By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Mistreatment by the WWE: “And I became kind of verbal about that [his frustrations] towards the end of my run so that was another deciding factor on me — they [WWE] knew I was — they knew that I had-had my fill and they had treated my family very badly, the Deep South [Wrestling] family and dad [Jody Hamilton]. When we decided to close it, heck, all I had done was call my dad and say, ‘Hey, Jody, things aren’t working out. We’re gonna shut this thing down and move it down to Florida’ and it [would’ve] been fine, it [would’ve] been okay, but what they did is they tried to sneak in while he was at home one night because they had keys and they had a couple of trainers [that] had keys to the place and they had the trainers go down there and meet ‘em and they was moving all the equipment out that belonged to them so that when my dad would show up to work the next day, he’d show up to a half-empty arena.
“And one of the kids called him and told him about it. So he showed up and you know, pops got a license to carry and that was his warehouse so he showed up packing and they were very, very careful about what they touched because he let them know that he wouldn’t be very friendly about somebody touching his stuff, you know? So that went very badly and you can thrust me out and try and do whatever to me because I had to have a job. I had two sons I was trying to get through school and I was gonna take it for as long as I could but, when you mess with my family, that’s a line that doesn’t get crossed, you know? And once that happened, I no longer had any more respect and I looked for a way — and if they wanted to have a head-on collision, then I was ready to be the one that they had the head-to-head collision with and they knew that and I let it be known. I didn’t hide the fact. I didn’t go up there challenging people but when they tried once or twice to see how thick-skinned I was gonna be, I looked them right in the eye and showed them I was no longer that person and they went, ‘Oh, okay.’ So, and then shortly after that I got my notice, but I didn’t care at that point, you know what I mean?”
On his fight with Johnny Ace [John Laurinaitis]: “I’m sure it was Johnny Ace [who made the decision to send WWE to the Deep South warehouse] because Vince [McMahon] doesn’t know the inner — but I did say something to him one time actually too so, it could’ve been that, I don’t know. I didn’t like — I wasn’t crude but, they were busting me out about something and I told Laurinaitis right in front of him, and Vince was sitting right there. I said, ‘Look man, it really ain’t right. You’re not gonna talk to me like that’ and Vince said — it was at the Gorilla Position and he threw his hands up and said, ‘Nope, let’s take this somewhere to another place, to another room’ and I said, ‘By all means, let’s take this to another room and you come too.’ So, that was probably the end of my deal right there when I said that. Nothing [happened after that]. I was going in there to fight and they didn’t even have the meeting. Didn’t even happen. I went on home and I was waiting. It didn’t happen. I said, ‘Well let’s go to this room and meet. Come on, everybody come because I want you to see what happens.’ I was mad. I was gonna fight whoever wanted to go, and I’d probably [gotten] whooped but it didn’t matter. I would’ve fought still.”
Vince McMahon first greenlit John Cena to have more freedom on-screen: “Vince [McMahon] would come up and say — when I was up there [WWE], I’ll never forget the meeting. I was sitting there and he walks to us, ‘By the way, that young John Cena kid, he’s been given the green light so all you writers and all you agents, bear that in mind when you’re putting his stuff together.’”
How Laurinaitis was able to seamlessly transition into being one of Vince McMahon’s key employees: You never know [if WCW was being tanked intentionally]. If you look at how things went and the key players that was there, what was John Laurinaitis doing there all that time? And how did he step so smoothly from being the guy calling the shots at WCW to being Vince [McMahon’s] right hand man? Doing all of Vince’s dirty work. Yeah [he’s been at WWE for 20 years]. Any time they need people cut, who do they bring in? They bring in John. John gets a percent of all the money that he saves ‘em from cutting people and he cuts ‘em to the bone. Used to be that way [getting a percentage from cuts]. I know that was the deal Bill Watts had when he came to WCW back in the day for a very short time. But he pissed everybody off so bad. He didn’t last very long.”
The cold shoulder also came from members of the WWE production crew: “In fact, there were one or two crew people because they actually thought they could do it too. There was two different people that I said, ‘Let me tell you something, I have never, ever once treated you with disrespect, and I want you to make sure that you don’t ever, ever again treat me with disrespect or we’re gonna have a really bad problem. It’ll cost me my job and cost you probably even worse.’ You know, so, and there was two different ones I had to say that to because everybody was under the impression that it was okay to bust our — whatever — it was their God given right, it wasn’t. It was a business. It was all business. It wasn’t a personal thing.”
Other topics include his WCW run, Starrcade 1997 controversy, Sting, Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, Kevin Sullivan, and more. H/T Andrew Thompson at Post Wrestling for the Transcription
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.