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An Interview with
Greg Valentine: Part 3

The Way I See It...

by Earl Oliver


Volume 5, Issue 528 - November 27, 1999
Editor's Note: Thunder is pre-empted this week by holiday programming. In place of the regular Thunder Report I am running the third installment of our interview with Greg "the Hammer" Valentine.

An Interview with Greg Valentine

Greg "The Hammer" Valentine is one of the last no-nonsense wrestlers in the business. "I don't believe in taking bumps. I believe in wrestling," he said in this interview conducted Aug. 8, 1997 by David Skolnick. Valentine, who has held numerous titles including the tage belts in the NWA and WWF as well as the Intercontinental and United States straps, has a unique perspective on the wrestling business during the past 25 years. As a per night wrestler with WCW, Valentine offers an insider's look into the company, its top wrestlers and its battle for national dominance.

This interview is quite lengthy, so I have broken it up into four installments

Part 3

David Skolnick: After singles, you ended up tagging with Hogan's buddy, Brutus Beefcake.

Greg Valentine: I enjoyed that too. I enjoyed being with Brutus.

David Skolnick: He's a stiff

Greg Valentine: I didn't enjoy his wrestling or any thing like that. I enjoyed his friendship. Maybe people still don't like the way he wrestles, but part of Brutus is part of me in there because I did teach him the good parts of the business. I taught him more how to get in there and really tussle. He'll tell you that to this day.

David Skolnick: Do you think that was part of it to put the two of you together to teach him?

Greg Valentine: Yeah, that's exactly what it was done for. They put him with me. George Scott did that. He said, "I'll put him with Valentine. They'll make a good team. Plus Valentine will teach him how to work." That was done for a reason.

David Skolnick: You had some great matches with the Bulldogs.

Greg Valentine: We had great matches with the Bulldogs on NBC and Wrestlemania II. We ultimately lost the belts to the guys. They split us up, which was a mistake. They started wrestling Niedhart and Hart, Bret Hart. They were just preliminary bums up to that point. Still are, in my opinion. Preliminary bums. I like Bret. I like Jim too. I'm just kidding. I'm still better than Bret. He knows it too.

David Skolnick: During the tail end of your run, they put you with the Honky Tonk Man. At the time, I did any interview with Larry Sharpe who said he loved the gimmick because you hated it so much.

Greg Valentine: (Laughs) Good, old Larry would say something like that. I didn't hate it that bad. I just hated the black hair, but I loved the gimmick. I thought it was fun to do. I was getting bored. That's when I should have gone to WCW sooner. Vince had a way of talking you into staying.

David Skolnick: You didn't mind the gimmick?

Greg Valentine: I didn't mind the gimmick so I went full force with the gimmick. They were ready logo all the way and put the belts on us. They signed the Road Warriors instead. So they dumped us. They fired us. Then Vince brought me back with my blonde hair and I was a good guy for a while.

David Skolnick: What led to your final departure?

Greg Valentine: I came back for a while and got my act back together as the blonde Greg Valentine and went down to WCW after that.

David Skolnick: You worked with Terry Taylor as the U.S. tag champs.

Greg Valentine: And Bill Watts came in and he ruined that for me. Dusty was the booker and everything was fine. When Watts came in, I didn't get along with him from years ago in Oklahoma. I just quit and walked out on him because he's a complete a-hole. You can print that. I don't care. I'll whip his ass (Laughs).

David Skolnick: Was Watts too much of a disciplinarian and control freak?

Greg Valentine: Yeah, and when he came to WCW I bad a good position with Dusty and he wanted to job me out. That pissed me off so I just walked out. I didn't give him the opportunity. Since then, I've been independent.

David Skolnick: What are your feelings on Terry Taylor? He's one of the most under rated workers around.

Greg Valentine: Absolutely, but at least they're using him behind the scenes. He's got a good job. He's got a good mind. He's a good guy. I'm in and out of WCW right now. I'm trying to gel in all the way.

David Skolnick: How did you get hooked up with WCW?

Greg Valentine: Kevin would tell Jimmy Hart and Jimmy Hart would call me. Jimmy Hart is pushing for me to get back in there, but he's not with me. A lot of things are changing over there. Everybody was happy with what they saw of me. They said they would have more shows for me.

David Skolnick: You're on a per-night deal?

Greg Valentine: Right, a per-night deal and I've got some more shows with them. But I'm also going to be working with the AWF. I work for the greenbacks (Laughs).

David Skolnick: The first match back with WCW you wrestled Randy Savage. Is he still decent in the ring? Has his style changed much?

Greg Valentine: I found him to be very easy to wrestle.

David Skolnick: What was the deal with the finish? Were they running out of time?

Greg Valentine: The finish got all messed up because the match went too short. The finish got messed up because the right time wasn't given. The fireworks were supposed to go on somewhere in the middle of our match and ultimately, it looked like it was set up (Laughs). Believe me, I've never set up anything that f--ing pretty. The timing. It looked like it was set up and it wasn't. It was a mistake. The match was supposed to go at least another four minutes.

David Skolnick: You worked with the Giant. Does he have potential to be the biggest thing in the business?

Greg Valentine: I think he's probably learned wrestling faster than I've ever seen anybody learn it But he's been put in with the top people right away. That's how I learned so fast in the early Seventies. I took it from scratch and got right in the ring with the top boys. He's learned from all the top guys.

David Skolnick: But he's got to learn to take a chop.

Greg Valentine: Yeah, he bitched a little bit about that. But he's doing very well.

David Skolnick: What is your take on the WCW - WWF battle as a veteran of both companies?

Greg Valentine: I think it's ridiculous. I think they ought to have shows against each other and act like the American League and National League for Christ sakes. WCW started it. But WCW is doing better ratings than Vince and they're doing better on pay-per- views. As far as me choosing sides, I just go with the one that pays me. The greenbacks, that's what it is all about

David Skolnick: Do you think WCW has momentum with the NWO gimmick?

Greg Valentine: I think it disappointed a lot of people about Hulk Hogan being bad now. But it's kind of like a shock. But they've got a lot of stuff, a lot of shit going on that keeps it real interesting. The only problem I see is if I was wrestling. I wouldn't know who to cheer for. The Dungeon of Doom and now the Four Horsemen against the NWO. Who do you cheer for? Who's good? Who's bad? If you want to be a whimp and cheer for Sting and Luger, you can cheer for them (Laughs).

David Skolnick: Are the wrestlers upbeat about the changes?

Greg Valentine: I think so because it's different and the ratings are up. That's what they're alter. Everybody wants to be the number one guy, which is Vince. I believe he's still number one. I'm sure that's what WCW wants to do. That's what Eric Bischoff wants to do. The wrestlers just want to make money and get paid. The competition makes it better. I hope they both do good. I hope the AWF gets going. The more the merrier. Competition is better.

David Skolnick: How is Bischoff to work for? Do you have any contact with him?

Greg Valentine: I don't know him that well. I've been to several dinners with him. He's got a great job.

David Skolnick: He's got a great job or he's done a great job?

Greg Valentine: He has a great job. Please don't read between the lines (Laughs). You know what I mean (Laughs). I could say he's done a good job organizing Hogan and other people to get with the company. He did that In a sense, that was his job.

David Skolnick: When did you first feel comfortable in the ring? Was it something that took time?

Greg Valentine: I started really feeling comfortable after about four years of doing it. Really comfortable. And then it just grew and grew and grew. Sometimes after seven, eight years of wrestling, all of a sudden you'd have a horrible match and everything was horrible, you got hurt. You go, "God, I didn't learn a damn thing." And you were back to square one. The next day, you get up. It's a different day, a different town and a good match that night. We wrestled so much back then you learned fast. You wrestled 300 matches a year. Flair went through that same regime that I went through.

David Skolnick: Where did the figure-four come from?

Greg Valentine: Vince McMahon Sr. gave me that hold and told me to use it, learn it so I learned it. At the same time, Crockett gave Flair the same hold down in Charlotte. When we came back, he was using it. I was using it. It seemed every time I was around Flair, they didn't want me to use it, but I used it anyway. We ended up using it one each other. I went to New York and made it famous. I believe I made it more famous than he did.

David Skolnick: Or Buddy Rogers?

Greg Valentine: Yeah, because TV was bigger during my years.

To be continued...


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SmackDown Report

Scenes from RAW open the show. Vince being arrested. etc. SmackDown comes to us on tape from Rochester, NY.

Jim Ross is in the ring and welcomes the WWF Champ for an interview. The Big Show is saying he's happy to be the Champion and wishes his dad were here to see it when the Millenium Bug makes his appearance on the platform. He is challenging Wight for a no holds barred title match in most unflattering terms. Wight calmly hears him out then tells him to bring it on. Jericho is knocked from piller to post after slapping the Champ. He goes to the floor then slips back inside as the giant follows him out. He tries to splash the big guy but is caught and tossed back inside. Jericho gets a couple of offensive moves and even manages to down the Champ at one point but it is only a temporary set-back. Now the Big Bossman shows up. He and the Champ fight away from the ring and vanish. Chyna enters with Miss Kitty, walks right into the ring and hits Jericho with a hammer! The Big Show returns and gets a big chokeslam for the pin.

In the back a Thanksgiving dinner is being set-up. Meanwhile, DX is serving a Temporary Restraining Order which stipulates that Vince has to stay at least 50 feet away from DX.

Vince books a Tag Team Title match against the Hardeys in a cage and HHH/X-Pac vs. Shane Test. Moolah and Mae Young are introduced ringside. Moolah is dressed as a pilgrim while Young wears a turkey suit and carries a hip flask.

Kurt Angle vs. D-Lo Brown - of course, D-Lo doesn't appreciate Angle discribing himself as "the only true athlete in the WWF". At ringside, the announcers are trying to get up some fan reaction to the sponsers who are starting to pull out of their agreements with the WWF - the Navy and the Army among others. A rather tepid match ends very quickly with a victory for Angle.

Mankind and Al Snow are talking over the fact that Foley intends to tag up with the Rock tonight. Snow is gloomy at the prospect but Foley assures him the soon the three of them will be hanging out (dream on leatherface boy...)

DX are in the back where HHH is telling the others that they need to be "more thankfull" - he says he has an idea and leads them out of camera range.

Val Venis vs. The British Bulldog - European Title match - Val attacks the Champ as soon as he enters the ring. He misses an elbow drop, which the announcers calls correctly but Bulldog acts like he's been hit. Bulldog comes back with a vertical suplex. Venis counters with a sidewalk slam then goes to the top where the Bulldog delivers a low blow and is disqualified. He follows up with a running powerslam then splits.

DX are out scouring the neigborhood for homeless people to harrass. They offer them a Thanksgiving dinner...right...

Kane vs. The Big Bossman - Hardcore Title match - this one goes right to the floor and into the crowd. Lawler is making tasteless jokes about the homeless. Out in the arena, Kane slams his opponent's arm in a door then does the same to his fingers in another door. Backstage, Viscera starts hitting on Tori again. She runs away from her and finds her boyfriend, who is distracted and attacked from behind by Prince Albert then pinned by the Boss Man. Outside, DX have hit the jackpot - a whole passle of winos whom they invite inside.

We get a recap of the love affair between Stephanie and Test leading up to the coming wedding on RAW.

Rock n' Sock Connection vs. The Hollys - #1 Contenders match - Mankind makes a speech about his reunion with the Rock and then Maivia shows up to do a food critic bit with the banquet table. He finds that one of the cream pies on the table has the word "p**ntang" on it and offers some to Mike Cole, whom he claims has never had any... The Hollys come down with the scale. The last time these two teams met, of course, was when Mankind abandoned his partner and caused them to lose the Titles. They seem to be able to function smoothly as a team. After the Hollys manage to isolate Foley for a few moments, Maivia is tagged in and finishes off Crash.

DX's altruism is proving to be false, of course. They have the food all laid out but stand between their "guests" and the spread while they pretend to remember past Thanksgivings.

The King interviews Mae Young and Moolah at ringside then shows some clips from "End of Days".

Joey Abbs (w/the Posse) vs. Rakishi Fatu (w/Too Cool) - Rakishi has covered a little more of his butt since the last time we saw him. He is still wearing the thong but has a more conventional pair of wrestling trunks under it. He is basically doing the old Yokazuna character, though he doesn't have nearly the bulk of the former. He makes short work of Abbs then is attacked by the Posse - but they are no match for Rakishi and Too Cool combined.

In the back, DX is still teasing the homeless with a feast they refuse to actually serve.

As we return from the break they are now actually eating the food right in front of their hungry guests. One of them says something about needing silverware and immediately DX gets offended and sends them away.

Ivory vs. Jacqueline - Gravy Bowl match - Miss Kitty is the referee. I'm not going to describe this. Think mud-wrestling in gravy. One thing different is that gravy is a lot more slippery then mud so the girls tend to slip around a lot without really accomplishing much. Jacqueline wins it in short order then Ivory goes after the referee. Miss Kitty starts choking on a mushroom so an EMT comes forward to give her the heimlich manuever. The EMT, of course, is an attractive young blonde so she gets her shirt ripped off to reveal a skimpy black bra. Stupid stuff, but alas, no longer surprising...

The Godfather (w/7 Garden Tools) vs. Al Snow (w/Head) - GF doesn't make his usual offer to this opponent, who is back to being depressed again because his partner Mankind has gone back to tagging with the Rock. Snow is knocked out of the ring and grabs a chair only to bring it back in, take a swing and miss, and have the chair bounce off the ropes and strike him in the face. GF's train move mows him down.

The New Age Outlaws vs. The Hardey Boys (w/Terri) - Tag Team Title Cage match - the Road Dogg starts out against Jeff who controls the action pretty much from the get-go. Meanhile, both of their partners try to climb out of the cage so they have to break off the match to prevent the escapes. Back to the match and now all four are staying in action. Billy tries to escape the cage but is knocked off the top corner by his partner during a whip and straddles the rope (ouch!). Moments later, Matt Hardey has the chance to climb out but turns back to hit a big splash on the Champs. Billy and Jeff are struggling at the top later and Jeff is tossed out to the floor, but the referee has been knocked out and doesn't see it. X-Pac runs in and tosses Jeff back inside then he is pinned.

X-Pac/HHH vs. Test/Shane - in the back, Vince has brought the homeless back and is giving them the food - Shane and Test doubleteam HHH to start the match. The DX guys bail to console each other. Back in the ring, X-Pac takes Shane down then hands him over to HHH. Shane is isolated in the enemy corner as his two tormenters tag in and out. Shane is caught in a front chancillry and forces X-Pac into position for a tag but HHH comes in to distract the referee so that he doesn't see the tag. Moments later Test again comes in and distracts the referee but then X-Pac delivers a forearm blow to his partner when Shane sidesteps. He finally tags in Test and the latter cleans house for a bit until the superior numbers overwhelm him. He still manages to get a pump handle slam on HHH who has to be rescued by his partner. The NAO run in to add more confusion to the scene, Test is X-Factored and then pinned by HHH. Test is ejected from the ring and Shane is punked. Oops, here comes Vince - but he has to stay away from the ring because of the restraining order. He watches helplessly as his son is pulverized then turns and disappears. Moments later the Hardeys run out and are then joined by most of the locker room who all attack DX then turn on each other. The Thansgiving feast comes into play at it all dissolves into a general melee and food fight. The King is exalting at the announcers' table until Moolah brains him with a cream pie.


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ECW on TNN

ECW on TNN comes to us from the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, Illinois. Styles and Gertner introduce Jerry Lynn. Joey wants to know if JL is in cahoots with Tajiri. Lynn makes an unflattering comment and ends the interview (without answering the question).

After the opening montage, Styles and Gertner attempt to hype the first match but are interrupted by Rhino, Chris Candido and Tammy. Rhino is looking for someone to beat up. Tammy promises him that and more.

Switch to another time, there's a wrestler in the ring but we go off to the subway to listen to New Jack rant about the Baldies and Angel in particular. Styles says there will be a "New York Subway" match later. Back to the ring where the wrestler in the ring is revealed to be the opponent for TV Champ Robb Van Dam but hasn't been identified yet. Time for a commercial.

Rob Van Dam (w/Bill Alfonso) vs. CW Anderson - World TV Title match - but first another break for live card hype... Anderson affects to look like one of the Minnesota Andersons (which he is not...mainly because there aren't any Minnesota Andersons - that wrestling family being a concoction of a number of wrestlers with different names). In this match, RVD has all the speed and talent but Anderson has a certain size advantage and some not-to-shabby moves, such as a back kick that rocks the TV Champ soundly. The match goes to the floor and RVD starts upping the anty. He thoroughly trounces the challenger with a spin kick against the railing then rolls him back inside but fails to pin him. CW comes back with a spine buster and gets a two-count. He avoids a forward and then a reverse insiguri then intercepts the chair that Alfonso throws to his charge, only to have it kikced in his face. After that it is a matter of moments before Van Dam takes the pin.

Cut back to the subway and more ranting from New Jack.

Back to the ring where Sabu has challenged for the TV Title and has been accepted. Both these guys are insane high flyers, especially Sabu, so the action is predictably fast and furious but anything but predictable. They fight to the floor and over the rail into the crowd as we cut to commercial.

Sabu drives his opponent through a table set up at ringside as we return. He goes back to the ring as the Champ lies motionless on the floor. Alfonso, of course finds himself in a delicate position in this one, but before we can contemplate this fact we are thrown to yet another commercial.

Sabu has his knee caught in a chair and RVD is stomping on it as we return. Rhino and Candido run in and attempt to end the match by attacking both competitors.

Van Dam recovers enough to clear the ring then hits the two miscreants out on the floor with a somersault planche. He tries to set them up for Sabu but the latter can't even stand on his shredded knee. The invadors split and Van Dam goes back to punishing Sabu's knee. Alfonso tries to throw in the towel but Sabu grabs it and throws it back in his face. Alfonso throws it over his head the next time and succeeds in ending the match. Poor BIll has both of his athletes angry at him as we cut away.

Little Guido (w/Big Sal) vs. Super Crazy - this is a rematch from a few weeks ago. No doubt, Tajiri and JL will show up before this match is over - that seems to be the pattern with Crazy's matches. Back to New Jack on the subway. He says he's on the #6 train waiting for Angel. Back in the ring, Guido is giving Crazy a mat wrestling lesson. Crazy slips out of the ring to escape then returns. Crazy gets a hold of his opponent's arm and climbs the ropes for a super-wrist drag. But then he hesitates on his way up for a springboard moonasult and gets drop-kicked out of the air. He retreats to the floor and thorws himself into Sal's arms for some reason - giving Crazy a chance to suicide dive on both of them. Back in the ring they struggle for position on the top corner - Guido wins then drops a guillotine on his opponent. He gets a side-"Italian" leg sweep (looked Russian to me) and gets a two count. He then gets a series of pin attempts but without success. I remember when Guido was out here in California last year calling himself the "Fallen Angel" - he impressd me then and impresses me still with his combination of excellent mat grappling and superb flying maneuvers. The referee is dispatched and Big Sal goes for a powerbomb but is Frankensteinered instead. Here comes Tajiri and Jerry Lynn - told you so - Tajiri runs into the ring and sets Crazy up for JL's kick. They split as Styles questions whether they are working together or against each other. Crazy is pinned in the aftermath.

Rhino is in the ring as we return. He will team with the Impact Players against the Sandman and the Tag Champs. Back to the subway - New Jack sees his quarry rushing by in another train.

Rhino/Lance Storm/Justin Credible (w/Dawn Marie) vs. Sandman/Tommy Dreamer/Raven (w/Francine) - this is a rematch from the last PPV. Dreamer drags Credible out to the floor immediately then gets punked in the ring. Raven runs in to help but is super kicked into temporary oblivion by Storm He recovers quickly and clears the ring with a chair then he and Dreamer assault the Impact Players. Then the numbers prove their undoing once again - the Sandman has yet to appear. As Dreamer and Raven are being overwhelmed, Sandman makes his entrance...but he takes his own sweet time getting to the ring, pausing to smoke and spit his beer at the crowd. He finally gets to the ring where Rhino tries to spear him but misses. Sandman whacks Justin with his kendo stick but then falls to Storm's super kick. Sandman is taken out and mugged on the floor while Dreamer takes care of Rhino in the ring. Storm runs back in a dispatches Dreamer but then Francine hits him with a low blow. Thei brings Dawn Marie in and the inevitable cat fight ensues. In the end the Sandman clocks Raven and cost his team the fall.

Back to the subway with about two minutes left in the program. Gangsta appears on the platform and distracts Jack so that Angel can blindside him. That's all folks...


The Way I See It...

As I am writing this we have learned that the Coca Cola Company has joined the Defense Department in withdrawing their ads from WWF programming. The Defense Department referred to the WWF as "vile" in a statement accompanying their press release on the subject.

Some months ago, when the WWF was presenting crucifixion scenes and simulated oral sex as entertainment, Solie's warned that they were going too far and that sooner or later they would come to a point where their defenders would be hard put to come up with any arguments to counter their detractors.

Of course, Vince McMahon's response to any and all criticsm has been to ridicule and/or attempt to discredit those who don't like what he is doing (as he has done regarding the Parent/Teacher Council, which aired the complaints leading to the sponsers' actions). This arrogant attitude has characterized the promoter throughout his career so we can hardly be surprised that he would fall back on it at this point...but we really have to wonder where his head is at...the man is clearly without conscience.

One of his favorite lines is to claim that the WWF is "no worse than many other television programs" and to add that at least they don't portray disgusting things like "rape and murder". That argument has lost all credance in the last couple of weeks as we have seen an actress pretending to be his daughter subjected to what was certainly implied to be a rape. Even Vince himself was seen as late as last Tursday night, ramming DX's limo with his own car and Steve Austin was the victim of what has been actually described on the programs as "attempted vehicular homicide".

"Homicide" means murder, folks...

As I have said before, my biggest problem with all of this is that the entire wrestling industry (and by extention the fans) are subject to being tarred by the WWF brush. McMahon isn't just digging a hole for himself, but is liable to be poisoning the well for everyone involved in pro-wrestling.

On the other hand, seing the direction in which the competition has been headed lately - maybe it is all becoming a moot point.

At least that's the way I see it...

Earl Oliver
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter



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