Ole Anderson took part in an interview with Jim Ross today at the Mid-Atlantic Legends Fanfest. Here is the breakdown, courtesy of Mike Johnson and Pwinsider.com…
Jim Ross and Ole Anderson opened up day two of the Mid-Atlantic Legends Fanfest in Charlotte, NC as Ross interviewed Anderson.
Anderson talked about running the Charlotte and Georgia territories to open up. Ross asked him who his go to guys were. Anderson said Mr. Wrestling I & II and Stan Hansen. He said Dick Slater was good but not as good as Slater thought he was.
Anderson told a story of giving Ronnie West a town to promote and when he didn’t want to listen to Anderson, he fired him. He then told a story of firing Mark Lewin and Lewin said we’ll see about that. The next day, Jim Barnett called Anderson to come to his office and Ole thought he was going to get fired but when he got there, Barnett backed him and said, “Ole was the booker.”
Ole said he would book things a month ahead of time and they discussed working with Jim Barnett. He said Barnett would give him crap on ideas sometimes but when they were sold out, Barnett would say, “My boy, you’ve done it again.” Anderson said Barnett never said anything to him that made him think he was gay, but it was obvious he was.
Anderson was asked about bringing in Stan Hansen. He said he knew immediately they could make money with him. Hansen did some things that were “dumb as hell” but they worked. He could trust Hansen and that was important to him Some guys thought they didn’t have to listen to him and Gene Anderson and would end up fired.
Ross said that one of the best traits in any job is being trustworthy and reliable. Anderson said if anyone missed a date unless there was a death or an accident, they were fired. Everyone made their towns. Ole said he didn’t take any guff and if they had an issue, they were fired.
Ross asked Ole where he learned his building blocks. Ole said, “Bullsh**t.” He said he started with Verne Gagne. He told a story about wrestling Danny Hodge which he said it was a waste of time because when he was done, all he could say was “thank you” because he had to go to the hospital after with broken ribs and a broken sternum. He said he couldn’t believe how strong Hodge was. He was in the hospital for 4-5 days.
Ole said that he saw a lot of things that Gagne did and wondered, “What was this?” Then, he went to Calgary to wrestle for Stu Hart. He didn’t make a lot of money but he was guaranteed $300 a week which in 1967, was a lot of money. You could buy a beer for 10 cents then. He said things were a lot different and at times, he got $400. He was there for 4-5 weeks and couldn’t see it going anywhere where he could make real money.
He went home to Minnesota and got a call from Lars Anderson. Lars asked him if he wanted to make some money. Ole said, “That’s all I give a sh** about.” He was told to come to Charlotte and guaranteed he was going to make a lot of money. Two days later he was in Charlotte and said, “Well, where’s the money?” He was making a lot of money in that time period, making $50-$90K a year. Lars wanted to be a star and left. Ole wanted to make money and stayed.
Ole knew Gene Anderson in High School. They did a three man unit with Lars and when Lars left, they did the tag team deal. Gene asked him if he wanted to go or stay. Ole said he wanted to make money. Ross said it was the underlying theme of their conversation – money.
Ole said he didn’t have a favorite tag team partner but got along well with Gene.
Ole was asked about booking for the first time. Jim Barnett hired him and Gene. Barnett thought at the time Gene was the brains. Ole said he’s not knocking anyone but Gene didn’t say two words to anyone. They were both hired and Jim thought Ole was the dummy. Whatever Ole wanted to do was fine with Gene. Ole said he never asked anyone what they wanted, he would just tell them what they were going to do. Ross said that when you worked for Ole, you could go to him and get an answer even if it wasn’t what you wanted to hear. You knew Ole was the boss.
Anderson said Verne Gagne had a group of people doing the booking. Bill Watts was the same way. Ole said he did it all himself and if someone didn’t want like it, they could be fired. Ole didn’t want 95,000 ideas – he wanted his ideas that could work. He said in Atlanta, they sold out the Omni from November to April every week. He said that to Vince McMahon once when Vince bragged about selling out MSG – “You have ten million people in that town, you better sell something out.” With the smaller city of Atlanta selling out, he thought that if he went to NYC, he’d have to run every neighborhood.
They opened the floor for questions.
Jim Ross was asked if Vince McMahon had ever spoken about Ole to him. Ross said that Vince noted he had contentious feelings with Ole. Vince was honest enough to admit Ole didn’t like him and didn’t care what Vince did. Vince said Ole wasn’t afraid of him.
On the Four Horsemen going into the WWE Hall of Fame, Ole said the Horsemen was a Ric Flair idea and he was in it to make money. He wasn’t going to make money going into the WWE Hall. He said Ric Flair is an idiot. He said that Flair is the only guy he’s ever met who didn’t have money after he was paid. He liked Flair at first and noted Verne Gagne broke Flair in. He said that he took Ric with himself and Gene Anderson to Charlotte so they could all try and make money together. Ole thought he was OK but after two months, he realized Ric was an idiot and he “wasn’t OK.” He said Flair did sh** that was so stupid at times and wasn’t the great worker that everyone thought he was. Ole said he suggested Flair as the World champion because he couldn’t wait to get rid of the bas****. Eddie Graham was the head of that decision-making and Ole called him and suggested Ric for the title. Ole said whoever was champion didn’t want to be champion and Flair became champion. For Ric it meant everything and for Ole it meant he only had to see Ric once a year.
Ole told a story of lending Flair $800. He said Ric lived as he was making millions a day when he wasn’t. He said Flair was supposed to pay him the next week but the next week never came. Flair later gave him $600 and still owes him $200.
Ole was asked about memories of Buzz Sawyer. He was a hard working kid and a smart ass but he could wrestle and he drew good money. He did what he was told to do. Ole said he liked him alot. Ole said he looked at guys to see if they could draw money and listen to what he wanted them to do. If they could do both, great, If not, they were out.
They discussed Arn Anderson. He said Gene had an idea of training people who wanted to be wrestlers. Ole made $350 a student. One of the kids was Arn Anderson. Ross said his real name was Marty Lunde. Ole said, “What a goofy f***ing name.” He said Arn was a good kid and that he was just missing something that would have made him an awfully great wrestling.
Ross told a story of Al Snow going through the tryout for the Andersons’ school and said he sometimes still wakes up in the middle of the night from a nightmare of how Ole tested him to see if he was really a man. Ole said he would take one guy and tell Gene to take the rest away. He would kick the sh** out of the one guy and if he thought they had a bad attitude, he really kicked the sh** out them. He would send guys to the hospital and test them the way he was tested by Danny Hodge. He said that Don Kernodle was the one who really took it all and that it was a shame he didn’t make any money in the business. Ole said that pisses him off.
Ole said he wanted to see if guys wanted to be a wrestler or if they just wanted to look like they were a wrestler. He said that he made it really tough on those kids because he wanted to make sure they realized how hard it might be to be a wrestler. He set it up so that if you didn’t work your ass off, you got beat. He wanted guys who looked and were tough and wrestled as if their life depended on it. He said the guys who got through the school were tough little guys nd if not, they didn’t get into the business.
On babyfaces, Anderson said he was looking for guys who could listen to him and make people believe the babyface could kick his ass. If his comeback wasn’t believeable, Ole didn’t want him. Ole was asked why George Steele was only in the Georgia territory to team with Tommy Rich against Ole and Roddy Piper for a few weeks. Ole said he didn’t remember exactly but it seemed to him that they were having a hard time. Rich drew a lot of money but didn’t impress Ole at all when they first met. He later realized that he had made a mistake after seeing Rich’s comebacks. He said that it didn’t matter that Rich didn’t have a good body because the people liked him anyway. Ole said he worked his ass off and put Rich against Abdullah the Butcher, who beat the sh** out of everyone. He told Rich to get his ass kicked, then pull himself up with the ropes and point at Abby to return. The people went nuts. They did that for several weeks and each week, Rich got stronger but didn’t not beat him. They finally had Rich come back and told Abby to sell it like it hurt. Abby didn’t like it but did it anyway. This made Rich. When Rich won his first match the people went crazy and that was psychology even Ole didn’t understand.
Barnett called Ole to his apartment and thought that he had killed Rich. Ole told him to shut up and wait. They ended up selling out The Omni. Rich was probably the hottest babyface he ever created.
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