Former WWE Smackdown GM Teddy Long spoke to the Two Man Power Trip Of Wrestling Podcast recently about his time in WWE, and inside jokes about his character. You can see highlights below, and hear the full podcast at this link.
"For me there was no prepping that day. Sometimes there is usually a rehearsal as to what we are going to do or go over things and make sure everybody is right. Vince always knew that I've had rehearsals but he always knew that he didn't have to give them to me he only had to give me what he wanted done and I would always be able to get out there and do it. I had been gone for a year and when I went out there it was like I never left. I always took my job real serious and when I think back to that 15th Anniversary I knew exactly where I was and I was back in the hands of Vince McMahon and you don't play around up there, you do your work, do your job and you keep Vince happy and that's what I did."
Being the face of Smackdown as the GM for nearly 6 years straight:
"It meant a lot to me because I had been in Professional Wrestling for over 30 years and basically the longer you stay in this business the more you learn and the more experience you get. When I was in the NWA and WCW I had a few guys like Butch Reed and Ron Simmons (who were the first Afro-American tag team champions) and when you are always trying to get a break it looks like there is always something somewhere that just kind of stops you. That's what happened with me in the NWA and WCW, every time we would get something good somebody would try to break it up or wanted to do something else or break the team up. I was able to go to New York and work for Vince and once he found out what I could do then he was real pleased with me. He was the only person that ever gave me a break and I wanted to reward him for giving me that because I always wanted to show people that said I didn't have any talent, that I had talent and Vince McMahon helped me prove that. My thing up there with him is that I am going to make this work and whatever he wants me to do I am going to do that and I am going to portray myself."
The origin of the word "playa" and the Teddy Long "dance":
"My character was basically just me. The word "playa" I just started saying it around the house. I had this big dog and I used to call him all the time, his name was Balls but I started calling him "Playa" around the house and I just took that to TV and started using it. Another example is the dance that I do. A lot of people think that is something big, well it's big to me because of my Grandson. We bought him this little walker and every time he would get in that he would just bounce up and down kind of like the dance so I started doing the dance on TV because I wanted my Grandson to watch it and let him know I was doing his dance. So that's the inside secret about how the dance came about. When you can be yourself you can be more relaxed when you are out there trying to portray a character and you are trying to get somebody over, well I wasn't trying to get anyone over but me. I was able to adapt and I was able to learn Vince McMahon's way. That's another thing, if you learn Vince McMahon's way you will be there for a long time. I was able to do all of that with the help of God."
The running "tag team match" joke with him on Smackdown:
"I never really thought about it and there was never any thought behind it. I was told what to do, I was told we were going to turn this into a tag team match and I just started doing it on my own in giving the emphasis on "tag team match" and doing my thing. But it actually got over and is all over YouTube. Everybody wants to see me make that tag team match."
Finding the scenario comical after a while and WWE saving the singles matches for RAW:
"Whatever you are told to do is serious. It's strictly serious with Vince, you don't laugh or play around so whenever they said tag team match I said well I am going out there and making this the best tag team match and better than the other ones I made. That's the way I always thought about it just being better than the last time. Stuff like that was probably discussed in a production meeting and don't get me wrong I had been invited to some of the production meetings but that is voluntarily if you wanted to go. I didn't really want to go to those because I didn't really want to know what was happening."
Teddy Long goes into great detail over his run as Smackdown GM, managing in both WWE and WCW, refereeing in both WWE and WCW, The White Boy Challenge, The Infamous Wrestlers Court Stories, Ribbing Butch Reed and much much more.