Steve “Mongo” McMichael is best remembered by wrestling fans from his time in WCW in the 1990s. He was originally a commentator on WCW Nitro before later becoming an in-ring performer and a member of the Four Horseman. McMichael spoke with Wrestling Inc.’s Andy Malnoske as part of our WINCLY podcast to discuss Ric Flair, the nWo being given too much TV time, what he would change in WWE, and today’s pro wrestling being too scripted.
Once joining up with the Four Horsemen, McMichael was able to spend plenty of time with Ric Flair both in and out of the ring. Even though the cameras were off that didn’t alter Flair’s exuberant personality.
“When I met Ric Flair, he was everything I’ve seen on TV and more,” McMichael said. “Some guys have a private life that is kind of sedate, Ric Flair is the genuine article, what you see is what you get, my friend. The way you see him talking on the mic in the ring is the way he lives his life. It’s not a script! That’s why I say the best guys, in any entertainment industry, it comes off the top of their head, they’re not memorizing a script.”
A usual critique from veterans on today’s wrestling is how overly scripted segments are, causing a staleness to the product. McMichael echoed those same sentiment when talking to Wrestling Inc, saying it’s taken the “sports out of sports entertainment.”
“It’s too much like a soap opera now,” McMichael responded. “They have scenes and lines, and ‘cut!’ Go on to the next scene. It’s taking the sports out of sports entertainment. They shouldn’t do that, even though it’s stuntmen killing each other, people want to see that. That’s what filled up the old Coliseum in Rome.”
Following up with that, McMichael was asked if he had the ability to run WWE, what change would he make? The former Super Bowl winner went in a different direction by saying there needs to be more ‘monsters’ in the promotion.
“I would go get me some gargantuan [wrestlers],” McMichael said. “That’s what they’re missing, Big John Studd, Andre the Giant, and ya know, Hulk Hogan wasn’t a little guy. The guys that walk out the curtain, the fans are like, ‘Look at that monster!’ … I know the high-flying guys, they’re great to have, but for the fans, they want to see those monsters.”
The topic switched to WCW and the rise of the nWo, a group that first began with Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, and Kevin Nash, and grew to a massive stable that would eventually split off to nWo Wolfpac. Near the end of WCW’s run in 2001, McMichael was asked if he felt the nWo’s overwhelming presence on TV had anything to do with the decline, and he felt it did, causing boredom among the fans.
“When you’re just doing one of two things and ya just start dumping it all on that one thing, the fans get bored, and turn the channel,” McMichael admitted. “Yeah, it was too much nWo. The fans want to see competition.”
In Mondo’s full exclusive interview with Wrestling Inc. he also discusses his time as a WCW Announcer and what US President Barack Obama once said to him, and more. You can listen to Wrestling Inc.’s full WINCLY interview with Mongo in the embedded audio player below. Subscribe to Wrestling Inc. Audio on iTunes to get our latest podcasts as soon as they become available: