-- Eddy Mansfield recently spoke with NotInHallOfFame.com about breaking into the wrestling business in the 1970s, his participation in the famous 20/20 expose on wrestling in 1985 and more. Check out the highlights:
On his main influence growing up: "I guess if there was one person it would be Terry Funk. Actually, I can't say that there was one guy that I wanted to be like in the business. The guy who broke me in was Leon Ogle in Georgia. He was part of the Georgia promotion out of Atlanta. He was a referee and he wrestled also and he promoted towns. I was kind of like a self taught guy. When I came out of playing pro baseball and my arm went out. Within six months I went into pro wrestling and I got a shooter to teach me the amateur style to protect myself in the ring. I went to learn the moves and then Leon broke me in, and said "Hey man, you're a natural!" Right after that, I moved to the Gulf Coast which was Dothan and Pensacola and I became the youngest ever Gulf Coast Heavyweight Champion, and believe it or not I was a baby face then! Now, a baby face Eddy Mansfield lasted about six months. (laughs) I really wasn't a baby face type of guy. I came into the business and got a real good push right at the beginning. I was Rookie of the Year in the NWA and I was Rookie of the Year in my second year. David Schultz used to laugh about that. First it was the Pensacola territory and left there to become Rookie of the Year in Knoxville. It was really funny, and I wondered how many years I would be a rookie! When you're a young kid and you're blessed with a little bit of talent they kind of heap things on you."
On working against Mil Mascaras early in his careeer at the Olympic Auditorium: "Mil Mascaras used to draw big there, same as Chavo (Guerrero). What I was doing was taking Moondog Mayne's spot (who had died suddenly) and he would have been wrestling Mascaras had he not been killed. That's the way I started in Los Angeles; on top! L.A. was really good to me; we had a lot of good talent there. Chavo Guerrero and Roddy Piper were still there when I arrived. With you being a Canadian, you can really be proud of him as a human being and a superstar in the wrestling business. He is one hell of a good guy. Anyway, Roddy was getting ready to leave and one time we were riding to the Olympic Auditorium one night from Santa Monica and he said me, "Eddy, I'm leaving and I want to pass the torch to you." In other words he made sure that I had his spot. I have always been very grateful and appreciative for what he did for me to this day."
On his nickname "Continental Lover": "I was with a girl, who called me that. It just hit with me, so I started calling myself that; The Continental Lover; a rich woman's lover and a poor girl's dream. 230 pounds of twisted steel and sex appeal. That was my line. I loved L.A. I loved working with Chavo Guerrero, but yes I was worked to death. If the slave trade was in style it was there. At one time I had the Russian Flu and I lost about thirty pounds because they wouldn't give me a day off and I'll never forget Leroy Brown who was just a great guy. We were coming back from Ventura one night and he had been taken me every morning to Dr. Schwartz, who was the commission doctor for Los Angeles to get a shot for it. Finally, one morning we stopped at a Safeway store he got me a blanket and wrapped me up and even turned on the heater in the car. If I hadn't been sick, the temperature would have been fine, but I was freezing. I looked over at him and he was pouring sweat. It was nice of him to do that. Dr. Schwartz called the office and told them that they needed to at least give me a day off. When Chavo was talking about Piper (working like a dog), he could easily describe Eddy Mansfield. They got every dollar out of us."
On his conflict with Ole Anderson in Atlanta: "He not only had a piece of the action, but he was the booker and put himself on top. He would put guys like me and Austin Idol, Kevin Sullivan and Mark Lewin and guys like that underneath him on the card. That old cocksucker (Ole) stacked the card. That's why he had guys like me right underneath him that would do all the work...Me and [Eddie] Gilbert were working in a town in Georgia, and of course Ole put himself in the main event, and I was underneath him. Anyway, I get there and Ole comes to me and I don't need anybody telling me how to work. He says ‘Whatever you do, just work the arm.' I said, ‘No problem.' Now, i worked the friggin' arm alright! I told Eddie Gilbert, ‘We're going to work the arm, brother. I'm going to work it on tables, on chairs, on ring posts. I'm not going to work anything else but the arm.' And that's just what I did; pillar to post all the way around. I beat him that night. Now even though Ole wanted to keep me down, he also wanted a piece of my action because I could draw money. That was one thing I was good at. I could get over; I could get a lot of heat. He put it to me that it was Jim Barnett and him (Ole) wanted to book me across the country and get twenty percent of what I got. Now I'm thinking that I was already going across the country. This was also when Wahoo went Ole and said ‘Leave this guy alone, he's mine.' That was when I was drawing all that money in San Antonio."
On Ole Anderson going to other promoters to have him blackballed after he rejected Ole's offer: "It was a teach him a lesson kind of deal. What they did, now I... (Continues on next page)