Honkytonk Man Shoot Interview (RF Video)
by Brandon Truitt
Sep 29, 2003, 19:00

*** This is a repost of an article that was originally posted on August 5, 2002***

In memoriam: Anthony Durante, aka Pitbull #2, and his girlfriend, who died over the weekend of an apparent overdose of Oxycotin. Durante is most famous for his run in ECW where he and Gary Wolfe were a very successful tag team. Their greatest match was undoubtably the 2 of 3 Falls Double Dog Collar match against Raven and Stevie Richards for the ECW tag titles.

My condolences to the family, including the couple's two small children.

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.

Well, your Tuesday columnist is back with another shoot interview and some thoughts on recent events in WWEff land. Yes, I KNOW I'm early, but I don't plan on writing this during RAW. If you're reading this on Tuesday morning and wondering why I'm talking about something that's a moot point, that's why.

Things are looking up in most respects... RVD, Eddy Guerrero, and Chris Benoit are being focused on. The TV matches in the past two weeks were better than most Pay Per View matches this year. BrockBerg is now getting a decent push considering he’ll win the title at Summerslam no matter what the fans think. (My reasoning on this is simple… if you’re going to cram someone down our throats, at least build them up a bit first so you can pretend the fans wanted it to happen) And, finally, the old guard appears to be putting over younger stars.

Some things haven’t changed, though, as a significant amount of screen time has been devoted to the injured Triple H, the currently retired Shawn Michaels, and Stephanie McMahon, who I believe is failing miserably in her role as the babyface commissioner. I’m just hoping that the person behind this new “Who kicked the crap out of Shawn Michaels?” storyline isn’t Rikishi, in an attempt to frame The Rock. Unless they put together a dynamite storyline that get a LOT of heat, they’ve pretty much blown a babyface resurgence AND a heel turn for HHH.

As much as I would have disliked a reformed D-Generation X, it got a HUGE pop when they came out two weeks ago. On the flip side, Triple H got a LOT of heat for giving HBK a pedigree to end that segment, which would logically signal a heel turn. UNFORTUNATELY, they let HHH cut a ‘tweener promo about why he attacked HBK last week, which killed most of the heat that he had gotten as a result of the attack. If they’d let him go in as a straight heel last week, he’d have gotten a MUCH better reaction

Anyway, enough bitching for now… let’s get to the review.

Honkytonk Man Shoot Interview (2001)

This tape opens with some interviews and beatdowns perpetrated by the Blond Bombers, who are Wayne Ferris (Honkytonk Man), Larry Latham (One of the Moondogs), and Sgt. Danny Davis (Owner and head trainer for OVW, the last of the WWE feeder organizations). The most famous thing in this montage is the Tupelo Concession Stand Brawl between the Jerry Lawler, Bill Dundee, and the Bombers just shortly after the Bombers won the tag titles off of Lawler and Dundee. It's not really that impressive these days as it's been done to death since then, especially in ECW.

The interview then starts with the standard question of how he got involved in the business. HTM claims that it’s an “extension of childhood”, as he never really wanted to grow up. Herb Welch trained him and Koko B Ware at the same time. Other people Welch trained before him included King Carl Fergie (a cousin of HTM and Jerry Lawler), “Dr. D” David Shultz, and Larry Latham. For those ignorant of all the relations of the Memphis talent (like I am), HTM informs us that Welch was the uncle of Robert Fuller, better known as Tennessee Lee or Colonel Parker depending on if you watched the WWF or WCW. Also, he says that the Fullers and the Welches were a sizable force in the Tennessee wrestling business.

He actually got into the business because both Carl Fergie and Jerry Lawler, his first cousins, had entered the business. He figured that since he was the athlete in the family and that neither Lawler nor Fergie were much of one, that he’d probably be better at it than them. His friends in college at Memphis State (now known just as Memphis) were very in to wrestling and would hang around the Mid South Coliseum, so that also played into the decision. Says the road trips weren’t hard but didn’t pay much, and neither did “outlaw territories”, which are currently referred to as “independent territories”. Claims that he wrestled three matches against Lou Thesz in one of those territories early in his career and that he only made $9 a match.

Blond Bombers- Latham had teamed with one of his cousins before they started teaming (Carl Fergie, most likely). The Bombers formed when he and Latham were sent from different territories to Tampa, where the Brisco brothers were holding a one-night tag tournament. Gerald Brisco teamed the two up for the tournament and they just stuck together after that.

He gives himself credit for being an originator of hardcore wrestling because of his participation in the Tupelo Concession Stand Brawl. Says that came about because the Fullers had left Jerry Jarrett and taken all of their cronies with them, so Jarrett only had about 12 wrestlers left and few were big names at the time. (The wrestlers included the Blonde Bombers, Lawler, Bill Dundee, Ricky Morton, Robert Gibson, and Koko B Ware) Jarrett decided that since they needed to draw money with a big angle that week, they let the Bombers win the tag titles from Lawler and Dundee then start a huge brawl that destroyed the entire building in Tupelo. That angle ended up drawing a sellout crowd a few days later in Memphis. Around that time, he also teamed with guys like Kevin Sullivan and Dr. D, with Jimmy Hart serving as his manager in the First Family of Wrestling.

Bobby Eaton- When asked if Eaton is one of the best workers ever, he says no because being a world-class worker involves the ability to talk and sell tickets as much as ringwork, so Bobby doesn’t meet all the criteria.

He talked briefly about hardcore superstar and current Japanese parliament member Onita working in Memphis.

Stampede wrestling- He was working in Pensacola with Dr. D only working 4 days a week and living on the beach when Dr. D flipped out about “being messed with by the office.” Shultz wanted to go back to Stampede, where he’d had a good guarantee but he wasn’t going alone, so he dragged HTM along with him. He says that people who stayed a significant amount of time in Stampede formed a brotherhood that lasted forever… guys like the Hart brothers, Junkyard Dog, the British Bulldogs (Dynamite Kid and Davey Boy Smith), and Jim Neidhart.

‘Dr. D’ David Shultz- Great guy, very straightforward. Would tell you if he liked you or if he hated your guts. Would tell promoters what he was thinking, which didn’t endear him to them. HTM says he picked up some bad habits from Shultz.

Stu Hart- He hated Stu at first because his first week’s payoff in Stampede was several hundred dollars short of what he was promised, but said he was a good businessman who understood the wrestling business.

Dynamite Kid- Puts over how hard DK worked to break into the business and for being an innovator at crazy aerial stunts out of the ring. Very bitter once his body started breaking down on him. HTM had heat with him over comments about Harley Race’s colostomy and for supposedly taking credit for “paying the boys' rent” by selling out an arena against Randy Savage in 1987. He claims it was a misunderstanding and that guys like Bobby Heenan were making jokes like “Can’t give Harley the Atomic Drop anymore because of that colostomy bag on his side.” Got some pleasure out of Jacques Rougeau jumping DK at a TV taping and “knockin’ his fuckin’ teeth down his throat” with a roll of quarters.

Chris Benoit- Worked with him a little early in Stampede during the mid-80’s. Says he was trained by one of Stu Hart’s partners in Edmonton before coming to Calgary, so the stories about him being broken into the business in Stu’s Dungeon are overblown. Says that size and talking ability were always problems for him and that, due to the way things have been done over the years in the WWF and the training of the fans, we’re not going to see a guy in main events below 6 feet and a certain weight.

Bret Hart- Bret is the same as he always was. Always late and a bland interview “like most of the Canadians”, but a hard worker and dedicated. Did the same match over and over again, much like Ric Flair, but that was a choice due to where he was in the business rather than an inability to do a different match. Very expressionless. Wonders how Bret got a singles push in the WWF.

Bad News Brown / Bad News Allan- Good to work with. He was much like Dr. D in his mannerisms and wasn’t used properly in the WWF. Vince McMahon had told him that he’d go over Hogan and be the first black World Champion, but didn’t follow through on it. He feels that Vince missed the boat on that because it would have drawn. Thinks that Bad News did the right thing in beating the shit out of Vince when he found out that he only got about 10% of what Roddy Piper got for their match at Wrestlemania 6 (Something in the neighborhood of $50,000 for Bad News and $500,000 for Piper).

Coming to the WWF- The WWF had raided Stampede the year before they got him and had taken the Bulldogs, Bret Hart, and Jim Neidhart. He was taken in the second wave of talent raids. Hulk Hogan called him up and asked him to come out to the WWF. He could have been there earlier if he’d asked some of the people he knew to bring him in, but didn’t think he was good enough yet.

Early impressions of Vince- Always knew that Vince was a manager or promoter and NEVER on the same level as a wrestler. Said that people forgetting that distinction lead to people like Hogan, Nash, Bret, etc. getting upset when they weren’t Vince’s favorites anymore. Compared promoters to children playing with toys. Once they’re done with a toy, they’ll put it back in the toy box and maybe play with them again one day. Said that they may attempt to fix some broken toys several times (like Jake Roberts, Ultimate Warrior, etc), but throw others away as soon as they broke (himself).

Honkytonk Man gimmick- It was an evolution of his “Punk Rock” Wayne Ferris gimmick. He had long blonde spiked hair that he sprayed different colors, but the gimmick didn’t take off. He eventually decided to profit from a new look by losing a series of “hair dye matches’ to Austin Idol in every town on the loop. Once every town had seen the dye matches, he dyed his hair black but left a big blond patch in the front, which got Bob Armstrong to start calling him “Skunk Rock” Ferris. Some fans in Birmingham, Alabama, wanted him to do an Elvis gimmick, but didn’t do it because Bill Dundee did a similar gimmick in Memphis. He received a jumpsuit and a guitar as gifts, though. He lifted a lot of lyrics from songs to use in his interviews like “catch a wave and you’ll be on top of the world.”

Hogan- Met him in Pensacola, where he was being starved out by booker Mike Graham. Hogan and Brutus Beefcake (Ed Leslie) stayed in the apartment with Ferris and Dr. D. Beefcake was trained by guys whenever they had the time because he was never formally trained, and used other guys’ equipment in matches because he didn’t have his own stuff. Hogan brought Dr. D with him to the AWA and later the WWF, but didn’t bring Ferris in until late 86. Came to WCW because Hogan wanted him to come in along with a bunch of other ex-WWF guys like Hacksaw Jim Duggan, despite not having a contract. Walked out on WCW during Starrcade 94 because they refused to give him a contract despite wanting him to job to Johnny B Badd on PPV. Calls Hogan an opportunist and says he probably picked it up from Vince. He observes that people who spend a lot of time around Vince tend to start acting like assholes eventually.

Says that wrestling is built on favoritism, as each booker has a crew of favorites that he tends to bring from territory to territory. It builds a lot of power for a booker in getting what he wants done because all of his guys will get fired if he loses his job, so they become very loyal. Says that Dusty Rhodes and Flair have their favorites, like Arn Anderson, Barry Windham, etc., but that Hogan only kept Beefcake around through everything.

Jimmy Hart- Knew him from Memphis, where Lawler had brought him into the business because he wanted to get involved in the music business (In Lawler’s interview, he talks about how Jimmy Hart used to have a hit song with his group. I believe it was something like Jimmy Hart and the Gentries). Says he has a good mind but is generally ignored outside of composing songs. Says that his philosophy is to look at the business as a mark, which is why people look down on him (they think that he’s just a mark for the business, so he isn’t worth their time). They had a good relationship because they both knew a lot about music. Very PC and doesn’t go against the grain, so he’ll go out of his way to distance himself if a friend make an unpopular comment or decision.

Locker room- Lots of tension because guys like Roddy Piper, Don Muraco, Cowboy Bob Orton, etc. saw all the new guys as “younger better faster cheaper” and were fearing for their jobs. It was well founded, he says, because all of those guys were pretty much gone within a year or so. Competition was worse then than now because your place on the card determined your payday and it was a BIG difference between getting $300 to curtain jerk MSG for a sellout when the person working on top with Hogan got about $8000. “It doesn’t take The Genius Lanny Poffo to figure out where you want to be on the card.” Said that even on top of the card as IC champ that he made less than he did working with Hogan, even if they building was sold out. Said he went from $6000 a night working with Warrior or Savage for the IC belt to making $600 against Bret Hart in the midcard. He wonders how much Hogan made per match if his opponents got $8000 each, and then wonders how much Vince got if Hogan got more than $8000 per match.

Greed was a BIG motivator, especially on the hellish schedule they were on. Didn’t want to be stuck at the bottom of the card doing grunt work so that Roddy Piper could make $500,000 a year and take time off to make movies. He got his chance because Butch Reed no-showed the night that Vince wanted to take the IC title off of Ricky Steamboat.

He started off as a face because Vince saw dollar signs with his gimmick, selling Elvis wigs and jumpsuits and shit. Thought Vince would have made it as a merchandiser if he hadn’t been in the wrestling business.

Roddy Piper- Never around him because the WWF ran three crews a night across the country.

Says that the business was stronger then than now because they ran three crews of 15 guys in cities like LA, Boston, and Miami and sold out each time. Didn’t see all of the rampant drug abuse like people taking $5000 of coke in a week, but heard about it. He mostly traveled with guys who’d worked in Memphis like Cousin Luke, Hillbilly Jim, etc. He was an under guy until he got the IC belt.

Heat with Lawler? Not really. Never talked to him after leaving Memphis. Said that “Chester the Molestor” got cute with his payoff for the Concession Stand Brawl and got his bleach-blonde girlfriend, Paula, to give him his check for $999. He then asked him “What do you feel about your first thousand dollar week in the business?” When he told him it wasn’t a thousand dollars, Lawler got pissed off and said that he’s never happy with anything. Says that he should have made well over that thousand dollars because they sold out every arena with that angle, which made Lawler and Jarrett a LOT more than they paid the boys. After this, his payoffs dropped and the booking sheets he got from Paula would be missing dates that he was supposed to work. To fuck with him, Lawler would book him to go to Tupelo one night and Louisville the next for low money, then tell him that if he wanted to make more to get more outfits. This was despite the fact that he was working about 4 matches per card (3 falls of a tag match and a match under a mask at the beginning of the night). Jarrett saw what was happening and would treat Ferris right when he was booking. Whenever Lawler would book, he’d leave. (Sidenote- For those who don’t know, Lawler and Jarrett would switch the booking duties every 6 months). Says that Lawler paid somewhere in the 6-figure range to get out of his statutory rape case in 1993.

Wasn’t happy with Lawler’s WWF bashing once Vince went national. Lawler would call the WWF guys drugged up faggots, sued the WWF for gate receipts because Harley Race wrestled as the King of wrestling, etc.

Says that stories will differ depending on who you ask, because different people are there for different things. Says that Road Warrior Hawk used to tell jokes about Vince chasing after little boys to Vince’s face.

IC title controversy in early 1988- HTM wasn’t ready to lose the belt in early 1998 because the money was so good. He was wondering if he’d get a match on the Main Event, though, as it was guaranteed to be a HUGE payoff as there were 4 matches on the card and one of them was Hulk vs. Andre the Giant part 2. (Saturday Night’s Main Event was a HUGE payday for talent, as they’d make money from the amount of tickets sold then get a payment from NBC for about the same amount when the matches aired)

It turns out he WAS on the card, but he was supposed to lose the title to Randy Savage. Vince had brought Savage, Liz, HTM, and Jimmy Hart to meet with him and Pat Patterson about the match. When everyone was there, Vince spent all his time telling Savage about how he wanted to “stick a rocket on your ass and send you to the moon.” The finish was supposed to be a 3-count in the center of the ring and then the HTM gimmick would never be seen again. When HTM asked Vince what would happen to him, he was told that he’d be “rebuilt”, which meant being in the opening match working on a new gimmick and there was no guarantee he’d ever make good money again.

When Vince stopped taking his calls, he decided to jump with the belt to the NWA and called promoter Jim Barnett. Unlike Vince, Barnett took his call immediately, listened to him, and told him to call back tomorrow after he’d gotten ahold of NWA Mid-Atlantic owner Jim Crockett in the Bahamas and on NO circumstances to do the job on TV. He told him to call back using his real name to keep the rumor mill from leaking his call back to Vince McMahon. He was going to be brought in ASAP, but Jimmy Hart convinced him to talk to Vince first. Vince still wouldn’t take his calls, but he gave him a message through WWF road agent Blackjack Lanza saying “talk to me or I’m jumping with the belt.” Vince called him back 2 minutes later to talk and HTM told him that he’d only lose the belt to 2 people at the time… Hogan, because he was his friend, and Vince because it was his belt, but only if he had the balls to come after it himself. Said that conversation was recycled into the Smoking Skull Belt angle in 1999 between Steve Austin and McMahon because he’d told McMahon that “the belt was going over the fireplace at my house” if he wanted to come get it. They talked about the finish and agreed that a three-count in the center of the ring was A finish but not necessarily THE finish to the match. Thinks that the finish was changed to a double countout.

That booking snafu caused the whole landscape of Wrestlemania 4 to change, as Ted Dibiase had been promised a win over Hogan in the ME to win the belt. That was changed to Savage going over Dibiase in the final. Says that Dibiase’s still pissed at him over that, but that Vince could have given Ted the belt at any time but never did.

Jake Roberts- Fine to work with, good guy. As a worker, he was in the same class as a Ricky Steamboat or a Ricky Morton, which meant he was a GREAT wrestler. Enjoyed working with him. Has a lot of demons.

Andre- Like Dr D, he was very straightforward with you. He HATED Jake, Ultimate Warrior, and Big John Studd. He was tempermental, especially when drunk or in pain, but loved HTM and his son.

Savage’s treatment of Liz- He confirmed the stories about Savage locking Liz into bathrooms and basements when he went out for matches. Says that Liz used to be a ring rat and that OVW trainer Rip Rogers had broken her in. Said that Savage is one of the most paranoid guys he knows in the business and that they’d say hi to each other these days, but not talk.

Steroids and steroid trial- There was always pressure about steroids, but that was to keep up with everyone else rather than Vince forcing people to use them. Drugs will always be used in wrestling, both in moderation and abuse. He was deposed for the steroid trial and they wanted him to appear at the trial despite not having anything to say. They wanted him to speed from Memphis to Phoenix when he was moving out there so that they could have a subpoena waiting for him. They ended up leaving a day sooner than they expected and didn’t call anyone while they drove out to Phoenix. Once they arrived there, they put everything in storage, dumped the U-Haul, and flew to Canada. The government then started harassing his relatives to tell them where he was and to get him to come back to the US to testify.

Thinks his last run in the WWF was Vince’s revenge for the IC title situation.

Ricky Steamboat- Really good 20+ minute matches each night. Was upset that he was taken off the road so soon after HTM won the belt because he wanted to work with him more.

Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake- OK run with him in late 87 and early 88. If Vince had offered him a lot of money, he’d have lost a hair match to Beefcake then come back with a wig claiming that Jimmy Hart’s hair tonic brought his hair back. Unfortunately, Vince couldn’t take the hints he made in interviews.

Wasn’t too happy to make $3000 at Wrestlemania 4 when Hogan picked up $3 million in a match with Andre in the middle of the card.

Ultimate Warrior- When he started in the WWF, he was on the C shows against guys like Hercules Hernandez in an attempt to get him over. When HTM found out he was going to work with Warrior, he asked Herc about him. Herc said he dreaded getting up in the morning because he knew what he had to face that night. Warrior couldn’t work, so they just kicked the shit out of each other instead. HTM taught him how to slow down, but that Rude taught him how to work a good 20 minutes match. Said that working matches that long killed his gimmick, though, as he was like Goldberg was with his “spear, jackhammer, three count” matches every night. He came up with the finish at Summerslam 88 because he knew Vince wanted to send Warrior to the moon because Hogan was doing movies and he needed draws out on the road every night. Made $22 grand for that match and it only lasted 15 seconds.

Greg Valentine- After both of their singles runs were over, they were thrown together as a tag team. Says that they worked together well because Greg’s a good wrestler and HTM was an entertainer. Rick Rude suggested the name Rhythm and Blues for the team. Greg wasn’t happy with dying his hair black, but it “was great business.” The team didn’t work out because the Road Warriors were signed, which meant they weren’t needed to win the tag belts. Shortly thereafter, HTM was made into a commentator and Greg was released.

Jimmy Snuka- When he was brought back in after HTM lost the IC belt, HTM went to Vince and asked that he be put in a program to put Snuka over. Said he made as much working with Snuka at the C-shows as he would have made with anyone else at the other shows. Snuka was easy to work with except that the Superfly Splash hurt like a bitch.

Commentating- That was more cutthroat than wrestling as you’d be sitting beside Vince doing your job, you’d have job security in that position, and it was MUCH harder to get over there than in the ring.

Dusty Rhodes- Fat bastard who’s full of shit. Told all of the locker room in the WWF that he’d bring them with him to WCW when he got the booking job there, then wouldn’t return calls when Rick Martel, Koko B Ware, and Dino Bravo tried to go to there.

Bret again- He didn’t really grow from the Stampede days. And as for the Harts-Bulldogs tag matches, it would be the same as if he’d worked matches against the Rock and Roll Express since they’d worked about 2000 matches together.

Facing Hogan- He got a few shots at him while still the IC champ and they drew money with the WWF Title vs. IC title match. Everyone LOVED working with Hogan because they made huge money. Paul Orndorff made $50,000 just for the match they had at The Big Event. Some people got runs with Hogan they didn’t deserve, like the Big Boss Man. Others, like Savage, got several runs with Hogan.

Undertaker- Didn’t really know him but he seemed like a nice guy. He thought the gimmick would never work because he was the first guy to get a professional costume and makeup job before going to the ring.

Kerry Von Erich- Was somewhere out there in his own galaxy. Promoter’s kids, as a rule, are usually fucked up. He would take an hour to do a promo off of a single cue card because he was so fucked up. Took a bunch of GHB and overdosed on a plane, so they had to land to get him to the hospital. Only got to work with him on an indy show after Kerry left the WWF.

WCW- Knew that Hogan was bringing in a lot of former WWF guys to come in with him. Jimmy Hart asked him to come in. Flair called him to come in for a tryout, which pissed him off immensely because Flair had known him for about 20 years then. When he was brought in, Bischoff immediately pissed him off by saying that he wasn’t a fan of his and he brought him in to get Hart off his back. He was pressured to move to Tampa or Atlanta but he’d just moved to Phoenix at this point. They also put him on a nightly deal “until they could get some contracts taken care of”, which never happened. Brad Armstrong’s deal got renewed for three years because they didn’t contact him… and he hadn’t worked there in a year. Lord Steven Regal (now William Regal in WWE) used the Miami newspaper’s wrestling guy to hold up WCW for money… and it worked. Savage came in for HUGE money. However, they never negotiated with him.

Starrcade 94- A part of his nightly deal was that he wasn’t supposed to job on TV. When he showed up, they told him he was jobbing to Johnny B Badd (Marc Mero or, rather, Mr. Rena Mero, Sable’s husband). He went up to Bischoff and told him he wasn’t jobbing to Mero unless he got a contract. Bischoff accused him of holding him up for money. HTM claimed he just wanted a guarantee he’d be working tomorrow. Etc. Etc. Etc. Pretty much, Bischoff kept cutting off negotiations, so he just walked out. He was pissed that Hogan didn’t get him a contract, even if it was just a $50,000 a year deal.

Dr D. and Wrestlemania- Dr. D came up with the Wrestlemania concept, all the way down to Mr. T being in the match and Muhammed Ali being the ref. He told Hogan about it and Hogan told Vince about it. Unfortunately for him, he slapped the shit out of 20/20 reporter John Stossel under Vince’s instructions and got blackballed. He was still around at the time of Wrestlemania, but the heat on him was so great that the heel team in the ME was Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff instead. He says that Dr. D cracked after that and started threatening Hogan and McMahon, which is why they have so much security at Titan Towers and around McMahon personally.

Jeff Jarrett- He feels that Jeff was given the HTM gimmick as a slap at him. He isn’t happy with Jarrett using it for one because he could never get over outside of his daddy’s territory and because he isn’t better than HTM at it, let alone that he’s been in the business about 15 years and should have gotten over somehow by now. He said that Debra overshadowed Jarrett in WCW because she looked too good and took all the focus off of him. Said the fact that Jarrett has used his gimmick 3 different times with little success (WWF in 94-95, WWF in 98-99, and WCW from 99 on) just proves how stupid he is. Finds it funny that with the exception of Val Venis getting Rick Rude’s old gimmick, his is the only one that is getting recycled.

The Rock- Knew he would make it because he looks great, can talk, and can wrestle. Wanted him to be his “protégé” in the dumbass angle that introduced Rockabilly (a retooled Billy Gunn) to the world. Says that Rock is the future of the business because Austin is a flash in the pan due to all his injuries and that Mick Foley set the bar too high for when he comes back. Rock does reasonable stuff that can be done for years.

Montreal- Pissed off that he left the locker room before Bret whipped Vince’s ass. Rude told him all about it the next day. He says that the people filming Wrestling With Shadows got lucky with the Montreal stuff because Bret is unbelievably boring under normal circumstances. He knew going into the match that Bret wouldn’t job, let alone to Shawn Michaels, so it was going to be an interesting night.

Brian Christopher / Grandmaster Sexay- Talented, but small. Not close to him despite him being related to him through Jerry Lawler. Lawler didn’t even raise him, as he divoriced Brian’s mother when he was very young. Doesn’t think he’ll succeed with Lawler in the WWF because Lawler kept making a show of applying the rules to Brian, such as making sure he’s fined for being 2 minutes late.

Heat with Lawler over being on commentary- There probably was some. It’s hard to get over without being in the ring. He got picked to work commentary with Vince one night on a German PPV. Jake would write him in to do commentary, but Vince Russo would write him out. It was a struggle until Jake left, then he was screwed.

Vince Russo- Power hungry. Didn’t turn WWF around, Wrestlemania 14 did because of all the mainstream publicity that Mike Tyson brought by being the main event enforcer. Doesn’t think adult stuff should be on the show all the time. Russo had 26 girls on the payroll at one time but few wrestlers.

Triple H- Not surprised he succeeded. Respectful, talented, interviews have improved since he used to see him at Killer Kowalski’s shows. Got caught up in the Clique, but surpassed them all.

Kevin Nash- Big Lazy. Overpaid and overrated. Least drawing WWF champion of all time. Untalented.

Scott Hall- Never impressed him. Doesn’t think he was worth 1.2 million a year to WCW. Same deal with Nash. Thinks that if the company isn’t making money, it’s obviously a problem with the top guys.

ECW- Sad to see that it’s gone because it was another place for guys to go to and start out, but there were WAY too many guys destroying their bodies for not enough money. Thinks Paul E went in the wrong direction by getting more extreme, as there’s only so high a balcony that RVD can do a jump from.

Rockabilly gimmick- It was given as punishment to Billy Gunn, not as a way to fuck with HTM. Billy pitched enough of a fit to get out of jobbing to Rob Van Dam on RAW (this was during the ECW invasion of 1997), so they punished him by sticking him in a dead end gimmick. Billy also pulled a routine like Steve Regal did in WCW to get more money and it worked for him in the WWF. Says that Jim Ross is full of shit talking about how good Billy is. Said he flops like a fish on the mat and that he’s too roided up to work anymore.

Sunny- Has some demons obviously, but was respectful, beautiful, and talented. Heard a bunch of stories about her but never got screwed with by her. Talks about Queen Bee struggles between her and Sable, then how Sable encountered the same things when she won.

Is the business overexposed? He leans towards yes on it. The business is cyclical and will cycle eventually, but figures it may be a while this time.

Where does he see the business in 5 years? Going back to straight heels and faces because it’s hard to do a Fatal Fourway where everyone’s getting cheered. Liked the Mark Henry / Mae Young stuff, though.

Ribs pulled in the business- Doesn’t like any involving defecation, such as in Sunny’s food or in someone’s bag. The exception is someone shitting in Lawler’s crown in 1993. Doesn’t like ribs that damage people’s property, such as destroying someone’s clothes like the Bulldogs did often.

Does he keep up the business? Not really. It’s just 5 top guys and a bunch of midcarders. Slams WCW for using training camp guys. Says that you have to grow superstars, not throw them out there and hope it works out. Rock is a good example of that.

Thinks most of the books written by wrestlers are bullshit. Arn Anderson leaves out the story about him getting his toupee ripped off by Bob Armstrong during his first TV match. Rock’s only been in the business 5 years. Etc. etc. etc.

Regrets? Getting too emotional when he should have done business.

Anything to say to new guys in the business? If you’re breaking in, use the business as a hobby unless you get a WWF contract. Don’t kill yourself for peanuts.

There are some matches on here but, due to moving this week, I misplaced the tape after I finished the actual review and can't rate them this week. I'll include them in next week's column.

Thoughts: I'd say that Honkytonk Man's interview is mostly on the level, as his story tends to check out when compared to other accounts. If anything, he is smart enough to just slightly stretch the truth when he lies instead of telling whoppers. Even is this is mostly bullshit, it's still impressive to watch because he doesn't hold back and covers some of the more interesting stories in modern wrestling history, especially the IC title flap at The Main Event.

HIGHLY recommended.

The matches:

Blonde Bombers vs. Ricky Morton and Bill Dundee- This is a Memphis match circa 1980, back when Honkytonk Man had blonde hair and a beard, and Morton looked like a 90-pound Paul Orndorff and had brown hair instead of blonde. This is an okay match, but nothing special. With the possible exception of Latham, all of the wrestlers in the match are very good, but their offense hasn't aged well in 22 years.

Promo- The Blonde Bombers take an opportunity to disparage the Gibson brothers (Ricky and Robert).

Bombers vs. Ricky Morton and Steve Regal- This is the blonde Steve Regal, NOT the one in the WWEff. Good match, as the Bombers cheat to knock out Morton for the win.

Jean Louis, Joe LaDuke, Jimmy Valiant, and Johnny Valiant vs. Wayne Ferris, Dick the Bruiser, Tommy Gilbert (Eddie Gilbert's father, IIRC), and Bill Dundee- Breaks down into a schmoz for a no-contest. Fun while it lasts, though.

Bob Armstrong vs. "Honky Tonk" Wayne Ferris- Bob Armstrong is the father of WCW jobber Brad Armstrong and Road Dogg. It's a good match despite the horrible quality of the footage. This is shortly after Ferris joined the original version of the Midnight Express (a heel stable in the Continental territory in Alabama).

Promo- The Midnight Express (Continental's version) cuts a promo about the Armstrong family and about why Wayne Ferris has replaced Norville Austin (Koko B. Ware's former tag partner) in the Midnight Express.

Honkytonk Man vs. some unknown indy jobber- I think this was included on the tape as a sample of what the average promoter will get if they hire him. He comes out to his "Honkytonk Man" theme song, sings along with the crowd, and has a match with an unknown indy wrestler that is several minutes long and uses the WWEff match formula. He's not BAD, but I'm not sure if he's worth the asking price I'd heard to book him (about $800 a show).