WWE Hall Of Famer Jim Duggan Defends Hollywood Celeb Who Had Heat In The Locker Room

For decades, wrestling promotions have used celebrities from film, sports, and television to boost ratings and sell tickets. One notable example of this was actor Tommy "Tiny" Lister — or as he was known to wrestling purists, Zeus — who WWE (then known as WWF) supposedly treated to 5-star hotels, a stipend, and a limo service, which caused resentment among talent in the locker room. "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, however, remembered Lister fondly on his podcast, "The Hacksaw Hour."


"I got along with Tiny, Zeus was a good guy," Duggan said. "He carried a lot of heat, though. Imagine that, you know, guys working all the time, working in and out, day in, day out. Especially back then, all the time. Now we got the big show coming up, the big blow-off, and they bring in this movie star guy and he gets the big payoff and stuff."

While Duggan clearly understood where his fellow wrestlers were coming from regarding Lister, he has a hard time blaming the actor for simply taking what was offered.

"In his defense, if you can get it, take it, brother, and they were giving it to him," Duggan said. "He couldn't wrestle, but he wasn't there to wrestle. He was just there to look big and mean."


Lister's involvement with WWE began in 1989, when he was cast as the antagonist in the Hulk Hogan action vehicle "No Holds Barred." He would go on to make several appearances for the company, taking both the name Zeus and his goals — defeating Hogan — from his character in the film. He would wrestle four matches in WWE, with his final appearance coming at the 1990 Royal Rumble. He wouldn't enter the ring again until 1996, when he wrestled as "Z-Gangsta" for WCW in what turned out to be his final match. Lister passed away in 2020.