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Hacksaw Jim Duggan shoot interview
Posted by Brandon Truitt on Oct 27, 2003, 19:00
Since I've quit giving a damn about the WWE for the time being, my intro this week will cover several other subjects.
First of all, I sure enjoyed the Auburn-LSU game on Saturday, as I got to watch LSU pimpslap the top rushing team in the country and completely destroy Cadillac Williams' Heisman Trophy hopes. The Tigers have now asseted that they are not only over the recent setback against Florida, but that they are VERY dominant and a legitimate contender for the National Championship.
I'm hoping that the Football Gods are smiling this weekend, as Miami vs. Virginia Tech, USC vs. Washington State, Michigan vs. Michigan State, and Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State are just four games this weekend which could have a profound effect on the National Championship picture. Given a spot of good luck and a win in the SEC title game, potentially against #4 Georgia in a rematch from earlier this year, LSU could be playing in their own backyard for its first football National Championship in 45 years.
Secondly, I have put in an order for the new Jim Cornette shoot as well as ones with Kevin Von Erich and The Sandman. I've seen the Sandman one before and it's surprisingly insightful given Sandman's reputation for being an incoherent drunk.
As for the Cornette and Von Erich ones, they have the potential for greatness. The Cornette is advertised as containing more stories about Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff in addition to information about Ohio Valley Wrestling, stars it has produced such as Brock Lesnar, and why certain wrestlers such as Eric Angle and former UFC star Ron Waterman washed out of the program. The Von Erich shoot will finally give some rare insight into a family that was one of wrestling's greatest successes before becoming one of its biggest tragedies.
Next week's shoot will probably be with Luna Vachon and Gangrel (David Heath, Vampire Warrior), but I'm not sure what I'll review after that. Cornette and Von Erich receive priority if they arrive in time but, more likely, it will be with someone like Jack Victory, new NWA: TNA booker "Dirty" Dutch Mantel, or Jerry "The King" Lawler in a rare appearance in the last few years where he DOESN'T abuse the term "puppies" or act like a horny 10-year old.
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.
Hacksaw Jim Duggan shoot interview (2-25-2003)
Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs. Buzz Sawyer- Duggan wins with a spear.
Missing Link and Duggan with Dark Journey vs. Kamala and One Man Gang with Gen. Skandor Akbar- This is a hardcore brawl in lieu of a match, as it never started because of the carnage. Belts, chairs, tables, and other items are used, half of them by Link on himself (this was to sell his gimmick of being the most unpredictable man in wrestling).
The interview starts with Duggan doing his traditional schtick, complete with “HOOOOOOOO!”
What was his football background? He played in high school, was recruited to Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and was signed by the Atlanta Falcons, but he never played in the NFL because his knees were screwed and he was on the injury reserve list for the year then released. He also spent a few months with the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL. He went home knowing that he wasn’t going to make a living in football then got a call from Fritz Von Erich, whom he had met in Dallas while at SMU. (Fritz was an offensive lineman for SMU when Doak Walker was their star running back.) Fritz had tried to get him into wrestling when he entered SMU, but he was intent on playing football at the time and had never been a wrestling fan.
Was he disappointed that he didn’t make it in football? Yes, as it had been his life up until that point.
In a sidenote, Duggan brings up that he’s going to have a knee replacement surgery soon and that, because he was in the NFL, the league will cover the cost. He makes a BIG point to the wrestlers out there about how that’s one of the perks of having a strong union.
His impressions of wrestling before entering the business? He wasn’t skeptical about it after his brief football career.
Who taught him the most about working in the ring? Bruiser Brody. He had been in the WWWF but Vince McMahon Sr. had taken a liking to him and told him he should be getting built up in some other territory rather than being jobbed out to Jobbers To The Stars like Johny Rodz and Jose Estrada. Vince Sr. sent him to work for High Chief Peter Maivia in Hawaii where he met Haku, whom he says is one of his best friends. He went to Georgia from there but didn’t stay long once Ole Anderson took over because he and Ole didn’t agree. His next territory was Pensacola, but Brody quickly brought him into Southwest Championship Wrestling where Duggan started imitating Brody's look by growing his beard and letting his hair get long. He puts over Paul Boesch heavily as a great promoter for payoffs, as Duggan made $1000 for his first match under Boesch in Texas, while his guarantee in Pensacola had been $500 a week.
Bruiser Brody- Best big man in the business. Tremendous body. Great mind but also a huge bully and, if he though he could get away with it, he’s screw you around. He thinks that figured into Brdy’s death in Puerto Rico, as Brody had a reputation as a huge, imposing guy who always carried a chain with him and probably contributed to Invader I getting off of murder charges due to self defense.
Training with Fritz Von Erich- He worked with all of the Von Erich boys and learned how to run the ropes, but didn’t do much else. They didn’t really try to stretch him because his size and appearance were larger than normal in the business at that time. His football background probably helped.
Where did the 2X4 come from? He picked it up as a part of his gimmick when he was in the Rat Pack in Mid-South along with Ted Dibiase and Matt Borne. He says that it was his idea to just have a simple gimmick in contrast with the sequined robes and so forth that were in vogue at the time. (According to other sources, Bill Watts gave it to him because he got the idea from seeing Sheriff Buford Pusser carrying one around in the original Walking Tall) He also makes a crack about how the in things now are tattoos and tough-guy t-shirts.
Did he have any idea that he was working in a legendary building like the Dallas Sportatorium at the time he did it? No, he never thought about stuff like that. It never really made an impression on him that he did things like being in the first Survivor Series or winning the first Royal Rumble (the free one on the USA Network up against the NWA’s Bunkhouse Stampede PPV, not the PPV one in 1989) because he was more interested in the payoffs.
How did he get back into the business once he moved home to New York? He’d trained under Fritz in Dallas, got signed to play football in Toronto, then moved home when he got cut. Soon after he got home, Arnold Skoaland promoted a show in the area which he attended. Arnold and several other people were impressed with him and started getting him booked.
What was it like working for the WWWF? It was just a job.
Wrestling in Mid-Sourh – He remembers one TV taping at the State Fairgrounds in Shreveport, LA, where he was dressed as a gorilla and handing out balloons to the kids. He hung around ringside and, for most of the night, cheered the babyfaces. When Junkyard Dog’s match came and JYD took a bump out of the ring, Duggan helped him up then, when JYD turned away from him, he beat him up then took off the suit. He also remembers doing the Best Dressed Man contest with Dibiase as well as the hooded battle royals. Those battle royals would typically come down to himself, Terry “Bam Bam” Gordy of the Freebirds, and a teenybopper favorite like Ricky Morton or Shawn Michaels who would get the crowd into the match by pointing around then, if the fans cheered, start moving forward until they found their opponent. (Jake Roberts used this technique in his blindfold match against Rick Martel at Wrestlemania 7 to get a huge crowd reaction and sizable paycheck for doing jack squat in the ring.) He says that Terry Taylor would be a great addition to the WWF these days because he kept a journal of finishes all the time back then and, as a result, he became very good at creating finishes. (Taylor got hired as a road agent in late 2002 but was fired by the middle of 2003 for undisclosed conduct issues around the same time Crash Holly was fired for threatening RAW “writer” (and I use that term VERY loosely) Brian Gerwitz.)
How did he end up in Georgia? Vince Sr. sent him to Georgia after he came back from working in Hawaii because he still didn’t know what to do in the ring. He used to ride with the Freebirds all the time and attributes Gordy as being a bad influence on him, as he and Gordy would do stupid things like threatening to quit over a bad payoff then having it blow up in their faces when the promoters called their bluff.
Developing young talent- It used to be done correctly when guys could be sent to a territory where they’d work seven to nine times a week and learn how to wrestle, instead of working maybe four shows a month like most indy guys these days. The promoters have found out the hard way that bringing up guys and pushing them does not make them good wrestlers, as proven by the Ultimate Warrior and Renegade, a WCW knockoff of Warrior who committed suicide after WCW released him in the late 90s.
Travelling with the Freebirds- It was wild. They all used to party all the time. (I feel an Eddie Murphy song coming on here…) Gordy was interesting because he was a huge guy and could take several hits from a guy in a bar before he finally put down his Jack Daniels and kicked the shit out of him.
Did he enjoy being a heel? Yes, although he liked being a face more and loved his patriotic gimmick.
Leaving Georgia- When Jim Crockett bought out Georgia, he left for Pensacola where he lived on the beach with a stripper before Brody brought him into Southwest Championship Wrestling.
Paul Boesch- The last great payoff man. A great man who happened to be a decorated World War II soldier.
Going to Mid-South – He’d developed the Hacksaw gimmick while he was in Southwest Championship Wrestling. Buck Robley ended up bringing him into Mid-South, which ended up making his career.
Impressions of Bill Watts- A bully, but he got along with him. Watts liked tough guys like himself, so he didn’t get hassled much, unlike bodybuilders such as Sting and Ultimate Warrior. Watts made it worth his while to stay in Mid-South while guys like Jake “The Snake” Roberts were jumping to the WWF.
How strict was Watts when he came in? “If you lost a bar fight, you were fired.” He claims that he’s not cracking on the wrestler today but that, in those days, small guys like Dean Malenko wouldn’t have been taken seriously while no one wanted to screw with the huge guys like himself and “Dr. Death” Steve Williams.
Sidenote- Bad example, Hacksaw… Malenko was a well-trained shooter before entering the business and could easily have taken out many so-called “tough guys” who happened to be blessed genetically (Kevin Nash) or chemically (Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior) if the promoter had allowed him to. The only reason he wasn’t a star in the US before 1995 was that his whole family was blackballed from the NWA due to friction between Professor Boris Malenko and top people in Florida such as Eddie Graham and Dusty Rhodes. When the Malenkos ran an outlaw promotion against Florida in response to the blackballing, one of their tactics was making open challenges for any Florida wrestler to take on either Dean or his brother Joe Malenko, but Florida management was scared to death of them because of their shoot training under Karl Gotch.
Did someone lose a fight and got fired? He thinks Paul Orndorff lost a bar fight in Arkansas and got fired soon afterwards. In Orndorff’s defense, he WAS outnumbered.
The Rat Pack- Watts put them together. He puts over Watts heavily for keeping a firm hand on his company, while WCW had horrible problems with who had control and it caused the company to go under. He didn’t get along with fellow Rat Pack member Matt Borne at the time and described him as being like Manny Fernandez and Buzz Sawyer. He has gotten along with Borne recently, though.
Ted Dibiase at the time- Dibiase was always Mr. GQ Smooth back then, as he, along with guys such as Ric Flair and Terry Taylor, were always dressed well and were capable of making their clothes look as neat and pressed on the last day of a trip as they were on the first day, as opposed to most of the guys like Duggan himself, who were always wearing sweatpants and a t-shirt.
How has Dibiase changed over the years? He truly believes that Dibiase is a born-again Christian now and that, out of all the hard partiers, he was one of the only ones to pull it off successfully. Both Gino Hernandez and Terry Gordy are dead, while guys such as “Dr. Death” Steve Williams, the Road Warriors, Shawn Michaels, and others are all now reborn Christians. (Ironically enough, this particular shoot was pushed back because Road Warrior Hawk died one week ago)
Why are so many wrestlers reborn Christians? “It seems like they’re either reborn, dead, or in jail.’ He says that there are a lot of wrestlers out there who are normal, but it’s guys like Tony Atlas and Davey Boy Smith who piss and moan about how they only made big money for so many years that give them a bad name. He says that they should think about how most people will never make as much as they did in a year. Most of the people who blame Vince McMahon for their problems didn’t make the most of the opportunities presented to them and didn’t save their money either.
The Mid-South travel schedule- You’d drive 2000 miles a week. It was fun as a young guy because you could party in a different town each night of the week. He says it wasn’t hard to adjust to marriage after that because he’d waited until he was older and more mature to get married. He says that guys who get married young in the business have problems because, once you’re on TV, women start throwing themselves at you.
Would something like the gorilla suit angle work these days? It’s calm compared to necrophilia or William Regal having to get on his hands and knees then kiss Vince McMahon’s ass. (These happened on RAW in October 2002 and November 2001, respectively. Add in Eddy Guerrero and Big Show feuding over diarrhea and a hose spraying “raw sewage” this October on Smackdown and it makes you wonder what drugs the WWF writing crew starts taking in the months after Summerslam each year. Maybe next year will see Shane McMahon anally raping Linda McMahon while pouring sugar in the gas tank of Vince McMahon’s limo.) He talks about how it’s no longer wrestling but a show like Baywatch that just happens to have wrestlers instead of lifeguards. It pissed him off to no end during his last run in WCW when someone would come up to him with a pre-scripted interview to do because he felt that he had a much better feel for his character than some 20 year old with a writing job.
How strict was kayfabe in those days? Faces and heels would be on complete opposite sides of the bar. It wasn’t really as much because of what Watts would do if they broke kayfabe as much as the fans were nuts. As soon as you bladed in a match, they’d all jump the rails.
Junkyard Dog- He was a cool guy and a light ribber, although he had his problems.
The meanest ribs he’s seen- Shitting in someone’s bag, destroying property, etc. As for playful ribs, one night, he and Jake “The Snake” were on last and got padlocked into the building, which they think was done by The Rockers (Shawn Michaels and Marty Janetty). Two months later when the Rockers were on last, he and Jake toothpicked all of the doors on their car.
Turning babyface- It was great. He got to start doing his patriotic gimmick at that time.
Feuding with Ted Dibiase- He remembers them doing the most gimmicked match of his entire career, a Coal Miner’s Glove on a Pole match in a steel cage where they had to wear tuxedos and there was a Loser Leave Town stipulation. Dibiase was a great, polished worker but that was typical with second generation wrestlers like Dibiase, “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig, Jake “The Snake”, etc.
Thoughts on the hardcore style at that time- It was like football because everything was a shoot except the finish. He and One Man Gang used to kick the shit out of each other.
Did Bill Watts ever get them to work harder? No, although he’d ask for more blood. One night, after two weeks of him and Dibiase blading heavily, the were asked to get double the blood that night. Duggan’s solution was to punch Dibiase in the nose during the match, which sent blood everywhere. People put up with a lot of Watts’ crap because they’d make tons of money working in front of sellout crowds each week then putting on several Superdome shows each year. Duggan says he was making about $200,000 a year around 1984 because of how hot the territory had gotten.
Jokes played on wrestlers in battle royals- In the WWF, everyone would push Ultimate Warrior into the corner and then someone like Curt Hennig would tie the neon tassels Warror wore to the ring ropes. Chief Jay Strongbow would have to come out with a knife to cut him loose.
Jake “The Snake” Roberts- A hell of a guy but he likes to party and “he’s the last guy you’d want driving your getaway car.” He’s in England now struggling with his demons, but Duggan thinks Jake will probably outlive everyone.
Magnum TA- Good guy. He thinks that Magnum picked up bad driving habits while working in Mid-South, as everyone would have Trans Ams or Mustangs and drive them 100 miles an hour and that it may have contributed to Magnum wrapping his Porsche around a tree in the Carolinas.
Terry Taylor- He was a pretty boy like Ricky Morton and all of those guys would hang out together while all the tough guys like himself would hang together. The difference between the two was that the pretty boys all had chicks lined up in the hallway waiting for them.
Feuding with the Russians- It was great working against Nikolai Volkoff and Krusher Kruschev (Barry Darsow, Demolition Smash). There was a third one but he came and left quickly. Both Nikolai and Darsow were stand-up guys. He talks about how they put him out in an angle where Kruschev punched him with a Coal Miner’s Glove until he bit down on a condom full of his own blood and spit it out. (It was drawn out with a needle and put in the condom, not the result of a night with Missy Hyatt without wearing an additional four layers of protection) He went to Florida for a few months as one of Kevin Sullivan’s devil-worshipping heels then came back to Mid-South as a top face.
Differences between Florida and Mid-South – Florida wasn’t as tense because you didn’t have to worry about getting fined, but you couldn’t make as much there as in Mid-South.
Butch Reed- Good guy.
Kamala- Great guy, great gimmick, beautiful worker. It’s great to work Legends shows on the indy circuits against guys like Kamala.
Working the football matches with Dr. Death- They’d beat the crap out of each other.
Injuries at that time- The worst one he had was where One Man Gang hit his head on an exposed bolt on the ringpost. (According to Bill Watts, Duggan continued working shows after that injury until they figured out he had gotten blood poisoning then sent him to the hospital.) That injury put him out for four months, but Watts paid him while he was injured. Watts tried to get him back before he was ready, but all promoters did that.
Was he happy to see Dibiase come back after he’d left Mid-South for a year? He doesn’t remember that although he’s always glad to see him these days.
Why did he never win the top title in Mid-South? He never needed a title because his gimmick didn’t need a title. He didn’t really care too much about winning one.
Dick Slater- Tough man. He didn’t take any crap.
Buzz Sawyer- Wasn’t a good guy. They’d beat the crap out of each other in the ring because they didn’t like each other.
What was it like working the Superdome cards? It was great. His wife even got in on one of them due to an angle with Slater, Sawyer, and Dark Journey. He also jokes that he couldn’t see much of the crowd because he doesn’t wear his glasses in the ring. When people would ask him how full the building was, he’d say “The first three rows are full.”
Sting and the Ultimate Warrior- Sting’s always been great and Warrior was never happy. He never thought in terms of “will these guys be stars one day?”, so they were just to people who happened to come through Mid-South as the Blade Runners to him.
Changing from Mid-South to the UWF- Watts had to do it to survive, as the WWF was doing very well and was stealing his top guys like Junkyard Dog and Jake “The Snake”. He finally jumped to the WWF right before Wrestlemania 3. Watts didn’t really have a shot, though, as the only people who could beat Vince would be someone like Turner, who had their own network, except that Turner couldn’t pull it off either.
When did he see that the WWF was going to be the only game in town? He didn’t… he just saw that the WWF presented a better financial opportunity for him. His negotiations were minimal, as Vince McMahon remembered him from the days when he’d worked for Vince Sr. and brought him in immediately. Watts understood why he did it, as he couldn’t pay Duggan th kind of money that the WWF was offering. He did leave the UWF on good terms and occasionally talks to Watts even today.
The Freebirds in the UWF- It was great to see them come in, as they were great guys. They were disruptive in the dressing room, though, much like the Nasty Boys. People didn’t object to their big push because they were able to back it up by drawing fans. Terry Gordy would have been a star much like Bruiser Brody if he’d ever worked the WWF or WCW as a single, but Japan really screwed him up, as it did to David Von Erich as well.
Why didn’t he go to Japan more often? The gimmick didn’t go over well there and he hated the schedule. While big cities like Tokyo or Osaka weren’t bad, small towns completely sucked because it was too different from what he was used to in the US. The constant travel on the bus didn’t help either.
Jim Ross at the time- He was okay at the time, but he’s complete scum now. After 9/11, he called up the WWF to try and come in with his patriotic gimmick but Ross completely avoided his calls.
Junkyard Dog and Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs. Ted Dibiase and Mr. Olympia with General Skandor Akbar- Olympia is knocked out before the match even started and, because it’s a title match, Grizzly Smith tells Akbar to find Dibiase a new partner, who turns out to be King Kong Bundy. Dibiase’s team gets DQ’ed when Butch Reed jumps JYD and the entire heel side starts beating on him.
One Man Gang- One of the most impressive guys in the business. Gang was doing well in a program against Hogan but took time off to be with his wife, who was a very successful businesswoman. When he came back, he got stuck with the Akeem gimmick because Vince was pissed that he took time off while he was drawing well against Hogan.
How did Watts change over the years? He was the same for years, as he’d always tell you just what he thought. These days, he’s reborn and is much calmer than he used to be.
Did anyone ever stand up to Watts? No, and it surprised him that Ernie Ladd, a former All Pro defensive end in the NFL, never stood up to Watts after being told stuff like “Ernie, sit your black ass down and shut up!” He thinks that the only reason people put up with it was because the territory was doing so well.
Initial impressions of the WWF- He remembers his first show in the WWF because he’d been the top babyface in Mid-South but the reaction Hogan got in the main event astounded him.
Vince McMahon- He met him while he was a jobber in the WWWF. They always kept it business-like between them.
The locker room- He got along with everybody because he either knew them when they went through Mid-South or he jobbed for them while he was working in the WWWF.
Was it hard to adjust to the WWF style? The way he was pushed, he adjusted to a comedy style very quickly, especially when he was King Duggan at one point. Bobby Heenan used to joke that the only thing he needed to complete his gimmick was an eagle, but Duggan was always glad no one ever took it seriously. He’d seen too much of Davey Boy Smith having to bring his bulldog, Mathilda, out at 3AM to piss for him to want to deal with the upkeep of an animal.
Did he have to tone down his stiffness in the WWF? Yes, and partly it was because you would work against the same person for a long time and you had to build a rapport with them because you’d be doing the same match over and over again. He says that reactions to the Internet have kept that from happening these days, as the bookers in the XWF would book him against The Wall (Malice) for a match or two then book him against someone completely different because the smart marks would have heard the results of the previous night. Duggan contends that it’s a small percentage of the audience, so you don’t need to change everything up just for them. House show feuds would last anywhere from four to six months with the exact same match every night.
Did he enjoy the gimmicky style more? Yes, because he’s unable to do most of the hardcore stuff he used to do.
Hulk Hogan- Always got along with him. He counts Hogan, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake, and the Nasty Boys as his friends because, when he opened his gym in Florida, they appeared at the opening for free to help promote it.
Did anyone think he’d take their spot in the company? Hillbilly Jim was scared of losing his spot and, because their gimmicks were similar, they would disagree a lot.
Winning the Royal Rumble in 1988- It was just another night at the time. It’s only become significant in hindsight.
Was it special to work with Ted Dibiase at Wrestlemania 4 considering their past history? Yes, it did make it a bit special.
Wrestling Andre the Giant- He first wrestled him in Hawaii. Great guy. If Andre didn’t like you, it wasn’t a good thing. “Paul Wight, The Giant, is a big, well proportioned, man. Andre was a GIANT.” Bobby Heenan used to joke that, if you look between Andre’s teeth, you’d find villagers stuck there. “His ass weighed 200 pounds.” He then relates the tale of how Bobby Heenan yelled out “Give him a mudslide!” one night during a match and he wondered what that meant. He figured it out quickly when Andre got on the ropes and performed a buttdrop onto him. He also legitimately knocked Andre out with a 2X4 during an angle where he stood up to Andre. In that angle, Andre made a call-out to the locker room, Duggan came out and cut a promo standing up to him, Andre legitimately tore Duggan’s lip open by accident while trying to grab his neck and choke him then, while on his knees, Duggan hit Andre on the head with the 2X4. Andre liked Duggan but, in particular, hated Big John Studd and Bam Bam Bigelow. Andre chased Bigelow out of the ring during a Madison Square Garden show and Bigelow got his bag and left the building before Andre even left the ring.
Andre outside the ring- VERY moody. Since Andre was very identifiable, fans always spotted him and never left him alone.
The partying lifestyle and the WWF- Cocaine and speed got out of control there because of the schedule Vince had them working.
Did he work through serious injuries because he couldn’t afford to miss time? Yes, he worked through an injury to his Achilles tendon. Bill Eadie (Demolition Ax, Masked Superstar) would tape up Duggan’s leg every night so that he could make it through the match.
Bobby Heenan and Curt Hennig- They were both great. Heenan’s one of the quickest wits in the business.
Feuding with Dino Bravo and Earthquake- He remembers a spot in which he tossed his 2X4 into the air during a match with Earthquake but missed it when it came down and busted himself open hardway because he was too busy staring at ring announcer Mike McGuirk. (He goes on to explain that promoter Leroy McGuirk always wanted a son, so he gave his daughter a man's name.)
Jimmy Hart- He isn’t happy unless he’s completely overworked.
Randy Savage- He’s the same as he is in the ring.
How has Hogan changed over the years? He’s surprised that Hogan used the XWF as leverage to get himself another run in the WWF, as Hogan already has a boatload of money and he could have helped create an alternative to the WWF instead of getting another run there.
His feud with Harley Race- Enjoyed working with him. Respects him a lot. He talks about the brawl they had at the Slammy Awards before Wrestlemania 4 in which they brawled through the whole show. At one point, they ended up in the back where there were some animals and Harley beat him repeatedly with a live chicken and Duggan later beat Harley with a large tuna when they reached the kitchen.
Becoming the King- He thinks he became the King by beating Haku in his hometown.
Pay Per View memories- It made an impression on him when he worked Wrestlemania 3 because there were so many people there.
Working with the Iron Sheik- It was a lot of fun because Sheik had a good gimmick.
Him and Iron Sheik getting busted- He rented a car in Newark and Sheik tagged along with him because he didn’t have a credit card. He was drinking a beer and smoking a joint while driving and got pulled over after a state trooper saw him drinking the beer. When the cops pulled him over, they smelled the pot and searched him, Iron Sheik, and the car. They found more joints on Duggan and three grams of cocaine on Iron Sheik. It was on the New York Post the next day. His family was supportive of him, as he flew home to Louisiana, where he lived at the time, and took his phone off the hook, so his family in New York got all of the media attention. Vince told him to turn in his airline tickets and go home then, a few days later, held a meeting where he claimed that neither Duggan nor Iron Sheik would ever work in the WWF again. He heard about it through Jake. He called Dusty Rhodes a week or two later to negotiate a possible contract with the NWA but then got a call from Bruce Prtichard asking him to lay low and possibly come back to the WWF.
Did he get heat for breaking kayfabe by getting busted in the same car as Iron Sheik while he was feuding? Yes, and it’s a bit unfair that it comes up all the time even fifteen years later because people hardly ever bring up things like Chris Adams headbutting the co-pilot of an airplaine, Jimmy Snuka killing his girlfriend, or Ken Patera going to prison.
(Snuka was never tried for the death of his girlfriend, while Patera's conviction was for destruction of property (throwing a huge rock through a McDonald's window) and assault on police officers who came to arrest him)
When did he know that his WWF run was coming to an end? When he jobbed to Bam Bam Bigelow in the King of the Ring 1993 tournament. Shortly thereafter, Vince and Pat Patterson told him they were sending him home for a while since he’d been there for about seven years. He did a job to Yokozuna on his way out then went home to Florida for a year. He planned on going back to the WWF but WCW came after him and offered him a contract.
Beating Steve Austin for the US title- He and Austin didn’t really get along. On top of that, Austin was one of Ric Flair’s guys while he was one of Hogan’s guys. The match was supposed to go longer but that Austin faked a knee injury and it ended early. He says he went into the locker room after the match and challenged Austin but that Austin wussed out claiming a knee injury. (Personally, I think this is just extreme bitterness in hindsight by Duggan because the two of them didn’t get along but Austin made something of himself while Duggan’s working indy shows in Louisiana trying to cash in on his Mid-South days.)
Did he think Austin would have been a star? No, he feels it only happened because Vince told Austin to shave his head and came up with the Stone Cold name. (Duggan’s proving how much he knows about wrestling outside of his bad matches here. The Stone Cold Steve Austin character appeared in an early form while Austin was in ECW in 1995, before Vince ever signed Austin and WELL before Austin was allowed to do something besides carry the Million Dollar Belt around in the WWF.) He DOES make a good point, though, that Vince will give a huge push to someone who is using a gimmick that he created and owns the rights to instead of someone who has been a success elsewhere and owns their own name. (The WCW Invasion alone is proof enough of that, as most WCW guys floundered for a long time unless they happened to get a WWF-owned gimmick like The Hurricane. Hurricane got a bad gimmick and made it into an entertaining one, so he deserved the push he got and then some.)
Vader- He got along with him. He found it hard to be a babyface when he was so much larger than his competition, like Dean Malenko or Shane Douglas, which is why he liked facing a huge guy like Vader. Vader did push people around if he thought he could get away with it, although he probably won’t try to push Paul Orndorff around again. Duggan saw that fight because he was talking to Vader when Orndorff came in. Orndorff told Vader to do something, Vader got pissed and took a cheap shot, then Orndorff spilled his coffee and Vader slipped trying to hit Orndorff again. He thinks that Vader was more embarrassed than hurt.
Finding out he had cancer- He was in Detroit then went out partying with Hugh Morrus and someone else. He was pissing blood the next morning and eventually got a checkup, at which point he was told he had cancer. He spent the eight days between his diagnosis and his surgery with his daughters because he didn’t wan to have to think of the possibility of them growing up without a father. When he called the office to get pulled off of the booking sheets, he ended up talking to Terry Taylor. Tayor got him to come on TV and admit he had cancer and got an overwhelming response.
How did the rest of WCW management react to his cancer? He thinks they were indifferent but they at least kept him under contract even though his deal was coming to an end at the time.
Did he think a comeback was possible? He was more concerned with surviving than coming back to wrestling.
Did he think he would get a push when he came back? No, although he got pissed when, after his comeback, they did an angle where Ric Flair had a fake heart attack in the middle of the ring. He felt they were trying to capitalize on the reaction he’d gotten for admitting he had cancer then returning to the ring almost a year later.
Being the WCW janitor- He just took the gimmick and had fun with it because he knew he was capable of getting himself over if he had TV time. He contrasts this with Van Hammer, who got pissy when his gimmick for Misfits In Action was to be Private Stash, as he wanted a higher rank.
Vince Russo- He had a lot of praise for what he did at the WWF but he feels that Vince McMahon is the one person who comes up with all the ideas in the WWF and that Russo probably had a small influence on some of them. He also disagreed with Russo trying to make WCW hardcore like the WWF and feels that they should have tried to stay family-oriented like they had under Terry Taylor’s booking.
Terry Taylor- They aren’t necessarily best friends but that he’s got good ideas.
When did he realize WCW was dying? He thinks it was when Jimmy Hart clued him into it. He thinks the fact that WCW Saturday Night, which had matches like Hacksaw vs. Cuban Assassin, was drawing the same ratings as Thunder with 1/10 of the budget was probably a good indication of how things were going for the company.
Feuding with Perry Saturn, Shane Douglas, Dean Malenko, Asya, and others- “I felt like I was in Oz with all those munchkins attacking me.” He felt that several of them were “stealing money” by being under contract as wrestlers and that “Bill Watts wouldn’t have hired any of them.”
Sidenote- 1. Shane Douglas’s first big break in the business WAS getting hired by Bill Watts, as Watts brought him into the UWF in 1987. 2. While Douglas sucked by 1999 and Asya sucked period, Malenko and Saturn were certainly good and Watts would have hired them because Saturn’s a legit badass while Malenko’s a great shooter.
Shane Douglas- He paid his dues and worked hard. He’s made a few bad decisions.
Perry Saturn- Perry believes his own press.
Big heads in wrestling- Marcus Alexander Bagwell was a great guy. Buff Bagwell, on the other hand, is one of the biggest jackoffs in the business.
Did contracts play a big part in the problem? Yes, because guys like Tank Abbott and Ernest “The Cat” Miller were making far more than him yet the fans could care less about them.
The incident with Alex Wright on pay per view- Wright was supposed to face Bagwell on a pay per view but Bagwell refused to job. He got called up to do the job at the last minute, as he was about to take his kids to Universal Studios. He says that Wright either couldn’t work or was intentionally stiffing him in the face but that he got tired of it and kicked the shit out of him because Wright only weighs 180 pounds.
The gimmick where he renounced the US flag- It was right before the company went under and, besides that, there isn’t a lot of heat between the US and Canada. It wasn’t like Sgt. Slaughter becoming an Iraqi turncoat right before the Gulf War. As a part of that angle, he had to work with Lance Storm. Lance is good in the ring but death on the microphone. The office got pissed off that Lance’s promo got overshadowed by Duggan, who was doing his schtick in the background. Duggan’s response was “It’s not my fault if the kid can’t carry the ball.”
Lance Storm outside the ring- Very nice guy.
Getting the TV title out of the trash- He liked it and, in fact, still has the belt. “Look for it on eBay soon!” He liked it because it gave WCW Saturday Night something to work with.
The Misfits In Action gimmick- It was a halfassed version of Vince’s stuff. He thinks that Hugh Morrus and some of the other guys in the gimmick were good though.
Hugh Morrus- Good talent in the ring. He gets along with him.
Did he try to fight the angle where he joined Team Canada? He fought it as hard as he could but, since WCW had creative control over his character, he did it in order to keep the checks rolling in.
The angle where he kidnapped Major Gunns? He went along with it even though he thought it was the wrong direction for the company.
Did the younger guys show him respect or learn how to work like he did? No, many of them got into the business thinking that they were going to make what they were making forever but, when the bottom fell out, they couldn’t get work anywhere. Guys like The Wall might survive but The Cat wouldn’t and “Dean Malenko wouldn’t even be allowed in the building.”
Dean Malenko- He doesn’t like him. Dean thinks he’s a big shot and that he knows a lot about the business. (Let’s see… Malenko’s now working as a road agent in the WWF while you’re wrestling Kamala on the indy circuit. Which one do you think knows more about the business?)
The Team Canada angle- People talk about it like it’s a big deal but he likes to bring up that the company died within months of it. (Duggan’s certainly leaving out a lot of outside factors here. The company had been for sale since the second half of 2000. The AOL merger with WCW’s parent company, Time Warner, increased the pressure to get the money-losing company off the books. The final blow was when the new TBS programming head, Jamie Kellner, made his first decision in his new job the cancellation of all WCW programming from Turner stations. Since that timeslot was one of two things making WCW valuable to anyone but Vince McMahon, with the other being the combined WCW / Jim Crockett Promotions tape library, I’d say that was the stake in the heart of the company. How about you?)
The Filthy Animals- They had their own clique and just left him alone. They were good enough to work with, although Juventud Guerrera was pretty wild. Duggan took his wife on the Australia trip and was commenting to her about how surprised he was that nobody had cracked on the trip yet when the elevator opened to reveal Juvy butt-naked and screaming “I AM GOD!” Terry Taylor and Doug Dillinger were chasing Juvy around with a sheet trying to cover him up. Juvy hit the first cop that went after him but the rest of them Maced him then kicked the crap out of him. Juvy was then put into the paddywagon, which was like a dogcatcher’s van over there, and started howling like a dog until the cops hosed him down. Duggan was wondering that the Hell was going on with that until the cops explained that they were washing the Mace off of Juvy’s face with the hose.
Lucha style- It’s great for those guys. He feels the ideal company is a wide variety of wrestling styles because it will draw in all kinds of fans. The problem is when a company only uses one style of wrestling on their shows.
The downfall of WCW- It started when Eric Bischoff wrote himself into the program, as management or owners being booked as talent is always a kiss of death to a promotion. On top of that, WCW’s failed attempt to become more adult like the WWF didn’t help because the Turner stations had strict guidelines about what they could and could not do on the shows.
Bill Watts booking himself as talent in the old days- Watts would do it when the territory was hot in order to justify giving himself an extra paycheck.
Vince McMahon booking himself as talent- Vince is a cross between management and talent. He’s second generation, so he knows a lot about the business, and he’s good enough as a talent that he could be still booked even if he wasn’t management because he’s so entertaining. (I agree with this to a point… the problem is that Vince can’t take himself out of the spotlight when he’s involved, even though he brings nothing to any match he’s involved in.)
Hearing Vince bought out WCW- It was bad for several reasons, first of which being that Vince was now the only show in town and it hurts the power of the wrestlers in negotiations. The top guys make a ton of money there but the rest only net about 1/3 of their money after taxes and road expenses.
What are the main changes he’s seen in the business over the years? The big one was that it went from wrestling on TV to being a TV show about wrestling. Another one is that people used to call matches in the ring but, now, they script out matches heavily and, if someone forgets a spot, the match falls apart. (Part of the problem with this, IMHO, is that Vince’s road agents make his guys get approval for anything they want to do in the match.)
Working indy shows rather than big promotions- He only has to work four times a month and he enjoys going back to where it’s like the old days. He puts over two indys in particular, one in Lafayette, LA, and another in Ohio.
Are there any young guys he’s seen on the indys that impressed him? A huge guy in Canada named Magnus impressed him. (This is probably Mark Magnus, who’s currently under developmental contract in OVW) Balls Mahoney did as well, as he’s lost a lot of weight over the years.
Does he plan to retire? No, he’ll do it as long as he’s physically able to do it.
Did he ever lose his love for the business? No, not even when he thought people were trying to get him fired. As far as he’s concerned, if he can go out there and tossing his board around despite having knees held together by chewing gum and band-aids and steal the thunder away from younger guys, then the younger guys aren’t doing something right. (I disagree… Having a well-known and beloved character doing their gimmick every few weeks or months on TV can get a lot of reaction and seem to take away from the younger guys but, as soon as the guy wrestles a match, the fans will fall asleep or go get some popcorn. As for the crowd participation in his gimmick, the WWF convinced fans to chant “What” during promos and “Boring” at Lance Storm and it doesn’t mean anything besides the fact that the fans want to chant something.)
What were his favorite matches? Probably his series with Andre The Giant, which was capped off by headlining a sellout at Madison Square Garden. Another one that stands out was a show in Germany held in a building where Hitler did many of his speeches, as it was certainly interesting to do his pro-USA gimmick and get good reactions in a building with that kind of history.
Who were his favorite and least favorite opponents? Ted Dibiase is probably his favorite. The young guys are usually the worst to work against because they’re nervous or over-enthused.
Did he ever refuse to do a job and, if so, why? He refused to job to Syxx (X-Pac) when he came into WCW, which was due to Scott Hall and Kevin Nash’s influence on Bischoff. He puts over Scott Hall and Kevin Nash as great talents but says that they were the biggest detriments to the company. Even today, people still think Nash and Hall were sent by Vince McMahon to destroy WCW from the inside. He had initially refused to job to Syxx because he didn’t like the direction the company was going in and told management that, if they wanted Syxx to win, Syxx had to put his best hold on him in the ring. Hogan eventually talked Duggan into doing the job as a favor.
Scott Hall- He got a big head once the Razor Ramon gimmick took off and things really went downhill once he went to WCW. Jerry Sags beat up Hall once because Hall was such a jackass.
Did anyone refuse to job to him? Steve Austin, whom he claims had a bogus knee injury, which resulted in the 35 second US title match at Fall Brawl 1994.
What advice would he gives to young guys starting out? Get a real job, because there are only about 100 contracted wrestlers each year and it’s much more competitive to get one of those than it is to be in the NFL or Major League Baseball.
Does he see any new promotions succeeding? No one will probably compete with McMahon. Competing with him is a bad idea anyway, as they just need to provide an alternative to the WWF.
Where does he see the business in four years? Business will be down further than it is now. The business has been up and down since Wrestlemania 3. It will be a few more years before the business will begin to recover like it did during the Monday Night Wars.
Any regrets? Tons of them. He refuses to name them, though.
Party stories he can share? Anything that you can think of has probably happened to guys in the business. The main one he can remember was when he was sitting in a bar one night and kept getting hit in the back of the head with ice. He saw “Dr. Death” Steve Williams, Hercules Hernandez, and a girl sitting together, so he figured they were doing it. Duggan threw a big chunk of ice that hit the girl in the face, things proceeded until a fight broke out, then the entire bar started to jump Doc and Hercules because Duggan was the face at the time while the other two were heels. Doc and Hercules eventually fought off the fans and made it out of parking lot in their car, but promptly got busted by the cops. To this day, whenver they meet up, Doc still claims that they never threw the ice at him.
The Varsity Club- Rick Steiner and Mike Rotundo are good guys but Kevin Sullivan is “a snake in the grass.” He gets along with Sullivan but doesn’t trust him because he’s a booker.
Did he think Rick Steiner would be a star when he saw him in the UWF? He gets Rick and Scott Steiner mixed up, so he can’t comment on it.
Matches with Hercules Hernandez- They used to do a bunch of Coal Miner’s Glove matches.
Missing Link- Strange guy, but he got along with him. He loved his gimmick because he was able to get it over well.
Shawn Michaels- He respects him but doesn’t necessarily like him. Shawn was a master at selling.
Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart- He’s a good guy.
Kerry Von Erich- “The original dizzy blonde.” The whole family is a tragedy.
Dead wrestlers- Out of all of them, Curt Hennig was the one that surprised him.
Big Boss Man- “Dumb like a fox.” Friend of his, though, and very successful.
"Hollywood" John Tatum, Missy Hyatt, and Eddie Gilbert- He never really knew Eddie Gilbert and never really met up with Missy as one of them would enter a territory right after the other left. He always wanted to meet Missy though.
Demolition- Bill Eadie (Ax) was a great guy. Barry Darsow (Smash) was a nice guy, but almost to a fault.
Anything else? He cuts an in-character promo on Steve Austin.
Thoughts- Hacksaw pissed me off throughout this shoot because he ran his already-tired gimmick into the ground and was on the offensive towards wrestlers smaller than him and/or high flyers whenever the state of the business or the names of certain people were brought up. Since he, admittedly, has no clue about what goes on in wrestling beside what he’s directly involved in, he should just learn to shut his mouth about a lot of things, such as Steve Austin faking knee injuries despite the fact that Austin’s had a LONG history of those injuries dating back to his football days. If you can sit through the bullshit and laugh at it, this is the shoot for you. For the sane ones out there, though, this is a Very Strong Recommendation to Avoid this chunk of crap.