David Heath, who played Gangrel in the WWF, was a guest on the Kevin Gill Show this week. Heath spent several minutes discussing the bullying culture of the WWE locker room as written about in Justin Roberts book, Best Seat In The House: Your Backstage Pass Through My WWE Journey, released earlier this year. Included in the conversation was a handful of stories about JBL’s thwarted attempts at bullying other wrestlers.
“When I came in, it was a man’s business, and women, but some of the women could be considered more (like) men than the men, you know? There were some bad ass women out there. No disrespect when I say it was a man’s business. It was grown folk.
“I had to work around the likes of Dynamite Kid, so these seem more minor than stuff that I’ve seen and heard. It never happened to me, that I know of, maybe I just don’t realize what my own a**hole tastes like, but people’s toothbrush and all this… A lot of the times, and I’m not justifying it, but there’s a reason that things are happening, you’re not quite getting something. I’m not justifying it at all. I’ve never bullied anybody, and if I was to be bullied, I would stab you.
“I remember JBL came to me, he goes “I couldn’t get the green light on you.’ I go ‘What green light?’ He goes ‘You know, the green light.’ I go ‘For what?’ I’m looking at him, he goes ‘You know, never mind. Taker says your crazy, you’re married or whatever.’ I knew what he was talking about because he liked to go and… I watched him one time soap Edge’s rear end up with soap in the shower. Adam just stood there like (makes a growling sound). But I mean, these are minor things I’ve seen. I was with Luna (Vachon) since I was 18. Hell, the beatings I took from her (laughs). I don’t know.
“I don’t think people should be going out there and exposing wrestling for that kind of stuff because wrestling’s been around a lot longer than they’ve been alive, the ones that are talking about this stuff. A lot of them claim they were fans of wrestling, but they weren’t coming into it. If you truly have a passion, if you were truly trained right, you know what this business is all about. You know what you’re getting into. I did to a degree. Boris Malenko and Rusty (Brooks), they were there. Rusty was right on you. He made sure you had thick skin.
“Then when I got with Luna, it was like the Matrix. I took the wrong damn pill and couldn’t get it back. ‘I want the other pill, I want the other pill. I’m down the wrong damn hole.’ The blinders came off and I saw the Matrix. But it’s alright, it’s probably why I’m still here doing wrestling. I still love it. It hasn’t changed my passion for it. I think if you’re being bullied, then take it up with that person. If you stand up and go ‘F you,’ or something… but if you write about it years later, I don’t know.
“I’ve heard people say ‘I can’t believe what he wrote, you’ll be so upset.’ I don’t know what bullying is, because to me, taking a passport, ok. That’s kind of extreme, so you can’t get home from another country. But then again, you’ve got Marty Jannetty who lost his passport and couldn’t get home, but he got home somehow. I mean, he ribbed himself more than anyone else can rib him.
“That’s kind of extreme, but I’m not on top of all these different cases, but I’ve seen a lot of stuff. At the same time, I was trained right, I was told about this, I understood this moving forward with it. The stuff I’ve seen happen to people, was like I said, there was a reason for that. Maybe that was their way of trying to… but it doesn’t make it right. I’m not saying, like, they’re kids who go to school. It’s not like that, but pro wrestling is a different group of individuals drawn together. They’re not the most sane individuals, but they have one thing in common, and that’s their love for pro wrestling. It is a dark carnival.”
“I’ve seen JBL messing with (Steve) Blackman. They were at baggage claim and Steve said ‘Touch my a** one more time and that’s it.’ And he touched him one more time. I saw, like, two kicks to the face, bing bing. Then he was getting ready to do a punt kick and he got a bag hooked around his leg. At the same time, Blackman, he sat there and made JBL apologize. He says ‘I’m going to beat your a** unless you apologize to everyone in the lunchroom.’ And JBL came out and said ‘I’m sorry guys. Steve Blackman is going to whoop my a** if I don’t apologize.’ Blackman is a killer, man. He’s legit.
“Justin Roberts is a nice guy, I’ve never had an issue with him, he’s always been kind to me. I wasn’t there, so I don’t know. It’s all allegations. It’s all he said/she said, and who knows what the real story was. If the guy is that harmless, then just leave it.”
Rush’s Analysis: Heath didn’t seem entirely comfortable discussing the subject. It sounds as though since he was personally able to avoid any serious hazing or bullying situations in his career, he doesn’t relate to those who deal with it. He came off as self-aware enough not to condone bullying but admitted a couple times that he felt sometimes the targets of that treatment brought it on themselves.
Ultimately, more than anything, he seems like an old school wrestler who’s thoughts on such matters are still evolving. He has a super likable personality and the interview is a fun listen.
To hear this episode, and check out a vast archive of other interviews, visit the Kevin Gill Show at AudioBoom.com
Please credit PWPodcasts when using any part of this transcription.