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As part of his promotional tour for his new book “Walking a Golden Mile” Wrestling 101 was on hand as the only pure independent UK based wrestling website to get a half an hour with the man himself. The honour was given to our UK Scene leader Adam Sibley to speak to our favourite son about his book, his life and of course wrestling.
So what made you decide to write the book?
In 1996 I did an interview with WCW magazine I was actually over here at the time and I did an interview with Mark Madden and we were on the phone for two hours and at the end of it, he said you should write a book. I said I’m a bit young you know but after that my whole life fell apart and all the comebacks and up and downs illnesses and all that stuff I was asked to write one.
So I first did it three years, most of this book was done three years ago, Neil Chandler came to America and drove with me on the loop from Washington to New York and a few other places and I dictated most of it then. Then I got sick, first, they had a release date then I got sick then they had to put it off and put it off then they came back last year and got the book scheduled so it took time to bring it out. I wanted to write this, I read a few books and I wanted to write a story that’s not just a wrestling book but a life story because I like to read about people’s lives and interesting lives and I think I have had one.
How hard was it to balance writing the book alongside your wrestling schedule?
It wasn’t hard at all as like I say Neil came with me I drove and he sat there and put the tape on. I tell stories pretty well I’m told, I dictated it and Neil put it exactly as I said it. I didn’t want it to be like Kurt Angle told me when he looked through his book he said it wasn’t his book anymore. This is definitely my book it’s just me the way I talk the language I use. I’m telling stories and I‘m saying this and that but I could have never written it like that if I think of something and write it down it wouldn’t have been as flowing I don’t think. It’s not been difficult at all, not one little bit.
In the book, you are brutally honest about the way you thought about yourself and the way others felt about you during your hard times. How hard was it to put that down on paper?
It wasn’t because you know I came to a realisation the day I sorted myself out was the day I stopped making excuses for myself and it was no good sitting there feeling sorry for myself. Since we finished the book because that was a few months ago I found more stuff out. I spoke to my wife the other day, there is a thing in there and she said it wasn’t right and I honestly reported it as well as I could.
I passed out one night and I didn’t know the paramedics had come and that my heart had stopped five times, they had to restart my heart five times, I had died five times. I didn’t know that until very recently and in the book there are stories of me going out but she said I was lying on the stairs of my mother-in-law’s house and my heart just stopped and they started it and it stopped then eventually my father in law got the things off them and he got my heart going again, you know there is more stuff I didn’t know. By the way just to let you know there are no white lights or any of that nonsense absolutely nothing.
I have come to terms with it there’s nothing I can do about it when I use to be a mess all the time my wife used to say there is no point saying you’re sorry, you got to prove it, So I just spent the last six years just going and doing the right things hopefully.
Has writing the book been therapeutic at all, like putting the past to bed?
I don’t know, like I say I have just come to terms with it so whether that made any difference I don’t know. I suppose over time things will change if I read it again.
Moving on talking about the UK, how’s this trip treating you and are you enjoying your prolonged stay to promote the book?
It’s been wonderful I always say the same thing when people ask me that but every trip we come on we are always looked after first class all the way and this time has been exceptionally good. This whole last month from Wrestlemania through Australia to coming here and wrestling in Berlin last night. I wrestled in Berlin before I ever went to America and I wrestled there when WCW was at its peak and I have never ever seen it sold out, it was sold out last night!
When you come back to the UK what are things you look forward to?
I just like to come home, when I come off the plane here I feel at home. I’ve never once felt at home in America. When I get here and I come off the plane and a cold wind blows through me it’s home. I’ve been to Australia and I felt at home there too, there is just something about the place and the people are different and I feel very much at home there. As far as things I look forward to just everyday things that you would take for granted like if I want to go down the fish and chip shop I can do, sense of humour especially I just don’t get the American sense of humour.
Dan asks if Greg Dyke hadn’t taken British Wrestling off ITV would it still be as popular as it was back in its glory days today?
A lot of people will tell you yes but I would say no because it takes stars to make TV and at the time it had finished there wasn’t any and me included I certainly wasn’t, my stint on TV was awful I was still young (eighteen) when I first was on TV and I wasn’t ready for that type of thing. People can knock Big Daddy all they want but he was a legitimate superstar with 17 million people watching him and if you watch the tapes it was so rotten how anyone brought in to it I will never know but he was a star. The guys like Mark Rocco and Marty Jones were coming up to forty so there were a few good guys around but star quality is a different thing. Promoters I don’t know if they would have been able to handle it and once you have seen WWE and seen the big production I don’t think they would have been able to keep up with it whether the wrestling quality was good or not, unless you had something captivating to keep your audience. Wrestling coming off TV never affected me in the slightest because my stint on there was short and brief and it didn’t make any difference to me whatsoever. Actually when wrestling came off TV was when my career took off as I started going to Germany and South Africa I made a lot of money like that you know.
Do you keep in touch with any of the old British guys?
I keep in touch with Robbie Brookside all the time as well as Mal Sanders and a friend of mine Peter in Blackpool I keep in touch with a lot of people from Blackpool. I went to the wrestlers’ reunion two years ago around this time it was nice to see everyone. I get the odd call off people and I call the odd person and I keep in touch with Marty Jones. So that’s three people I keep in touch with constantly and then the rest in and out you know.
The WWE tried some venues they haven’t used recently in the UK this time around on the tour like Hull but would you like to see them do Blackpool?
Having seen them do Hull Ice arena the other day if they are going to do a venue like that they could do the Ice Arena in Blackpool. I know it sounds silly but I don’t know if I’d want them to, I only get nervous when people I know are in the crowd. Blackpool is the one place I can go now, I never get carried away with all this because you’re only famous to people who watch wrestling. In Blackpool I know a lot of people so I can go into normal places and do normal things, say hello to people but everywhere else when I go out I have to put on a professional front on when I go out just in case someone sees me.
Niall Curran asks do you have any plans to come back and live in the UK when your career is over?
I have no idea, I don’t even think about what I’m going to do tomorrow. I have had so many ups and downs these last few years I have planned things and things have happened. I saved chunks of money then got sick and that all went on medical bills. I don’t even worry about it; I will end up where I end up, probably selling newspapers outside of the Opera House in Blackpool. My children have grown up in America two of them were born in Blackpool but they were five and two when they went away and my youngest was born there so it would be difficult for them to come and fit in they are so Americanised with American accents. I shocked myself a few weeks ago I was reading a book and a read over the word vase and I read it as vace.
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