The Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling Podcast recently spoke to former WCW and WWE tag champion Chuck Palumbo about the end of WCW, as well as his controversial storyline with Billy Gunn. You can see highlights below, and the full podcast at this link.
How did The Natural Born Thrillers group handle the push they received:
I've got to say and I know all those guys in "The Thrillers" will say the same thing, it was probably some of the best times ever in the wrestling business for us. Number one, we had fun. We are traveling around the country, we are working with these guys who had been over for a while, that part was awesome. We were all young, new to TV so we are just on fire. At the same time as far as the veterans go; here come these young guys with no experience outside of the Power Plant maybe a little bit of Indy, maybe a little bit of Japan and we are coming in and getting pushed. So far guys who were mid card in WCW and never had the opportunity to get pushed up higher or for guys that never made it higher here we come and it could be tough. You've got some struggles in there like anything else but all in all I think we ended up gelling okay. But on the other hand you've got your guys like Dean Malenko who said these guys don't belong here, well we didn't ask to be there we worked hard in the Power Plant and they put us there. So we were going to take what we had and run with it.
Was it too little too late in regards to pushing younger talent by WCW in 2000:
It's too bad, because I think it was too little too late for the company. At that time WCW was on the downfall, if they had done it earlier I think that maybe it would've been better for business. Hats off to Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff for giving us that opportunity. It was really Vince and Eric who decided to do that, which was alright. I think Eric has a great mind for the business. He has a great mind for television in general. He was always great to me and I had a good time. You hear stuff from other guys that didn't like him and others guys who did but for me personally I enjoyed it. He gave me opportunities and that's all I can ask for.
The end of WCW:
I was fortunate enough to work on the last Nitro over down in Panama City and honestly we had heard rumors but no one really got the facts until that night when Shane McMahon walked into the locker-room and introduced himself and gave us a rundown of what was going on. We found out (Gerald) Brisco was in the "gorilla-position" and we knew things were changing. I don't think anybody including Vince McMahon knew ultimately what his plan was. But that was big in the history of wrestling and it's cool to have been a part of it.
Was the WCW crew frustrated by their utilization following the purchase by WWE:
Looking back now, yeah it's probably frustrating. But at the time I had only been in the business three years so I was so naive. I figured it was legit, we are coming over and they are going to something with the talent. I just kept busy. I kept working in Mexico and would call JR once a week and say I'm going to work Mexico City and he would say no problem just go for it. Again, for me personally it was okay because I did get to come over right away and do something. For a lot of the other guys they didn't get the opportunities so I'm sure they have a different opinion.
Looking back on Billy and Chuck and playing a different style character:
I made my best money that I ever made in the industry when that angle was going on. I had the most fun I ever had besides from my early days in WCW, I had most my fun in WWF/WWE while I did that character and it was the easiest thing to do. A lot of guys take the wrestling business too personal and we call it "living the gimmick" or believing in the gimmick and you can't get that serious about it. It's a job and you are pretty much a type, you are pretty much acting a part and you have to have fun with it.
Teaming with Billy Gunn and the end game always being "The Commitment Ceremony":
Working with Billy Gunn who had an incredible career up to that point, great worker and a great veteran. I learned so much from him. That gimmick was booked out to finish around ratings week which was the wedding. Vince wanted a big number during ratings week. We did it, we knocked them out we were number 1 and that's how he timed it and that's what happened. I knew that going into it and if that's what this guy wants and he's paying me to do it then lets give him the best Billy and Chuck that we can give him.
His last run in WWE being more of a comfortable role and being more like himself:
In the beginning yes, I was given a push with the biker gimmick. I've had the interest in the car and motorcycle thing since I was a kid so it made it a little bit easier to be doing that. So the wrestling fan saw a little bit of what I really was like outside of wrestling but the problem with that whole deal was that it never really happened properly. Right away I get thrown into an angle where I was getting aggressive with women and the angle with (Jamie) Noble and (Michelle) McCool and I felt that it was really distasteful and especially for the younger generation of wrestling fans. You don't want kids turning on the TV and see a 6'5 300lb biker throwing back elbows at chicks. I wish they could've done things a little differently but it's the business and they pay me and I did what I had to do.