Above is audio from an interview WrestlingINC.com conducted with Honky Tonk Man regarding a variety of topics, including his work with some of the biggest stars in the business, including "Macho Man" Randy Savage, who is headlining WWE's Hall of Fame inductions next weekend. We are posting interesting clips and stories from our interviews to our YouTube channel, so please take a moment to subscribe to our YouTube channel at youtube.com/WrestlingINC1.
Asked why he didn't drop the Intercontinental title to Randy Savage as originally planned, Honky said it had a lot to do with the timing and forum for the title change. He explained that he made a decision to protect his character and reputation in the business.
"I had a deal with WWE and Vince, a handshake deal," explained HTM. "There were no contracts back then. 'I'll do anything you want if you give me an opportunity. If I do good, pay me. If I don't do good, I'll pack my bags and move down the highway.' All I said was, 'Treat me good on TV. Take care of me on television.' Back in the old days, us old guys always believed that if they destroy you on television, you're pretty much destroyed."
HTM added that his position on not dropping the title at that point caused some problems backstage, including some animosity from "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase as well as from the company's top brass.
"I had to protect my business, too," said Honky Tonk Man. "My business, of course, was the Honky Tonk Man because I could have taken it to Turner. I did make a call to Turner and they said, 'Absolutely not. Do not do that on television if you want to come down here with us.' We had a meeting set and down and then I ended up staying with WWE which was probably not the best move of my life because, after that, they never trusted me again."
He also noted that dropping the title to Ultimate Warrior was a windfall for Warrior's character, garnering him many new fans as well as supporters behind the curtain.
"Warrior fit the mold and at that point, Vince decided he wanted to go that direction," HTM recalled. "The Intercontinental belt was such a hot item that it was a stepping stone to the big belt. For him to get the Intercontinental championship for me and keep it for six months or eight months, then move up to the next level made him bigger and better than he would have ever beenů It was a catapult to the next level and I didn't have a problem with it when it was done that way. It was done and everybody was professional about it."
You can read much more from the original interview here.
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