Kevin Sullivan joined Busted Open with Dave Lagreca and Doug Mortman. You can hear Busted Open from 2-4 ET on Sirius 94, XM 208, and Sportszone 860 on the Internet. Here are the highlights….
On WrestleReunion: “Sal put together an excellent event. I mean, this is just as exciting for us as it is for the fans. And the nice thing is I’m teaming back up with Rick Steiner with J.J. [Dillon] in our corner against the New Age Outlaws. And Nikita Koloff is gonna be the referee (and the first time ever that Nikita refereed, he threw me out), so I have something to pick with him. But the New Age Outlaws, don’t be surprised if James comes over to my side; I actually started him, gave him his first match when he was in the Marines. I said, “Kid, you got your tights?” He was a second-generation wrestler; the whole family knows how to work, so I couldn’t have gone wrong there. I’m looking forward to it, looking forward to all my fans that I used to have, ones that I still have, we’re gonna have a great time, and I think it will be a spectacular, spectacular weekend. I can’t wait to see you guys there too!”
On The Varsity Club: “They were three of the best workers, and they never got their due working, especially [Mike] Rotunda. And Rick, he was just an amazing athlete along with Dr. Death. And I believe, at this time… timing is so crucial to this business. If this was five years earlier, they would have been on top and everybody would still be talking about them. But this is when the business started to go towards entertainment because of Vince [McMahon]. And these guys really didn’t fit that role because their work was so solid. And this is at the time when [Jim] Crockett had to be trying to catch Vince, but also following his act and try to get the entertainment into it. I think these guys were so solid, and gave such hard matches that the people said Oh, those could be real. And that’s what, at the time, the promotion really wasn’t geared to do. They were looking for the extravaganza, the hype. The thing is about the Varsity Club that no one ever has brought up (that I know of): I was managing three guys with leather jackets on and singlets, and here’s a guy with a black robe, and it’s demonic.”
On Start and Downfall of WCW: “What really kicked it off…when [Hulk] Hogan turned heel. I had to go to him and have him sleep at my house that night, and I came for the mattress later on ‘cause I didn’t want anybody to talk him out of it. (A lot of people were trying to talk him out of it.) Because there was a specific incident when we got to Chicago a couple of weeks prior to him turning. He was wearing black. They started booing him outta the building; they were sick of “say your prayers and take your vitamins” routine. And [Mean] Gene Okerlund picked up on it and said, “There’s a solid mood here in Chicago, you can hear the people.” It was like he was covering for Hogan. And I went to him and I said, “Hey, it’s time to switch,” and everyone said no no no. That kicked it off because the NWO had come—we were rollin’. And then the Goldberg thing. No one else mentioned this and I don’t think anybody remembers this. I didn’t know who Goldberg was. And somebody said he was a football player, so we did this angle on TV where he stole Mongo McMichael’s championship ring from ’85. Well, the first match, I had Mongo beat him on Nitro, and then I saw what I had and I said Oh boy, did I make a mistake! So I pulled him off of television for eight to ten weeks, and then we built the Goldberg character. And people were coming to the matches three and four hours ahead of time chanting “Goldberg!” Hogan put him over in the middle of the ring for the bell, and we were having million-dollar gates on a live show on Mondays! What killed the WCW is when AOL bought it. They wanted to get in the mix, and that was the stock and the downfall, and it became just…it was like Atlantis—it started to crumble and it crumbled quick. Brad Siegel, he had an alternative motive in my head because he sold those tapes to Vince, thirty years of tapes, for two million dollars. From what I gather, the attorney they dealt with was a college classmate, so I think it was seclusion in there. I mean, the Florida tapes went for a million dollars, and this is a library—so extensive—Turner Library. Something didn’t seem right. I think they just wanted to go high-brow AOL. They didn’t like wrestling even thought it was the mainstay of the networks.”
On Violence and MMA: “I think what’s hurting [wrestling] tremendously, in my view, is MMA. And I don’t wanna despairingly mock people or anything, but I don’t think every one of them can be legit. When I say “every one of them can’t be legit”, my family’s been boxing for two hundred years…what they used to do in boxing is if they wanted to push somebody—we’ll say they were gonna push me—they would get kids in the gym that just started and say that he’s 12-and-2, and I would beat the shit out of him and get a win. Then they’d bring a guy like [Rocky Marciano] in to give me a guy that had a name, and I’d be shootin’ and he’d be workin’. And I’m not gonna say that that’s what they do all the time in there, but it’s violent as hell. I don’t hear any interviews before the matches for fifteen minutes; it’s violent as hell! Suppose the Superbowl started and [Tom] Brady and [Eli] Manning talked for fifteen minutes, you think the ratings woulda went down? What I’m getting at is there’s gotta be some substance to this. It has become so fluff! The alternative product is MMA, which, when am I gonna go see? If I wanna get some frustrations out, I’m gonna go see MMA. “