Honky Tonk Man Talks Not Dropping The Title To Savage, Heat With Bischoff, Turning Down HOF & More
WrestlingINC: You later signed with WCW after a few years. What did you do during that off period?
Honky Tonk Man: I did independent shows all around the country. All over. I had a great run with Killer Kowalski and that group up in New England. Every weekend, he would have me up there and he had great shows. Killer Kowalski's one of the nicest, sweetest gentlemen in the business. Of course, I met Triple H up there. Chyna and Gail Kim. Perry Saturn was up there.
I met so many young guys and gals breaking in the business and helped them along. Made some great relationships with some great people. I was able to go out and have fun again. This business is about having fun and entertaining the people. Not begrudging the fact that you have to get up at seven in the morning and go sit in a building all day. Somebody hands you a script like they do now.
I went to Cyber Sunday (in 2008) with Santino Morella. They handed me a script. They handed me a script for Koko B. Ware for Hall of Fame. I said, 'I don't need a script. I've known the guy for 30 years! I know what I need to say.'
Anyway, I left, did the independent thing and then WCW came along. Eric Bischoff, from day one, right off the get-go, Bischoff said, 'The only reason I brought you in is because Jimmy Hart kept hounding me to bring you in. The only way to shut Jimmy up was to bring you in. I'm not a big fan of yours.' If the guy signing your check is not a big fan of yours, you're not going very far.
WrestlingINC: Yeah. That seems like a very strange thing to say.
Honky Tonk Man: Yeah. I stayed there for about three months. I didn't have a contract and then they wanted me to do the proverbial job on television once again for Johnny B. Badd. Nothing against Marc Mero because he and I have become friends. I told him, 'Marc, it's nothing against you. My whole deal is that I don't do this stuff on TV. I'm not going out there to lay down on television.'
WrestlingINC: So, that lead to your departure?
Honky Tonk Man: Yeah. It was a very fast departure. I had a cab waiting as my music was playing. [Laughs.]
WrestlingINC: Have you spoken to Eric Bischoff since?
Honky Tonk Man: No, I have not. I couldn't care less about ever speaking to him ever again. He obviously cared about me because he wrote in his book that the one person he [got the most enjoyment out of firing] was Honky Tonk Man. After all the people that he had worked with and fired, he actually wrote in his book that it brought him more joy to fire me than anybody else. Obviously, there was something there that he liked or disliked. I don't care whether he fired me or not. He said, 'You're fired,' and I walked out. It's up to anybody's discretion.
WrestlingINC: Do you remember your last conversation with Eric?
Honky Tonk Man: Yeah. I told him that he couldn't carry Vince's jock strap. [Laughs.] He said, 'You did a job for Vince.' I said, 'Yeah. But Vince paid me a helluva lot better than you are.' [Laughs.] I told him I never did them on television, either. He said, 'If you don't do this, then we don't need you are here.' So, I told him that he couldn't carry Vince's jock strap. I grabbed my bag and I said, 'Boys, I'll see you later.'
Then Hogan came running in and said, 'Hey, brother. What's going on, brother?' I said, 'Let me tell you something, brother. I'm out of here. The only reason I was here was to give you some support because you were coming in. Then, all these guys that were never around you -- I was here to support you.' He said, 'Hey, brother. I wish I could help but I'm just here to serve and that's all.' I said, 'Well, if you can't help me, then nobody can.' So, I just said see you later and I didn't talk to that guy for 20 years.
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