CY’s Archives – CYInterview Celebrity Interviews, Entertainment, Sports and a Bunch of Cool Stuff. Mon, 11 Dec 2017 08:17:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 RIP Bobby “The Brain” Heenan: Pro Wrestling Loses Another of Its Greats; CY Goes to the Archives for this 2002 Conversation with “The Brain” Sat, 23 Sep 2017 18:18:07 +0000 Continue reading "RIP Bobby “The Brain” Heenan: Pro Wrestling Loses Another of Its Greats; CY Goes to the Archives for this 2002 Conversation with “The Brain”" ]]> It was 2002 and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan had just been featured on the WWE Confidential TV program about his battle with throat cancer. After the airing of the segment, I spoke with Bobby by phone, a few days later, about the cancer treatment he underwent, as well as other topics. It would be the second of probably 10 so times that I would have the good fortune of speaking with him over the last 15 years.

Earlier this week, it was reported that complications stemming from throat cancer led to Mr. Heenan’s passing. He was 73 years old.

Bobby was the type of person that if you called him and had an audience, he would be happy to make time. Whether that audience was 100 people or one million, he was always a man willing to give of himself. He loved the pro wrestling business and he loved talking about it.

In 2002, just after WWE’s purchase of its competition, the WCW, Heenan was candid about the downfall of professional wrestling and how reality TV and other things were negatively impacting ratings. Additionally, he spoke out about his dislike for the product WWE was putting out at the time.

The coversation you will hear took place just before the release of his 2002 book Bobby The Brain: Wrestling’s Bad Boy Tells All. There were stories about “Mean Gene” Okerlund, Gorilla Monsoon, Andre the Giant and his thoughts at the time again on why the WWE was going in the wrong direction.

Few people in the wrestling business were nicer than Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and many others will miss him and his wit. He was a man who no doubt was one of the best managers in the business’s history.

You can listen to the entire CYInterview below:

Listen to the entire Bobby Heenan CYInterview:

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RIP Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka: Original, Aerial Acrobat of Professional Wrestling Passes at 73; Listen to Chris Yandek’s Rare, 2003 Interview with the Legend Mon, 16 Jan 2017 03:46:49 +0000 Today, it was reported that pro wrestling legend Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka had passed away. He was 73 years old. The former WWE Superstar and territorial wrestler is arguably most known for his leap off the cage onto Don Muraco at Madison Square Garden, in their famous cage match back in October 1983.

Mr. Snuka also wrestled for World Class Championship Wrestling, Mid Atlantic Wrestling and ECW. In his later years, he made appearances on the independent wrestling scene and at a variety of fan conventions. In 1996 he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. In 2003, I spoke with him before he did an independent wrestling show.

You can listen to that interview or read the entire transcript below:

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Chris Yandek: Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, how are you doing today man?

Jimmy Snuka: “Aloha brother.”

CY: How you doing man?

JS: “Everything is lovely. Thank you very much.”

CY: What have you been up to of late and do you think possibly, maybe retirement is in your near future?

JS: “Brother excuse me, but I don’t know what that word means. Maybe someday brother, someday, but not right now at the moment.”

CY: You are gonna be working for SSCW tomorrow night taking on Rob Eckos for the SSCW World Heavyweight championship. What are your thoughts on this Friday night’s contest?

JS: “Brother, there’s only one thing I am looking forward to, is to meet the beautiful children, the families, the wonderful fans, and all the greatest people in the world because there will be a lot of excitement there tomorrow. So I am looking forward to it.”

CY: How much do you enjoy doing these independent wrestling shows?

JS: “Brother, nobody can take that away from me. I love it so much. That’s why I love them brother.”

CY: What are your thoughts on the wrestling business today overall and how it’s changed from the days of the 80s, when you were with the World Wrestling Entertainment?

JS: “There are a lot of changes, a lot of changes brother. Things are going on today, a lot different than, you know, the way we used to do it. This is a new generation and everything, but, you know, everything goes step by step.”

CY: What are you thoughts on how the WWE Confidential piece went down with a look at your career and any possible future involvement with the WWE maybe?

JS: “It’s really up to Vince brother. It’s really up to Vince. If he wants the Superfly to fly, he’s always ready.”

CY: You had the chance to work for World Class Championship Wrestling. What were your experiences like for you there and what are your thoughts on the Von Erich family tragedies?

JS: “Brother, I guess I was there close to the 80s and I had a wonderful time with the family and everything. You know, I loved the father and the mother and of course all the kids were alive then at the time. You know, it was pretty hard for them.”

CY: When you moved to the Mid Atlantic Territory, you put on some great matches with Ricky Steamboat and had the chance to work with Ric Flair. What was it like to work with these guys 20 years ago and what were their work rates like back then?

JS: “Brother, it’s hard to describe these kind of guys. I mean, you know, they’re generals, you know. And generals will make sure that everything will work out right. People come in there and you know, get rid of their frustrations and go home happy and you know, that’s what it’s all about.”

CY: When you moved to WWE, your monumental leap off the cage at Madison Square Garden against Don Muraco still has fans talking about it today. What are your thoughts looking back on that most historic moment in World Wrestling Entertainment history?

JS: “Brother, I love the people very much, you know. Something like that in Madison Square Garden brother is the Big Apple of them all. That’s the only place you can cut loose.”

CY: In another famous memory Roddy Piper slammed a coconut on your head on a Piper’s Pit segment.

JS: “Now you’re really giving me goose bumps.”

CY: What are your thoughts on that honestly? You really don’t have to comment on that, but it’s probably not one of your greatest highlights. But people still remember it.

JS: “Well, you know what? That’s probably one of the greatest Piper’s Pit that ever happened.”

CY: During your second run with World Wrestling Entertainment, your match with The Undertaker at WrestleMania 7, you were regarded as a teacher. How did that make you feel?

JS: “Brother, I love it. I love it. I’m not a glory man, but I’m a business man.”

CY: Why don’t you think you ever worked a program with Hulk Hogan?

JS: “I don’t really know brother. To be very honest with you, there was a time that it was supposed to happen and I guess things didn’t even work out. I don’t know why, but that’s the way it goes brother.”

CY: When you moved to ECW you were the federation’s first champion. How influential do you think you were laying down the ground for guys like Rob Van Dam, The Sandman, and Shane Douglas?

JS: “Business is a wonderful thing when you look at it right. When it’s done right and everything is lovely brother, you know, there’s no negative about it, everything has to be business. Yeah”

CY: Sure. Absolutely. There were all sorts of strange stories about your behavior on the wrestling road. What’s the weirdest story that you have heard someone say about you and how does it make you feel to hear something like that?

JS: “I don’t really know brother. It is probably just jealousy.”

CY: Final thoughts on your future in the wrestling business at this point? What are your final thoughts for this interview?

JS: “I love it. I enjoy it. I love the people. I love the fans. I love what this business is doing for everybody.”

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Good Bye to the Greatest! From the Archives: Classy Freddie Blassie, George Foreman and Boxing Historian Bert Sugar Talk to CYInterview about Muhammad Ali – RIP Muhammad! Mon, 06 Jun 2016 00:00:47 +0000 We at CYInterview extend our condolences to the family and friends of boxing legend Muhammad Ali. The renowed pugilist passed away earlier this week at the age of 74. Considered to be one of the greatest athletes and personalities of the 20th century, Ali’s fights with Joe Fraizer, Ken Norton, Sonny Liston and past CYInterview guest George Foreman, among others, are some of the most fabled bouts in boxing history. Beyond sports, Mr. Ali impacted the world in many ways with his words, political activism and involvement in social causes. He was, and will continue to be, an inspiration to many.

Though many people are aware of Ali’s great fights in the boxing ring, he also had an experience in the world of pro wrestling. On June 26, 1976, which will be 40 years ago this month, Muhammad Ali got in the ring with the face of New Japan Pro Wrestling, Antonio Inoki. In Ali’s corner was Angelo Dundee and the late pro wrestler and manager, the Fashion Plate of Professional Wrestling, Classy Freddie Blassie. Keep in mind, the Ali vs. Inoki match took place long before the rise of MMA. The late Freddie Blassie is pictured above.

A month before his passing in 2003 at the age of 85, Freddie Blassie told me a story about that famous boxer vs. wrestler match:

“Muhammad Ali was one of the nicest gentleman I ever had the pleasure to meet. He never disputed anything I told him. When he went over to wrestle, fight Antonio Inoki, Inoki kept staying on the mat all the time and kept kicking, and they’d come back in after the end of the round, and Muhammad Ali would tell Angelo Dundee, who was his manager that, ‘I am gonna go out and get on the mat with him.’ And I told him, I said, ‘Don’t you dare do that. It will be the biggest mistake of your life. What he’ll do is break your leg and he’ll break your arm because a boxer has no chance whatsoever with a wrestler.’ Whenever you have a mixed match with wrestler versus boxer, boxer versus wrestler, you can always bet your bottom dollar that the boxer’s going to lose.”

You can read and listen to that entire CYInterview with Classy Freddie Blassie here.

For fellow boxing legend, world champion George Foreman, even though Muhammad Ali would defeat him in the Rumble in the Jungle in Zaire in 1974 for the world title, Foreman had nothing but good things to say about his fellow pugilist in our 2007 conversation. He wished that Ali would overcome his battle with Parkinson’s disease:

“What a great human being. It makes you so inspired to really get out there. I know with science and research we are going to find a cure for that disease. Hopefully it will happen in Muhammad Ali’s lifetime because if there is anyone who deserves a second chance to get their physical health back it’s Muhammad Ali. I am hoping doctors and scientists will find a way. I found my peace of mind when I found God. When I met up with Jesus Christ, I found true love existed in the living God. That knowledge of Jesus Christ changed my life. I didn’t have any time to hate anyone. Life was too short. Only time I had in this life was to love people.”

You can read or listen to our entire CYInterview with George Foreman here.

Finally, when Ali’s greatest opponent, heavyweight champion, Joe Fraizer passed away in 2012 it was the now late boxing historian Bert Sugar who explained to CYInterview the Ali-Fraizer dynamic. It was Muhammad Ali and Joe Fraizer who would have arguably the greatest trilogy of fights in boxing history:

“Joe Frazier has always been thought of a hyphenate, part and parcel, Muhammad Ali. You would always say Ali-Frazier. You’d never say Frazier-Ali even after Frazier won their first fight in 71. Ali was the headline. That said, with poor Joe’s death on Tuesday, Joe Frazier stood alone without that hyphenate, without that Ali attachment and became just Joe Frazier, one of the greatest champions of all time, big enough in his own right and he threw a left to gain front page coverage in the NY Times on a stand alone one without Ali basis as one of the ten greatest heavyweights of all time, my rating”

You can read and listen to that entire CYInterview with Bert Sugar here.

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A Rowdy RIP to Roddy Piper: Wrestling Great to Ring in Sky; CYInterview Looks Back at 2003 Chat Sun, 02 Aug 2015 21:00:21 +0000 “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, one of the great professional wrestlers to make his name back in the 1980s, a golden age of wrestling, if there ever was one, has died. I was fortunate to speak with him, at length, on two different occasions. Below is the second of our conversations.

After making a return to the WWE at WrestleMania 19, Roddy parted ways with the company in 2003. After his release, I spoke with him in-depth about the state of the WWE at the time, being featured in the HBO Real Sports segment about pro wrestlers and drug usage and a variety of other topics. In 2005, he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.

You can read some of the highlights and listen to the entire segment below:

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Many pro wrestling fans and historians will point out that Roddy Piper is one of the most accomplished wrestlers never to win the WWE Championship. On why he never got the belt, he said this:

“I didn’t need one man. Only people who can’t draw money need belts. … That was one of my packages. I don’t know how many belts I’ve had. You know, obviously that’s kind of a little bit of a hypocritical statement from the point of whatever many championships one has had. However, when it comes down to actuality, I packaged myself in such a way that I just need to get on TV. And the only thing that I do need is a great opponent, but I don’t need no belt to get over and they all knew that. It would be a waste of a belt. Give it to somebody who needs it.”

Reflecting on his life and career, Roddy told us this back in 2003:

“You know, I got lots of kids. I am a big kid guy. I’m a big kid fan. I understand troubles and woes. … At my stage in my career, I’m going to do entertainment in various ways. … I’ve been a very lucky man and I think I just owe the world a lot and I want to pay them back.”

Special thanks to Tara Carraro and Annie Kruger at the WWE for this photo of Roddy Piper.

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R.I.P “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes; Goodbye to a Pro Wrestling Original; From the Archives, Our Conversation from 2003 Fri, 12 Jun 2015 02:00:45 +0000 CYInterview is saddened to hear of the passing of pro wrestling legend, The American Dream, Dusty Rhodes. He was 69. Today, World Wrestling Entertainment public relations representative Tara Carraro sent me a release on the passing of Mr. Rhodes. You can read it below:

“WWE is deeply saddened that Virgil Runnels, aka “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes — WWE Hall of Famer, three-time NWA Champion and one of the most captivating and charismatic figures in sports entertainment history — passed away today at the age of 69.

Runnels became a hero to fans around the world thanks to his work ethic, his impassioned interviews and his indomitable spirit. Moreover, Runnels was a dedicated father to WWE Superstars Goldust (Dustin Runnels) and Stardust (Cody Runnels), a caring husband and a creative visionary who helped shape the landscape of WWE long after his in-ring career had ended.

WWE extends its sincerest condolences to Runnels’ family, friends and colleagues.”

There are only a handful of people who ever experienced what Mr. Rhodes had in the world of professional wrestling: from being a former NWA World Heavyweight Champion to working in WWE, WCW, ECW, TNA Wrestling, Championship Wrestling from Florida, as well as having toured the rest of the wrestling territories, Japan and the entire world. Beyond his career in the ring, Dusty worked outside the ring in creative (the creative side of the business,) as a booker and a broadcast announcer, among other things. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007.

I was fortunate to speak with Dusty two times, but one of the two conversations was truly special. Back on November 28, 2003, I welcomed Dusty to my then weekly wrestling program for a 40 minute conversation. What made the conversation great was a handful of fans who had the opportunity, on the program, to speak with the American Dream.

At the end of the conversation, Mr. Rhodes said it was the fans that made his American dream come true:

“It’s an honor to be able to perform, but what you guys need to understand is, and I say this a lot and they say it’s corny, but it is not corny, that the reason that I have whatever I have today, my children have went to school and college and all this stuff, if it hadn’t been for you all, there would not be no American Dream and that’s in any walk of life and if you ever forget where you come from, it’s just, it’s no good.”

Rest in Peace Dusty Rhodes. It was an honor to hear you talk so passionately about the world of professional wrestling and hearing your insights on a profession you were part of for more than 40 years. You can listen to the entire 40 minute conversation below or read the highlights of what was discussed:

Listen to the entire Dusty Rhodes conversation:

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Highlights from the Dusty Rhodes chat include:

A discussion of the glory days of the territorial pro wrestling scene

Reflecting on what it meant to have the NWA Board of Directors, with Sam Muchnick at the head, decide if you would be world champion

Thoughts on his sons Dustin and Cody Rhodes

Working for the McMahons

Thoughts on Hulk Hogan, Magnum TA, Terry Funk, Tully Blanchard, Eddie Graham and others

The state of wrestling at that time

Being a broadcast announcer for World Championship Wrestling

Why he turned down being a bad guy, even when offered more money

His independent wrestling company Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling

What it takes to make a wrestling promotion successful

WWE buying purchasing WCW and why WCW ended

What he would say to the younger guys when he toured the independent wrestling scene, when they wanted advice on success

And finally, what the wrestling fans meant to him

Goodbye Champ! You will be missed!

Photo credit: WWE

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Honoring Australians: Revisiting The Great Geoffrey Rush Wed, 01 Apr 2015 05:01:37 +0000 Having just done a CYInterview with a resident of the Land Down Under, we got to thinking about what illustrious personalities we have had the pleasure of speaking with from Australia. Immediately, one name came to mind, the incomparable Geoffrey Rush. So without Further Adieu, here is one from the archives, a CYInterview with Academy Award/Emmy Award/Tony Award Winning Actor, Geoffrey Rush.

You can read the original write up and listen to the entire CYInterview below:

With an acting career spanning decades, acting triple crown winner Geoffrey Rush is not slowing down when it comes to entertaining and enlightening us. Most will recall his role in the 2010 Academy Award winning movie The King’s Speech. He played a speech therapist, in service to King George VI, played by Colin Firth. After that role, the Oscar, Tony and Emmy award winner met the King’s daughter, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, last year.

Through his performances and accolades, Mr. Rush continues to spread awareness about the Australian acting and film industry. His good works have not gone unnoticed. In fact, the multi-award winner was named 2012 Australian of the Year.

Playing a variety of roles, from a pianist in his 1996 Academy Award win for Shine to being in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Geoffrey Rush is most certainly an actor for all seasons – a true pro.

In our CYInterview, Geoffrey speaks about some of his acting experiences, experiences all aspiring actors and dream seekers can learn from. Among topics we discuss are whether we will likely see him sing and win a Grammy, what it was like to meet the Queen and, of course, his new movie The Eye of the Storm, slated for wide release, in America, on September 21st.

You can read the highlights and listen to the complete 20 minute CYInterview below, with the great Geoffrey Rush:

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The Eye of the Storm is a movie based in Geoffrey Rush’s native Australia. In it, he plays an actor whose career is on a downward slide, while he deals with a mother near the end of her life. His mother, played by actress Charlotte Rampling, is not very supportive of her son’s career. In contrast, in real life, Geoffrey says his mother greatly supported his acting goals. He talks about that and the character, Basil, he plays in the film:

“As I became an actor in my early 20s, it was a little unheard of at that stage in Australia. We were relatively on a global level a bit of a cultural wasteland to a certain degree. So the idea of actually going into a profession as an actor seemed highly unlikely but circumstances allowed that to happen and my mother was very supportive of that…I had an interesting conversation with my mother one day when she revealed to me that she was always in her youth, she always hoped that she could’ve been, and she might’ve been influenced by American movies, I don’t know.

She said, ‘I would have loved to been a dancer in a troupe in a variety show and be in the company of all those kinds of people.’ Which I thought was quite interesting because I have very, very fond memories of my mother from my childhood. She was a great jiver you know and from when I was seven or eight, I can remember her always rolling up the rug and hitting the floor with her various dance partners and having a great sense of rhythm and I hope I’ve inherited a few of those genes… Basil is trying to assess where did his adult life go horribly, horribly wrong, which is why I think he makes the journey back to the country in the course of the film to his childhood home to see where things might’ve gone off the rails.”

With the setting for The Eye of the Storm based in Australia, Geoffrey says it means a lot to have a project filmed in his homeland:

“It means a lot. I mean I’ve tried to interweave, you know I started, my first major sort of Australian film roles happened in the mid 1990s when I was in my mid 40s. I’d spent most of my time, you know 25 years in the theater before that. So to suddenly find myself in a position where you know a reasonably good number of roles and quite diverse roles occurred and I’ve been trying to interweave them in and around international offers, it’s always that much more fascinating to go back and play out within the nuances of the psyche of your own landscape, your own country, your own place.”

As someone who did not achieve film success until his 40s, the now multiple award winning actor faced challenging circumstances but never gave up. To aspiring actors and others chasing a dream, Mr. Rush gives a fascinating answer to those wanting to achieve their goals:

“I’ve probably noticed just more recently, I’ve been doing more theater again for the last three or four or five years so, and particularly within Australia and some of those productions have made forays into New York. We came here with Exit The King to Broadway a couple of years ago and last year to the Brooklyn Academy and that was very exciting. So I’m now in a position where you know even on a film set, I look around and think, wow, I’m sort of pretty much the oldest guy here now; you know what I mean. It sort of sneaks up on you very quickly.

But I find it very stimulating and intriguing to be working with people in their teens, their early 20s, into their 30s to sort of see it’s a different context you know. I mean even not just the political/social differences that exist now, that the technological differences are huge in terms of means of communication and stuff. So I do get asked a lot by younger people you know what advice can you give and you know, there is no easy desk calendar aphorism, but I always say you know, remember for me if this means anything for you, being an actor is putting yourself into a state of imaginative play. It’s not about red carpets. It’s not about career movements. It’s not about celebrity you know and all of the trappings that tend to clutter up what the job description fundamentally asks of you.

You have to get to know your own imaginative parameters and develop your skills and what you can express vocally and physically. There’s, you know, a craft involved. At the same time I suppose I distill that down to, you know, follow instincts. Somewhere in the back of your mind there’s always gonna be a very strong instinct that helps you make decisive moments in the creation of your work or in the maneuverings of your career. There’s always gonna be moments where you’ll hit crossroads and have to make a decision is it the right fork or the left fork and be on high alert to sometimes take risk, sometimes find assurance, sometimes strengthen and develop something that’s already there. There’s a lot that needs to be processed.”

In 2010, his role as a speech therapist and friend to King George VI in The King’s Speech earned Geoffrey another Oscar nomination, this time for Best Supporting Actor. Last year, he had a chance to meet the daughter of King George VI, Her majesty Queen Elizabeth II. He looks back on that experience:

“That was an interesting experience because at that time I was in preparation to play Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Ernest. Not that I was gonna end up playing Lady Bracknell as the queen, but by coincidence I was sat at luncheon next to her majesty’s chief lady in waiting, who was a hoot. She was a great luncheon companion and you know as an actor, I like being in those unusual circumstances. It’s not every day you get to be invited to government house and all of their attendant formalities of that to be able to observe how that echelon of society works. So I was able to you know have a very rare and enjoyable experience and kind of in the back of my mind keep my antenna on high alert to see whether there was some little glimpses of truthful behavior that came from that particular class of society.”

By coincidence, in his 1996 Oscar acceptance speech for Shine, he talked about the dream dinner party and those unusual circumstances. He reflects back on what his Academy Award means over 15 years later:

“It becomes an adjective that becomes, in the media, attached to your name, but I don’t think it should ever be the key part of your calling card, I mean in brokering a new project or whatever discussions as random as they might be with other creative people who might be suggesting an upcoming project or a daring step to say, ‘Hey. Wouldn’t it be great to have a look at doing this?’ As is what happened with Fred Schepisi in Eye of The Storm. He said, ‘Look, I think I got the finance together. You should really take a good close look at Sir Basil Hunter and I think Judy Davis is on board.’ They’re the key processes I think.”

There are only a few people to have won the four major entertainment awards: Oscar, Emmy, Tony and Grammy. One of those individuals is past CYInterview subject Whoopi Goldberg [see here]. Currently, Geoffrey owns three of the four. He does not have a Grammy and he has no future plans to try to complete the award foursome. However, some of Mr. Rush’s fans would love for him to take a go at singing.

“I couldn’t even tell you, I think there’s only a handful of people, I know Sir John Gielgud is involved in that and he probably got a Grammy because he probably recorded, he did a Shakespeare compilation show many, many decades ago for Ages of Man…But I don’t think you can set that up as a career path. You know, I, it’s unlikely that I would ever get into a recording studio as a singer, but in terms of spoken word, I don’t know, it would have be a particularly stimulating project. I’m not actively pursuing it to kind of fulfill that crazy idea of a challenge.”

As the 2012 Australian of the Year, Geoffrey is only the third actor to receive that honor. He contextualizes what it means to him:

“I suppose if I really put into context, it’s been an accolade in Australia that’s happened since 1960 and more often than not I suppose it’s awarded to someone that’s already prominent to some degree in public life. But in that 52 year history, there have only ever been two actors from film or theater. The first being Sir Robert Helpmann who was not only a notable internationally recognized ballet star, but also Shakespearean actor and probably known to a younger generation as the child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

And the second was Paul Hogan back in the mid 80s. So in terms of let’s say how artistic endeavor or the arts industry or artistic life in Australia, it’s generally not regarded as the highest goal to strive for. You know even though we have an extraordinary history of great performers and internationally recognized people etc, etc. It’s been good for our industry to raise the credibility and visibility by having an artist given that particular award. So I sort of accepted gratefully in that respect.”

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Archived Gold: Chris Yandek’s Interview with “Macho Man” Randy Savage on Death, The Pro Wrestling Lifestyle, Miss Elizabeth and much more Fri, 20 May 2011 22:30:57 +0000 Continue reading "Archived Gold: Chris Yandek’s Interview with “Macho Man” Randy Savage on Death, The Pro Wrestling Lifestyle, Miss Elizabeth and much more" ]]> For followers of professional wrestling and even pop culture, Randall Poffo aka “Macho Man” Randy Savage was one of the most recognizable superstars of the pro wrestling business. Sadly, Mr. Savage died in a car crash today. He was only 58 years old. I had the privilege, on two different occasions in the early 2000s, to talk with Randy about a variety of things. He was always one of my favorite people to speak with from the pro wrestling industry.

In October of 2003, the “Macho Man” was a guest on the weekly, wrestling radio program I was doing at the time. He was in the middle of a rap album promotion tour. Randy was also working on his ongoing challenge to Hulk Hogan, to get a super-match booked anywhere, any place, any time. Through the 26 minute interview, Savage shared much about his new music passion, but later in the interview we got into a deep discussion about death. We spoke of his many colleagues who had died since their time in professional wrestling.

During the interview, the also now deceased wrestler Brian Adams joined the call. Adams died in 2007. He was 44 and was Randy’s bodyguard at the time. I recommend that all wrestling fans, pop culture junkies and everyone else take the time to listen to this interview and the words of Randy Savage.

As big as Randy’s star was in wrestling and entertainment, The “Macho Man” treated me very well in our interviews. We even went on to correspond afterward. Randy Savage was pure class. RIP.

Listen to the entire “Macho Man” Randy Savage interview:

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Looking back at our final interview, it now seems eerie that I asked him how tough it was to see so many of his professional wrestling colleagues pass away. For a moment, Mr. Savage reflected on life, death and the passing of his colleagues:

“It’s really, really, really sad because these are our friends. It’s a brotherhood. There’s always time out to pay tribute to a friend. That’s just the way we are…It’s a reality check. Everything is a reality check. Every second that goes by is a precious moment in time and we gotta take one day at a time. It’s just one of those things that we just keep reminding ourselves.”

At the time of our interview in 2003, Mr. Perfect, Curt Henning and his ex-wife, arguably the most classy and pretty woman in wrestling, Miss Elizabeth had both just died. I asked Randy, in a follow-up question, if he felt like the lifestyle that a professional wrestling talent led was the cause for many of his colleagues dying young.

No doubt, in the coming days, people will draw their own conclusions and have opinions on that issue. Who knows, Mr. Savage dying in a car crash might’ve, in some way, been impacted by a style of life that accompanies many in the professional wrestling business. At the time, Randy didn’t think the lifestyle had anything to do with his colleagues passing:

“Not at all. I think that’s just randomly, situations happen. If you put baseball under a microscope or any endeavor under a microscope, you’re gonna have people that, tragedies that happen sooner rather than later and anything whether it be any endeavor. You know what I mean? It’s just one of those things. These are isolated cases.”

Many will remember Savage’s glory years with the WWF – now the WWE – and the now defunct WCW. At his side for most of that run was the lovely Miss Elizabeth, who at the time was his wife. This interview was conducted shortly after her passing and Randy recalls how he got the news and that they both had closure before she passed:

“We ran together. We were together for about ten years. I feel very, very sorry for her and her family. It was a tragic loss. My friend Steve Kern called me up and that’s a good friend. He actually told me about Elizabeth and Curt Henning at two different times. That’s what a friend does is tells you good and bad news. It very bad news on that. It was a sad situation and I know about it just about as much as you do about it. I feel real about it. We had closure. We had separation, but at the same time, we buried the hatchet, we moved on with our lives and I saw her about five years before and that was the last time I saw her and we both said hello to each other. It was all good that way, but I really feel sorry for her family.”

Expanding out into the mainstream entertainment world, the “Macho Man” had a role as Bone Saw McGraw in the first Spider-Man movie alongside Tobey Maguire. Savage reflected on the movie and the role:

“It was one of those things where it wasn’t handed to me on a silver platter. I had to come out about three times and try out for it because it was definitely gonna be huge cause of the Spider-man following. So I definitely wanted the part. I went and tried out three different times and I really don’t know who I was going against. I guess it was some of the WWF wrestlers, but whatever, some reason director Sam Raimi gave me the ball and I ran with it. I really had a lot of fun. Spiderman was real tough. Spiderman whipped the Macho Man.”

Finally, most people remember the iconic WrestleMania 3 match between Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat and Randy Savage, for what is now the WWE Intercontinental Championship. Some call it one of the greatest matches of all time. Everywhere Ricky and Randy went in their lives after that performance, fans, journalists and just about everyone else always asked about it. Savage confides that match gave him the most excitement of his entire career.

“The Pontiac Silverdome, WrestleMania 3 was the biggest rush I ever got with those 93,000 plus people…Nothing compares to that. That was incredible.”

For those who never had the opportunity to speak with Randy Savage or meet him, he was a great person to talk with. You were always excited and interested in what he had to say. Both myself and CYInterview offer its condolences to the Poffo family at this difficult time.

You can email Chris Yandek at

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Edgy!!!: WWE Champion Edge Announces Retirement – Here’s His 2004 CYInterview Mon, 18 Apr 2011 00:00:04 +0000 Continue reading "Edgy!!!: WWE Champion Edge Announces Retirement – Here’s His 2004 CYInterview" ]]> With the recent announcement by just-retired, WWE Champion Edge that he was relinquishing the belt do to injuries – a diagnosis of cervical spinal stenosis is reported to have been made – we look back on CYInterview’s 2004 conversation with the Canadian professional wrestler.

I spoke with Edge six and a half years ago about the release of his then new memoir, Adam Copeland on Edge. The WWE wrestler talked about his belief that he would go from small independent wrestling to the WWE big time.

Edge also tells great stories about Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart and Vince McMahon. You can read or listen to the entire interview, going back in time to see the only thing the recently retired champion wanted to do was be a pro wrestler.

How does Edge feel about retiring from his dream? Perhaps, in the coming months CYInterview will catch up with him and find out. For now, this interview is compelling.

Listen to the entire interview with Edge from 2004:

Browse while you listen – Click here

Chris Yandek: The first thing I can say from reading the your book is that you had a lot of family support and your mom, who was a single mom that raised you pretty much was behind everything that you wanted to do in the world of professional wrestling. I don’t think as far as entertainment dreams go, not all families are usually supportive of your dreams the way your mom was of yours.

Edge: “Yeah. It’s definitely one of those. I think like you first said, any form of entertainment or even sports sounds like a little bit of a pipe dream. I think when I was eight years old and stumbled upon wrestling for the first time and said, ‘That’s what I’m going to do.’ I am sure it was kind like ok, great, that’s awesome. When I was 17, and beginning my training, and in my last year of high school and actually beginning to do this, she was always just my number one fan and totally supportive even through the thick and the thin and the days of making no money and there were a lot of those. Through all those times, she was always really supportive, never once doubted me, saw the compassion and the passion for the business and that I was never gonna stop until I did get to where I wanted to get to. So she never doubted that. If she had of, that would’ve been a big stumbling block for me.”

CY: The fact that you ended up in the world of professional wrestling was because you won a competition in a wrestling publication of sorts to get a free wrestling training or wrestling school education that was valued at about $3000. Of course Joe E Legend and a few others were there. I guess through the whole book as you look at it’s like, bad things happen, but then good comes out in the end I guess you could say and this was one of the first points I guess when you finally got into the world of professional wrestling.

ED: “Definitely. I think everybody’s life is like that. I don’t think everything is completely smooth as that’s part of life. There’s always going to be stumbling blocks or valleys, but it’s how you walk out of the valleys with your head held high as soon you get out of it. That’s what I choose to do. So any stumbling blocks, try and pull the positives. For instance, with a broken neck and a year off, I wrote a book. I’ll always try to do something productive and positive if there’s negative happening. That’s all you can do. So when it came to the wrestling training, it was a total blessing in disguise…That was definitely the first kind of huge, huge happening when it comes to the point of my career. Without that, it definitely would have delayed me getting started that much longer until I could get the $3000 up while I was still in high school. Probably wouldn’t have happened, it would’ve been after I got out of school and started working. It definitely sped that process up.”

CY: I think one of the most amazing stories is just the fact that what you did with these horrible condition wrestling independent shows, the fact that you drove over a frozen lake for an hour. I just can’t, some of these amazing stories and under degree weather in Canada going from these small independent shows on a tour and going over a frozen lake. It’s just an amazing story and showed how dedicated you were to the wrestling business and this really is the story of starting from the bottom and going from the top.

ED: “Yeah. With where I started there was no place to go but up. So in that respect, it was a good way to start. I look back at it fondly. Would I do some of the things now that I did back then? I wouldn’t drive over a frozen lake now. You couldn’t pay me enough. At that point it was fun. That’s what we needed to do to get to where we are along with Rhyno and Christian and the Joe Legends and the Swingers. That’s just what we did. Depending on who I am talking to, Canadians can kind of understand that story. Ok, frozen lake, yeah I’ve heard of those. Almost 100 percent of people have never heard of driving across a frozen week. You drove over a lake and fell through and everything it sounds unbelievable and it probably should be, but it definitely happened.”

CY: Is it amazing to you just the fact that you, Christian, Rhyno, Joe E Legend all at one time and point in WWE, but you seem to work with Rhyno and Christian of course. It’s just kind of amazing how you both not brothers, but the fact you both grew up and ended up as a tag team and you ended up as one of the greatest tag teams in WWE in this last decade. It’s just kind of an amazing hindsight is 20/20 kind of story.

ED: “It really is when I look back at it. I guess I haven’t thought about it too much like that, but if you look at the facts and you look at two guys who met in grade six. The book goes through all of it… I started wrestling about two years before he did, then we went everywhere together wrestling wise. We started teaming basically as soon as Christian was done, his training. It was just a natural fit because we had already had been doing it pretty much as long as we can remember in his side yard. Once we actually got in the wrestling ring and we found ourselves wrestling guys like Rick Martel and Bad News Brown and all these veterans, it didn’t surprise me that at that point that we were gonna get to the WWE. I know we were going to get there.

I would’ve liked to have thought we would win the tag team titles, but then doubt started to creep in because they kept trying to break us up. So when we actually did it in Anaheim at WrestleMania 16 it was pretty damn cool I have to admit… Pretty astronomical I guess if you look at the odds. Rhyno who we met almost ten years ago now to be there with us and doing our thing now. Then at WrestleMania 17 with him being such an important part of the TLC match, it’s amazing that three best friends can be doing our thing. I wish the [Johnny] Swingers and Joe Legend’s were with us too, but everybody takes a different path and this is just where the three of us ended up.”

CY: You were very calm about approaching Vince McMahon. You really seem to come away from this book that if you’re a lower card talent, I know you’re kind of worried about your spot, but you don’t want the boss to feel you’re insecure. But you really approached Vince with no problem.

ED: “Initially I didn’t. When I started to feel like I was earning my stripes, that’s when I thought, ok I am gonna go talk to this guy. I want him to know I am here rather than just this wrestler put on TV. I want him to know the person. I want him to know that I do have some thoughts. I do have some ideas. Whether they’re all good or not, who knows, but I am never gonna know what he thinks unless I go to him. That’s one thing I’ve found. He wants people to go to him. He wants to hear feedback.

He wants to hear what you think, what ideas you have. He is a busy guy so he might not always have time, but eventually he will make time for you. I think he respects that when guys do go to him. He does have a presence and it’s intimidating and a lot of guys are. Once you break down that barrier and realize he just wants you to perform and be able to produce for the show. Once you get past that it’s pretty easy to go and talk to the guy. He is a good guy.”

CY: I was surprised a little on the influence Bret Hart had on you getting into the WWE.

ED: “A lot of people just assume that I showed up in 1998 and I was a rookie. There was a lot of work to get to the point where I got there, which I think the book opens up and lets people know. Part of that whole process was meeting Bret Hart, who has always been a really huge influence on my career. Bret, Shawn Michaels, and Hulk Hogan would be the three guys that definitely touched me the most when it came to influencing my style and getting me into the industry.

A lot of people don’t realize that it was Bret who initially you know kind of opened the door for me. All he could guarantee me was ok, come up to his house, which I did when he had knee surgery and he was impressed… So he talked to Jim Ross and from theat brought me down to Stanford, Connecticut. At that point it was up to me. Either I was gonna kick the door open myself or it was going to be shut in my face if I wasn’t good enough. Thankfully they said, ‘Alright, here is your contract.’ Eight and a half years later here we are.”

CY: Of course you looked up to Hulk Hogan, did you ever imagine in your mind that you would be tag team champions with him even if it was a short lived run for the most part? I guess that must’ve been a childhood dream, fantasy worthwhile, unexpected dream come true.

ED: “Oh without a doubt. It was definitely something that I never thought would happen. When I was a kid of course dreams would happen, but I never thought that him and I would be peers at the same time in the same company, doing the same thing at the same level where an Edge and Hulk Hogan tag team could happen. Never thought it would happen, never. When it did it was one of those total goose bumps, huge cheesy smile on my face, but everything you saw was completely legitimate. That was the way I felt. The way I looked is the way I felt. It definitely goes down as one of the milestone moments in my career. Especially when you read the book and how much he had an influence on me.”

CY: The ratings aren’t the 7.0s they once were. In your opinion in this downward spiral WWE is in, what do you think it needs to take to get that big boom back up to where it once was?

ED: “Well, I have always said wrestling is a cyclical business. I was one of those fans that was always there through out it. I originally caught on with the whole Hulk Hogan rock and wrestling connection. When it teetered out and guys like Bret [Hart] and Shawn [Michaels] had to carry the load and popularity was down, I was still there. I have seen it go through its ups and downs. When I first in the wrestling industry when I was 17, wrestling wasn’t popular, but I still wanted to do it… I got lucky that when I started with the WWE, it exploded, Steve Austin, The Rock, things like that. I think it will take number one, for the cycle to run it’s course. That’s just always what it does.”

CY: Finally, your book isn’t the most revealing gossip book that a Ric Flair book is, but I guess you could say for the most part two things. I guess this is, if you really want to be a professional wrestler and you’re going through tough times, I guess your book would be the best one to read and the fact of what you went through to get to where you wanted to go.

ED: ” People have said before there is not much controversy. I say to those people, well, I am not going to make up controversy just to have it in a book. I am not going to make up issues. I am not going to start my own angles in a book. I am happy with what I do. I have never been unlucky like Ric has with Eric Bischoff. I’ve never had that. What I am is a guy who always wanted to do this, struggle through a lot of stuff to get to what he wanted to do. When he got there, still had to struggle to get to the point where I’m still not at, which is world champion. So in that respect, it’s a book you’ll have fun reading and aspiring wrestlers can look at and say ‘Ok, cool. It can be done.’ But it’s definitely not one full of controversy because I don’t have a lot of backstage problems or anything like that. I’m doing what I love to do so I’m not going to complain about it. I’ll let you know how happy I am doing it.”

You can find more information and purchase a copy of Adam Copeland on Edge Clicking Here

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From the CY Archive: A 2001 Interview with Former WWE Women’s Champion, Superstar & Diva Trish Stratus Fri, 17 Dec 2010 04:58:52 +0000 Continue reading "From the CY Archive: A 2001 Interview with Former WWE Women’s Champion, Superstar & Diva Trish Stratus" ]]> In this installment of From the CY Archive, Chris Yandek brings you his November 2001 interview with WWE Superstar and former women’s champion Trish Stratus. Trish was the hottest female in the world of professional wrestling at the time of this interview. She was known as the WWE’s top diva and a Canadian Bombshell. The interview was covered and played on various wrestling radio programs. Here is that conversation from nine years ago.

Listen to the Trish Stratus interview:

Browse while you listen – Click here

Chris Yandek: What was it like coming off an ankle injury, and then coming back wrestling on every program, as well as competing for the WWF Women’s Championship at Survivor series and winning it, and becoming the new women’s champion?

Trish Stratus: “A pleasant surprise. Well, actually my osteopath, when I was coming back from rehabilitation, he said to me knowing you and your strength when you bounce back you’re gonna be stronger then when you left, and I kinda think he was right. Obviously, the very first match I had back was a tag match with Lita, and I was a little nervous that day when I found out I had the match, and I was thinking, “Come on this is your first time back lets give it a whirl”, and you know I kinda just had to trust them that I would be ok. I left with a bang, and just before I got injured, I had a lot of matches or a couple matches anyway, and I was feeling that thing with that progress to come in and just really feeling good about being in the ring.

So when I left I felt man I did not want to lose the momentum, so I was really happy to pick up where I left off. So when I went out for that tag match everything went well, and I felt no tweaks, nothing because I was being bumped and bruised but my ankle is fine though. It has made me really aware of my strengthening and conditioning behind my training and really has made me make an effort for my cooling down after the match, and that is a preventive thing, and every time I go out there it has really been good ever since.”

CY: What broadcasting and commentary experience have you picked up hosting WWE Excess with Jonathon Coachman?

TS: “Well, I have learned gosh the first time I did it, I did not realize but you know I will just go out there and talk, but it is not quite like that. I have learned so much, and Coach has been really good at kind of realizing my personality has to come out, and that is what you guys want for me. It is not necessarily that you need me to be an announcer on that show. You need to think what my role there is to deliver the information and sell the product, but they really want my personality to do it. The first couple of shows, you know I believe I did a good job of pitching the product, but it was really flat and you’re thinking Trish is missing from this, and that is why I think I was chosen to do this show, that I have a quirky little kind of personality, which you know they want to see on the show over time. It also was getting use to a new format, program, and obviously I have never done this before.

Once my comfort level kinda got there I just sort of threw my personality in there, and by doing that it is a lot more fun, and I walk away saying oh ok that feels better. If I can make it feel more conversational and realizing by still pitching the product, and delivering more information, but yet doing more of a conversational tone with my own personality in there really makes it a good thing, and I really have learned so much. It was a great opportunity, and it really came at a time when I was not on TV. So I still got a chance to be on TV every week, and I could talk about my injuries and by the way I am not on because of my injury. It really has been good because it gives me a different side cause I watch the product very differently as well, cause you have to deliver the product a different way, so it really has been an enlightening experience.”

CY: What do you think of the turn right now with the WWF with Ric Flair coming in, and Jerry Lawler back as an announcer?

“TS: I am super, super, super excited, I think you know we have to stick with the basics. We know how to do a show, we know how to have attitude in our show, and these last few shows have really brought back a lot of attitude, as well as the people we are bringing in really have a lot of attitude that is perfect for our show. I think Lawler felt like he did not miss a beat, and I think he adds so much to the show. I think he really is terrific for business, so he needs to really be there, and he really makes a difference in the show. As a fan listening to the show with Jerry on commentary we really see the show differently, and see things differently cause he sends it to us in a certain way that only the king can, and I am very excited to have him back on board. Ric Flair is classic.

When I was watching, I was completely a mark and a big fan, and I was like oh my god and if I react like that I can only imagine how the fans did. This past week on Axxess we showed WrestleMania 8 which was Flair against Savage, and just going back and remembering that charisma, and what he brings with his presence to the ring which was totally evident on Monday, and you’re like, “Man what a pro” when you saw him out there. He really fits in perfectly, and it is gonna be so great especially the reaction between him and Vince is gonna be so great, and I am gonna be so excited to see it. It is also very exciting to have those two people that are gonna lay down a new way of programming, and so they’re both good foundations to go upwards and onwards with.”

CY: Excited about WrestleMania being in Toronto, Canada this year?

TS: “No. I am just kidding that is the obvious question I am always getting. I am really excited cause it is in my hometown, but also cause it gives a chance for friends and family to come see the show itself, and me perform. I am also very excited of late of having the championship. It really gives me motivation, and I really want to be in that picture for the championship match at WrestleMania, and I can’t think of a better place and time to hold that belt up, in front of a hometown crowd would be a wonderful thing. So that is even a more exciting thing to me. It is very exciting to be in the run, but not only that, also for WrestleMania, which I have never been in the picture around that time for the championship, which is the biggest event of the year. I also know to play possibly a big role is very exciting.”

CY: Tell me about your trip with WWF Divas in Hedonism, and making the video, as well as the magazine.

TS: “Amazing! We have done three of them so far, and it just really gets better every time. We have really gotten to the point where we have gotten familiar with each other. The models, rather the divas, we all know each other, we all know the photographers really well, we know the make up artists really well. So, we all have worked with them, and know each other so we are at that level where we are comfortable and familiar with each other, and everyone knows each other’s styles. You know that feeling when you go to something new, it’s like ok lets see how it goes. It is literally a huge team effort; it takes so many little elements to come together, the TV crews, the cameras, make-up people, and the lighting guys.

Everything has to come together for it to be good; we all know each other so well. We can tweak everything for us to make everything better, and it was just so much fun literally, but don’t get me wrong, it was a lot of work. It was like you get up at four in the morning, and when the sun goes down finally you’re done, but don’t forget there is TV stuff now. It is a really long day, and we got to knock this thing sweet, and get up while it is still beautiful. It was a lot of fun especially when you see the finished product, and what we are capable of doing, and I know this year is going to be even better and a lot more hotter. We have more sponsors this year with bikinis and bathing suits. That is one thing when you have a girl in a bikini there is now a lot more personality, and all of the divas being a little more established now so our pictures can be great with more personality. It will be even more great this time around.”

CY: Did you have a good experience with Anne Robinson, and all the other WWF Superstars on the Weakest Link?

TS: “Yeah, I am a huge game show and board game freak. I play board games all the time, and when I heard I was on I was so excited, reading trivial pursuit cards to get ready for it, and being totally psyched about it. It is also really neat to think that wow I am on a show that is mainstream, and NBC’s audience, I am sure is different from our audience and any additional audience watching us as well. So, it was really exciting that it was just great and a blast cause we were all there out of character somewhat, believe me there was a lot of character in that show.

So, we were a little out of character and we can bug each other, and we don’t get that chance to interact as characters from the show to see people who interact who normally might not. Anne Robinson is a real great person in herself as a character. I said to her you know you got to come on our show, girl, as she would be a great character on our show. I met her afterwards, and she was great and she dropped her little gimmick there and I took a picture with her, and was so much a fan of hers as well. She really does a great job out there portraying her character as much as we do out there, so it was kinda neat to see. I think she was amused by us as to what a bunch of characters these guys are, so it was a great experience. I really enjoyed it.”

CY: What do you think the role of a WWF Diva is in wrestling?

TS: “I think we have to portray a number of roles. I think we need to go out there, and of course be divas, and be beautiful, and provide that element of T&A to a certain degree. We are also put into a position where we become role models for girls and women. So we have to be aware of that as well. I think nowadays being more active in the ring makes us set more of an example, as far as being sports entertainers, and we do our thing as well in the ring, and we do it good as well, as not just being once in a while. We really are showing you we can do our stuff so much that you can believe it now, and you realize what we do. I mean it really is tough to go out there, and you know fight but in the next scene we are looking beautiful and sexy.

So, it can be a tough thing, and it is a tough balance for us to achieve, but I think we and the company really do a good job, that knowing that there are younger girls out there looking up to us as role models and older women. You name their age, and you know they are looking at us like that, so I think our role is to go out there, and portray strong women who are dominant females, and just going out there and getting the job done and going out and getting it. At least that is what I try to do, to show that you can be strong, and believe in what you want to and go for whatever goal you want to go for, and you’re gonna get it. That is what we try to portray out there so hopefully that comes across.”

CY: What was your feeling when many new faces started showing up from WCW and ECW? What was your feeling that there was a big roster, and more competition for TV time?

TS: “I did not think of it really as competition for TV time. I thought what we have here is very…very…very talented people you know. Not only have they proven themselves in other companies, but also they are already established in what they do, so it’s not like ok lets give Joe a try here let’s see if he can handle this. They know what it is like to be on TV, they know what it is like to be on the road, so there really is no trial period here which is great so we have built in ready to go characters.

So, for me I looked at it as exciting opportunities, to see talent from that show interact with talent from our show, which we have really never seen before because we have really never had the opportunity to see that. It was really a great opportunity to see like, you know see so much talent on the show that we brought to this show, and interjecting them into our own style into our own storylines. I think we did a great job of that, and it was just exciting to know that there were new characters out there used to doing their thing, and doing it well. It was just a matter of fitting them into the WWF show and programming and exciting for them to come into the show.”

CY: What was it like working with the McMahons in a storyline and working with them daily with your character and everything else?

TS: “It was wonderful. I learned so much; I think I really contribute today. As far as experience wise, I feel like I have been doing this for five years. It is just because I just learned so much. I was on like a fast track with them you know to learn first hand. I am doing pre tapes with Vince McMahon, I am watching the way he is doing it. I am watching Stephanie cutting a promo out there, and I am responding to her. Working in the ring, I was able to work with some of the top talent by being in that storyline, so it was literally the people at the top and the people in charge like the McMahons, are where they are because they are just that damn good, and I am working side by side with them. There is no other opportunity I can think of that would give me that first hand experience like that, so I learned so much and quickened my learning. So I thank god for the experience, and it was the best experience I could ever have.”

CY: What advice or what can you tell to those girls who look up to you and want to be women wrestlers?

TS: “Well, my advice is it really is pretty funny. It’s not like a certain set way of doing it, and becoming a wrestler. If you ever ask a diva, there is a different story from each of us and how we got here. So all I can say is, you know it is sort of a principal I learned from school is just preparedness meets opportunity, and what you need to do is any opportunity that comes up you need to be prepared for it, and take full advantage of it. So I mean, study your craft very well. Even when I was going to medical school, I did the working in the hospital on the weekends, I did the studying, I did the extracurricular reading I needed to do. So everything I did led up to one package I could present to medical school that they would accept.

So in this scenario it is the same thing you know. I started training on my own you know. I walked the walk and talked the talk. I thought about a character, not just being a girl out there. I wanted to be character out there, so I thought about different ways. You need to study each element of the craft, or of the industry itself, and realize you really need to be good each one of them. So break it down, and same basic principal, take little baby steps to achieve your goals. So you need to take each step, and conquer each step, and get to the next bigger one and just study your craft really well of course. I want to say if anyone does want to do that you must be able to go to wrestling school, and have all that as your background as well. I really can’t give an a to b pass for anyone, but to achieve your goals you need to try really hard, and give it 110 percent.”

CY: Final comments?

TS: “Well, just as being the new WWF Women’s Champion I just wanted to continue to deliver action and continue to deliver Stratusfaction.”

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Remembering Luna Vachon: Last of Pro-wrestling’s Legit Female Performers Mon, 11 Oct 2010 23:01:28 +0000 Continue reading "Remembering Luna Vachon: Last of Pro-wrestling’s Legit Female Performers" ]]> This past summer, the world of professional wrestling suffered its latest casualty. On August 27th, one of the business’s last legit, female performers, Luna Vachon, passed away. She was only 48 years old. Vachon is the latest of dozens of professional wrestlers, under 50 years of age, who have passed away in the last 15 years.

Past causes of death for these performers have included overdoses, heart failure, freak accidents and suicide. Recreational and prescription drugs have frequently been linked, in one way or another, with the cause of death. Police reports obtained by the media after Vachon’s death stated that multiple prescription drug bottles and a box Oxycodone were found in her home. Reports also stated that according to her mother, Luna had numerous wrestling injuries and she often appeared medicated.

Ms. Vachon’s ashes were scattered in North Carolina at the home of the late, legendary wrestler, Andre The Giant. The seven-foot plus big man was Luna’s godfather.

Luna represented a rare part of the professional wrestling industry that seems to belong to the past. The majority of today’s female wrestlers look like models out of the Victoria Secret catalogue. That and they don’t have access to the education Vachon had growing up in an old school wrestling family.

At WrestleMania 14 , one of Luna’s biggest responsibilities was to make WWE’s blonde bombshell, former Playboy Centerfold Sable (Rena Mero) look like a credible female wrestler during their inter-gender tag team match. She was told that if Sable had at the most a scrape, she would be fired from the company. The match went off quite well and Vachon did her job to perfection.

People might wonder why anyone would want to be involved in an industry that has seen so many of its participants die before reaching 50. However, Luna found her purpose in a business that takes such a physical toll on the body.

When I spoke with Luna Vachon on my wrestling radio program back in 2003, you could tell professional wrestling was all she wanted to do in life. She was also very candid in stating how she felt misused and underappreciated during her time with the WWE. Her contributions to professional wrestling won’t soon be forgotten.

Sadly, another person full of life and passion is gone too soon from an industry devoid of sufficient measures to prevent more wrestling stars from dying so young. At least that’s how I see it. RIP Luna Vachon. You are not forgotten.

Listen to the Luna Vachon interview:

Browse while you listen – Click here

Below is a partial transcript of the interview with Ms. Vachon:

Chris Yandek: First off how are you?

Luna Vachon: “Thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure to be on this network and joining you today. All things are good.”

CY: When you were [growing up], when your father was in the wrestling business, did you ever see any of the older women performers and what did you think of them?

LV: “First of all, my aunt Vivian Vachon was one of the greatest women wrestlers of all time. She had this unbelievable ability to wrestle more like a man than a woman. She was, anybody that’s not familiar with her can go to any Blockbuster and rent a movie called Wrestling Queen, which is about my aunt and my family and the era of the early 1970s, which were the women in the wrestling then. It was a great time in wrestling. That’s why I wanted to be a wrestler. From the time I was three years old I had told my parents I was gonna to be in the wrestling business and they tried to discourage me because it’s so hard on woman’s bodies.

It takes a lot more toll than it does on men’s bodies because we are made to reproduce. So they tried to discourage me. That’s why when I broke into wrestling I didn’t in the very beginning use the name Vachon because my family actually wasn’t talking to me. I did on many opportunities get the chance to see women’s wrestling because my aunt was 11 years older then me and she was my idol.”

CY: What did you learn from just being around your father [Paul Butcher Vachon] when he was a professional wrestler? What did you learn about the business?

LV: “There’s so many things I wish I could remember all the things I’ve learned I’ve forgotten. What I learned, one thing was when were in the Gange’s territory is that I learned you don’t buy a house. You don’t buy a house in the neighborhood that you’re working in because in our business that meant that the promoters were going to pay you less when you bought a home in their territory. I went to 16 schools by the 8th grade because we were constantly on the road…. There are only two types of promoters, bad and worse. I know that…. You grow up defending the business and fighting for the business and standing behind your father and family and protecting our profession. It was a totally different era. It wasn’t in the entertainment era so much at that time.”

CY: You’ve had a lot of intergender tag team matches, but the one that stands out in my mind is the one you had at WrestleMania 14 when you teamed with Goldust against Mark Mero and Sable. What are you thoughts on probably the atmosphere because that was really a huge night for yourself as you had to make Sable look good and that’s kind of hard I guess?

LV: “It was one of the most awesome nights of my entire life. How nice of you to remember and boy you know your way around the wrestling world. Sable has this preconception that she didn’t have to learn how to take bumps. So she didn’t know to protect herself in the ring, and it made it for an interesting match…. If there ever was anytime when a match that I was involved in to be called choreographed, it would have to be that match with Sable. Her not wanting even to learn how to take bumps and me getting the warning that if you scratch or bruise her you’re gonna lose your job.

This is WrestleMania. This is our Super Bowl. For about six weeks out we kind of had to do it step by step, so that she would learn what was gonna happen during this match and where I wouldn’t bump her during the match…. I think the days of old, a Mildred Burke or Moolah under those kind of conditions would have just broken her arm right away because you’re being asked to do something that this isn’t the ballet. This is wrestling and for a woman not knowing how to protect herself, how to distribute her weight properly, and take bumps, you’re asking a whole lot of their opponent to make them look good or for her to try to make me look good.”

CY: After that match was over, I think Owen Hart came and put his arm around you and said you did one hell of a job if I’m not mistaken?

LV: “Yes, it was Owen Hart. It was really cool because I walked though what’s considered the gorilla position and not even said a thank you or a second look, and you are kinda not sure under these conditions whether you have done an ok job or not. Nobody said anything. Nobody pulled me aside and Owen pulled me behind the big makeup box we call Barney and he said, ‘Thank you. You did great.’”

CY: What do you remember most about your days in the Florida wrestling territory?

LV: “I remember being scared to death. It’s amazing the magic you feel when you are going into an arena or something like that. I started out actually by giving an award to Kendall Windam for rookie of the year and Kevin Sullivan came and gave me a big slap. When we got back to the dressing room all the boys were looking at me like wow. I said, ‘Is that the best you can do?’ And it bought me a job. Most of them didn’t know I was a Vachon as I’ve said before. I remember that probably best.”

CY: Why don’t you think WWE ever gave you the women’s championship itself?

LV: “I don’t think that I fit quite into the mold that they wanted as a spokesperson. It is unfortunate for Vince McMahon that he didn’t see that because that’s what I desired the most in the whole world and most of my life. I just don’t think I conformed to. I really like the fans. The fans are the people that buy the tickets and I think that we have to do something to please them. Let me give you an example. One night the TV hotels when you check in, the fans, there’s people that know that the whole WWF or WWE is going to be checking in for this particular hotel for the evening let’s say. The fans would be waiting in the lobby and I can remember one particular evening when I was checking in and all the little kids and stuff, it’s real late at night after we had done a television taping. I can remember hearing somebody say, ‘She’s gonna be a bitch too.’

Just like Sable and Chyna were as they had checked in I presumed they meant. I spent about three hours in the lobby signing autographs after that because I felt like if the other two women that were part of this promotion had, had hard day days then it was my job to pick up the slack and make the women of our company look good like we care about the fans and signed some autographs. I just felt like that was important to do. It doesn’t seem like at that time the WWF wasn’t interested in their fans. I just constantly had the outside of buildings signing autographs or doing what I can do.”

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