wrestling / Video Reviews

411’s Legends with JBL: Stan Hansen Report

February 17, 2017 | Posted by Robert Leighty Jr.
Image Credit: WWE

411’s Legends with JBL: Stan Hansen, Report

-Welcome to the penultimate edition of Legends with JBL. The Network uploaded the final episode (with Jimmy Hart) yesterday so that will be coming in the next couple days as we close out this series. Before any of that though we get this episode as JBL sits down with Stan Hansen.

-As the norm, JBL does a tremendous job with the introduction and calls Hansen the greatest draw in the history of Japan. That introduction just shows how much of a fan JBL is and that’s not shocking. Stan is taken back by that introduction and JBL says that he idolized Stan and it was an honor when he met him for the first time in Japan.

-Stan is shocked he had a good influence on anyone and calls JBL an asset to the business. JBL brings up The Lariat and how nobody can throw one like Stan. He got the idea from when he would play football. Back then it was legal to clothesline and he would do it to any TE that would come across the middle. JBL says he was hit with the Lariat once and when he woke up he thought it was cool. It was almost a right of passage to take the move from Hansen.

-Stan says that he knows he was stiff and that was they way you learned things and what they expected in Japan. He does apologize if he hurt anyone at anytime. JBL tells a story of teaming with Barry Windham and how he was left with a swollen eye after a clothesline from Stan.

-Talk turns to college at West Texas and Stan says his goal was to head to pro football. They talk about all the talent that ended up going to West Texas: The Funks, Dusty Rhodes, Ted Dibiase, and Tito Santana to name a few according to the graphic. Stan mentions that Bobby Duncam went there as did Bruiser Brody who was playing football when Stan took his recruiting visit. He tells a story of going to the dorms and his guide told him you don’t get a choice on roommate and his guide showed him his room, and sure enough Bruiser Brody was that poor guys roommate.

-Stan had a few knee surgeries, but did make it to the NFL and got to play with Johnny Unitas. They actually cut away and show footage from a Colts/Packers game featuring Unitas.

-From there Stan’s career ended and he became a teacher/Jr High football coach. He wasn’t making enough money and got a call from Terry Funk to see if he wanted to do something with wrestling. Stan wasn’t really trained as they just threw him in the ring and told him to learn. The Funks had fun as they got to beat him up and he just took it all as he was just excited to be there.

-In the Amarillo territory you could be Main Event in 1 town and then next night in Lubbock you would be in the opening match. He began learning from some of the boys and they taught him the ins and outs of the business.

-Next he meets up with Bruiser Brody who went from 220 lbs to nearly 300 lbs. JBL calls the Hansen/Brody team the greatest tag team off all time. They happened to be in Louisiana together and it was Grizzly Smith that put the two of them together. Stan hated the travel in Texas and wanted to go to Portland since there wasn’t as much travel. He was told that was fine, but had to start in Oklahoma which he says sucked even more as far as the travel.

-Stan says he and Bruiser were wild and dumb and Smith figured putting then together was best thing. From there Stan ended up in New York, but before getting there Stan wants to mention some people who helped get him there. He went and got to work Main Events with Peter Maivia, who Stan calls a horse. He loved working with him and that helped get him to New York.

-He was brought in to Madison Square Garden for 1 shot to work with Bruno Sammartino. They cut away to footage from that match and show the slam that broke Bruno’s neck. Stan says that if looks could kill, Vince Sr would have murdered him. Stan feels horrible about breaking Bruno’s neck and he knows he hurt the boys as he took money off their plate. He never saw any animosity from the boys and appreciates they never gave him issues. He finally was able to call Bruno and apologize. Bruno, to his credit, told him no to worry about it and that it wasn’t an issue. To this day they have remained friends and they call each other to catch up several times a year.

-That led to the rematch at Shea Stadium and Stan says the fans paid to see Bruno. JBL interjects and says they paid to see Bruno beat up Stan Hansen. That’s the old Hogan/Piper argument. The fans wanted to kill Stan for what he did to Bruno and Vince Sr sent him back to Texas just to get him away from the heat in the NE. There is a story of Jerry Blackwell saving his life from a guy who had a gun. Crazy stuff!

-From there they had another match at MSG and this time it was in a cage. JBL puts over the match and of course they have footage to show from that match. JBL jokes that Bruno probably hates West Texas guys as Bobby Duncam broke his arm and probably what killed Dick Slater from getting a chance up there. That causes Stan to laugh and he calls Dick the best big man wrestler he has ever seen.

-Vince Sr. was the one that got Stan booked in Japan and that is when things changed for him. Over there he saw Abdullah The Butcher and Tiger Jeet Singh and watching them helped develop his style. Stan calls Singh a huge influence and is grateful for all they did for him in Japan.

-In 1981 Stan made the jump from New Japan to All Japan. They talk about his match with Andre in 1981 and JBL calls it one of the greatest matches ever. He talks about how people only remember Andre from Mania III on and don’t know how great he was before the back injuries. Andre had been doing handicap matches in Japan and was looking for someone that could be perceived as a threat and that was Stan. They talk about the match and then cover the fact that Stan slammed Andre in Japan which goes against WWE rhetoric that Hogan slammed him for the first time at Mania III (which everyone knew anyway). They even show Hogan’s famous slam as Stan mentions that others have slammed Andre since and likely before he did it as well.

-1982 he gets put back together with Brody as a team in Japan and JBL again calls it the greatest run by any team in history. They attacked Giant Baba and sent him out the ring to the floor and they were scared they hurt him and what they would mean in Japan. He says Baba never once complained about all the beatings. JBL brings up that guys back in America were getting scared of working in Japan with Stan and Brody. Stan says they were protecting their territory and part of the didn’t want other guys coming over to take their spot.

-Brody and Stan were great friends and traveled many miles together. The team ended when both had opportunities to jump somewhere else. For Stan he made sure to let Brody know from him before hearing from the fans or press.

-To the AWA where Stan wins the AWA Title from Rick Martel and then Gagne wants him to lose to Bockwinkel. He says he never wanted to be the Champion as he always thought that was for top guys. He wanted to work with Curt Hennig and they weren’t promoting him well and he had to stay strong for Japan. Verne got in his face about dropping the Title to Nick and Stan refused and walked out with the title. A few months later he ran into Jerry Blackwell who told him that Verne wanted the belt back. Finally he got a registered letter from a lawyer and knew he had to send it back, but not before running it over with a tractor. Damn!

-The entire time Stan was in Japan he had a wife and they kept it secret from everyone as he wanted some parts of his life to be personal. Baba found out when he was trying to get hold of Stan to fill in for a show co-promoted with the WWE. It was to be Terry Gordy vs Hogan in the Dome, but Gordy couldn’t make it so Stan took his spot. He is proud of the match and was told that Vince Sr loved it, and again they have footage. It looks like one hell of a brawl and Vince Sr told him that once he is ready to quit Japan to give him a call.

-Vader Time next as they discuss their epic war where Vader’s eye popped out of socket. Stan says he respects Vader and he didn’t hold anything they did in the ring against him. Vader loved physical matches and was all class when the match ended.

-In 2001 his body started failing and they talk about his health today. He says he is very lucky as he got out of the business with little to no chronic pain.

-They talk about legacy and Stan says that the people in Japan that loved him knew he never changed his style from the smallest town to the biggest town. He always busted his ass and that is what he hopes his legacy is.

-They discuss the WWE Hall of Fame and he calls it an absolute honor.

-No Bull Segment: Favorite Movie: Unforgiven (JBL loves that answer); Greatest Wrestler: Terry Funk and Bruno; Favorite Opponent: Terry Funk; Favorite Match Involved: Andre; Favorite Promoter: Giant Baba; Least Favorite Promoter: Who’s dead, but he can’t say; Greatest Accomplishment: convincing his wife to marry him; What would he change: he would learn how to work (Ha!).

-JBL calls Stan the greatest cowboy ever and Stan puts JBL over as we end.

-As always this was a blast to watch as JBL comes off very well in these. This was great as Stan came off as very humble and you got to hear a lot of great stories from a time that hasn’t been covered over and over in documentaries and WWE releases.

-Reminder to look out for the final Legends with JBL episode in the coming days.