"Hacksaw" Jim Duggan says he believes he would have risen to World Title level had it not been for a routine traffic stop in 1987 that led to him and his passenger, The Iron Sheik, being arrested when marijuana and cocaine was discovered. Duggan volunteered to the officer there was some marijuana in the car, but he didn't know Sheik had cocaine.
Both Duggan and Sheik were fired, an incident Duggan talks about at length in his new autobiography that came out this month.
In an exclusive interview with PWTorch.com's Wade Keller on the PWTorch Livecast last Friday (subscribe in iTunes by clicking here), he expanded on what he wrote about in his book regarding how the arrest diminished the heights he'd be able to eventually reach in the WWF.
"I don't think I ever regained the momentum I would have had before the arrest with the Iron Sheik," he said. "I think I was on the fast track [before the arrest]. I think I would have been World Champion, Intercontinental, or Tag Team Champion. I never regained the momentum. I think a lot of guys it would have totally crushed their career, but I was lucky enough to survive it and actually thrive after the arrest."
One of the issues that complicated the matter was that he was feuding with Iron Sheik at the time, and back in the late-'80s the mainstream media seized the chance to mock pro wrestling because two wrestlers in a bitter on-air feud were caught driving together. Of course today, WWE cares so little about that type of thing, they have top heel wrestlers Alberto Del Rio and Mark Henry on Raw giving anti-bullying speeches and coming across as heroes to kids. Vince McMahon cared back then, and fired Duggan and Sheik on the spot because of the embarrassing publicity the arrest created.
"For a while I didn't think I would be given an opportunity to come back to WWE," Duggan told Keller. "My good friend Jake Roberts called me, I was screwed and would never be brought back. So I thought that was going to be the end of my career with Vince. But I made the call to Dusty [Rhodes] after Jake called me. I made plans to go down and see Dusty Rhodes in Atlanta. Before I made that move, Bruce Prichard called me from the office and told me to keep my head down and they were going to bring me back. They brought me back, but never gave me the huge push."
Duggan also talks about the big controversy in WCW between him and Steve Austin, and whether he or Austin still hold a grudge today over the incident that contributed greatly to Eric Bischoff firing Austin from WCW. Click here to read that story.