“The Art of Wrestling” with Colt Cabana
Episode 291 – Tony Mamaluke
Release Date: March 3, 2016
Report by Chris Davidson
-Tony Mamaluke discusses his history of concussions
-Tony Mamaluke talks about his time in WCW and ECW
-Colt Cabana talks about the eccentricities of independent wrestling
0:00 – Introduction
8:28 – Song of the Week
11:18 – Tony Mamaluke Interview
16:32 – Mamaluke talks about his recent career and ECW
23:48 – Mamaluke talks the future of wrestling
29:05 – Mamaluke talks concussions
34:18 – Mamaluke talks WCW
46:09 – Mamaluke talks wrestling training
52:24 – Mamaluke talks more about ECW
58:58 – Mamaluke and Colt wrap up
1:02:39 – Colt wraps up the show
0:00 – Introduction – Colt opened the show calling himself “a province traveler” due to his recent travels in Canada. Colt introduced Tony Mamaluke as a “talker” and discussed the awkwardness involved with asking other wrestlers to be on the podcast, since he’s not sure if they are familiar with the show or not. Colt reminisced about his one Mamaluke memory from WCW with Mamaluke at the announce booth with Mark Madden. Colt brought up his travel in Canada again, stating that he had to re-record the intro to the show because he second guessed a long, “weird” story that he told about making a girl cry in Regina, Saskatchewan. Colt hyped the live experience before going on a diatribe about doing improv in the ring, which didn’t sit well with people in Regina. Colt talked about the development deal he signed with a production company because they shot a “sizzle reel” focusing on some of the interesting characters in wrestling, focusing on fans. Colt told a brief story about Lord Wolfstein, a man in Winnipeg wearing a trench coat and a Bane mask, who Colt talked to during his match.
8:28 – Song of the Week – The song of the week this week is “Parts Unknown” by the Sprained Ankles.
11:18 – Tony Mamaluke Interview – Mamaluke began the interview by complementing Colt on being at the forefront of what is happening in wrestling, and said he listens to Mike and Mike’s podcast to keep up on sports. Mamaluke said he’s been a 49ers fan for 30 years, and it’s the only relationship that’s never been ruined by him because he’s missed wrestling events to watch 49ers games. Colt talked about considering not going to Japan because the Cubs were in the postseason last year, and they talked about how Mamaluke became a 49ers fan. Mamaluke talked about food and eating healthy, even though he doesn’t put on weight if he doesn’t.
16:32 – Mamaluke talks recent career and ECW – Mamaluke said that it’s rare for wrestlers to be successful without being in WWE, and called the independents a “poor man’s version of the territory system.” Mamaluke discussed being in a place where he can train new wrestlers after trying to get out of wrestling a few years ago. Mamaluke said his career has been defined by injuries, mainly concussions, including a bad one working on an ECW “resurrection” show for Shane Douglas. Mamaluke discussed the “weird vibe” of the show Douglas was putting on that felt like a bad idea. Mamaluke got paid well in WCW, but called WCW the worst wrestling company he’s ever seen, calling it worse run than an independent, and called ECW the most fun he had in the business, despite getting paid only $100 a night. Mamaluke talked briefly about Steve Corino and noted that ECW is still around in ROH and TNA. Colt noted that the resurgence of independent promotions is because people are looking for an alternative.
23:48 – Mamaluke talks the future of wrestling – While discussing alternatives, Colt asked if Mamaluke had wrestled in Japan, which he has not. Mamaluke believes wrestling will evolve to have more of a MMA “shoot-style” to stay successful. Colt mentioned comedy wrestling as a trend he has noticed lately, and Mamaluke credited breaking kayfabe as what ultimately changed the business. Because kayfabe was broken, Mamaluke believes a lot of fans left wrestling to watch UFC because it is “real” and the fans that stayed are wanting to be entertained to the point that comedy wrestling is starting to make money. Mamaluke said that as long as promoters are finding a fan base and giving them what they want, they can make money with any style. Mamaluke reiterated that he believes wrestling will need to become more like UFC to stay viable long-term.
29:05 – Mamaluke talks concussions – Colt asked Mamaluke about getting concussions. Mamaluke said he hasn’t spoken with Chris Nowinski of the Concussion Legacy Foundation because he’s afraid of what he’ll be told. Mamaluke started in WCW at 22-years-old and got fired due to concussions, but when WCW found out he had a concussion, they cut his pay in half and instead of sending him home, made him work twice as much. Mamaluke never considered legal action because he figured that was how the wrestling business operates, and he didn’t want to be blackballed. Mamaluke got concussed on the indies prior to going to WCW, and his first day at the Power Plant Ron Reis landed on his head. Due to the concussions, Mamaluke never ended up as a wrestler in WCW, and only worked as a manager. Mamaluke talked up all the talent in WCW at the time that were signed to be on a new TV show, but Eric Bischoff was fired, bringing an end to that plan. DDP told Mamaluke not to go to the Power Plant or he would get hurt, but Mamaluke went anyway and got his concussion.
34:18 – Mamaluke talks WCW – Mamaluke was spotted on his roommate’s highlight tape, and was asked to send in his own tape for a tryout where he got paid $500 for a tag match. The tag match was before a PPV, but no one in the back watched it, so they wrestled again the next day before Nitro. Mamaluke recalled his only conversation with Eric Bischoff, where Bischoff walked up to him, welcomed him to WCW, and walked away. Colt asked about working with Disco Inferno, and Mamaluke told him that when he was going to go on TV, he was told to look like someone from Saturday Night Fever, so he pulled together an outfit for Nitro. Mamaluke joked that WCW was trying to kill him because he got five or six concussions and multiple broken bones. Mamaluke started in WCW with an angle where he was Lodi’s biggest fan where he eventually jumped the barricade and got his nose broken by a security guard who didn’t realize it was a part of the storyline. Mamaluke talked about the angle that didn’t end up panning out, including that it was booked by Dusty Rhodes, and he was supposed to end up in a tag team with Ron Reis, the same man who concussed him at the Power Plant. Mamaluke told Colt that DDP stole his “Diamond” gimmick from Reis and that if DDP got you a job in WCW, he expected a Christmas gift. After his injury, Kevin Nash became the booker and killed the angle with Lodi. Mamaluke stated that he has loved wrestling his whole life, but in WCW he almost quit wrestling for good. Mamaluke said the best thing that happened to him in WCW was getting fired.
46:09 – Mamaluke talks wrestling training – Mamaluke got into wrestling due to his fascination with the psychology of wrestling and because he was a fan of Dean Malenko. Mamaluke started tape trading online to see shows from ECW, and tried to get a video of Malenko when he was told to come train with Malenko by the seller and given Malenko’s phone number. When Mamaluke called Malenko, they ended up talking for 40 minutes and arranged to begin training for $1,500. Mamaluke was going to go to college, but ended up not attending so he could train. Malenko had a house for trainees that was run by Luna Vachon and Gangrel.
52:24 – Mamaluke talks ECW – Colt brought up Mamaluke getting injured at an ECW show in Toledo, where Colt was in attendance. Mamaluke laughed that he got his job in ECW because he hit his head on a guardrail and Paul Heyman didn’t want to be sued. Colt asked how he got the first match where he was injured. Mamaluke credit his connections with Mikey Whipwreck and other ECW wrestlers for getting him a shot. Mamaluke ended up in the FBI because Little Guido told Heyman we wanted to work with Mamaluke. Mamaluke joked that he “Forest Gump-ed” his way to success. Mamaluke talked more about his pay and about the FBI winning the tag team titles. Mamaluke had to sign a contract that when he won the tag titles, he had to sign a contract that he wouldn’t leave ECW with the titles, and he started being flown to shows.
58:58 – Mamaluke and Colt wrap up – Mamaluke praised Little Guido for their current success, and Colt mentioned that Tommy Dreamer loves Guido. Mamaluke plugged his Facebook and joked that he doesn’t understand Twitter or how a number sign became a hashtag. Mamaluke said he tries to keep kayfabe, and even if it’s gone outside of the ring, he believes is needs to be kept in the ring. Colt thanked Mamaluke and ended the interview.
1:02:39 – Colt wraps up the show – Colt thanked Mamaluke again and joked again about Mamaluke’s social media. Colt plugged his website, social media, and upcoming events, then thanked Tony Mamaluke, his tech help and sponsors. Colt brought up the girl he made cry in Regina again and signed off.
8.5: Colt Cabana and Tony Mamaluke really did a great job on this episode. Mamaluke was willing to be very open, and it made for an easy to listen to conversation that also hit on a lot of big topics. Mamaluke’s journey through professional wrestling is very interesting, and his tales from ECW and WCW are all fun to listen to. The details about Mamaluke’s concussions were interesting, as he knew from a long time ago that concussions were derailing his career. All in all, this episode was very well done, didn’t feature any weird audio issues, and covered the most interesting aspects of Mamaluke’s career. I would highly recommend this episode to any WCW/ECW fan, or anyone who enjoys hearing stories about WCW during its decline.