Former WCW World Heavyweight Champion, former WCW United States Champion, & former WWE superstar, “The Total Package” Lex Luger, was one of the special guests on this week’s live edition (06/29/09) of Monday Night Mayhem (presented by ReelWrestling.com), hosted by The Big Mosh, Blade, & The Mayhem’s National WWE Correspondent (and former WCW announcer), Scott Hudson. You can feel The Mayhem live & in streaming audio every Monday night (at 8PM ET/7PM CT), exclusively on The Monday Night Mayhem Radio Network (www.MondayNightMayhem.com, www.ITunes.com, www.AudioWrestling.com, & www.MySpace.com/MondayNightMayhem, & www.Facebook.com/MondayNightMayhem).
Lex’s first-ever MNM appearance (as part of “The Summer Of Mayhem 2009”) is now available for free in Windows Streaming Media, or via The Mayhem’s official Podcast On ITunes:
“The Total Package” Lex Luger/Monday Night Mayhem Interview (Streaming Audio): www.mondaynightmayhemarchives.com/waxfiles/062909.wax
“The Total Package” Lex Luger/Monday Night Mayhem Interview (MNM Podcast On ITunes): www.mondaynightmayhemarchives.com/june09/062909.mp3
Here are some of the highlights of Lex’s exclusive interview, provided by The Mayhem’s correspondent, Paterson From New Jersey:
Who else would be the perfect choice to be the feature guest on “Your Home Of Wrestling Radio” as part of the celebration of America’s birthday, Independence Day, than Lex Luger. “The Total Package” joined The Mayhem with The Big Mosh, Blade, & Scott Hudson for his first sit-down interview/public comments since the fall of 2007, when he suffered a nerve impingement in his neck that led to temporary paralysis.
Mosh began by pointing out to the worldwide listening audience that Lex is originally from the hometown of The Mayhem: Buffalo, NY (to be precise, the town of Orchard Park) & not the of Chicago (as many have thought over the years). Lex has very fond memories of his early days in the Western NY area: “Born & raised, my mom & dad are still there. My brother right there in the Amherst area.” He shared a story where on his first night on television in Championship Wrestling From Florida, the promoters did not want to say he was from Buffalo, so they said he was from Chicago, IL. “When I went back to Buffalo, people used to boo me like I had abandoned them. I had no choice in the matter…I love Buffalo.”
Since his recent health issues over the past two years, Lex has gone through some changes in his life & turned his life around, due to his faith. He has not been a favorite amongst those in the business, but despite those critics of his, he has kept a positive outlook on his life. “I’m very thankful to be here. I’m a living, breathing miracle due to the grace & mercy of God. Back on April 23rd, 2006 I had a supernatural transformation in my life, and instead of being self-centered & Lex-centered, I became Christ-centered.”
Many members of The Mayhem Nation here in the United States who will be celebrating the 4th Of July this weekend remember one of their fondest memories, of which we are celebrating the 16th-year anniversary. Luger performed what those in the business have felt to be one of the greatest feats in the history of wrestling: bodyslamming the late Yokozuna on the desk of the U.S.S. Intrepid on July 4, 1993 — which led to the match at SummerSlam of that year with the mighty Yokozuna, in which Luger won via count-out. Despite not leaving The Palace Of Auburn Hills with the WWE Championship, he left the building with his head held high. The Mayhem Crew asked Lex for his memories from that summer & the whirlwind that he was on. “I was in a state of shock because I had just arrived…and they brought me out as “The Narcissist” Lex Luger, and I really was having fun with that, and I thought the fans were enjoying as well. Vince called me in his office at the beginning of the summer & said ‘I’d like you to switch babyface.’ And I ran the whole ‘Lex Express’ & the red, white, & blue with Yokozuna on the aircraft carrier.” He had his doubts about the whole thing, because he didn’t know if it was possible to slam Yokozuna, and he was settling in with “The Narcissist” character. But he does credits Vince McMahon for the execution of the whole thing.
Lex is best known for his time in World Championship Wrestling during the “Monday Night Wars,” but his career actually went all the way back to when the National Wrestling Alliance had control over the company & when Jim Crockett ran the ship. Luger spoke candidaly about his early beginnings in the NWA. “What a great opportunity. Ric Flair came down (to Florida) in my very first year of wrestling, and I had such amazing thing happen to me in my career looking back now. I had a match him, and he called a ‘sunset flip, and I didn’t even know what that was, and he shook his afterwards. But Ric saw something in me, I don’t know what he did, but he talked to the Crocketts, and within six months, I came in.” He went to say that it was a great opportunity to wrestle with The Four Horseman & did not really know how big they were until he got to work with them. For more information on the lineage of Jim Crockett Promotions & Lex’s involvement in the pre-WCW days of the NWA (including The Great American Bash events, the summer stadium tours, & Pay-Per-Views), log onto www.TheHistoryOfWWE.com & check out the all-new Jim Crockett Promotions database..
Lex had the opportunity to work with two of the greatest superstars & legends in the history of the business during his time in WCW: the aforementioned “Nature Boy” Ric Flair & Sting. Both are still the two of the “most-over” wrestlers in the world, and since Flair semi-retired, the clock appears to now be ticking on Sting & if his time in professional wrestling is soon coming to an end. Does Lex think that will become fact prior to the end of this year? “To be honest with you, that’s a question you would have to ask Sting.” With regards to the continued popularity of “The Nature Boy” & Sting, “Wrestling fans have such a good relationship with the wrestlers. Fans have supported & embraced me in such ways that at times, it’s undeserving especially with my trials & tribulations. Wrestling fans are the best, and we have a special relationship, and a lot of the fans are like ‘Oh man, we don’t like the new guys, we like you guys.’ They are so faithful…it’s amazing. Guys like Ric & Sting are still involved. They were wrestling when I was wrestling. They can a mentor or a guiding light to these young guys. And if you could do physically do it & still love it, why are you apologizing for that?”
Lex was one the vital players in the early days of WCW Monday Nitro, leaving a huge impact on the industry in the fall of 1995. Luger showed up unannounced during the very first edition of Nitro broadcast on TNT from The Mall Of America in Minneapolis, MN. The former President of World Championship Wrestling, Eric Bischoff has stated many times that the Luger signing was done as a favor to Sting at the time, but nonetheless, it started something truly big in professional wrestling. Lex discussed his re-entry into WCW & working with Bischoff. “We don’t have any control over what people say about us, but I had a very positive relationship with Eric. After SummerSlam & the summer, when you get that kind of build-up like that, and you’re not triumphant & become World Champion, there can be a let-down for the fans. And for some people, that can be a career-ender as far as the disappointment. Actually that conversation (the first conversation between Bischoff & Luger regarding “jumping ship”) came through Sting. We’re talking on the phone that summer, and this is prior to the Nitro in the Mall Of America happened, and in conversation we were talking, and I said ‘you know I’m not under contract to the WWE anymore, I’m on a gentleman’s agreement.’ And he (Sting) talked to Eric, and he thought I would be a nice addition, in large part due to our friendship.”
While World Championship Wrestling is missed in some ways, many of the past WCW performers have felt & gone on record that it was a better working environment as opposed to World Wrestling Entertainment. Some may argue that point, and that was the question raised to Lex. Which was a better work experience? “I guess I consider myself a WCW guy, because of time spent but also because of my relationship with Sting & some of the guys. But I always wanted to go to the WWE & succeed there, but I don’t think I ever reached my full potential there. But WCW is where I had most of my successes.” Scott Hudson chimed in, asking Luger the one feud that he would have wanted to be in. “I had such a wonderful 15-year career. I worked with Ric Flair, and from day one, I got to work with the best in the business. I got to work with Hogan, Macho Man, Flair, Sting…I mean I could go on & on, Bret Hart. You name it, I got to work with all those guys. So I look back now, there’s not really anybody that I didn’t get to work with.”
Hudson was an announcer in World Championship Wrestling during the time Lex was there, and Scott saw the way things were going in the last years of the company. “There was a mentality during the last two or three-year run in WCW, where there was no team concept. It didn’t seem like we were on the same team. It was every man & woman for themselves. And that came through in the product.” Lex agreed with Scott, but added his sentiments. “At the time in the entertainment industry as a whole, that’s not unique back to the time at WCW. It’s a competitive industry in my opinion, and guys have always been that way, and I don’t know if it prevalent now, but it was throughout my career.” Lex described a story of going to a AOL-Time Warner meeting in 1998 & how during a presentation discussing the Turner Networks, wrestling was not discussed once so back then, he saw the writing on the wall. “We were always the black sheep. Ratings were good, production weren’t super high, and it’s almost like they couldn’t get us off there. But once our ratings took a definitive dip, I felt that TBS & TNT really didn’t want wrestling anymore as part of their network strategy.”
After the eventual sale of WCW to Vince McMahon, the ill-fated “Invasion” took place, but without the real household names of WCW like Sting, Goldberg, & Luger. The guys wanted to know if there were any plans for him to join the angle. “It wasn’t very close. I had to make a decision based on financials & my family. And I had over two years left on my contract for a very large sum of money. So to go over to Vince at the time without any guarantees would have been unfair to my family at the time…financially & for their security. Would I have loved to go the WWE & been given an opportunity? It would have been great. But at the time, it wasn’t a difficult decision.”
Lex’s legacy was brought up, as a number of the things he has done inside the squared circle were overshadowed by what several things that transpired to Luger out of the ring. What does Lawrence Pfohl think about the legacy of “Lex Luger,” as well as a possible future WWE Hall Of Fame induction? “I let other people make judgments on legacies…that’s up to them. I had a 15-year career that I’m very thankful for. I’m in life for a greater purpose…for his purpose, not mine. I’m not in it for accolades, but it would be a great honor & privilege for anything received and would be humbled for anything about the Hall Of Fame. Obviously, you would acknowledge it & be there if at all possible.”
As a parting shot to The Mayhem Nation, the final question/topic for Lex was if has any regrets reflecting back on his time in the business, and if there was anything he would change if given the chance. “I think we all have regrets. If we could go back in time change some things, going back in my past I would. But one of my spiritual mentors told me, ‘Lex, your past is your past….It doesn’t mean it wasn’t there, but that bell has been rung, and you can’t ring it.’ I’ve dedicated my life to that now, cause I can’t change my past or change some of the bad decisions I have made…as tragic as some of them were.”
More is contained is this near hour-long exclusive interview with “The Total Package,” including the details behind The 1994 Royal Rumble in which he & Bret “Hitman” Hart won (and if there were any plans for a storyline between the two at that time leading into WrestleMania X), his memories of his former “Allied Powers” tag team partner “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith (and if there was any legit heat between the two after Lex left the WWE for WCW), & the true story behind the incident in Florida Championship Wrestling involving the late Bruiser Brody (in which many believed that Luger received heat with Brody), & much more. One of the most eye-opening interviews in the seven+ year history of Monday Night Mayhem, which will have people talking for some time to come. “The Total Package” heard exclusively as part of “The Summer Of Mayhem 2009” on The Monday Night Mayhem Radio Network.
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