“Hacksaw” Jim Duggan was one of the first athletes to transition from pro football to pro wrestling after he had a brief stint in the NFL. He talked about coming up during the 70s wrestling landscape and what he says to current NFL players.
“I joke that back then you didn’t have 200 channels to choose from and you almost had to watch wrestling. It was a game show, the news or wrestling,” Duggan said when he joined The Wrestling Inc Daily.
“I’m going down to Orlando and I’m gonna be at the Pro Bowl on Sunday. I was in the NFL for year back in 1977 for the Falcons. But I always like to give those guys the business,” Duggan said while adding that he rags NFL players about being “World” champions because they only play in the US.
“In my 40 years of wrestling, I’ve wrestled in every state in The Union, every province in Canada and 30 different countries. It’s unbelievable the worldwide appeal of wrestling. I joke that nobody knows Tom Brady in Christ Church, New Zealand but they’ll go Hooooooo!”
Nowadays it’s the norm for former football players or other athletes to transition into wrestling. Duggan revealed what advice he would give to aspiring wrestlers.
“A lot of the guys grew up with us and a lot of the guys who are just out of the NFL are big wrestling fans. I tell folks that come up and say, ‘Yeah I wanna be a wrestler.’ Well chase your dreams because who would have thought that Daniel Bryan would make it? I saw that kid and said there’s not a chance in hell. But he had the drive, desire and work ethic, and he became a huge star,” stated Duggan.
“You’ve got a better chance of playing in the NFL than becoming a wrestling star. As a business, there’s 1200 NFL players, 500 NBA players and 100 WWE wrestlers. It’s television and it’s more competitive in sports, but people don’t see it that way.”
Duggan then shared his thoughts on Vince McMahon’s second try at football with the new XFL, that re-debuts this afternoon. Duggan gave his thoughts on if he thinks it will be successful.
“Well I hope so. As in the new wrestling league [AEW] ? I think it’s great as it’s more opportunity for guys and the fans. As for the XFL, never count Vince out as he’ll try anything,” Duggan said while commending McMahon’s work ethic.
“I look back at my career and could he have treated us better? Yea, but at this stage of my life I’m still traveling the world and people are talking about the WWF. Not WCW, not mid-South, not WWE ? they talk about the WWF days and that’s Vince McMahon. He gave me and my family a nice life so I have nothing against Vince McMahon.”
As for AEW, Duggan was asked if he’s had any conversations with them.
“I don’t think they are too interested in me. I like to joke that in my heyday I wrestled Dusty, DiBiase and Orton and then in WWE I wrestled Dusty’s kid, DiBiase’s kid and Orton’s kid,” stated Duggan. “I already beat up Cody and of course Jericho, he’s been around for a while. Never say never but no, I’ve never heard from them. But best of luck, it’s great for the young guys to go out there and it’s great for the fans.”
He added how great it is that talent is getting to negotiate their contracts. He then put over John Morrison and Dolph Ziggler as guys who have been able to really negotiate with WWE.
“I don’t think anybody will ever be able to bump Vince. They’ll be No. 1. But for every Hertz there’s an Avis and there’s room for No. 2 and Impact is not carrying the load,” stated Duggan.
Duggan’s full interview with Wrestling Inc aired as part of a recent episode of our new podcast The Wrestling Inc Daily. Subscribe to get the debut episode as soon as it’s released: https://apple.co/2NQnHuC. The full interview can be heard via the embedded audio player below: