Courtesy of Alan J. Wojcik of http://alanwojcik.com
I wish to thank Scott for taking time out of his busy schedule do go through this long online interview. Come out next weekend to the 2008 Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup and meet Scott in person. You can buy tickets, read participant bios and puchase last year’s DVD at http://jpc2008.com
Alan Wojcik: Were you a fan of the wrestling business before you ever considered working it and if so who were your favorites?
Scott Hudson: I watched the Columbus, Georgia, version of Georgia Championship Wrestling with my grandfather starting in 1969 ( I was 4). Jim Carlisle and Fred Ward (the promoter) were the announce team and it aired live every Saturday on Channel 3. From there I started watching the Georgia Championship Wrestling show from Atlanta on Channel 11 with Ed Capral. That Georgia promotion featured men like El Mongol, Big Bill Dromo, Bob Armstrong, Ox Baker, The Torres Brothers and The Assassins. I stayed a complete and total mark from then on. I guess my favorites from that era would have been Dick Steinborn and, for some reason, Haystacks Calhoun. Actually, somewhere out there is an issue of Inside Wrestling from 1974 with me in the pen-pals pages listing Haystacks as my favorite wrestler.
Eventually (during my visits to my other grandparents home) I watched Florida Championship Wrestling with Gordon Solie and Gulf Coast Wrestling with Lee Fields. Even from my toddler days, I was watching several territories and (of course) reading wrestling magazines like a fiend. I have vivid memories of live GCW shows at the Griffin Sports Barn, FCW shows at the Tallahassee Sports Arena and Gulf Coast shows the Houston County Farm Center in Dothan. I remember in 3rd grade when we were learning about nations of the world and were asked to dress as a native of one of the nations we discussed – I dressed as a bolo from Argentina due to my worship of Vittorio “Argentine” Apollo. When I would ride to church on Sunday, I would stop by the Magic Market and grab the wrestling poster from inside the store window from the previous night’s live show in Griffin. I must have collected 50 of those things and tossed them without realizing what gems they were. So yeah, I was a fan.
Alan Wojcik: What was the first promotion you worked for and how did it lead you to working for the short lived Global Championship Wrestling?
Scott Hudson: I was a radio disc jockey from 1982 through 1986 (played country, AC and top 40 during various format changes of the one station at which I worked). In 1986, they asked me to start doing the play-by-play for the high school football team. In south Georgia, this is a BIG deal. I played ball so I knew the game and 4 years experience behind the mic made it a day at the beach. I did this until 1990. Doing well at high school football announcing coupled with my love of wrestling just seemed like a natural match.
My career moved me to Atlanta in 1989 where I met my best friend Steve Prazak. We were (and are) huge territory marks (he grew up in Charleston so he was Mid-Atlantic based) and attended every indy we could find in Atlanta. In early 1990, Steve and I went to a Joe Pedicino indy show in Carrollton, Georgia. Neither of us knew Joe but we had watched his 8 hour wrestling block on Channel 69 and he seemed like a terribly decent guy. Whoever the jibroni was that he brought in to be his ring announcer for this spot show didn’t know a wristlock from a wristwatch and was God-awful (up to and including mis-identifying one-half of the Georgia Tag Team Champions during introductions). After the show, I approached Joe and said, “I have no idea what you are paying this stiff but I’ll do it for nothing.” Joe’s immediate response was “You’re hired.” From there, Joe took me under his wing and let me ring announce a few shows. When he and I spoke about my previous play-by-play experience in football (baseball and basketball as well), he made me his TV color guy. At this point he realized Steve was equally as talented (he also had a radio background and could play quite an over the top character to my straight-laced babyface persona) so he put us together on his wrestling block and made us his announce team for the TV show of his local indy. Joe then got involved with the ill-fated (but very good while it lasted) Global Wrestling Federation on ESPN. When that died, Steve and I continued with the local Georgia All-Star Wrestling group’s TV until WCW came along.
Alan Wojcik: How did you come to work for World Championship Wrestling and what were your initial impressions of the backstage management system?
Scott Hudson: The local Georgia show was quite the highly rated broadcast. Among the viewers were a lot of the Atlanta-based WCW talent who enjoyed the banter between Steve and myself as well as the completely off-the-wall wrestling characters booker Sam Kent used (The Nasty Critters: a brother tag team who lived in a landfill / Lugnut the Salvage Man: A huge green guy doing a tire changer gimmick / Wally: A masked incontinent with a mental handicap / Superstructure: A legit grocery butcher doing a cheap Vader parody). Through this, Steve and I became quite friendly with the WCW talent (Diamond Dallas Page, Ray Lloyd, Bryan Clarke, Kanyon, Disco Inferno, etc.)
In December 1996, I was at The Abbey, a rather swanky restaurant in Atlanta, for my office’s annual Christmas Luncheon and award ceremony. (My career had long since brought to the United States District Court as a criminal investigator – a job I adore and maintain to this day). Some how I managed to garner the Employee of the Year award and after receiving the plaque and other associated trinkets, I sat back down and was approached by the waiter. “Are you Mr. Hudson?” I said sure and he said I had a phone call at the front desk. I excused myself and answered the phone. “Scooter, this is DDP. I got somebody that wants to talk to you.” With that I had my first conversation with Eric Bischoff. He told me that there was an opening for a staff announcer and he had seen my work, heard good things, and wanted me to come down and audition. Of course, I agreed.
I went to the CNN Center the following Tuesday as scheduled. I sat in the lobby for about 30 minutes before anyone came to even welcome me. At that point, via a side door, Keith Mitchell appeared and said, Scott? We’re ready.” I walked through the door into a green screen set with Bobby Heenan (whom I had never met). I introduced myself and Keith, via the loudspeaker, said, “Okay Scott, you and Bobby are hosting WCW Pro. This is the 60 second hard open and you billboard three matches including a main event. Make up the matches. Interact with Bobby a little. Pitch to yourself and Bobby for the commentary in 3…2…” That was it. I did as they wanted in one take. They were impressed (honestly, so was I.). I was hired and started in January 1997.
Alan Wojcik: If its all possible try and describe a typical “Monday Nitro” day for you.
Scott Hudson: How about the typical pay-per-view week? Keep in mind, I have a career and a family in addition to this schedule, so hang on.
Sunday – Catch the first flight out to the pay-per-view city (say, oh, Pittsburgh) and spend the day preparing for the show, making notes, talking to bookers, wrestlers, attending production meetings, doing pre-tapes and finally, announcing the PPV. Following the PPV, drive from 12:00 midnight to the Nitro city (let’s call it Buffalo).
Monday – Sleep some of the morning and get to the building at 10:00am. Spend the day preparing for the show, making notes, talking to bookers, wrestlers, attending production meetings, doing pre-tapes and finally, announcing Nitro. (I took Monday off from work on PPV weeks)
Tuesday – Fly back to Atlanta on the first flight (usually arriving at Hartsfield/Jackson at 7:45am) and go to my office and work all day.
Wednesday – Work all day at my office. After work, drive over to the WCW building on Atlanta Road and tape the syndicated WCW Worldwide show (with Mike Tenay) as well as the WCW International Nitro and WCW International Thunder (both with Larry Zbyszko). Get home about 11:00pm.
Thursday – Work all day at my office.
Friday – Work all day at my office. After work, drive over to the WCW building on Atlanta Road and tape WCW Saturday Night (with Mike Tenay). Get home about 8:00pm.
Saturday – Write my column and two articles for the monthly WCW Magazine, write a weekly column for WCW.com and record the weekly update for the WCW Hotline.
Sunday – Start over. It’s a wonder I’m still married. I have a saint for a wife.
As far as the typical day. Reading notes, writing notes, watching tapes, talking to Russo or Eric or Tony or Mike or Larry about the show. If we were in a really interesting town (and there was time) I would take a couple of hours to see some sights (Mt. Rushmore, Niagara Falls, the Gateway Arch, baseball stadiums, etc.). But mostly, just show prep. All day. Lots of reading, writing and video tapes. So basically, just being the ultimate fan. The bad part was that we had to be so immersed in WCW’s product that I did not get a chance to see much WWF product and absolutely no other product. I never watched ECW until WCW ended. Then I watched all of it. Damn that was a good show. And don’t forget the travel. Jesus, I saw enough hotels, airports, rental cars and airplanes to last a lifetime.
Alan Wojcik: What level of interaction did you have with Eric Bischoff and was he the big jerk he’s made out to be by former employees?
Scott Hudson: I wrote earlier about my first conversation with Eric. I have nothing but high praise for Eric personally and professionally. During my time with WCW I was a part-time employee so my view of him as an employee may be skewed but he was a great boss to me. He treated me with respect and I never had a cross word with him. He also takes a lot of heat for what happened to WCW and, admittedly, he deserves some. But he admits that himself. He was (and is) a great idea man. He was always thinking of the big picture. The nWo angle and its permutations (good and bad) were his. He knew he had lightning in a bottle and, more importantly, knew how to manage it. As an analogy, compare the nWo angle to the WWF’s invasion angle. Basically the same overarching storyline with a different cast of characters. Why did the nWo succeed so wildly and the invasion crash and burn after a month? Because of the difference between Eric Bischoff and Vince McMahon as people. Eric always had the best interest of the company and the business at heart while Vince cared about Vince and nothing else. But, as we sit here, the WWE is still around and Eric is producing non-wrestling TV. You cannot ignore that. Regardless, I trust Eric and would work with him again in a minute.
Alan Wojcik: The WCW locker room at that time had several factions due to Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Bill Goldberg, Lex Luger, Sting, Kevin Nash and Kevin Sullivan being part of it. Did you interact with any of these superstars and what kind of politics did you witness?
Scott Hudson: I interacted with all of them at the live events but not otherwise. Honestly, I had WAY too many responsibilities to hang out with the guys other than at the buildings or the hotel bar. Obviously there were very fractious factions within WCW but my only exposure to them was in the product we put out. I purposefully insulated myself from those shenanigans and life in WCW was much easier.
Alan Wojcik: Many people called Bill Goldberg a “Steve Austin ripoff” but no one can deny he was at the right place at the right time. What did you think of the Goldberg undefeated streak that ended at the hands of Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and a cattle prod?
Scott Hudson: There is a misconception that when the nWo angle died – WCW died. Not true at all. We had a really hot commodity in Bill Goldberg and his undefeated streak (an idea hatched by Mike Tenay) gave us a soft landing following the nWo crash. We should have ridden the Goldberg storyline for at least another 6 months or maybe even a year. WCW remained hot and so did Goldberg. The end of the streak, in my opinion, is what killed WCW creatively. Not so much that is was SO popular, but that we had nothing underneath except great workers to fill out the card. No “big story.” Eric and Vince tried several ideas (Millionaires Club vs. The New
Blood among them) but nothing could kick-start the company again after we killed off Goldberg. Even after the end of the streak, we continued to book Goldberg poorly so the downward spiral continued. It seems like nothing would have worked and, ultimately, nothing did.
Alan Wojcik: In the late 90’s the company changed directions several times in a short time span. How did things change when Vince Russo & Ed Ferrera came over from the WWF?
Scott Hudson: For me it changed dramatically. Vince and Ed were the ones who elevated me to “Nitro,” albeit on the internet-only “Nitro Backstage Blast” with Chad Damiani and Jimmy Baron (loved working with both guys). I learned live television by doing a live webcast so when I was brought up to the TNT broadcast I was more than ready. Creatively I think Vince and Ed could have helped WCW thrive but there was one thing missing – a boss. In the WWF, they had Vince McMahon to tell them no. In WCW they had no one. So the crap they booked in the WWF ended up being tossed onto the streets of Stamford and never heard from again. The crap they booked in WCW ended up on “Thunder.” But all in all, I have only respect for both Russo and Ferrara. We have seen over the last 10 years what Russo has done – some bad but mostly good. Ed seems to have vanished but his creativity is something wrestling could use again in a big way.
Alan Wojcik: What did you think of WCW’s attempt to enter moviemaking with the “Ready to Rumble” flick?
Scott Hudson: “Ready to Rumble” was a bad idea well-executed. If you watch it now its pretty damn entertaining. But considering we built our television around it for months and even “cross-promoted” David Arquette as the WCW World Champion – it sucked. Taken strictly as a NetFlix movie for a Friday night – its perfect. As a vehicle to support a wrestling company – it was terrorism.
Alan Wojcik: Mike Tenay is still working in wrestling as the voice of TNA Wrestling. Is he truly a professor of wrestling or is he a real good researcher?
Scott Hudson: What’s the difference? Mike is that rare breed (maybe the only) person who combines a broad knowledge of wrestling history with an appreciation for the skill involved in the ring with a little bit of hucksterism thrown in to make him believable as an announcer. I thought I knew a lot about wrestling (and, to pat myself on the back – I do) but I found out how little I really did know when I got to be friends with Mike. He’s a genius.
Alan Wojcik: I grew up watching Bobby “the Brain” Heenan on WWF TV as a manager and commentator with the late Gorilla Monsoon. What was it like to interact with a true legend on a weekly basis?
Scott Hudson: I hate to burst your bubble. Brain was okay to work with but he was just SO bitter. For a man who, by his own admission, could not do anything else, to be so vitriolic about the sport that paid him a huge salary for quite a few years is beyond me. He harbored (and may still harbor) resentment toward me because I “devalued announcers” – not by my performance but by what I was paid. Earlier I described what my pay-per-view week entailed. For that I was paid $1,500 per week. Brain, for doing two shows (two shows that I did with him in addition to a million other things I did) was paid about four times that. He thought I should have been paid more and, more importantly, I should have quit if I was not. I knew my role and knew they could find anyone to fill my shoes at or below what they were paying me and I was having a blast. With Brain the bitterness was deeper than just that though. I’m sure he’s long since forgot I ever existed. He was just an unhappy person. I love Bobby and hope he’s doing well. I also hope he’s happy.
Alan Wojcik: There have been rumors of issues between you, Mike Tenay and Bobby Heenan with the main WCW voice at that time Tony Schaivone. Is there any truth to this rumor and if so what was the main issue at the front of the list?
Scott Hudson: I cherish every moment I got to spend (and still spend) with Tony and Mike. I learned so much from both of them. Plus I was a fan of both before I ever met them. I’m still humbled that either took an interest in getting to know me much less offer me advice. Like I said earlier, the issue with Brain was not with any of us personally (I don’t think) but just more of his personality.
Alan Wojcik: Some books have been written about the “Monday Night Wars” since it ended in 2001 and even WWE released a DVD on the topic. Have you checked any of them out and if so how accurate were they on the backstage politicing that was going on?
Scott Hudson: “The Death of WCW” got is right. Obviously there were some minor inaccuracies but, overall, that fairly portrayed what I remember. Eric Bishoff’s book likewise was a brutally honest re-living of that period as well. Finally, Larry Zbysko’s “Adventures in Larryland” was great too. He took a different perspective but he also pulled no punches. The WWE DVD should have episodes of “The O. C.” recorded over it. Simply trash.
Alan Wojcik: At any point during your time with WCW did you ever receive any offers from WWF to come and work for them? Plus with all the corporate shuffling and power plays that were going on did you ever think I better call there and see if the ship sinks can I jump on their boat?
Scott Hudson: After the buy out, everyone who wanted to was invited to meet with WWF representatives at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Buckhead. I took advantage of that and spent an hour talking to Jim Ross in a top floor suite about working for the WWF. I love Jim Ross and really spent more time talking than listening. Nothing came of that (I didn’t expect it to since the WWF was not exactly hurting for announcers at the time.) I thanked Jim for the time, told him how much of a fan I was of his and figured my wrestling days were behind me.
Fast forward about 3 months. Kevin Dunn called me at my house and asked me if I could be in Stamford the next day for an audition. I figured what the hell so off I went. I took the day off and flew to Connecticut where a limo was waiting on me at LaGuardia. They drove me to Titan Towers and then on to the production facility. I met with Kevin and MAN did he put me through my paces. First, an hour of market specs (30 second or 60 second promos without a script. Just make people want to come to the Joffa Mosque to see Steve Lombardi vs. Jacques Goulet!), then calling a generic one hour TV show with Michael Hayes on color, and finally interviewing talent. That took from about 10:00am to 3:00pm. After about an hour break, Kevin called me into meet with him and Vince. “You did great…” etc. “We’d like you to work here.” The end of this story was that they wanted me to quit my job (no) move to Connecticut (no) for a substantial pay cut (hell no) and a one year contract (no). We parted on good terms and I came home.
The next week Kevin called again and asked if I could do a couple of Raw’s and Smackdown’s to help establish the Invasion angle. I would do shows in Tacoma, Washington, and Atlanta, Georgia, and maybe the Invasion PPV but that would be it. That was too good to pass up. So off I went to the Pacific Northwest for the ill-fated edition of Raw during which Arn Anderson and I announced the Buff Bagwell vs. Booker T match. Sweet Christ on a crutch was that match awful. After walking out with Arn and Stacy Keibler and getting booed unmercifully, I was as pumped up as I had ever been. Then the bell rung. Arn was writing notes to me during this travesty about what we were seeing and we were rolling our eyes for the entire thing. We knew.
What everyone forgets is that the next night in the same building at the Smackdown taping, Jindrak, O’Haire, Palumbo and Stasiak had a helluva good match but by then it was too late. The next week at the Phillips Arena show, Kevin told me they “were going in a different direction.” I said, “I don’t blame you.” and that was that. It did not work out because Vince McMahon did not want to (1) pay the WCW talent that would get the angle over i.e. Sting, Goldberg, etc. enough money to make it worth their while (they were still receiving the balance of their WCW contracts and Vince would not match those amounts); and (2) Vince would never, EVER, put over WCW talent on his show. The end.
Mid-card and low-card WCW talent serving as jobbers to WWF talent doomed it to failure before it began. By the time, Page, Goldberg and the rest showed up it was over. The ECW guys got a little better treatment because Paul Heyman was there and could speak for them. But ultimately they got (and are getting) shafted too. In retrospect, WCW was about a million times more organized that the WWF as a TV product. In WCW, we knew the format at 10:00am and had pretapes done before 5:00pm. In the WWF, there was no format and pretapes (if there were any – a good many were done live and it showed) started at 6:00pm. But, regardless, they’re still open and we are closed. They won.
Alan Wojcik: Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Chris Jericho, Eddie Guerrero, the Big Show and Sean Waltman all left WCW for the WWE. Many journalists felt that was the main reason people turned off WCW TV shows. In your opinion was that & the writing lacking consistant storylines or was it something else?
Scott Hudson: In wrestling, the talent (announcers included) are interchangeable and, thus, always expendable. Talent knows this and behaves accordingly. It’s a true “us vs. them” mentality. Whatever viewers the WWF gained by the jumpers you listed were offset by the viewers they lost when their jumpers came over to us.
Alan Wojcik: You were part of the final Nitro broadcast which sequed into WWF’s Monday Night Raw. Talk about that day and what did you think would happen to the WCW roster and you under the WWF umbrella?
Scott Hudson: A truly surreal day. We knew it was the last show (who in the hell didn’t?) so there was a morose vibe all around. I could write a book about that day but suffice to say it was both sad and exhilarating. When it was over, there were a LOT of tears and hugs especially for the crew who had no where else to go come Tuesday morning. There was supposed to be an after-show reception / goodbye party. Tony grabbed me about 15 minutes after the show and said “do you want to go to this thing or just go home?” I said “let’s go home.” We jumped in his jeep and drove from Panama City to Atlanta (5 hours) and reminisced about our wrestling experiences in and out of WCW and what we hoped to be doing in 6 months. I wouldn’t trade anything for that ride.
Alan Wojcik: You took a couple of years away from the business before TNA Wrestling made you their backstage interviewer. Who contacted you and what made you say yes to the company that was going to launch running weekly PPV broadcasts?
Scott Hudson: I really didn’t stay away. I worked for Bert prentice’s “USA Wrestling” in Nashville, Tennessee, between WWF and TNA. While there I got to know most of the Nashville indy talent (Kid Kash, Chris Harris, James Storm, Chase Stevens, Andy Douglas, Rick Santel, Chris Vaugh, Arick Andrews, etc.) and announce with first Larry Zbyzsko and then Jim Cornette.
I also remained in contact with Vince Russo after the end of WCW and after the “Invasion” stuff. He owned and operated a retail store near my house, actually, so I would stop by and catch up. He kept me updated on how the evolution of the origin TNA was progressing. Before the company opened up shop, they approached me about doing the announcing (I assume with Mike) but I had to decline. My schedule just would not allow it plus I was VERY happy being home with my wife and daughter. In 2003 they asked me about doing the backstage stuff because they had bigger plans for Goldilocks. I agreed because I just missed those guys plus they were using a lot of the same guys I knew in Nashville. I really enjoyed everything about TNA. Absolutely no bad memories about my TNA experience. Totally positive. I would go back today if they would have me.
Alan Wojcik: You were working again with Vince Russo who was doing the shows with Jeff and Jerry Jarrett. Did you notice any changes in Vince from his WCW days and what was it like to work with Jeff and Jerry?
Scott Hudson: During this period, Vince became a born again Christian and the evolution of his character (the real one not the TV one) was startling. I always liked and respected Vince but, to a lot of people, he seemed quite abrasive and prickly. He became this easy going, fun-to-be-around guy that, whether you agreed or disagreed with his booking decisions, was easily likeable.
I had never met Jerry Jarrett before this but it was easy to see why he was successful in everything he did. He is incredibly goal-oriented and can maintain focus in chaos like almost no one else in this business. Whether he is the owner or a consultant, he is an asset to whatever company he is attached.
Jeff Jarrett is the best person in wrestling. With all due respect to everyone else – he’s number one. He’s always treated me like an old friend but, then again, he treats everyone that way. Let me tell you a quick story. In 2001, my mom was suffering from breast cancer (a disease that would kill her in 2002). As I was in the building somewhere on the afternoon of a “Nitro” broadcast, I was speaking to her on my cell phone, I walked past Jeff as he was sitting in the stands and told her. She said, “Tell him to grow up.” (My mom was something of a mark – like her son.) I told Jeff what she said and he said, “Let me talk to her.” I whispered to Jeff about her disease and, with all the gentlemanliness I’ve ever encountered, he carried on a 20 minutes conversation with this dying woman he had never met. She felt like a million bucks after that. Jeff could have just snickered and walked away but he didn’t. I cried like a baby when I heard that his wife Jill passed away a couple of years ago. I hope that Jeff Jarrett achieves every goal he has and ten times more.
Alan Wojcik: Dixie Carter and her family are the financial backing for TNA Wrestling. Was she hands on with the day to day wrestling business or did she stay in the background?
Scott Hudson: Dixie was always, ALWAYS there at TNA. I certainly do not intend this next comment as anything sexist (because she is a strikingly beautiful woman) but she was the best cheerleader TNA ever had. I do not know how much involvement she had in booking ( I assume none) or other wrestling aspects of TNA, but she was THE word when it came to the business aspects of TNA. Very smart, driven lady.
Alan Wojcik: While you were working for TNA you did some stuff with Tony Falk’s USWO promotion. Talk about that promotion and the Nashville wrestling scene as a whole.
Scott Hudson: I really enjoyed most of my time in the USWO. It had been a long time since I had worked in a truly independent organization. Small building with low or no pay-offs but intense, rabid fans (I’m looking your way, Chicken Hat) take ALL of the pressure off. It was a terrific environment. I got to enjoy the work of wrestlers who were in the business strictly for the fun of it with no desire or delusion they were ever going to advance up the food chain. I also encountered some who had no business in the business or, quite frankly, out of jail. The Nashville scene in general was best described by Jeff Jarrett who called it “10 rats fighting over a crumb of cheese in a five star restaurant.”
Alan Wojcik: In 2004 TNA debuted Impact on Fox Sports Net and in September dropped the weekly PPV format to join the Sunday PPV race with WWE. Did you think this was a good idea and did the change in scheduling affect your normal work routine?
Scott Hudson: Well, you left out the move to Orlando which was THE reason I had to leave TNA. I just could not manage my schedule to be in Orlando for regular TV. I worked the monthly pay-per-views for 6 months but even that was interfering with my work schedule. That really sucked because I loved everything about TNA and I wish I go back. I think the move to a monthly PPV built from two weekly television shows was okay but I still believe the weekly PPV concept was a great one. I remember conversations early-on with Vince about the marketing of the show. I thought the best marketing would be along the lines of this: For $10 per week you get 8 hours of PPV quality wrestling per month with TNA – while for $40 per month you get 3 hours from the WWE. Unfortunately, the PPV companies had a completely closed minded approach to marketing based on price or value. That was too bad.
Alan Wojcik: What do you think of the current TNA product as a whole and do you think stars like AJ Styles, Sting, Christian Cage, Kurt Angle, Booker T, Samoa Joe (& if the rumors are true Mick Foley) can help the promotion keep pace with the WWE or should TNA not worry about competing and just do its own thing?
Scott Hudson: TNA should offer a distinct alternative to the WWE product -not an imitation. They have achieved a measure of that with the television shooting style, the way they use promos and, obviously, the 6-sided ring. They have yet to get any separation from the WWE in booking. They have a good foundation to build on but it is a work in progress. I would bet on their continued success.
Alan Wojcik: Are you surprised to see former WCW stars Sting, Rey Mysterio, Booker T and Kevin Nash still wrestling today?
Scott Hudson: I am. Rey is not that old but has REALLY abused his body with his incredible working style. Sting certainly does not work like Rey but is a good bit older as is Kevin so the fact they are still going is truly inspiring. Booker and I are the same age and I don’t feel old so I guess he doesn’t either. More power to ‘em.
Alan Wojcik: This past WrestleMania saw the retirement of the legendary Ric Flair. What did you think of the way he went out and do you think he’s 100% retired?
Scott Hudson: I worry about Ric a lot. As long as he is in the wrestling business with the cocoon of protection his legacy affords him – he is fine. Away from the business, I worry that he is almost child-like in his naivete. For his own good, I hope he comes back to the WWE and never, EVER really retires. The business need him and he needs the business.
Alan Wojcik: Two of your former WCW colleagues had untimely demises, namely Ms. Elizabeth and Chris Benoit. Being as you reside in Georgia where both passed away, would you be willing to share any thoughts on either person.
Scott Hudson: Liz was on a downward spiral for a while. She really was a breathtaking beauty but kept to herself so much I honestly cannot remember ever having a conversation with her. I know that Lex has since turned his life around (albeit with a myriad of physical problems) and I’m really proud of him. Liz’s death was a tragedy that was avoidable. Chris, on the other hand, well, as easy as it is to say that you never saw it coming – a lot of people knew Chris was a troubled soul. He lost Owen then he lost Eddie and in between he endured a personal and professional upheaval that anyone would have a hard time adjusting to. I don’t know how much of a role his use of steroids and other substances played in what ultimately happened but it really does not matter. What he did to his family (not just Nancy and Daniel) was the most heinous act a human can commit. I thought I knew him and realized I knew nothing about him. I guess a lot of people feel that way now. He went from one of the best ever to THE worst ever.
It is obvious to me that Chris’ brutality and ultimate death was a massive wake-up call for wrestling. Have you noticed how very, very few young wrestlers have died since Chris? Not many. It took that murder-suicide to throw cold water in the face of this business that it can kill you young. Old wrestlers are dying now. As sad as death is at any age, its not tragic for an 80 year-old to die of a heart attack like it is tragic for a 30 year-old to die of an Oxycotin overdose. I think Benoit’s death turned the tide. At least I hope so.
Alan Wojcik: Last year you joined the Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup broadcast team working along side ROH commentator Lenny Leonard. What made you say yes to the JPC? Plus talk about that event and anything you knew about Jeff.
Scott Hudson: I state proudly that I knew Lenny Leonard “when.” Ross, Tenay and Cole cannot go on forever so someone will have to take over for them and Lenny is my pick. He’s got “it” behind the mic. “It” is not just sounding good, “it” is knowing the moves, knowing the psychology and knowing the talent. Lenny has “it.” I cannot wait to work with him again. Obviously, I did not know Jeff Peterson but by reputation I feel like I did. As we all know, tragic deaths in wrestling were a common occurrence for many years. For Jeff Peterson to have stood out above that group and be memorialized the premier independent tournament in the United States year after year speaks volumes about his character. I’m honored to be a part of JPC 2008 and hope be back for 2009 and beyond.