George Steele recently spoke to the WrestleShark Podcast with Simon and David about his career. In the interview "The Animal" discusses where his character came from, the "magic moment" that changed his career, his retirement, health issues, working as an agent, the evolution of the business, wrestling halls of fame and more. The full interview is available only on iTunes at the following location. Highlights are as follows:
Working with Savage: "That was fun, Randy was a real professional, our matches were tough, always hard and different and he was genuinely very jealous [over Elizabeth] so that made it even easier. That was a long run, and it lead up to probably one of the best matches in the history of the WWE and that was Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat."
Being involved in such a monumental match: "Well...[laughs]...that's funny, fans see things differently. I didn't see that as such a monumental match, I saw it as a very different match. Back then the business was different, everything was done in the ring, we never rehearsed anything, we called it ring psychology. And I was so sick of hearing about that match and what was gonna go on that it was actually pretty boring to me."
Has this tainted it for you? "No, no no. The business was changing! What I'm saying to you now, I never would have said 25 years ago...it was kayfabe. Kayfabe is dead. Fans are pretty smart to whats going on in the wrestling business and they find it very entertaining and that's good. Back then our business was more realistic, people thought it was more real...now it's pretty much...what they call it...W-W-Enterntainment."
Retirement: "I retired because I was deathly ill, I had Crones disease and at one point they told me I didn't have very much time to live. When I was coming down with the sickness, I got a call from Vinnie who asked me to be an agent. So I would be on the road, taking long times off to go into the hospital for 30 days on IV's. Looking back, I think keeping busy when I wasn't in the hospital probably helped keep me alive. With Crones Disease, they don't know the cause of it, they said there's no cure. I'm totally cured. I think being very active, I was able to overcome the illness, I owe a lot to the WWF, I owe my life to the WWF, they have been very good to me and my family."
The Wellness Policy: "When I was an agent, I did the drug testing. I'm the guy that administered the test a lot of times. I even testified in front of the Federal Grand Jury about it...[laughs]...I think they wanted to get me out of there, I had everybody laughing so much. They asked me if I tested everybody for steroids and I said 'not really'...and they were like 'WHAT?!' because everybody else was saying they did. I said, well I asked Andre The Giant to pee into a cup and he said no. So I looked at him and thought, he's probably not on growth hormones: he's already too dang big! And you know, lots of those kind of things."