Recently on The Steve Austin Show, WWE Hall Of Famer Steve Austin was joined by International Federation Of Bodybuilding (“IFBB”) bodybuilder ‘Big’ Will Harris at Broken Skull Studios. During the conversation, Harris talked about the importance of WWE Chairman Vince McMahon’s short-lived World Bodybuilding Federation (“WBF”) in the world of professional bodybuilding. Also, Harris explained his criticism of the IFBB’s Men’s Physique division, which emphasizes leaner, aesthetically pleasing physiques and does not judge competitors on legs.
When asked for Harris’s thoughts on McMahon’s WBF, ‘Big’ Will declared that it was the best thing to happen to professional bodybuilding at the time. In addition to raising the profile of professional bodybuilders, McMahon pressured the IFBB to pay its athletes. Harris rather bluntly stated that he would have left IFBB for WBF if it was an option for him.
“It was the f–king best thing that ever happened to the sport [of professional bodybuilding], absolutely.” Harris explained, “I actually wish it had kept on going if [IFBB co-founder Joe] Weider hadn’t pulled some s–t, but it was one of the best things that ever happened because it was the first time, first of all, IFBB, it forced them to open their f–king pocketbook and pay their athletes.
“Vince made them athletes, not just models and a second thought. Vince put them on stage. He gave them salaries, which was unheard of! He gave them contracts for magazines, which was never done, which was unheard of unless you [were] Lou [Ferrigno], you never saw any of that. You [were] getting paid pennies, so for him, I wish he had brought it back because I would have definitely jumped. If McMahon was to start one now, I’d be a senior to go jump on his s–t! Absolutely!”
On the subject of IFBB’s Physique division where athletic frames are prized over bulky, extremely muscled ones, Harris criticized the category for requiring participants to where long board shorts and not judging legs.
“They’ve watered down bodybuilding so damn much,” Harris revealed. “I mean, hell, one of the worst things they ever brought to this damn sport is what I call, ‘mankini’, okay? That’s the guys in board shorts. I mean, what the? really, what the f–k? Okay, you’re rewarding these guys and the fact that you give them Olympia titles, okay, you’re rewarding these guys for half a damn body. They don’t work hard and what you have told the sport is that we’re settling. ‘Yes, you can settle and get a trophy.’ Just like that whole damn thing, that whole thing they got now with that in education, everybody wins. Bulls–t! There’s a winner. There’s a loser. Every time you lose, it gives you that much more hunger and vigilance of wanting to fight to win. It doesn’t exist anymore and a lot of times that’s existing in bodybuilding. They’re coming up with all these stupid ass categories where these guys are half-assing it and still getting awarded for it. It shows on the Instagram and all that bulls–t too, but it’s garbage. It’s f–king garbage! There’s not one Physique guy that I liked. Ever!”
Harris went on to say that he refuses to even train IFBB Physique category competitors because he does not respect training only the upper body.
“I mean, if we walked on stage with only half a body even back then, you wouldn’t even place! You wouldn’t even place, so it’s not me being bitter. It’s me being realistic. I mean, let’s take it out of gender at all. Let’s take it to a social network. Women like looking at us just as much as we like looking at women. I figure if you could walk around with a long sleeve shirt on, nice pair of legs, ass, and calves, like we like to see on our women, you’ve got that much more attractive – you’ve got pride in what you do. These guys that do this Physique s–t, there’s no pride in it. It’s all vanity. I mean, hell, they’re more diva than the women walking around. I can’t stand them motherf–kers! I won’t even train Physique guys! Really, because I can’t hold my tongue about how I feel about them.” Harris added, “I say, ‘you’re either going to train legs and we’re going to do Classic [division] or we’re not doing it – you’ve got to find some other coach.'”
Also during the podcast, Austin talked about his 2016 rotator cuff injury from training on heavy weights among other things.
Check out the podcast here. If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit The Steve Austin Show with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.