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WRESTLING COLUMNS

The Lost Art of the Interview
July 9, 2004 by Martin W. Prevost


Hay this is my first time writing an article but I don't think it should be that hard if my brother can do. My brother is your great columnist Emer Prevost who thinks that by complaining he can change the wrestling industry. But that is not why I am writing this.

So I haven't watched much WWE lately because I'm normally doing something else when it's on. But in the past few weeks I have been watch a lot of old wrestling events such as SummerSlam 1990, SummerSlam 1992, The 6th Annual Survivor Series, the 1993 Royal Rumble and the 1997 Royal Rumble. In these events I saw a trend that is lacking in the new stuff the WWE is putting out. Outside of real talent, the things that I saw that the new WWE doesn't have is the lost art of the interview. You might remember this art it is when a man with a microphone asks questions to a wrestler before or after a match and the wrestler gets to complain about his loss or tell his opponent that there going to beat them.

The one event I watched that did not have this art was The 1997 Royal Rumble, which is of course the start of the attitude down hill slope. This event although lacking interviews to push there workers stilled had real talent and I still think it made a good pay per view.

The interview is something I loved watching because you really got to know the wrestlers. Sure back stage segments are nice with out the interviewer around but they remind me to much of reality shows because there is no way Evolution doesn't notice the camera crew around when there plotting to bet up Shawn Michaels or Chris Benoit or who ever Trips gives the title too, to stop the monotony of him being the champ.

The interview was a magic place where you could tell someone to watch there back or complain about losing the big title match and have someone around to yell at and make us believe that they want revenge. The interview also got you interested in the match coming up segments just don't do that as well as they should. I mean when I hear of the big Nailz vs. Big Boss Man night stick on a pole match, I think oh my god what where they thinking. But when Nailz gets by the interviewer and starts yelling at the Boss Man I want to see what is going to happen in that match. But when I hear about Triple H vs. Chris Benoit for the World Title and all you get are them standing in the ring for twenty minutes and yelling I don't care and get board with it.

That is the last point is that the reason the classic interview kept your attention is because it was quick and to the point. So if you are thinking about watch an old WWF pay per view I suggest something from the early 90's although they don't give many video packages but you understand that Bad News Brown and Jake "The Snake" Roberts are feuding and want to kick each others ass and if Bad News wins he gets to kill Jake's snake by feeding it to sewer rats.

So watch the old stuff your love it especially if you like the legend games.

by Martin W. Prevost..


Jerry Gerardi wrote:
I say the key component that makes or breaks the interview is the interviewer. That man holding the microphone in that very picture featured in the article is the all-time best interviewer in sports-entertainment: Mean Gene Okerlund!!! The dramatic inflections/tones of his voice and those priceless facial reactions to the heels or faces comments made the interview so meaningful it added dimension to them without taking away any of the wrestler's heat-heck it was a bonus! One could just watch Mean Gene during the interview and derive just as much if not more entertainment value than the wrestler. Examples: I used to love when the late, great Miss Elizabeth was in the vicinity of Mean Gene who was trying to interview Randy Savage. Savage could be all piss and vinegar cutting one of his powerful promos, but the best part was Okerlund taking a peek or two at Liz in the midst Randy's ranting and raving. Another all-time fave of mine was whenever there was a posedown or a debate between the heel and face with our beloved bald one mediating: at the beginning he was at his journalistic best laying out the guidelines before the event got started, then when the heel attacked the face, Okerlund would run for cover and then his tone of voice would change to a pissed-off man in a heartbeat! Great stuff! Some newer examples, Dok Hendrix/Michael Hayes interviewing Steve Austin at King of the Ring: When Austin said "... Austin 3:16 says I just whooped your [Jake Roberts] ass!!!" Hendrix/Hayes' facial reaction is priceless!!! Almost like even I never said that word in an interview during my Freebird days. So bottom line: The interviewer's acting skills are essential to enhance, but more importantly preserve the authenticity of the angle when that red light is on with the whole world watching.

"F@#K IT!!!" Gene Okerlund when The SummerSlam sign fell down backstage during his interview with Rick Rude in 1989
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