wrestling / News

Pete Gas Says JBL Isn’t a Bully, Discusses Why The Attitude Era Was So Special

April 26, 2017 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas

– Pete Gas spoke with Ring Rust Radio promoting his new book Looking at the Lights: My Path From Fan to a Wrestling Heel. The audio and highlights are below:

On why now was the right time to write his book: “First of all, I wrote it because for years after being released, I would always find that people were always huddled around me. Whether I was playing softball tournaments or whatever, in between games people were always huddled around me and asking questions about wrestling and loving all the stories I had to tell. I always wanted to do this and just having the ability to actually put it to paper and share it now is a blessing. I’m getting a lot of great feedback from the book and people love the stories and anyone that is a fan of the Attitude Era will really love this book. That’s pretty special in itself. What I’m trying to accomplish actually is to give people an idea of what it was like and what we had to go through. At one point we had some negative press and people said we should be selling insurance, but nobody has the story I had. Vince McMahon literally took myself and Rodney off the street and put us in the ring with the best in the business without even knowing how to take a bump and told us to go out there, don’t kill ourselves and put these guys over. The truth of the matter is it was only supposed to last a couple weeks and we got a reaction from the crowd. That showed Vince gives the fans what they want. People loved hating us so much that they kept giving us opportunities and those opportunities kept growing and growing. We were able to parlay the opportunity that we got into a three-year contract, which is pretty amazing in itself. Any wrestling fan that watches wrestling probably thought what it would be like to be in the ring with the Rock or Stone Cold Steve Austin and we got to live that dream. I always wanted to do this and all of a sudden, they had us go and get this opportunity and it’s basically how we took advantage of this opportunity and really ran with it. We had to prove how tough we were not only to the fans, but to the boys in the back and earn their respect.”

On why the Attitude Era is so fondly remembered: “What made it special is there were no rules. You had a locker room full of stars and I’m not talking about us as much as I’m talking about the roster. Everybody was over and it just had that edginess to it that really attracted people to it. You look in the crowd and you see everything from a guy with a big beer belly, to a girl with no clothes on, doctors, lawyers, stockbrokers and every kind of person. Everyone can relate to a lot of the stories and people loved the edginess to it. Unfortunately, they want ratings and sponsorship like Snickers and all that stuff, so now they can’t be as edgy and it’s more child friendly like it was back in the 80s. At that one period, Vince in order to win the ratings war had to turn it up a notch and he did and everybody remembers that part of it. I think it always be known as the greatest era in wrestling.”

On JBL’s bullying scandal: “I was brought up in an era where you didn’t get a trophy if you came in last place. I feel like there are people that are very sensitive to certain topics. I personally know JBL and he likes to bust balls. Sometimes when people don’t know how to handle that, whether they’ve been coddled or whatever the case is, their reaction is totally different from someone who like me had brothers and got teased and ribbed all the time. JBL’s a lot of fun. JBL is loud and he’s in the back cracking jokes. When he’s doing all that stuff, those same people that are bitching and moaning now, I guarantee they were f**king laughing their asses off in the back of the locker room or catering or wherever. Everybody had certain personalities and I could tell you straight up JBL is a bad ass, he’s a physical guy, he likes to get into it and stuff like that, but he never bullied anyone. He would have fun with us and tease us, but that’s it. I remember going through a series of beatings when we had to face the Acolytes back in the day. I remember being at my house with my girlfriend and we were sleeping at like 12:30 at night and my phone rings and it’s JBL. He was in town doing some stuff for the studio and he was down at the bar and when I answered the phone I thought I was dreaming. He goes, “Come on down to the bar you son of a bitch and have a drink with me.” He’s just that type of guy and that’s his personality, but in no way, shape or form do I feel like he’s a bully. If people don’t understand his personality and that’s where he can come across as a bully, but he really isn’t. He’s a guy that likes to have fun and is loud. He’s a big guy and very intimidating size wise, but it’s all about having a good time. Sometimes like I said, people were brought up differently and just don’t get it. Bullying to me is you just ride someone so much and you’re mean to them and you are nasty. You make the person feel like absolute shit. Whether it’s Mauro or whoever made those comments and felt like they were bullied, their interpretation could be a lot less severe. Their line is not in the same spot. I’m not wording it properly, but the bottom line is the guy’s not a f**king bully at all.”