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QUICK QUOTES: Ron Simmons on what JBL is like outside of the ring, his historic title win, Attitude Era vs. today

Sean Mooney

Ron Simmons was recently interviewed by The Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling podcast and talked about his WCW World Heavyweight Title win, JBL, and more. Here are they highlights they sent us:

Approaching the 25th anniversary of his historic WCW Title win and becoming first African-American World Champion:

“First, I like to phrase it like this. I have no ill-respect for the country or nation of Africa but I label myself as the first Black American Heavyweight Champion. As far as I’m concerned my ancestry is here in this country and that is the way I look at it and of course that holds a special meaning and interest in my heart and I can’t tell you that I don’t relive it every day of the month. Anybody that has been in this business whether it be male or female strive to get to the pinnacle in their career and that is becoming World Champion. It will always hold a special place in my heart and who better than to be in the ring with like somebody like Vader where you know it is going to be a brawl and it was. It continues to this day to resonate with me like it happened last week and not only because it holds a special place and meaning and even more than just becoming World Champion is to have others come up to me now and say; “Hey Ron, thank you for inspiring me not only to get into this business but inspiring me to go on to do things that I had reservations about doing.” You cannot ask for a better compliment than that.”

The overwhelming crowd reaction to his win that night in Baltimore, MD:

“People often ask me about that. That came across like it was a real moment in professional wrestling history. People think that it was a pre-planned thing well it wasn’t. Ron Simmons had no knowledge that was going to take place until he got to the arena and I think it did come across like that. I had no knowledge of it, Vader had no knowledge of it and obviously, the crowd had no knowledge of it. It was special and not only special for me and I hope for Vader as well but it was special for the people and that is why you saw such a positive reaction of people crying and the adulation that came across when that match was over. It was I believe was one of the best moments in professional wrestling history and certainly for myself.”

What led to the success of the APA and JBL’s personality outside the ring:

“I can’t even express it into words what it was like to be tagged up with someone like Bradshaw. It was just like a natural and like a hand to glove. It had no other way than to go than to be a success. He and I were like two peas in a pod, we shared the same things out of the ring and since we came from similar background since he was football player and an athlete with a college scholarship and all of these things plus all of the out of the ring antics were similar to each other and we had a natural feel for each other as well in the ring and our personalities. There didn’t have to be a lot of verbal conversations between us and it is that way sometimes with tag teams when you get a mixture of people together sometimes it doesn’t come across on the screen if they don’t work together and there was a natural flow with us. We absolutely loved and cared for one another and I think that what resonated the most when people would watch us on the screen.”

The Attitude Era vs. today’s wrestling:

“I am a little prejudice towards that era back then. I believed about the in the ring wrestling over spending times with out of the ring shenanigans and talking and all of these things. Our stuff was settled in the ring and I think people want to see more of that if you ask me. But times change and I am just prejudice towards that era because guys got in the ring and actually wrestled and that is what the people liked to see.”

The physical style of the APA:

“You have to make what you are doing as believable as possible and I’ll tell you right now that was our intentions in doing exactly what we did. We have come across, and like I said we are both football players so obviously contact was no big deal to us and professional wrestling is all contact since you are using your body. I always prided myself on being the best at whatever I had done (football or professional wrestling) if you are gonna do stuff, do it to the best of your ability and that is what myself and Bradshaw had intentions of doing for the people since that is what they wanted to see. That is exactly what I like to think we did and that is why I think it continues to give me something that works in my favor when I continue to get praised today and it is the highest compliment to be removed from your business and still have people say thank you for all the memorable moments. You can’t get any better compliment than that. ”

For the full interview, check out The Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling.

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