On a recent episode of the ARN podcast, WWE Hall of Famer Arn Anderson took questions from fans. One fan asked about how Vince McMahon will be perceived in the future. Anderson noted that the answer to that question depends on what viewpoint you are looking at.
“Well, it depends on what seat you’re looking at,” Anderson pointed out. “Are you looking at it from a fan seat or you’re looking from a wrestler’s seat? It just depends on your view. Did he revolutionize the business as far as expanding it to having children, and females, and hoards of them as fans, and, you know, all the marketing, the marketing genius that he is? Yes. Did he take the one product that those of us as wrestlers put above everything else, the holy grail? The reason we all want to do this as children is the wrestling part.
“The bell-to-bell action he has put on a back burner as being of the least important things, and for a guy like me, once I got into the business, as much as I loved it and figured out, I made the right choice. My goal was not to be the World Heavyweight Champion, my goal was not to be the highest-paid guy in the business. But what I did want to be is I wanted to be one of the best workers in the business.”
Anderson was a producer for WWE from 2001 until he was fired by WWE in 2019. Anderson talked about being contacted by AEW Executive Vice President Cody Rhodes for a position in AEW as his head coach.
“Cody got a hold of me,” Anderson revealed. “I was just going to kind of wander off into personal appearances, and Comic Cons, and have Tony Hunter book me around the world for however long I felt like I wanted to do anything, and then I was just gonna go home and hang out. And he got a hold of me.
“He says, ‘hey! we got some exciting stuff going on here. I would love for you to be a part of it. I think you can bring a lot to the table. It’s going to be kind of a different concept. You would be with me as my head coach.’ And I had to think about that one for a second. Just going about through history, and the history I have with the family and me always being the antagonist to his brother and his father, and I went, ‘that’s an interesting concept’. I love to apply myself and get creative again. ‘[Let’s] see if we can make this work.'”
Anderson has spoken with Wrestling Inc.’s own Nick Hausman about the vibe of the AEW locker room. He reiterated those sentiments on his podcast.
“[I] met Tony [Schiavone], and the guys, and everybody that worked there, and it was just such a great group of people,” Anderson said. “Everyone was walking around smiling, and happy, and thankful, and having a good time, and it was like the old days. And I decided I’d love to do this for a while. As long as I’m able to contribute and earn my way, then I’d love to give it a try. So, things evolved the way they did, and I’m proud to say I’ll be with them for a while yet to come.”
Anderson later told a story about WWE Hall of Famer Paul Orndorff giving him the best piece of advice for his own career. He says he would also share that advice today for this generation’s talent.
“Paul Orndorff pulled me aside at the gym, and I was teaming with Matt Bourne at that time and working for Ole, Georgia Championship Wrestling,” Anderson recalled. “And Paul Ellering was our manager, and for some reason, Paul took a liking to me, pulled me aside, and said, ‘I noticed that you’re getting to the gym every day; good. I saw your guys’ promos, of course. You got Paul doing most of the talking and all that.’ And he said, ‘let me just tell you, if you stay in the gym, keep your body right, you learn how to talk and you learn how to work, they can never ever deny you in this business. But you have to at least get a firm grip on all three of those.’ And I never forgot it.
“Which means there’s three different areas that you need to work on in this business, and you at least need to adequate at a couple of those to keep a job. You don’t have to excel in all of them, but you got to be pretty, pretty decent at all of them. And say you got a great body and you can talk, you’re going to have a job. If you got a great body, and you can talk, and you can work, you’re going to be in that upper 1% megastar situation. So, that was the best advice that it was, you know, pretty self-explanatory that I ever got, and I tried to listen to it and always adhere to it”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit ARN with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Mehdy Labriny contributed to this article.