INTERVIEW WITH BUFF BAGWELL Oct 29, 2001. No Holds Barred Wrestling show
Thanks to www.noholdsbarredwrestling.com
Jason: Joining me on today's program is a man who I am simply titling Public Enemy #1 when it comes to the wrestling business. Talk about being crucified without having a chance to defend yourself. Well today folks he's here to do just that. The man I'm talking about is Buff "The Stuff" Bagwell and he joins No Holds Barred. Buff, Jason Barrett here, how are you this morning?
Buff: I'm doing great man how are you doing?
Jason: Well let's start out with some positive stuff. I am doing great but recently you just came back from Austrailia where you were helping promote the upcoming tour Vince Russo has put together, one which you'll be performing on. What was the experience like and how's it going to be working for Russo again?
Buff: Well actually Russo didn't make this trip. This was a promotion tour where we started setting up the dates for the upcoming events which is in October but it blew my mind. I really had no idea that there were wrestling fans in Australia. I was doing it because I was trying to get some work and stay in shape and Russo asked me to do it for him and I wanted to help him out. I flew over to do some promotion stuff with Bret Hart and Stevie Ray and Road Dogg and we had a good time, and everywhere we went it was like going into the biggest wrestling fan you can imagine store. I couldn't believe it. I'd walk in thinking nobody's going to know me in this place and they were like "Buff, oh my gosh it's Buff Bagwell" and it wasn't just Hey how are you doing, it was like "Hey how's your stay, do you like it here". Everybody was genuinely nice and it was unbelievable.
Jason: You were expecting a place full of Crocodile Dundee fans and you got the exact opposite.
Buff: Exactly. I really was. I didn't know what to expect. My first appearance had about 1000 people.
Jason: Wow, that's good.
Buff: They told me when I'm on my way to the airport and I land after a 24 hour flight and I have to go immediately to the appearance and they say "there's about 1000 people there" and I thought to myself "Yeah whatever, 1000 people yeah sure". Well, I come walking out with zero sleep after 24 hours and I walk out and there's 1000 people and I go "you've got to be kidding me".
Jason: That must be a great feeling.
Buff: It was a great feeling. Not just for myself but just for the wrestling business alone you know.
Jason: You didn't make it back to the US on schedule, why don't you elaborate a little on that.
Buff: Well if you've got 2 razor blades I'll tell you about it. It was pretty brutal. I'm a homebody you know. I mean I like to travel but when I know I'm coming home on a certain day that's when I want to come home. So to stay there that many extra days with no extra clothes and stuff like that there were things I was finding myself complaining about and then all of a sudden I realized the tragedy that's going on over in the states and so you know I backed off and eased off on mentally thinking about what everybody else was going thru over here. Families and friends of people who knew people that was hit with the towers and the pentagon etcetera etcetera. It was a big deal, a real big deal. To see that on TV and know what was going on that made me say to myself "Hey, man be thankful to god that you're even in a safe place". Ironically enough you had the prime minister of Australia who was in the US and he was actually at the pentagon 20 minutes before the plane hit.
Jason: Geez, talk about lucky timing and getting out of there on time.
Buff: Yeah and which at the same time made it bad over there also so it was kind of like being in the US over there because they were just as mad as we were.
Jason: I'll tell you what, you've also got to look at one other positive and that is that it's sure as hell got to be better staying over in Australia than facing the traffic of the city of Atlanta.
Buff: And that's kind of what it boiled down to. I said to myself "chill out, wash your damn clothes and stay in Melbourne".
Jason: Of all the places you've ever been is Atlanta the worst when it comes to traffic? It is in my opinion.
Buff: You know I'm really surprised you say that. I don't agree with that. I really don't.
Jason: Really? You've got 5 lanes on a major highway and everybody is stopped.
Buff: I will tell you this, if you live here you'll learn. You know, California, New York and those kind of places are always very trafficy but Atlanta you're able to pick out times of travel. That's the only plus. There is times of the day when there is nobody on the road.
Jason: Yeah sure, that's 2 in the morning.
Buff: Yeah right. On the way back from Buckhead. But for real in the mornings they got you on 75 South and the afternoons it's 75 North so if you know the highways and you know the times it's really not as bad as if you came in to visit. If you live here and you know how it works it's really not that bad.
Jason: I guess that's what I need to do then, spend more than 10 days there next time.
Buff: And you know I guess every city's like that to some extent. It just seems to me like when ever I'm in California it's stopped no matter what time of day you're there.
Jason: That's because of the smog checks half the time.
Jason: Let's go back in time. The old WCW, you were a big part of it unfortunately things didn't pan out and it wound up in the hands of Vince McMahon. Did you ever think the company would become monpolized like it is today?
Buff: I was asked that so many times before this happened and I always said the only way that will ever happen is if wrestling takes a huge dive for the negative or if 1 of the companies folds and 1 of the 2 happened. WCW folded and then there you had it. It's just nobody really saw it coming because of the money that is involved in WCW even though there was lot of money that was lost. There was a lot of money that was made and if you weigh both sides of that there really was no reason to get rid of WCW. Nobody stays on top forever. There's peaks and valley's in football, baseball, wrestling, everything. We were in a valley but it just so happens that AOL and Time Warner were kind of negative on the wrestling thing. It wasn't so much Ted and when they merged that's when NWO was red hot so they really had nothing to say. They were like "wow, we're doing 5.0's in the ratings and we're going to get rid of them? No way". Well, as soon as we started diving that was a way for them to say "let's get rid of them". They weren't big wrestling fans from the get go, that's my point.
Jason: In your opinion, why did the company fail? What was the biggest factor?
Buff: I don't think it was really nobody's fault. We had a disadvantage at WCW unlike WWF and that's what I mean by it was nobody's fault. You've got Ted Turner with the money and he doesn't really know about wrestling. How I always put it is, If your dad bought your first car for you. You took care of that car. But, when you bought your own car for the first time, you realized you didn't take care of that first car as much as you took care of the car you bought. That's kind of how it was at WCW. Here's Ted giving the money out and we thought we were being good boys and everything was going good but really when you see the other side like Vince. Here's Vince with Vince's money and he knows about wrestling and he's a genius at it.
Jason: His family's been involved forever.
Buff: That's what I'm saying, so he's involved from the first match til the end and if Ted was able to do that with his time, then we could've been competitive with them from the get go. Obviously though, that wasn't the situation. It was just a different ballgame. We had the TV and the money and they had the family and the fans. It was like if you had both together you know it'd be great. The merge thing and the monopolizing of the companies could've been and still can be a great thing to happen. It's just a matter of does Vince really want to do it. It's up to him. It's his money. If he does want to do it and see the stars against the stars great and if he don't then maybe he don't want to do that you know.
Jason: Sure. He's got to look at the overall product and right now there are a lot of fans clamoring for Vince to start signing some of the bigger named talent and get them involved with some of the big guys that they've had in the WWF the last few years.
Buff: I think it needs to be done. I really do. I'm not even calling myself a big star, but I can put some butts in some seats and from what they did to me, it made everybody go "whoa, hey, if they released Buff then we need to watch what we're saying or what we're doing here". It's a very political business as we all know and there's nothing wrong with that. I've been fighting that for 10 years in this business but it just comes down to myself saying "Wow, you really want to release me?".
Jason: We've had plenty of discussions the 2 of us and I've always told you, whether somebody likes you personally or not, it's all about business and if that means that the WWF can make money by having Buff Bagwell on the roster, to me it's a no brainer. Unfortunately, sometimes ego's get in the way and rumours start flying and where I'm going with this is, it's no secret that you & the WWF parted ways a few months ago and there are conflicting reports of what transpired. In your opinion, I know there's going to be something different said on there part, why do you feel you're no longer part of the WWF?
Buff: I think it was, to be totally honest with you, we were the first wave to come in and there was a lot of names but just calling a spade a spade, there was only 3 major names they brought in. They were Booker, Dallas Page and myself. The rest of the guys were guys that can be stars and probably will be stars but were not stars yet. So really you only had 3 big names so you're talking about here's your Stone Cold's, your Kurt Angle's, your Kane's, your Undertaker's, that have made this company and then all of a sudden here we come? We're going to step on their grounds? You know what, I don't blame them. I really don't blame them for being a little bit worried and it's not like I'm going to take their job away, that's not even the situation cause those guys are stars. It's just the point that, they weren't here when we made this thing, so why are they coming to us now? You know why they're coming to us? Cause they've got to come to us.
Jason: That's what happens. It gets monopolized, guys are looking for work and the WWF by throwing guys like yourself, Booker T and DDP into some of the storylines with those guys it's only going to make the business better.
Buff: That's what I thought too. Then basically they just said, you know the guys is what I think was my biggest problem. If I walked in the dressing room to talk to them I could tell they didn't want me there and you've got to remember man, this is coming from a guy who started in this business at 20 years old at center stage in front of 500 people that got in free. I'm in the dressing room at 20 years old with Rick Rude's, Sting's, Lex Luger's, Steiner's, Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, all these major stars at the time and here's little Marcus Bagwell at 20 years old sitting over in the corner, so I know what it's like to be in the fetal position. I know what it's like to sell, and respect and shake hands and be thankful. I know about that part. All of a sudden I find myself having to do that again and I was prepared to do that but I had so much heat from all the rumors that there was no fixing it.
Jason: Speaking of those rumors. As I've told you throughout the course of time, a lot of people seem to like finding rumors about Buff Bagwell. I've always believed that unless it's coming out of the horse's mouth then I don't pay any attention to it.
Buff: The problem with the world is that what they hear is what they believe. Like this internet thing, I love the internet and it's great but get the hell off my back. Call me up and I'll tell you the story. There was 1 thing on 1 website that said I lost my jag and that I skipped my jag payment and even the jag payment was wrong. At least get the jag payment right.
Jason: There have been some interesting ones out there and one that I'm alluding to is a line that Triple H said and I'm not sure if this is true or not. When you were released or parted ways whichever way it went with the WWF, Triple H supposedly sent the message to WCW talent, "Don't become a Bagwell". Did the 2 of you ever have heat or were those statements a surprise to you?
Buff: I've never heard that until you just said it and to be honest with you that's about the 3rd time I've heard Triple H's name come up with my heat. Obviously he's involved in some way or some where and where it's at I've got no idea. Triple H came into WCW when I was there and I had already been there. I mean we roomed together, we trained together, we were friends, he had a girlfriend that was friend's with my wife and if you said who would be the last person you would have heat with at the WWF out of the big stars I would say Triple H and all I hear is Triple H said this, Triple H did this, have you thought about Triple H, has Triple H said anything so I don't know, I really don't know. Once again I'm real big on out of the horse's mouth but Triple H's name comes up an awful lot.
Jason: When you were in the backroom and obviously there was some tension there with WCW talent coming into a WWF locker room after the 2 sides had been competing for so long. Was there anybody who stood out that you just knew from day 1 that this guy's not going to like me no matter what.
Buff: To be honest with you, everybody was kind of like that. Everybody would shake my hand and then walk off. I'd say to myself "Man, does he remember that we used to be friends 6 years ago?"
Jason: It's got to make things tough when you're trying to do a job.
Buff: Yeah and how I put it, I went back to Marcus Bagwell at center stage and that's the attitude I had at WWF. I mean there was no bitching, there was no complaining. I went in, yes sir, no sir, from my heart not to get a job and I told Jim Ross that on the phone. I said "Jim, before I come in, the problem is there not going to believe that I'm a nice guy because of all the rumors they're hearing and it's going to come across like I'm trying to kiss their butt". I said "I will kiss this their butt if they want me to to prove that I am a nice guy but the bottom line is that I am a nice guy and to have all this heat that they've given me off the internet and how it's sad to have all these major companies down to the bullies have believed in this internet stuff is just mind boggling to me and my world". They think the word heat was invented when I got into wrestling. We didn't know the word "Heat" when I was growing up. We called it jealousy and I'm not saying they're jealous of me I'm just saying that's what we called it growing up. I grew up in a very rich family and would drive nice cars and was an athlete and all that stuff so we had in a wrestling term, our family had heat but back then we called it jealousy. Then all of a sudden I got into wrestling and they think this kid's never been anywhere, he's never done anything and they didn't really know what I had been thru to get to that spot. They didn't know about my parents that had been broke and then all of a sudden became millionaires and then lose it all again and fight thru all of that to get into wrestling. They don't know the whole story of Buff Bagwell.
Jason: They just see the big picture that says "He's a rich kid growing up who had it all and now he's getting it handed to him again".
Buff: I call it the small picture. If they saw the big picture then I wouldn't have heat.
Jason: Let's address some of these other rumors. There was a rumor that came out when you were working with the World Wrestling Federation that you & Shane Helms, or Hurricane Helms as he's now called, got into a scuffle while training. Obviously a lot of guys get into scuffles. It just seems that when ever you get into a scuffle it becomes major news. Why is that?
Buff: That's the reason I'm doing a website. You know, I don't know. That day there, we were at the training school and just hanging out and everyone was getting along and I knew they were making me go to school to test me. "Oh let's put Buff Bagwell at school". Ok, that makes sense so automatically I said "Oh boy, here we go. They're going to test me". So I said, that's cool and I went to school. I was the first one in the ring, first one with my boots on, hey let's go, let's go, you know. Well, one day Shane got hurt, his back was hurting him and the guys were being guys and everybody was kind of jabbing each other and of course it got heated like guys do and a little scuffle took place and he had a water bottle under his shirt and I didn't know it. So, he kept running his mouth and I just give a little slap right across the face and I said "you've got something to say now?". He said "No, I ain't got nothing to say". I said "then keep your mouth shut". Well, I turned my back on him and when I did, he had a shirt on over the ice pack and the ice pack was a water a bottle that was frozen ice. So, when I turned my back he just reached under his shirt and grabbed the ice bottle and Boom right in the back of the head.
Jason: And of course you become the bad guy for this.
Buff: Yeah and I got the heat. You figure that out. I got an actual hat on with a pad on my head to come home to get stiches and I get the heat.
Jason: It's crazy how it works.
Buff: Exactly. Then again, what news is Shane Helms? None. If I'm going to get heat let me get heat the right way. If you're on the internet and you got 2 choices of saying "are we going to talk about Buff today or are we going to talk about Shane Helms, that's a no brainer".
Jason: We're speaking with Buff Bagwell here on No Holds Barred. One other rumor that I was laughing at when I first saw it, and I know from talking to your mother a few times, who by the way is a very nice lady, and when I read some of the things I read, they really have to get you laughing. If you go on the internet expecting everything to be true then your expectations are false. One of the rumors was that your mother was contacting WWF officials regarding your travel arrangements that she was displeased with them.
Buff: What happened with that was, Nicole is Jim Ross's secretary and she is phenomenal. A super lady, she loved me, loved my mom and my mom is my power of attorney and the reason for that purpose is because after my first divorce, I'm on the road and I needed somebody to handle all my stuff. So, my mother became my mother slash secretary slash power of attorney. So, I called Nicole up and I said "I'm asking you if it's cool with my mom" and she says "Oh absolutely. God, I wish everybody would let me know that you know. I wish I had another way to get in touch with you guys." Well, she knows where I'm at all times, here's her number, so we hit it off. Nicole was great, and everything was fine. Well, after my head thing happened in the training center they called me up and asked me how my head was doing. Let me back up for a second. They made me go to Spokane, WA and so I went and wrestled a show and wrestled Booker T there, and then I wrestled him on Monday Night which was probably the worst match I ever had in my entire life. Plus don't worry about the concussion and the 14 stiches in my head that were already busted open and I did not say a word about it. I wrestled because I didn't want no complaints, I don't want nobody to think nothing bad about me, I don't want them to think that he's a punk or he's weak, I just said "I'll do it". I had a major concussion with a bunch of stiches that were already busted open and I was actually bleeding before I went out for that match but still I didn't say a thing about it. I just went and did it because I wanted to not complain and me and Booker had just had a match the night before and had a hell of a match and me and Booker had wrested a thousand times. Well, we get out there and get booed out of the building and that becomes a head trip, that along with me being hurt and we had a really bad match. After that, they called me on Wednesday of that week, Johnny Ace did and Johnny said "How's your head?". I said "It's doing Ok". I said "I'm ready to go" and it was still the same thing, it was killing me, he didn't know and probably still don't know that I had it cortorized, re-stiched for the 4th time, and cortorized just so you know what that means or anyone listening that don't, it means they've actually got to put a patch on you that don't shock you, and they open your head up and they laser the veins in your head to stop them from bleeding and then they stich it up. That's what I went thru. They call me back up and Johnny says "You ready to go?". I said "Hey man I'm ready to go". Also, I just remembered that after the Monday show, on Tuesday before Johnny Ace called me they had me go and do a run in at the end of a match and just beat the hell out of me. Three quarter shoot. I mean Bradshaw and all these guys just layed into me and I could tell that they were working but at the same time it was they were going to show me who was the boss and that I was just hanging out and by god play by the rules, and I had no problem with that either. I said "Cool, no problem". He powerbombed me through the mat and keep in mind I still hadn't gotten my head done still. This is after that Booker match.
Jason: Ok I'm with you.
Buff: So, I come home from that. Go get stitched up again. Johnny Ace calls me and says "Hey how's your head". I said "It's doing good". He said "Let me ask you a question. Are you ready to go?" I said "I'm ready to go". Really I wasn't. I was hurt but I said "I'm ready to go, what you need man". He says "Well, we've got Augusta this weekend, we've got Birmingham". It was drives for me you know, no big deal. So, the whole point of this is the mother thing and that's coming to an end here and I'll show you where I'm going with this.
Buff: So we hang the phone up and then he calls me back in about 10 minutes and says "Hey, I just talked with Jim Ross and he said we know you're hurt and take this weekend off and we'll see you Monday". So I said "Hey man, that's great. Thanks a lot". Then I hung the phone up. Well, coming from where I come from in this business, I said "Wait a minute I need to call Jim just to make sure". That's not burying Johnny because I love Johnny. That's just me covering and making sure that Jim knew that everything was up and up. So I called Jim and said "Hey Jim, I want to tell you thanks a lot for letting me off this weekend". He said "Hey, no problem we'll see you in Atlanta on Monday and just get rested up, get your head healed up and we'll see you then". I said "Hey man, no problem". Out of that situation before I tell you about Monday in Atlanta, out of that situation came my mom called and got me out of the house shows and that's where the internet rumor came from. Out of Johnny Ace calling me and me calling Jim Ross to make sure they left me off of them. I didn't call them, they called me. It got somehow back to my mother called and bitched about getting me off the house shows because of my head.
Jason: So you're saying she never did that though.
Buff: Never rang their phone.
Jason: I always find the politics in wrestling interesting and I understand that a lot of people are going to say different things, but to me it comes down to the 2 parties involved - the WWF and Buff Bagwell. I know Buff Bagwell's side of it but the WWF on the other hand like to be a little quieter when things hit the fan. One other rumor, it seems like there's a lot of rumors with you so I have to address these.
Buff: No problem.
Jason: After you left the WWF it was reported that you signed a contract with MECW which I know from talking to you was inaccurate. You did however perform for them on some of their shows and at the time you were still on the WWF payroll. Describe how the WWF responded when they caught wind of your MECW appearances.
Buff: Well for starters I would never have gone and done that unless it was cleared with the WWF and that was all totally legalized, release forms, I was able to keep my name and say my name. The only 2 things that they didn't want me to do was to dog out WWF which I never would do. I respect Vince, I respect what he's done, I think he's a genius in the business, there's no reason for me whatsoever to dog WWF. There really isn't. Even with them releasing me and I know I can make them money I'm still not frustrated with the WWF. I'm confused. I'm not mad. Before I even did one shot with MECW my release was signed, sealed, and delivered and they knew I was wrestling at MECW and all I couldn't do was talk bad about the WWF and I couldn't sign a contract. So that was actually false, I never did sign a contract and still haven't and won't.
Jason: How did the WWF respond to you when they found out that you were working for MECW regarding your pay situation?
Buff: Part of the release was that I had to let them know what I was doing. That's where the internet thing right there is totally wrong.
Jason: Did the WWF stop paying you as a result?
Buff: Absolutely not. Now there was a day that my agent called me and said "You didn't know this but this morning you were fired and re-hired at the WWF off internet rumors" and I said "You've got to be kidding me". He said "No". He said they heard that you signed with MECW and they stopped paying you. He saw it on the internet and he called up and said he hasn't signed a damn thing. So, they re-hired me right back and said it was a mistake and they simply took something off the internet like everybody else does, their legal department did and acted like I really did it. They didn't even call or ask me or nothing.
Jason: So for that moment they were ready to stop paying you and cut all ties. This all based off a rumor on the internet.
Buff: That's right.
Jason: Now speaking of MECW. Last month you were on hand for an event at the ECW Arena in Philadelphia. I was on hand for the event. You were supposed to take on Steve Corino but that match never took place. You actually wound up wrestling Jack Victory. Supposedly back stage, neither you or Corino were willing to drop the match to each other but of course Buff Bagwell becomes the bad guy.
Buff: Go figure right.
Jason: Exactly. Why would Buff Bagwell be the enemy? Why don't you describe what took place back stage and why everyone was giving you heat for not wanting to drop a match to Corino.
Buff: What took place was Hack otherwise known as The Sandman, came up and said because he was the one who got the show there, and he said "Tonight if you don't mind, we want you to lose to Steve Corino". Now this is nothing negative to Corino either but I didn't even know who he was. Never heard his name. So I said "Who?". He said "Steve Corino". I said "No problem whatsoever". You can confirm this with John Collins from MECW. I'm walking around eating my Wendy's chicken sandwich, hanging out, getting ready to wrestle and do a job for Steve Corino and find him because I couldn't pick him out of a lineup and say "Hey man I'm Buff, you may know me but I don't know you, what's your finish?". John Collins then saw me and said "Hey what are you doing tonight?" and I said "Corino's beating me". He said "Do what? No way, that's not going to take place". So, John Collins goes and says that's not taking place so then we all sit down and it's me, Collins, Corino, and Tod Gordon. Tod Gordon then said "What do you guys want to do?" I said "I'll do whatever I just don't understand what did John say?". He said "John said he don't want you to lose". I said "Well then what do you all want to do?" and what made me mad about Corino which once again he gets no heat for and I do is, he actually slapped me in my face with this comment saying "What about a DQ?". I said "Do what?". I said "You want a disqualification match in front of this mob? I'm going to be the biggest heel they've ever seen out here. This building had a lot of stars come out of it and the bottom line is they don't know that I've busted my ass to get here and what's taken place in my life and they love to chew up primadonnas". If you look up primadonna in the dictionary not from my mouth, that's Buff Bagwell. So all the sudden he said "Well I've got this big belt thing going on in Japan so I really can't lose". He was talking to me like I was in the business for a year. So I said "Hey man no problem. I don't blame you. Don't lose. Whatever you want to do we'll do". I said "I'm just telling you what my boss is telling me so you tell me what you want to do". I said "You all figure it out and then come back and tell me". So they go, and figure out that Corino would come out, cut an interview a d I'd beat Jack Victory.
Jason: What I find amazing with this is, The Undertaker a few weeks ago reportedly refused to job to Albert & X-Pac and nothing comes of it. However, MECW that night was doing a TV pilot. Now I don't know what every TV executive is thinking, but if I'm one of them and I'm deciding on whether or not I want to spend my money and invest in this product, I know the name of Buff Bagwell, some people are going to know Steve Corino but more are going to know Buff Bagwell.
Buff: If you watched the match or you got a tape, he said "Do you mind if I go off on you on the interview". I said "No, just remember though it's going to come back". He said "No problem". So he goes out and he had a good interview. The people were with him and I'm being for real here, when it was time for me to talk I said "You know, I would call you by your name but I've already forgotten it" and I swear to god that's the truth. I didn't know the kids name.
Jason: My problem with the situation was, if your doing a TV pilot you don't bring it to a TV station asking them to invest in it if you've got 1 of your big stars losing to a guy who they're not as familiar with.
Buff: I don't know why I got the heat, but that's why John Collins said "Bullcrap, that's not going to happen".
Jason: Well, he's thinking about the product and you have to. Now speaking of MECW again, supposedly a lot of the talent in that promotion were having problems getting paid. Did they ever have a problem sending you your paycheck or were you taken care of?
Buff: There was a little bit. Only because they've got to send the money from Vancouver and you can only send a certain amount of money over the border without getting taxed on it. That was the problem of us sometimes not getting paid. I was getting taken care of for the most part but there were some guys who wasn't and what he would do is take care of his main guys and the other guys he'd say "look man I'll get you next week because there's only so much money coming thru from my investor that's in Vancouver".
Jason: Tod Gordon who's now running the promotion recently told me that he's not planning on using you on future shows. Why is that?
Buff: Well the next time you talk to Tod, ask him why he called me up and said "Hey man, if I take this company over will you please promise me you'll come work for me". How about asking him if he said that? He begged me to come work for him if he took MECW over.
Jason: The politics of wrestling at it's best again.
Buff: Understand something. When you say the politics of wrestling, I have got and I want the people to understand, I've got no reason to lie. I mean no reason whatsoever. I'm not saying this to be cocky, I'm saying this so people will believe me. I live in a million dollar mansion paid for, I've been in this business 11 years and I've made a lot of money. I want to wrestle. I love it. So I got no reason to lie or stab you in the back for $125 dollars a night or $500 a night. I don't have to do that. So these people like Tod Gordon that probably don't have 2 pennies to rub together, he's out there dogging me when he's calling my house saying "Please buddy please will you come work for me" that's the kind of stuff that goes on that I want people to understand once again look at the big picture not the small one.
Jason: And that's the way I try to look at things when it comes to you. You know about a month and a half ago we had Goldberg on the program and we get some e-mails where people ask "Why isn't a guy like Goldberg wrestling" and when you're sitting home for 3 years making $6 or $7 million dollars as opposed to working for the next 3 years for $3 million obviously you've got to use business sense. A guy like yourself, you don't need the money, you're doing this because you love it and it just kills me when I see guys who are getting crucified for pursuing something they love and doing something they enjoy. Now on to some positives. You've got a brand new website called www.therealbuff.com where fans can interract with you. Is this going to be your new line of communication with your fans?
Buff: Absoultely. To be honest with you, I thought all this stuff would go away and it hasn't so it's time for me to get involved and be more in touch with the fans and show them the real me and that's why I started this website. I was talking to the guy that does my website and I said "You know, I just want them to know the real Buff" and I said "Wait a minute. There you go".
Jason: I've been telling you this for the past couple of months, but it's easy for the WWF or any promotion to dog you right now and any Buff Bagwell fan out there just reading what they see on the internet must be saying "Oh my god I can't believe Buff is like that. Is that really Buff?". I think the site is great because a lot of people want to know what your feelings are on all these things and the only way to do that is to voice your opinion on it and before you were basically handcuffed where you couldn't do anything but now at least these fans will get to know your side of things because there's always 2 sides to every story.
Buff: There is and you know I'm sure there's going to be fans who hear this and say I feel that he's like that but you know people just don't really understand the whole thing. Hopefully what I'm trying to show by this interview is that they'll see that there is a lot of false statements to these things. As a matter of fact, I have a list of about 50 things that I'm going to have to go study that I'm going to prove that are false, that are going to bury about 50 internet sites. From telling me I got fired, to telling me what my paychecks are, to telling me about the jag thing, it's just all these things that are going on and I'm going to show them what the real deal is.
Jason: Did you ever think you'd have to study news about yourself to defend it and prove it wrong?
Buff: No way. That's what's killing me, you know.
Jason: When you look at your wrestling career Buff, who would you say is your biggest influence and what are some achievements you're most proud of?
Buff: I would definetly say Sting and Lex are probably 2 of my biggest influences. Just because they were guys who took me under their wings and helped me out and stuff. There was a lot of guys along the way, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and you know Goldberg too. From the get go til the end though Sting was there for me and that was a real big help to me because when I came in at 20 years old of course everybody hated my guts. You know a 20 year old kid who thinks he's going to be a wrestler whoa we're going to show him. So, when Sting started liking me everybody was like "you like that kid?". When I got in the business, it was unheard of to be 20 years old and wrestling.
Jason: You got a head start.
Buff: The next youngest guy in either company when I signed with WCW was 27 years old and it was Brian Pillman. So that shows you that back then it was unheard of. It was a big deal you know but then somebody got hurt, I think it was Barry Windham, and boom I was on the road and they liked me and there it went.
Jason: You've got to be at the right spot at the right time.
Buff: Timing is everything in every business.
Jason: Would you list the work you did with Lex retiring Goldberg as one of the highlights of your career?
Buff: Not really because the business wasn't really booming at that stage. I mean to beat Goldberg is phenomenal. Goldberg is the man and that's the bottom line. He's real. To be able to do that, yes that's a highlight no doubt about it but at the same time doing it at the stage we did it when we were trying to pull the company out, I really wouldn't call it a highlight. I'd call it huge but to call it a highlight at the stage the company was at with all the turmoil and who was the boss and who was running things it's hard to call it a highlight because we were all so miserable and trying to figure this big picture out.
Jason: I'll tell you what though. During that time where there really wasn't much to watch, the work you & Lex did with the funerals were great. Those were some really good spots.
Buff: That was some really good stuff. Lex & I could do some really good stuff if they just let us but they held us back. They wouldn't let us do what we wanted to do.
Jason: A couple more things before I let you run out of here. The public often wonder what it's like backstage in the locker room. In your words, how would you describe the atmosphere?
Buff: Which locker room?
Jason: Either or.
Buff: WCW's was like, I can't even explain it. I really can't and I think that answers the question. It used to, no matter what we did, it worked. Then all of a sudden, no matter what we did. It didn't work. The morale was at the lowest. We actually had a little box probably 6 inches by 6 inches which you had to check in by. You put your social security number in and your finger print on this machine. If you were 1 minute late it was $500 dollars. The second time you were late it was $1000, the third time was $2500 and the 4th was a month's pay and if the people out there in the wrestling world know what we make a month that's a lot of money. So, you're talking about travel, planes, rent a cars, traffic, things can happen on the road anybody who's traveling knows what can happen and you're 1 minute late? That's brutal.
Jason: That sounds pretty rough.
Buff: My point is they were circling things that I don't think were problems. Buff Bagwell being late to a building was not the reason that we were suffering in ratings. Put me out in the ring and if I trip over my feet and look stupid then yeah we're suffering from ratings but if you look good and you wrestle and you can talk then me clocking in at 2pm is not the problem and they were going that route. They were going the let's beat them down route so it just really caused a bad morale.
Jason: That does sound a little tough to me.
Buff: Yeah and when you punched it in it went straight back to Atlanta. It was computerized so they knew immediately and would notify you immediately if you were late. For all the fans out there, I was only late 1 time.
Jason: So you only lost $500 dollars.
Buff: Yeah. Which is not bad at all with me and Luger together and to finish up on that you're talking about workouts, tanning, eating, travel, everything else I said and still try to check in on time.
Jason: It's good that you just mentioned workout because that was my next question. In order to get in the shape you're in what kind of training and lifting have you been doing over the years to become The Stuff as you're known?
Buff: Basically what I do man is real simple. I do a body part a day and I do a lot of cardio and I eat a really high protein diet with low carbs. Everybody tries to, once again even in the bodybuilding world or workout world, they try to look at the big picture but sometimes maybe in the bodybuilding world we need to look at the small picture and the small picture is simple. It's just train, eat right and do cardio and that's it man.
Jason: How long have you been lifting and working out?
Buff: I started when I was about 16 and I'm 31 now.
Jason: So about 15 years. One game we play each week here on the show is called Name Association. I'm going to give you a name and you give me a sentence or 1 or 2 word answer whichever is easier for you. I'll start off with Eric Bischoff.
Buff: I think he got the raw end of the deal. I think he's the only guy who actually took WCW to the top and it's sad that he was not our boss in the end.
Jason: Jim Ross.
Buff: Jim Ross I can't respond on too much because I was only around him when I was a kid back at center stage and then he went to the WWF and then I was only around him a few days up there so really from when I talked to him he seemed like a great guy.
Jason: Vince McMahon.
Buff: I think Vince is a genius. You can dog him out, you can cuss him, you can hate his guts all you want but whoever dogs him out there can dog him all they want. The bottom line is he knows his product, he knows what he's doing and he is very very good at it.
Jason: Jeff Bagwell.
Buff: I get called that name a lot. People say "Hey Jeff what's up" and I say "Well, I wish I had Jeff's contract but I don't". I think Jeff's a superstar athlete. I really haven't followed too much of baseball this year simply because of what's been going on with the wrestling thing and just trying to find out what my next move's going to be but I'm not even sure how he's doing but Jeff's a super athlete I know that.
Jason: Last but not least, MECW.
Buff: MECW I think has got a very good chance to be our next powerhouse. It's just a matter of who's going to run it. Is John Collins going to run it or is Tod going to run it. Who's going to make this thing work but the bottom line is it's got a very good chance of making it.
Jason: Now as we head into the future what avenues does Buff Bagwell plan to explore?
Buff: To be honest with you I really don't know that yet. I thought about maybe Japan. I thought about just taking 5 years off. I don't really know. I want to keep my face out there and at the same time, right now keeping your face out there might not be a good thing. I'm not really sure right now.
Jason: You've always got movie possibilities, radio possibilities, television possibilities. There's got to be something there for Buff Bagwell.
Buff: Well there is and the problem with that is I have to live in LA and I like where I live in Atlanta. I get called all the time by my agent but you can't hop on a plane to go to a reading you know. It's like "Hey hop on a plane and come out here and do a reading for us". A 4 hour flight to do a reading isn't happening so to do what they need me to do I need to live out there you know.
Jason: As we wrap up Buff you know with all the research you've been doing, you may want to pursue work as an internet reporter.
Buff: That's a negative. I got too much heat on there right now.
Jason: Well Buff I want to thank you for your honesty and your time. You know I'll be in touch with you in the near future and I wish you the best of luck.
Jason: Thanks Buff.
Buff: Thanks pal.
Jason: I'll talk to you soon.
Buff: Ok man. Bye.
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