Former NWA World Champion, Ronnie Garvin recently sat down with Steve and the Scum on WGD Weekly for a great hour plus long interview. Garvin spoke about his entire run in the wrestling business from his initial start in the business and his rise to the top of the NWA, right up through his final run in the WWF can be heard in its entirety here:
Highlights from Ronnie’s interview with WGD Weekly included him chatting with Steve and the Scum on a variety of topics including:
Politics playing into his NWA Title run, and Dusty Rhodes “putting Crockett out of business”: “…It was strictly politics. Dusty Rhodes was the booker and he was against it. You know, what are you going to do. He didn’t book me anywhere during the whole time I had the belt until the rematch because Dusty Rhodes was a very, very jealous guy when it came to guys getting over. He was the wrong guy to be a booker. He is the one who put Jim Crockett out of business. He is the reason Jim Crockett had to sell and was losing his butt…It was the same thing with the Rock and Roll Express. He couldn’t stand the Rock and Roll Express getting over like rock stars. I mean, girls would go crazy. They had to have some protection for the Rock and Roll Express, the girls would attack them, just like rock stars, it was unbelievable. So, Dusty Rhodes had to book himself with them as a six man tag team. But, the whole thing was politics, I didn’t care…I made money and then when the return, the belt went to Flair, and I was gone a short time after that. I didn’t put up with that kind of stuff.When I was the world champion, it was big time politics. I just don’t play politics, I don’t play politics. I refuse to do it. People tell you it was a great moment. Yeah, it was ok, but I had a whole lot of better matches and better memories than being the World Champion. The World’s Champion was probably the biggest paycheck, but so what. Like I said, its politics and it’s not driven by talent, it is driven by politics. There was a lot of guys that would’ve made good World Champions, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Ted DiBiase…but a lot of guys they don’t want to be on the road and they don’t want to travel and they weren’t in bars every night drinking either. There was a lot of guys that like to be home bodies. They don’t want to be in California one night, and New York another night, and then go to Japan, or be in Puerto Rico another night. It’s a hard life, and then they found a guy in Ric Flair that didn’t want to be home, he wanted to be all over the planet…they was basically what the world champion was, he was all over the place. So, if you didn’t want to see your house just become the world’s champion so you didn’t know where you lived…”
His decision to retire at 45, and his thoughts on performers who stay around too long becoming “has beens”: “…It was time for me to do an exit. You got to know when to quit. You stay in the business until you are sixty years old, you look like an imbecile. First of all you know you are broke and you become a has-been. That is what I hate to see. Guys are in the ring and they are sixty years old, I mean come on, I know it’s not real, but your body, you look like an old douche bag, your skin is sagging. The older you get, the more you look like a pear, you might want to go as a human pear. You might make some money, it might be a good angle, I don’t know. But, I was forty-five years old and I said goodbye, time to go…”
Being booked in an angle by Dusty Rhodes that led to him leaving Jim Crockett Promotions: “…Well, I was a heel all my career until the end. Until the last ten years I was a heel my whole life. I was a heel in a lot of places…so, I didn’t care, I was me. I could’ve been a good guy, and if I wrestled Hulk Hogan, I would’ve been a bad guy, because a guy was liked a whole lot more…and the thing about Dusty Rhodes, he wanted to wrestle me. He thought he could beat me, because he was jealous that I had wrestled all of the Four Horseman, and I had beaten Ric Flair, and he couldn’t stand it. He couldn’t sleep at night. I know that, so he figured if he turned me heel, then he’d wrestle me and he would get himself over.
He even gave me a partner and a manager, so he could beat my partner, he could beat my manager, and he could beat me. It was an ego thing, so I left…He lays in the ring in Baltimore, Maryland and he never put his hands on me, I was gone, goodbye…then he went on TV on top of that and said that he beat me up in a bar. But he never had a tape of that because it never happened. That was it, so I never wrestled him…they set up a deal, where Gary Hart had put a bounty on Dusty Rhodes and he wanted to turn me heel in Baltimore an in that town I was over, I had won two titles there, I was a big baby face in that town. So he wanted to do it there. When I did knock him out, half of the crowd cheered anyway, but that was it, I was gone. The way I quit was very simple…I got on the airplane and shook hands with everybody…probably eight or ten guys, and I said, ‘I’ll see you guys, I don’t know where or when, but I will see you guys down the road somewhere. They thought I was joking, but I walked off the plane with my bags and I went home…I never did take any bullsh*t in wrestling from anybody…”
His thoughts on Vince McMahon and his effect on the business: “…Vince is very successful. I’d be crazy to critcisize that. The business has changed and it is not going to go back to the way it was and it’s going to change again from what it is today. Somewhere down the road it will change again. That’s why a lot of promoters got left behind. They thought he was going to go bankrupt, he was going to kill wrestling, they thought he was going to destroy the business, and what did he do. He took it over, they all went out of business, so Vince had a vision and it worked…”
Why he decided to end his career during his WWF run: “…I told Vince, I can’t sing, I can’t dance, and I can’t rock and roll… I’ve always liked Vince, he was a very honest guy, but I didn’t fit there, you have to be realistic. It was not my kind of wrestling…I go in the ring and I wrestle, I put on a fight and tried to make it as believable as I could…So, instead of going around dressed up like a clown or all in polka dots, I loved that one when Vince put polka dots on the ‘fat man.’ I thought that was great, Vince is a genius, putting polka dots on the ‘fat man.’ But no, I just didn’t fit in that environment…I could not do what he wanted, he never told me that, but I could just see it. To be successful there you have to be able to do different things than I was used to doing. When I started in the sixties, we sold wrestling…”
In addition to these topics, the “Hands of Stone” spoke to WGD Weekly about, what made him go into wrestling, how he was paired with his “brothers” Terry and “Gorgeous” Jimmy, working in various territories and having a hand in running the ICW, battling a young Randy Savage, his one match with Andre the Giant, his classic feud with Jake Roberts in Georgia Championship Wrestling, being given the nickname “Hands of Stone” by Gordon Solie, his great run in Jim Crockett Promotions and working there with Tully Blanchard, Arn Anderson, the Koloffs, Dick Murdoch, and others, winning the U.S. Tag Titles with Barry Windham, the Miss Atlanta Lively gimmick, his thoughts on retiring somewhat early in life, working briefly in the AWA, his WWF feud with Greg Valentine, thoughts on working at a WrestleMania or Starrcade as opposed to house shows in the old territories, and so much more.
WGD Weekly with Steve and the Scum interviews a different legend from “Wrestling’s Glory Days” every week as a part of their show. You can find all of their previous shows and get updates and information on upcoming programming on their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WGDWeekly or on Twitter @WGDWeekly. All shows are available on their YouTube channel and on iTunes.