Arda Ocal of The Score Television Network recently spoke with WWE Hall Of Famer "Mr. USA" Tony Atlas. Here are some highlights:
His thoughts on Hulk Hogan using the trademark "cup to the ear" to the fans: "Georgia Championship Wrestling... I was watching a match one day and it was a wrestler by the name of Thunderbolt Patterson. He went to the crowd and went like this [cup to the ear]... I thought it was pretty neat. I went down in Florida and saw Dusty Rhodes doing the same thing. In 1980 when I went to the WWF at the time, I thought about what I saw Thunderbolt and Dusty Rhodes do, so I decided to do it. When I did it, it was in a match with [Hulk] Hogan. When Hogan became champion, I sat in the dressing room and saw Hogan doing it."
Being the inspiration for the Slammy statue: "One of the guys at the WWF offices at the time came to me and asked me, 'do you have a picture of you press slamming anyone?'. So I gave them a picture of me press-slamming Victor Guerrero. I gave them that picture, and the guy gave the picture right back at me about a month or two later. Then I went to the first Slammys in 1985. If you look closely at the bottom of the statue, you see that's Tony Atlas, 'cause think about who was doing the press slam in 1985 when the Slammy was created."
His thoughts on WWE today and his involvement with them: "Anybody that says that they don't wanna be in the WWE are either lying to themselves, lying to whoever they are talking to, or [are] just plan nuts. The WWE is probably the greatest organization in the history of pro wrestling. The ratings for WWE are probably the greatest ratings of anything on television."
You can check out the full interview below: