Honky Tonk Man Talks Changes In WWE, Working With Billy Gunn & Santino, Turning Down HOF, More


WrestlingINC: You've seen it all. Having been everywhere; what do you think WWE could learn today from your experiences and what you've seen? What could make their product better?

Honky Tonk Man: I'm not going to give them any free information. [Laughs.] That's a great question and I'm sure a lot of guys would love to answer it. Obviously, they think they're smarter than we are. Well, the first thing they can learn is; why are you bringing all your old stars back if you don't have anybody on your card that's worth a s--t? [Laughs.]

WrestlingINC: You said you're booking your own appearances right now. What are your thoughts on the independent scene today.

Honky Tonk Man: It's a whole different animal. For me, it's like starting all over again. It's like starting back in the barnyards and the county fairs and the V.F.W. Halls and things of that nature. For independent promoters out there: Look, you're not Vince McMahon. You're never going to be Vince McMahon. Don't try to run your show like Vince McMahon. Sometimes your lights don't work. Most of the time, your smoke machine doesn't work. Your curtains fall down. [Laughs.] Your microphone doesn't work. Just have your show, put on your five or six matches and go home. [Laughs.]

Don't be there for six hours. 'Yeah, the show starts at seven. But it really starts at 7:30 and it's not over until midnight.' I mean, come on. Let's get this s--t over with and be done with it.

WrestlingINC: Are you having fun on the independent scene right now?

Honky Tonk Man: Yeah, other than sitting around the locker room for ten hours. [Laughs.]

WrestlingINC: [Laughs.] So, what do you have coming up?

Honky Tonk Man: Well, I'm booked solid pretty much all through the summer. I mean, that's it. I just take it one day at a time. I had a booking in February for the 'death tour' in Northern Manitoba that I canceled. I wanted to do it, but then I had some family problems and all sorts of stuff was happening here at the house.

Every Canadian guy -- Edge, Christian, (Chris) Jericho -- has been on that 'death tour', they call it. You go up North across the ice lakes and everything. It was a 20-day tour and I really couldn't be away from home that long. So, that's the one time that I did cancel on Tony Condello. He's a great promoter that's been around the game for 35 years. He trained Roddy Piper and Piper's been on that 'death tour'. Everyone from Canada's been on it.

I thought since it was towards the end of my career, 'Yeah, Tony. I'll do it.' Then, as it got closer and closer, I was putting together all my winter clothes and living here in Phoenix, you don't really have winter clothes. [Laughs.] So, it just was not going to work for me. [Laughs.]

WrestlingINC: Do you mind doing a little main association?

Honky Tonk Man: OK. Who are we going to start with? Eric Bischoff?

WrestlingINC: Sure. Let's start with Eric.

Honky Tonk Man: Are we PG-rated or X-rated or what?

WrestlingINC: [Laughs.] I'll censor any language on the site.

Honky Tonk Man: Gosh. OK. Eric Bischoff has done very well for himself [considering] he started his career running and getting coffee for the boys in Verne Gagne's office.

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