George 'The Animal' Steele Talks Being Upset With WrestleMania III, Randy Savage, Vince, His Gimmick
"So we're in the match and somebody got mad at me, I think it was a lady and she threw her pillow at me. So what am I gonna do? If I sit on it, it's going to be boring. If I throw it back, I'm gonna get bombed with 300 of them. So I took it and I bit it. And it exploded so I started throwing the stuffing up in the air and it come down and stuck. It's lighter than air so it stuck in my hair, I looked like the abominable snowman. And then I put it over my opponents head and started choking him. When I pulled it off because the stuffing was lighter than air, it almost killed him. So I go to the dressing room and wrestlers being like wrestlers are back then, they all laugh and said Gee, you almost killed that one. If you get someone to throw a pillow sometime, that was really exciting. And about two weeks later, three weeks later, I was wrestling a guy you've probably heard of. He always had exciting matches. Our match was just boring, it was not working. Chief Jay Strongbow. How do you have a boring match with him? Anyhow. I looked over at the turnbuckle, I went over and there's an old Everlast turnbuckle. I took a bite out of it, tore his head, rubbed it in his face, ran his head into the turnbuckle. From kind of a flat match, we had a riot. So from then on, the turnbuckles did become a bit of a fetish."
His relationships with Vince McMahon, Sr. and Vince McMahon, Jr.: "Vince Sr. was one of the most honest, respectable people I've ever been around. Next to a father figure, he was it. I broke down and cried when I heard he died. We were very close. Whenever I came in, I would usually ride with him and Vince Jr. and Ernie Rob, who was the wizard of oz. The grand wizard of wrestling which is a wizard of oz. And we would sit and chat. I think the reason that Vince Sr. took a liking to me was because I was not just another wrestler but I was a teacher and a coach and was involved in other sports. One of our rides, the Washington Redskins signed a little guy by the name of Andre the Giant, to play football. And they wanted to use him in a cartoonish way to put him in the middle of the field on field goals and extra points and stand up and try to block em like he was, you know the guy hanging on the Empire State building, the gorilla hanging on there, swatting at things. That's kind of what it was like, how they wanted to use him. And I told Vince Sr. I wouldn't do that. Because of my football background, they know if you put a guy standing in front of me, swatting at extra points and field goals, I would take his knee out. It be very vulnerable. And the Redskins, I think wanted to use it as a gimmick, a good publicity stunt for wrestling too. But they never did it. And I think that was a good call. Those kinds of things are what we talked about when I was writing. Back then the business was a family type, out of the backroom type business.
"When Vince Jr. took over, things were changing drastically in the business world. So wrestling became part of the corporate world. Which changed everything. I was an agent after I quit wrestling and I really found it was all passing me by, I gotta be honest. As a corporate world, wrestlers were signing contracts so they become part of the company. We used to beŚwe never signed contracts. We were free agents. We had nothing except the payday of that show. And by the same token, we had a thing called kayfabe. And if somebody was doing something that would destroy our business in any way since it was our business, as individual wrestlers, that person would not last very long. He would probably get hurt in the ring, he'd get beat up a little bit, he would not be around very long. When it became a corporate world, it became more of a side contracts, not your business and I think a lot of the old school respect was lost. Vince Jr. didn't destroy kayfabe, the contracts did. The times did. It could've been Vince, it could've been any one of the promoters at any one of the areas. It could've been WCW, anyone. When they went to contracts in the WCW, kayfabe was out the window. That happened across the board when guys started getting on contracts. I can remember the British Bulldogs. You remember they had a dog by the name of Matilda? And Matilda they would take her to the ring and she chase the bad guys. Ok, going into the arena the bulldogs didn't like Matilda and the heels was the ones who brought her into the arena in front of everybody. That's breaking kayfabe. And they're using the dog to do it, but what can I say? But again, it was all passing me by. It was a totally different respect for the business. Not saying disrespect. Just a totally different business. I get asked a lot about the way it used to be and how much better it is now or how much better it was back then than it is now. And again, I don't see it that way. I see that I was fortunate to be part of laying a great foundation for a great business. Vince McMahon Jr. is a great business man. A great promoter and a great marketer. In the '80s, the WWF were making more money on their merchandise than they were in the NFL. That's huge. That's really huge."