The Honky Tonk Man was born from a series of seemingly random events. His transformation began long before he started working for the WWF.

It started with a match stipulation that is rarely seen in pro wrestling. The future Honky Tonk Man had sported blond hair throughout the early part of his career until he feuded with Austin Idol.

“The way I ended up with the black hair was I did a ‘hair dye match’,” Honky Tonk Man recalled on Stories With Brisco And Bradshaw. “You know, typically in the wrestling business, [you have] the ‘hair cut match’. You know someone is gonna lose their hair. It was me and Austin Idol. And we did the interviews and stuff about how there’s only room here for one guy with blond hair. ‘I’m gonna get rid of you Idol. I’m gonna – You’re gonna have green hair and orange hair.’ Anyway, I went around the territory and we did that every night for six nights and I spray-painted the hair at the end and came back on TV with black hair.”

Honky Tonk Man had the hair color that would sport for the rest of his career. But his iconic in-ring look was not complete until a group of fans got involved and created his first jumpsuit.

“So, some fans there in Birmingham saw the way I looked and asked me about doing the Elvis thing,” Honky Tonk Man noted. “I said, ‘No. Bill Dundee does that. Somebody else is doing that. I don’t care about it.’ They ended up fixing – making me a jumpsuit and brought it to me about two weeks later. Robert Fuller saw it and said, ‘Man, you know anything about a guitar?’.  And I said, ‘No. I don’t know anything about it.’ ‘Good. That’s even better.’ So he said, ‘Man, I tell you what. I’ll bring this guitar. I got one at home. I’ll bring it over here. You hit Bob Armstrong. Man, we’ll be off and running.’ And that’s what I did.”

Honky Tonk Man said he’s always believed in listening to the fans and what they want. He says he passed along that advice to “Stone Cold” Steve Austin during the start of Austin’s rise in popularity in the WWF.

“He said, ‘These fans are cheering for me. Man, I want to be a heel. I don’t know what to do. They’re cheering everything I do’,” Honky Tonk Man explained. “I said, ‘Steve, keep doing what you’re doing. Do the same thing. Don’t change it. If they want to cheer for you, just keep doing it. Let them switch you.’ I said, ‘If they switch you, they’re gonna love you. No matter what.’ So he kept doing the finger and ‘Hell yeah!’ and all that stuff and it worked for him.”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Stories With Brisco And Bradshaw with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.

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