Honky Tonk Man Talks Not Dropping The Title To Savage, Heat With Bischoff, Turning Down HOF & More
WrestlingINC: It seems like you're pretty busy right now. Where are you mostly wrestling right now?
Honky Tonk Man: Everything is mostly back East and in Canada. There's not a lot of stuff going on on the West coast.
WrestlingINC: You've been wrestling since 1977, right?
Honky Tonk Man: There about. I mean, I don't like to be reminded of those days.
WrestlingINC: When you started with WWF, you were using the Honky Tonk Man gimmick. It basically started there, right?
Honky Tonk Man: No, not really. It actually started in Mobile (Alabama) and Pensacola (Florida) and the South-East, wrestling for the Fullers. Then I took it to Canada for Stu Hart and kind of fine-tuned it there. From there, WWE picked it up and we tweaked it a little bit and it took off.
WrestlingINC: Did they come up with the name 'Honky Tonk Man'? I know you were doing the gimmick before then but they came up with the name. Right?
Honky Tonk Man: No. I had the name before. I had the name about two or three years before. People don't understand this but I had a whole career before I ever went to WWE. It was like, "Oh, this is a new guy. He's starting out.' I had 14 years in the wrestling business before I ever went there.
WrestlingINC: How did that come about when you finally did get signed?
Honky Tonk Man: They came to Calgary. They had gone through different places and taken people. They had taken Dynamite Kid and Davey Boy (Smith) and Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart. That was one year. Then the next year, they came back through -- they were taking guys.
They had taken Bobby Heenan, Jesse Ventura, (Hulk) Hogan and David Shultz. They were taking people from different territories. Vince (McMahon) was taking all the top guys from everywhere and I came through on the next round. So, the next time he came through, he took the next crew of top guys. I was a top guy in Calgary and he made me an offer I couldn't refuse.
WrestlingINC: It definitely turned into one of the more memorable runs. When I think of wrestling in the late '80's, I think of Hulk Hogan, Macho Man (Randy Savage), Andre The Giant and yourself. You became one of their top guys. When you won the Intercontinental title, Vince McMahon was supposed to be putting the title on Butch Reed but couldn't find him at the show. Then, Hulk Hogan suggested that you get the title. Was that how you remember it?
Honky Tonk Man: Yeah. I just happened to walk by while they were standing in the hallway and Hogan looked and said, 'What about him?' That's how it happened because Butch was going AWOL or M.I.A. -- which happens some times. Of course, it was like Jake (Roberts). Jake was missing in action about half the time he was there.
I just happened to walk by and they said, 'What about him,' and I said, 'OK.' Vince pulled me aside and told me what he wanted to do. (Ricky) Steamboat was leaving and, you know -- after all these years, Steamboat gets a job as an agent, making all this money. I'm sitting home doing nothing and he was the one that got the belt from Savage and up and quit the company. Saying, 'I want to go home and spend time with my wife and children.'