Remembering The Honky Tonk Man's Short Run In WCW

Pulling over in his pink Cadillac, an Elvis impersonator wearing a blue jumpsuit asked a person wearing a WCW baseball hat, "Hey buddy, which way to the WCW wrestling matches?" Surprised by who was driving, the fan gave directions and was told "Thank you very much." As the pink Cadillac drove away, the fan turned to the camera and said, "Is that who I thought it was?"


The Honky Tonk Man rolled into WCW with his "Honky Tonk Baby" music video at Clash of the Champions XXVIII on August 24, 1994. Over the next several months, Honky picked up wins over preliminary wrestlers on WCW programming, most notably Brad Armstrong on "WCW Pro" and Terry Taylor on "WCW WorldWide." The longest reigning WWE Intercontinental Champion of all time, Honky set his eyes on the WCW World Television Championship held by Johnny B. Badd (aka Marc Mero)

Challenging Badd at Halloween Havoc 1994, the match went to a 10-minute draw. Three weeks later, the rematch occurred at Clash of the Champions XXIX, where Honky was disqualified for shoving Badd into referee Randy Anderson and smashing a guitar over Badd's head. The feud was to culminate at Starrcade 1994, but on that night Honky was replaced by Arn Anderson and never seen in WCW again.


Why the Honky Tonk Man left WCW

Honky "knew his days were numbered" after talking with WCW's Senior Vice President. "Eric Bischoff told me on our first meeting that he didn't like my gimmick; he wasn't a fan of mine; but to keep Jimmy Hart quiet, I have to bring you in," said Honky on "The Hannibal TV" YouTube channel. "He promised me a contract and then all of a sudden, he wants me to start doing jobs for Johnny B. Badd."


Honky's WCW contract was $1000 per appearance, whether it was a television match or being flown in for promos. When asked to put Badd over in the opening match of Halloween Havoc, Honky felt slighted as he had "been the main event in Detroit and sold it out 20 times over" when working for WWE. "Nothing against Marc Mero or Johnny B. Badd but look, those guys at $350-$400K contracts, I'm working for a thousand a day, I'm not going to go out there to do jobs," he said. The match was changed to a time limit draw.

At Starrcade, Honky told Bischoff he wasn't doing the job for Badd, citing the lack of a contract and no guarantee if he did the job, he wouldn't be fired. When Bischoff pointed out Honky did jobs for Vince (McMahon), Honky replied, "Yes, but he paid me and he paid me very well for those jobs." Honky then told Bischoff he "couldn't carry Vince's jockstrap" and walked out.


The story according to Eric Bischoff

"I fired him," said Bischoff of Honky's WCW exit on his "83 Weeks" podcast. "There's no question, I did it in front of a bunch of people in a loading dock area at the arena. It wasn't even in my office."


"The M'Fer actually thought he was Elvis," Bischoff continued. "He actually believed in his head, and I know this to be true as I was looking into the idiot's eyes, he actually believed in his head that if Elvis left the building, yours truly would be left holding the bag with no choice and nothing to do."  When told by Honky he wouldn't "do the job unless his contract was revisited," Bischoff said, "Great, that's an ultimatum; they don't work for me; you're done; you're out. It was the shortest conversation I've probably ever had with talent."

Bischoff also disputed Honky's claim of a meeting before his WCW arrival, stating Honky "wasn't significant enough at that time" for him to take the time to try to get to know him. "I wouldn't have wasted seven minutes of my time to walk down the hall and have a conversation with somebody at his level," he said. As for Honky's ultimatum "Vince McMahon paid him a lot of money to do jobs," that was another fabrication. "The conversation never happened," said Bischoff. "He held me up, I told him to go 'F himself' and we went in another direction, end of conversation."


If you use any quotes from this article, please credit "The Hannibal TV" and "83 Weeks" YouTube channels with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.