WWE’s decision to proceed with WrestleMania has been questioned by many fans as well as those in the industry. Hall of Famer Teddy Long discussed WWE’s WrestleMania plans when he joined The Wrestling Inc Daily podcast earlier today.
“WWE is making a decision they have to make. This is gonna cost a lot of people a lot of money, not only WWE but a lot of decisions all over the world. WWE is making the right decision, I believe, to go ahead and do what they gotta do,” stated Long. “There’s a lot of fans that spent money on tickets that are not gonna even be able to come to see it.
“So, you’ve gotta give the people what they want and I’m pretty sure that the people will really appreciate what WWE is doing. That’s all they can do and they’re gonna try to make everybody happy and I wish them all the success. I hope this thing works out for everybody.”
Long then talked about the no-crowd shows that have been going on at the Performance Center and will also go on at WrestleMania.
“It’s a different reaction to perform with no people but when you’re a professional ? that’s what I consider myself a professional ? I’m able to get out there and get in the zone and see people when there are no people. I know how to perform when there’s nobody and that’s where I learned,” said Long who then noted how he’s done indie shows for just 20 people before.
“I was taught by Vince McMahon that you perform for 100 people just like you would for 1,000 people. So, that’s my concept of it. I look like it like the people are there and I’ve got a job to do and I just want to make everybody happy.
At WrestleMania 26 Long began a feud with Drew McIntyre during his first run with the company. A decade later McIntyre is headlining WrestleMania 36 and Long talked about McIntyre’s progression.
“I’ve always seen the potential in Drew. I’ve known him a long time and me and him became real good friends. The storyline that he and I had back when he was supposed to be Vince McMahon’s ‘The Chosen One’, he had me doing a lot of stuff that I couldn’t do nothing about because he was Vince’s guy. But we did great with that. Vince loved it and the fans loved it,” stated Long.
“It went all the way to a PPV and he was working with Kofi there. I was the referee and they thought I was gonna count ‘Three’ but I didn’t but that was great. Like I said, I’ve known Drew a long time and he’s gonna do real good. He’s just been needing the opportunity to really prove himself. He did that and moved over to TNA and did okay. Right now, I’m glad he’s back in the spotlight and God bless him and good for him.”
WWE doesn’t often give the fans what they want but they did that at WrestleMania last year by giving Kofi Kingston the WWE Championship. Long discussed that storyline which saw Kingston prevail over Daniel Bryan for the title.
“I think what WWE saw in Kofi was they wanted something different. That was a fresh storyline and they tried to tease it before they really did it. They saw that people got behind it and that’s what Vince is ? he’s all about the dollar. If Kofi can put some people in the seats and sell some PPVs, then that’s what Vince is gonna go with,” said Long. “I think everybody was happy to see that and you saw the reaction that Kofi got once he got that title. That is what the people wanted. Vince is a smart man ? he knows this business and that’s what he did.”
Kingston was the first African-born champion in WWE history and Long discussed the significance of Kingston’s win to the African American community.
“I’m glad to see him hold that title but Mark Henry also had the opportunity to do that too. He was the World Heavyweight Champion too and I had the chance to manage Mark Henry when he was there. Also back in the day I was there with Ron Simmons when he became the first African American champion and I was there when Ron Simmons and Butch Reed became the first African American tag team champions,” recalled Long.
He also noted that Rocky Johnson and Tony Atlas were the first African Americans to hold the WWF tag titles.
“It’s just an honor to see the brothers moving up. I’ve known Kofi for a long time and I’ve known him since he first broke in. He was coming out of Deep South and I watched him train and I said, ‘Man, you’re gonna go places. Just do the right thing and Vince is gonna use you.’ That’s exactly what happened and I’m proud of what he’s done in the business. He’s been a great athlete and a great guy and great friend all around,” said Long.
You can support Teddy by following him on Twitter @teddyplayalong. Teddy’s full interview with Wrestling Inc aired as part of a 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.