June 20th, 2007 IYH Honky Tonk Man Interview Recap – by Norrin Radd
The greatest Intercontinental Champion of all-time, The Honky Tonk Man, was the guest on the June 20th, 2007 edition of the In Your Head radio show hosted by Jack, OneInchBiceps and Barbie Richards at http://www.inyourheadonline.com.
The Honky Tonk Man was there to promote All Star Wrestlingâ€™s Rhythm & Bruised show on June 28th in Logan, West Virginia against Mad Man Pondo, and also the Rage In The Cage show on June 29th in Madison, West Virginia against Bobby Eaton. For more show and ticket information for both events visit http://www.asw-wrestling.com.
Honky Tonk thanked the gang at In Your Head for their introduction of the greatest Intercontinental Champion of all-time. Host, Jack, informed everyone that HTM will be facing Mad Man Pondo on the 28th. Honky Tonk spoke of how he felt that Mad Man Pondo had taken hardcore extreme wrestling to a whole new level, but he said that didnâ€™t bother him because many years ago he was in an extreme match of his own called the Tupelo Concession Stand match in Tupelo, Mississippi. Eddie Gilbert was one of those in attendance that night. Honky said he hopes Pondo brings all his stop signs and saw blades because he would love to use them on him.
At the time of the Tupelo Concession match HTM was blonde. Honky then told the story of how he came to have jet black hair and sideburns. In Southeastern Wrestling, in Mobile, Alabama and Pensacola, Florida, there wasnâ€™t enough room for two blondes in the territory, so he became involved in a Hair Dye match with Austin Idol, which he lost and the look has stayed with him ever since. HTM said he wasnâ€™t against the change because he needed to at the time and it was a good avenue to do so. He was competing as Punk Rocker Wayne Ferris.
Honky then spoke about the origins of â€œHulkamaniaâ€ being born when a young performer named Terry â€œThe Hulkâ€ Boulder made something of his own out of Austin Idolâ€™s shtick of â€œIdolmaniaâ€ in Memphis, and how everyone in the business never really truly creates anything completely on their own and that performers take a little bit from here and a little bit from there.
Continuing the discussion of wrestling gimmicks, HTM was asked what his thoughts were on the many other performers who carry and use guitars as a part of their personas, like TNAâ€™s Kings of Wrestling with Hall, Nash, and Jarrett. Honky said it didnâ€™t bother him as much in TNA as it did when Jarrett was doing it while he was still in the WWE locker room, which he felt was very unprofessional conduct. Host, Barbie Richards, asked HTM if he felt that Jarrett, being who he is in the business and having the background he has, shouldâ€™ve known to say, â€œthis is Honky Tonk Manâ€™s thing and I shouldnâ€™t do it,â€
HTM said that wouldâ€™ve been the professional thing to do in his opinion. Honky said itâ€™s never really helped Jeff anyway and that it never does anyone any good to copy someone else.
Caller, Jason, told Honky that he probably wouldnâ€™t be a wrestling fan today if it werenâ€™t for growing up on his feud with Randy â€œMacho Manâ€ Savage in â€˜88. He also spoke about how every time he hears HTMâ€™s theme song he has to sing along with it because it puts a smile on his face. Honky said that the song does have an effect on people and that itâ€™s done really well for him. Jason then asked what HTM felt was missing from the wrestling product today. Honky said it was a television product now and it goes too fast. He said TV doesnâ€™t do justice for these fast paced matches, and that management is worried about people changing the channel. Honky said the wrestlers are still basically the same, theyâ€™ve just been trained different.
Host, Jack, then noted that Honky Tonk will also be wrestling the next night on June 29th against Bobby Eaton in Madison, West Virginia.
HTM then spoke about how when he was first breaking into the business as one of the Blonde Bombers, he wrestled Bobby Eaton.
When asked if weâ€™ll ever see a Honky Tonk Man Jr. In the ring, HTM said he didnâ€™t think so, that his son has other interests, and that his children really havenâ€™t watched the current product in about 10 years. When the Attitude Era kicked it in it made HTM not even want to watch anymore.
Honky was then asked whether he had seen Vince McMahonâ€™s limousine explode on RAW. He said he had heard about it. He said he didnâ€™t know what they were trying to pull except insult the intelligence of wrestling fans and WWE shareholders. He said he would probably be pretty upset if he was a WWE shareholder and the guy he put his money behind was pretending to be deceased on television.
Honky and the IYH gang then discussed the ridiculousness of WWE explaining on financial shows that the WWE character â€œMr. McMahonâ€ was dead, but that WWE Chairman Vince McMahon was still alive, and how that destroys the believability and the ability to suspend disbelief when watching the show.
Caller, Chris, asked what HTM thought of his Jakks Pacific action figure. Honky said that he felt it was great and that he completely turned it over to the people at Jakks and that the guy who worked on it was a big fan of his and very passionate about it. He told him that he put more work into HTMâ€™s figure than any other he had ever done and that he was very proud of it.
Chris then asked how Honky was approached to be in the Gimmick Battle Royal at WrestleMania in 2001. Honky said they just simply called him out of the blue and asked him. He said they had called him before to do one-shot things in the past with Randy Orton and others and that he had turned them down, and that he must have surprised them when he said yes to the Battle Royal. HTM said he was already going to be in New Orleans that weekend since he had an autograph signing at a monster truck show, and WWE offered him a few thousands dollars and so he accepted.
Host, OneInchBiceps, then asked a question from the message board. Golgo13 asked HTM what his opinion was of The Ultimate Warrior. Honky said he was always different, that he had an attitude that rubbed some people the wrong way, but that he and the Warrior always got along very well. He said that over a period of time they learned to work well together and have some â€œdecentâ€ matches. Honky said he felt that WWEâ€™s character assassination was totally uncalled for and that there was no reason to do it. If you donâ€™t like the guy then donâ€™t say anything about him, was the advice of HTM. Donâ€™t put out a DVD trying to destroy him, and if he was so bad WWE shouldnâ€™t have pushed him so hard. Warrior was a megastar, he knew what he wanted, and he sucked every nickel out of Vince McMahon that he could, HTM said.
Caller, Chris from New York, asked Honky Tonk Man if he was planning to ever put his website back up. Honky said probably not, and that he didnâ€™t own it. Honky said it became way too time consuming and that they had to create controversy for the site to do well. It did well for a while, but he didnâ€™t make any money for all his time and effort.
Chris from New York asked Honky Tonkâ€™s thoughts on the passing of â€œSensationalâ€ Sherry Martel. HTM said that everyone speaks about Sherry managing Randy Savage, but that people forget that she was the original Peggy Sue and that it was great television. Honky said she was very serious about what she did in the ring, like all the young ladies trained by the Fabulous Moolah.
When asked if there were too many women in professional wrestling today, Honky said that there are and that most of them look the same, as do many of the men now, and that itâ€™s not a diverse pool of talent these days.
An anonymous caller asked HTM if Vince McMahon was a hard man to work for. Honky said that in the beginning Vince was much more open minded and let the guys do things the way they wanted, but many would take advantage because Vince was throwing the money around at the time, but he gradually cut the money back and made the business into what it is today.
The caller told Honky that Jimmy Hart was one of the best managers he had and HTM said they worked very well together.
Honky was then asked by the caller what his thoughts were on Edge being the World Champion. HTM said he didnâ€™t see any of it, but that he felt Edge was very talented and had a good look with that neandrathal chin of his sticking out. The caller said heâ€™d like to see Honky take the belt away from Edge. Honky said heâ€™d need about six weeks to get in peak shape for something like that on television, which was a mistake that Piper shouldnâ€™t have made when he took his shirt off on TV and looked terrible. Honky said he still looks a lot better than Piper, but if he were to return to television he would like to have a few weeks to get in better condition since heâ€™s just doing independent bookings right now. WWE usually wants you to come in right away though looking terrible and he wouldnâ€™t want to do that.
Honky said that if you come back and youâ€™re not like you were when they last saw you then youâ€™re a flop.
Incher then asked another question from the In Your Head message board. Norrin Radd asked who HTM thought was the second greatest Intercontinental Champion. Honky said that was tough since there were so many, like Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Rick Rude, Curt Hennig, etc.
Jack asked if Honky felt the IC belt still held the kind of importance it use to have and HTM said that he felt it didnâ€™t. It was greatly diminished over the years, like when â€œStone Coldâ€ Steve Austin threw it in a river and when Chyna held it. Honky said he didnâ€™t even know who the Intercontinental Champion was right now because it changes so often now that it has no meaning anymore.
Caller, Spec Sun, gave Honky Tonk Man high praise for the On The Road with Honky Tonk Man DVD. He then asked about a comment that HTM made about â€œHacksawâ€ Jim Duggan not knowing that on the indys he could bring all the drinks he wanted. Honky then told the story about how he and Duggan were on a plane when Hacksaw first started doing independents. Duggan said, â€œhey, Honky. Look what I got,â€ and displayed a miniature bottle of vodka. Honky then said, â€œBrother, this is independents,â€ and pulled a large bottle of vodka out of a bag. HTM said that, however, since 9/11 you canâ€™t carry that sort of thing on a plane anymore.
Spec Sun also asked if Honky thought the European Championship could have been as well established and held more credibility like the Intercontinental Championship if it had debuted in the late 80s. HTM said it probably could have carried some weight if it had, if someone like the â€œBritish Bulldogâ€ Davey Boy Smith were the champion or someone who was well known in Europe or of European descent.
Spec Sunâ€™s final question for the Honky Tonk Man was about whether Honky would ever do his radio blogging again. HTM said probably not, that the website was most likely not coming back. Honky spoke about how his website was one of the first to do the â€œbloggingâ€ format and that it was revolutionary in that sense.
Jack asked if Honky ever got any negative reactions from some of the wrestlers that he spoke about on his website. Honky said not really because most of the guys that he spoke about knew that they had done wrong in the past and that he never picked on anyone that didnâ€™t deserve it. Honky mentioned Ric Flair, for instance, taking shots at him in his book for absolutely no reason saying that HTM would have never worked main event matches if he werenâ€™t friends with Hulk Hogan. Honky said he worked main events before he even met Hogan and that Flair knew that.
When asked if he would ever write a book himself, Honky said he had no plans to do so because no one would believe it. No one would believe how many of the performers were emotional and psychological train wrecks waiting to happen. No one would believe some of the things that have gone on backstage in the business.
Before leaving, Spec Sun stated that it would be great to hear another radio blog from HTM, like the one he did after WWE Homecoming while he was half-drunk on vodka. Honky said he did that one at about 11 or 12 at night and that he was â€œfive sheets into the windâ€.
Caller, ElTNAfan, asked Honky what he thought of the WWEâ€™s storyline with Santino Morella. HTM said that he didnâ€™t know what to think of it, and that there have always been storylines in wrestling that donâ€™t make sense.
On the subject of nonsensical angles, Honky spoke of Jerry Jarrett and Jerry Lawler in Memphis as an example. They would bring in characters like Dr. Frankenstein and Freddy Kreuger, and that it didnâ€™t work.
Honky Tonk Man has never been to Abbyâ€™s House of Ribs.
ElTNAfan, then asked if Honky thought the Elvis impersonator gimmick would only last a few months when it was brought to him in WWE. HTM said that he was doing the character long before he came to WWE, before he went through the Stampede territory in Canada. Honky estimates that heâ€™s been doing the Honky Tonk Man character since around 1980-81. In fact, he said some wrestling fans gave him the jumpsuit and told him he should do the Elvis gimmick because he had the black hair and black sideburns. HTM said he was planning to do it as the Schneider character on One Day At Time, but the Elvis thing took off.
When asked if he gets a different reaction in different parts of the country, Honky said itâ€™s all the same now, heâ€™s a babyface wherever he goes, and everyone has fun at the shows.
On the subject of TNA. Honky said that TNA could never compete with WWE, or come anywhere near doing so. HTM doesnâ€™t care for the 6-sided ring and that most of the guys in TNA are fairly small, and that they need to develop their own stars.
Honky said itâ€™s hard for a guy under 6′ tall to make it in the business.
When asked about Jake Roberts, HTM said he heard that Jake had cleaned up a bit, but that he hadnâ€™t really spoken to him since Jake left England. Honky said they could have drawn and that they still could draw top money together on the independent circuit. Back in the day, there was Hogan, Piper, Orndorff, Savage and Roberts as the top guys in the business for ten years, according to HTM.
Honky Tonk thought it was horrible that all the interviews are now scripted out beforehand in WWE. He said heâ€™d hate to have someone give him a piece of paper and tell him to go memorize it. Just tell me where Iâ€™m going, who Iâ€™m going to be with, what day it is, and I can do the rest, Honky said.
Incher asked Honky if WWE ever asked him to be in the Hall of Fame if he would do it. HTM said he would have to think about it and that he doesnâ€™t like the way they do several aspects of it, like the 90-day no-compete clause. Honky said that Paul Orndorff said it best when he said he got a nice payday, a free dinner, and a $20 plaque that he left in the hotel room, and that heâ€™d probably never be back. People go there to kiss Vince McMahonâ€™s ass and talk about how Vince gave them life, and Honky said heâ€™s done fine without the WWE.
Things like William Shatner inducting Jerry Lawler, Pete Rose being inducted make a joke of the Hall of Fame, according to HTM. He also said Sabuâ€™s uncle, Ed Farhat, never wrestled for the WWE Honky said that if theyâ€™re going to try and say that the WWE Hall of Fame is all inclusive and not just for WWE guys, then they should induct some of Jerry Jarrettâ€™s wrestlers.
Honky was then asked if he thought when Diamond Dallas Page drove his pink Cadillac down to he ring at WrestleMania 6 that he would someday be a world champion. Honky said that he wasn’t really surprised, and DDP was always very dedicated and strived very hard to learn the business and do it well. He said Page was so dedicated that he drove that pink Cadillac from Tampa, Florida all the way to Toronto, Canada just hoping that they might notice what he had done for them and take a look at him.
Jack plugged hhtp://www.kayfabememories.com and the commentary tracks that HTM did for them.
Honky Tonk Man told a rib story about how he use to have a spotlight on his car, and one night he let Blackjack Mulligan and his son Barry Windham fly past him on the road. Honky then sped up behind Mulligan and turned on his spotlight, pointing it at the car. Mulligan thought it was a cop and started throwing all his beer out of the car.
Host, Barbie Richards, then asked Honky what he thought of some the older big name performers on the independents who will do in-ring promos for their main event match, and then demand more money from the promoters backstage to go through with their match. Honky said he had never done anything like that because it’s unprofessional, and that once word gets around that you’ve done that sort of thing you’re dead on the independents as far as getting bookings. HTM said he doesn’t double book, or hold up promoters. If you’ve booked him for $300 and you’ve already booked the plane and done the advertising, he’s going to be at the show, and not stand up the show to work for the guy offering $5,000 if he’s already booked. On the subject of the guys that have done that, HTM said that most of the stories are true.
Honky Tonk Man said he is doing well health-wise.
When asked about many of the young guys taking big bumps today, Honky said he did it as well when he was younger, but once his character became more popular he didn’t have to do so many. Honky said he looks at wrestling like business. You want to make the most amount of money without investing that much money.
Honky said he’ll be a part of the meet & greet for both of the ASW shows.
The strangest thing HTM said he was ever asked to sign was a roll of toilet paper while he was using a stall.
Before saying goodbye, Honky Tonk Man said that the fans that have seen him over the years on the indys know what to expect, they know they’re going to have a good time, and to the fans that haven’t to come on out because they’re really going to rock the house.
All Star Wrestlingâ€™s Rhythm & Bruised show on June 28th in Logan, West Virginia against Mad Man Pondo, and also the Rage In The Cage show on June 29th in Madison, West Virginia against Bobby Eaton. For more show and ticket information visit http://www.asw-wrestling.com.
Check out the actual interview in it’s entirety at In Your Head radio and join the show live every Wednesday at 8e/9c pm at http://www.inyourheadonline.com.
Credit: Norrin Radd