This was released on July 13th, 2015
The interview was conducted by Sean Oliver
It runs at two hours and twenty-eight minutes long
This was released on July 13th, 2015
The interview was conducted by Sean Oliver
It runs at two hours and twenty-eight minutes long
This was released on May 19th, 2015
The interview was conducted by Sean Oliver
It runs for three hours and thirteen minutes long
Before they start discussing the topic at hand, Cornette shows us all the materials that he brought for the interview: booking sheets, TV formats, contracts, and books among other things.
The first question asked is about the “Bunkhouse Stampede” series, which started on Christmas in 1988 and ran through January of 1989. Cornette said that it was Dusty’s idea and it was great when it started (1986). When asked if the guys liked working the Bunkhouse Battle Royale matches, Cornette said it depended who it was as some guys did not like putting extra clothes in their bags to wear for the match. Cornette won the Manager’s Bunkhouse match on New Years Day 1989 after tossing out J.J. Dillon. He said that only Oliver Humperdink and himself were babyface managers at the time so they decided to give it to him.
On the Midnight Express vs. Midnight Express feud, Cornette starts by saying they were making a lot of money feuding with Tully Blanchard & Arn Anderson but they left for the WWF. The Midnight’s and Cornette went back to working with the Fantastics then Cornette went to Dusty and asked him to bring back Dennis Condrey, who just got back into the business and was managed by Paul Heyman, and also bring in Randy Rose. This was back in November of 1988. They devised an angle to have the original MX managed by Heyman attack the current version on TV. Cornette said they were not supposed to “get color” on TBS but Dusty told him he could get a little bit. Cornette tells the story of how he took a wild bump, suprising himself that he was not hurt, then swiped his forehead with the blade but nothing came out. Cornette said afterwards he learned the studio was only 55 degrees so it took a while for the blood to come out but at the time he was clueless about that so he swiped the blade several more times then after that a “waterfall” of blood was pouring down his face. He then turned toward the camera and had the blood all over his white jacket and after that everyone backstage was talking about the blood as Cornette said it helped kickstart the angle. However, Dusty got axed as booker when TBS got mad when Dusty booked the Road Warriors to stab himself in the eye with a spike as he was bleeding all over the place, saying it was too violent, so when Dusty was replaced, the Midnight Express feud was relegated to the bottom of the card.
Still on the Midnight Express feud, Cornette said that the company no longer wanted to pay for the managers to be at the House Shows. Cornette said Heyman and himself were integral to the feud, especially Heyman as Condrey and Rose, who were not as over as the other team. Cornette then proceeds to tell us a great match is like a “hand job.” He said if you are already hard, you can just grab it and go but if not hard, you have to do all sorts of things to get it hard. Cornette then said that Heyman and himself also offered to pay their flights to make the shows but Turner denied their request. He then talks about how Jim Crockett was the interim booker from when Dusty was fired to when they brought in George Scott and how he hated Randy Rose and wanted him to eat the pin in a “Loser Leaves Town” match then have Condrey get a new partner, which Cornette thought was awful because they were the original team. When that happened, Condrey no-showed as he knew he would be in trouble with a new partner and that was the end of that. Cornette then said when George Scott came in he was going to have the current version of the Midnights. Cornette then tells a story about Scott, who said he never heard of them when hired as booker, walked right past Bobby Eaton as he held the door for him one day. He said that when they first met with Scott, he told them he did not know what to do with them as Cornette goes on about how they were one of the top drawing teams of the past few years in the NWA at that point. Cornette said they all thought he either had Alzheimer’s or was the biggest goofball ever due to the way he presented himself.
On the Western States Heritage Title, Cornette said that Dusty loved flying out to Texas and wanted to have a belt for when they toured there but they barely ran in that area as he talks about how no one gave a shit about the belt and it got phased out as a result.
Jim Herd was hired on January 3rd as the Executive Vice President. Before that, Herd was a regional manager for Pizza Hut and a station manager for KPLR-TV in St. Louis. Cornette said that it wasn’t until Turner bought the company when they got involved in backstage politics as before that, they were all making money and just did what they wanted after the show. He said TBS officials brought in top guys in for a meeting to ask about Dusty, under the pretense that it was confidential but it was not as Tully talked badly about Dusty, who found out by those conducting the meeting, so Dusty kicked Tully off of the Crockett’s plane and as a result, Tully & Arn Anderson left for the WWF. Cornette said that Herd was the station director when his station played “Wrestling at the Chase” but his wife was close to someone higher up and he got the job.
On January 17th, Dusty Rhodes resigned from WCW after being removed from the head booker role. Cornette said it would be awkward for him to go from the head booker to a regular guy in the locker room. Cornette said he loved Dusty and still thinks that he is a great booker despite repeating finishes and puts him over for making him a shitload of money too.
Ricky Steamboat returned to the company on January 21st after he was revealed as Eddie Gilbert’s surprise partner. Cornette said that he believes this was when Scott became the booker as he had close ties to Steamboat from the Carolinas. Cornette then drops a whole lot of knowledge about the Carolina territory and how Scott took it from a primarily tag team territory to a top one as he brought in all sorts of guys like Ric Flair.
On when Hiro Matsuda bought the contracts of Barry Windham and Ric Flair from J.J. Dillon, Cornette said that J.J. was leaving for the WWF and saw the writing on the wall when Dusty was removed from the head booker position. He puts over Dillon’s book then puts over the accomplishments of Matsuda but how he was not a good promo and wrong for that role as Cornette then said that Scott was 10 years behind the times and starting to bring in guys he worked with over 20 years ago.
Cornette talks about Tony Schiavone leaving for the WWF. He said he wasn’t there for everything but heard that Schiavone was upset over being passed over by Jim Ross for the top commentator position as he had been there for several years. Cornette calls Schiavone a friend then tells a funny story of when he was with the Midnight Express and Arn Anderson as Schiavone as his family pulled up in their station wagon to drop him off so he could head on Crockett’s plane. When the doors opened, Cornette said you heard all of the kids screaming and Tony slammed the door as he got out. Arn then went over to Tony and told him that he had “enough cum in him to shampoo a buffalo.” Cornette then goes back to Tony, saying he was a good announcer but that Ross was just above everyone else and it wasnt a slight on Tony because everyone else saw that. He then said when Tony came back to WCW the following year he was miserable.
Ricky Steamboat defeated Ric Flair for the WCW World Title at the “Chi Town Rumble.” Cornette said they both were the gold standard in terms of ring work. He also said he would order the PPV’s so he could watch them at home as that way he could hear the commentary. Cornette then talks about how every Wednesday was promo day as he then pulls out a script that the camera shows us as he said that he would write down every opponent, city, and spot on the card for that particular match for the promo itself.
The Iron Sheik came back as Cornette said that Scott brought him back as they worked together in the 70’s but Sheik’s star power had faded greatly and could no longer go in the ring as he talks about how people say he is out of touch for instilling old school logic with today’s talent while Scott wanted the same exact people he had on top in 1978 in 1989. He also said that Sheik only wrestled about 10-12 matches and got sent home for the rest of his contract, which was $100,000 for a year. Sheik then came back after the year ended as they forgot to send the notice to cancel his contract so as a result it rolled over as the Sheik got paid for another year but is work was still so bad that they sent him home again until his contract finally ran out.
The “Danger Zone” talk show segment with Paul Dangerously made its debut on March 4th. Cornette said that he was a great talker. Jack Victory was brought in as the bodyguard as Cornette talks about all of the different roles Victory had in wrestling. Cornette said he was a great guy.
On the debut of the Great Muta and if the company missed an opportunity with him, Cornette said yes and no as he was talented and caught on quickly but did not get a lot of heat as a heel because the fans reacted to his cool moves. They were going to turn him face but Cornette said that Gary Hart convinced him to stay heel.
He talks about Don Glass, who was hired from the WWF where he was the assistant under Ed Cohen, who booked the arenas. Cornette said Glass was an idiot and basically a go-fer for Cohen then talks about how he decided, for the first time in history, to book a show in Greensboro, NC on a Wednesday night and it only drew $19,000, the lowest ever for that city. Cornette asked Joe Pedecino why they booked that night and he was told they were saving the weekend shows for the bigger cities as Cornette went through his book and showed him they usually drew six-figures there has Pedecino had no idea. He then said that Glass booked a show in San Antonio on Easter Sunday, in a predominantly Catholic city, that took place in a 15,000 seat arena and ended up drawing 600 people.
Cornette is asked about WCW putting on the Clash of the Champions opposite of WrestleMania 4. He said they drew 5,300 fans in a 70,000 seat arena and how that area was facing tough economic times so no fans came. Cornette said it looked like a “pisshole in a snow bank” on TV as there was no way to hide the amount of empty seats. He then said that Scott did not want to promote the show because it would kill the house show business if people saw them on TV as Cornette talks about how ridiculous that notion is as they had ran these specials for over a year. He said the ratings were shit as it was not promoted, which was insane as WCW was owned by a television company.
After the debacle that took place at Clash of the Champions, George Scott was fired and replaced by a booking committee. At that time, it featured Jim Herd, Jim Barnett (who Cornette credits for inventing “studio” wrestling), Jim Ross, Eddie Gilbert, and Jody Hamilton (Who Cornette said was in charge of the jobbers and the ring crews).
Cornette then talks about how they gave notice after Scott told them he had no plans for them and there contract was expiring in May but Scott got fired before that and Jim Ross asked them if they would reconsider. Cornette talked about how they had arrangements to work a few shows in Memphis for Bill Dundee but told Ross he would go on TV and cut a promo about how they were hurt and needed to heal up so they could perform, allowing them to go away for a few months as they could re-build their image as they were losing a lot of matches at that time. So, Cornette met with Herd for the first time and talked about wanting to be loyal and help the company as they moved forward so Herd offered him $100,000 a year while Stan & Bobby received $75,000, which were significant pay cuts across the board. Cornette told Herd that Stan & Bobby deserved more as Herd kept telling him that he would get more because he could also do color commentary. He left after declining the deal then Herd countered with $125,000 for him and $90,000 for Stan & Bobby. Cornette then told Herd he would take the $100,00 for himself, as that was a lot for a manager,but Stan & Bobby needed to get $150,000. They went back and forth as Cornette said he would offer Stan & Bobby a little more each time but he kept raising Cornette’s amount, when he said he would accept the initial offer as Herd then came back with $150,000 for Cornette, $50,000 more than what he asked for and offered Stan & Bobby $125,000. He asked his team if they wanted that as they said yes, as Bobby also had three kids to support.
The Dynamic Dudes made their debut at the May 6th TV tapings from Center Stage. Cornette said that Jim Ross wanted to re-create the Rock & Roll Express and saw that Skateboards were popular and thought it would work but the gimmick was awful. He also said that Johnny Ace had two left feet and could not even ride a skateboard then talks about how they were the only team Herd liked less than the Midnight Express and that was why they worked a program together.
Cornette talks about Terry Funk returning and how he wanted to show everyone that he could still go in the ring. He even worked with a broken tailbone and even had to fly by kneeling into the seat and hunching over the chair due to the pain but still wrestled. Funk also brought in Eddie Guerrero to a TV taping attempting to get him a job during this time.
He talks about losing the Tag Team Tournament Finals to the Freebirds but the air conditioning in the building was broken and it was over 100 degrees in the building. Cornette talks about this version of the Freebirds as at that time, Terry Gordy was willing to work here but wanted to keep his Japan dates. However, the company wanted a full-time Freebird so they got Garvin. Cornette said that Haynes wanted to re-create the Freebirds of old and that Garvin, who was 5’10 and 210lbs started to take “supplements” and wanted to work like a bad-ass so they both didnt want to sell. Cornette said that Garvin flipped out on him once because he didnt sell a punch enough as Cornette talked all but said he was on steroids and wanted him to be carried to the back after getting punched once as Cornette also brings up how Garvin was chickenshit heel is whole life. He said Haynes refused to sell the tennis racket because he said they had to get over huge, despite teams like the Road Warriors selling the racket. Cornette goes into his book and how during a Bash Tour at the Boston Garden and how after working a six-man teaming with Dr. Death, the Freebirds beat them, barely selling during the match, then decided to all of a sudden attack them afterwards to get more heat so Dr. Death got fed up and grabbed a chair then whacked Garvin repeatedly for trying to fuck with him. After the match, they went to the locker room as Garvin was all busted up as Eaton yelled at the Freebirds for not just being there to get them over as things were tense and that seeing Eaton, who rarely ever yelled, got the Freebirds to think a bit and they started to sell more for them after that.
Cornette confirms that the Ding Dongs were a Jim Herd idea. He said that the idea of this gimmick was that the WWF had all the kids as fans so they thought this would attract some. Cornette even said Herd once said if he had a 6’5 one-legged guy he would have his “Long John Silver” as Herd wanted to turn wrestlers into movie characters.
On Lex Luger turning heel at “Clash of the Champions VII,” Cornette said that Luger was a tremendous athlete and a nice guy but never a wrestling fan growing up and had no idea he was insulting people in wrestling when he was there as he always made money and was the focus so he did not know better. Cornette said that Luger was not a natural worker and had a hard time feeling out wrestling but was a solid heel.
He is asked about the “Great American Bash” PPV but first talks about the tour and how it was making no money as he lists off the meager house show draws. Cornette said that the PPV was heavily promoted and sold out Baltimore. He talks about his Tuxedo Match against Paul E. Dangerously and the night before he tore cartledge in his knee in a house show match. He iced the knee the rest of the night but it was stiff when he got up in the morning. They both wanted the match to be a grudge instead of comedy then talks about how he was the most experienced worker of the two and how that was a bad thing. He gathered up a Percocet, Vicodin, and an anti-inflammatory then decided to walk down the aisle and not limp, which was painful, then said he wanted Dangerously to hit his knee as hard as he can because his brace would absorb most of the it but Dangerously hit the wrong leg as Cornette says you can see him tell Dangerously to hit the other leg.
Cornette is asked about Ricky Steamboat leaving for foot surgery. He talks about Ricky’s wife Bonnie and how she was vocal behind the scenes and how she once did not allow him to attend a Smoky Mountain Show because she had something to do with him. Cornette then goes on about how no one wanted to see Steamboat the family man and that he looked lame in comparison to Flair, who was cool and fucking all of the women.
Ric Flair became the booker at his request as Cornette said that Flair had enough and went in after the disaster that was the “Great American Bash” tour. Cornette names off the ratings for the shows, which were bad, and said Flair was promised full control. Flair then called Cornette at that time that he wanted him on his committee but first he had to take care of something, which was getting rid of Eddie Gilbert. Flair did not like Gilbert’s Memphis-style of booking and that Gilbert once changed a finish to put himself over Ron Simmons in Memphis which pissed Flair off so Cornette was going to replace Gilbert’s spot. Cornette then pulls out some of his booking notes, shooting formats, and announcer’s notes, and even the list of job guys as Cornette said he always wanted to use Louie Spicolli as Bobby Eaton’s younger brother as they looked alike. Flair also wanted a lot of interviews but Herd did not want that as Sam Mushnick in St. Louis did not use them much and would change the shows as Cornette said that Flair would keep the original notes Cornette wrote. He said Herd was dividing the guys as he put word out that Jim Ross changed the scripts, which he did after being told to by Herd himself and that caused a lot of problems.
When asked about the angle in which Funk put a plastic bag over Flair’s head, Cornette said that it got over as Funk was convincing in his role. Cornette said that it brought in complaints but TBS was not prepared for calls from wrestling fans actually calling and believing that Funk was trying to kill Flair and the corporate guys took the complaints seriously.
About Paul E. Dangerously got fired, Cornette said that back then you were told in your promos to get yourself over so Dangerously cut a promo appealing to the “sheet readers” as Flair was next to Cornette backstage and said “fuck this guy” and Flair told him he was done. Dangerously thought he meant done for the night but Flair told him he was fucking done for good. Cornette said that Dangerously’s rendition was incorrect as Flair slammed the door after yelling at Heyman then a little bit after that, Dangerously tossed the garbage can while Flair was behind a closed door.
On October 6th, TBS Executive Vice President Bob Levi and Vice President of Programming Jeff Carr sent out a memo that said there would not be anymore violence on their shows, due to the plastic bag angle and mugging of Scott Steiner. Cornette reads some of the new guidelines at that time. He then talks about the awful tension at the booking meetings and how no one got along and nothing got accomplished as Herd suggested stuff that would hurt the product and wanted to change what Flair wanted to do.
Ole Anderson returned to the company. Cornette said that Ole could still cut a promo and contribute so he was brought back.
He said that the bit were he was in the hotel room with Woman was his mother’s favorite angle.
Cornette talks about the Thunderdome match. He said they thought the match would look cool but when they got there, the special effects were set up terribly as Muta was trying to blow out the fire with his mist as Tommy Young went over to put it out and it came off terrible. On Bruno Sammartino as the special referee, Cornette said that having him brought into Philly would draw a good house.
On the “I Quit” match between Flair and Funk, Cornette said Funk was not happy about quitting and said how he was told about the match before he agreed to it as Cornette said Herd wanted to make Funk a color commentator.
He talks about the angle when he tricked the Dynamic Dudes after they were feuding with the Midnight Express, culminating in a match at “Clash of the Champions IX.” Cornette said that it was his idea for the finish but then said he underestimated the sympathy the Midnight Express got from the fans for being booked like shit and how the fans loathed the Dynamic Dudes.
Flair wanted to defend the title against Bobby Eaton as Flair thought he was the best wrestler and did not want to even beat him as it ended in a DQ. Cornette said the rating for the match was the best in a year but Herd was pissed that Flair did not beat Eaton. So, Flair booked a rematch then Cornette booked a finish in which he and Stan tried to interfere but it backfired as Flair beat them all up with the racket and that rating topped the show that featured their initial match.
Cornette talks about Tully & Arn coming back to WCW for $250,000 a year but when Tully failed a drug test, Herd found out and rescinded the offer as he said it looked bad. Cornette suggested all sorts of things such as Tully going to rehab then come back as they could say TBS helped him out but Herd said no then cut Arn’s deal for $150,000 a year because he was less valuable by himself and Arn already gave notice to the WWF had to take the deal for $100,000 less than was promised to him.
On the Round-Robin Tournament for “Starrcade,” Cornette said that it was problematic choosing who would be in there and who would job and they all struggled to come up with finishes.
Cactus Jack made his debut. Cornette said that Continental was closing and Jack came over to a show. Cornette and Sullivan liked him and brought him in and said the more he dropped the elbow from the apron the more crazy the fans got and it caught on so he got a chance to get in full-time. However, most guys at the time saw nothing in him.
Cornette talks about how he fought Shane Douglas but before that in a match the crowd was yelling “Johnny sucks dick” at Johnny Ace as fans draped a bedsheet over the balcony that read “Johnny sucks Shane’s dick.” He then said that he came up with the idea that he would accidentally sign a contract to wrestle Shane. Cornette said he likes Shane but at the time he was young and told him in the airport he was not going to sell any of the “Memphis stuff” as Cornette said that while he was a Jr. member of the booking committee, Shane was a Jr. member of the talent roster and did not realize he was doing him a favor as this was a chance to get him over. After the match, Herd said that a wrestler should not sell for a manager after Shane called and complained so Herd ordered them to re-tape the match in a different city with Stan Lane wrestling on his behalf as they baited-and-switched the fans.
Flair resigned from the booking committee as Cornette tells us Flair sent a memo to everyone about how he had Herd changing his ideas and was not promised full control as promised and would go back to being a wrestler full-time.
Final Thoughts: I thought this was good but nowhere near as wonderful as his 1997 WWE Timeline. Cornette enjoyed himself and was in good spirits here. And for those wondering, there were no mentions of Russo or politics as he stayed on the topic at hand.
There were some entertaining stories and you got a good picture of what it was like to work on the booking team. However, the major angles were not discussed all that much, and Cornette himself was away from the company for several weeks when he was between contracts. The Midnights also did not work near the top of the card at the time either so he does not have much to say about being directly involved in the key feuds either.
Cornette loves wrestling and that shows here. As far as the WCW Timeline installments are concerned, this is probably the best one. I do recommend this as it is entertaining but again, do not expect it to be as great as his 1997 WWE Timeline.
You can purchase this On Demand for $20.99 or the DVD, which is a Two DVD set for $25 by clicking on the link below.
This was released in 2012
The interview is conducted by Sean Oliver
It runs for two hours and fifteen minutes long
The interview starts with Steele joking around then Oliver asks him about the landscape of the company at this time. Steele talks about he came back to the full time in January of 1986 (he was wrestling part-time for the past few years) as he was teaching and coaching football and got burned out by that. Steele then talks about when he turned babyface on the first ever episode (during the first match too) of “Saturday Night’s Main Event” and how he started to eat the turnbuckles after the match and they sent Capt. Lou Albano in after him and then Steele put his head down in his stomach as the place went nuts for the turn, which Steele never thought would work, and when he saw that it did, he figured that he should come back for a full-time run. He then talks about how he was a cartoon character at that point and how they were selling toys and memorabilia rather than wrestling.
George is asked about Vince’s infatuation with hillbillies as Steele said that it was due to Hillbilly Jim’s popularity and how they decided to give him a family. Steele then tells the story of how Cousin Junior quit. Junior showed up to the arena in a limo, wearing a white tuxedo and smoking a cigar. He got out of the limo and told the agent that he had already made enough money needed for the rest of his life and that he was retiring as he stepped back inside of the limo and drove away.
He is asked about Hogan’s relationship with the rest of the locker room. Steele said he separated a little bit out of necessity but remained “one of the boys.” Steele said that Hogan was the guy Vince dreamed about as he had the look and the charisma and a good but not great worker. Steele said that he would build a company around Hogan as well.
Sean asks Steele about Terry Funk and if he struggled to fit in with the cartoonish product of the WWF. Steele laughs and said that Funk was always a clown and fit right in as he did his character well with the company. When asked if Funk should have been given a title run, Steele said no. Sean asks why as Steele talks about Hogan being so good that it was tough to do return matches at arenas with him because it has not believable that you could leave him laying twice. Steele then goes on about how great workers, like Funk, do not need belts and that the marginal workers do to help give them a jump start.
He talks about “Saturday Night’s Main Event” when he was at the water park as Steele tells a story about how he accidentally called NBC Executive Producer Dick Ebersol “Dave” and how that became a running joke whenever he saw him. Steele said he did it at first by accident because he is dyslexic. Steele then talks about Ebersol changing wrestling as he gave input into the shows such as scripting the matches themselves as he wanted the cameraman to know where the wrestler would be at a certain point in the match. Steele said he always called everything in the ring and how it was a struggle to adapt to this change, even saying that he just did what he wanted most of the time. He also puts over the announcing and guys like Gene Okerlund for helping make them all bigger stars.
On Lou Albano, Steele laughs and tells a story of how in his first run back in the 60’s, he rode around with Albano, who paid for his meals and took care of him. On the last day of his run, Albano gave him a bag filled with all of the bills that he took care of for Steele as a rib. Steele then talks about how Vince loved Albano, especially when he was wild as Steele recalls Vince telling him to get Albano a large bottle of vodka to liven things up when they were quiet.
Steele is asked about Adrian Adonis changing to the “Adorable” gimmick. He talks about how they were close and Adonis came up to him backstage at a “TNT” taping and told him to pay attention as he walked out and gave away his signature leather jacket. Steele said that Adonis thought of the idea himself and while he took a lot of ribbing from the locker room he loved the attention.
About his feud against Randy Savage over his love of Elizabeth, Steele said it was Chief Jay Strongbow’s idea. Steele talks about how it was natural as Elizabeth was gorgeous and Randy was extremely jealous in real life. Steele then talks about how difficult it was to work with Randy but not before putting over his work ethic and talent. Steele said he always improvised in the ring and Randy planned everything out. Steele says they clashed over that but part of that was due to the wrestling business changing towards the way Savage was operating. He then tells a story at a SNME taping where Savage gave him a notebook that had pages filled with details for their match as Steele ripped them out one by one and threw the pages in the trash as he told Savage to listen to him and they would have a good match. He talks about how Savage would even step between anyone talking to Elizabeth, during segments or backstage, just so they would not be looking at her.
On Savage becoming the Intercontinental Champion, Steele said that Tito would have made the better champ as Savage was such a good performer that he did not need the belt where as Tito was a great worker but needed a bit of a push. Steele then talks about how Randy and Tito were going to have a long feud but because of the popularity he had with his infatuation of Elizabeth, Tito ended up losing his run to Savage in favor for Steele.
When asked if it was Savage’s idea to make Elizabeth his valet, Steele said that the WWF wanted to bring in a model for Savage, who nixed the idea and said that he already had a model in Elizabeth. Steele then recalls how the first time Elizabeth came to the “Championship Wrestling” tapings in Poughkeepsie, NY, Savage made her practice how to get in and out of the ring without revealing too much of her legs and body about 200 times as Steele said it was brutal and that he felt bad for Elizabeth as he goes into how much Savage controlled her.
Sivi Afi, billed as the cousin of Jimmy Snuka, made his debut this month. Steele recalls standing next to Vince backstage during his Madison Square Garden debut as the place was going crazy as they thought it was Snuka but when the lights came on it revealed Afi and the crowd booed loudly as Vince commented how Afi’s career was now ruined. Steele then talks about how you can never replace a talent, who is over with another talent acting as a replacement, no matter how good a worker they as he says it is also a disrespect to the talent too. Steele said Vince Sr. never made that mistake but Vince Jr. has many times.
On Dory Funk coming into the WWF as “Hoss Funk,” Steele said that it was a case of Vince wanting control as he would tell the guys they could make a lot of money but it had to be done his way. Steele said it never worked and Dory knew that and left rather quickly. Steele then talks about how the business was changing as it was geared more towards television that all of the talent would come in as the TV would act as a monster and chew and spit them up as if you were not able to get over through TV, you were gone. He says the guys that lasted a long time, like Jake Roberts, were able to overcome all of that. Steele then talks about today’s wrestlers and how they are great athletes but lack the showmanship talent.
The first ever “Slammy Awards” air on March 1st. When asked if he had fun, Steele said while he resented it at first, he started to have fun and was making more money than ever. When asked if he received any royalties for the “Wrestling Album,” Steele said that he received nothing for both the recording or from royalties but it did pay in the long run as it got them more notoriety.
On Mr. T, Steele said that he had an attitude and did not respect the wrestlers or the business. He even believes that if he came along a few years earlier the wrestlers in the locker room would have destroyed him but at that point the business was changing. He also said that Hogan shielded him away from others in the locker room as well.
Steele talks about King Kong Bundy and how he challenged Hogan for the Belt at WrestleMania 2. He recalls a story of how Bundy, at this time, talked about how he was one of the top guys in the WWF as Strongbow started to laugh as he said top guys had 4-5 years while he had one shot at a top feud. Steele then tells another story of how when Bundy appeared in the WWF in 1985, he was standing next to Don Muraco and asked where they got this guy as Muraco told him that he used to do jobs for the WWF in the early 80’s with his brother and back then did not have a shaved head or eyebrows. It was after that when he went to Texas and Gary Hart managed him and suggested he shave his head and eyebrows when he became a star.
Ricky Steamboat and Bret Hart faced off against each other at the March 8th house show at the Boston Garden. Sean asks Steele why we do not see matches like this, between two great workers, happen more often. Steele said the answer is that they do not sell tickets as you need a hook to draw the crowd in and that babyface matches do not draw and that the Hart Foundation were not strong heels at that time.
Steele is asked about the “All-Star Wrestling” tapings being held in Brantford, ONT as he had no idea why the chose that location but tells a story about the Junkyard Dog taking a job guy and smashing his head off of the wall after a match. Steele and Albano grabbed JYD and asked him why he did that as JYD was pissed about the guy not selling his finisher. Steele said he saw the tape later and JYD was right then when the custodians went to clean the blood off of the wall, Steele told them to leave it there as it was a good reminder for people to see what would happen if they did not want to sell any offense during the match. He talks about how it stayed on the wall for about three shows.
They talk about WrestleMania 2 and how it was broadcsted from three different locations as Steele mentions how Vince was ecstatic that all of the different satellite feeds worked as he had a lot of money riding on the show and that he would have been broke if it did not go off. Steele then credits Vince for actually putting his profits into the product, specifically the production values as most promoters did not do that. When asked why Vince chose to have it take place at three different venues, Steele said that he learned a long time ago that in wrestling you have to make people talk and cites an example of how Vince had the Fabulous Moolah win a battle royal once by sneaking behind Greg Valentine and dropkicking him over the top rope as his point was that Valentine winning wasn’t going to garner any buzz and that Moolah would.
Sean asks Steele about the celebrities (as a scroll listing off all 18 of them appears on the screen). Steele had no idea who handled them. He starts laughing when asked about Ray Charles as he went into his room to meet him and turned on the light as Charles told him that he did not need that. Steele said that he was a great guy. On which celebrities got wrestling, Steele said Lou Duva and Joe Frazier got it but he was not around all of them. Steele tells another story of how his wife was at the hair salon and when asked why she was there, she said that she was going to a wrestling show as the hair dresser put her hand on her shoulder to feel sorry for her then a few years later, at the same salon with the same hair dresser, she was asked why she was there as she told them that it was for WrestleMania III as the hair dressser asked his wife if she could get her some tickets.
Steele is asked about his match at WrestleMania 2 against Savage. He said that it was originally supposed to be Savage against Tito but he got into the match due to the popularity of the Elizabeth angle. He is also asked about the main event, King Kong Bundy vs. Hulk Hogan in a cage match for the title as Steele said that he thought Bundy was in over his head. He said the match was alright overall but nothing he would go buy a ticket to see or anything.
He is asked about the Rougeaus as Steele said they were good workers but Jacques could be difficult to get along with. He said Raymond was great to get along with and talks about how he worked with their father.
He talks about Adonis again and how wonderful he was as the “Adorable” one but got carried away with the “nose candy” and couldnt help himself after that. Steele tells a story of how he wrestled Adonis, who took a bump to the floor and landed hard on his hip, then in the locker room, Adonis was crying due to the pain and had his makeup running down his face and as Steele tried to console him, Pat Patterson would walk up and make it seem like he was about to laugh, which would get Steele to laugh himself, then Patterson kept doing that as Steele talked about how Patterson pulled a lot of ribs in his day.
When asked about Jake Roberts hitting Steamboat with a DDT on the floor during “Saturday Night’s Main Event,” Steele said it was a great angle and talked about how George Scott was booking and overpushed some of the guys he brought in, like Steamboat, who were not getting over and once they held him back a little and started a feud with Jake he began to get more over with the fans.
George Scott was demoted from his role as head booker. Steele recalls once during a taping of “TNT,” Scott became disgusted over a segment then told Steele that Vince was going to do things to hurt the business and if he saw something that would in fact hurt it to pull Vince aside and tell him as Steele was close to Vince. Steele said that he wasn’t going to tell Vince then talks about the business was changing and that you could not knock success.
King Tonga (Haku) bodyslammed John Studd on an episode of “Championship Wrestling.” When asked about any stories about his toughness as Steele recalls a story while at a bar in Canada when some guy kept taunting Tonga about how he was not able to slam him. Steele said that a cop was there near the guy but Tonga picked him up anyway and slammed him near the cops foot. The cop then said that the guy was asking for it as Steele noted he didnt want any part of Tonga either. Steele said that he was a good guy who also loved his scotch. He also said that for some reason whenever they went all went out Tonga was the guy that would get challenged by bar patrons.
Steele talks about the Komodo Dragon that Steamboat carried with him as he said that the British Bulldogs would mess around with it and burn it with cigarettes and as a result Steamboat hated to pick it up because he never knew what the dragon would end up doing. Steele also tells a story of how the dragon escaped while in Connecticut and when it finally got caught it was several pounds heavier and the area had calls for missing cats and dogs.
On June 17th, Andre the Giant lost to Antonio Inoki in Japan. Sean asks Steele if Japan had to get permission from Vince for Andre to lose and he said that they did. Steele then tells a story about during a match Andre asked him to try a slam. Steele said he went over and attempted to pick him up but then acted like his back hurt and after that, Steele said that Andre came up to him backstage and put him over and always respected him for that. When asked about guys that Andre disliked, Steele said that he did not like Big John Studd, as Steele said Studd was dumb as Andre would tell him to not do certain spots that he did but Studd did them anyway. Steele said that Andre also hated the Iron Sheik and the Ultimate Warrior as Steele tells a story that happened a few years later when he was the agent for a Warrior vs. Andre match at a house show in Florida that was booked to have Warrior beat Andre in 14 seconds. When that happened, the fans booed as they felt cheated out of a match and started to rip up their Warrior posters and throw them at the ring. Steele called Vince to tell him what happened as he felt this would hurt both guys but Vince told him that they would shove this match down the fans throats and after three months of the same reactions it actually ended up getting Warrior over at the end.
Steele said that Billy Jack Haynes was a tough guy and had a good look but the machine swallowed him up. He then tells a story of how he ribbed Haynes once when he asked him if he was gay as the night before he saw Haynes’ girlfriend in the hotel lobby alone then asked Haynes would he had in his room. Steele said that Haynes blew up and talked about how he beat the shit out of a TV producer in Oregon to which Steele once again asked him if he was gay as Hillbilly Jim was cracking up in the car but also warning Steele that Haynes might actually act violent towards him.
Harley Race won the “King of the Ring” tournament in Foxboro, MA. Steele said giving Race the king gimmick was one of the biggest ribs in the history of wrestling as Race had to carry the crown and the robe everywhere he went.
About Paul Orndorff turning heel on Hogan, Steele said that he was much better as a heel then talked about how Orndorff was bipolar and always an inch away from going off of the deep end. Steele does have a lot of respect for him. Steele then talks about how at one point Danny Spivey was going to be considered as a protege of Hogan then end up turning on him as Steele talks about how he helped devise an idea to have Spivey team with Hogan then one day come out with his hair dyed black and slap Hogan as he would then say how he was sick of being in his shadow but the story then went to Orndorff as Steele said that Hogan used some of their idea and brought it to that storyline. After being asked if Orndorff being difficult to work with cost him a run as the champion, Steele said that he gets a kick out of “smart marks” needing to think that the best worker needed the belt and that being in multiple territories also made you great as Steele said that just means you were unable to get over and stay somewhere and that you could put the belt on anyone and have them beat people but you cant make them into a good worker so he feels it is a waste to give a great worker a belt (The World Heavyweight Title).
Steele laughs when asked about Slick as he said the character was a joke but also gives Slick credit for doing a great job with the character.
On whether or not Roddy Piper returned to the WWF with an ego, Steele laughed and said that he had one before he left the questions to find a superstar who made it in wrestling without having a huge ego.
When asked about the Machines gimmick, Steele said they outright stole that from Japan and they were trying all sorts of things at that time.
He is asked about the change from taking the TV tapings from Poughkeepsie to on the road, Steele joked about how there were wires everywhere for cameras and everything else. Steele also talks about how the company was all about the production.
The final episode of “TNT” aired as Steele recalls how much fun he had doing those shows and joked that Vince backed out as host and put Mean Gene in charge so it would fail without him as the host.
Steele then talks about Superstar Billy Graham returning and how that did not work out. He then goes off topic and talks about how when Graham thought he was returning for a run on top, no one could follow Hogan without a big drop then brings up one guy who he thought could have followed Hogan with just a slight drop off years later was Sid Vicious, prefacing that comment by stating how people will probably laugh at him for saying that.
Steele said that the Honky Tonk Man brought in as a face was an instant failure and even thought coming back as a heel would fail as well but credits him or being the best at his gimmick and talks about how he had a ton of heat with the fans and nearly caused a riot in Panama City, FL as a result at a house show.
When asked about Vince proclaiming Tom Magee as his future World Champion, Steele talks about Vince being one of the best TV people there and great at merchandising but wrestling his just not his thing as he witnessed so many mistakes. Steele said Magee with a nice guy and a good “beer drinker” but thought Vince was on drugs when he thought Magee could be a champion then even questions if Vince said that as a rib as you never knew what he was doing.
Steele said that the Danny Davis as a heel referee worked then talks about how even though it might sound egotistical, Steele himself believes he was responsible for the far out and cartoonish ideas in the 80’s as when he turned and got over by acting ridiculous, Vince took things farther with other performers.
Steele laughs when asked about Outback Jack but did say he got over a little bit due to the vignettes but the TV ate him up quickly and also said he began to date one of the girls in the office and that was looked down upon and was the beginning of the demise. Steele also joked how the girl he dated was as attractive as Jack and wouldnt want to see what their children looked like.
He is asked about Tom Zenk as Steele said that he just didnt fit in with the locker room and was the type of guy who blamed everyone else for his failures.
On the start of the Savage/Steamboat feud, Steele said that he had his heart broken a bit being the manager for their WrestleMania III match because that was his hometown and he wanted to wrestle in front of the home crowd.
He is asked about the finish at “Saturday Night’s Main Event” (filmed in December 1986 but aired on January 1987) where both Orndorff and Hogan hit the floor at the same time after escaping the change and said that Orndorff’s feet really hit the ground first.
Steele talks about how at that same taping, he took Elizabeth backstage during their match but a few nights before, Vince wanted Steele to grab Elizabeth by the ankle and capture that on photo but Savage flipped out and thought that Steele and Vince were trying to rib him by doing that then JYD started to egg on Savage by telling him he should be asking if Steele would be laying on his belly or on his back, looking up her dress as Savage went ballistic. Savage also went nuts over Steele taking her away in the match as he wondered what the fans thought he would be doing to her. Steele then talks about how Savage being off of the wall made him a great worker.
Final Thoughts: Excellent interview. Steele was fantastic throughout and gave great insight mixed in with funny stories and gossip. Steele also displayed a great mind for the wrestling business too. He came off as a personable guy and did not have an agenda or an ax to grind.
As someone who recently watched all of the WWF TV and major house shows of 1986, Steele really was a huge part of the company and the crowd did love him. I thought he was a fine choice as the subject of the timeline. His close relationship with Vince also gave us some details that I have never heard before.
Overall, I highly recommend this interview. It is another fine installment in the KC Timeline Series and you will not be disappointed. Steele is an entertaining guest in general and keeps things moving along.
You can purchase this interview for $20 by clicking on the link below
Next week, I will be reviewing the classic RF Video Al Snow shoot interview from 1998.
With all of the 1996 WCW reviews and whatnot, I figured why not get some insight from the Bookerman himself, Kevin Sullivan. This was originally posted in July of 2013 but figured why the hell not read it again tonight.
This was released on June 25th, 2013.
This was released in 2010
The interview was conducted by Sean Oliver
It runs for two hours and four minutes long
Duggan is asked about all of the animal mascots in the company and how miserable the guys who had them would be as they had to handle them on the road. Duggan said that he recalled one of the British Bulldogs yelling at the dog to take a dump while outside in the freezing cold then talks about how the Bulldogs gave the dog beer and also some “downers” when it was barking to loud then talks about how the dog also probably got a few steroid injections from them as well. He then talks about how Jake had a few different snakes play Damien and recalled one night they partied all night at a few strip clubs in Detriot. First, Duggan tells the joke about wrestlers and strippers by saying that strippers are wrestling fans, have good drugs, and a bisexual, which are three things that wrestlers always looked for back then. After a night of partying, they woke up and there was 4-5 inches of snow on the ground and they opened the trunk where Damien was frozen to death as Jake forgot to take him out of the trunk. Duggan also said that a lot of guys disliked Jake and would purposely fuck with his snakes by abusing them.
He is asked about battle royals and Duggan said he enjoyed them. Duggan tells a story about being in one with Curt Hennig, Big Boss Man, and the Ultimate Warrior. Boss Man and Duggan beat on Warrior in the corner while Hennig slides out and ties Warrior’s tassles to the top rope. Warrior tries to leave the corner but can’t break free so Chief Jay Strongbow came out and had to cut them off with a knife. Duggan then said Boss Man, Hennig, and himself had to go up to see Vince after that. Oliver then asks Duggan about ribs they pulled. Duggan said the guys know travel by themselves and use laptops where as they would travel 4-5 in a car and would split hotel rooms.
When asked about the Royal Rumble and how the concept was created Duggan said that he believes it was Pat Patterson who started it and calls him a genius. He then talks about how he can hang his hat on being the first ever winner of the Rumble and how fans today still talk to him about that. He then discusses the differences between how he cut promos back then and the way it is done today. Duggan said the way they did promos were all different and today it feels homogenized as everything is scripted by the same people.
Duggan is asked about the Dynamite Kid as he had a seizure on January 30th. He said that he was a bully, as was his partner Davey, and hated that. Duggan puts him over as a wrestler. He said that guys like the Ultimate Warrior and Randy Savage got lost in their characters to the point that they became them outside of the ring.
Oliver asks Duggan about the WWF issuing a fine policy for certain things like throwing your opponent into the guardrail. Duggan said that was true as it was a liability issue because fans were starting to sue as the guardrails moved and could hit fans. He said that they did issue a dress code but that they only had to dress up “a little bit.”
When asked about Andre the Giant, Duggan said that he met him early in his career while in World Class in 1979. He said that he got along well with him but others didn’t and noted how he could be irritable. Duggan tells a story about Andre and how he sometimes had poor hygiene. During their match, Andre told him to come closer and they were about to do a spot where Andre choked him out with the strap of his singlet but instead Andre put the strap around Duggan’s mouth and squeezed it as the sweat was going into Duggan’s mouth and laughing. Duggan said that he actually vomited after that. He also said that he would sometimes step on your hair then pull you up by the arms and how he did that a lot when he wrestled Jake Roberts.
Duggan is asked about Honky Tonk Man refusing to drop the Intercontinental Title to Randy Savage at “Saturday Night’s Main Event.” Duggan said that Honky could be tough to do business with and while he didn’t need a belt, some guys started to become obsessed with the belt, like Terry Taylor. He then tells a story about Savage and how overprotective he was of Elizabeth, even writing down the mileage on her car when he went out and checking it again when he returned. Anyway, they were in Europe at the airport when a fan wanted a picture. Jerry Sags then walked by and ripped a huge fart as Savage went off on him for doing that in front of his wife then put Elizabeth on a plane back home. Blackjack Lanza, who was an agent, told Vince that Savage sent her back home so Vince then put her on a plane to take her back over to Europe and reportedly told Sags that was the most expensive gas he has ever passed.
When asked about Bruno Sammartino leaving the company, Duggan said that he never understood where Bruno was coming from when he was complaining about the company’s direction as if it was not for wrestling he would have probably been working at a steel mill. Duggan said that he made more money wrestling than he would have at anything else before talking about himself and how an investment in a pair of boots and wrestling trunks led to a 31 year career that allowed him to put his kids through school.
Duggan is asked about the Iron Sheik returning and the incident in which they both got arrested together. Duggan tells the arrest story. He just came into the company and the Sheik came up to him and asked for a ride because he forgot his credit card. Duggan agreed and during the drive Sheik had him stop over for beer. Duggan said that he was not a big beer drinker but had a bag that consisted of 3-4 joints and they smoked that then Duggan cracked open a beer and they drove by a state trooper who pulled them over. Duggan said that he was used to living in Louisiana and their almost non-existent open container laws so didn’t think anything of it at all. The cop asked if they had anything in the car so Duggan said that he had a few joints, expecting the trooper to take it then give him a ticket or tell him to leave but the trooper ordered him out of the car and frisked him. More cops arrived on the scene as they put Duggan and Sheik in separate cars and took them to the station. When they pulled out the Sheik’s wallet, they found cocaine so he went in front of the judge and they let them off and they went back to the car and went to drive to the show. Duggan then called his wife to tell her that he got arrested and didn’t think anyone knew about it but the next morning she called him back and said that everyone knows about the arrest. He said that his dad, the Chief of Police in Glens Falls, NY, got a lot of shit from people about his arrest After calling his dad, he called Vince and immediately got through to him. Vince asked “What have you done to us” then told Duggan to turn in his plane tickets and go home as he was fired. He reports that someone told him about Vince telling the talent that he would never work there again as the business was bigger than a “six pack and a blow job.” Duggan said that he hung out at home for a few weeks and was going to have a meeting with Dusty Rhodes but Bruce Prichard called him up and told him to hang tight and not sign anywhere and sure enough he got hired back. Duggan talks about all of his success and how that he still believes he has never recovered from the arrest on a professional level.
He is asked about the TV angle that kicked off his feud with Andre the Giant. Duggan said that Andre accidentally jabbed his thumb in his lip and busted him open. Duggan said that she still has the scar to this day. He said that elevated him from a midcarder to a main event talent.
When asked about the Jake Roberts/Rick Rude feud and how bringing in your wife or girlfriend never ends up well, Duggan joked that Rude wasn’t the only one in the locker room kissing Cheryl then talks about her wife had been on camera a few times and even once beat Sensational Sherri in a match when Sherri was the champ. Velvet McIntyre missed the show due to a blizzard so Lanza asked him if his wife would fill in because she had been in the ring a few times in Mid-South.
Duggan is asked about WrestleMania IV and goes on about how the event has evolved into a whole weekend then talks about how WCW turned him into a janitor but he did not care as he was on TV. Duggan then said that they wanted him out and was surprised that got over so decided to turn him against America to join Team Canada. Nothing at all to do with 1988 WWF.
On interactions with the celebrities at WrestleMania, Duggan said they had little interaction with them but said hi to Donald Trump a few times, who knew the wrestlers but the rest usually sat in their own dressing rooms. He said the celebrities were usually respectable expect for Mickey Rourke at WrestleMania 25. Duggan tells the story of how he was at the hotel the night before the show and went upstairs to check on his daughter and said after a few drinks and without his glasses he saw three guys walking towards him and figured they were all WWE people as the floors were secured and he brushed by them then joked if they had enough room. Well, Rourke got heated and yelled at him so Duggan called him an “asshole” then after that realized it was Rourke. Duggan said he told Rourke to stand up when he talks to him, which is something he claims to say to short people who confront him, but Frank Shamrock and some other UFC guy were there with Rourke and calmed things down. Duggan then said that most of the celebs are respectful, especially the ones who bring their kids to the shows.
Duggan is asked about touring overseas. He talks about the plane rides and recalls a trip where Ric Flair said he had a big day and did not want any ribs or anything other pranks being pulled so when everyone woke up, their eyebrows were partially shaved by Brian Knobbs, who shaved off his own to sell the prank. Duggan said they got Knobbs back on a red eye flight where they tied cans to his shoes and painted his fingernails with Steve Keirn writing “I’m a dick” on his forehead with lipstick.
He is asked about wrestling Hercules and Duggan said that he always a troubled soul who got into a lot of fights. He then tells a story while in Europe when a bartender approached him so say that Hercules was hitting on a transvestite and Duggan told him that Hercules probably didn’t care.
On whether or not families were allowed in the locker room back then, Duggan said that they were and how wrestlers generally accepted other people’s families.
When asked about Vince’s locker room speech on the dangers of steroids, Duggan said that guys were going to do what they wanted to do without testing and how Dr. Zahorian was giving out steroids. Even when asked by the FBI during McMahon’s trial, Duggan said that he told them he was young and naive and the doctor was handing them out. Duggan did admit that the steroid use was rampant back then.
Duggan says that now the biggest marks in wrestling are the wrestlers themselves as they believe if you are not going all out with cool moves then you are not doing anything. He said that he could start a few chants and have the whole place cheering.
He is asked about Haku being crowned King. Duggan said that he is one of the toughest and how he would grab guys trying to fuck with him by saying he would first kill them then eat them afterwards.
Hogan returned to team with Savage to face off against Andre the Giant and Ted DiBiase. Duggan said that he always got along with Hogan even though they were never very close.
On July 25th Duggan wrestled against Andre the Giant in a Lumberjack Match at Madison Square Garden in the main event. Duggan said that was the pinnacle of his career.
Duggan talks about Curt Hennig, who made his debut at the WWF in July. He said that Hennig took the best bump he ever saw during a hockey game in Minnesota. The crowd booed him and he walked on the ice and slipped then fell as the crowd went nuts.
He is asked about the talk show segments and if they are scripted or done on the fly. Duggan said that you would follow the host’s lead most of the time then talks about promo skills are a lost art today.
Duggan talks about Terry Taylor, who made his debut as the Red Rooster. Duggan said that he was talented but always ran his mouth and thinks the gimmick was a rib on him but also said that Taylor half-assed the gimmick and could have gotten it over if he took it over the top.
On the Akeem character, Duggan believes it was created as the One Man Gang wanted to take time off but was going to have a feud with Hogan. Gang went home and came back then Duggan believes that the gimmick was punishment for that but also said that Gang embraced the Akeem gimmick and that is why it got over.
Duggan is asked about the Jacques Rougeau/Dynamite Kid confrontation. Duggan said that the Bulldogs picked their spots and thought that Dynamite had it coming because he always fucked with people.When asked, Duggan said the Bulldogs never fucked with him then said that they an Outback Jack out of the company.
In November, Ted Turner bought out Crockett Promotions and renamed the company “World Championship Wrestling.” Duggan said that they were not getting offers right away and he did not get one himself until Hogan signed with them.
Big John Studd returned to the WWF. Duggan said that he teamed with Studd against Haku & Andre the Giant, who did not like Studd. Duggan said that Studd was leery of Andre and there was a lot of friction there.
Duggan closes by saying a lot of guys are bitter about the business and how people remember the bad stuff from wrestlers but that he is not bitter and wants to be a reminder of how guys like him, Bob Backlund and Tito Santana saved their money and do not hold any resentment.
Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed the stories that Duggan told here. He is an engaging storyteller who is not bitter at all and has a great sense of humor. And Duggan did go off topic a ton in this interview but luckily he was entertaining a majority of the time. But one complaint I have is that you didnt learn much of anything that took place in 1988. This was one of the earlier timelines and interviewer Sean Oliver was not as polished as he is now so he just let Duggan talk and had little command of the interview. Oliver also seemed to be in awe of Duggan’s presence too. They might want to revisit this year in the future.
In closing I recommend this interview but for those you want to specifically learn about 1988 WWF, you might be disappointed. If you want to be entertained, then by all means watch this interview.
You can purchase the video for $20 by clicking on the link below
This was released on July 31st, 2014
The interview was conducted by Sean Oliver
It runs at two hours and fifteen minutes long
The first question asked to Bret is about the “Inside Edition” piece that aired on January 3rd on steroids and wrestling that primarily focused on Hulk Hogan’s apparent lying about his steroid use on the Arsenio Hall Show. Bret said that he recalled that a lot of guys in the locker room felt that if he just answered the question honestly, the whole issue would have gone away but when he lied, Bret said that it brought on a whole tidal wave of criticism and business went down significantly by the end of the year.
On January 5th, the first match between Hogan and Ric Flair at the Omni in Atlanta only drew 4,500 fans. Bret is asked why didnt the feud between Hogan and Flair work. Bret said it was due to ego problems as each guy were set in their own ways and had doing their same matches for years. When asked if someone tried to step in and tell these guys to go out their and deliver, Bret said he believes that Vince would have done that then talks about his own problems with Flair. He said that they were having really good matches at the beginning of the year but once Bret won the belt, the matches started to get sloppy. Bret said that Flair told him that he was having problems at home thus was distracted. He said that very well could have been the case but Bret also said that he went up to Vince and told him that he believed Flair was intentionally sabotaging their matches as the finishes would constantly get screwed up. He said that they had meetings with Vince and Pat Patterson to work things out as well. When Flair left, Vince came up to Bret a few weeks later and told him that he believes that Flair can only work his style of match and was not doing anything to purposely screw things up. Bret talks about how Flair called it in the ring and tried to be like Dory Funk and Harley Race were in the 1970’s and he came from a different era and they had a bit of a styles clash.
When asked about Shawn Michaels turning on Marty Jannetty and sending him through the “Barber Shop” window, Bret said that he believes they were split up as he believes that Shawn was tired of babysitting Marty, in the same way that he was tired of doing the same to Jim Neidhart. Bret also said that he did not travel on the road with the Rockers so he cannot say for sure. Bret then talks about Neidhart and how his night did not begin until 2am and that he had to stay with him to make sure he would make the flight the next day and how that got old after a while. When asked out of the Rockers which one he would have picked for a singles push, Bret puts over both guys for being exceptional workers but says that it was clear that Shawn was the better athlete of the two and picks him. Bret then says that Shawn and Curt Hennig were the two best athletes he has ever wrestled against. Bret then talks a bit more about Shawn and how he thought he was a better character and worker when they feuded against each other in 1997.
On Jaunary 17th, Bret dropped the Intercontinental Title to Jacques Rougeau. When asked if he was okay with that, Bret said that he was fine with dropping the belt to Jacques but upset in the fact that he was unsure which direction the company was going with him and thought he was doing a good job as the IC champion. He felt that he was going to get discarded but then Vince told him what was going to happen and he was not sure that it was going to happen as he had been promised many things in the past that did not happen. Bret also added that he was sure that the WWF knew what they were doing too. Sean then asked how far in advanced was Bret told that he was winning the World Heavyweight Title and he said that he was told that around Christmas time in 1991. Sean then asked Bret if it was true that he was talking to WCW and Bret confirmed, even saying that he had a few deals in place with the company. He then said that at the time, Brian Pillman called him and said that he was making more money in WCW than Bret was in the WWF. Bret said he called WCW and spoke with Jim Barnett, who told Bret that they could not pay him what he had been told by Pillman and was better off staying in the WWF. Bret said he wondered if they just did not see a lot in him or if they were doing him a huge favor. Bret said that it bothered him that all of the news about his negotiations were all over the “shit sheets” and the Observer and that pissed him off.
Now, Bret is asked about the 1992 Royal Rumble Match that Ric Flair won and became the WWF Champion. Sean asks Bret if Flair made a good champion for the WWF and their identity at the time. Bret then talks about how he is baffled when people tell him that Flair was the greatest wrestler of all-time, even saying that he is a fan of his and puts over his work ethic. When asked why do people consider Flair the greatest of all-time, Bret said he was flamboyant and had one of the greatest characters but as far as a worker, Bret said that he had an older mindset when it came to in-ring work and could not break out of the 1970’s style and do stuff in the ring that his generation was doing. Bret then talks about the three things that make you a great wrestler, your look/presence, workrate, and promo ability and how you would rate them in each category out of ten. He said that Hogan was 9/10 in presence and promo but 1/10 as a worker. He then said that the Dynamite Kid was a 0/10 promo, 9/10 wrestler and a 7/10 presence. Bret said that his biggest weakness were his promos and could do something good if he had an issue, like he did in 1997. Bret said he was either a 7 or 8 in presence, on his best day 7 or 8 in promos and close to a 10/10 as a worker. Bret said that he was impressed by good bodies but as a fan, he was impressed with who could work and wanted them to look and sell themselves as athletes. He then goes into how business tapered off in 1992 due to the steroid scandal.
Bret then skips ahead and talks about a match at a “Saturday Night Main Event” taping between Flair and Randy Savage. After they came through the curtain, Vince yelled at them to go back out and do it all over again, this time the way he wanted them too and they went back and did the same match and when they came back through the second time, Vince just yelled and told them to get the fuck out the way. Bret also said that those two were having meetings behind closed doors about their matches and when they failed, Bret believes that was the nail in the coffin for Flair as he could not wrestle the way they wanted him too.
Bret is asked about Kerry Von Erich, who was arrested for prescription fraud, and if his drug problem was known throughout the locker room. He said that it was known before he arrived to the WWF that Kerry had a severe drug addiction but does not recall seeing him that out of it while in the WWF. Bret then talks about how Kerry was a hard guy not to like and that everyone had some sympathy for him due to everything that happened in his life. Bret said he was one of the sweetest, kind-hearted wrestlers he has ever seen.
Jim Neidhart was fired on February 16th for “unprofessional conduct.” When asked how he got fired, Bret recalls that he stalled the company for drug testing him and that he somehow snuck out of the building and never got tested the night before. The next night, Neidhart got pissed and shot-putted a TV monitor that ended up hitting a WWF TV executive and breaking his ankle and that was what got him fired. Sean was asked if there were any discussions for him to team with Owen at that time and he said there was not and that was not the time to do it as he was getting a singles push.
When asked if it was the right time to turn the Undertaker face, Bret said he thinks so and puts over the Undertaker for constantly evolving and talking about how the gimmick was not easy to pull off. Bret then said that the Undertaker came up to him and said that he was happy to work together as he wanted to show what he could do in the ring. Bret puts over the Undertaker for being the only person to pull off that gimmick and said that he was smooth in the ring.
Bret is asked about Terry Garvin and Pat Patterson resigning on March 2nd due to allegations of sexual harassment and how the locker room reacted. He said that at the time, with this coming right after Hogan lying about his steroid use, a lot of them were worried about the state of the business. Bret said that about the allegations of harassment, he said he never witnessed anything personally but does not doubt that some shenanigans took place.
On April 2nd, former WWF referee Rita Chatterton went on Geraldo Rivera’s talk show and claimed that Vince McMahon forced sexual intercourse upon her. Bret said he had no idea if this took place but said that he had trouble buying that Vince would jeopardize everything he had to do that to her. Bret also hints that it is ridiculous to believe due to Rita’s looks then talks about how the lady Arnold Schwarzenegger cheated with was a 2/10 and Tiger Woods’ girls that he was with were “3/10 skanks.” When asked if Vince was showing any strain during this time and Bret said that he never saw any of it but also heard from the office that he was preparing for the worse and heard a rumor that Vince would be doing the booking from jail if he was convicted.
The “WBF Body Stars” made its debut on April 4th. Bret said that the wrestling business was changing and talks about how less people were watching and advertisers would no longer air commercials for their toys and calls it a real dark time in the company. He then talks about how bodybuilding is a waste of life and how he does not see any ability or skill in bodybuilding, even comparing them to fashion models. He then talks about how the WBF guys were making more than the top wrestlers and got paid their full contracts when they folded. Bret then said that the WBF guys got to fly in first class ahead of the wrestlers on the same plane, which he did not feel was right. Sean questions why they decided to launch this after the steroid scandal came about and Bret said it was doomed from day one then talks about Lex Luger and how he was totally clean at that time (from steroids), as were most wrestlers he said in the 1990’s due to steroid testing, but that even less people would care when the bodybuilders were not doing steroids. Finally, Sean asks Bret about IcoPro as Bret said it tasted horrible and had no benefits then said that they sent crates of it to his house which he gave to his neighbors (With Bret joking that they would return it by leaving it on his step the next day) and stacked in his garage. Bret said that the rest of the wrestlers would buy their own supplements despite the fact they could have gotten IcoPro for free.
At WrestleMania VIII, Bret defeated Roddy Piper for the Intercontinental Title. Roddy helped Bret to his feet then put the belt around his waist. Sean asks Bret if it meant anything for Piper to put him over and Bret said that it did and in his own way, Roddy passed the torch to him. Bret said Roddy would have only done that for a few people. Bret said that he was worried about not being able to get the belt but said that as the Intercontinental Champion, he got a bit of a push and had good people to work against, unlike when he was a Tag Team Champion. When asked about bleeding heavily and the WWF having a no blading policy at the time, Bret said that it was a gut call on his part and recalls a time in Moncton, New Brunswick with Piper before WrestleMania. They had not seen each other much and talked about the match. Bret first talks about how hard it can be to discuss a match you will have with someone you look up to as you have too much respect and sometimes are not true to yourself as a result. They went to a restaurant and Piper laid out the match and Bret said that what Piper laid out was exactly what he wanted to do himself. Roddy then told Bret that if he got some color that it would enhance the match. Bret said it wasnt a question of whether he could do it but if he could get away with that. Bret said that Flair and Savage planned on getting color in their match and did that and got fined but Bret did not when he did. Bret then talks about how Flair did it openly and mocks a little kid saying “daddy why he is cutting himself: but Bret said that no one even knew that he bladed and they passed it off as hardway. Bret also said how he and Piper did a pull-apart in the locker room that Strongbow broke up and the rest of the office was unsure whether or not Bret cut so he did not get cut.
When asked about Jake Roberts quitting before WrestleMania VIII and only going out for the match if Vince gave him his release, Bret said that it was his understanding that he would be working with Jake Roberts at SummerSlam after Patterson told him that he was going to put him over Jake at the show.
Bret is asked about Savage defeating Flair for the belt at WrestleMania. He talks about how they were looking for someway to replace Hogan at the time then talks about how they tried that with the Ultimate Warrior and he tried about as well as anyone could have in that position. Bret said all of the boys in the locker room respected Savage for his work and how he was a steady and reliable guy for the belt.
Sean asks Bret about Hogan and if they really thought he was retiring after his match against Sid. Bret said that he made a giant cartoon drawing of all the wrestlers, who signed it as well, to give to Hogan as he thought he was done and leaving for Hollywood. Sean then asks why wasn’t Hogan vs. Flair at WrestleMania as Bret speculates that they might not have had an ending.
Sid Justice quit on April 26th, after losing to the Ultimate Warrior in the Boston Garden. Sid allegedly falsified a drug test prior to WrestleMania. Sean tells Bret that he heard a humor that Sid had Harvey Whippleman’s urine in a Visine bottle so he could pass the test. Bret said he was not privy to any of that. Sean then asks Bret if Sid took wrestling seriously. Bret said that Sid was naive and how you could easily rile him up then talks about how Owen would have had a field day with a guy like him. Bret said that Sid could destruct if you encouraged him then tells a story about how in Canada, they had a match in which CFL players were lumberjacks and how he was flipping out about football players touching him but Bret explained how they were just going to roll him back into the ring and says that he sensed if could have gone badly if he riled him up. Bret then talks about how he seemed easy to manipulate.
High Energy (Owen Hart & Koko B Ware) made their debut on May 2nd. Bret is asked how Owen felt about his ring outfit and being paired with Koko. Bret laughs and said how Owen hated his ring attire then talks about Owen teaming with Neidhart and how Owen actually embraced the babysitter role he had with Neidhart as Bret said the day Neidhart actually got fired was when Owen was not there to look after him. Bret said that Owen felt the whole thing was a rib. Bret also said that they did what they could do make it work.
Now, Bret is asked about Papa Shango putting a curse on the Ultimate Warrior. Bret said it was the second worst idea they had, with the Gobbledy Gooker being the absolute worst. Bret said that “only a Bret Hart” could clean up that mess then said that even Vince knew it was horrible after it happened. Bret then puts over the Papa Shango character and said that adding a mouthpiece to the character could have helped him out. He believes that Pat Patterson hated Papa Shango, both the gimmick and as a wrestler, and killed the gimmick.
Bret said that he thought Nailz was a good gimmick and that he did look like a bad-ass prisoner. He then said that a better worker could have made it worked. Bret said that he had a legit reputation as a tough guy and how he was typically quiet and a good guy but no one messed with him.
On June 13th, the second and Final WBF PPV aired. Bret said that a lot of the locker room was resentful over the fact that the bodybuilders got all of that money instead of it going down to them. Bret then said that 1992 was the hardest year for him in wrestling regarding the travel.
When asked about Rocco: The Wrestling Dummy, Bret said that it totally messed up Hawk and how he cracked at SummerSlam that year because he hated the gimmick. Bret said that Vince wanted to make the Legion of Doom appear more “fun.” Sean then mentions how Bruce Prichard defended the Red Rooster gimmick with a passion during his “Guest Booker” shoot and Bret said that is why Bruce is where he is today. Bret said that Paul Ellering was a cool guy and thinks that he might have been brought in to help Hawk, who was battling drug addiction.
Bob Backlund made his return on July 1st and defeated Skinner. Sean asks Bret if Bob is relevant in 1992. Bret said that in the Northeast he was and if you remember him from his era too. Bret then talks about how cool it was when both Backlund and Flair locked up in a battle royal.
On July 21st, Bret Hart defeated Shawn Michaels in the first ever ladder match that took place in the WWF. Bret talks about how he kept explaining the concept of the match to Vince and it happened for eight years until it finally happened. Bret talks about the first ladder match that they had at a house show. He then talks about how Curt Hennig and Jim Duggan came up to him and said that SummerSlam was either going to take place in England or in Washington D.C. at the Cap Centre. Bret thought about it and said that he was probably gonig to lose the belt and said if it was in England, then he would drop it to Davey and how it would make sense. If it was in Washington D.C, he was hearing that it would be against Shawn and if that was the case, he wanted to try to get Vince to let them do a ladder match. Bret then talks about telling Vince these two ideas and at that time, Vince told Bret to show him the idea for the ladder match and to pick someone for it and suggested Shawn. Bret told Shawn the idea and how he was confused about the concept. They then went out and had the match as it was just a demonstration then Bret said he was pissed about Shawn and “them” stealing his idea ldown the road. Bret said that Vince initially promised that he would not do the ladder match without him being involved but that was not the case.
Bret is asked about Scott Hall, who made his debut as Razor Ramon. Bret said that Razor did well when he first came in and was always a good guy who was focused and fun to be around back then. Bret talks about how Hall did a great job with the gimmick then talks about how he was going to “Cowboy” Bret Hart in 1985 and at the last minute, realized that he could not do the character and make it work.
Bret talks about Jerry Lawler and said how he was one of the best heels he worked against. He said that he had a basic moveset and could still get more heat than anyone in the company with a move like a thumb to the throat.
They now discuss Bret’s SummerSlam match against Davey Boy Smith. Bret said that Davey went home in July due to a staph infection. Bret said that Davey’s drug problems were out of control then too. He also said that he had a match against Davey just prior to SummerSlam and it was terrible and backstage, Vince told Bret that he hoped it would be better at SummerSlam and that he planned on having them go on last. Bret also talks about how that match took place at a TV taping and how those are usually long days and it is not the best way to judge someone. Bret thought if Davey followed him they could have one of the best matches ever and put themselves on the map. Bret said he kept on thinking about the match and would think about it the whole month of August. He tried to call Davey but he was never available as his drug problem was out of control. He even recalls when he got to London for SummerSlam, he saw Davey and took him aside to ask why he had not returned his calls. Davey told him that he was on a two-day long cocaine binge and had not slept in 48 hours. Bret talks about how Davey was out of shape and not going to the gym during this time and was a total wreck. Davey told him that he was going to stink out in the ring and Bret laid out the match for him and they went over it for two days but after the first move in the actual match, Davey told Bret that he was fucked as he forgot the match then says how it is the only match you can hear him talk (Bret spoke in the third person here) and that he had to call it, which he hates and sees as an automatic fail. Bret said that he was furious at Davey for being in the condition that he was as he wanted to see him rise to the occasion. Bret then puts over Davey for sucking it up and performing in the ring as Bret calls it his greatest match for carrying Davey. Sean asks Bret if him dropping the IC title to Davey was to free him up for the Heavyweight Title, Bret said no then talks about how it was like being a Beatle when he went overseas, getting mobbed and grabbed by female fans and said that after a match in which he wrestled the opener, he was mobbed by females and came through the curtain to prove to Strongbow that he was over here, he went on last during matches overseas afterwards.
Bret is asked how he felt the WWF was marketing him at that point. He said the company was slowly pushing him at first and talks about how when you get the push through merchandise, you have power in the company because when you talk about leaving, they try to get you to stay because you are selling merchandise and that is how you can make yourself more money.
Bret is asked about Sgt. Slaughter appearing on television in a suit, stating that he was acting as the enforcer of the WWF and going to instill law and order, and if he was an agent at this point. Bret said he thinks he was just an on-air talent and not an agent at that point. Sean then asks Bret about the transition from wrestler to agent and Bret said not just anyone could fill that role and that you need the right guys to do the job. He said that Rene Goulet was great at it as he understood the travel and business. Bret said that he thought Tony Garea was good as he did not have an ax to grind but calls George Steele one of the worst. Bret said he remembered Steele partying and blowing coke one week then the next he was an agent and Bret likened it to an inmate turning into a prison guard and said he was basically an asshole after that. He then tells a story about Steele getting his Haliburton stolen. One day he arrived to the building two minutes late, with Owen and The Berzerker, and was fined $500 by Steele. Bret said that no other agent would do that. Bret then said Owen and Savage took Steele’s Haliburton, containing all of Steele’s stuff, and they snuck it out of the building and Owen ended up tossing it out of the car and into the Manhattan River. Bret then said that Steele was not a good guy and called him a snitch.
On October 12th, Bret Hart defeated Ric Flair at the Superstars taping to become the WWF World Heavyweight Champion. Sean then asks Bret to talk about who laid out the plans for him to win and when he was told. Bret first talks about how a memo went out that if you changed your plane ticket, you would be fined $2,000. Bret had just changed his ticket to go to Italy with a girl he barely knew then went up to Vince to say that he already changed it but told him it was to go see a friend. Vince told him that he would not have to worry about that. A few days after Bret got back from Italy he was on the road and was told that he had to fly to Saskatoon Monday morning and could not change his ticket and that he had to see Vince. Bret thought that he was going to be in trouble and said that he probably should have realized that he was going to get the belt as a few days prior, Strongbow told him that there was a list of five guys to be a champ and Bret was on the list and Strongbow told Bret that he and a few others put a good word in for him and not to fuck anything up along the way. Bret got there and saw Flair leave Vince’s office and shake his hand then saw Vince wave him over and made it sound like he was going to fire him and Bret thought that he might actually would fire him, even despite the fact that they were flying him his dad to be in his corner, but after everything, Vince told him that he was going to be the champ and Bret said he felt like jumping for joy but did not give a reaction. Sean then asks Bret why the match was only made to be available on Coliseum Home Video and Bret said that he never understood why that was the case. Bret then speaks about when he became the champion, Vince wanted to be called every day and when asked why by Bret, Vince said that he always wants to talk with his champion. Bret said he would call him and wondered if Vince wanted him to “stooge off” guys to him but never did that and he was cool with what they were doing. He then says that the reason he went back to work for Vince is because he took a chance on him and gave him his first break. He also believes that Vince loved his work and would tell Bret not to tell him the finish of his matches and wanted Bret to just go out and show him in the ring.
Yokozuna made his debut on October 26th. Sean asks Bret if anyone had pegged him as a champion. Bret puts over Yoko for being a great athlete and a pro in the ring. He then talks about how Vader was stiff and terrible to work with, unlike Yoko and Bam Bam who would take care of you in the ring. Bret also talks about Kamala and said that he would never have a problem giving offense to a smaller guy and said working with him was like a night off and always fun to work with.
Doink the Clown made his debut on October 31st. Bret puts over Matt Borne for being the best at the Doink gimmick, which he loved. Bret recalls how Davey had a problem working with Doink though. Bret then talks about how Balls Mahoney and said his Xanta Klaus gimmick was great too.
Bret is asked about the cancellation of “Saturday Night’s Main Event.” He said that between all of the scandals and the guys on steroids going away, the casual fans disappeared and the wrestling fans wanted wrestling matches instead of the cartoon stuff. He also said that the direction the company went with his face-to-face interviews with Yokozuna and making it seem like a shoot was the way he thought the business should be like, along with having more athletic matches. Bret then talks about how he heard the guys down in NXT were recently watching his 1993 Royal Rumble match against Razor Ramon.
The Ultimate Warrior got fired on November 21st and Sean throws out rumors of him holding out for more money and having to work with Nailz as the reasons but Bret shakes his head and said he knows what happened. Bret said that he got a call from Vince, who told him that he was going to have to fire Davey. He then told Bret that he had to fire the Warrior as well. Bret says that he was originally supposed to work against Warrior at the Rumble in 1993 and beat him with the Sharpshooter. Vince told Bret that Davey and Warrior were buying either steroids or HGH from a guy in Europe and having them shipped over to the States. Well, that guy got busted and Warrior panicked when that happened and called Vince, without telling Davey, that the guy they were getting the stuff from got busted and their names were on the list and this was when the trial was going on so Vince told him that they were toxic and that is how they got fired.
Bret talks about his match with Shawn at the Survivor Series. He said they had wrestled together all throughout the year on house shows and didnt feel like it was fresh when they went out. He did they had great matches and thought this match holds up today but they could have done more. When asked if the competitiveness between each other was going on at this time, Bret said no and that even Shawn felt they could have done a better job if there was more build on TV.
Jerry Lawler made his debut as a commentator on the December 12th edition of Superstars. Bret talks about how Jerry pissed off the locker room as he would constantly play tapes of the current WWF guys who jobbed to him in Memphis. Bret said that Curt Hennig was especially pissed off at Lawler, which also had to due with poor payoffs while he wrestled for Lawler in Memphis. Sean asks Bret about Lawler’s crown and if he knew who shit in it as Bret laughs and said that it happened at a TV taping in Sacramento. Bret saw the crown in the shower and saw that multiple people had shit inside of it but did not know exactly who they were. He then said that Lawler was in a panic looking all over for the crown but Bret, when asked, said that he had no idea where it was.
He is asked about Nailz getting fired for attacking Vince McMahon. Bret said that he did not see it happen but that he was right outside of the door when it went down and could hear it all happen. He recalls Nailz shrieking in anger that he had been lied to and had enough of Vince’s bullshit. He then heard a bang and a gurgling sound and didn’t know what to do and recalled how Vince had a lot of heat with guys over a period of time. He remembers that Blackajck Lanza was the first guy there and waved Bret to come over as a few other agents broke it up. He then remembers the police arriving and Nailz saying that Vince tried to molest him.
Final Thoughts: A great installment in the Timeline series. Sure, Bret is in love with himself but Sean Oliver did a fantastic job with the interview and kept him on the topic at hand more often than not. He deserves credit for that. Despite all of that, Bret gave a lot of great insight and did hold not back at all, making this a must-see interview.
As far as where this ranks among the other WWE Timelines, I would say that the Nash and Cornette are the only ones that are better than this and you could make a case for Sammartino’s as well. They ran through a lot of subjects and hit on all of the important topics of the year.
I highly recommend this interview and encourage all of you to watch this for yourselves.
You can purchase the interview On Demand for $15.99 (It stays in your queue forever) and the DVD for $20. If you get it On Demand, you can watch it from just about everywhere, including Roku. Click on the link below to see how to get the DVD
No poll for next week as our contest winner selected another Bret Hart shoot, his RF Video Voulme #1 edition.
Here is my schedule for the next week:
Friday: WWF Championship Wrestling 8/30/86 (Final Episode)
Saturday: RoH Unscripted 9/21/02
Sunday: WWF Superstars 9/6/86 (Debut Episode)
Tuesday: WWF Challenge 9/7/86 (Debut Episode)
Thursday: RF Video Shoot Interview with Bret Hart, Volume 1
The interview runs at two hours and ten minutes long
Sean Oliver conducted the interview
I really like Sean Oliver but he did a terrible job with Vader, letting him go off-topic and not bringing him back to the topic. I also think he got played a bit by Vader, who seemingly used this as a vehicle to promote himself. I mean they all do but this guy didnt even say a single thing of note. He let Vader consume the whole interview with his own ramblings. I thought this was about 1993 WCW and throughout the the two hours and ten minutes of this piece, I heard very little of what happened this year other than Vader harping on the fact that he and Steve Austin would have been the best tag team.
As far as these Timeline interviews go, this was easily one of the worst. I thought the Barry Windham 1991 Timeline was the worst but at least he wasn’t in love with himself like Vader, who was not willing to discuss anyone but himself. He would say that he was “good friends” with people that he liked and if something came up where he acted like a jerk, he would not talk about the situation in detail and just said that he is a different person now, which is full of shit based off of he acted recently while in Europe. My recommendation for this is to avoid at all costs.
This was released in the Fall of 2013. It runs for one hour and fifty minutes.
Your host is Sean Oliver
On October 29th, Curt Hennig was pulled off of the road, reportedly over being angry that he was bypassed for the IC title but was announced as him needing to take care of family problems. Lex is asked about titles and if they are really important to wrestlers. Lex said that at times, it was difficult to carry through the airport and they pay difference wasnt that much so he didnt really matter that much if he was a champion. He said belts do not defy whether or not you have talent, as Matsuda taught him that as well, but he does respect the lineage of the belts.
At the November 9th “Wrestling Challenge” tapings at the Carbondale, PA high school, the prinicipal and school board were irate at the conditions of the facilities after the tapings, which included human feces, whiskey bottles, and chicken bones all over the place. Lex is asked who brings own the hammer about this and Lex said it gets back to Vince then back down the chain of command to carry out the orders. When asked who would shit on the floor, Lex guesses the Nasty Boys as they lived up to their name.
Vince McMahon was indicted for possession and conspiracy to distribute anabolic steroids on November 11th. He pled not guilty and a trial date was set for May 2nd, 1994. Lex said a lot of the guys thought it was unfair and said that no one ever forced or pressured him to use steroids and said that one of the prosecutors had a hard-on for Vince and wanted to get him. Vince told Lex that he was affected by the trial and that it caused him anxiety.
Then, on November 12th, Jerry Lawler was indicted in Kentucky for one count of second-degree statutory rape, three counts of second-degree sodomy and one count of harassing a witness, to which Lawler pled not guilty. Lex said the locker room was in disbelief when this news broke. When asked about anyone having info about Lawler having a penchant for under aged girls, Lex said he didnt hear that about him.
Lex is asked if he liked the Survivor Series match and he said he would have rather did a tag or even a six-man tag match because you do not get much in-ring time in those matches. Lex said he was reluctant to having his family on camera but trusted Vince. Lex said he was living a double life and was starting to party on the road at that time.
When asked about Dink the Clown and if he thought it was ridiculous. Lex did but said Vince liked to have a few ridiculous guys to push for either his own entertainment, the boys, or to anger the fans. He couldn’t figure out why. Lex had no problem with the character personally.
Lex was surprised that Heenan left the WWF. He never talked to Bobby about his contract either. When asked, Lex said that Vince didnt care if you talked about someone who left the company but at the same time, he never felt the need to explain anything he did to the locker room.
Sean asks Lex about how 1993 ranks in his career. He said it was up there, with the Horsemen and nWo stuff. He had a lot of fond memories of the bus tour, despite being tough, but did appreciate the opportunity. Lex now travels across the country doing evangelical work and says he is approached by people stating they met him at autograph sessions during that time. He then says that he feels great now, despite all of his health issues. He is now thankful for what he has instead of wishing for things he does not have. He also has a new found appreciation for all things wrestling and wishes he felt that way when he did wrestle.
Final Thoughts: This timeline went a lot better than I initially thought it would. Lex seemed pretty relaxed, even if he looks a lot different than when he was in wrestling. Looking at him now, you would have never, ever guessed that he had one of the best physiques in wrestling. He is lucky though as intially it was expected that he would never be able to walk on his own ever again.
The beginning of this is slow, as he talks a lot about the WBF, but it does pick up the pace from there. Lex also shows remorse form his past behaviors and was not afraid to call himself out for acting like a dick when he was in wrestling. That shows to me that he is truly at peace with himself and is genuine in regards to his religious beliefs.
Lex did keep to himself a lot so he really did not have a ton of dirt to dish on the main eventers but did give pretty good insight to his “Lex Express” schedule, amongst other things. Actually, I felt that Lex had a good sense of the business and seems like a fairly intelligent guy. I do recommend this timeline and found it to be a surprisngly decent installment.
This was released in 2009. It is an hour and fifty minutes long.
January is the month when Honky first became a full-fledged heel. He was wrestling guys like S.D. Jones, George Steele, and Koko B Ware at the house shows. He is asked if he realized at first that he was going to get a big push. Honky said that he was unsure whether or not if he was going to get pushed at that time but did state that the vignettes helped him and promised to Jimmy Hart that if he got a chance to get pushed, he would make it work.
Honky is now asked if they knew at the beginning of the month that they would go with Andre vs. Hogan at WrestleMania. He said that you could tell they were going that way through the television shows. He believes that the feud started right around Survivor Series. Honky is asked if there was a fear that Andre wouldnt show up due to a bad back and Honky said no, because he had been wearing a back brace for a year prior. He doesnt know about any behind the scene struggles but thinks if there were any, it was over money.
Sean asks Honky about January 10th, when Crockett ran at the Philadelphia Civic Center and the WWF ran at the Spectrum, with the WWF outdrawing the NWA by a few thousand. Honky almost remembers that they tried to book Baltimore the same night as them but could not find an available arena. Honky also said that they didnt pay much attention to that but were happy that the NWA sold well because if they were thriving, it could give them another place to go. Honky then talks about how those guys usually left to join the WWF, and not the other way around. He then says that the NWA’s problem was that their television was not as strong and they lacked the merchandise and games that the WWF had made popular. They also lacked the personal appearance machine that Vince had created and the main thing, the WWF had made their performers household names.
Next, is Jim Neidhart is arrested for allegedly assaulting a stewardess. Honky remembers the incident and said it was a big deal at the time. At one point they thought Neidhart would be gone for good. Honky then puts over how Vince took care of his people, as he put up money to take him out of jail and for his lawyers. However, Vince took the money back from his paychecks and Neidhart got pissed over that and during a TV taping, started to break furniture.
Honky is now asked about Howard Finkel. He said that he was the hardest working guy in the company, doing several jobs at once, and put Finkel over for never having to read off of cards and always knowing everything about the wrestlers. Honky also said that he was a great finder of talent and believes that it was Howard who brought in Jimmy Hart, Elizabeth, and Randy Savage into the WWF after watching tapes of the Memphis territory.
Sean asks Honky about the tour schedule. They were running at least three separate shows a night. On January 19th, the “A” show was headlined by Hogan vs. Kamala at MSG, the “B” show was headlined by Steamboat vs. Savage at the Atlanta Civic Center and the “C” show, headlined by Tito Santana vs. Butch Reed in a Steel Cage match in Lincoln, NE. When asked who arranged the travel, Honky said it was Vince and Pat Patterson. There was a guy named Ed Cohen who booked the buildings, who oddly enough discovered Honky while looking at a building in Calgary and saw Honky, putting in a good word to Vince. On Jan 19th, Honky worked against Pedro Morales at the “C” show. Honky said Pedro was extremely bitter at this point in his career and tells a story of how Billy Jack Haynes almost fought him in the locker room, when Pedro told Billy he wasn’t going to make it in wrestling. Honky does a pretty funny impression of Pedro. He said the “C” show payday was about $300 but said they were a good way to test guys that were just starting with the company.
Andre’s heel turn was completed at the January 26th TV tapings. Honky thought that the angle turned out better than he thought because Andre was extremely over as a babyface. He gives Andre a lot of credit for being able to be a great heel and said that Hogan also did a fine job making himself turn out as the good guy. Honky said that he couldnt believe how big WrestleMania III turned out to be. Honky then puts over Heenan as a great mouthpiece, especially since Andre wasnt very good at cutting heel promos.
Honky is asked about the Dynamite Kid’s back injury. He didnt work much with him but was told that he needed help getting off of the airplane and could barely use one of his feet and it finally reached a point in which he simply could not perform anymore. When asked about the WWF advertising the Bulldogs as champs after they lost the belts, Honky said that the TV tapings were three weeks in advance so all of the promos and everything else was done then too.
Outback Jack also debuted at the January 26th tapings. Honky said he was found by Jim Troy, who was the International guy at the time. Honky said they saw him and he looked like a guy that had never been in a gym before and said that his being Australian rubbed the English guys the wrong way then said that he eventually rubbed everyone the wrong way. Honky said that everyone gave him a rough time, as he believed that he was just as big as Hulk Hogan when he started. Honky then rags on Troy, saying this was the only person he had ever found. Sean asks Honky what to do after all of the vignettes and effort put into a guy who cant work at all. He said that you can put him in a position to get someone else over.
Honky is asked about the retirement angle with Piper. He said it was a good way to sell tickets as he went off to make movies. He is then asked about Adrian Adonis and Honky said that he had his problems outside of the ring. He then said during the “Flower Shop” segment, they used real flowers that were fresh-cut and brought in from a florist daily.
At the January 27th “Challenge” taping, Honky hits Jake Roberts over the head with a guitar on the “Snake Pit” segment. Honky said he was happy to have a run with Jake at the time, as he was almost a main event guy and thought it would be a great opportunity. He said that Vince and Pat came up with the angles then. Honky says the guitar was heavy but gimmicked. He said that Jake did not go to rehab due to the guitar shot and said that it bothers him because Jake said it, people think it was true. Honky disputes the fact that Jake said this is what led to his drug use because he abused cocaine, not painkillers. He said that they are friends still though. Jake wound up in rehab a few weeks after WrestleMania and Honky ended up wrestling Bruno Sammartino in the Northeast and Crusher in the AWA cities and he would job, to make the crowd happy and because it was non-title. Jake went back to rehab shortly after returning.
Andre beat Hogan at the battle royal on “Saturday Night’s Main Event.” Honky was eliminated first in that match. Honky says it was filmed in Detroit and the building didnt sell out and he was actually shocked that WrestleMania drew as much as it did in that market as they struggled to draw a bit in that area.
Tom Magee makes his TV debut on March 16th. Sean asks if he was hired to be the next big thing as reported. Honky says he was groomed to be the next Hogan but was another “Outback Jack” story. He said he worked against Tom in Calgary, doing boxing matches on occasion. Honky said that he wasnt that bright and couldn’t work in the ring worth a shit. When asked why it didnt work, Honky said that he had no charisma and could not project his character, noting the Ultimate Warrior could do that. He said Magee would show up to TV, wearing a suit and walked around taking notes. Honky believed he should have been learning in the ring instead.
Honky is asked about the angle in which he and Jimmy Hart tried to get the DDT banned. Sean asks if the mail-in vote was just a way to get people on the mailing list. He confirms that the “Vote of Confidence” thing with him was all bullshit. He did say that “Cyber Sunday” was legit when he was there.
He is now asked about Jack Tunney and how someone with such a lack of charisma could be featured on TV. Honky said he looked like a legitimate authority figure though, like a school principal.
Honky is asked about the week leading up to WrestleMania. Honky said that he didnt have to do much promotion as he wasnt in a major match. He said back then, no one brought their family or guests. They treated it as just another show. The atmosphere backstage was that everyone was burned out and exhausted, from the non-stop touring. He said that he didnt have much interaction with the celebrities.
In regards to the match between Hogan and Andre, he thought it worked well. He saw the ending their live and had watched the match since and thought it was good. He also thought his match with Jake was good an puts him over as always being a professional in the ring. He then said that Jimmy Hart was petrified of the snake and was so tense at the end that his neck ended up getting hurt afterwards because Jake had to hold him still. Honky puts over Harley for being able to carry the Junkyard Dog to a good match, stating that Harley even put the whole match together.
When asked if celebrities understood wrestlers, he said that Bob Uecker and Steve Allen did, mentioning that Allen once was involved in wrestling in California. He also said that Morton Downey was good.
Honky is asked about the match between Steamboat and Savage at WrestleMania. Honky said it was a good match and thought the match going on made Savage look better because Steamboat had been known for going longer in the NWA. He then says that it wasnt out of the ordinary for him because he had seen them wrestle so many times. He then claims that what he did with Jake was almost as exciting for the fans and they did far less than those guys. When asked if people were huddled around the monitor backstage, Honky said no one did that back then, or at least the guys he hung around with, saying guys were playing cards or probably getting Andre wine. Honky said when he was at Cyber Sunday and RAW the night after and didnt watch one match. He did his job, got undressed and left the building. When asked if Savage always scripted his matches heavily, Honky said that if there was any changes or a different match style, Savage would re-script everything. Honky liked working with Steamboat, saying it was easy and he could feed his comebacks and bump for him no problem.
He is asked about the Piper vs. Adonis match. Honky said Adonis went nuts in that match and thought Piper should have lost his hair then in a rematch, have Adonis lose his. When asked about Piper getting electrocuted, Honky disputes that, claiming that he was in the building and that the dressing room lights were around the mirrors and does not know how you can break the bulb and get electrocuted touching the filament, because when the bulb broke, the filament is useless. He then asks what Piper was on if indeed he stuck his finger in the outlet. He then laughs about those stating he had electricity running through his body then says that what he was doing was practicing for a film role.
Honky is asked about Ken Patera’s return. He said that he thought Patera did good with the vignettes. He then said that he had a match at the tapings that was so bad that he was told to go out and wrestle again.
“Superstar” Billy Graham made his comeback. Honky said that the business outgrew Billy at this point and he was deteriorated.
He was asked about Jim Barnett attempting suicide over job stress. Honky said that he heard Barnett made the attempt after learning he was about to lose his job. he was let go after the attempt.
Honky sings a song mocking the Iron Sheik and Jim Duggan getting caught together with drugs. He said that the angle was going to get Duggan pushed to the top then after the arrest, Vince gave them a meeting and said those two would never work in the WWF again. Honky said he looked over to Jimmy Hart and said that they would be back, because they got caught with a little bit of grass and some beers.
Honky is asked if Butch Reed no-showing led to him getting the Intercontinental Title. Honky said Butch was AWOL for a while but did appear at the show before Honky won the belt. Honky said that Butch was a good worker and would have made a good champ. Honky said that Hogan saw him walk by and suggested that Honky win the belt. Honky thought that Steamboat believed he was in a good enough position to ask for a few weeks off. Honky brings up how Steamboat mentioned he didnt want to lose the belt to an “Elvis Impersonator.” Honky jokes about that , saying Jake impersonated a snake handler and that Hogan impersonated a body builder from Venice Beach, CA.
When asked about Ted DiBiase and his first-class travel arrangements, Honky said that it got him a lot of heat in the locker room.
Honky is asked about a returning David Sammartino, who had bleached-blond hair and a leaner physique. He was gone by the end of the year. Honky said that he was out of place with that look, stating that it did not fit his personality at all.
In regards to the Muraco face turn, Sean references Honky’s YouShoot and how he said once they give you the baby blue trunks, it was all over for you. Honky said that Muraco wasnt a good face and much better suited as a heel.
Honky now talks about the angle that turned Randy Savage into a face, when Savage got upset over Honky cutting a series of promos stating he was the greatest Intercontinental Champion of all time. Honky said that he started and finished the match as the heel and also said that there was no long-term investment into making Savage a face, just the one segment on “Saturday Night’s Main Event.”
The “Piledriver” album was released. Honky said he filmed his piece of the video after a show in San Francisco at a construction site down the street from the Cow Palace then they filmed him driving the Cadillac. They finished the video in Stamford, CT. Honky said it was a difficult video to shoot and said the editing was great but there was a ton of takes and it was filmed in between their travels. He says that Jimmy Hart wrote the song and Rick Derringer and David Wolfe were involved.
Honky said the Mega Powers were formed as a result of him not wanting to drop the belt to Hogan. He said that DiBiase got the Million Dollar Belt as a result, instead of the Heavyweight Title as planned (This was the result of Honky seeing the writing on the wall when he was told that his character was going to be “repackaged” after dropping the belt and Honky did not want to end up back on the beginning of the card making no money so he asked Vince to give him a chance to let him earn some money for him and if it failed, he would do whatever). When asked about Ted’s thoughts on what happened, Honky joked that he should pray for him
Nick Bockwinkel was brought in as an announcer and a road agent. Honky said that Nick took his agent job a little bit too far, telling people how to do everything. Honky thought he was fine. He then said that he was the “pecker checker” as he had to supervise the drug tests. Honky said he likes Nick as a person.
The “Survivor Series” PPV concept makes it debut. Honky said it was good to push the guys you want and to take the guys you are done with and use them to get others over.
On December 26th, Honky Tonk Man vs. Randy Savage sells out Madison Square Garden. Jimmy Hart was suspended above the ring in a cage. Honky said that was Hart’s idea and puts him over for giving a lot of guys ideas, especially when it came to get his own guys over. Honky said that Hart came up with the Peggy Sue angle. He calls him innovative.
Final Thoughts: Not bad. This was the first Timeline that was released by Kayfabe Commentaries. Since this was released, Sean has done a much better job in formatting. I’d say about 65-70% of this was focused from the beginning of the year through WrestleMania, with the rest of the year barely covered at all. I know Honky has told the story of him getting and refusing to drop the IC title on several other shoot interviews so I understand why that wasnt covered but they glossed over the last quarter of the year in about ten minutes. Honky was game here and he really does have a great understanding of the business. He gets it that it is just that, a business, and that you have to stand up for yourself in order to not get completely buried. I would recommend this, it does provide insight into how hectic the schedule was, but it was actually weaker than I remembered. There are a lot worse Timelines that you could watch over this.
I am referring to Morley by his character, Val Venis, as he has the same first name as the interviewer, thus making it easier.
On April 20th, Rick Rude died of a heart attack. Val said he has lost a lot of friends due to prescription drugs abuse and that in the minds of those that abuse them, they never see that they can die from that. When asked if it is noticeable in the locker room, Val said sometimes it is but other guys can abuse everything and somehow manage to stay alive. Val then talks about how the WWE is currently doing everything within their power to prevent the abuse from happening and talks about how prescription drugs are the most abused drug in high schools.
The Rock turned face on the April 26th edition of RAW after Shane McMahon fired him from the corporation. When asked about the qualities that made the Rock such an effective face, Val said that the Rock is one of the best ever on the mic and also puts over his intelligence and wit.
On May 10th episode of RAW, Commissioner Shawn Michaels awards Debra the Women’s Title after losing an Evening Gown match to Sable, who quit the company shortly after this happened. Val said Sable was a good champion during her brief run. When asked why she was so despised, Val said he heard the stories of her attitude problem but that he always got along with her and used to travel with her and Marc Mero.
Val is asked about going back to England. He said that he wrestled there before going to the WWE and said that he heard the eruption from fans while at the airport when heading to the baggage claim. Val is asked if anything happened during the flight but he said the ribbing usually occurs on the plane ride back. He also said that when he travels overseas, he would travel but at this time, he was partying hard and would go out to the bars with A-Train and Test.
They now talk about the death of Owen Hart that occured at the “Over the Edge” PPV. Val said that he was the next match and behind the Gorilla position warming up. Bruce Prichard was near him then got up and yelled for the EMT’s and that someone fell. He didnt know that it was Owen until after a minute. Jeff Jarrett was doing a pre-match promo and had no idea that Owen fell. Val said that they wheeled Owen backstage and the EMT’s were doing heart compressions and his eyes were open but said you could tell that there was nobody home. After that, he headed out for his match and said he went out and looked at how high up he was and thought to himself that there was no way he was going to survive that. Val said that he started to calm himself down with deep breaths. Jeff then came out and did not know what had happened and after the match, they went backstage and found out that Owen had passed away and Val said that Jarrett broke down. Val said that he was pretty much the only person who knew that he was not going to survive, because he was covered by the time he was wheeled past everyone else. Val said that believed that Owen would have wanted the show to go on and puts over Owen for being a good guy. He tells a story while in St. Louis, several wrestlers were waiting to check into the Marriott. A bunch of kids come over for autographs and Val signs them. Then, a guy with a stack of photos asks Val to sign them for him and he said no, because he knew the guy was just going to go sell them. When Val gets to his room, he gets a call from that guy who said he better come down and sign his pictures, liked he promised. Val hung up and the guy called again and said that he better sign his pictures and that he is a big guy and won’t be able to get buy him. So, Val goes down to the lobby and sees Owen and Jarrett sitting on stools at the bar and Owen tells Val that the guy went around the corner. Val went looking for him but was unsuccessful so he went back to his room and it took him an hour and a half to calm down. Six months later, Val was in Canada and just about to film “Off the Record” when Edge asks him about the guy in St. Louis and tells him that Owen was pretending to be the guy on the phone. Apparently, Owen called Edge and told him to tell this to Val right before he went on the air. Val said he was seething
Next, is the RAW tribute show to Owen. He said that they day felt slow and that everyone was quiet and still in shock. He then said that a sheet was passed around for guys to sign up if they felt like working that night. Val is then asked about the problems between Owen and Steve Austin but said he never heard Steve speak about Owen after his death.
Val is asked about the lawsuit filed by Sable. He said that being a Libertarian, he is against frivolous lawsuits and said that it was frivolous.
He said that he never had a problem losing to Chyna. He thought that it was something different. He was sure that there were some objections from guys losing against women but said if done right, can be entertaining and make sense.
They bring up Martha Hart’s wrongful death lawsuit. Val said that it was not a frivolous lawsuit but that people die daily in accidents and that the company that made the harness should be sued if it was faulty.
The WWE files for an initial offering of public stock, changing the name from “Titan Sports” to “World Wrestling Federation Enertainment.” Val said there was initial excitement but it dropped down to $9.00 and guys were getting worried. Val confirmed that there was a meeting with talent and that they were told they could buy IPO’s at a discounted price. Val said it took him a few years to break even but points out that Bradshaw sold after a few days when the prices rose from $17 to $34. He puts Bradshaw over for knowing the stock market.
Chris Jericho made his debut on the August 9th edition of RAW. Val said that he didnt know Jericho that well before his debut. He said that the locker room was accepting of him. Val also said that before the WWE, he had a tryout match with WCW and said that the locker room environment was bad and clickish before stating that Jericho told him that if he had an offer for the WWE, that he should go there. Val puts over the WWE locker room for being much better.
Val talks about Jesse Ventura appearing as a special guest referee at SummerSlam. Val said that he is against Jesse for attempting to unionize, because he is anti-union.
On August 24th, the first “Smackdown” taping is held. When asked, Val said that his did not mean an extra paycheck, as they would have been working a show besides another TV taping.
Val is asked about Shawn Michaels appearing on the August 26th edition of “Byte This” when he badmouthed Steve Austin for not putting over HHH at SummerSlam, leading to Shawn Michaels getting sent home by Vince. Val that said it is all up to Vince whether or not he should have been sent home.
He is asked about the skit in which Venis saw Big Show in the bathroom stall and joked about him being called the Big Show. Val said that Bruce Prichard came up with the idea for that.
Val is asked if there was too much of Vince during 1999. Val said that he believed that Vince wanted to be part of the biggest era of pro wrestling ever and thought it was entertaining to see him in the ring. He said that if Ted Turner had that same passion, he would probably still be in business today.
Val is asked about the Kennel from Hell match between Al Snow and the Big Boss Man. He tells a story about during the storyline when Boss Man stole Al’s dog Pepper. Al was backstage doing a pretape with Russo and heard Al say “it’s Val’s” and when asked, they both said it was nothing. Several hours later, he heard the promo on-air while cooling down backstage and saw a phone number flash on the screen and didn’t think nothing of it at all. A minute later, his cell phone rings and someone called him stating that he found Pepper. Val just thought that it was someone messing with him but the phone rings again and it was a little girl talking to him and he looked around and the whole locker room starting to laugh. He powered his phone off and was driving home with Test and A-Train. He then said that in the car, he would pick up the phone and tell the people that called they won $10,000 due to being the 1,000th person to call Pepper and would turn the phone over to A-Train, who would ask them questions. Val said he changed his number the next day.
On October 3rd, Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara jumped ship to WCW. He believes that Vince took them leaving personally, stating that he believed that Vince put a lot of stock into Russo. He then puts over Russo for being able to fit the entire card into meaningful storylines. He said that Vince made sure that Russo did not push the envelope too far. Val is then asked how much of the success should be applied to Ferrara and Russo in terms of how hot the company was at that time. Val thinks 40%, stating that the Rock and Austin were so hot at that time. Val also claims that at one point, Crash Holly was a bigger star than Goldberg, due to Russo’s writing. That is one of the most laughable claims I have ever heard.
Next, he is asked about Droz getting paralyzed in a match with D’Lo Brown. Val said that D’Lo broke down backstage after the match. He also said that it was hard to say who was at fault and that the locker room did not blame D’Lo for the incident.
He talks about Fabulous Moolah and Mae Young. He tells a story about Mae when before she went out to give Eric Bischoff a Bronco Buster, she was backstage with him and called his name. Shen then showed him a bunch of sardines that she had stuffed in her pants as a rib on Bischoff.
Jeff Jarrett returns to WCW a day before wrestling on a WWE PPV. Val said that Vince didnt show his anger but that Jarrett did burn his bridges with the WWE.
On October 21st, Mick Foley’s “Have a Nice Day” autobiography is released. Val said that he read bits and pieces of it and is not into “storybooks,” just books about politics. He puts over Foley for being a talented writer and says he gets along with him but doesnt like the fact that he is a democrat.
Val is asked about Kurt Angle, who made his debut at the Survivor Series. He said that Angle was open to learning pro wrestling and had the attitude and commitment to make it to the top. He also said he could work the crowd and would get blown away while watching him perform. However, some of his psychology would bother him, bringing up an example of after getting frog-splashed by Eddie Guerrero, shortly after that he put him in an ankle lock and how that is the stuff that would drive him nuts if he were an agent.
On December 2nd, Smackdown was changed from TV-14 to TV-PG. Val said that Vince was worried about losing the advertisers due to the Parents Television Council. He said that he hated being in the Right to Censor, stating that he hated the uniform. He also said that when Russo left, there was no one behind the character and if he had an idea, they told him they were not going in that envelope-pushing direction.
Val is asked if she saw he chemistry between Stephanie and HHH at this time. He said he did not but there were a lot of rumors going around at the time.
Final Thoughts: This is the worst of the WWE Timeline installments. Val, who was a questionable choice to begin with due to not being involved in the main storylines, offered little insight into this year. He told a few good stories but seemed to be more interested into discussing his political beliefs rather than the subject at hand. He came across as an asshole when talking about the parking attendant that got his foot run over by Lawler. He also either didn’t know or just didn’t care to discuss much of the gossip and rumors at this time. I wonder if he was trying to get re-hired by the way he came across at times. Don’t waste your money on this DVD.
Your host is Sean Oliver
Before the interview begins, Sean runs down all of the non-wrestling things that were happening in 1989, with one of those things being the top song of the year, which was “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” by Poison. Brutus then mentions that he knows the lead singer (Brett Michaels) but could not remember his name. He said that they were both living life on the edge at the time and trying to clean themselves up. When asked about the life on the road, comparing it to Rock Stars, Brutus claims that the rock stars all wanted to be like them, not the other way around.
Before the interview begins, Sean brings up that Brutus mentioned to him when this idea was approached that he wasn’t sure how well his memory would hold up.
On December 1st, Linda McMahon issued an interoffice memo to Pat Patterson asking that Dr. George Zahorian no longer attend WWF events. Sean reads from the memo (that is also displayed on the screen), which Linda writes about the state of Pennsylvania was most likely going to launch an investigation into the use of illegal steroids. An officer from the state department mentioned this to WWF attorney Jack Krill at a fundraiser, knowing that Krill’s firm represented the WWF, and also said that he knew about the relationship that Zahorian had with the WWF. The memo also mentioned that Vince thought it was a good idea to keep Zahorian away and tell him about the possible action that the Justice Department would be taking. It also ended with Linda telling Patterson that the talent would be having a meet and greet with State Athletic Commission on December 26th and they definitely would not want Zahorian to be there. Brutus is asked if he remembers Zahorian and he said yes, while laughing. Brutus said that he took care of them and that the wrestlers would line up to get stuff from him. Brutus then talks about how a man has to know his limits and mentions that Rick McGraw probably died due to all of the access to pills he had from Dr. Zahorian. He also points out how Dr. Zahorian didn’t force the drugs upon anyone and also says that Vince wasn’t responsible for what the doctor was prescribing.
On December 26th, the WWF promoted 6 shows, three matinees and three evening shows, in six different cities. Sean asks about how much talent they had on the roster and how much money they were making. Brutus said that Vince was a genius because he could make superstars out of just about everyone on the roster, through vignettes and interviews, along with other features. Brutus also adds that Vince probably wishes he could do that now. Brutus said that there were probably 25 people in the office that coordinated all of the travel and plane tickets.
On December 30th, Beefcake won a nine-man battle royal at a house show in Wisconsin. Sean calls it the worst battle royal ever then lists of the other eight competitors: Jake Milliman, Tom “Rocky” Stone, Brooklyn Brawler, The Genius, Jimmy Snuka, Jake Roberts, Ted DiBiase, and Rick Martel. Brutus said that it was probably the only battle royal he had ever won in his life but does not recall the match.
Final Thoughts: A highly entertaining timeline. Brutus kept it fun, no matter what you think of him. He also coined the term “waving the Pat Patterson flag.” Sure, it might not be the most insightful timeline and he went off topic at times, but when he did, it was entertaining. Sean also asked some follow up questions that led him to go off-topic as well. For all I know Brutus was on drugs during this, after all he has quite the history of using, but the guy also survived an accident that caused a traumatic head injury and admitted that he has some memory problems (like not remembering Brett Michaels name after saying that they were friends). Brutus certainly had a problem with the Ultimate Warrior and the Four Horsemen and it showed here but did not have an agenda with this timeline. Sure, he might have thought of himself a bit too highly but most people do in these interviews anyway. He certainly came off as likable in this and he ended up being more insightful than I would have imagined. Brutus was a good choice for 1989 because he was huge that year, which was probably the best of his entire career when I look back. I give this a very high recommendation.
This disc runs at one hour and thirty-two minutes long
Skip (Chris Candido) makes his debut, defeating Scott Taylor during an episode of “Superstars.” Sean asks Nash about him, who said he never spent much time with him but that he took one hell of a powerbomb. Nash said that Waltman put him over for his work. Sean reminds Nash that Waltman told the story on his “YouShoot” DVD of Sunny wearing a mohair sweater with Shawn coming out of her room with it all over his face as Nash says that was his story to tell. Sean then asks if Chris knew about Sunny and Shawn as Nash said he heard many stories about Sunny. Sean asks if Sunny ever came on to him and he said no. When Sean asked why, Nash said because he wasn’t a prick, implying that was the type of guy Sunny was into.
Nash introduces Antonio Rocca into the “WWE Hall of Fame.” He was chosen because he was the champ. sean asks about the early days of the HOF as Nash said that Andre was the only guy in it for a few years, joking that it was the “Wall of Fame” as all it contained was a plaque of Andre on the wall inside of Titan Towers. They talk about the HOF today as Nash said he wouldn’t want to go up and make a speech. Sean asks him how he and the ohter wrestlers feel about the legitimacy of the HOF, as Nash said that he cant believe how guys like Rick Rude are not in but Koko B. Ware is then says that he would decline the opportunity if he got the call until guys like Rude get nominated.
Mabel defeats Savio Vega to win the “King of the Ring” Tournament. Nash joked that Mabel won as Vince wanted to go back to guys with good bodies. Nash then compares the rapping from Men on a Mission to guys using blackface. Nash liked the group but couldn’t believe that the best rapper the WWE could find then was Oscar.
On July 8th, Vince McMahon announced that President Jack Tunney had stepped down and was replaced by Gorilla Monsoon. In reality, the WWE was shutting down their offices in Toronto in a cost-cutting move. Nash calls Tunney a “fucking crook” and said that his friend, Billy Red Lyons, would always have a new Cadillac whenever they went to Toronto. Nash said the payoffs were shit and that after the conversion rate, it seemed like you owed the company money. Nash did put over the atmosphere in the Maple Leaf Garden. On the subject of Gorilla, Nash said he was a great guy and would no-sell everything bad that happened to him while maintaining an upbeat attitude.
Nash tells a story of when he was told that he was dropping the belt to Shawn. Vince took him to the sound studio, with Jim Ross off on the side looking through the glass to see if Nash would go off. Anyway, Vince spends 35 minutes pitching an idea to Nash about fighting Mike Tyson in Central Park for charity, then at the end, casually dropped that the was going to drop the belt. Nash said that he couldn’t believe that Vince, who owned the company, made up a bullshit story to soften the blow about him losing the belt. Nash said he wasn’t pissed about the story, stating that Vince has to deal with a lot of bullshit anyway, but felt that he was close enough for Vince to be honest with him and just say that business was down and he wasn’t drawing with the belt.
Next, is when Jeff Jarrett and the Roadie quit the company after Jeff lost the Intercontinental Title to Shawn at the second “In Your House” PPV. Nash said that Jeff got along with everyone and that when the Kliq were split up on the road, Jeff would ride with them. Nash then talks about how as champ, he had to work house shows with Backlund and then King Kong Bundy. He then talks about his last run and how they put him in a ladder match, which was probably the last match anyone would ever want to see him wrestle. Nash then says that it is a business and if you are not a mark, they cannot fuck with you. From this, he brings up the “Fingerpoke of Doom” and how people bitched at him for beating Goldberg, saying he was more over than him, then sarcastically points out how how he put himself over just to hold the belt for twenty-four hours. Nash then asks for someone to try to find a time in which he gloated about ending Goldberg’s streak. Nash then brings up how the crowds were chanting “Goldberg sucks” and they had to pipe in the Goldberg stuff. He then talks about the show in Salisbury, MD and how he told them that this was a WWF town and that they would be cheering for him and Hall, which they did, and Hall went with the crowd.
On July 24th, the Dark Match before RAW, Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels teamed up for the first time to face the Blu Brothers. Nash is asked if they friendly here and Nash said no, that they never were. Nash said they had a mutual respect then and that there was a running joke that Shawn said he was better than him. Nash himself admits that Shawn was the best he ever wrestled. Sean then asks Nash what Shawn would tell him about Bret. Nash tells a story of how he was having difficulty with Bret, after the whole powerbomb deal at the “In Your House,” and that he was with Shawn and told him that he was not going to drop the belt to Bret. Shawn, who was pissed, told him he had to drop the belt to him because he was going to get it next. Nash points out it was the only fight that the every had. This was prior to the Kliq meeting with Vince in Indianapolis.
“WrestleMania: The Arcade Game” is released. Nash is the champion but did not make the game. Sean brings up how Doink was in the game then also mentions how Matt Borne said on one of the Kayfabe Commentary releases that Nash should have never been broken into the business. Nash responds in a hilarious manner by how devastated he was hearing that come from someone like Borne then jokes about how Borne got the last laugh by making the arcade game. You have to see this for yourself as Nash was a fucking riot explaining all of this.
During a match in Ohio, Sid defeated Razor Ramon and dropped him on the railing, legitimately injuring Hall to the point that he was coughing up blood. Nash is asked if he ever hurt anyone in the ring and he said one time when referee Jack Doan told him he could bump and he threw him out of the ring. Doan went through the ropes like he was Superman and fell on the floor, injuring his wrist. He then said that he was surprised he didnt hurt Big Show and said when he powerbombed him, he was close to 600 lbs. Nash originally suggested that he hit him with a gimmicked pot of coffee then just pin him. Nash said that he was more hurt than him from the move and also claimed that Big Show told him that Hogan went to him afterwards, stating Nash dropped him on his head on purpose.
Next, is the ladder match between Hall and Michaels at SummerSlam. Nash said that since they were going up against not just WCW but also Disney, the office told him that they were not allowed to use the ladder as a weapon. He said they were up to 4am trying to put the match together. Nash also credits HHH for putting together half of the match. Sean tells Nash that Sid was originally supposed to face Michaels in the ladder match and asked if he new what happened. Nash said he didny but can imagine that when they approached him with that, Michaels probably told them they were crazy for wanting him to carry Sid in a ladder match and requested to face Hall. Nash also says that “Crazy Shawn” developed from this match as he injured himself greatly and went nuts with drugs.
Nash then talks about his SummerSlam match with Mabel. He said that going into the match, his back was hurt and he asked Mabel to take it easy on him but he ended up crashing down on his lower back with a sitdown splash. Nash said that Mabel hurt one of the Samoans prior to the match, which is a feat in itself, and that he ended up straining his abdomen. After the match, he asked him “what the fuck” and claimed that Vince gave him his papers on the spot but Nash told Vince not to fire him and that he just made a mistake. Mabel was constantly injuring people at the time and wasn’t around much longer.
They now talk about Tatanka and how he was suspended after a woman named him in an incident. Nash said it was the “Helter Skelter”incident as there was blood smeared all over the walls in the hallway. He then recalls sitting with Taker one time and a goth girl came by after one of the boys “H-Bombed” her and she was with the cops in the lobby the next morning. When asked about the Tatanka incident, Nash carefully says that he thinks it was Jimmy Del Ray who gimmicked the girl and that Tatanka was with him that night and knows for a fact that he did not do anything.
The “B” house shows are eliminated. Nash said that he didn’t cut his pay but it prevented him from going to Erie, PA three times a year. He calls the building a piece of shit and that you couldn’t draw 3,000 people if you were giving money away.
Nash is now asked about the debut of WCW “Monday Nitro.” Nash points out how they were doing it from a mall and that it was such a WCW move. Nash said that he was watching the show with his boys and that the WWF production truck was playing the show. Nash also brings up how before the nWo, WCW was doing monster truck angles and stuff with King Curtis.
Dean Douglas makes his debut. Nash said that it didn’t matter what Douglas did, as he was DOA, due to the fact that he was an “indy guy.” Nash said that he never had heat with him and that he liked Douglas, Sean also brings up his YouShoot and how Shane said he liked Nash when he was alone. Nash liked Douglas for realizing that there was a world outside of wrestling and calls him smart. Nash then said when Waltman gave him the thumbs down after the match, it was the end.
On September 25th, RAW and Nitro are on live at the same time. Clearance Mason debuted and Nash said he wasn’t a real attorney. When asked about the race angle, Nash said that you have to commit 100% if you want to work and compares to how they approached the situation to being “half pregnant.”
Marty Jannetty returned on the same episode. Nash said that Marty and Shawn were definitely distant and compares it to a guy meeting his ex-wife at a party after several years. Nash also says it was an uncomfortable situation and that he never brought it up with Shawn.
On October 4th, the WWF began a tour of Europe in England and on this date, the incident in which Man Mountain Rock brought his video camera and recorded what went on backstage and on the bus. Nash confirms that this happened and that you could actually hear him in the background on one clip but that he never rode with them.
On October 8th, the Harris Twins confronted Shawn Michaels. Nash said that Shawn legit needed a bodyguard as he wouldnt back down. Nash said that he likes the Harris Brothers and when he came back, they told him what happened. Nash said while he didnt want anyone beating on his friend, Shawn got over the incident so Nash was okay. When asked if he would retaliate if Shawn asked, Nash said yes. He also said that Shawn did deserve what happened to him at times. Sean asks Nash if this is what got them fired and Nash said that at the time, most of the roster was starving and they were letting guys go at the time. Nash brings up how Chief Jay Strongbow told himto never live above your means and to buy the place you live in, because they cannot take that away from you. He also said why buy a new car when you drive a new rental daily and that you do not need 7,000 square feet if you are only there three days in a row at most.
Bill Watts quit on October 13th. Nash calls him a bully and a “fucking dick.” He recalls one time in WCW, Watts told him to bend over and he hit him in the face, after being pissed about how he did in a match. Nash said he no-sold the punch and after three weeks later, Watts was telling him about making him a face a giving a push. He then tells a story of how he was having a dark match with Yokozuna, which was in of the old blue cage. Nash said the guys putting it up struggled and they do the match. Nash said he told Yoko he was going to charge him and to hit a Samoan drop. Nash then told him to drag him in the corner and try the sitdown splash but he was going to grab his leg then go out the cage. The match lasted twenty seconds. Backstage, Watts was pissed and that Nash referenced something Watts told him in WCW about being higher up on the food chain than he was. Nash was pretty damn funny telling the story about Watts.
Up next is when Shawn gets assaulted by several servicemen outside of Club 37 in New York. Nash said that when he read Meltzer’s column of the story and laughs at him calling Waltman a “legitimate tough guy.” Nash jokes that you shouldnt book Shawn without him. Nash says that he was told that Shawn was absolutely bombed and hitting on a girl that belonged to the Marine. He then said Shawn was half-passed out and heard he got assaulted while he was sitting in the car.
Goldust debuted on October 22nd, defeating Marty Jannetty. Nash is asked if the guys were freaked out by this and Hall said that during his feud with Goldust, it was getting tough explaining the show to his kid with the homosexuality involved in the storyline. Nash then jokes how they had to counter the red-hot Dungeon of Doom feud in WCW that was going on at the time by taking a risk.
Dean Douglas gets awarded the Intercontinental Title, then lost it to Razor Ramon. Nash said that Hall would always tell Vince that he was going to go to Japan and would ask Vince for a little more of the merchandise cut and thinks Vince gave him the belt to appease him.
Nash talks about the dirtsheets and how if you were caught having one, you would get crucified by the locker room. He then said that they had no idea about who guys like Ahmed Johnson were or any international stars. Nash then joked about an idea for an Ahmed vignette that featured Karen Black and would recreate a scene from “Mandingo.”
1-2-3 Kid turns heel on Razor Ramon. Nash said at that point, they wanted to work with the guys they wanted to instead of some of the slugs. Nash said he believes Hall gave notice at this point and back then, you needed to give a 90 day written notice.
Nash talks about Mr. Perfect. Nash said he was the man and that he smartened up Hall and Shawn in the AWA.
Bret defeats Nash at Survivor Series to win the Title. Nash said he wanted to have a good match and could have one with Bret. Nash is asked about the announcer’s table spot. He said that he was speaking with Bret on the phone discussing the match and they were basically finishing each other’s sentences going over the match. They got the idea for the cable-tying spot after Owen ribbed Bret after tying him up with a telephone cord. Nash said he told the camera guys to make sure they caught him turning around and swearing. Nash said he got over from the Rumble and wanted to get back to being an ass-kicker. He then talks about after being portrayed as an ass-kicker at the Rumble, they cut his balls off. Nash then goes over all of the shitty gimmicks he had before becoming Diesel.
The following night on RAW, Diesel interrupted a match and cut an interview stating that he was no longer had to be the “corporate puppet” he was as the champion. He said that he watched the movie “Heat” and that DeNiro is the clear-cut heel and Pacino the face and despite being the heel, everyone in the theater wanted DeNiro to go over and from a psychology major point of view, saw that and knew how that was the fucked up part of our society. He then says that Vince will always see the American-flag waving guy as the face. When asked if he watched ECW, Nash said no and that the anti-corporate guy would get over. Sean brings up how it was a precursor to the Stone Cold character and Nash said that Steve is his friend and that he was able to do better with the character. Nash finishes by stating that he doesn’t need validation for being creative or for being successful in wrestling as he can wake up every morning and sip coffee while looking at the ocean and realize that he is doing pretty good.
On the Novembe 25th house show, Shane Douglas and Scott Hall got into a backstage argument due to the Kliq believing Douglas was faking a back injury for a built-in excuse to lose to Hall. Nash said that was not the correct story. He said that Shane was hurt in Europe and HHH had to work twice. So, Nash said that Yokozuna yelled at Dean on the bus, saying that he should have watched the match with HHH to see what Hall needs in the ring then told Douglas that there are no days off and to get out there. Yoko apparently threw in a lot of f-bombs. Nash said that Yoko was a “BSK” guy and adds that the undertaker was going out there with a mask after his face was nearly caved in and he still wrestled.
At the In Your House PPV, Bret defeated Davey Boy Smith and bled throughout the match at a time when blading was banned in the company. Nash is asked if Bret was going into business for himself and Nash said that he did the same in a cage match with Owen. Nash said it couldnt have been hardway because after a few minutes of bleeding, it swells up and stops.
Nash talks about how Alundra Blayze showed up on Nitro and tossed the WWF Women’s Title in the trash can. Nash jokes that his wife was glad that Alundra was gone and when pressed about the issue, Nash denied that he was ever close with her.
On the December 18th edition of RAW, two factions of wrestlers were in the locker room. The “BSK,” who would wear the initials on their baseball hats. They consisted of the Undertaker, Yokozuna, Fatu, Duke Droese, and Owen Hart. Another group led by the Smoking Gunns, Davey Boy Smith, and Goldust all wore red handkerchiefs. Nash jokes about the red handkerchiefs being over and references the film “Cruising” and how it San Francisco it meant that they wanted to be pissed on.
The “Village Voice” reported that Vince McMahon offered his former assistant, Emily Fineberg, a six-figure sum to take part in a movie about his life that would have Sylvester Stallone play the part of himself.Nash jokes that he would have James Garner play Vince.
On December 30th, Bret Hart defeated Nash in a ladder match. Nash said he liked gimmick matches, as the smoke-and-mirrors helped him out. He then questions why have a cage match if you can’t juice and how it makes no sense. He then brings up his “Hell in a Cell” match with HHH and how it was set up to fuck him. He says that when you leave you can come back but they will book you first then fuck with you later. He then said after that, he told his wife to get the clippers and wanted to shave his head and come back on his terms.
Final Thoughts: Another great disc. Nash is one of the more engaging storytellers you will ever find on a shoot interview. Even though he went off topic a lot, he still entertained whenever he spoke. As far as painting a picture of the year(s) in question, I thought that Bruno Sammartino’s Timeline from 1963-1969 was better in that aspect but you cannot go wrong at all in picking this up. It is lenghty but the time will fly by. I give this one of my highest recommendations.
Also, please vote on which shoot you would like to see reviewed next week. The votes are all very close so click on the link below and see which recap you would like to read on Thursday:
asked about Jim Ross being named the Executive Producer of RAW and to help out
with the storylines. Nash brings up that Ross broke into the business as a
referee and that Ross became a fan of his by having him on his radio show when
he was in WCW. Ross realized that Nash was funny, Nash saw him as an ally and
it helped him out. Sean asks Nash if Ross was a creative guy. Nash says that he
doesn’t know but he did know what worked and what did not. He then says that
when he became booker himself, no matter how good of an idea you have, if two
guys botch it completely and do not do their jobs, you lose money and get
labeled as a bad booker.
This interview was conducted this year and released four months ago. It is hosted by Sean Oliver and last two hours and fifteen minutes long
On April 30th,
Diesel defeated Razor Ramon for the Intercontinental Title. Waltman is asked if
the Kliq were all friends at this point. Waltman said that they were and there
was no resentment from anyone about Diesel winning the belt.
Waltman is asked about Bruce Hart. He said that he was crazy and was definitely
going into business for himself. He said that Bret was pissed about Lawler’s
insults about his dad and that it was never discussed beforehand. Waltman said
that when Bret applied the sharpshooter to him, he really tried to break him in
Another good one from wwe.com
This interview was released on August 27th of this year. It is a two-disc set that clocks in at just over two-and-a-half hours long.
Final Thoughts: A very good interview. It was long, clocking in at just under 3.5 hours but definitely worth a listen. Cornette was good but his rants against Russo can get a little old. The guy needs anger management therapy like you wouldn’t believe. However there were some questions that I felt were a waste of time. There were a bunch of questions about guys like Rod Price and Tommy Rogers and how they got tryout matches, which Cornette had no idea about. He also hints that he might do the 1998 timeline, which would be something I would love to see.