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Terry Taylor Shoot Interview
Posted by Brandon Truitt on May 12, 2003, 19:00
It's a good news / bad news kind of night...
The bad news is that OLD is rumored to be wrestling Rob Van Dam and Kane on RAW tonight and Booker T is still hospitalized with either the flu or pneumonia the last I heard.
The good news is that the second Raven shoot interview is scheduled to be released in 4-6 weeks. I plan on getting it as soon as it comes out, which means you should be reading about it a week after that. If it's even a fraction as good as the first Raven shoot, it'll still be better than 75% of the shoots I've seen.
As always, you free to Drop me an e-mail, read the archives, buy me stuff, or buy yourself stuff at Highspots.com.
Terry Taylor Shoot Interview (2-2-2001)
We start out with a horrible video quality match from the UWF, Terry Taylor (with Chavo Guerrero Sr.) vs. “Mad Dog” Buzz Sawyer (with Rick Steiner) for the TV title. Taylor reverses a vertical suplex into a small package and wins the title.
Next is another UWF match, Michael PS Hayes vs. Terry Taylor for the TV title. WWE ROAD AGENTS COLLIDE~! Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Jim Ross are on commentary here. Taylor reverses a suplex and gets Hayes with a schoolboy, but Hayes hits the ref, steals his belt, and whips the shit out of Taylor. Ted Dibiase, who’d gotten beaten with a belt by Hayes the previous week, runs in, steals the belt, and chases Hayes off.
The interview starts here with the standard question about how he got into the business- As a kid, his dad had taken him to West Palm Beach each week to watch Blackjack Mulligan and Terry Funk. When he went to college, it was in North Carolina and he was going to the matches which, at this time, were with Ric Flair when he was being prepped to become champion. A teammate from the college football team ended up trying out for Johnny Powers’ wrestling school and, because of the stuff Taylor had shown him from being a fan for years, he got in. A few years later, the guy ran into him, got him to come to the matches again, had him hang out with the boys, and he got a shot the next day when one of the guys missed their plane. They’d asked him if he had his stuff (wrestling gear) and he started to say “What stuff?” before he noticed his friend motioning “YES!!!!” frantically at him. Bugsy McGraw was his opponent in his first match and worked with him and he ended up making $275, which was more than he’d gotten for 60 hours a week at the restaurant he was working at. He decided to get into the business around that time while he was still working and Eddie Graham, the head booker, took a liking to him.
Who helped him out back then? Manny Fernandez and Steve Kiern. “Manny had a lot of demons but had a good heart.” Kiern had told him to watch every match to see what works and what doesn’t and to watch the final match to see why those guys are on last. (If it was any recent night but Wrestlemania 19 in the WWE, it would be because Vince has a hardon for big guys, because someone made it years ago, or because someone’s banging someone on the booking committee)
First thoughts on the business- He loved it and still does. He says that, usually, when someone has such a love for something, they get disappointed when they get up close and see how it actually works. The feeling you get from seeing the people’s reactions make it all worth it.
Florida- He only met Eddie Graham a few times. He mostly dealt with Gerald Brisco, who he worked for in the WWE in 1999-2000, who was always a great guy. Graham was most interested in showing people how to sell something correctly, such as choking someone to show them how to sell a choke correctly. If someone doesn’t sell something correctly, the viewing public, consciously or unconsciously, thinks “Wait, that doesn’t look right…” He says it’s the art of working, which is lost today. He gives the example of a match he had against Butch Reed in Mid-South where Reed mauled him in the corner. When he got back to the locker room, promoter Bill Watts started complimenting him on how the match and asked him about his selling, at which point Watts punched him as hard as he could in the stomach, got him to notice how he sold when he REALLY got punched in the stomach, and told him that little things like that are what make the business believable. He compares it to people taking balcony dives and says that someone’s really going to get hurt. He thought it would be Mick Foley, who he loves to death, but Foley’s only beaten up badly these days and doesn’t have a crippling injury.
Knoxville, TN- Gerald Brisco put Ernie Ladd over him in 15 seconds for “being so stupid”, so he thought he was better than that and decided to go elsewhere. He’s glad he never wondered aloud “Why are these old farts beating me?” in Florida because it was a territory full of shooters who could turn him into a human pretzel. He jokes that he stayed in Knoxville 6 months, “until I killed that territory”, at which point he came into World Championship Wrestling (Georgia).
Working with Terry Funk- “I am the biggest Terry Funk mark to this day.” He loves being able to call up Funk at home, use a Terry Funk voice, and ask him “Terry, is it okay if we book you one more time?” One time. Taylor was the TV champion and Ole Anderson told them that, because it was their first time in Columbus, OH, in a long time, Terry Funk would win the match in 13 minutes for the title and that they should stay in the ring and not brawl into the crowd. “46 minutes later, after piledriving me through the commissioner’s table and fighting up into the crowd, we did the double-rollup and walked to the back”, at which point Ole Anderson yelled at them like they were a daughter who’d violated her curfew. Ole was never shy about saying what he thought and he was particularly pissed that night because he and Gene Anderson were taking on Dusty Rhodes and Andre the Giant in the main event and they had to follow that match.
Ole Anderson- “I liked Ole” because he’d tell you what he thought and not backstab you. He was very opinionated on what he thought about the business. He didn’t do highspots and would force you to either work his arm or something else to keep him from
Les Orton- He learned a lot but also got his ass kicked because he didn’t have an amateur background. He thinks Orton was pissed about having to drop the World Lightweight Title to him because Terry was green. He feels Orton had the right opinion but went about it badly because the office had told him to do it. “The talent have to do what they’re asked” and not second-guess the office. (That sounds funny coming from a guy who booked in WCW and never could get the talent to behave like they needed to.)
Did having so many belts at a young age helped him or hurt him? He thinks it helped him. He was just a cute young guy in the business at that point and people couldn’t stand him because of it. He says that how he looks is his parents’ fault and to just judge him on how he acts as a person. He was glad that he had people like Dennis Condrey and Dutch Mantel to work with who lead him along and made him look good as long as he didn’t screw it up. He didn’t realize how good he’d had it until he turned heel 8 years into his career and had to do the same thing for guy who were in the position he used to be in. He said that he realized he realized he knew how to work and, as a result, never won another match. That is the natural order of things, though.
Memphis- He wasn’t given a lot of life-lessons before he entered the business so, as a result, he started in the territory with only $300 to his name and no clue about what he was doing. He ended up getting a room at a hotel, going to the building, and teaming up with Koko B. Ware. That ended up with him doing a great run in the territory with the Fabulous Ones.
Jerry Lawler- “Funny beyond belief” but was a part-owner in the territory. He doesn’t like airing dirty laundry, but Lawler pulled a power play at one point and he, along with Steve Kiern and Bill Dundee, were some of the few guys who went with Jerry Jarrett instead of Lawler. He thinks that Lawler held some antimosity towards him after that.
Working with Bobby Eaton- Bobby was phenomenal. He was one of the early high-flyers in the business and he was able to do it while working the rough Memphis schedule every day.
The Memphis schedule- Every day and twice a day on weekends.
Steve Kiern- A guy who saw something in him when no one else did. He teamed Terry and Jacques Rougeau one time and they started fighting. They ended up stopping to go to the bathroom and Kiern drove off without them. They ended up making it back to Nashville because Ricky Morton’s dad picked them up.
Who else was there? Jim Cornette, Jimmy Hart, the Fabulous Ones, the Midnight Express, Jerry Lawler, Bill Dundee, and more people than he can remember.
Why did he leave Memphis? He had a paternity suit against him and he skipped town to avoid paying for it, although he has since paid for it in full.
Mid-South and Bill Watts- He was still green and had could follow but couldn’t lead in a match. He talks about how no one used to discuss spots before the match but would feel out a match as they went along instead. The first guy he met there was Grizzly Smith, who was 6’10”. He then met Watts, who was well over 6 feet tall and weighed 300+ pounds. They then introduced him to comedian Jerry Clower, who himself was about 350 pounds. This shocked the crap out of him because he was about 250 pounds at the time. Etc. Etc. Etc. He thought he was going to get killed there. Then Bill Dundee came into the territory and told Watts “Nothing personal, but your faces are all huge and ugly” and told him that he needed young fresh white-meat babyfaces to help the territory. In order to get him over as a babyface, the bookers sent Terry out against Nikolai Volkoff, who had been killing everyone in the territory. He ended up winning and getting a HUGE reaction because Nikolai had never lost in the territory before. Nikolai and Barry Darsow (Demolition Smash, Kruscher Kruschev) let him win every night for a year. He ended up learning a lot about the business from Watts.
Was Watts a bully? Yes, but that’s the era he’s from. He didn’t mind it too much because he made $100,000+ a year for three years.
Memories of the locker room at the time- A group of people who had pulled together for a common goal. One night, he was wrestling Jake Roberts when he took a spill over the top rope and tore every ligament in his knee. He didn’t miss a night of work because he knew there were 20 guys out there who would have died to get his spot. On top of that, he’d be letting down everyone else because it would be taking money out of their pockets.
Matches with Butch Reed- He likes Butch Reed a lot but he’d probably punch him in the nose if he saw him today. Butch knew how to get crowd heat, so Butch would beat the shit out of him and get the crowd riled up. That ended up setting off a program that lasted about a year and made both of them a lot of money. He also talks about a Hellish weekend when Junkyard Dog had just jumped to the WWF and, as a result, Terry had to do two matches per venue on the weekends and they would run two venues each on Saturday and Sunday. He ended up working 8 matches in 2 days and bled in every one of them. Butch wrestled him on Monday and punched him so hard that all his cuts from the weekend busted open and he bled all over the place. He says he’s left pieces of himself and one of his knees all over Louisiana but wouldn’t have traded it for the world.
Matches with Kamala- Loved him to death because he was a great guy and he knew what he was doing. It was hard not to laugh at him in the ring because he was so good at it.
Buddy Landell- “Buddy could right now be the Nature Boy, rich beyond his wildest dreams”, but he screwed it up. Fun to work with, though.
Jake “The Snake” Roberts- “A learning experience.” Probably the greatest wrestler he’s ever seen because he was a great ring psychologist. He was the first guy he’d ever seen do an interview where he didn’t yell, he’d just tell a story. Jake felt that Terry didn’t deserve his spot and found ways to make Terry look stupid because Terry didn’t know any better. Jake would refuse to sell, etc.
Wrestling Ric Flair- “Scared to death.” He used to watch Flair wrestle Ricky Steamboat, Dusty Rhodes, Paul Jones, etc. when he was in college in North Carolina. When he found out he was going to work with Flair, he was scared about not living up to the greatness that was Flair. Flair was great to work with, though, and taught him a lot about psychology.
Adrian Street- “He was a wonderful guy. He was different.” He and his wife were in their own little world and he had a gimmick where he was an effeminate Englishman. He was a legit badass.
Buzz Sawyer- Inside the ring, he was great to watch, like Terry Gordy. Very athletic, perfectly made to be a wrestler. They had great chemistry. He didn’t really know him outside the ring. He’s heard horror stories about Buzz’s personal life though.
Ted Dibiase- “I love Teddy.” Heart of gold. He worked himself to death for Bill Watts and salted away a good amount of money before he ever made it to the WWF.
“Dr. Death” Steve Williams- He had the “good fortune” to be Doc’s first opponent after Doc came out of college as an All American in football and wrestling. Doc beat the shit out of him every night for about 6 months, although Doc later became a great worker. One night, Doc threw him around and put him in a rear chinlock, at which point Terry told him “Loosen up about 300%”.
Going to Charlotte- He got tired of being in Mid-South because the oil states that they wrestled in like Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, etc. were on a downswing because the oil business was bottoming out. On top of that, he and his future wife couldn’t even go out and eat because everyone in the small town he lived in near Alexandria, LA, knew who he was. They then went to a local mall that had just opened where there happened to be a large promotion going on with people signing autographs and there was a riot of people trying to get autographs from him.
Mid-South growing into the UWF- When Bill Dundee brought in the Tennessee stuff like the Midnight Express and the Rock And Roll Express, the territory took off. Bill thought he could take it nationwide to compete with Vince McMahon and he WAS capable of doing it, but the travel and the contracts and everything else sucked up all of his money. He ended up selling out to Jim Crockett.
Eddie Gilbert- Great guy. He wanted to turn heel after being a babyface for so long that he got tired of the shaking hands and signing autographs and so forth. They ended up preparing a turn for him and Eddie booked it in a way that he successfully turned heel against “Gentleman” Chris Adams, who was seeing his fame slip from him and wasn’t happy about it.
The Freebirds- Terry Gordy was a great performer. Buddy Roberts was as good as he could be for a guy of his size and average bar bill, which was mainly due to his great grasp of psychology. Michael PS Hayes was intense and a great talker. The whipping matches he had against them REALLY sucked because Hayes would beat the shit out of him with it. Michael took it as good as he gave it, though.
The barbed-wire cage match with him and the Fantastics against the Sheepherders- That’s the kind of match that makes it great to be in the business. The match was clicking so well and the fans loved it so much that it made all those sacrifices are worth it. He says that’s the reason why Steve Austin trained his ass off so much to come back from his neck injuries.
Bill Watts running the UWF- He didn’t change. He believed in what he knew and what he wanted to do. Everyone believed that they were able to compete with Vince.
Rick Steiner, Sting, and the Ultimate Warrior- Bill Watts brought him in as a booker in order to get him to come back from Mid-Atlantic. He hired Sting and Warrior when they were the Blade Runners. Warrior was ripped all to shreds and looked impressive but sucked in the ring. Sting was a lot more athletic and was a much better worker. As for Steiner, he worked with Rick as one of his first programs in the business and says that if he has brain damage today, it’s from all those Steinerlines he took back in those days.
Shane Douglas- Pure babyface look and a very respectful guy.
Eddie Gilbert and Missy Hyatt- There was a Halloween party one night where everyone got dressed up. Missy came as a bride, Eddie came as a groom, and they got married with Terry (dressed as General Skandor Akbar) as the best man. No one was expecting it but him. Eddie then got an idea into his head that he wanted to recreate the Tupelo Concession Stand Brawl that he’d seen as a kid in the Memphis territory.
Missy Hyatt’s dealings with Jack Victory and “Hollywood” John Tatum- “Jack and Missy didn’t have the relationship that everyone thought” although he doesn’t know too many specifics.
UWF and Jim Crockett Promotions merger- They were let down because they’d been fighting off the WWF and doing so well that it hurt them that the company was sold out from under them with no warning. “You didn’t have the Internet back then… it was telephone, telegraph, tell-a-wrestler.” They weren’t sure if they’d be taken in with open arms or killed to make the JCP wrestlers look better but says that the answer is now obvious in hindsight. (If you don’t know this one, the fact that Sting and Rick Steiner are the only two guys from the UWF to have any significant success in WCW should give you the answer.)
Should there have been a UWF-JCP inter-promotional feud? He and Dusty have had conflicts in the mid-80s where he was disrespectful to Dusty. Watts taught him responsibility, though. Dusty missed the boat on it although he doesn’t know if it was because he was being vindictive or if they just thought it wouldn’t work.
Nikita Koloff- He loves Nikita to death now but, when he was feuding with him after the merger, a close friend told him “Nikita’s been instructed by Dusty to take your head off.” He worked very defensively as a result in their Starrcade 1987 title unification match. Nikita never tried anything on him though, even though he stiffed Nikita early in the match to see what he’d do.
They take a match break here as Super Crazy walks in the door.
Eddie Gilbert vs. Terry Taylor- This is very poor video quality. Gilbert wins by pinning Taylor with his feet on the ropes. Lawler comes out to protest Gilbert’s win, so the match restarts and Taylor gets a quick rollup win over Gilbert.
Buddy Roberts vs. Jumpin’ Joe with Terry Taylor at ringside. Buddy tosses Joe over the top rope for the DQ then challenges Taylor. Taylor gets into the ring and starts whipping up on Roberts and counts his own three-count on him, although it’s not an official match.
Buddy Roberts (UWF TV Champion) vs. Terry Taylor- Buddy hits Taylor with Ted Dibiase’s loaded glove as TV time runs out.
The Freebirds vs. “Dr. Death” Steve Williams, Ted Dibiase, and Terry Taylor- This is included on the shoots of EVERYONE involved. This is the famous match in which Terry Gordy’s arm is “broken” by Doc off a top-rope kneedrop when Gordy was trying to help out the prone Michael PS Hayes. This lead to Gordy forfeiting his UWF title to the One Man Gang.
Going to World Class- Jim Crockett told all the UWF guys that the company would be based out of Dallas, so he bought a house there. He ended up getting fired or quitting and, as a result, ended up working for World Class because it was the promotion nearest to where he lived.
Working against Chris Adams- Chris was a good worker but the territory was bottoming out after a colossal run when the Von Erich kids were huge. Chris ended up getting his face caved in during a blown spot around that time so he was wearing a catcher’s mask when they wrestled.
The Von Erichs- He never met Fritz Von Erich even though he worked for him for six months. Kerry Von Erich was very gifted and had women lined up around the block chasing him but he had a lot of personal problems. Kevin Von Erich was used to being featured while Terry didn’t feel like playing ball sometimes because of it. Kevin would take liberties and so forth but got away with it because he was the owner’s kid. There was one famous pull-apart they did on camera where Kevin beat the shit out of him. Afterwards, Terry was walking around backstage and was going to suckerpunch Kevin if he saw him but, instead, Kevin found him, hugged him, and thanked him for putting on such a great program with him.
Iceman King Parsons- They didn’t team much. Nice guy, very quiet, great promos.
Why did he leave World Class? He went to the WWF because he was making $75 a night and only working three nights a week, which wasn’t helping him make his house payments. He tells everyone out there not to do what he did, which was to put everything into the down payment on his house and not to have money for the appliances and so forth he needed inside the house. He called Pat Patterson every Friday at noon for nine months in order to ask for a job. He was finally told “If you promise never to call me again, you can have a job.” (This was a common situation. Dutch Mantel said he called regularly during the 1980s in order to get a job there, which didn’t happen until he came in as the manager for the Blu Brothers (Harris Twins, Skull and 8-Ball, Creative Control).
Impressions of the WWF- “It’s the big time.” Vince McMahon knows what he’s doing and it’s a far cry from getting his ass beaten by Kevin Von Erich. He was broke and knew he needed a job, so he did whatever they asked him to do. He didn’t get what Vince wanted for the Red Rooster gimmick at first… it took Vince telling him to spike his hair up, take the earliest flight each morning, “and live your gimmick.” (I guess this was Patterson’s smirking revenge for 9 months worth of phone calls.) He doesn’t think it was a rib on him because Vince was looking for someone to put in that gimmick before he ever got there. He says that he was just imitating Ric Flair in the back one day and Vince saw him and said “THAT’s my little Red Rooster!” He did it because he needed the money and, once he started to go with it, it was fun and easy to do because there are so many bird cliches to work off of in interviews. Since he didn’t put his whole heart into it at first, the company saw it as disloyal and, up there, loyalty is the most important thing. If they treat you badly, it’s usually because you’d asked for it.
Was there an altercation between him and Dynamite Kid? No, although he’s read DK’s book and knows that DK didn’t like him. If you go to the WWF, you find a spot in the locker room, sit down, and shut up until the guys figure out when they want to warm up to you. The British Bulldogs picked on him in particular because he wasn’t a fighter and he had an abrasive personality.
Hulk Hogan- Great in the locker room, although he didn’t dress with anyone else. If you wrestled on the card with him, you automatically made an extra $2000. They want people there for the long haul and they don’t want to explain every finish to every guy, so pick your battles carefully if you question something.
Ultimate Warrior- Warrior was PISSED at him during one of Terry’s runs there because he blamed Terry for breaking up the Blade Runners, Warror’s tag team with Sting. Terry turned that around to say “You should be thanking me” because, at the time, Warrior was the WWF champion and Sting was the WCW champion, at which point Warrior left him alone.
Andre The Giant- They got along. Andre was the only person that was nice to him at the time. He didn’t have a mentor to tell him “Shut up and do this or you’ll be in trouble with these guys”, so he learned the hard way. He doesn’t know why Andre liked him but, for some reason, he did.
Randy Savage- He had a lot of heat with Savage during that run because he talked to Miss Elizabeth. He didn’t know that Randy had a rule that NO ONE talked to her. He said that Randy buried him to the locker room instead of telling him man to man and, as a result, everybody hated his guts.
Bobby Heenan- Bobby was the mentor he never had. He doesn’t know why they were paired up, thinking that it might have been “Bobby, this kid is clueless… please help him.” He hasn’t talked to him in a long time, though, and feels bad about it. (I don’t think Heenan would take his calls anyway… Bobby REALLY didn’t have a lot of nice things to say about him in his shoot or his book.
Why did he leave the WWF? Pat Patterson wanted Ted Dibiase to put him in the Million Dollar Dream and put a $100 bill in his mouth. He was pissed off at the time and told them where to stick it instead of being a team player. He felt bad about it because Dibiase had gotten him a job there, so he did the job, got the bill shoved in his mouth, and gave notice. Patterson wanted him to cool off and not do anything stupid, but he left anyway.
Going back to WCW- He was doing okay as a midcard guy working 30 times a month at $300 a shot. He ended up back in the WWF for a year as Terrific Terry Taylor until he was told that they were going to start cutting back on the number of booking per wrestler. He then told the office to just go ahead and send him home because there were a bunch of younger guys who needed the bookings more. He intended to just go home to Florida but he ended up in WCW again.
Great American Bash 91- He was in a scaffold match with Bobby Eaton, Steve Austin, and PN News. The ring crew hadn’t brought part of the scaffold with them, so they jury-rigged one. Since PN News weighed about 500 pounds, Terry and Austin had bad knees, and it was too high for Eaton to bump, no one was willing to do much on a makeshift scaffold. Dusty booked it thinking “Rock and Roll Express” instead of the guys in the match so, once Terry and Bobby refused to take the bump, it was rebooked so that a team could win by stealing the other team’s flag. “It was the worst stinker in all of recorded time” but it was understandable because it was a makeshift scaffold and the office had NEVER asked someone to take the bump before the match was announced.
The York Foundation and Terri Runnels- Terri was nice and they used to ride together. Wherever her car was, there were a ton of notes with guys’ phone numbers. He ended up in the York Foundation gimmick because the original guy, Michael Wallstreet (Mike Rotundo), jumped to the WWF to become Irwin R. Shyster. Originally, the gimmick was that Terri put all the info into the computer and said “Michael Wallstreet will beat Terry Taylor in 6:12 with the Stock Market Crash”, which then happened. He says when she put the info in while he was her wrestler, it said “Well, Terrence Taylor is NEVER going to win another match but I say he wins in 4:12” and he ended up losing the match. The gimmick just didn’t work for him.
Tom Zenk- “Tom’s a good guy” although Terry hated him because he had a phenomenal body and didn’t get caught up in the bullshit politics. Terry says that Tom hated the girls because they liked him or some other weird thing like that and the girls didn’t want him even though Zenk didn’t want them.
Brian Pillman- Back then, Pillman used to joke about how he was nicknamed “Flyin’ Bryan” and that he could fly but not land. He was always trying to learn ground-based wrestling as a result. He talks about laying out the Fall Brawl 1995 match between Pillman and Johnny B. Badd (Marc Mero). Both wrestlers thought they were being set up to fail (which, according to Dave Meltzer, was true… Everyone knew of Mero’s limits as a wrestler and they wanted to make Pillman look like shit after having such good matches for so long while not being pushed.). They ended up stealing the show, though.
Greg “The Hammer” Valentine- He teamed with him against the Freebirds, which were at that time Michael PS Hayes and Jimmy “Jam” Garvin. He starts telling Garvin stories from Mid-South here about how once, in New Orleans, they were in a building full of 4000 Southerners who’d been drinking since Friday night and there was no security force or guardrails. Garvin refused to come to the ring because he was a heel and, once he was finally convinced to do so, he told Terry that he wasn’t getting any heat on Terry, sure as hell wasn’t winning, and Terry could hit him with his finisher quickly so they could leave. Garvin just sold as long as possible and the people STILL wanted to beat his ass because he was so annoying. Garvin’s wife, Precious, came out to the ring during the match and got beaten up. Terry asked Jimmy why he wasn’t helping her and his response was “No reason for us both to get beat up.” Funny guy.
Diamond Dallas Page- He had a good match with him on PPV. Page was trying to figure out how what would work for him back then but put a lot of effort into it and ended up succeeding.
Vader- Never had a problem with him even though he was close to Vader and Paul Orndorff when they had their brawl. After a match, Vader was asked to do an interview and he said “Sure… just wait until I’ve changed.” Around this time, Paul Orndorff, “the guy Paxil was invented for”, started talking shit to Vader. Paul walked away, Vader slow-burned, and Vader ended up getting into Paul’s face shortly thereafter. Vader hit Paul first and it turned into a brawl from there, which was broken up once Orndorff miraculously got Vader onto the ground.
Steve Austin- Good guy. Terry was replacing Mean Gene Okerlund on the Internet broadcast at Uncensored one year because Gene had gotten sick. Austin came in and worked with him on that show and acted like himself, which is exactly what he does on WWF TV. He deserved the break that he got.
Bill Watts taking over WCW in 1992- He was happy because Watts always liked him in the 80s. His contract was coming up and he thought he’d get a big raise. He ended up being the first person released and was told it was because he’d been there “too long.” (I could see that in the case of some wrestlers but Terry had only been there about a year and a half or so) He ended up back in the WWF shortly after that.
The WWF during that run- It was better despite the business being down. He didn’t last long because the WWF started cutting talent some time after he arrived and he told them to go ahead and release him.
Eric Bischoff- He didn’t know him before he took over WCW.
Thoughts on Kevin Sullivan- Creative. Whenever Kevin booked, he was sharp but had a bunch of ideas that were out of left field like coming into the ring from below it by cutting the mat. He got burnt out because of the problems he had with the office.
Booking and working at the same time- You lose all subjectivity when you do that. It’s fun but it screws up the company.
The nWo- It was new to him when he, Bischoff, and Sullivan were talking about how Hogan, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and Syxx were taking on the whole WCW locker room of about 50 people. It was the kind of angle where the people wanted someone to step up and annihilate the heels, which he claims was Goldberg.
Sidenote- Bullshit. As far as I’m concerned, there were three occasions where they could have let someone step up and become the Next Big Thing but they blew it. Lex Luger of all people could have pulled it off in mid-1997 if he hadn’t been booked to beat Hogan on Nitro then lose the belt back to him 6 days later at Road Wild. Sting should have done it at Starrcade 97 but that show was screwed beyond all belief. Between almost all the heels winning on the undercard, Nash skipping the show due to a “heart attack” scare, Nick Patrick being legitimately bribed by Hogan to give the slowest “fast count” in history when Hogan pinned Sting in a false finish, and the title being held up after the match, that show killed Sting DEAD as a draw and seriously damaged the drawing power of WCW on PPV. Goldberg could also have done it in 1998 but he was booked as a sideshow to Hogan matches with celebrities and Warrior, lost the belt to Nash due to Scott Hall’s cattle prod, and was not allowed to get a rematch for the belt before the “Fingerpoke of Doom” gave the title back to Hogan and marked the definitive turning point in the company’s fortunes.
Leaving the WWF front office during the Attitude Era- He had a personality conflict with management in WCW in 1999 and started with the WWF shortly thereafter. McMahon never told Vince Russo or Ed Ferrara that he was going to be on the writing team and, as a result, they had some immediate conflicts. His position was to shore up Russo’s deficiencies when it came to WRESTLING. He takes credit for hiring K-Kwik (The Truth in NWA: TNA), Trish Stratus, and Lita. When Russo and Ferrara bolted for WCW in the fall of that year, everyone in the company was asked to sign a loyalty pledge that they’d be there for at least a year. He was never told about it until Jim Ross asked why he hadn’t signed it, at which point they had a discussion in which he told them that he wasn’t under contract to them and, as a result, it would be VERY one-sided if he signed it and got fired. He wanted an agreement of some kind if he was expected to work for them for a year, which Ross agreed to discuss with Vince, who was busy with the Initial Public Offering of WWF stock at the time. By the time they had their meeting, someone had convinced McMahon that they didn’t need Taylor and instead of a contract, he got fired. He had been told that Terry was coming in to tell him off and to quit but, instead, Terry had come in to ask for the job as head writer. Vince doesn’t like to change his mind after he makes a decision like that, so he couldn’t give Terry his job back even after they had a long discussion following Terry’s dismissal.
The Rock’s success while he was there- “He was just getting there” because Austin was the number one guy and the writing team and Vince McMahon were more concerned about him. He credits Foley heavily for getting Rock as over as he got.
Russo leaving the WWF- Russo and Ferrara had written two shows before they left and no one could make heads or tails of what it was supposed to mean. (That’s funny… even during the Crash TV days they wrote further ahead than they do today.) He says that it wasn’t that what they wrote was completely incomprehensible as much as that they didn’t know where Russo and Ferrara planned to go with it, so they scrapped parts of it and moved on.
Going back to WCW- Bill Busch, Russo, Ferrara, JJ Dillon, and Gary Juster had offered him a position. By that time, Vince had offered him the same good money he’d been making to do whatever he wanted to do in the company from talent scout up to head writer and any problems he’d had with people would be forgotten. He finally chose to return to WCW because his father had been stuck in the hospital in Atlanta for over a year and he decided he wanted to be a better son to him.
Was Bill Busch in over his head? “Absolutely.” Being a great businessman doesn’t mean they’ll understand the wrestling business.
The Radicalz- He was in the office at the time and says it was a very volatile situation made worse by the longstanding bad blood between Kevin Sullivan and Chris Benoit, which was over Sullivan’s wife Nancy leaving him for Benoit while they were running an angle along those lines on TV. Sullivan tried to be as professional as he could but, once Russo was removed, a lot of the people being pushed under him felt like it wasn’t going to continue and were VERY nervous and upset. They overreacted because they didn’t give Sullivan a chance and Busch made a mistake by letting them go immediately.
Vince Russo as champion- The way it was written, the belt was up in the air and he never really was champion.
David Arquette as champion- He talks about in his first WWF run, he had to get past the old “rasslin” mentality and into Vince’s version of Sports Entertainment. He and the rest of the booking committee in WCW decided to put the belt on Arquette for similar reasons, as they figured he’d get them a lot of mainstream media attention that they wouldn’t normally get. Considering how many people were watching at the time, they didn’t think they had much to lose. It didn’t work out like they wanted it to, as they got very little mainstream attention and, for the most part, just a bunch of pissed-off fans.
Bill Goldberg- He’s never tired of watching him in the ring and hasn’t had a problem with him in the back. He’s seen Goldberg be an ass to people but he’s never been on the receiving end of it.
The ECW Invasion angle with Tod Gordon that fell through- Nothing like that was ever going to happen. Tod Gordon presented him with a list of names of wrestlers willing to jump. Terry asked Tod if ECW owner/booker Paul Heyman approved of it and was told no, at which point Terry said he wasn’t interested.
Paul Heyman and ECW- He’s sad that it didn’t succeed like it should have. He is a huge Paul E fan but feels that Paul overextended himself. When a WCW front-office person who Terry did not get along with returned to the company, Paul E called him up and said “If you’re unhappy there, you can always work for me.”
The WCW locker room- They’re in “wait and see” mode right now because no one knows what’s going to happen with the company.
Potential draws for the company- The Cruiserweights can still draw. Hulk Hogan could still be an attraction but not THE attraction.
More match footage--
Sting vs. Eddie Gilbert- This is from the UWF. Before the match starts, Terry Taylor lays out Sting with a chair and joins Gilbert’s stable, the First Family of Professional Wrestling.
Chris Adams press conference- This is the same footage on the Chris Adams shoot, which is of Taylor whipping Adams’ ass.
Chris Adams vs. Some Guy- This is clipped to the finish, as Adams wins. Taylor and Adams brawl after this. Teddy “Peanuthead” Long, currently managing Rodney Mack and Jazz in the WWE, is the referee here.
Terry Taylor vs. Chris Adams for the Texas Heavyweight Championship- ZZZzzzzzz. More footage I just saw on the Adams shoot and it wasn’t very good then either. This ends in a double countout.
Does he ever want to wrestle again or does he enjoy his job right now? Yes and yes, because he’d love to work with either a master like Flair or Ricky Steamboat or a young guy who wanted to wrestle a match that built to something rather than a spotfest. He compares wrestling to acting and says that there are no more great actors anymore, as in people who can carry a scene by themselves through their body actions and so forth. He says most movies today are glorified stunt shows like Broken Arrow or a Jackie Chan film.
Sidenote- (I disagree with this… Kevin Spacey is the fucking MAN at acting these days and is capable of doing a great job in a thriller with some special effects like Usual Suspects, an acclaimed comedy-drama like American Beauty, and an adapted stage play like Glengary Glen Ross. Russell Crowe is also excellent at acting but his off-screen antics make it hard to remember great performances he did in such films as LA Confidential, The Insider and A Beautiful Mind instead of some of the crap films he’s been involved in like Proof Of Life.
How would he change WCW? He’d start with the talent because “we need to get back to a move meaning something.” (Funny that we hear this so much from employees of a company who told younger wrestlers “If you use a wrestling hold in a match, you’re fired.” Les Thatcher refuses to name the wrestler who was told that, but someone who wishes to make guesses can start looking at the WCW guys brought into the WWF who had a stopover in Heartland Wrestling Association.)
What guys would he draft to be in a promotion he’d start? In no order: Austin, Rock, Goldberg, Triple H, and Hulk Hogan. Hogan’s got mainstream appeal and TV execs who watched the WWF in the 80s would still mark out for him.
Good road stories- Owen Hart was a master ribber… One night at a hotel when “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan called down to the front desk to ask where the gym was, Owen took the phone from the clerk and told Duggan “You fat son of a bitch, it’s a little late for you to start working out” etc. and convinced Duggan that he was the hotel manager. Duggan came down pissed off and confronted the manager while Owen quietly slipped away. Curt Hennig is the master of starting shit. He says Curt is the kind of guy who would throw the first punch in a fight, start a HUGE brawl, and quietly make his way over to the side to watch everyone else fight it out.
Him and Scott Steiner- “The night we were in the Jacuzzi together, it was late, and we were drinking?” Steiner thought Terry had sabotaged his career and says that people manipulated Scott into believing it. That night, Scott was to face Mike Awesome and The Cat was supposed to cost Scott the match and give the face Scott a reason to seek revenge. The format had been cued up for Steiner to go out first but, for some reason, Steiner arbitrarily decided he wanted to go out second and no one told the production crew. Awesome ended up going out to the ring to Steiner’s music. Right after that, Steiner lumbered over him and yelled at him and threatened him over a variety of reasons. He says he told Steiner “You’ve got six minutes, I’ll be here when you come back.” Awesome “took the asskicking of a lifetime” and, when Steiner came back, Terry was gone.
Kevin Nash- They get along fine. He helped out Nash 10 years ago when he broke into the business. There was some heat between them when Goldberg turned heel because Nash was fed to him and, since Nash just came off a program where he put someone over, he thought it was his turn to win. (Typical Clique booking… “I just lost once… I’m not losing to ANYBODY for a year unless it’s one of my buddies.”) The main bone of contention was that Goldberg didn’t know that, as a heel, you’ve got to whip the everloving SHIT out of a face to get heat but, instead, he lightly tapped Nash and walked off. Nash felt like he had been screwed over and let Terry hear about it. Nash later apologized to him over it.
Any regrets? Absolutely not.
Does he have anything to say to his fans? “I don’t have any fans… I’ve got a wife and two kids and work in the office.” He tells the fans in general to keep the love for the business and to take a step back and see why some things in the business happen like they do. (I’ll give him a little credit for this… I don’t blame him for the one-sided WCW contracts, which caused a bunch of overpriced old guys to run WCW for so long. I DO blame him and the bookers for not playing hardball with Nash and the others who abused the contracts while they fired Bret Hart and Shane Douglas. Both Bret and Shane were injured and could not come back before WCW could exercise a termination clause. The company knew neither could go back to the WWF because both had burned bridges when they left in 1997 and 1995 respectively.) He compares most fans to someone who’s blindfolded, have an elephant’s tail put in their hand, and asked to describe it. Their description is accurate for the part they see but they miss a HUGE part of what they don’t see.
Terry Taylor and Iceman King Parsons vs. Jack Victory and “Nature Boy” Buddy Landell- This is from the UWF and the announce team is Chavo Guerrero Sr. and Jim Ross. Ross, just like today, spends WAY too much time shilling later matches on this card like Eddie Gilbert vs. “Hollywood” John Tatum. Taylor and Parsons win when Parsons whips Taylor into Victory for the pin.
Terry Taylor vs. Ric Flair- This is from Houston, which had a working agreement with Mid-South around this time. It’s the traditional Flair match here, which is not as bad as it sounds considering the match Flair loves to do is a really good one. Flair wins when he shoulder-blocks Taylor and does a Flair Flop onto him for the pin. Taylor has his leg on the ropes before three but the ref misses it.
The Freebirds (Michael PS Hayes and Terry “Bam Bam” Gordy here) with Sunshine vs. Terry Taylor and Ted Dibiase in a Country Whipping Match- This is from the UWF. This is for “one fall or TV time remaining”, which is UWF for “pull out your stopwatch to see how long it takes for the locker room to empty into the ring for an nWo finish.” There’s actually a change here… they just cut away from the footage in mid-match rather than end it with a schmoz for once.
The First Family of Professional Wrestling (Eddie Gilbert and Terry Taylor with Rick Steiner) vs. Alan Martin and Terry Jones- Insert Monty Python joke here. Typical jobber squash ending with a Double Hotshot, which is a 3D with the victim’s throat landing on the ropes. Taylor cuts a post-match promo on Nikita Koloff about Koloff stealing his UWF TV title, which builds towards their match at Starrcade 87. Footage is shown of Taylor beating on Nikita, then Nikita and Dusty Rhodes beating the crap out of Taylor and Nikita walking off with Taylor’s title belt.
Terry Taylor vs. Terry Gordy- Taylor is the UWF TV champ and Gordy is the UWF champion but only Gordy’s belt is on the line. “King” Carl Fergie, whose cousins are Jerry Lawler and the Honkytonk Man, is the referee. Taylor tries a sunset flip but Gordy sits down on him and grabs the ropes for the three.
Freebirds (Hayes, Gordy, and Buddy Roberts) vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Terry Taylor, and Cowboy Bill Watts- The rules on this are like those for the WWF title match from In Your House: Final Four; eliminations occur when someone is pinned, submits, or is thrown over the top rope. I guess I missed the “TV time remaining” portion of the pre-match announcements because this ends in a no-contest.
Nikita Koloff vs. Terry Taylor with Eddie Gilbert- This is the unification of the UWF TV title and the NWA TV title from Starrcade 87. This PPV was held the same night as the inaugural Survivor Series. The Flair vs. Ronnie Garvin match was the only one on this show to even come close to the Match of the Night at Survivor Series, a tag match pitting the British Bulldogs, Strike Force (Rick Martel and Tito Santana), the Killer Bees, the Young Stallions, and the Fabulous Rougeau Brothers against the Bolsheviks, Demolition, the Hart Foundation, the Islanders, and the New Dream Team (Greg “The Hammer” Valentine and Dino Bravo). The finish comes as Nikita kills Taylor with a Russian Sickle (clothesline) for the pin.
Art Crews vs. Terry Taylor- UWF jobber squash here. Taylor wins with a High Five, which appears to a leaping forearm.
Thoughts- Taylor certainly has a lot to say here and has some dirt, although some portions of his story make me wonder how truthful he is. For example, there are stories floating about that Terry really DID attempt to screw over Scott Steiner’s career in WCW. He also seemed to hold back anything bad about Vince McMahon because he knew that Vince was going to be the only game in town soon, which came to pass about 6 weeks after this interview was filmed, and DID, in fact, get hired as a WWE road agent in the middle of 2002. Even with those issues, this is still a solid shoot because it gives a look the UWF and the failed UWF-JCP merger, the WWF in its glory days of the late 80s and the Attitude Era, and WCW during the nWo invasion.