Bill Alphonso Shoot Interviewby Brandon Truitt
May 26, 2003, 19:00
I hope you all enjoyed your Memorial Day. I know I certainly enjoyed going to see The Italian Job this weekend and sleeping in today.
Next week's shoot will be the Bam Bam Bigelow two-tape release from RF Video.
Be sure to check out Dr. Tom's Smackdown recap this Thursday night. This will be his final Smackdown recap and, hopefully, he'll get to go out on a good note if something worthwhile happens.
As always, you can feel free to Drop me an e-mail, read the archives, buy me stuff, or buy yourself stuff at Highspots.com.
Bill Alfonso Shoot Interview (Feb. 1997)
How did he get into the business? He was a fan growing up in Florida after his dad, a sports editor, got some comped tickets to an event. He had never even heard of wrestling before that but was a fan after that. Later, he and his step-brother Bill Patterson (Fidel Sierra, Cuban Assassin) decided they both wanted to get into the business and started hanging out with the boys such as King Curtis Iaukea, who liked them a lot for some reason, and The Rock's father, Rocky Johnson, who got them booked in Texas.
Their first territory- Sierra and Fonzie ended up going to Texas and working for booker Gary Hart. Fonzie goes on to say that there were four territories running in Texas at the time, Joe Blanchard’s Southwest Championship Wrestling, Paul Boesch’s Houston, the Funk Brothers in Amarillo, and the Von Erichs’ World Class Championship Wrestling. Fonzie was a referee / soda boy at the time which seems demeaning at first but it usually leads to better things. As an example, Fonzie brings up Eric Bischoff, who was Verne Gagne’s gofer for years before becoming the head of WCW. After a few months with no referee work, the Funks called up the World Class office and asked for a few guys to come work on TV for them for a few days, which included Sierra.
His first referee gig- Sierra told Dory Funk Jr. that he had a brother who was a referee and asked if he could find any work for him and, a month later, Dory called World Class for a few guys including Sierra and asked for Fonzie as well. His first night to get a paid referee gig was in Lubbock, TX, for a Terry Funk vs. The Sheik chain match. He finds it appropriate since he will be involved in the main event of ECW’s first Pay Per View with Sabu, who is The Sheik’s nephew. (While Sabu vs. Tazz was advertised as the main event, it was in the middle of the show. Terry Funk vs. Big Stevie Cool (Steven Richards) vs. Sandman for a title shot and the ensuing Terry Funk vs. Raven ECW title match were the true main events.) Terry Funk came up to him and told him how the show was going to work but did it in carney. Fonzie said he understood even though he didn’t. He was the only referee that night and did a good job without really knowing what he was doing since he’d been observing everything since he’d been accepted into the World Class locker room.
The Funk vs. Sheik match- The Sheik and his manager, Sir Oliver Humperdink (Big Daddy Dink in WCW) came down to the ring first “with a big fuckin’ snake” which was provided by Baby Doll, the daughter of the Lubbock promoters. Humperdink told him to sell the snake, so he took a powder. During the match, Sheik “stabbed” him with a pencil, which he sold. At the end of the night, he was paid $90 for refereeing all the matches. Dory Funk loved him to death and insisted that he’d find him as much work as possible.
World Class- They went out and finished out their tour and the office got him booked in Mid-Atlantic. They didn’t know at the time how hot that territory had gotten with Ric Flair, Wahoo McDaniel, etc. on top and George Scott booking.
Mid Atlantic- They were there for about 6 months and worked only twice. Since there were four full-time referees in the territory including Earl Hebner, the only times he worked were when a ref no-showed due to a flat tire or so forth. He eventually told his brother that he was going back home to Florida. The guys all liked him and were sorry to see him go, so Paul Jones told him to call up Gerald Brisco, then the assistant booker in Florida, and tell him he could referee.
Florida- Once he got home, he got a job assembling trucks at the Tampa Bay docks. When he got burned out on that, he and a guy who later became his cousin-in-law ditched work to go hang out in Palm Beach and got fired for disappearing without notice. He then called the Florida office and got an appointment to come into the office. He had an interview with Brisco and Brisco got interested when Fonzie told him he’d worked for the Funks, the Blanchards, and George Scott. Brisco told him that they had enough referees for now but, if they started running two towns that summer, they’d keep him in mind. The Monday after the interview, a referee who already had heat with the office had his car break down on the way to Palm Beach with three main event wrestlers in tow, wrecking three main event matches that night. He got fired and Fonzie’s phone rang on Tuesday morning and was told to be there at 6:00 and meet with booker Dusty Rhodes. He met with Dusty then just hung out in the locker room while guys like the Masked Assassins, Manny Fernandez, co-owner Eddie Graham, and others arrived. Because his brother was in the business and he had worked with famous wrestlers like The Sheik and Terry Funk as well as guys who’d been through the territory like Oliver Humperdink, he fit in right away. Gerald Brisco came up to him after the matches that night and asked him to make shots in Jacksonville and Miami. After a week of being asked to make shots in certain markets, Brisco told him he was in and put him on a regular schedule but told him to remember “you can leave as fast as you came” and that there are no guarantees.
When did he realize that Florida hit it big? Nobody knew how big they were although they knew they were hot. The problem was that no one was national at that time so it was hard to compare business in Florida to 29 other territories. They were doing sellout business with a very small locker room of about 16 wrestlers instead of “29 guys on the card, eight matches, three tags, four managers and two whores.” Fonzie came in on the tail end of the old-school when guys like Hiro Matsuda and Bobo Brazil were still active. He also got to see guys like Dusty go to the top of the business and newcomers like Barry Windham and Terry Allen (Magnum TA) become big stars. Fonzie mentions that Dusty wasn’t well liked by the Florida office for thinking too far ahead and trying to do bigger and better things. That lead to Dusty jumping to Mid-Atlantic, where owner Jim Crockett gave him the kind of power he wanted. Getting back to the original question, they knew they hit it big when they had 16 guys on the roster, angles that would last a year, and the only visiting wrestlers they’d use would be the world champion but people were beating down their doors trying to get into the territory. He credits Dusty with the success of the territory and says that Dusty pulled himself off of TV for the most part since guys like Barry Windham were able to draw just as well as he could.
The Florida locker room- It was good. All the egos were somewhat in check. Dusty treated it like a ball team where he’d have meetings and explain how putting one guy over another would help all of them.
Gordon Solie stories- Gordon was a great guy. The road where Gordon used to have his lakehouse is still named after him, Solie Road. Both of the Brisco Brothers used to live right around there, too. Gordon used to announce stock car races before he got into wrestling.
Gordon Solie and JJ Dillon interview- JJ plugs the Great American Bash 1987 tour and the Wargames match in particular.
There are also two clips with Alfonso refereeing, one with Dusty beating Tully Blanchard for the TV title and the introduction of a Sheepherders match from Florida.
Big angles in Florida- The office was against Kevin Sullivan’s devil worshipper angle because they didn’t want to lay out money for it and they didn’t see such a small guy as a draw.
Clips of a brawl between Blackjack Mulligan and Dory Funk Jr.
Dusty Rhodes and Buddy Colt interview- Dusty makes an open challenge to Roddy Piper.
Clips of a Raul Motta vs. Kevin Sullivan match refereed by Fonzie- Rowdy Roddy Piper and Gordon Solie are on commentary here. Kevin Sullivan’s face is painting in black and white, vaguely like The Zodiac. Sullivan wins with a shoulder breaker.
Blackjack Mulligan- Contrary to popular belief, he wasn’t involved in booking the Florida territory. He was a friend of Dusty, very over, and his son Barry Windham was also very over. Mulligan was brought into the territory in an angle in which Windham was hurt by Kevin Sullivan (it was supposed to be a worked injury but Windham got a shoot injury out of it).
Dusty Rhodes vs. Kevin Sullivan- This is a VERY low quality tape of a cage match between the two eternal rivals of Florida. Sullivan wins by getting an international object from a Santa Claus at ringside (Jake “The Snake” Roberts) and waffling Dusty with it.
Kevin Sullivan and Gordon Solie interview- Sullivan makes as much sense as "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka or Ultimate Warrior here, talking about how the Purple Haze has returned to do his bidding.
Sullivan interferes in a Dusty match drawing a DQ call from Fonzie.
We also get a vintage devil-worshipping ceremony with Sullivan and his followers in the center of the ring.
Promo- Kevin Sullivan, Luna Vachon, and another of Sullivan’s followers cut a promo on Blackjack Mulligan and his family.
Vignette- The Purple Haze recreates his arrival to Florida Championship Wrestling, which was originally a swim to Florida from Singapore (No, I’m not making this stuff up).
We get a lot more poor-quality Florida footage but it’s so choppy that I’m not even going to bother with it. If someone wants a sampler of Sullivan’s devil-worshipping gimmick, this is a better place to get it than Sullivan’s own shoot interview.
Eddie Graham as a booker- He was already out of the business for the most part, although he still owned a part of the territory. He’d come down to the shows every so often but was not heavily involved. He had a lot of influence, though. It was a tragedy that he died but those things happen.
Going to work for Crockett- Everyone went to Mid-Atlantic but him, as he was at home with an ailing wife who later died of kidney failure at about 22. The territory had started falling apart after Eddie Graham died because the other office people had given Dusty a lot of problems over what he wanted to do, such as flying in certain talents to work on a show. When Jim Crockett made an offer to Dusty to run things with a free hand, he leapt at the opportunity. When Dusty left, he made an offer for Fonzie to join him in the Carolinas whenever he was ready to go. They started feeling the effects of cable on business around that time as both Georgia and the WWF started going national. They had been drawing about $20,000 consistently in Orlando for a long time but, when they brought in a big star from Georgia Championship Wrestling on TBS, “Wildfire” Tommy Rich, the house doubled because Orlando was the only city in that part of Florida to get TBS at the time. Once Fonzie’s wife died, he went to work for Jim Crockett and Dusty in the Carolinas.
The Carolinas- It was great to be there because business was good. They did the Great American Bash and Starrcade and so forth, which all drew big business. They expanded outside of their own territory once Crockett bought the former Georgia Championship Wrestling timeslot on TBS.
Taking a break- He got burned out on the business for a while after years of missing birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc. because those were usually big days for wrestling. He just went home and spent time with his daughter for a year and a half.
Guys who got started in Florida- He was the referee for Lex Luger, Ron Simmons, Hercules Hernandez, and others when they had their first matches. All those guys treat him great as a result of it.
Getting back into the business- Hiro Matsuda, formerly the trainer of the Florida territory, called him up and asked him if he wanted to referee the Fujinami vs. Flair match on the WCW tour of Japan. He met Giant Gonzales on that tour. In order to try and distinguish himself in his first match back in over a year, he went out of his way to buy nice clothes, get cleaned up and, as an afterthought, had a Japanese flag and a United States flag sewed side by side on his referee shirt. In addition to working the Fujinami vs. Flair match, he was assigned to work the Curtis Hughes vs. El Gigante (Giant Gonzales) match because Gonzales was green and they wanted someone who knew what he was doing to try and help him out. At the after party, Fonzie hung out with Dusty and Flair all night and, at the end of the night, Dusty told Fonzie that he was going to be taken care of and that Magnum TA would call him soon about a job.
Ric Flair vs. Fujinami- This is from the Battle of the Rising Sun tape released by WCW, covering the supercard in Japan. The match ends in controversy as Flair takes a bump over the top rope but is suplexed back into the ring by Fujinami and rolled up for the three. This split the NWA and WCW titles as WCW claimed that Fujinami was disqualified for throwing Flair over the top rope and didn’t win their title, but DID win the NWA belt by pinning Flair.
Giant Gonzales- Ricky Santana was his handler for a while but pissed off the office and got fired. Fonzie was plugged into Santana’s spot to try and teach Gonzales. Fonzie says that Gonzales knew English by that point and, while he wasn’t a good worker, everyone knew that his body was what got him hired. Gonzales made hundreds of thousands of dollars in his short wrestling career and retired partially due to health concerns such as diabetes. As compensation for taking care of Gonzales, Fonzie was paid an extra $400 a week and given a Cadillac for the rest of Gonzales’ run with WCW. He spent two years with Gonzales in WCW then, when his contract came up, they wanted Gonzales to take a paycut and he refused and, instead, got Fonzie to hook him up with JJ Dillon, who was then the head of Talent Relations in the WWF. 20 minutes after the initial call to JJ, they got a call back saying that Vince McMahon was definitely interested in Gonzales. They flew up to New York two days later to meet with Vince. They were both flown first class, a limo picked them up at the airport, and they were chauffeured to Vince’s house for a meeting with Dillon and Vince. Vince told Gonzales that he’d make “WAY more” than the $250,000 than he got in WCW and, when Gonzales mentioned money that WCW still owed him, Vince wrote him a check for $10,000 over the amount he was owed and told him not to talk to WCW again. The only condition that Gonzales had was that he didn’t want to start before Christmas so he could spend the holidays with his family. Fonzie started right away and JJ put him on all the big shows for the next month. All of this was taken care of the day they arrived, complete with contracts. Gonzales didn’t work out in the WWF because he couldn’t bump and he was starting to get sick around that time. Vince loved Gonzales to death, though, and spent a lot of money on him. He says he’ll never have a bad word to say about Vince McMahon due to the class treatment they were given in the WWF.
How were they received by the locker room? Fonzie knew most of the people working there already and a lot of the guys had been in WCW recently. Everyone got along with them because Fonzie was no threat since he was a referee and Gonzales was no threat because he was in his own class due to his size.
WWF economics- The company was cutting back by 30% because business was down and, despite the fact that Vince loved him to death, Fonzie was cut because he lived in Florida and it cost too much to fly him in when the company already had a lot of referees who lived in the northeast where they filmed their TV tapings, and certain referees like the Hebner brothers had been there forever and couldn’t be released instead of him. Fonzie was given $10,000 in severance pay and was told the door wasn’t closed. He has since worked for them when they ran shows in Florida. Since he’d saved up so much money in his career, he had been able to buy a house and a car in cash and had no real expenses and, as such, was able to spend about a year out of work. He ended up selling his house and moving back to his parents’ house since his step-father had died and his mother was ill and living alone. He calls that one of the best decisions he’s ever made. One day, he was on a tractor cutting all the grass on his mother’s land when he was told he had a phone call from Paul Heyman. His exact response was “Paul Heyman? Who the fuck is Paul Heyman?!?” Once he got on the phone, he realized Heyman was Paul E. Dangerously, who had come through Florida while he was a referee there.
Paul Heyman- Paul had come into Florida with a wrestler named Tombstone, who was a friend of his from Baltimore. On Tombstone’s last night in the company, Paul E asked the guys if he could come to the ring as Tombstone’s manager. He was told that he could as long as he went out and bought a nice suit and a cell phone. They roughed him up a bit and broke his collarbone but he never complained. That was the last Fonzie saw of him until he watched some AWA TV, where he was managing the Original Midnight Express. He later worked with him in WCW until both left the company and went their separate ways.
Tombstone with Sir Oliver Humperdink and Paul E. Dangerously vs. Black Magic- Black Magic is “Screaming” Norman Smiley, who had some measure of success in Mexico and in WCW. Tombstone wins the match quickly with a vertical backbreaker.
Paul E’s pitch to bring him into ECW- Paul E said that people may not know him but would recognize him as a referee who worked in WCW and the WWF so he would be able to pull it off. The original plan was for him to have a four month run.
Was he nervous on the mic? He got tongue-tied on the mic in one of his first appearances. Tommy Dreamer eventually told him to treat it like a shoot, at which point he was able to pull it off. He pulled it off so well that they put off chokeslamming him for 8 months then put him with Tazz.
We get that appearance right here, as Shane Douglas introduces Fonzie and sets off the Commissioner Tod Gordon vs. Fonzie angle. We also get footage of a match where Fonzie gets HUGE heel heat for DQ’ing Tommy Dreamer for using a closed fist on Raven.
What does he like about ECW? Only having to work weekends, the locker room, etc. The only thing he doesn’t like is when Sabu slams him through a table. He says he can’t really complain though because “Tommy Dreamer would fall off a building, get hit by a freight train, and not say a word.”
Guys he gets along with outside the ring- Tod Gordon and Sandman especially. He starts talking about he and Gordon wouldn’t pull punches when they fought in the ring because they didn’t know how to wrestle and didn’t want to piss off the fans by half-assing it. He starts talking about his match with Gordon and how the locker room gave him a standing ovation afterwards.
We get a quick clip of Too Cold Scorpio and Dean Malenko winning a match against Eddy Guerrero and Tazz due to a quick count by Fonzie. Paul Heyman then calls out Fonzie Rob Feinstein makes a quick appearance while Joey Styles yells on commentary “He can’t even get MY tapes right!” RF puts the boots to Heyman with the help of Fonzie and then 911 hits the ring. Since Fonzie runs off too quick. RF gets a chokeslam.
We also get a quick clip of the 2 of 3 Falls Double Dog Collar match between the team of Raven and Stevie Richards and the Pitbulls for the ECW tag titles. Fonzie overrules Tommy Dreamer’s pin of Raven. 911’s music hits and Fonzie finally gets chokeslammed.
We get a video package setting up Fonzie vs. Tod Gordon with special guest referee Beulah McGillicuddy. Gordon has Fonzie pinned but Taz runs in to replace the knocked out Beulah and gives Fonzie the win. Tazz cuts a post-match promo about how Sabu gets all the attention while he was ignored when he came back from a broken neck.
Has he gotten any offers from the Big Two? Kevin Sullivan, an old friend of his and then-booker of WCW, has talked to him a lot over the last few years and has said “It would be nice to have you back up here” but didn’t say “We would like you up here next week”. He says the WWF won’t directly contact him but, instead, Bruce Pritchard and Paul E would discuss the WWF’s interest in any of Paul E’s guys. He’s happy where he’s at because he only works weekends, he has a good spot, and he has a lot of fun. He says everybody could be bought but the terms he’d want are probably more than anyone’s willing to pay.
Did he see WCW passing up the WWF like they did? He saw them moving forward when they started bringing in all the talent that they have, such as Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage, and that the WWF wasn’t offering comparable contracts and couldn’t keep their own guys.
What does he think is going to happen in the next year in the business? The business is cyclical and, as such, WCW will start going downwards again. Vince is also very determined and won’t give up until he’s back on top. The old guys that WCW has can’t last that much longer and the WWF is always creating a bunch of new stars.
Who did he see becoming a star while he was in the WWF? Shawn Michaels was a great talent, well liked, and loyal to Vince, so all the pieces were there. Bret Hart was a natural talent.
1985- One of the Japanese promotions, Jim Crockett Promotions, the Maivia family, Kevin Sullivan, and Purple Haze (one of Sullivan’s devil-worshippers in Florida) were putting together a show in Hawaii and Fonzie wanted in. The main event of the show was Ric Flair vs. Siva Afi. Fonzie ends up hanging out with the Crockett crew like Dusty, Magnum TA, Manny Fernandez, etc. Crockett eventually spotted Lars Anderson, whom he didn't get along with, and starts making a fuss in front of everyone how his guys aren’t working the show if Lars is on the card. Rocky Johnson and his wife start trying to calm everyone down. Finally, Lars poured a full beer on Crockett and both sides start challenging each other. Lars was smuggled out of the building since he had no pull with anyone and they wanted the show to go on. Afterwards, Crockett was pissed over the whole ordeal because he didn’t get a cut of the show immediately. Fonzie ended up going out with Crockett, Flair, and some models to go eat. They all ended up in Crockett’s suite Crockett clotheslined Fonzie out of a chair for no apparent reason and Fonzie had to come up with a witty retort to stay diplomatic since he wanted to work for him again some day. His retort was that Crockett was the only person he’d let get away with that, which everyone got a big kick out of.
Barry Windham getting shot in the leg with a pistol- One time, Windham and Steve Kiern were shooting pistols in the middle of the Everglades in order to break up the monotony of the weekly 5 hour drive to Miami. Kiern tried to shoot a road sign about 10 feet away from Barry and the bullet ricocheted, hitting Barry in the leg. Barry pulled out the bullet with a pocket knife and was still able to wrestle Harley Race that night.
Piper and the alligator- Piper came into Florida to do TV around the time he was really hot in Mid-Atlantic. As a side story, Fonzie mentions that after Piper’s jobber squashes on Mid-Atlantic TV, he used to give his opponents $25 or so out of his own pocket. Piper made a big deal about wanting to see an alligator on his trip to Florida. When they spotted some out the car window, Piper made some comment about wishing he had a gun. Frank Dusek then pulled an old .38 that doesn’t aim right out of his bag for Piper to use. They pull over and get out of the car the next time they spot a gator and Piper takes a shot at it from pretty far away, hitting it in the neck and astounding everyone else that he actually hit something with the gun. The gator started spasming like it was about to die and, about that time, a game warden drove past but didn’t stop. The gator Piper hit then falls into a creek and apparently dies. Around this time, Piper decides he wants to retrieve the gator he’s killed. He and Kevin Sullivan both strip to their underwear and head to the creek. Sullivan starts splashing around in the creek to draw the rest of the gators away from the one Piper shot. Piper starts going after the gator and the water got so deep that he had to start swimming. Once he got close to the gator, it turned towards him and started going after him. Piper then hauled ass back to shore and they all got the Hell out of there.
Great Muta- He wrestled as the Ninja in Florida because the Japanese organization he worked for wanted him to get experience and they had strong ties with trainer Hiro Matsuda of the Florida territory. Fonzie was assigned to work with Muta and take care of him. One night when Fonzie, Muta, Angelo Mosca Jr., and one of the ring announcers were driving back from Miami, Fonzie hit a gator with the Cadillac he was driving. The wheel had gone over the gator’s head so they thought it was dead, and Fonzie decided to put it in their trunk because he wanted to keep it. It turned out that it only had a broken jaw and was unconscious. An hour later, they start hearing thumps from the trunk and realize the gator’s still alive and it’s thrashing around with all of their bags under it. They end up pulling into the parking lot where everyone had left their cars at about the same time all the other wrestlers are getting back from Miami. When Fonzie opened his trunk and there was a gator in there, everyone just stood there watching. Since Fonzie could tell the gator’s jaw was broken, he decided to screw around with the guys by pulling open the gator’s jaws and sticking his head in its mouth.
The Lex Luger vs. Bruiser Brody cage match- Fonzie refereed that match. Luger was green while Brody was a veteran and Fonzie feels that had something to do with the end result. Brody was brought in as a one-week attraction to pop the houses and the centerpiece of that week was a cage match with the hottest star in the territory, Lex Luger. Since Luger was ignorant of the business and not following Brody’s lead in the ring, things got ugly. Luger tried to lock up and start the match but Brody didn’t go for it. Luger then tried to work Brody’s arm but that was no-sold as well. Around this time, Luger’s thinking “What in the blue Hell is going on?” Fonzie doesn’t think that Brody did any offensive moves in the match other than pushing Luger away from him, although he had a menacing look about him. Luger eventually got so scared that he said “Fuck this, I’m leaving” and left for the dressing room. The lesson is that you don’t tell a legend how to work a match.
Lex Luger vs. Brusier Brody in a cage match- YES! The infamous match where Luger runs like a little bitch when Brody waves a hand full of blades at him! You can see them lock up and pull away from each other several times and Brody no-selling a lot. Brody does a decent amount of offense and gives Luger almost nothing, which isn’t much of a surprise for a Brody match. A few minutes in, Brody stops selling Lex’s offense all together and takes will just stand there looking pissed off or be actively kicking Lex’s ass. It got to the point where Lex and Fonzie started discussing what was going on because it was so unusual. A few minutes later, Brody gets Luger in a headlock and pulls him to the ropes. Fonzie is in the camera’s line of sight so you can’t make out what Brody’s saying but, immediately after Luger gets out of the headlock, he shoves Fonzie to get DQ’ed and climbs out of the ring.
They start watching footage in the office at this point, such as Muta’s matches as the Black Ninja, old Sheepherders matches, and the Flair vs. Fujinami match that Fonzie refereed.
Getting injured- Fonzie’s been injured several times over the years. One time was during a Sgt. Slaughter vs. Wahoo McDaniel match when Wahoo tried to hit Slaughter with a title belt, Slaughter ducked out of the way and Fonzie got clocked upside the head, knocking him out and leaving a scar to this day Fans have also attacked Fonzie after he made unpopular calls in the ring, sucker-punching him and knocking him out.
Tazz’s appearance on RAW- He and Tazz were going to walk around near ringside to promote themselves whether Vince McMahon liked it or not. Fonzie had a big “Sabu fears Taz” sign and was blowing his whistle during the whole thing. They jumped the rail, the camera guy got in Tazz’s face, Tazz knocked him down, and the security guard hooked Fonzie in a reverse chinlock. Taz took the sign away from Fonzie and showed it off on TV. The camera guy then decided to take out his frustration on Fonzie despite the fact that they’d worked in the WWF together a few years earlier. Fonzie’s still pissed about that guy kicking him in the side so hard that he collapsed on the way back to the van. They found out they were doing that stunt the night after “Paul E did the pay per view”, which I’m assuming is In Your House: Mind Games held in Philadelphia in 1996, where the ECW guys got kicked out after Sandman spit beer all over Savio Vega.
Ric Flair stories- They used to travel together in Florida whenever Flair had a one-week run in the territory. Flair used to throw money around all the time such as buying shampoo, brushes, mouthwash, etc. and leaving it at the arena each night when he was done. Fonzie ended up collecting all of it throughout the week and showing the huge bag full of stuff to Flair saying “This is what you leave behind whenever you come here for a week.” Flair also used to live his gimmick in that he stayed at the best hotels, had the best clothes and watches, always tried to outdo everybody, etc. There would be a small group of them sitting in a bar and Flair would order 40 Kamakazes, so they’d try to drink as many of them as they could. Another night at about two in the morning, Flair disappeared from the hotel bar for a few minutes and comes back wearing his robe, singing and dancing. He ended up peeling off his robe to reveal that he was wearing a pair of shoes and nothing else underneath. He kept on going for another 20 minutes without his robe and no one thought anything of it.
Rick Rude- They met in Tampa when Dusty brought him into Florida. He puts over how talented Rude was and mentions that he was making about $700,000 a year when he left WCW in the mid-90s.
Woman (Nancy Sullivan)- She was a fan who lived around Daytona who used to sit at ringside with her boyfriend at the Orlando shows. She was a friend of one of the ring photographers. Kevin Sullivan was doing his whole devil-worshipping deal at the time and the photographer asked her to be in a picture with him, which ended up with them getting married.
Bill Watts- Watts learned a lot from Eddie Graham then went to Louisiana and ran Mid-South. They’d come into Florida every so often for a small tour. He also booked in WCW for a little while.
Mike Rotundo- He’s married to Barry Windham’s sister. Rotundo was one of the people who brought him to the hospital when Wahoo knocked him out with the title belt. He was a well-liked guy because of his amateur credentials. One night after a pool was closed, Mike tried to jump the fence and “caught his balls on it” and had to have about 100 stitches to his leg and groin area.
Jim Herd- He didn’t have to deal with him much because he would deal with the agents instead of the office guys.
Michael PS Hayes- He was given the book in Florida around the time Eddie Graham shot himself and Fonzie helped him out.
The Brisco Brothers- Jack Brisco once told Fonzie “If you call me mister one more time, I’m gonna stretch your ass.” That was the point at which he realized he was accepted by the guys. One night, Dory Funk and Jack Brisco were wresting and Fonzie got involved in Dory’s spinning toe hold, causing him to bust up Jack’s mouth with his boot. Jack went to Japan the next day so, six weeks later when he got back, Fonzie heard about how pissed Jack was at him for a few weeks because he could barely eat.
Luna Vachon- He met her in Florida where she did the deal with Bob Roop where she got half her head shaved. They start watching Florida footage around this point and Fonzie notices how Sullivan hasn’t changed his gimmick in 20 years yet is still getting over on WCW Nitro.
Was he there when Dusty bought out Florida and it became PWF? Yeah, he was there for part of that. He thinks that costs got out of control compared to the old days because they used to get paid to put their show on TV yet, at that time, it cost them $5000 a week for their timeslot.
His favorite thing in ECW- Getting the announcement that he’d be in the main event of ECW’s first pay per view. He also liked the Tod Gordon stuff and the anti-hardcore stuff he used to do when he first arrived, which got him SERIOUS heat with the fans.
Terry Funk- He used to ride with him from Lubbock to Amarillo while Terry was driving his Trans Am 140 miles per hour and drinking, which scared the shit out of him.
Dusty Rhodes- When they were in Florida, the main eventers used to fly from Tampa to Miami after TV because the main eventers stayed after TV to cut promos. One night when Mike Graham wasn’t there, Dusty offered Fonzie a spot on the plane after the Miami show but told him not to get used to it. Dusty ended up buying a big bottle of Crown Royal and they spent most of the flight getting Fonzie piss drunk. Once they got off the plane, they asked Fonzie to kick a trash can to see how far it would go as a rib, as the trash can was bolted down. Dusty gave him a ride home but not before they went to a bar and got smashed. Once they got around where Fonzie lived, they drove in a circle for a while trying to find the house because Fonzie had just moved there and was too piss drunk to recognize it. Fonzie ended up sucker-punching him in the eye before the night was over. Since they couldn’t find the house, Dusty drove to 7-11, called a cab for Fonzie, threw his bag out of the truck, and kicked him to the curb. Since Fonzie had no money on him, which Dusty didn’t know, the next thing Fonzie remembered was the police waking him up in the back of a cab and it was daylight. The cop told him “If you don’t have $44 to pay this guy, you’re going to jail”, which woke him up right away. It turned out that the cab had taken him right to his house but he was so piss drunk that he couldn’t get out, so the cabbie just sat there and let the meter run. They let him go into his house to get money for the cab and then the whole ordeal was over.
Bam Bam Bigelow- They were riding together one night when Bam Bam Bigelow said “You don’t remember me, do you?” and starts telling a story about how, when Bam Bam wanted to get into the business in Florida, he asked Fonzie how to do it and Fonzie told him how hard it was, told him Hiro Matsuda was the only guy he knew who trained wrestler, and wished him good luck. He says he’s lucky he didn’t do what they USUALLY did back then, which would have been to call him a big fat piece of shit and spit on him.
Raven- When he met him in Florida, he wanted him to get his ass kicked. He was just a kid back then from a wealthy family, as his dad was a bigwig with the Enquirer. He talked to Fonzie one night while Barry Windham was walking back from the ring and told him “That guy’s a piece of shit! I can do more than these guys can do”, etc. Fonzie challenged him to a fight while slowly moving towards the dressing room, hoping to sucker him in for an ass-whuppin. He was too smart for that though. Raven respects Fonzie now for what he did by protecting the business and so forth, as Raven reminded him of the whole story at some point when they worked together in Florida, WCW, the WWF, or ECW.
Mikey Whipwreck- One night after a show at the Nassau Coliseum, Fonzie started bullshitting with the fans including Mikey, who was just a fan back then and is now in the business. Mikey reminded him about it one day and put him over for being so cool to him.
Thoughts- Damn, what a cool shoot interview. Fonzie’s a great guy and has been all over the wrestling world, so he had a lot more interesting things to say than most people who spent an extended amount of time in ECW. The Roddy Piper story with the alligator, the Dusty story about the plane ride, and the infamous Luger-Brody cage match are all good reasons to pick up this tape. Highly recommended.