Jeff Katz Talks Time In WCW, Wrestling Retribution Project, Problems With Wrestling, TNA & More
WrestlingINC.com: I don't know if you remember but I actually interviewed you way back in the day, like the late 90's.
Katz: I think I was in college, if I remember correctly.
WrestlingINC.com: Yeah, I think you were working on the WCW hotline during that…
Katz: I do remember, absolutely... your site is generally sort of my go-to catch all wrestling site, so I've retained my loyalty over the years.
WrestlingINC.com: Well thanks a lot, we appreciate that.
Katz: My pleasure.
WrestlingINC.com: Back then you started working for WCW you were 16 when you started, weren't you?
Katz: I was hired at 16... I want to say I didn't start officially going to shows until I was 17, but I have to go back and look. I was brought into my first meeting by Eric Bischoff when I was 16 and had to fly my mother out with me because I was to young to go to Atlanta by myself.
WrestlingINC.com: How did you get discovered?
Katz: I was a talk radio host in Detroit when I was 15 which was really my big sort of career break. I was the only guy who at that point who thought that wrestling was really cool... [Hulk] Hogan just jumped to WCW and he's brining in Jim Duggan and the Honky Tonk Man... Steve Austin was getting squashed by Duggan... it was not a period where the business was particularly hot. Actually I was one of the only guys in the market that would consistently interview their guys and promote and put stuff over, because I was a fan. I built up a nice relationship with WCW and WWF at the time and Zane Bresloff, who was kind of one of the more under-rated really important players in wrestling over the last 25 years was the guy who really said, "You guy gotta meet this guy, this guys good."
When they came to Detroit to do Halloween Havoc, at a press conference for a Ric Flair - Hulk Hogan retirement match, which is laughable, I ended up meeting Eric and we just sort of hit it off and it would end up being several months later, maybe even a year later before they actually ended up bringing me in and hiring me. So the relationship sort of started from there.
WrestlingINC.com: What were your duties when you first joined WCW?
Katz: All over the map. I did play by play on the internet, a bunch of writing... it's funny, when they flew me in they were like what do you want to do? I was like, "I want to be a booker, that's my interest," and they were like, well, we'll bring you along slowly in that area. As rough as the reputation that the WCW has, a lot of that is just written by the history of the winner and that just always happens. I was treated great and at the end of the day it was incredibly helpful to my career in Hollywood. I have nothing but positive things to say about my time there and the impact it had on my career.
WrestlingINC.com: What was it like working Eric Bischoff during that time?
Katz: Terrific, I never had any issues. Anyone you've ever heard bad things about in the company -- I'm not saying that others didn't have issues -- but you're the boss, that's going to happen. I've been the boss, I know what that's like. And in some positions you can't really win. But I was treated great, Hogan treated me great, Eric treated me great. I was praised, I was never harassed, I was treated like one of the guys. I went out drinking with them, I went hanging out with them I was really … It was like, as a teenager doing that it was like living a dream, it was sort of like being almost famous for the world of wrestling. I understand the negative connotation that was out there and I think in some ways, at least from the locker room perspective, I don't know had I been at WWE had I … I would be willing to bet I would have had a much harder time just based on reputations. But with WCW, no one gave a s--t, I made friends there that I will be friends with for the rest of my life.