By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Working with Ric Flair: “When I first signed with WCW for that last run I knew that I was going to be pretty busy or figured I’d be pretty busy for the three years of the contract that I took my wife on a two week Caribbean Cruise and made arrangements to hang out in Florida for a week when it was over. As luck would have it they (WCW) were in Jacksonville, Florida that Monday Night for Nitro and I decided that I would get myself there and I wanted to go and make a good showing. I’m standing there saying hello to everyone and everybody goes dead quiet and you could literally hear a pin drop and I knew that Ric Flair had just walked in right behind me.
“When I turned around, sure enough, Ric Flair is standing right behind me and Ric, who is keen on paying attention to what is going on around him, looked around and saw everyone looking at us and said, ‘Franchise, how are you sir?’ and put his hand out and we shook hands, and I said I think you and I should talk. When I got to Ric’s room he was lacing his boot and I said you and I have several things to talk about and should clear the air between us. At this time in WCW, I was certain that this angle of Ric Flair vs. The Franchise had the believability of the fans and how much the fans had known that this was a shoot between the two of us.
“If we worked together could turn the tide back in WCW’s favor and he agreed. To me, WCW deserved to get a return on their investment in both Shane Douglas and Ric Flair and to do that it would have meant that the two of us would have been willing to work together. It was way too short of a feud in 2000 when we did actually wrestle, but I think if it was done in 1999 when I re-debuted for the company it would have been magic. I believe Ric is probably the greatest pure performer our business has ever had. I believe the two of us could have had some outstanding matches and given WCW a return on that investment.
His return to WCW in 1999 and the company politics: “I certainly expected a lot of politics to be at play. Keep in mind for several years prior I had been pretty vociferous on the microphone and publicly about WCW and WWF and believed that I had burned bridges with both companies so I never contemplated there was a possibility for a job in either place when I left ECW. Dusty Rhodes had made a comment on Mike Tenay’s radio show that Shane Douglas was the ‘Ric Flair’ of his generation and I had sort of been on the outs with Dusty, so I called Dusty to thank him and we talked for several minutes and he asked if I minded him bringing my name up in a booking meeting.
“He called me up the next day and said you ought to give Eric Bischoff a call and I did and the rest came to pass. It wasn’t by any means a marriage made in heaven, nor was it a comfortable move for me. That was the only move in my career I made solely based on economics. I was so deep in red ink coming out of ECW that I had to make a good solid living just to get my nose above the water line because of ECW. People can say what they want about Eric Bischoff and I’ve heard a lot of people make negative comments about him. I will always be appreciative and thankful to Eric Bischoff for offering me the contract he did, when he did because it saved my financial life. It’s pretty hard to argue with that.”
Shawn Michaels at In Your House in 1995: “If you listen to Shawn Michaels’ comments, Shawn will tell you that Shane Douglas wasn’t very good. I’ll tell you upfront, I think Shawn Michaels was probably the most gifted worker the business has ever seen, which always dumb-founded me as to why he would resort to the type of games and politics that he did and I can’t answer that only Shawn can. I would in a heartbeat tell you that Shawn Michaels is a better in ring performer than me and I would also tell you in that next breath that I was a much better promo then Shawn was and in the business and especially in those days that was the package. So if Shane Douglas was able to have great matches with Sabu, Taz, Tommy Dreamer, Raven, Sandman, Terry Funk, Bam Bam Bigelow and Pitbull #2 but Shawn couldn’t have a great match with me then maybe you have to ask the question of why?
“Shawn goes out and tries to make the comments that I am not a very good worker, well I am not saying I’m the best worker in the world, I am far from it, but I was certainly proficient at what I did and if not I doubt I would have been around for as long as I’ve been around in the business and had achieved the things I did in ECW. In ECW, we couldn’t have an off night. An off night could have killed ECW, so if me and The Sandman had a match (and we did not get along in those days), if you put us in the ring that night, he was busting his ass to get me over and I was busting my ass to get him over.”
Other topics include current pro wrestling, the lack of depth of today’s characters, old school promos, Bam Bam Bigelow, Taz, ECW, Paul Heyman, and more.
You can listen to other shows apart of the TMPT Empire including Shane Douglas’ Triple Threat Podcast, Taking You to School with Dr. Tom Prichard, Talking Tough with Rick Bassman, Taskmaster Talks with Kevin Sullivan, Pro Wrestling 101 with Justin Credible and the University of Dutch with Dutch Mantell.