This interview was conducted on June 18th, 2008 for OnlineWorldofWrestling.com by OWW Editor-In-Chief Brad Dykens. OWW wishes to thank Bruno Lauer for taking the time to answer questions about his career, life, and recently released autobiography, entitled “Wrestling With The Truth.” I hope everybody enjoy the interview.
BRAD DYKENS: What inspired you to write this book in the first place? When did the process begin?
BRUNO LAUER: I started writing the book after seeing at least one excellent book (Mick Foley’s “Have a Nice Day”) and umpteen shitty, boring, or just plain “thrown together” books (in no particular order…. Lita’s, Chyna’s, Moolah’s, DDP’s …etc). Hell, I knew that I could do better, and, in some cases, knew that I had forgotten more than some of the other authors had ever even known! I can’t recall the date or even the year when it began… I’m bad like that! I have trouble remembering my own mama’s birthday!
BRAD DYKENS: What are your current duties as a backstage WWE employee?
BRUNO LAUER: My current WWE duties include–but are not limited to—in a nutshell; taking care of any and every needs, whims, and requests of any member of the McMahon family, as well as any last-minute needs for the actual television production that may arise, and also taking care of the executives such as Jim Ross, Johnny Ace, etc…and also, looking after any special needs of the top talent; ie HHH, The Undertaker, John Cena, etc…..also, if time permits, I try to look after certain people who may not necessarily be on the “radar” as executives or top guys, but who I happen to like, so I will try to help them out if I can. This does not include Bruce Prichard, who I would not piss down his throat if his guts were on fire.
BRAD: In your spare time on the road, what do you do, and what people do you spend the most time with? What activities do you do to pass the time?
BRUNO: I don’t have any spare time on the road, to be honest…get up, eat, 30 minutes on the treadmill, eat lunch, and get to the arena. Kind of boring, huh?
BRAD: There are some wildly entertaining stories about a young Dwayne Johnson in your book, and he was kind enough to write the forward; what do you think of his movies? And do you think there will ever be a day when he returns to professional wrestling?
BRUNO: Do I think Dwayne Johnson will ever return to the WWE, or to the business in general? Highly doubtful, but that’s just my opinion. He never told me that, so.. who knows? As far as his movies….I liked the Walking Tall redux… Rundown was so-so.. I’m not into fantasy type stuff, so I never caught Doom or any Scorpion King action. Be Cool was pretty “cool”….never caught the other more recent ones.. I’m not a big go out to the movies guy, more of a sit around and drink beer all night guy, and a work outside on my property all day guy.
BRAD: Who did you travel with most of the time during your initial run in the Memphis territory?
BRUNO: In Memphis, I initially traveled with — in pretty much accurate order— Jonathan Boyd, Tojo Yamamoo, Mike Davis, Tony Falk, Phil Hickerson, Buddy Wayne, and Jerry Lawler.
BRAD: What were Tojo Yamamoto’s feelings towards Superstar Bill Dundee? Did he ever tell you how he really felt during a private conversation with you?
BRUNO: Tojo was a mean guy just like Dundee, even though they both mellowed over time…so no sympathy there.
BRAD: What was the attitude of the other boys towards Jeff Jarrett, the promoter’s son? Was there a lot of jealousy because they thought he was getting a push because of his dad?
BRUNO: Jeff actually had a pretty good rep among the crew when he first started…he would set up the ring, put out posters, referee, and take beatings in the ring without so much as a whimper or a complaint, so I have to hand it to him, he was pretty respected.
BRAD: Talk a little bit about Bigfoot in Memphis. Did he become a good worker?
BRUNO: There’s not much to tell about Bigfoot… his work was adequate, he had a good heel look in my opinion, but he never really got much of a chance. Also, his heart must not have been in it like mine, or he would have scrambled and found a place to go like I always did, and he would have continued to be in the business, so.. what can I say? This life isn’t for everybody.
BRAD: When it came to discussions about plans for the future (ideas, programs, angles, etc.), did you normally talk with (Jerry) Lawler, (Jerry) Jarrett, or sometimes one-sometimes the other?
BRUNO: Jarrett booked the territory for 6 months at a time, and Lawler booked it for 6 months at a time, so basically, Randy Hales was their go-between, who would give out the angles, finishes, interviews, etc…That either Jarrett or Lawler laid out.
BRAD: You actually just answered my next question, “What was Randy Hales’ job description?” – Nicely done.
BRAD: Do you have any other Scott Hall stories from the time when he was working with Sid Vicious in Alabama? People talk a lot about Scott Hall, but most of the stories told come from the time after he became famous with WWE and the NOW, so stories from the early part of Scott Hall’s career would be interesting.
BRUNO: I always —- ALWAYS — got along great with Scott Hall in Alabama, in his short runs in Memphis, and in WWF-WWE. Nothing particular stands out from our Alabama days, just a big, talented guy who I like and respect, then and now.
BRAD: You worked with Scott Hall in Alabama during his early days in the business. When you later met him in the WWF, how had his attitude and behavior changed?
BRUNO: To me, he was just the same guy, a good guy, as far as I’m concerned, so any negative or outlandish behavior never came my way, or was done in my presence, so I really can’t comment on that.
BRAD: There are a lot of crazy stories about Sid Eudy in your book, but could you tell our readers one thing about Sid that might come as a surprise?
BRUNO: Sid can really barbecue his ass off…Chicken, Ribs, whatever…. he can cook with the best of them.
BRAD: Please set the record straight once and for all…. The rumor on the Internet is that your man, Sid, kicked out of Hogan’s leg drop at WrestleMania 8 when he wasn’t supposed to. And Papa Shango’s interference at the end of the match appeared to be poorly executed.. Did Sid ‘double-cross” Vince at WrestleMania 8?
BRUNO: Everything there went just as it was supposed to!
BRAD: What ever happened to Giant Gonzalez?
BRUNO: Giant Gonzo is in his native Argentina. He still stays in touch with me on a fairly regular basis through letters and even an occasional e-mail. He is severely diabetic and in poor health, sad to say.
BRAD: Please expand on the Bertha Faye love-interest storyline for our readers. Were you having fun?
BRUNO: The Bertha Faye deal was Vinny Roos (vince russo) idea. No, I was not having fun; don’t get me wrong, I didn’t mind pretending to be in love with a hideous creature —- that’s business —- I minded babysitting a smelly, alcoholic, argumentative, know-it-all person with no appreciation from her for anything.
BRAD: After the purchase of WCW, how was the backstage environment when WCW wrestlers showed up? Do you believe the WWE dropped the ball with the Alliance storyline and what did it do for the business as a whole?
BRUNO: I really don’t have much of an opinion on this matter… everyone was friendly and seemed to be trying to see if they could fit in — some did, some didn’t, but I never really got to know any of the ones who got cast aside, so I’m fairly neutral on this subject.
BRAD: What was your experience with Bill Goldberg?
BRUNO: I liked Goldberg, which, unfortunately, we missed catching in the book, since it actually says that I never met Goldberg and didn’t respect him…..but let me go on record here saying that I WAS 110% wrong!!!! great guy! As far as a WWE return, doubtful, but…never say never.
BRAD: What did you think about Kurt Angle’s dramatic departure from WWE and subsequent jump to TNA?
BRUNO: I hated to see Kurt go—- He’s a really good friend— but, if that was what he felt he needed to do in his life at the time, who am I to judge.
BRAD: Was there ever a time when you were embarrassed to be in the wrestling business?
BRUNO: No, there have been umpteen dozen times 10 embarrassing things that happened, and embarrassing situations, but to be ashamed of the entire business that made me, for better or for worse, what I am today — no.
BRAD: How much longer do you plan to stay employed with World Wrestling Entertainment?
BRUNO: As long as they’ll have me! So far, so good!
BRAD: We always see various WWE employees popping up on WWE TV or providing commentary on DVD’s, but it seems like we never see you. Is there a reason you avoid stepping in front of the camera? Has the WWE creative team pitched any ideas at you over the last couple of years?
BRUNO: My t.v. days are a part of my career that are in the past, and I prefer to leave it there. I’ve made it known that I’m not interested in that end of the biz anymore.
BRAD: If someone came up to you on the street and asked you “Why should I buy your book?” what would you say to them?
BRUNO: To the person on the street: “you should buy my book if you want the real nuts and bolts of the wrestling—sports-entertainment industry from your typical, long-term member of the business, rank and file type individual, rather than a millionaire top guy, who may not really have a finger on the pulse of the back-bone of the industry anymore, at least not from the average perspective. Also—–to support a project that has been many years in the making, and near and dear to my heart…. and to help an old timer in the biz succeed in a new project that may help open up a new chapter in life, to coin a phrase!!!”