|By Raj Giri||February 13, 2013 | Comments|
Why it took so long to accept being inducted: "After I retired, I spent a quarter of a century in the business, and when I retired and a new regime took over, Vince McMahon Jr. and that, and in the beginning I went back to help out. I color commentated with him, but then I started to see things that were disturbing to me. I saw the steroid use in wrestling that became kind of rampant and I saw the changes in wrestling itself with some nudity and some vulgarity going on with different things that they were doing. And the profanity was so much. That bothered the heck out of me, and it bothered me so much that I became very outspoken about it. I hated to see the business that I spent 25 years in take that direction. That's what really started it all.
"When it came to the Hall of Fame, I've been very critical of the direction they've taken and I'd feel like a hypocrite if I just accepted this Hall of Fame while I'm so against what they're doing. So all these years have gone by and I have refused every time, but now what happened is that I found out doctor Joseph Maroon, whom I happen to know personally, he's a world-renowned neurosurgeon—in fact, he's operated on me three times—but his reputation is awesome. When I found out he took on that challenge to clean up the drug situation there was over there, that made me feel good.
"Time went by, and I was contacted by the WWE, which was Paul Levesque — better known as Triple H — when he contacted me, I was curious, wasn't convinced, but after awhile he started telling me about not only about the drug program and how strict they were, but he started talking about how they were making it more family friendly by doing away with the nudity and vulgarity and the profanity and all that.
"About six or seven weeks ago, I started watching it because I had my doubts, to be honest. Meanwhile, Paul kept calling me and talking to me more and more about the whole business and the direction they wanted to go in and so forth, and after watching it and having a meeting with Dr. Maroon who explained time and again what they were doing, as I told some previous people, they said, 'you'd never go in the Hall of Fame because you'd feel like a hypocrite, but what if they change? What if the whole thing changed? Would you reconsider?' I would absolutely. If they change, absolutely I would reconsider.
"Well they've convinced me that they have changed and they convinced me — Paul Levesque has — that they want to be family friendly and the plans to go ahead is to do even more so, and I liked everything he had to say. Putting everything together is what made me want to go in."
On his interactions with Vince McMahon and his relationship with him: "Well, first of all, I have not talked to Vince McMahon at all. In the past six months that I have been speaking with Paul Levesque, I have never once talked to Vince McMahon. Now, yes, as you said he is the boss, so I feel that from my conversations with Paul Levesque and the agreements we've come to and so forth, I do believe he had to speak to Vince, and Vince of course had to agree.
"But as far as myself, I will see him for the first time at Madison Square Garden at the Hall of Fame. But I have not talked to him, and as far as I know, there aren't any plans for us to talk until we meet in person at that time. So when that time comes, we shall meet in person and if he wants to bury the hatchet as the old saying goes, I commend him for the changes that he made. I criticized him before, and I will give him credit because these changes could not have taken place without his approval. So, you know, I have to be fair too here.
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