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WRITTEN PODCAST RECAP: Colt Cabana’s “The Art Of Wrestling” w/Alex Porteau on who were the WWF’s biggest ribbers, why he was given the nickname “Pug,” time in GWF (#349)

The Art of Wrestling with Colt Cabana (#349)

Release Date: May 4th 2017

Guest: Alex ‘Pug’ Pourteau

Recap by: Josh Coulson

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Newsworthy items

    • Colt has been doing a lot of announcing as opposed to wrestling this past week.
    • According to Alex, Undertaker and Bradshaw were the ‘ribbers’ of the locker room back in 1996/97.
    • Pourteau believes that after how good he was for them as an in-ring performer, WWE then decided to bring in Kurt Angle.
    • Alex went to a World Class show with a TV and VCR so he could show Akbar a tape of him wrestling and it wound up getting him a job.
    • Alex wrestled for World Class, Memphis Wrestling, GWF, and in Japan and Puerto Rico before making it to WWE.
    • He impressed the office at WWE following an impromptu match with Goldust after his original opponent got injured.
    • Pourteau now runs a wrestling school/promotion called Pro Wrestling 2.0.

Subjects covered (with timestamps)

0:00 – Sponsor/ad
0:36 – Intro to show
7:05 – Song of the week
8:22 – Interview begins
19:59 – Breaking in and training
28:18 – Wrestling on TV in different territories
41:18 – GWF and Japan
47:17 – Wrestling for WWE
58:08 – Close of show

Show Highlights/Rundown

Colt opens the show revealing once again that he is recording live in his studio…apartment. Quickly covers where you can find the show as well as getting in a few plugs.

Colt then reveals somewhat cryptically what he has been up to, spending some time in a booth in downtown Chicago screaming at the top of his lungs for over two hours.

He then announces who his guest will be for the show, Alex Pourteau, and that he’s very excited about this one. He recalls Alex debuting in WWE at a low level and that he can relate to the time he had there. He reveals that they’ll discuss similarities between their careers and their equally short stays in WWE.

As always, Colt describes what he’s been up to for most of the previous week. Rather than wrestling this week, Colt has been announcing for Ring of Honor. Says that he feels weird going to a show and not wrestling and also bad for fans coming there to see him, but lets them know he’ll stick around at the announce desk for anyone wanting to come meet him.

He did do a little wrestling this past week, however. Colt discusses how he wrestled in the second match and that’s how he likes it as the crowd is not yet tired out from a four-hour show.

Colt then introduces the Song of the Week, “Big John Studd” by The Tone Deaf Pig-Dogs.

Alex Pourteau interview

Going to WWE and career similarities

Colt begins the interview by telling Alex that it’s been ten years since they last saw each other, during which time they roomed together. Despite living in the area, Pourteau stayed in a hotel. That’s when he and Colt got to know each other.

Cabana describes Alex as a veteran of wrestling who had been on television and wasn’t sure how he would treat younger guys. Pourteau then goes on to talk about how people come across a little bit different after getting a bit of the limelight and then quickly adds that he didn’t see much of it.

Cabana talks to Alex about how older guys in the business can either treat younger wrestlers poorly or on the flip side, take those new to the business under their wing. Alex adds to that saying he was brought up to respect people and that you see the same people on the way up the ladder as on the way down so be careful how you treat people. He cites The Undertaker as being one of the coolest guys he spent time with while in WWE, first meeting him in 1987 when Undertaker was still Mark Calloway.

Pourteau then tells Colt that he was with WWE in 1996/97 and that while he was there Undertaker and Bradshaw were the ribbers of the locker room, to which Colt responds with Alex being lucky he was on Undertaker’s good side.

They then go on to discuss Bradshaw and when Alex met him. The two met when they were in Dallas together and also Global (the GWF or Global Wrestling Federation) when Pourteau returned from Puerto Rico in 1991.

Colt then brings the conversation back to 1996 and Alex’s time in WWE, beginning to compare his own career to Pourteau’s. They were small guys who were low on the totem pole, but because there were people in the locker room who knew Alex’s background he was okay.

Pourteau tells Colt that when he went to WWE he was 5’11” and around 235 lbs, saying that compared to him, the rest of the locker room were like dinosaurs. In size that is, rather than age, as Colt quickly cuts in and verifies.

Colt then asks Alex if he thought he wouldn’t really make it in WWE due to his height, as even when he broke in much later Cabana just assumed he would never make it to WWE because of his height. Pourteau lists some big names that were in Dallas when he arrived and that all of them were much bigger than him, but despite that, he always believed he could make it despite being shorter.

They then go on to discuss Pourteau’s roots. He’s from Louisiana. He has one sister, played football in high school, and also wrestled for all four years.

They then return to discussing his time in WWE and they brought him in under an amateur wrestling gimmick. Alex remembers flying into New York and getting into a limo with a few others in including Jim Neidhart.

Alex reveals that the reason Neidhart was there was because he was being repackaged as a masked wrestler named Who and that he didn’t understand why WWE wanted to put a mask on somebody as popular as Jim.

He then returns to describing his time being brought into WWE when he was given a tour and got to meet Vince McMahon. He had to describe who he had been and what he had done in his career so far to Vince. On revealing his amateur background,  that’s when WWE decided it would be his gimmick and they would either call him The Pug or The Pitbull. They went with Pug and Alex says according to Jim Ross it meant he was a fighter and tenacious. Pourteau then says he wasn’t big on gimmicks and just wanted to be himself.

Alex then talks about how he believes it was after WWE saw what he could do in the ring that they decided to go get Kurt Angle and see what they could do with an Olympic Gold medalist.

Breaking into the business

They rewind back to how exactly Pourteau got into professional wrestling being from Louisiana. He talks about Mid-South Wrestling running TV and house shows there and lists some famous names that he saw perform, including Terry Taylor and Dusty Rhodes. He fell in love with it in 8th grade and decided it was what he wanted to do and would take a cab down to the shows, selling bubble gum at school to pay for the fares.

Pourteau then describes how Ted DiBiase and Steve Williams would actually take him home after shows sometimes.

Colt then asks Alex when he began training. Pourteau tells the story of a horse barn that he would train at once he was a sophomore in high school, which Colt thinks is a pretty young age to start. Alex says the guys training him had no idea what they were doing.

Pourteau had his first match on December 17th, 1987. Colt asks Alex to take him through it. The match was against a guy called Rainbow Brown who was a decent wrestler.

After that first match, Alex went and trained at a better gym with a trainer called Jim Star after taking a tape of his first match to show him. He recalls Star asking why there were no high spots to which Alex told him he didn’t know what a high spot was. Following that, Star started training Alex.

Alex then tells the story of first getting in the ring at the new gym, and when Star yelled simple wrestling instructions at him he had no idea what he was talking about:

“I got in the ring and the guy got a headlock on me and Jim Star’s on the outside and he says ‘Okay one tackle drop down give him a hip toss,’ and I was like ‘What’s that?’ Didn’t even know that. No, didn’t even know what that was. So the first thing I learned was a tackle and then a drop down and I gave the guy a hip toss.”

Colt questions that the first match Alex did before that must have been awful and Pourteau defends it by saying that anyone wrestling at that age probably thinks what they’re doing is good when it really probably isn’t.

Alex then goes into how they would put matches together in 1986/87, basically planning the whole thing beforehand. It’s something Colt finds surprising as he cites that veterans nowadays claim that they used to call everything in the ring. Alex then says once you knew how to work you could call it in the ring.

The pair then discusses a man named Ray who was Star’s main focus while he was training Alex.

Wrestling in Texas, Tennessee, and Puerto Rico

Alex then tells a story of him going to a World Class Wrestling show with a TV and a VCR so that he could show Skandor Akbar footage of him wrestling. He says he was so hungry for it that it gave him the courage to do it. Akbar told him that he might have work for him and to come to Dallas. Two weeks later he had his first match on TV against Cowboy Tony Falk.

Alex recalls shooting TV in Dallas on a Saturday then kids at school telling him how cool it was that they had seen him on TV by Monday morning.

Later in his career, Jerry Jarrett asked Alex if he wanted to go to Tennessee and be one of The Dirty White Boys, which would be his first big character break.

Alex then talks about how honored he was to be made one of The Dirty White Boys at the age of 19 and moved to Memphis so that he could do so.

Colt then questions whether it was possible back then to earn enough to live at that level of professional wrestling, to which Alex replies that he was earning around $350-$400 a week.

That led Alex to discuss his living situation back then, which was him and four other wrestlers sharing a hotel room for six straight months as no one wanted to get a full-time place. It had two double beds and one person would have to sleep on the floor.

Alex talks about how he was working with some incredible tag team talent at the time, which led to him going from an underneath guy to one of the top guys.

At the time, Alex cites Jerry Lawler as being the top guy in the territory and a tremendous worker, but also a bit of a dick.

Colt then asks Alex what his next step was, which was down to Houston with Booker T where he worked with Tom Prichard in 1990. At the time Akbar, who had broken him into the business, was in Puerto Rico and had some work for him.

“So I finally get a hold of Akbar, I’m on a payphone with him in Texas and he said ‘You know Alex I might have something out here for you.’ I said, ‘Oh my gosh that’s great Ack, what interstate do I take out of Miami to get there?’ I just thought you head south out of Miami to get to San Juan y’know? He said ‘No no kid you’ve got to get on a plane to come out here.’”

He then talks about his time in Puerto Rico, and because the fans are so smart there you have to be good. He spent a year there before leaving and going back for another year.

Alex talks about the language barrier while wrestling in Puerto Rico. You would go out to the ring only knowing the finish. That’s how he learned how to work.

Colt then says that he hears that a lot from older wrestlers, and that working that way must have led to some pretty poor matches. Alex confirms that belief and that if matches were bad fans would complain to the office. He also said his better matches were with those in Puerto Rico who spoke better English.

Alex then talks about a woman he met in Puerto Rico, who he is still married to today. They have three kids together.

Global Wrestling Federation and time in Japan

Following his time in Puerto Rico, he briefly went back to Louisiana to perform in the GWF as Akbar was there. Colt recalls watching it on ESPN at three every afternoon.

Pourteau remembers Global being a big thing as the Memphis territory was pretty much done. He worked with wrestlers like Buff Bagwell and 1-2-3 Kid. To be there was a real honor. It also had a good balance of wrestlers coming towards the end of their careers.

Colt then steers the conversation back to Pourteau going to WWE, but Alex first recalls a time when he skipped football practice in high school to go have pizza with Jim Cornette the night before some TV tapings. He says Jim saw that he had a hunger for the business from that young age.

Before going to WWE, Kendo Nagasaki came to a Global show attempting to recruit wrestlers to go perform in Japan, Alex being one of his targets. He ended up doing around 10 tours of Japan for a company called NOW and cites that it changed the way he worked in a major way, becoming much stiffer in a good way.

He then gets into his return from Japan when Global was starting to go under. The final show was one in Oklahoma where nobody got paid.

Wrestling for WWE

Alex forgets how he managed to get on the show, but his first night with WWE was in Texas working with The Godwins. The following night he had a tag match and when he came back through the curtain he was asked to go straight back out and work with Goldust. X-Pac was supposed to be his opponent but had gotten injured. He worked 6-8 minutes with Goldust and clearly impressed the office.

Pourteau then says that after the match Bruce Prichard told him they might have something for him, and a little while later received a letter in the mail saying WWE were highly interested in him. It was shortly after that when he was in the limo with the other guys as he discussed earlier.

Colt then talks about how nobody Pourteau was in the limo with had a particularly long run with WWE. Alex says he was on a nightly deal and as long as he was working four or five nights a month he could get by, and that it was a start.

Colt states it must have been the potential of where you can get to when with WWE, giving examples like The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels. Alex agrees. He says that his thinking was, ‘All I have to do now is get over and the money will come.’

Pourteau recalls the one time he had a vignette. I was at an In Your House pay-per-view building a sandcastle with Sunny.

Colt then asks how they started winding down Alex’s time in WWE. Pourteau goes into a description of how they would shoot Raw and it depended on where they were in the country as to whether they’d use him, so was never technically full-time with the company.

Alex had to have another job at the time, working at a rent-a-car company, while with WWE.

He talks about how when WWE was finished with him he felt a little disappointed. Because on the one hand, he made it, but he also felt like he hadn’t.

Colt then states that it was 96/97 when Alex got finished up with WWE, but that he has stayed in the business since then and actually has a school and a promotion named Pro Wrestling 2.0, asking Pourteau for some details about it.

Colt asks Alex if he still wrestles and he does, but not often due to there not being much money out there for him. He still wants to get in there every now and then though, but mainly he wants to give back what was given to him. Colt echoes those sentiments and that he wants to help facilitate what he had for somebody younger.

Colt then brings a close to the interview by asking Alex to plug his social media and such, most of it relates to his school and promotion.

Cabana then closes the show by thanking Alex and plugging his products, archives of the show, and where he is going to be this coming week.

Review (6/10)

Only becoming a fan of pro wrestling around the year 2000 means that aside from the wrestlers who were on TV and pay-per-view week in week out, I missed the careers of who knows how many talented performers. Alex Pourteau is one of those. If you were a fan of pro wrestling throughout the late ’80s and ’90s then this is definitely a show you need to give a listen. Alex goes in-depth with some really interesting stories and has crossed paths with pretty much everybody there was to cross paths with while he was coming up through the ranks from Dusty Rhodes to The Undertaker. His take on him being the inspiration behind WWE hiring Kurt Angle alone makes the podcast worth listening to.

About the writer

Josh Coulson is a journalism graduate from Bristol, England. He has been a pro wrestling fan since the age of 10 and truly fell in love with the business during the build to WrestleMania X-Seven, citing the rivalry between Austin and The Rock as what really got him hooked. Other than wrestling he is a keen soccer fan and a long suffering supporter of his local team Bristol City. You can find him @BristolBeadz on Twitter.

 

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