On a recent episode of WWE After The Bell, Corey Graves interviewed former WWE manager Harvey Wippleman. The two talked about Harvey’s early days with USWA in Memphis, and Wippleman shared a story of the call he got from WWE and thinking it was a prank.
“The way we did it was I would get there early with my ring crew, set up the ring and I would sit in the box office to sell pre-sale tickets until Eddie arrived, and he’d take over the box office. So I was sitting in the box office answering the phone. People would call and ask, ‘is Jerry Lawler on the card tonight? Is Bill Dundee on the card tonight? How much are tickets?’ So I get one call, ‘yes, can I speak to Bruno Lauer?’ My real name. I said yes. ‘This is Howard Finkel from the WWE. We’re interested in talking with you. A friend of yours named Sid Eudy recommended you for a tryout,’ and I thought it was Tom Prichard, ‘Dirty White Boy’, calling pulling my chain, so I hung up,” Wippleman said. “Sitting in that box office in that little room there and the phone rang again.
“He said, ‘this is Howard Finkel from the WWE. We want to know if you’re interested in coming up. We’re familiar with your work Downtown Bruno.’ You know Howard. He’s an encyclopedia of the business. He said, ‘look, if you don’t believe me, here’s the phone number,’ and he game me the number.’ He said you can call me back. Then I will. The damn phone in the box office couldn’t dial out. So I was like oh my god. I went to Chilly Willy, who was working in the ring crew, and was like, ‘you sit here in the box office. When people come into the box office just make their change, whatever.’ So I went to a payphone down the street, and it went right to Howard’s desk.”
One of the popular wrestlers that Wippleman has been paired with is Sid Vicious. Wippleman shared how he and Sid first met and the gimmick Sid was given at first.
“Robert Fuller got in touch with me and said, ‘we have an idea for a gimmick. We want to do the Lord Humongous gimmick with the hockey mask.’ He’s like Bruno will be the perfect mouth piece for him because this guy don’t speak.
“Robert goes, ‘do you know a guy that’s big, tall, stout and muscular that would fit that gimmick?’ I said, ‘yeah, I don’t know if I can reach him. I’ll try.’ So I started making calls around West Memphis. I found out Sid was doing construction for Bobby Jones,” Wippleman said. “I knew Bobby Jones. So I called Bobby Jones. ‘Have Sid call me at the American Inn in Kansas City.’ Me and Sid weren’t even tight back then. We knew each other, but anyway, I told him, ‘hey, how would you like to go to Alabama and star for Continental as Lord Humongous?’ He’s like man, I’d love to.'”
Graves asked Wippleman what is favorite moment in his career was. Wippleman was happy to be part of WrestleMania 8’s main event that featured Sid against Hulk Hogan. Wippleman admitted it was a silly moment, but he also highlights winning the Women’s Championship as another moment of his career.
“The greatest thing was when I got to manage Sid against Hogan [at] the main event of WrestleMania. From a gut that started out setting up the ring [to] standing in the main event for the biggest attraction there is, WrestleMania, and that kind of validates your existence. I know I wasn’t THE main event. I was there. If I didn’t show up that day, the show would have went on. I’m not stupid,” Wippleman said. “Just the fact that I was there and part of that, that was huge. That was a big deal to me. I know this is goofy, but when I got to dress up as a woman to win the championship for one day.
“I know it was a goofy thing, but the fact that I can tell people to this day that I was a champion in the WWE. You know, a lot of people can’t say that.”
Wippleman no longer makes on-screen appearances outside of anniversary or memorial shows, but he is still employed by WWE, and Graves wanted Wippleman to explain what his current role in WWE is. Wippleman said that he essentially runs errands for everybody and loves his job. He has previously explained his behind-the-scenes television role as well and has shared a Big Show story of getting him food and cigarettes.
“If I want to stand here and put a tie on and a suit, I say I’m the concierge of the WWE but really I’m a washed-up guy that runs errands for everybody, and I jump through hoops through millions. And I don’t care. I love it. You know what? I love what I do now more than I ever loved managing, wrestling [and] refereeing. I love what I do now. I enjoy it,” Wippleman said. “We could be in Minneapolis, MN in the middle of the winter and say we need a surfboard. We got a guy coming in. They’re calling him The Surfer. We need a surfboard. Nobody can find a surfboard. I’ll be back give me 20 minutes, and I’ll be back with a surfboard. This top guy, his suitcase got delayed by the airlines. Could you go over the airport to go get it? Sure. This guy forgot something in his hotel. Can you go get it? Sure, because everyone trusts me. They know I’m not gonna steal something or go through their bag. I get food for people, and I enjoy it. You know what I love? The perk of my job. If I go get food for somebody, I’ll sit at the bar and eat a nice meal while I wait on their food.
“I’m happy to do what I can for anybody. There’s two groups of people I help, people I want to and people I have to, but most of the time, I want to.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit After The Bell with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.