WWE Hall of Famer Mr. T appeared on Ring Rust Radio this week. You can listen to the full interview in the video above or download it at this link, they sent us this transcription:
You were a huge part of the first two WrestleMania and got a chance to recreate the original WrestleMania a little bit at WrestleMania 30 in New Orleans after you got inducted into the Hall of Fame. If Vince McMahon were to call you and ask you to do something at next year's WrestleMania what would your level of interest be? Would you like another WrestleMania moment?
"No, I have been there and done that. It was fun the time I did have with them. I was honored that they thought enough of me to put me in the Hall of Fame. I was thankful they gave me the chance to talk about the man behind the guy with the gold and the Mohawk. I was very honored by that. My time has come and gone with them. Wrestling is a young man's sport. I was honored when they invited me to be a part of it in 1985 and it was fun. I was a high school champion wrestler back in my day, so this was up my alley. I liked to get in there and get thrown around and do some throwing around, getting a little roughed up, so it was good for me. I do like watching it now, and I would rather just leave it at that and watch it now."
You were instrumental in building the WrestleMania brand with your appearance at WrestleMania 1 and 2. Was there ever talk, or interest on your end, in participating at WrestleMania 3 or making your appearance an annual staple?
"Not at the time. After WrestleMania 2, I would be a special referee in some matches. Then if guys got out of hand I could mix it up with them. I really did like the time I spent with the wrestlers like Junkyard Dog, Macho Man, Nikolai Volkoff and Hillbilly Jim. They were such a great group of guys."
It's well documented that the late Roddy Piper wasn't a supporter of you getting involved in wrestling and being in the main event of the first WrestleMania. Looking back, how were you received by the WWF locker room as a whole, and how difficult was it to enter that world of wrestling as an outsider?
"It was understandable because at the time they didn't know I used to wrestle, box and hold my own. I wasn't a guy coming in there to make a mockery of wrestling. I came to get down. I know what a headlock is. My favorite pin is the ball and socket, and once I grabbed a guy I knew what I could do to them. I knew how to choke a guy and make him scream legitimately. I really knew my way around the ropes. Once they found out I could hold my own, it was OK to give me some respect. I didn't just earn it by coming in to the WWF. It was understandable that they wrestlers back then thought I was coming in as someone from Hollywood and was going to make fun of them. No, that wasn't it at all. I didn't mind them being skeptical, I just wanted to be able to prove myself to them. Some accepted and some didn't and that's OK. Vince McMahon called me in so it didn't matter if they loved me or hated me. They didn't sign my checks."
The WWE Network has recently been producing a lot of original content for wresting fans. Considering you're one of the biggest mainstream stars ever associated with WWE, has the company approached you about participating in any type of original programming?
"No they haven't. I have been very busy lately and that's the God's honest truth. All I ever wanted to do in my life before I got successful was to buy my mama a house and pretty dresses. Everything else after that was icing on the cake. I've achieved my goal and everything I set out to do I did. Now I get to be the spokesmen for Fairfield Inn and that's the greatest job, know what I mean? I don't want to do anything else but that right now. I want to travel around, make sure the customers are happy, make them smile, kiss babies, hug grandmas, take photos and sign autographs. I'm having the time of my life right now."
You're forever linked to Hulk Hogan because you guys teamed up to make WrestleMania so successful, but he's been in the news a lot lately, primarily due to some racially insensitive comments he made. What are your thoughts on the fact that he made those comments, and what's your relationship like with him right now?
"I don't have a problem with Hulk Hogan. People say things and do things, and who am I to judge? I am a Christian and the bible teaches me to forgive. So what am I going to say? The man did something wrong. The whole operation with how it happened was bad with him being filmed and everything. I'm mad at his buddy. Hulk loved the guy and he betrayed him, but that is life. Judas betrayed Jesus. Lady Red betrayed John Dillinger. Those things happen. If Hulk Hogan called me I would talk to him. I wouldn't cut him off for what he did. I haven't lost any respect for him. Everybody has done something that we wish we didn't say or do and wish we could take it back. He is still cool with me."
When you look back at your time with the WWE and being inducted into its Hall of Fame, what did that honor mean to you and is there a moment from that stood out above the rest?
"The moment being inducted and being able to give my speech would be it. They wanted me in for a number of years, but I wouldn't be a part of it because it bothered me that they put Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame. He can't even get in the baseball Hall of Fame and he isn't a wrestler. That's just me clowning about Pete Rose. I was honored they gave me the opportunity to really tell people more about the man behind the character of Mr. T. That's why I wanted to talk about my mother and give her credit for what she is. She made me everything I am and I wanted the kids to see that. That was the greatest part of it for me. Coming back and seeing the old wrestlers and the new fans was really heartwarming for me."
A lot of wrestlers we've spoken to complained about their time in WWF. You worked with the company on several occasions, so how did you find the experience and was there any negativity you had to deal with?
"For me, I just came in there to help give them an injection. The guys there had already come through the ranks. So I came in with Cyndi Lauper and they had me jump in to save Hulk Hogan. You would have to talk to them, but I had a good time. I enjoyed Vince McMahon, he was a professional and I was a professional. I didn't have to deal with him on a day-to-day basis so that may have been why my perspective was a little different than the wrestlers' perspective."