Stevie Ray discusses his career and racism in wrestling in an interview with the Shining Wizards Podcast. Highlights are as follows:
Reuniting Harlem Heat at Pro Wrestling Syndicate tonight:
"I'm not very excited... I had it good for the last few years, kicking back and knocking down a few. But when I'm committed to something, I'm committed to it. But in all actuality, it's good man. It's a good feeling and I've been getting the juices again for the last couple years, and in all actuality, I am excited, to be honest. It's been a long time coming."
Racism in Global, WCW, and wrestling today:
"If you really want to think about it, we ran into racism... That (first) night in Global, they called us every n-word known to man, as we walked out. And I'm like "Wow, this is the big time? Holy Sh*t!" But, you know, the thing is, being African American, things like that... You know how to deal with it coming from certain upbringings... You know how to shut people up. You can't shut them up by arguing with somebody or wanting to fight somebody. We just show them how good you are. If you want to turn the page to WCW, yeah, WCW was probably one of the most racist, bigoted companies in the history of mankind, to be honest. That's what it was made of. They were just a bunch of bigots that want to let a few people in and wanted to keep what they got.
"WCW was no different than America. America is a racist, bigoted country. People can try to hide behind this, that, or the other, but it is what it is. No disrespecting anybody but, you know, just call it the way it is, and WCW was no different. Especially in the professional wrestling world, they want to keep everything as white as possible. If you look at wrestling today, they want to keep everything as white as possible. As a matter of fact, back in the old independent territories, wrestling had more African Americans then they do nowadays. And they had lots of big stars, going all the way back to Sailor Art Thomas, and even before him... the Rocky Johnsons, the Tiger Conways. When we were growing up there was an array of African American wrestlers. Now you only see the African Americans, you know, they put a gimmick on them that's so cliché and so, you know, they got us in a fish bowl, not a sea or a pond. We have to act this way, walk this way and do this kind of stuff, especially in some of the territories nowadays. It is what it is, and you just got to be able to deal with it. Luckily me and my brother were educated enough to know what we were going to do and that's what we were going to do. We weren't going to compromise for anybody. That's what we told people in WCW and people in Global (Wrestling Federation). We're this, and we told them if they want that shucking and jiving guy, if you want that, that's not us...
"I'm looking at WWE... They brought in a couple of tag teams. They brought in Cryme Time. Listen to that... Cryme Tyme. That says it all. I'm looking at the gimmick where they're stealing from people when they're not looking. Is that how America looks at black people today? Really? That were nothing but thieves? Is that all we are? The guy that doesn't want to take care of his child, like they put on the Maury Povich show? Dysfunctional families... Is that what we are? That's everybody, that's America. When it's put out there on television, though, it's just us, and I got a problem with that."
Booker T's & Hulk Hogan's reaction to the infamous Spring Stampede promo:
"Well, It really bothered my brother. It really bothered him, whereas all the guys were ribbing him and were like, "What's up n***a?" Randy Savage & whoever… They all got a big, big kick out of it. It was the pop of the night. So the next day, we go to do Nitro after the Pay-Per-View that Sunday and I remember I was sitting at a table, you know- we were in catering- I'm sitting at the table and Hogan walks in. So me and Hogan would always talk about cars and motorcycles, because he's into cars much like myself. I think he was getting some food when Randy Savage came in and was like, "Hey, Hulk, what's going on man? You know Booker T called you an n***a" Then Hogan was like "That's OK man, at least I'm a good n***a." The whole catering area popped. I mean everybody in the catering room just popped. And I think that's when some of the pressure kind of came off my brother. That's a true story, I've never told it before... After Hogan did that, it pretty much died that day."
Working with Sherri Martel:
"I mean, that was our best times in WCW, when all three of us worked together. They had tried out a few people with us. Frankly, to be honest, me and my brother didn't want a f*cking manager. What the f*ck do we need a manager for? Another white dude that needs to talk for two black guys? Who needs that sh*t? We knew what they were trying to do... Every time they put somebody out there, we were like "we don't want to f*cking work with that guy." They knew we were disgruntled about it. Then they would take us to the studios to do promos with some guy with a f*cking suit on trying to be a rip off of Jimmy Cornette. I can't even remember who they were, I just I remember that we told each other we ain't going for this sh*t.
"Then one day we were at a TV taping... and Sherri was there, and she had been working with Savage I think, I can't remember. I guess they were killing that thing off, and one day we were there at the TV taping and we were talking to her, because we always admired her, and she's like, "Hey how would you guys like for me to be your manager?" Me and my brother looked at each other and go, "That sounds good." A white chick, with two black guys? Now that works. Now you've got heat on both sides of the aisle. You've got black people saying, "Why they gotta have a white chick to come out with?" And you got heat from white people for just being a black guy, period. Now it works. Now you've got something. That's why we called her "Sista," because sisters are referred to as African American women. So we called her sista, and that's why we spelled it sista, not sister. So when that worked and we all started talking on the phone, you know, we'd do matches and then pick up our cell phones and say "yeah, we just did it, and bla bla bla," and people would ask "Who they talking to?" And everybody just knew that it would be some cliché white manager in a suit or some bullsh*t that they did fifty thousand times in wrestling. The night Sherri came out, oh, it blew the roof off the place. We rode all over this country together and overseas. That was Harlem Heat. That was the real Harlem Heat. Booker T., Stevie Ra, and Sista Sherri."
For much more with Stevie Ray, including working with Dick Slater and Bunkhouse Buck, forming a tag team with his brother, slapjacks and fruit booties, the names Kane and Kole, thoughts on the NWO and Harlem Heat 2000, his reaction to Booker T's infamous Spring Stampede promo and more, go to shiningwizards.com and listen to Episode 176: Slapjacking with Stevie Ray. The Shining Wizards Podcast is available on iTunes, Stitcher, AudioBoom, Geek Life Radio, and the Shining Wizards Network.