created, Disco said he suggested Lance Storm become a Canadian heel, helped Booker T get pushed, and said that he was the one who made Tank Abbott a dancing guy. Disco talks about how when they went out drinking, Tank would take over the bar and would do stuff such as karate exhibitions. Disco said he was a bad worker and tried to make him entertain the fans how he did with the boys after the shows.

 

On David Arquette winning the belt, Disco said it was a publicity stunt that was decided upon the day of the show because the WWF were killing them in the ratings.

 

He said that Juventud caused a major scene when he got fired after flipping out in Australia but should have been sent to rehab instead.

 

Disco said that they had a plan with Scott Hall but that he made a “Jewish Joke” and was kept off of TV by executives as a result.

 

With Goldberg changing as he grew successful, Disco said that he was not a fan of wrestling growing up and didnt relate to wrestling enough to understand what was asked of him. For instance, Goldberg refused to do anything comedy related as Disco said Arnold Schwarzenegger even did comedy and you cant always be serious.

 

Disco said that he realized the company was going down the year before they went out of business, noting how it was a sinking ship. He said you could see the mistakes and they ignored them to the point where the finally realized them but by the time changes were made it was too late.

 

On hearing about WCW being sold, Disco said he went down to Nitro for PR four days prior and found out on Friday the company was being sold. He briefly said hello to Shane McMahon and said they were all glued to the TV watching the show when Vince was asking the WWF fans which WCW guys they wanted to see and when Vince mentioned Jeff Jarrett was not coming, Jarrett happened to be with them watching and made a comment about how he guesses he has heat with the company.

 

Disco said he is waiting to see how the WCW angle plays out but says they need to add Goldberg, Steiner, Sting and others because no one has an identity and the WCW guys are lost in the mix so if he joined, he would just be in the background like everyone else.

 

In the next five years, Disco said that they need to have new superstars emerge or else the ratings will not grow and it will just be made up of its core fans and can probably maintain 4.0 ratings.

 

When asked about any good rib stories, Disco said that the referees always ribbed Dave Penzer and would mess around with his briefcase. He said on the Australian tour, they all took over a club and were on the front page of the lifestyle section in the paper as a result.

 

He talks about some of the wrestlers. He said DDP would always use ice packs and electric stimulators to help himself after matches. Disco said that Vince McMahon is one of the best promos in wrestling. He also thinks that Paul Heyman is too over the top with his character and compares listening to him as the same as Cartman from “South Park.” Disco  says that the Booker T you see backstage would really get him over but he does too many “wrestling” interviews instead of being himself. He feels that making Storm a boring Canadian guy was a good idea and made him a strong character. Disco feels that Lex Luger thinks he is way better than he is and that Mark Madden was their best color commentator but tries to be too smart for his own good.

 

Disco closes by saying that wrestling is a two-hour television show and they do not have to exclusively cater to wrestling fans because they will watch the show so they have to design segments for those not watching and pull them in due to the competition on TV in general. He said the hardcore fans may not like it, because its not wrestling, but they will likely watch anyway.

 

Final Thoughts: I enjoyed this interview. Disco seems like a nice guy and while I do not agree with everything he says, he makes some really good points.

Like many others, he touched upon how badly WCW was managed and that you cannot really point to one thing as to why the company went under.

I though the interview was a breeze to listen and Disco did not show any bitterness at all here. I am a fan of his personally.

 

You can purchase the DVD for $15 or get the digital download for $9.99

http://www.rfvideo.com/shootwithdiscoinferno.aspx

http://store.rfvideonow.com/downloads/disco-inferno-shoot-interview/