During a recent interview with The Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling podcast, Lex Luger discussed appearing on the very first WCW Nitro, his friendship with Sting and more. Here are some highlights:
Did he ever think Sting would wind up with WWE and inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame: I wasn’t sure but I was extremely happy that he did. That was probably the only thing in such a stellar, amazing career spanning almost or literally three decades that he hadn’t been involved in with them and it was the cherry on top of just an amazing career. I was thrilled that he finished his career with the WWE.
Their relationship today: He has been an amazing, loyal, faithful friend and I really can’t even put it into words. To this day our friendship is better and stronger than it’s ever been. We get to see each other every month or two in person and we stay in touch by texting mostly, we are both texters now. We have just a great friendship and relationship and are really just like brothers.
What made them click as friends: We actually didn’t “gel” right off the bat. I definitely pushed him away with my arrogance when we first met but thankfully he didn’t give up on me (laughing) and we ended up ironically close outside of the ring with our common interests such as how to train and workout. He taught me a lot coming from the body-building world because I came from football. He helped me out with my training and how to do more towards what the bodybuilders did and it was very helpful in my career and helped maintain my condition on the road. We ended up virtually spending all of our time outside of the ring together as well due to those common interests and forged that truly brotherly type friendship.
How was he able to stay “over” with the fans either as a hated heel or loved baby-face: I can’t take any of the credit for that. The fans picked and maintained guys that were the generational type of stars and no matter how brilliant the promoter’s story-lines try to predict or predicate that and lay the ground work, it is the fans that really do it. It is one of the things that I think makes professional wrestling and the business and entertainment around it what it is being global now. It is because the fans end up in the long run picking the long term generational stars. No matter how hard they want to cram a guy down their throats as a good guy or make people hate them if the fans don’t embrace that I think there are a lot of intangibles and things that we don’t even know why that is. Some guys look like they are going to be great stars and have all the tools and never do achieve that and some guys look like a nobody but there is something about him and you guys nailed with the “it” factor and they become huge stars. It is pretty cool how the fans play such a huge enormous role in that.
Shocking the wrestling world on the very first Monday Nitro: Not surprisingly and behind the scenes it was Sting that arranged all that. I was just having a casual conversation with him on the phone and mentioned that my contract had expired with the WWE but I planned on staying with the WWE and we were trying to work out a long term agreement for me to stay there. He just asked me in a casual conversation how things were going and I was about to sign a new deal with them and when he asked if my contract was coming up, I said well it is up. My contract had expired in like February or March and we were trying to work out a long-term deal and I was looking forward to that. He said, so you are on their television and you are working their house shows and you are not under contract? He said you could literally come back here (WCW) tomorrow? He was blown away. He mentioned it to Eric Bischoff and at the time Bischoff didn’t feel I was the type of guy he wanted to bring in for whatever his reason are. Sting pressed the issue and Eric ended up embracing the idea and they both came up with the idea of bringing me on as the first big surprise on a Monday show. Why not give it a shot? Eric actually low -balled what he offered me because he really didn’t want to bring me in and Sting said take the offer because your salary will go up and you will be a huge hit here again and to go for it. So really Sting was behind the scenes and arranged all that and I came out and the rest is history.
Did he hit his peak in WWE and did he feel Vince had lost interest in pushing him as a top star: Well we will never know now will we because I went back to WCW. If anybody is great at recycling or reinventing a character it is Vince McMahon so if I had re-signed with them who knows what would have happened to Lex Luger. I might have got repackaged as something totally different and maybe even become a bigger star than I ever became going back to WCW. I never lacked confidence so who knows and we will never know. I am thrilled with how it worked out going back to WCW. I feel like I had a great 15 year career and got to work main events and main event guys and there are always some periods where you are heavily involved and utilized more than others and sometimes a period or restart button can be great for a career. So who knows?
Looking back on slamming Yokozuna nearly 23 years ago in the “Bodyslam Challenge “aboard the U.S.S Intrepid: It was a magical moment. The buildup was incredible. I thought Vince was half crazy when he told me the idea of going from being a narcissist with the mirrors and Bobby Heenan to being like the big “Yankee-Doodle-Dandy” patriotic hero on July 4th on the U.S.S Intrepid. I was scratching my head but it turned out fantastic and just a very special moment. The crowd went insane when that happened and it was a very special moment for myself and for so many fans who were there and watching on television. It is definitely one of the highlights of my career.