Repost: Barry Windham Shoot Interviewby Brandon Truitt
Dec 15, 2003, 19:00
This is a repost of an article originally posted on September 30, 2002.
There's no new shoot this week because of a family Christmas party in the Big Sleazy. On the plus side, I've finally located a DVD player capable of handling the DVD-Rs that Highspots used for the shoot interviews I got from them, which means I'm going to finally get around to the Crash Holly, Ole Anderson, and Taylor from Tough Enough 1 shoots.
On a completely unrelated note, Alias fucking rules. I've finally started watching the first season of it after its been on my shelf for a month and it's been another in a long line of TV series I got as blind-buys (buying it without seeing it before) that turned out to be VERY good.
For those of you who've never seen it, it's the story of a grad student (Jennifer Garner, who played Elektra in the Daredevil movie) who works for an agency called SD-6 and believes it to be a part of the CIA... until she tells her fiancee about it and SD-6 kills him. At that point, she finds out that SD-6 is actually one branch of a group of rogue agents from countries such as Libya and Ethopia and starts working as a double agent for the CIA to bring down SD-6.
By the way, other good blind-buys were Oz, The Shield, 24, V, and The Sopranos and all of those are worth picking up and watching, although you may think twice about picking up the second V miniseries, V: Final Battle, due to some bad plot devices.
Another series that is an iffy buy would be the original Outer Limits series from the 1960s.
There are several good episodes in the first season, such as OBIT (The military begins using a new machine, called an OBIT, to monitor the private thoughts of the base employees and their families, but no one seems to know where the OBIT came from machines come from.), Hundred Days of the Dragon (an "Eastern power" uses a new technology that makes skin malleable to replace a popular presidential candidate with one of their agents), and Nightmare (US astronaut soldiers landing on the planet Ebon are captured by bat-like aliens and subjected to hallucinogenic drugs and interrogation).
The problem is that there are many episodes that did not age well due to major changes in technology over the last 40 years, which makes some episodes harder to watch than others. However, if you like The Twilight Zone and want to see a similar show with more of a science-fiction tilt, give this a try.
This has been a weird week in wrestling... It was Raw Is Boring on Monday, which was better than it's been the last few weeks by default more than anything else. Then it was Smackdown Is Workrate on Thursday, with Edge vs. Eddy and Benoit vs. Angle vs. Rey tearing down the house. Now three guys (Horace Hogan, Shawn Stasiak, and Mike Awesome) have been released and there are rumors of more guys being cut soon, including the alleged substance abuse poster child of RAW, Jeff Hardy. (Nobody Gets Higher Than RVD doesn't count because the worst he's done is blow a FEW spots, not blow EVERY spot in a TV main-event while wrestling in slow-motion.)
Of the three confirmed releases and the ones on the horizon, the only one that surprises me slightly was Mike Awesome. Dave Meltzer had been suspecting since the LAST set of talent cuts that Horace Hogan had been cut and Planet Stasiak hadn't made an appearance on RAW since the initial Three Minutes bit with fellow Heat-fixture DLo Brown.
Awesome had been good in 1999 when he was facing Masato Tanaka and Spike Dudley in ECW, but never really recovered after jumping to WCW while he was STILL ECW champion. Bad booking and injuries killed him there, then the same things did him in during the Invasion despite being the first WCW wrestler to win a WWF belt, pinning Rhyno for the Hardcore belt under the 24-7 rule. (When management lost faith in Awesome, they took the belt off him and RVD ended up it and went on to become, arguably, the #1 or #2 face in the company within months.)
While I'm not sure if Awesome could really cut it in the ring anymore, he should have gotten the chance to show what he could do on Smackdown or RAW instead of wasting away on Velocity or sitting in the background of dumb skits while the bookers run bad matches like Regal-Harvard vs. Bubba-Spike or DVon-Faarooq into the ground. As has been proven in the past few months, guys whose careers had been totally written off, such as Booker T, Goldust, Stevie Richards, and Tommy Dreamer, have done wonders when given some time on the main show and something proper to work with.
Of those I listed above, Booker T's career had been dead since shortly after the Invasion PPV, where he pinned Kurt Angle with Steve Austin's interference to win the main event match. After he became the job-bitch of the Alliance, nothing really saved him for a year... not even a mini-program with Austin in December. Goldust, on the other hand, was one of four WWF wrestlers brought back in to the Royal Rumble. The other three were "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig, Val Venis, and The Godfather. Of those, Curt Hennig was thought to be the one with the most impact and both Goldust and Godfather were completely written off. I'd like to meet the person who said that Goldust would have the biggest impact of the four and call them a goddamn liar.
Stevie and Dreamer resurrected their careers by having some of the best hardcore matches in recent WWF history by using the ECW style instead of the shitty style that had typified the belt since Crash Holly started defending it 24-7 in 2000.
While Stevie's career has temporarily stalled again, Dreamer is rather over for a guy who was on Jakked for the better part of a year. Hell, when Dreamer and Billy Gunn faced each other at a Jakked taping last October, I unsuccessfully tried to start a "These guys suck!" chant. At least we now know that I was right about ONE of them... :D
Equally as important in redeeming Dreamer was the unification match between him and Rob Van Dam about a month ago on RAW. After that, a guy I'd once called a washed-up human billboard for an emergency room had redeemed himself in my eyes. This is probably the best Dreamer's been since his feud with Raven in the mid-90's ECW.
Anyway, where was I? ...oh yeah, I... HATE... SAUERKRAUT!
Major props to anyone who actually gets THAT joke without me explaining it. For those who don't get it (probably 99.9% of you), the song "Albuquerque" on Weird Al Yankovic's Running With Scissors album is a LONG rambling rant that appears to go nowhere for about 10 minutes before he says the line above.
Next week's shoot, as of now, will probably be the one with Greg "The Hammer" Valentine because I need to do a short one of these (The Hammer's shoot is about an hour and 40 minutes long with NO matches. This is opposed to the Windham shoot which, by my count, is in the 3 hour range as I'm writing this between the opening match and the actual interview.
After that one, I plan on getting back to my previous schedule that included Bobby Eaton and Ricky Morton, with other stars of the 1980's NWA to come after them.
As always, if you have comments on my rants or have suggestions of ones I should do in the future, drop a message to me at this address.
And one last thing before I start... for anyone thinking of getting The Outer Limits: Original Series Season One, it is a set of FOUR DVD-18 (double-sided, double layered) discs totalling about 27.5 hours, or a whopping 1650 minutes of programming... the longest running time I've seen on a DVD set by far. At least this is an anthology show and NOT a serialized show like 24, which I've ALSO recently bought.
Barry Windham Shoot Interview (taped 2-19-01)
Barry Windham, as you may know, is the son of Blackjack Mulligan, brother of Kendall Windham, and brother-in-law of Mike Rotundo (Irwin R. Shyster). He's also a multi-time WWF tag champ, a former NWA champ, a member of the most highly regarded lineup of the Four Horsemen, and a fairly honest guy. My only problem with him is that he's a bit scatterbrained and will start a topic but never finish it up (meaning I have to complete some of his thoughts), but I think that's residue left over from some nasty concussions he's had over the years.
The tape starts out with footage of Windham saving someone from the Four Horsemen (then with Lugar in the 4th slot), beating up Ric Flair pretty bad in the process and having an impromptu match(?). I think this may have set up their match at Crockett Cup 87, but I'm unsure of when this aired. Dusty Rhodes and the Rock and Roll Express come out to watch Windham's back while takes on Flair, and ends with Windham winning by DQ after the Horsemen get involved.
The interview opens as RF is interviewing Windham in the Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling dojo in Marietta, Georgia. TCW is Dusty Rhodes' current indy fed.
How did he get started? He was going to West Texas State, which produced some of the GREAT wrestlers of all time including Terry Funk, Bruiser Brody, and Tully Blanchard. He got into the business setting up the ring for Dick Murdoch's territory in 1979. He couldn't wrestle at first because he was on football scholarship to West Texas, but JJ Dillon came to town one night and insisted he wrestle him. He went back to doing grunt-work and learned the business-side of wrestling from Terry Garvin, whom he puts over heavily. He refereed for QUITE a while before he was allowed to start wrestling full-time.
His father's reaction- Blackjack never really asked him if he wanted to get into the business. When he found out Barry was wrestling in violation of his scholarship, he apparently wasn't happy but didn't say much. (Windham claims he was fast enough to make it as a pro football player (4.6 40 yard dash at 238 pounds) and could deep-snap, as well as being a heavily decorated amateur wrestler, so those options were open until he violated his scholarship)
His first major territory- He'd worked Amarillo before but that was more like working a HUGE region rather than a real territory. He thinks he started working in Florida for Eddie Graham and Dusty Rhodes in February 1980.
Guys he learned from- He learned a lot by watching Don Muraco. Unlike the current style in the business, Muraco would be slow and methodical but would make every single move mean something. Manny Fernandez was a guy he learned the technical side of the business from. Dusty also coached him on a lot of stuff.
Tag-teaming with Scott McGee- Scott was a lot like him, as they both learned from hanging around the rest of the guys in Florida. They were supposedly a pussy-magnet tag team or, as Jerry Lawler and Jerry Jarrett would call teams like them and the Rock and Roll Express, "blowjobs".
Bobby Jaggers- He's always got a story to top any that you told him. He could talk and wrestle, but he doesn't think he'd even get a shot today because he was a heavyset guy and didn't have "the look".
Mike Graham- One of his best friends. Hard worker, worked his way up from setting up the ring to finally wrestling. During the mid-90's while both were working for WCW, they'd be buying Harley Davidson motorcycles from people up north during the winter and either keep them or resell them in the south, which allowed them to pick up a nice amount of pocket change along with some nice hardware.
Eddie Graham- Long-winded, only had a 6th grade education but learned out in the world VERY well. His suicide was a tragedy and was probably the result of unchecked mental illness. Had a great relationship with him
Dick Slater- "Like a Terry Funk clone." Slater watched Funk like Windham watched Muraco. Hard worker, very stiff. If he hits you, it WILL hurt.
Kevin Sullivan- Vivid imagination. He predicts their shoot with him will be pretty interesting (I'll find THAT out in a few weeks when I get around to watching it). "He was like the Devil's Advocate" and came up with a lot of unusual stuff like having Blackjack, Barry, Kendall Windham, and Mike Rotundo team up and discuss how they're family.
Teaming with Blackjack- He'd been riding with Manny Fernandez in Florida when Manny flipped the truck they were in, causing Barry to get a severe concussion. Bugsy McGraw, who's now in the medical profession, was behind them and helped them. Bugsy thought that Barry's head may have been out the window and hit the ground when the truck flipped. Barry didn't want to stay at the hospital, so he went home and went to sleep, and woke up four days later when Blackjack showed up. Blackjack put him in the passenger seat of his (Barry's) classic Camaro, picked up his stuff, then took him home to the Carolinas. When he got his marbles back together, Blackjack told him that he couldn't go back to Florida and that Jim Crockett was willing to hire him if he'd wrestle as Blackjack Jr. He says that he looked rail-thin at that time because he'd lost weight because of the accident and Blackjack was about 6'9" and 300+ pounds.
Knoxville- Blackjack bought the Knoxville territory and brought him with him. They were so similar personality-wise that they couldn't get along that well. He talks about how his training is lax today because Blackjack made him train so hard as a kid, doing thousands of Hindu squats each day, running miles, etc. They covered from Fisherville, VA down to Athens, GA. They made their own TV and he learned more of the business-side of wrestling by having to meet with TV station executives and so forth. They just did a straight hour of TV instead of planning it as a cost-cutting measure, so he had to learn how to improvise. He says that being able to cover up a mistake is a true sign of a professional.
Teaming with Ron Bass- They'd teamed in Florida after he'd stopped teaming with Blackjack. Talks about how his hair had a skunk-stripe for months because the black dye Blackjack had made him use didn't wash out well. He decided after the black FINALLY left that he'd just start dying it blonde.
Wrestling Flair in Florida for the first time- Dusty's idea. Flair had seen him before and agreed to do it, and they even brought Barry into Mid-Atlantic to challenge Flair because it worked out so well. Talks about how they were grooming several future NWA champions at the time, although he only mentions himself and Magnum TA. Talks about how Flair would do an hour broadway (time-limit draw) in one city then would fly into another to wrestle that night. They did a LOT of hour and 90-minute broadways, and talks about how good of shape they had to be in because they had to keep moving in those matches. Talks about how Flair's got a great mind for the business.
He and Dusty used to pull stuff on each other and bounce ideas off each other. One night, they randomly made a bet that Barry couldn't run a mile after wrestling an hour broadway. Barry got Dusty's Rolex for a week because of that.
Jake Roberts- Smart, sharp, real crafty, quick-tongued. They worked a lot together and, despite not watching his matches back and rating them (he liked to be able to mix it up every week), they had some great ones considering how green they were compared to the other guys in Florida.
Working with Joe LaDuke- Hard worker in the ring, but was very stiff. He thinks he's had the most stitches in his career from LaDuke because LaDuke was capable of drawing blood hardway.
Big John Studd- Good friend. A bit of a father figure. Studd chewed his ass one night because he was wearing his street boots in the ring and wanted him to keep his opponent's welfare in mind.
Teaming with Mike Rotundo in 1983- One of his best friends ever in addition to being his brother-in-law. (Mike and Barry's sister even named their oldest son Windham) Dusty paired off Mike and Barry and they started meshing well, then Mike started seeing Barry's sister. Mike's very formal on certain things, and made sure to ask Blackjack's permission to date Barry's sister. Blackjack respected him for it. They always keep in touch, even when Mike's touring with All Japan.
Harley Race- Harley took him to school in the ring and he respects him for it. Harley used him as a broomstick, but it was a learning experience when he was carried by him. Harley was a great ring psychologist and was capable of getting everyone on their feet.
Ending up in the WWF the first time- Dusty ran a show in the Orange Bowl in Miami and management's numbers came back lower than the actual attendance, so Dusty left Florida and took Mike Rotundo, Ron Bass, and Barry with him to Mid-Atlantic. The towns in Mid-Atlantic were on their asses at the time, so Dusty had to work hard on the storylines as well as getting guys to work hard in the ring, but promoter Jim Crockett wasn't taking care of the guys monetarily. Barry got a check for $134 for two weeks of wrestling, so he bailed on Crockett and it caused a large rift between him and Dusty. Blackjack hooked him up with George South, who was Vince McMahon's booker at the time, and Vince gave him a tryout which lead to a job. He ended up making $6000 in his first week, but is unsure if Vince did that for everyone to get their attention or if he did it in his case because he knew the chickenfeed Barry had gotten paid in Mid-Atlantic.
Locker room atmosphere in the WWF- He wasn't really accepted into the power clique of Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, and Paul Orndorff, but Orndorff did like him and took him under his wing. He ended up hooking Rotundo up with a job in the WWF, but Rotundo did it in his usual formal way and gave his two-week notice to Dusty and Crockett before leaving. He thinks Pat Patterson came up with the US Express concept and talked about how they were getting thousands of dollars each week and made about $200,000 a year in 1985.
Winning the tag belts from Dick Murdoch and Adrian Adonis- He'd known Murdoch all his life and Murdoch was a true character. He was happy-go-luck 95% of the time but you'd KNOW if it was that other 5% of the time. Adrian Adonis was a guy he didn't really understand. Adonis didn't like the idea of putting them over, so he refused to put them over for the belts one night. Murdoch eventually talked Adonis into working the match. Adonis and Murdoch were probably the biggest opposites he'd seen in the business and thinks it's horrible that Adonis died like he did (car accident), but he never really knew him well because Adonis didn't want to know him.
Early impressions of Vince- He was always treated well. He doesn't have any problems with Vince, but Vince has a LONG memory, which bit Barry in the ass years later. After having a 96-day run on the road, Rotundo eventually flipped out and disappeared. It turned out that he used one of the open-ended plane tickets Vince had given them and flew home to Florida, which Barry found out from his sister when he got back to the hotel. The next night, Barry went off HARDCORE on George Scott, Chief Jay Strongbow, and a few others, talked about how he was done in the WWF, then went home to Tampa and disconnected all his phones. Considering that they were criss-crossing the country and flying all the time instead of making regional loops and driving a few hours from town to town, it sounds HORRIBLE. He figures Vince would have worked with him if they'd talked, but he was too far gone. Rotundo, on the other hand, flew back a few nights later and just started working again. Around this time, something to the effect of "Aw FUCK!" came out of Barry mouth because he'd burned QUITE a few bridges when he'd walked out. Dan Spivey ended up in his spot eventually because Vince figured that he could clone Barry.
Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake- Valentine was PISSED that they didn't get a big-money run against them before winning the belts.
Kendall entering the business- He figures Kendall got involved in the business around 85 or so because of the Windham family angle in Florida. He went down and helped train Kendall along with Hiro Matsuda. Kendall was working hard every day and, when they thought he was ready, they threw him out there to be used as cannon fodder in the Windhams' feud with Kevin Sullivan's "family".
Talks about how people think he's older than he is because he's just been in the business so long.
Lex Lugar- Didn't know how to work. "Bob Roop did what he could with Lugar" but Lugar was too "mechanical". Windham got paired off with him and had to train him in the ring, and has at least one scar because of it that came at the beginning of a 45-minute match. He asked the referee Bill Alphonso how bad he was busted open and Fonzie said "Oh, MAN, you're not going to believe it." Lugar was freaking out the whole time because of the giant friggin' hole on Barry's head. Barry went to a doctor who had previous experience with Windham's unusual injuries, who sewed it up so he could work that night.
The prevous time he'd seen him was when he and Steve Kiern (WWF's Skinner were travelling together and Barry had just bought a new pistol. They were shooting at stuff and Kiern dropped the gun after firing, which fired again and shot Barry in the leg. Barry decided to use his pocket knife to dig the bullet out of his leg, then tied a bandanna around his leg to stop the bleeding. (He makes a lot of jokes about Kiern shooting him) The next day, he went to see the doctor, who started freaking out because it was a gunshot wound. Barry's response was "Uh... I was running through the woods when I fell and a BIG stick poked me hard.", so he got out of it without the doctor having to report it to the police. He STILL went out and wrestled that night with a gunshot wound on his leg.
Working for Jim Crockett again- Magnum TA had his accident in 1986. Barry had been sitting around Florida working with Bob Roop, Lugar, and Great Muta, who was in his first few years in the business. Barry talked about how he was keeping in touch with everyone through his car phone at the time. He found out about Magnum's crash the day after it happened, then he immediately jumped in the car and drove up to Charlotte. He stops for a second to collect himself while thinking about how tough Magnum had been to make it through that. Magnum begged Dusty to let Barry come back and he did it, despite antimosity towards Barry over ditching him for the WWF.
Working with Ronnie Garvin- Dusty brought him back in a low position on the car and had him work his way back up in case Barry decided to flip out and leave for the third time in his career. Talks about winning the US tag belts. After Dusty regained his confidence in him, Barry started rising back up the card.
Working with the Midnight Express- Bobby Eaton's one of the best workers in the business and was one of the most likeable guys in the business. Dennis Condrey was a really good worker, too. They'd go out and improvise matches because this was while kayfabe was still alive and they couldn't be spotted talking to each other outside the ring.
The 45-minute TV draw with Flair- "I think I've done more than one..." The Fayetteville one was supposed to be an hour, but was shorter than that due to cuts before it was aired. They knew each other very well, so they knew what each other could do and what the other was thinking. Randomly talks about "doing hour matches with Sgt. Slaughter of all people."
Working with Tully Blanchard- He wrestled him at the time that the Horsemen started. He talks about how people think he was one of the original Horsemen, instead of being in the third lineup after Ole Anderson and Lex Lugar had been in the group. He joined the group when he, Crockett, and Dusty realized that it was the perfect time for him to turn on Dusty, as well as his ability to lead a match making him a great heel (heels control most of the match, with the babyface's comeback usually being the limit of their involvement in the match's direction). He and Lugar were partners against Tully and Arn Anderson when he turned. Since Lugar was the #2 face at the time, it meant that Dusty, as the #1 face, was the next guy who'd face Windham after the Horsemen destroyed Lugar. (Typical Dusty logic... sacrifice someone to make a new guy, then use them to keep yourself over).
Nervous about the heel turn? No, because he'd get more control over the match as a heel (which was truer back then than it is now). Since he was able to work with the babyfaces who were getting stale facing the other Horsemen, he was able to inject some new life into the promotion. He then talks about how it was a major image change becoming a Horsemen, as he had to put his blue jeans and cowboy boots aside for nice suits and $1000 shoes. However, the timing was right for the turn so it was all good.
Working with the Road Warriors- Worked with Rotundo against them at the Orange Bowl show mentioned earlier. Both teams were tentative at first but things started working out when Windham decided to play heel and start calling the match, at which points things took off and it turned out well.
Working as a heel against Dusty- It was during Dusty's heyday. "He's still capable of getting over in the ring and on TV" (I challenge this because Dusty's old fat ass wouldn't be over) Talks about how Dusty always won.
Nikita Koloff- Worked his gimmick even with the boys, very stiff as well. Had working ability but was just a big strong guy. "When he hit you with something, you knew it was there."
"Dr. Death" Steve Williams- One of his good friends. Steve's first son is also named Windham. Talks about how wrestlers use many different styles in the business and that some people didn't want to work some, but he would work them all. He's had bones broken by Steve before... one night in Alexandria, LA, Steve blew a belly-to-back suplex which separated Windham's shoulder. He still finished the 45-minute match even with this injury coming in the first 5 minutes. "He's like a gorilla, so strong and everything." After that injury, Steve started to work his legs instead and, luckly, didn't break one of them.
Eddie Gilbert- Good pals when they worked together. Outstanding in-ring ability, knew his craft very well, and came from a similar background. He worked hard to get into the business. Outrageous sense of humor, which made them start cracking jokes and such with each other mid-match and nearly break out laughing. Put over his mind for the business and booking ability.
Ricky Steamboat- "Probably the best babyface of his era, and possibly of all time." Nothing but a gentlemen, and has his total respect. (Another common thread... every guy in one of these who's talked about Steamboat puts him over HEAVILY as a person and as a wrestler.)
Was he contacted to go with Tully and Arn Anderson to the WWF? No. Talks about how the Horsemen angle had run its course and egos were clashing, so it was probably for the best that they jumped to the WWF. Doesn't think that their move turned out as good as it should have.
The locker room's reaction to Tully, Arn, and Ronnie Garvin jumping all around the same time? He thinks that Crockett's business had already peaked and was on its way back down, and Turner was in the process of buying the company. Talks about the cyclical nature of the business and how the wrestling fad had run its course at that time. Guys weren't getting the pay they were used to, so they jumped to the WWE. Guys were also starting to get guaranteed contracts at the time. Tully and Arn weren't offered contracts because Crockett was too busy dealing with the Road Warriors' contracts, so that probably entered into it (which, according to Tully, was a big deal in this situation). The Road Warriors got what he feels was too much (about $500,000 each a year), and that it hurt morale in the locker room because no one was making much at the time.
Bam Bam Bigelow- Huge guy, great worked for a guy that size, and loaded with personality when he's in the locker room. "I don't want to compare him to Bobby Jaggers..." but he's got the bigger fish story for everything. Talks about doing a superplex with him, which broke the center timber of the ring, stopping the show until they could jerry-rig something to fix it.
Sting- Worked with his at first when he (Barry) was a face. He said that you could feel that he had "it", which he described as incredible charisma. Sting learned as he went along and, while not one of the greatest workers ever, he was still pretty good. Doesn't think Sting was comfortable in his character at the time (bleach-blonde flattop Sting from pre-1996, not the later Crow Sting), which hurt his performances at times. He was one of the most over faces of all time.
Going to the WWF in 1989- He was one of the last guys to get a guaranteed contract, and Jim Herd didn't want to deal with him. He knew he wasn't making what other people on top were making, and it upset him because he was playing ring general to several sub-par workers. He doesn't name names, but says that some very over guys couldn't work and you could tell it when they faced each other (which means Lugar was one of them, and possibly Sting at that time as well). Talks about how Pat Patterson was living near Tampa at that time and had been talking to him, and had said that Vince had forgiven and forgotten about what happened in 1985 (he says that Vince NEVER forgets, though). He called Vince himself and then gave his notice to Jim Herd, citing that Herd wasn't willing to work with him on a contract.
Becoming the Widowmaker- Vince said he had a spot for him, so he flew him up to Stamford to discuss it. Says that the Widowmaker gimmick was basically his normal self, except his hair was slicked back in a ponytail, and that he was named after a famous bull that had gored a lot of different cowboys, including some fatalities. He says he was in the biggest and best condition of his life at the time, at about 330 pounds, and that was what Vince liked, except the gimmick died a quick death because of his family's legal troubles.
Blackjack and Kendall's counterfeiting bust- They got arrested in 1989 or early 1990 while Kendall was wrestling for WCW and Blackjack was a road agent there. Barry went to Vince and convinced him to give him a release to save the company face when the Secret Service started trying to tie him into it. Says that Blackjack and Kendall had made a mistake in judgement and had trusted the wrong people, and got a minimum sentence out of it, but the authorities kept trying to tie him into it. Claims it was like being under house arrest because he was constantly harrassed over it, but the grand jury didn't indict him, but that the shadow of it was over him for about 4 years. He says about how he normally doesn't like to talk about it, but that he's being honest and that he only discussed it because it was connected to certain career decisions he made.
All Japan- He went overseas to work at that time and AJ's owner, Giant Baba, had told him that he'd always have a job there if he wanted it. Herd tracked him down while he was there. "Jim Herd is not one of the most soft-spoken people on the planet." (Now THERE'S an understatement) Herd basically cussed him out for dodging people and for working in Japan when he could be for WCW. He said that the locker room was pressuring Herd to bring him back, so he told Baba and headed back to the US.
Jim Herd- He didn't even call Barry into his office at the time he came back and asked him what it would take to keep him satisfied. He was over-polite to him because he thinks it pissed people off if you won't show them you're upset. He says he made a fair offer of a three years at $300,000 and a a fourth year at $400,000. Herd responded so quick that he mentally went "Aw SHIT, I should have asked for twice that." He handled business in a VERY asshole-ish matter, which may have worked in his other businesses but not in wrestling. (NO ONE who's worked for Herd in WCW can stand him. Terry Funk and Jim Cornette go off on long diatribes about what an asshole he is while Ricky Steamboat, being the gentleman everyone always describes him as, just politely refuses to talk about Herd.)
The Black Scorpion- He denies that he was supposed to be the Scorpion when he was brought back in during 1990.
Sidenote about Barry and the Black Scorpion (not in the interview)- While he wasn't the actual Black Scorpion, he DID have to chop off his hair in order to pull off one of the dumbest endings in wrestling history during a Sting-Sid match that year. As a part of the dumb Black Scorpion storyline, the lights went out during the Sid-Sting title match and, when they came back on, "Sting" was pinned by Sid. It was quickly discovered, though, that Windham was "Sting" and the REAL Sting came back out to beat Sid. This goes right up there with the Kurt Angle / Eric Angle switcheroo and Steve Austin dropping a car containing Triple H from a crane, BOTH of which were from the supremely bad Survivor Series 2000 PPV. Not so coincidentally, Survivor Series 2000 was also the first major event ever booked by Stephanie McMahon.
Sid as a Horsemen- He was still rough in the ring but was very impressive physically. Soft-hearted guy but had a reputation for being flighty, like he has. Never got to be friends with him because he was never really around it, but Rotundo is great friends with Sid. Working with him was a bit rough, but he learned and made a lot of money in the business.
Flair jumping in 1991 while still the champion- It was a lot like the Tully and Arn situation. He has two opinions of Ric... one in which he grew up around him and was great friends with him. The other was that Ric was unprofessional because he was supposed to win the belt from him at the Bash, and he ended up leaving with the belt instead. (This is contrary to MOST stories, in that Lugar is usually said to be the guy Flair refused to job for) Talks about how Flair broke the lineage of the title and messed up how the business was supposed to work. He knows Herd wasn't a people person, so Ric probably had contract problems with him and handled it wrong in his opinion. Talks about how the belt was abused badly in the WWF and lost a lot of respect over it, and that Windham got passed over for the title for Lugar because it was thought to be better for business.
Brian Pillman- They and Mike Graham used to go out drinking a lot. Both he and Pillman had a reputation for partying all night and still being able to bring it in the ring the next day. Lots of good memories of him.
Dustin Rhodes- He's hard to be friends with. He is Dustin's best friend, and Dustin is a LOT like Dusty. Dustin doesn't have a lot of friends because of the Dusty-like qualities.
Steve Austin- He saw potential in him and thought he left over contract issues and not for other reasons. Said that Austin came up to him and said that Barry looked exactly like what he wanted to be. When he worked with him, he saw a lot of ability in him. (This viewpoint on Austin's departure from WCW is contrary to the story Austin's told, where he got fired via an answering machine message left by Eric Bischoff's secretary.)
Kip Frey- Kip was a different kind of guy from Jim Herd. He was a bright guy, but thinks he wasn't suited for the job and didn't want it. Too nice and didn't understand the business.
Bill Watts- "Almost a clone of Jim Herd." He'll say what's on his mind and doesn't care what people think of it. Thinks he could run another company successfully, but needs serious counseling in how to deal with people. He could talk to him but MANY people would run to avoid him. Tells a story of how he was in a tag match against the Miracle Violence Connection (Terry Gordy and Steve Williams), and the finish didn't go as planned. Afterwards, Watts bitched him out because he was the senior member in the ring. Windham told him that he was the wrong guy to bitch at because he made the best of a bad situation, and that he should bitch at the guys who forgot the finish. They got close to what Watts wanted with the finish he called, but weren't quite there. He was helping Watts book at the time, and quit over it because he wasn't getting paid anything extra for all the abuse Watts was subjecting him to.
Mick Foley- Craziest bump-taker ever next to Terry Funk. Very successful at creating his own character in addition to imitating Funk. When they worked together, they had fantastic matches because they both had the ability to adjust to each other's styles. They didn't go out of their way to be pals with each other, but Barry respects him a lot for what he's done in the business.
Most overrated wrestler in the business- Barry has to take a break before answering that and, about half an hour later, he comes back and says that it's probably him because he's always been told he has so much ability but there he was sitting at home for so long.
Working with the Japanese guys- He was the worker, so he got put with certain guys in order to pick up their style. Puts over Muta heavily for his ring ability but says his heart wasn't always into it because he was so far away from home most of the time. Talks about how Muta has re-invented himself over the years and he even passed him in the hall a few weeks ago at a Tokyo Dome show and didn't even recognize him. Talks about how Muta will get so over as a heel that he'll loop back around to being a face, much like Steve Austin.
Leaving WCW briefly- Doesn't remember exactly. Talks about the injuries he's had, including having one knee redone three times and the famous wrist injury which was done story-wise by having a car door closed on it at the pre-show for Halloween Havoc 91. He actually broke it giving a guy a bulldog at a house show. Talks about the surgery on his hand, where certain bones were shortened and others were removed, and how he didn't rehab it like he was supposed to. He taped it for every match for about 4 years, until both his knees blew out and he forgot about the wrist.
Drugs in the industry- He took painkillers while injured, and there's a reputation for guys in the business to abuse them. "You take a beer and a Vicodin and you're havin' fun." He, however, has legitimate bone and joint conditions which mean that he could legally have them prescribed if he chose to ask for them. Talks about people passing out on Soma tablets because the recommended dose is 1-2 pills and guys would take a handful of them at a time.
Talks about how he had one of his knees completely replaced (MCL, PCL, ACL, meniscus, etc. all at the same time) using cadaver parts. The first time he had it done, he just wore a kneepad over it in a match against Flair instead of a brace and tore it up 5 minutes into a 40-minute match. He did it while pivoting after hitting the ropes, which is similar to how I tore up the meniscus in MY knee several years ago. He talks about how they still tried to do as much as they could in the match. He claims that when he went in for the MRI after that, all the cadaver parts had died and it was only the cartilidge and the hamstring holding the knee together. The next time he had a different surgery in which his patella tendon (kneecap) was reworked to put his knee back together. Around that time he went to the WWF.
Going to the WWF in 1996- His contract in WCW ran out the day before he blew out his knee again, and Eric Bischoff quit taking his calls after promising to take care of him. They paid for the surgery, though. After that, he figured he'd try the WWF instead and called up Vince. He was the biggest he'd ever been, 365 pounds, at that time and had trained hard to get back down into the mid-200's because the business now wants guys who look healthy rather than "hosses" like his dad, Blackjack. When he came back, Vince sat him down and had a talk with him over his habit of leaving unexpectedly, and gave him the Stalker gimmick as a result. He says that Vince could have used him as Barry Windham, but decided to put him in camoflage instead. He went through with it, but slowly started doing a little less camoflage each time and slowly returning back to his own image. Vince called him on it one night, he didn't give a response to Vince's satisfaction, and got sent home and paid his downside until they made him and Bradshaw the New Blackjacks.
New Blackjacks- This was Vince's true revenge for Barry leaving in 1985. They put him against Bradshaw, to prepare for the gimmick, in what was supposed to be an 8-minute dark match, but it ran closer to 20 minutes. When they got back to the dressing room, Vince gave them the cold shoulder and got Jay Stongbow to send him right back out to do another match against Tony Anthony (SMW's Dirty White Boy, I think). He figures it was Vince's way of telling him "get in shape, fatass." He was sent home for a few months to get in shape, then he got called into a TV taping. When he got there, Vince chewed his ass and Bradshaw's ass for not looking like the original Blackjacks. They had to go out and find someone to cut all the hair off then dyed each other's hair. They looked like crap because that dye turned the skin around their hair black as well. Barry got a rep as "the little Blackjack" because he had to cut down on his weight again to work properly while Bradshaw was about 320 pounds. Guys would tell Bradshaw "Please tag in the little one" because he was so stiff. Eventually Vince quit booking them, so he got them booked in the All Japan tag tournament, which surprised the hell out of Vince because AJ didn't use his guys often.
West Texas Rednecks- When he came back to WCW, they put him in that gimmick and they got to have a lot of fun with it. It was Jimmy Hart's idea, and was the result of an off-hand comment he'd made about Barry and Kendall. Then, without the knowledge of himself, Kendall, or Bobby Duncum Jr, Curt Hennig went to Florida with Jimmy Hart and recorded the Rednecks song. The next week, he was expected to know how to play the drums and Kendall was expected to be playing the guitar in sync to the music, and says that the segments they were in were usually the highest rated ones of the show. He isn't sure why the gimmick was killed, but that he wasn't sure it was Hogan. He figures it was the overly-PC guys at CNN Center in Atlanta who had control over WCW who killed it off because they thought it was too racial (IIRC, they were the heel nemesis of Master P's rap stable).
Hogan- Straight-forward guy. They'd never worked together for whatever reason back in the day, and they had a long talk about it once in WCW. Hogan told him that he was one of the four guys in the business that he'd wanted to work with, but never got the chance to work with him.
Kevin Nash- Likes him. Known him years before he got into the business, when he was a bouncer at a club he used to go to. They've had an off-and-on friendship because something Kevin would go "off on his own plain." He met Scott Hall about the same way, and helped Scott start out in the business. They were both straightforward, though.
Eric Bischoff- Didn't hire him back when he said he would, and avoided his calls. After leaving the WWF (the first time he EVER got fired instead of jumping to a different territory), he went home and sat around until Vince paid the $120,000 he owed him in his contract buyout.
Favorite match- He's wrestled for so long that he can't pick *A* match, as much as favorite opponents. His favorite opponents include Harley Race, Ric Flair, etc. in those old hour-long and 90-minute broadways.
Anything he wants to say to his fans? He's had to swallow his pride, but thinks he has something left to offer the business. He can still entertain people, and says that part of the appeal to the business is that people wonder "Man, did he potato him or did he miss by an inch?" because they still want to believe it's real. People today take it too seriously now and it's all about money.
Matches- I'm just going to list what matches and/or promos are on here instead of reviewing them.
The first is Barry vs. Steve Corino in Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling in 2000 or 2001.
The second is an OLD Windham-Flair match, showing highlights of one of their broadways with Buddy Colt and Gordon Solie on commentary. I'm not sure if this is from Florida or a different territory, though.
The third is a promo with Kendall and Barry from probably Florida in 1986, with Barry challenging Ron Bass.
The fourth is a match between Barry and Terry Funk commentated in Spanish. This one turns into a classic Funk brawl, complete with piledrivers on the cement floor outside the ring.
The fifth is another Flair-Windham match commentated by Gordon Solie. This one is from Florida.
The guys making this shoot may or may not have picked the best Flair-Windham stuff, but those two were capable of pulling ****+ matches out of their asses against each other, so their matches should all be fairly interchangable.
Comments: Barry's rather honest and isn't shy about admitting some of his mistakes. He also says that he only discusses some stuff because it's true rather than to brag about it, which may or may not be true. The only problems with this interview are subject-based rather than the quality of his interview, as most of the old-school NWA stuff he discussed had already been covered by other guys, such as Tully Blanchard, Arn Anderson, Jim Cornette, the Road Warriors, etc, and Barry had very little to add to it. His version does coincide with what they've said, though, so it's pretty much established that what they've all said is true. The stuff about his three runs in the WWF is pretty entertaining though.