Scotty Riggs joined WCW about the same time that Eric Bischoff came into power. Yet, Riggs says Bischoff is a reason why he initially left WCW before returning.
Riggs discussed his relationship with Bischoff more when he joined The Wrestling Inc Daily.
“[Eric] was the reason I left WCW in 1994. Probably one of my favorite Arn Anderson stories was when Arn pulled me aside at Center Stage at TV tapings and said, ‘Kid, you need to get out of here,'” recalled Riggs.
Anderson told him that he was a good hand with a great attitude but Bischoff is about to take control here and it’s going in an entirely different direction. If you don’t get out here and get some experience and exposure, you’re gonna be put under a ceiling here.”
“I didn’t wanna leave as I was making a couple of hundred bucks a week for them and still working independents. But when Arn pulls you aside and gives you advice, you do what you can to heed it,” said Riggs. “So, I was working a Thanksgiving show with Jake Roberts and Jerry Lawler was on it. Jake told Jerry to watch my mathe, and at the end of that show Jerry comes up to me and asks, ‘Hey, you wanna come to Memphis and work?'”
Lawler cut him a deal where he made $40 a day to work several matches and travel with The King. Riggs spent eight months there and that got him ready for WCW the next time around.
“When kids back in the day went to the Power Plant, they thought that was paying your dues or kids today going to the Performance Center. I went from Memphis to Nashville which is a 200 mile one way drive. Driving back to Memphis having Sunday off, Monday start in Memphis. Tuesday in Louisville, Kentucky. Wednesday in Evansville, Indiana. Thursday and Friday was spot towns ? these are in Arkansas, Mississippi, Kentucky, Alabama and you’re driving all this time and sleeping in different hotels every night. Making $40 a day with 4-5 people in a car and a hotel room. But you’re learning your craft by wrestling in front of a live crowd every week,” stated Riggs.
He said that working in front of a live crowd is the only way to learn to listen to them and be more creative. Anderson did him a solid by telling him to get better by leaving.
“Who really hired me was Kevin Sullivan and it was because of Jimmy Hart. I did a music video with Bagwell and a guy who worked for the production team. He knew me from some of the TVs and got me to come to Atlanta for a couple of days to shoot a music video,” said Riggs before adding that he and Bagwell did a buzz clips-type video shoot.
“Jimmy Hart happened to walk in and saw me and Marcus together.? When he saw us he thought of The Fantastics or an 80s tag team?.They bought me in on a 90-day trial as Bagwell’s partner and that’s how it all started.”
Riggs and Bagwell tagged together for two years and held the WCW Tag Titles. Riggs was asked if he and Bagwell are still close today.
“Yeah, we still talk and text every now and then. He was trying to do a podcast, but there’s so many of them so unless you get some footing, it’s really hard to get over. But he tried to for a while and we still talk. We keep in contact pretty well,” Riggs said before adding that he, Bagwell, Sting and Lex Luger were all really close.
“That’s another reason why I never needed to talk to Eric Bischoff because of the pull that Lex and Sting had. We were always on the same shows together so we traveled together, worked out together and played golf together. So, I never had to speak to Eric about anything as I would pick Steve and Lex’s mind about the business.”
Riggs said that you get better by working with wrestlers like them who have more experience. He added that young wrestlers today are so by-the-book that they don’t know how to improvise a Plan B or C if they have to.
“The business has changed because it’s more of a TV show now,” lamented Riggs.
The American Males theme song was a catchy one whether you were a fan of it or not. Riggs discussed the song and the origin of the American Males tag team.
“That song lasted 20-plus years and for it to still be known is ridiculous in this wrestling world,” said Riggs.
“It’s got that love and hate feel to it as they love that they hate it and hate that they love it. They hate it when they hear it but they can’t get it out of their head. When Jimmy Hart wrote it, he knew what he was doing. I don’t think he realized the heat it could have had if we would have been bad guys. The whole mentality for it was the 80s [teams] The Fantastics, The Rock N Roll Express and The Fabulous Ones ? that was his main vision for us.”
You can follow Scotty Riggs on Twitter @realscottyriggs. Riggs’ full interview with Wrestling Inc aired as part of today’s episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it’s released Monday – Friday afternoon: by clicking here. The full interview can be heard via the embedded audio player below: