Today the Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling interviewed Johnny Swinger. You can download and listen to the full interview by clicking here, they sent us these highlights:
Getting into the business under his Uncle, former wrestler Tony Parisi:
"He was my Uncle by marriage, which probably happened when I was around 12 years old and I was already a fan before that. I started putting up the ring when I was around 13 years old and I was doing that until I was about 18 and refereeing the smaller shows. He wouldn't train me because back then there weren't wrestling schools and it was still very protected and five years of being in the locker rooms with him I only saw a few guys that were wrestling each other actually get together and talk. It's not like it is today. He knew I wanted to be in it but he was of that attitude of if you want to be in it you've got to find your own way in."
Idea to change his ring name from Johnny Swinger to Johnny Parisi:
"Johnny Parisi was Vince McMahon's idea. He didn't just want me to be Johnny Swinger. I never used that card of being a "quasi" second generation wrestler which gets a lot of people a break and maybe sooner then others. I didn't use it until I got to WWE and Vince always wants to change everybody's name. Triple H came by at a RAW taping and asked if Tony Parisi was my Uncle and said I think we will just call you Johnny Parisi."
Why his role in WCW was so important:
"JJ Dillon had hired me and he gave me like two or three raises while I was there. I wasn't getting a push but I was getting raises and the reason he told me I was is because I made the most of every minute that I get on TV and he said that is what he was trying to teach all these guys. Everyone wants to go to the top but you can't have a show with just the "top", there needs to be underneath people that have talent. If people are just going to turn the channel and watch RAW there were a lot of times that I was in that match at the nine o'clock hour and if I wasn't any good they wouldn't be putting me on that spot and that's the way I felt about it at the time. At any point they could do something with me. I was friends with DDP and he started getting in my ear about maybe I should get out of there and go down to Paul E."
"I still live in Atlanta so every time I go downtown all I say is; WOW, I can't believe that I wrestled there in front of all those people and I use that story a lot of times to defend Goldberg. I was there that night and I made sure I went out into the crowd during that match and when he beat Hogan I never heard the roar of a crowd like that in my life. The guy was unbelievably over and just to stand there and be apart of the company at that point and be in the middle of that was really awesome. Nothing has ever really come close to that even with the other companies, I don't know what happened after I left but up until late 99 it was pretty hot."
WCW management not settling for the terrible ratings WWE has today:
"We were doing mid 2's on the Saturday Night TV show and they were getting hot about it. They told us that we needed to get back over 3 and you think about now, things have really changed. I had so many matches that were ten to twenty minuets sometimes and when can you get that kind of exposure. Now you have like a minute. TV time is everything, if you are on TV for ten minutes you are worth something. I had a lot of TV time with a lot of great stars. I wrestled DDP when he was getting that big push against the nWo, had some really nice matches with Rey Mysterio and Kidman and guys that were really over with the people. It was just a really good experience there in WCW."