Recently, Wrestling Inc. owner Raj Giri caught up with the legendary Kevin Sullivan. Among other topics, Sullivan shared his thoughts on wrestlers wearing t-shirts during matches and the lack of credibility in professional wrestling today.
With respect to Kevin Owens wrestling in a t-shirt, Sullivan noted that few wrestlers get over with the fans wrestling in a t-shirt.
"Let me ask you something? Kevin Owens, who everybody is jumping up and down over. Can you name a person besides Cactus Jack to get over like that with a shirt on?," Sullivan asked. "Name me one. If you ask me who hit 500 home runs, I can name you ten off the top of my head. So why does everybody say these guys have to be pushed? If you're an athlete, and you're walking down the street at 2 am, John Cena is walking on the left, Kevin Owens is on the right, which side of the street are you gonna get up on? They need to want to be you, or be afraid to fight you. I think they've tried to make a chance, and people listen to the pounding of the drum, but have attendance or ratings gone up? We don't want to listen to when people tell us what to do. For 14 years the ratings have went down. If that happened in college football, would those people still have a job? Coaches would get cut for not doing their job. Players would get cut."
As for Sullivan's thoughts on how wrestling can improve, Sullivan suggested that today's product lacks the realism or believability of yesteryear.
"You'd have to snuff it off. A guy brought up to me that wrestling and boxing was built on legitimacy. We have a bunch of tongue-in-cheek people laughing at us. It wasn't like that with Bruno Sammartino, but we can't go back. Boxing keeps on producing fights, and it doesn't look much different than the 50's. The wrestling product today doesn't even look anything like the 90's or the early 2000's? There's a 'stunt double' and nobody complains. This is where I'm going to be a nasty old man. This country needs Donald Trump as President. Because we put up with this stuff. If we hate it that bad, why don't we turn it off and stop watching?"
Sullivan noted that great talent should be making the booking easy.
"I had the greatest talent of all-time [when booking WCW]. I'm not the smartest guy in the world. If you book talent and you have hall of famers on the bench, I had that. We had Kevin Nash with us, Scott [Hall] with us, I had all these guys in a box together. You didn't see our guys running around in t-shirts wrestling. In the UFC do they wear shirts?" When Giri responded that the ladies wear t-shirts, Sullivan laughed. "Yeah. The men? They're not. Ali in his day would have drawn $100 million on pay-per-view, and he wasn't boxing in a shirt."
Check back next week for our full interview with Kevin Sullivan. Meanwhile, you can check out the premiere episode of Sullivan's podcast, "Sullivan's Slaughterhouse," on our audio channel below. You can also download the episode directly by clicking here. If you want to subscribe to the Wrestling Inc. audio channel, you can do so through iTunes as well as our RSS feed, which you can use to subscribe through any podcast app.
In the episode, Sullivan talks with pro wrestling legend Terry Funk about the changes in pro wrestling, their careers, wrestling becoming sports entertainment and more. The show lets you get a peek inside the mind of the man who helped lead WCW Monday Nitro on an 80+ week run at the top of the Monday Night Wars from the booker position. Sullivan also gives his unique perspective in taking a look back at what makes things tick in the past, present, and future of the wrestling industry.