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Jim Ross Details His Schedule For WrestleMania Week

– WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross recently spoke with WrestlingInc about a wide variety of topics including his upcoming schedule for this weekend, check out the highlight below:

Jim Ross on his upcoming schedule

“I’m part of the launch party for WrestleCon on Thursday with Ric Flair and Sting. And Matt Striker, the Eddie Haskell or wrestling broadcasters, is going to do a Q&A, about 90-minute or so Q&A, I think, on Thursday with a couple of guys and myself. I’ve got a Friday morning gig with [Jerry] Lawler at WrestleCon. And Saturday and Sunday, I have my shows, which I’m really focusing on.

“I’ve made some changes on them. I’ve got big Tyrus, aka or formerly known as, I guess I should say, Brodus Clay, of Fox News now, God, I love this big guy – he’s very talented, he’s going to be our MC both days. That should be really fun. Saturday, I’ve got my writing partner, the acclaimed novelist, Paul O’Brien, will join Tony Schiavone and I, and we’re going to ostensibly start talking about The Monday Night Wars and take Q&As of whatever they are, whatever is on your mind if you’re in the audience. And Tony and I have never been on stage before to talk about The Monday Night Wars and our roles in those. And, of course, we both have experiences with Jim Crockett Promotions and Tony is one of my good friends and one of the few guys you maintain a friendship with in the wrestling business over a long period of time. It’s a shame to say that and it’s not me being, ‘poor me’. Maybe that’s the way life is in general.

“Then, on Sunday, I’m going to be joined by two great podcasters in Jim Cornette and Bruce Prichard and we’re going to have the unauthorized WrestleMania pregame show. All of us have been on WrestleMania, all of us have helped write WrestleMania, produced, performed, so it’s going to be a unique panel. So we’re going to talk about WrestleMania and I’m sure we’re going to talk about NXT the night before, the Hall Of Fame a little bit, whatever is on the audience’s minds, so really two different shows, two different panels, for lack of a better term, a lot of entertainment content. Tickets start at $25 and are available at Ticketfly. So we’re really excited about changing the format up, the guests that we have. And everybody bring something and it should be two really good shows to see. VIP meet and greets are at noon to two. The show starts at 2:30 and we’ll be out of there around 4. And by leaving around 4 o’clock, where we are located, at Plaza LIVE, you are very quick to get to WrestleMania on Sunday. It’s easy to get to the NXT on Saturday. There is a lot of time to do what you need to do after our shows in the afternoons, the matinees. So it should be fun, we’re looking forward to it, it should be a fun time. That whole event is amazing and I guess all of us should thank WWE for bringing people to town because we all got the chance to pick some of their fruit.”

The post Jim Ross Details His Schedule For WrestleMania Week appeared first on ProWrestling.com.

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Mauro Ranallo Comments On WrestleMania 33, Says He’s Feeling Stronger

– It now seems official that Mauro Ranallo will not be working WrestleMania 33 this coming weekend. He tweeted the following message to his WWE family, hoping they will have an amazing WrestleMania experience this weekend.

Feeling love from everyone. I am stronger. I want to wish my @WWE family another AMAZING #WrestleMania #KeepUpTheGoodFight #MentalHealth

— Mauro Ranallo (@mauroranallo) March 29, 2017

As noted, Mauro missed his third WWE SmackDown event in a row, his absence is related to a battle with depression, which he’s fought since he was a teenager.

Mauro’s good friend and podcast co-host Bas Rutten recently appeared on The Luke Thomas Show and commented on the status of the SmackDown announcer:

“Yeah, he’s doing OK. As everybody knows, he’s very vocal about it but Mauro is bi-polar and sometimes, a few times a year, things are going too fast and he needs to just simply slow down. But he’s doing good and I talked to him… he’s sending me funny video clips, he just sent me something… It’s all in good spirits, I think he will be back to normal very soon.”

The post Mauro Ranallo Comments On WrestleMania 33, Says He’s Feeling Stronger appeared first on ProWrestling.com.

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Bray Wyatt On Facing Randy Orton At WrestleMania 33, Being On A ‘Thrill Ride’, More

– WWE Champion Bray Wyatt recently participated in a media call with The Mirror to help promote this Sunday’s WrestleMania 33 pay-per-view, check out the highlights below:

How he would describe the past six months:

“It’s been a ride man. I was a guy who everyone always said ‘oh, he doesn’t even need a title to be a success’. Me and Randy joined forces, we dominated the WWE and we won Survivor Series, we won the Rumble, we won the tag team titles, and I won the WWE World Championship at the Elimination Chamber. It’s been a thrill ride and it’s been a great success and here I am, holding this title, champion of the entire world. It’s a really cool feeling man. It’s a feeling of power. It’s something I take very seriously.”

How it has been having a long storyline with Randy Orton heading into WrestleMania:

“It’s beautiful. It’s beautiful. And going into the biggest event of the year, me and Randy have so much history together now. and like you said, there is the twists and the turns, and how bad I really just want to hit him! Ha ha. It gives the fans a platform, to really invest in something, and that’s a tribute to a lot of people. But it’s going to be something special man, that I promise you.”

On becoming champion for the first time at Elimination Chamber:

“You know I’ve seen a lot of people react to it differently. I never thought really of how I would react if that moment ever happened to me, I always just wanted to let it be how it was. I never felt like crying or going nuts like some people do. When I was given the title, when they handed it to me and I grabbed it and looked at it for the first time and I held it above my head, it was just a feeling of ‘see, I told you, I told all of you and no-one listened, and here we are’. Not a lot of people get to say ‘up yours’ to everyone who ever doubted them, but I did. That moment was mine.”

On his confidence level of topping his last main event against Orton at No Mercy:

“Undoubtedly. That was a mild, mild preview. It was a preview of a movie that is going to win lots of awards. That’s what that was.”

The post Bray Wyatt On Facing Randy Orton At WrestleMania 33, Being On A ‘Thrill Ride’, More appeared first on ProWrestling.com.

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How Was WWE SmackDown Viewership Before Sunday’s WrestleMania 33?

– According to ShowBuzz Daily, this week’s WWE SmackDown episode, featuring the go-home show for Sunday’s WrestleMania 33 pay-per-view, drew 2.698 million viewers.

This number is up from last week’s 2.647 million viewers.

SmackDown was #5 in viewership on cable behind Fixer Upper, Rachel Maddow, Tucker Carlson and The O’Reilly Factor.

SmackDown was #1 in the 18-49 demographic.

Previous Viewership:

February 28th Episode: 2.566 million viewers
March 7th Episode: 2.738 million viewers
March 14th Episode: 2.628 million viewers
March 21st Episode: 2.647 million viewers
March 28th Episode: 2.698 million viewers

The post How Was WWE SmackDown Viewership Before Sunday’s WrestleMania 33? appeared first on ProWrestling.com.

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The Hardys Reincarnate Obsolete TNA Tag Team Titles

– Check out The Hardys “reincarnated” the “obsolete” TNA Tag Team title belts.

“After exerting everything within our VESSELS to make TNA trendy and cool again, we were betrayed by the OBSOLETE OWL,” the Hardys posted on their YouTube channel. “Since we carried the TNA Tag Titles to a CELESTIAL plane, as well as becoming greater than our host, the #7Deities mandated that I REINCARNATE these OBSOLETE Titles.. These titles have now been transformed into something worthy of The Greatest Tag Team in Space and Time.

“This video was shot, edited and scored by the BRILLIANT Queen Rebecca Hardy, who also shot/edited/scored several similar vignettes for TNA without ever being paid, credited, or signing over the rights for TNA to use them. Rebecca, like Jeff and I, did many things for this brand because we’re upstanding beings. #HouseHardy will now continue to soar to new heights while the OWL fades away and classifies itself as OBSOLETE.”

The video contains references to “the man who’s fond of slapping nuts” (Jeff Jarrett) and there is a quick shot of the Anthem logo with “F–k that Owl” on it.

The post The Hardys Reincarnate Obsolete TNA Tag Team Titles appeared first on ProWrestling.com.

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5 Things That Could Go Wrong At WrestleMania XXXIII

WrestleMania has always been the greatest event in the history of the business. For most fans, it is the equivalent of a kid waking up on Christmas morning to tons of presents under their tree. The WWE is known to save their best product for their grandest stage during the first weekend of April.

This year’s event will be held in Orlando, Florida at the Camping World Stadium where fans will witness WWE’s most coveted matches that the WWE Universe have been salivating over for months. Like most PPV’s, WrestleMania will have many WOW moments as well as a few moments where fans will scratch their head and ask themselves what were they thinking. To avoid that from happening, here is a list of the top five things WWE needs to avoid happening at this year’s WrestleMania.

1. Roman Beats Undertaker Clean

Roman Reigns has quickly risen to the top of the WWE food chain and is considered by the people backstage to be the new face of the company. He has main evented the last two WrestleManias and very well could main event this one if Vince McMahon has his way. The problem WWE is having is that Reigns is not going over with the majority of fans. Every night it seems he is getting boo’ed out of the building when his music hits. Could you imagine the riot that would break out if he beat the Undertaker?

It made sense when Brock Lesnar beat the Undertaker and ruined his streak to prove how powerful and mighty he was at the time, but Roman does not need to beat the Undertaker to get over with the fans. If he lost against him and put on an incredible match, then the fans would be happy to see the Deadman have one more Mania moment. The other route WWE could take is to finally give the WWE Universe what they ask for and have Roman finally turn heel and cheat his way to a victory against the Undertaker.

2. Lesnar Loses To Goldberg For The Third Time

WWE has been building up the storyline between Brock Lesnar and Bill Goldberg for the better part of eight months now and has seemingly given all the momentum to Goldberg for the last seven months. Lesnar shocked the world when he lost to Goldberg at Survivor Series in just under two minutes leading many people wondering why. Goldberg was brought back to look stronger than anyone else on the WWE roster including the Beast Incarnate and even captured the Universal Championship from Kevin Owens at Fastlane.

The only way this storyline could end between the two would be Lesnar finally regaining his momentum and taking the highest prize in the business from the man who has had his number for the better part of a decade. Otherwise, it makes all of the years of booking Lesnar as the top guy a waste and belittles him to a lower spot on a match card.

3. John Cena Does Not Propose To Nikki Bella

The Miz has had arguably the best year of any wrestler on the roster. He brought his career back to life after it looked like it was on its last legs. After helping carry the SmackDown Live brand to relevance again, he was awarded John Cena at WrestleMania. Many people made it obvious that they wanted to see Cena and the Undertaker go at it at WrestleMania through chants at Cena. Instead, they were given a bout between the two premier couples of WWE.

It is almost obvious that Cena and Nikki would win this match because of the way it has been built, but what if they were to officially tie the knot after the match was over? The Miz and Maryse has consistently poked fun at Cena and Nikki’s relationship and how they are not married maybe purposely trying to drill the idea in fans heads. However, if Cena does not propose to her once he pins Miz for a three count, it might go down as one of his worst feuds at a WrestleMania.

4. Austin Aries Defeats Neville For The Cruiserweight Title

No matter what your opinion may be of the Cruiserweight division, it is hard to deny the spark that Neville has brought to it since returning from injury. He made a difficult transition from a fan favorite to the top heel of the Cruiserweights in just a few short weeks. After throwing the Cruiserweight title around three men since its debut on Raw in October, it has finally settled into a nice role with the King of the Cruiserweights.

Austin Aries has become a fan favorite from his time at the announce table during Raw’s Cruiserweight segments. If there was a guy who deserved to take the title from Neville, it should be Austin Aries. Aries has proven to be dynamic in the ring and pure gold on the mic. The only problem with him winning is that it would once again make the title lose its prestige if it gets passed to another superstar so soon. Neville deserves to hold the title as long as possible to make it seem like one of the company’s highest prizes.

5. Braun Strowman Loses the Andre the Giant Battle Royal

We have seen how quickly someone’s momentum in the WWE can change once they win the Andre the Giant Battle Royal. Cesaro and Baron Corbin saw an immediate push once winning the event and quickly rose to the top of the mid-card. The issue with Strowman is that he has already received a push from WWE to the top of the roster. He has fought the likes of Rollins and Reigns at the main event of Raw and many house shows.

If Strowman were to lose the Battle Royal, he would quickly lose all the momentum he has gained over the last year and fall down to the mid-card. Strowman needs this win more than any other superstar competing in the event to further solidify his spot at the top of Raw’s roster.

The post 5 Things That Could Go Wrong At WrestleMania XXXIII appeared first on ProWrestling.com.

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SmackDown Review: The Winding Road to WrestleMania Ends, Finally

The A Show tried to put their best foot forward and though there were some glaring missteps the blue brand turned in a solid outing last night.  Whereas the RAW rivalries could have used some physicality between their combatants to continue the build to WrestleMania, SmackDown has done a better job creatively over the last several months and their contributions to the card this Sunday all benefited from the “hands off” approach last night.

Untouchable

The contract signing with AJ Styles and Shane McMahon was well done. Both men did an excellent job on the microphone and have great chemistry together as they traded shots to open the show. AJ’s rundown of all the legends Shane has faced before elevated his own status and added some excitement for their bout this Sunday. However, pointing out that it’s going to be a regular one on one bout was a mistake and it should not have been mentioned.

No match can benefit more from a No DQ or Street Fight stipulation and now it doesn’t appear to be in the cards. No one wants to see Shane McMahon actually try and wrestle AJ Styles; the skill gap between them is insurmountable. Not only does mentioning this several times lower fan expectations for the match but allowing Shane to actually look like he can hang with AJ between the ropes could end up making AJ look weak after WrestleMania. It’s something to keep an eye on but the company obviously has tremendous faith in AJ to carry an entertaining match with someone whose not a full time competitor at the biggest show of the year and the lack of physicality here was a smart move heading into Sunday.

Consolation Over Necessity

I have nothing against the SmackDown women but giving them 30 minutes on the go-home show when it was already announced that their match is on the pre-show was a poor use of television time. It felt like giving them such a large portion of the first hour was a consolation prize and there’s no place for that this close to WrestleMania. Nothing about either of the two matches that took place stood out and it was essentially 25 minutes of filler before Naomi made her “surprise” return.

The whole thing should have been cut in half and with that left over time Dean Ambrose and Baron Corbin could have been worked into the main show as opposed to being featured on Talking Smack to hype the Intercontinental Title match. This has been a very well built feud since Elimination Chamber and has a classic feel to it reminiscent of Wrestle Mania’s past. This is going to be the first singles match for the IC title at WrestleMania in several years and these guys are poised to have one of the best matches on the card.

Tag Team Relegation

It’s unfortunate given their fantastic match last week and their continued evolution on the microphone with their heel personas that the Usos don’t have a title defense at WrestleMania. They are the only titleholders in the company not defending on Sunday and their relegation to the Andre Battle Royal is disappointing to say the least. The tag division as a whole on SmackDown has been picking up steam. American Alpha, while still trying to find their identity, have been turning in high quality matches week after week. I also believe it’s simply a matter of time before Breezango get themselves over in a big way. Their comedy stylings on Southpaw Regional Wrestling, the Breezy Bella character and their fashion police gimmick continue to showcase the natural, quirky charisma that the athletically talented duo possess. All three teams will merely be lost in the shuffle of the Andre Battle Royal this Sunday.

Blurred Lines

The Miz and John Cena to quote a friend “have made chicken salad out of chicken shit because they know how to build a story”. A match very few were excited for just a couple of weeks ago has had the best creative development of any bout taking place at WrestleMania. Whether it was the hysterical Total Bellas skits The Miz and Maryse have put out or the vicious worked-shoot promos all four participants have exchanged, particularly on the part of John Cena last night who turned in some of the best microphone work of his career, they have gotten the match over with even the most jaded of fans. I really wanted to see the Miz crack Cena in the face after his promo but it was a smart move by creative to hold off on any altercation until Sunday and they understand Miz’s loud-mouth, cowardly heel dynamic opposite Cena.

The closing moments of SmackDown were perplexing and cartoony if I’m being honest. Following a solid match between Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper (who is poised for a career year in 2017, even though he doesn’t have a match on Sunday…Luke Harper vs. Samoa Joe anyone?) Randy Orton would appear on screen along with some weird visual effects and drive a stick into the ground taking away Bray’s “powers”. While I enjoyed the unique visual style that was utilized when Orton burned down Bray’s cabin, last night’s closing moments came off as overly scripted and campy. While Roman Reigns is on RAW plagiarizing Taker’s catchphrases, Randy Orton is pilfering Bray Wyatt’s special effects on SmackDown. It was a letdown for those of us hoping that Bray and Orton would main event WrestleMania.

While SmackDown certainly took some positive steps in building up their contributions to the card this Sunday, the blue brand, like RAW failed to really drive home the NEED for fans to tune into WrestleMania this Sunday.

It felt more like WWE’s message to the fans this week was “Hey why don’t you watch WrestleMania on Sunday? We have some stuff you might want to see? Maybe? The Undertaker will be there, it’s his yard you know. We have Goldberg and Brock Lesnar…at least for 2 or 3 minutes. Let’s not forget Pitbull and Flo-Rida!!! Everyone loves Al Roker, right? Tune in? Please?”

 

The post SmackDown Review: The Winding Road to WrestleMania Ends, Finally appeared first on ProWrestling.com.

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Kurt Angle Comments On His WWE Hall Of Fame Induction

– 2017 WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle wrote the following blurb on his official website about his upcoming induction this weekend in Orlando:

As you all know, I’m going to be inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame on Friday. I’m very honored that my career has taken me to incredible heights and that the WWE Universe will be celebrating it with me. It was never my goal to be inducted into the HOF but I’m very proud that I will be included among the greatest names in history.

To be honest, my induction isn’t about me. It’s about the millions of fans I have entertained over the years. It’s about YOU. If it weren’t for all of you, I wouldn’t be celebrating this huge honor on Friday. I want to thank you for supporting me through the years. And when I give my speech on Friday, I want every WWE/Kurt Angle fan to know how grateful I am for this incredible night. YOU are the reason my name will be in the history books for eternity. I’m glad that I was able to entertain you. And whether you loved me or hated me (whether I was a good guy or bad guy) I’m very thankful that I had that connection with you. So thank you!!!!! It’s damn true.

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Tye Dillinger On WWE Success: “Patience And Attitude Go A Very Long Way”

– WWE NXT star Tye Dillinger recently spoke with Brian Fritz of SportingNews.com to help promote this weekend’s WWE NXT “Takeover: Orlando” event, check out the highlights below:

His current WWE goals:

“I’m not going to be one of the guys that, oh, he’s a catchy little character, that’s a catchy little hand sign and it’s pretty funny here and there and that’s it. No, I see myself as a main event talent here in NXT and I see myself as a main event talent in WWE on ‘Raw’ or ‘SmackDown’. That’s my goal. That’s always been the goal and that’s what I’ll continue to work towards.”

On waiting for the next big opportunity:

“No, and the reason I say no is — and some people might not be believing that — is that one thing you need to have in this industry, one thing pretty close to the top is patience. Patience and attitude go a very long way. The Royal Rumble was a huge moment for me. It was a great moment for me. So, automatically people would be like ‘well, ‘Raw’ or ‘SmackDown’, WrestleMania.’ No, because NXT TakeOver is coming up and that is a huge, huge moment for me.

“I kind of live by a certain credo: if I always stay ready then I never have to get ready. I’ve been living by that for the last 15 years. That’s across the board in all aspects, especially in WWE. Things constantly change. You have to be ready at any moment and it could change for any reason. When that moment comes, you better be ready to deliver. That’s what this industry is all about, that’s what those moments are all about, and that’s what we train so hard for.”

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Hillbilly Jim On Teaming With Hulk Hogan, How The Wrestling Business Has Changed, More

– We kick of WrestleMania week in style as we welcome a participant from the early days of WrestleMania and a huge part of the Rock N’ Wrestling Era as Hillbilly Jim joins John and Chad for episode #253. Discussing his new book “Hillbilly Jim: The Incredible Story of a Wrestling Superstar”, Jim offers a refreshing take on the glory days of the WWF and the madness that was the biggest boom period in the history of the business. We also discuss Hulk Hogan’s role both in writing the book’s foreword as well as how he helped Jim get over on WWF television and how Hillbilly Jim really is the first “Hulk Hogan buddy”. And what would WrestleMania week be without touching on all of the WrestleMania’s that Jim was a part of including WrestleMania 3 at the Pontiac Silverdome in 1987.

Being paired with Hulk Hogan:

“There was nobody ever in the history of this business and I don’t think there has been anybody since then or probably ever will be that was more over in America than Hulk Hogan. The WWF at that time was the vehicle but Hulk Hogan was driving it and when they brushed me up against him that gave me a seal of approval that has lasted with me through today.

“Jimmy Hart has said this better than anybody and it is the guys who were there in the 80s somehow or another we got woven into the fabric of America. It still remains the same and I’ll tell you why. Yours truly, Hillbilly Jim I don’t get paid for what I do, I get paid for what I did. I don’t have my SiriusXM radio show because I’m Jim Morris, I didn’t get put into the Wrestling Hall of Fame down in Texas because I’m Jim Morris, I don’t get the keys to the city or places giving me wonderful interviews like this or honorary college degrees because I’m Jim Morris. I got it because I was Hillbilly Jim and fellas don’t think I 100,000% am ungrateful because I feel lucky and honored to have been a part of it and that is why you never hear me say anything disparaging about wrestlers or the wrestling business because I had a wonderful run and I know our President says he wants to “Make America Great Again” well for Hillbilly Jim America ain’t ever stopped being great.”

Hearing the concept for the first WrestleMania and having to miss the show:

“I realized early on that sometimes the window of opportunity doesn’t open for you very many times in your life so I wanted to capitalize on it because I knew the business was going to be a fast business and it was going to be a quick business but not going to be a real long one. I wanted to make sure that I did as much as I could and to be a part of those things and you talked about it earlier it was some revolutionary stuff and stuff that set the bench-marks because we were the first ones doing pay per views and that first WrestleMania. I would have been in that first WrestleMania had I not got my knee torn up on February 25, 1985 out in San Diego, California in a match teaming with Hulk against Brutus “The Barber Beefcake” and Johnny Valiant. I went down with a bad knee injury or I would have been on that very first card. This happened like a month or two before it and I couldn’t do it but I’ve been on many since then and I’ve seen the evolution of this business and the fans too.”

“We could never have dreamed it. We were all talking about this new thing that they were going to do called WrestleMania. I was hanging out with Barry Windham and Mike Rotunda and we would travel a lot on the roads and we would do a lot of car riding to the places we’d go to between the shows and we were talking about this new WrestleMania thing. Then I got hurt out in San Diego and I wasn’t on the show. As it turned out I made the next WrestleMania which was the one in Chicago where we did the WWF vs. The NFL in that battle royal and then the third one, which is the big one.”

Memories of WrestleMania 3:

“Everybody talks about it and it is not my favorite match but it has become one of my more talked about matches and it was that little thing that King Kong Bundy and I did with the midgets at WrestleMania 3 at the Pontiac Silverdome. There is more people who talk about that than anything and it wasn’t really that good of match it just was it was but it was the fact that it was in an enormous crowd and at the time it was a world record crowd.

“I will never forget what an enormous thing that was because they were shooting for a world record crowd. We had to get there like two and a half hours before anybody else got there because it was out in the middle of nowhere and there was a limited amount of roads and when we got there and were waiting for this world record crowd, I can remember Vince standing back there in the tunnel and he said; “Guys you may want to check this out because this is something you may never see again and this is something here you will remember for all of your life” and we did. After that it took us three and one half hours before we could leave that arena because there were so many people leaving out of Pontiac. Than to think that as this thing has gone through all sorts of changes and I’ve been on twenty-something of them in some capacity either managing somebody or being at fan Axxess but just to think about that of how it has become wrestling’s Super Bowl.”

Is the larger than life personality missing from today’s wrestling:

“Y’all know me, I’ll tell you like it is and I’m not going to sugarcoat anything but I don’t have any beefs with anybody because I never had too much heat with anybody because I’m not that kind of guy. The business has changed a lot and I’m not going to put down anything but I’ll just say this; it was as good as it ever was in my day, it is just different now. Every generation builds off of the one behind them and the guys that we had in our day it is not like when we go around the young guys today because they treat us like kings. When I came up in the business the guys before us, most of the boys did not like them. Our guys didn’t like the old-timers because they tried to take advantage of them and now they look up to us and revere us and it is almost touching. It is the way it ought to be and the way you should show respect to people but us guys in the 80s never really treated anybody bad and I think we started everything to where it is now and it just changes all the time. It might not be for me now and I might not know who is who on there but I’ll tell you, every generation has its different way of doing things.”

For this and every other episode of The Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling please subscribe to us on iTunes, Podomatic, Player FM, Earpeeler and Tune In Radio. As well as follow us on Twitter @TwoManPowerTrip.

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