WWE Hall of Famer Tony Atlas recently spoke to Sportskeeda about a multitude of topics including an altercation with CM Punk, the death of Bruiser Brody, being one half of the first African-American team to win the Tag Team Championships, and more. Below are some highlights:
Tony Atlas on a past confrontation with CM Punk:
“It was all over the internet. I was in developmental and CM Punk, and I almost got into it. Later I had to apologize to Punk when I went back in 2008. He was trying to tell me the world I knew in wrestling was no longer in existence.
“I got in a big fight with Punk. I told him to shut his mouth. Come to the ring, and I’ll kick his [explictive], the whole kit-en-ca-bootle. Punk didn’t understand what I was talking about. He said, ‘Tony, it’s not the same.’ I told him, ‘The problem is you young kids don’t want to learn from us old people.’
“Punk said back, ‘I want to learn from you. Harley Race trained me. I’ve trained in old school wrestling, but it doesn’t work today. People don’t want to see old school wrestling anymore.’ When I went to the back with Mark Henry, I saw what Punk was talking about. I walked up to him and apologized to him. I’m a man about that. If I’m wrong, I’ll admit it. He (CM Punk) was right; I was wrong.”
Tony Atlas on winning the WWE Tag Team Championship with Rocky Johnson:
If you didn’t watch the tape, I think I cried. I never figured that anyone would put a worlds belt on two black athletes because it’d only been twice in wrestling during that time. Vince put the tag belts on Rocky and me, and WCW put the World Title on Ron Simmons.
Do you know what else is good about it? Tony Atlas was the first African American world champion (tag team). Rocky was the first African-Canadian world champion (tag team), he’s Canadian. Isn’t that something? Who knows who else is Canadian and I didn’t know? Abdullah The Butcher, he was always billed from Sudan. We’d all say, ‘Yeah, Sudan Montreal, or Sudan, Quebec, and Sudan, Nova Scotia.’
Tony Atlas on the tragic death of Bruiser Brody:
“I took Brody to the hospital, and I stayed with him. The Doctor told me he was stable, and he was going to be okay. The next morning I found out Brody was not going to be okay and he had passed away. I was told that two security people came in about two minutes after I left and said, ‘Stop working on the wrestler.’
“In my opinion, they didn’t finish the job in the dressing room. They went to the hospital and finished the job in the hospital. That’s just my opinion because I had left the hospital. I went to the police station and gave a statement. They said they would contact me about the trial.
“I was sitting in a dressing room one day, and they’re saying, ‘It’s a shame he got off.’ I said, ‘Who got off?’ They said, ‘Jose.’ I said, ‘How? They didn’t even have a trial yet.’ So they told me, ‘Yeah Tony, they had the trial yesterday.’ I said, ‘Nobody ever contacted me.’ So, I called Dutch Mantel, and he said, ‘No, I haven’t gotten a subpoena or anything.’ So, about a week later, Dutch called me back and said, ‘I just got the subpoena.’ It was like two weeks after the trial. That’s why Jose’s walking because the two people that could have told the real story was not even invited to the trial.”
To read the full interview, click here.