This was filmed in 2009
The interview is conducted by Eric Gargiulo
it runs for two hours and thirty-two minutes long
The interview starts with Bockwinkel asked about Captain Leslie Holmes. He said that he channeled Holmes as his persona, especially when doing interviews. He said that if someone is brilliant, you can talk down to them and they know it and that intrigued him.
He is asked about growing up in a wrestling family, as Bockwinkel’s father, Warren, was a wrestler. Bockwinkel said it was fun being around those characters and how his dad was a true straight-shooter. Bockwinkel talks about going on the road with him as a kid and stories about high school that are all long-winded.
He tells a story of Yukon Eric and how some wrestlers moved his trailer as a prank. Bockwinkel said Eric lived in it and was a guy who marched to the beat of his own drum. Several wrestlers were drunk and managed to pull the trailer with their car and they had it near the edge of a road then they hid in the woods waiting for Eric to come back. Bockwinkel was there and only 16 years old at the time. Shortly after that, Eric pulled up in his convertible, which he painted yellow himself, and opens up the trunk and pulls out some juice and goes over to the workout bench and puts up some weight. Bockwinkel said that Eric was not even phased that his trailer was gone and went over to steps that went to the trailer and stood there before putting the juice where his fridge used to be then went over and played a record as Eric completely no-sold the rib. Bockwinkel said Eric probably thought the guys were looking at him at the time and tried to mess with them psychologically.
On breaking into the business, Bockwinkel said his dad was helpful. He then tells stories of his dad slapping off of the back of the head, calling him a “dumb shit” when he would mess up while driving his car. His dad would also yell at him when he screwed up in the ring but said he always took the time to show him what to do and credits his dad for a lot in his career.
Gargiulo tells Bockwinkel that he never had the same match twice as Bockwinkel considers that the ultimate compliment. Bockwinkel talks about you have different matches with every single person as they have their own skills, styles, and things they are willing to try. He also talks about not wanting to embarrass the fans or the guy you are working with. His favorites to work with were Billy Robinson, Jerry Lawler, and Bill Dundee.
He is asked if his dad actually trained Lou Thesz. Bockwinkel said his dad went to get his wrestling boots repaired, as he mentions wrestling was referred to as “catch” and that was also the name of the boots. This was in the late 1920’s or early 1930’s. The shoemaker turned out to be Thesz’s dad and asked Bockwinkel’s dad about his son, who turned out to be Lou, and where he could train and he directed him on which gym to go to as Bockwinkel talks about how Thesz was an incredibly hard worker.
Bockwinkel is asked about wrestling and if it should remain secretive. He says that a jeweler or chef would not reveal all the tricks and details of their professions and thought wrestlers should do the same.
He is asked about Gorgeous George. Bockwinkel said he met him a few times but by then he had a drinking problem.
On seeing any bar fights, Bockwinkel said that his dad always told him to avoid those situations and that the wrestlers usually tried to stay away from the “marks.”
Bockwinkel talks about Ray Stevens and calls him a superb wrestler with a great sense of timing. He also talks about Bobby Heenan being paired with them in the AWA and how Heenan was just as good as Stevens, saying he could fly and bump all over the ring with the best of them. In fact, Bockwinkel said if he was asked who was the weak link of the three, he’d say himself.
We get a Ray Stevens road story. In Hawaii, they were on motorcycles and after they finished, they went to a water reverse for the pineapple fields. They would jump in the water and slide down and they left and Stevens got on his motorcycle, only wearing his cowboy boots. Bockwinkel said he had that picture and put it on a bottom of a collage at the Cauliflower Alley Club but no one noticed it as you’d have to get down on your hands and knees to look closely at the photo. Bockwinkel said Stevens was the biggest kid at heart and talks about how they took flying lessons together.
He calls Billy Robinson one of the best ring technicians he has ever seen. On accusations that Robinson was a bully, Bockwinkel said that he probably could be considered that if you showed disrespect or was belittling.
On how he wound up in the AWA, Bockwinkel said that it was due to Gene Kiniski. He then goes off topic talks about asking Jim Barnett on how many times Harley Race worked a year and Barnett told him it was probably 375, when you consider TV spots too as Bockwinkel said as champ in the AWA he worked about 185 times and could do what he wanted on his off days.
He then said that the Crusher and the Bruiser always wanted to have the bulk of the limelight and could be difficult to work with in the ring. He said Baron Von Raschke was a tremendous amateur wrestler and a pleasant person to be around. On working with Dusty Rhodes, Bockwinkel said he was extremely charismatic.
On the conflict between Verne Gagne and Larry Hennig, Bockwinkel said they were both local and thinks that Hennig wanted to get his hands on the promotion at some point but it never happened.
Bockwinkel talks about the time Mad Dog Vachon opened up the door on the plane while in flight. He said they were headed back to Minneapolis from Omaha when he heard a loud boom and heard wind blow through the plane. They ended up having to land in Fort Dodge, IA as the door was hanging. Bockwinkel was in the front and they had a crosswind but the pilot was able to land. When they did, he asked Vachon how the door opened. Vachon told him he did it and when asked why, it was because the night was nice and they needed some fresh air.
He talks about his wedding. It was at the office of the Justice of the Peace. Ray Stevens was his best man and they had the after party at Larry Hennig’s bar. He then said there was a bus and it was filled with booze that they piled up in to go some town in Wisconsin near the Mississippi River, presumably to go to a show. They step off and see Wahoo McDaniel, pacing behind the building. Wahoo said it was about time he got here as Bockwinkel said he was not working and just got married to which Wahoo replied “well, you’re an even bigger son of a bitch than I thought you were” for taking his wife on his wedding day to a show.
Bockwinkel talks about the WWF expanding and said that the AWA expanded before that but the difference was that Vince McMahon was proactive while Verne and the AWA was reactive.
He tells a story in which Heenan told Stevens and himself he was going to start off their promo. It began and Heenan opened up a magazine but what he was showing them and the announcer off-camera was a Hustler magazine centerfold as he was doing the promo live on air.
Regarding his own promo style, Bockwinkel said he knew he could tweak more people by being aloof and condescending rather than yelling and screaming. He said it was all about what you say and how you say it to make it work. On the scripted promo style of today, Bockwinkel said it steals away some of the creativity of the individuals when you do that and would want to talk with the WWE guys today to see how comfortable they are doing scripted promos as he does not feel like he can comment on that unless he did. He talks about how you have to deliver the product as a performer.
Bockwinkel is asked about Hulk Hogan. He said Hogan worked hard but didnt work that much with him and said he was always professional. He also said that Hogan had a great look and could “work his butt off” and was not surprised he made it as a huge superstar. On if Hogan should have beat him for the title, Bockwinkel thinks it would have been a good thing but said there was all sorts of stuff going behind the scenes then found out Hogan was leaving in the middle of their program as he heard the rumblings that Hogan was going to be the centerpiece of the WWF National expansion.
On Bruiser Brody, Bockwinkel says he pissed him off due to his ego. Bockwinkel said he pushed people to the breaking point and that is what likely lead to his death. Bockwinkel said he left his wife and kids behind and when people say its sad what happened to Brody, Bockwinkel says its sad what happened to his family because Brody was too arrogant or whatever and allowed it to take place.
He is asked about some other workers. Bockwinkel said that Otto Wanz thought he was the “king of the mountain” and called him a big piece of shit. He said that Bob Backlund was a very nice guy and that the Iron Sheik was a piece of work. Bockwinkel said that Eric Bischoff was only concerned about himself and thought he was going to be another Verne Gagne or Vince McMahon. He liked working with Larry Zbyszko and said that Scott Hall was caught up with himself a little bit.
Bockwinkel is asked about Shawn Michaels apologizing to him years later for his behavior in the AWA. Bockwinkel said he took that with a grain of salt and tells a story of how he went to pay him back for a rib. He went to Shawn’s apartment complex and let the air out of his back tires. The next day, Shawn pulled into his spot the other way so Bockwinkel let the air out of his front tires. Bockwinkel then talks about his two Doberman’s and how they defacated “healthily” so he scooped some of that into a plastic bag and used that for a prank and said they ended up blaming Curt Hennig because they were all going back-and-forth with them.
On his 60-minute match with Curt Hennig, Bockwinkel said it was great and loved wrestling him. When asked about the ribs Hennig pulled with locks, Bockwinkel said that he did that stuff along with the Rockers and talked about how Hennig loved to stir the pot and was young and foolish.
He is asked about the WrestleRock show. Bockwinkel said he does not have many memories of that show. When asked if Stan Hansen was the right choice to get the title from Rick Martel, Bockwinkel said absolutely not as Hansen had the same mindset as Brody about trying to destroy all of the promotions.
Bockwinkel is now asked about his acting career, on shows like “The Monkees,” “Hollywood Squares,” and “Hawaii Five-O.” Bockwinkel said his roommate at his time was a talent scout and that is how he got the roles.
When asked, Bockwinkel said that Vince never made him an offer and that he already had his run during the time of the WWF National expansion.
On his retirement, Bockwinkel said the AWA was “moving into a vacuum” and he decided to do something else.
He talks a bit about the Cauliflower Alley Club and a few other things that were not very noteworthy to close out the interview.
Final Thoughts: I felt that this interview was all over the place. Bockwinkel uses a lot of words to give a short answer and sometimes, it just made this a drag. However, Bockwinkel did tell some funny stories here and for fans of the old AWA, or even those interested, you can get some history on that.
Bockwinkel came across as a decent guy though with a good sense of humor. In fact, he told several funny stories throughout the shoot. They were entertaining. He didnt even mention his brief WWF run as an agent. Bockwinkel basically just talked about stuff while Gargiulo guided him at times. The way Bockwinkel goes on at length about things, it was for the best to be honest.
Overall, the interview was decent. The first 20 minutes were dreadfully boring but it got a lot better as it went along. There is some great stuff here but also dead spots. If you are not a fan of his or the AWA, then I would not really recommend this at all to you. Otherwise, its solid enough to get.
You can purchase the DVD for $20 or download a digital copy or $9.99 by clicking on the links below:
And, this will be my last shoot interview recap of 2015 as the next two Thursdays are Christmas and New Years Eve. I will return with another recap on the first Thursday of 2016.