This past Friday, the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast featured an interview conducted with Michael Hegstrand, AKA Road Warrior Hawk, recorded 25 years ago.
The wrestling industry was experiencing a downturn in business in 1992. Hawk gave his thoughts on how to turn things around and improve business:
“I think it’s been definitely heavily saturated exposure-wise on TV and everything. It’s like any business, it goes in cycles. I’ve seen it up and down a few times. Wrestling has been around a long time and I expect this is a valley and it will definitely peak again. The other side of the coin is what the business is doing in Europe, it’s phenomenal, and other parts of the country that it’s new to, promotions are doing very well.”
Comparing the NWA and the WWF:
“The NWA was a small organization that competed well with the WWF while we were there and eventually found the talent for a certain few years that did extremely well business being a smaller company as good as the WWF. When Jim Crockett owned it, it was more personable, there was less red tape. He was pretty good as far as his word went. When Ted Turner took control, there were a lot of people involved in the front office at that point that had no experience whatsoever. They had their own ideas about what they wanted to do, but having no experience in wrestling, I didn’t quite agree with them. We left shortly after Ted Turner took over because we didn’t see eye to eye with the front office, where they were going and where we were going with them. It wasn’t a matter of money. We walked out on guaranteed money. It was just a matter of we didn’t understand their concepts and didn’t think they were going in the right direction. We also didn’t think they were treating the talent, which is their bread and butter, in a very appropriate way.”
Thoughts on Bret Hart winning the WWF Championship for the first time:
“First of all, controversy creates interest, and interest creates attendance. I wasn’t shocked, really, by any means because Bret Hart is very capable and a very, very good wrestler. He has a whole arsenal of moves. He can definitely carry the load in my eyes because he’s very versatile. If a man wins the world title, then obviously he’s deserving of it.”
A few months prior to this interview, the LOD had been saddled with an infamous ventriloquist dummy named Rocco. Hawk responded to whether he felt the gimmick had taken the edge off of the tag team:
“I think a lot of people thought that was the case. It never really had a long enough time to evolve. I believe the three of us together along with Rocco over a given time, we could’ve made the whole situation work. It was something for all the young people out there to identify with. It was agreed upon by the three of us, but it was Paul Ellering’s brainstorm.”
Rush’s Analysis: The interview was included, in part, to honor the anniversary of Hegstrand’s passing on October 19. Still, it’s crazy how relevant a 25-year-old interview can be. Less than a month ago, the JJ Dillon Show did a two-episode feature on “The Implosion of Crockett Promotions.” Of course, last week Killing the Town did a Hawk tribute show. As part of that, Bret Hart had a segment discussing his relationship with Hawk. You can read a transcript of that conversation on PWPodcasts. It was interesting to hear Hawk’s opinion of Bret so quickly thereafter.
To check out the entire episode, which also featured part two of a new interview with Jim Ross, visit the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast.
Please credit PWPodcasts when using any part of this transcription.