wrestling / Video Reviews

The Name on the Marquee: RF Video Shoot Interview with Ole Anderson

January 28, 2009 | Posted by Adam Nedeff
The 411 Rating
Community Grade
Your Grade
The Name on the Marquee: RF Video Shoot Interview with Ole Anderson  

-Well, in all fairness, the guy who takes the biggest reaming in any given shoot interview, book, or loose gathering of thoughts of any kind from retired wrestlers sits down and does a shoot interview himself, so I suppose the least I can do is listen to what he has to say. Here now, in his own words is Ole Anderson.

-Wasn’t a fan of wrestling growing up, but a friend of his got involved in the Chicago area and introduced him to Verne Gagne. They got to talking, and since it was 1967 and we’re still in the era of horrible money for pro football players, Ole decided to give wrestling a shot.

-Verne offered him $500 a week guaranteed and a 50/50 split for anything he made above that. Ole went for it and got stretched by Danny Hodge, and then Verne took him under his wing. He debuts on TV as Rock Rogowski, and the following day, marks surrounded his house to get a glimpse of him.

-Ole talks about booking for a moment and talks about how he got into it because he thought he was smarter than everybody else. He shares one of his philosophies about how to book: “The finish has to make sense.” Laugh all you want, then think about how often that gets ignored.

-Dick the Bruiser was insane, but Crusher was a great guy and easy to get along with.

-Lou Thesz: Visited him in 2001 and Lou asked him if he wanted to go to the local gym for a workout. Lou showed him a ton of holds that he had never seen that Lou said nobody had used in a match since the 20s, and Ole was startled by how dangerous they were.

-Ole climbs the ladder rather quickly, defeating Bob Orton, Sr. and Mike DiBiase for his first two titles during his first year in the business.

-Knew Gene from high school football and Lars from college football. They hooked up for six-man tag matches and Ole changes his name to Anderson because that experience after his debut match irritated him so much.

-They go to the Carolinas where Jim Crockett says they can stay as long as they want. Ole “got banged up” and quit the business to move to Wisconsin and work in liquor. That business depressed the hell out of him and he quit as soon as Eddie Graham called him and asked him to come to Florida.

-Eddie Graham had a good mind for the business, but took everybody’s word about everything. Ole would watch two guys have a terrible match at a house show and then hear two yes-men the following day tell him how well it went.

-Went to Georgia in 1974. Worked a tag team match against Mr. Wrestling and was startled when the booker instructed Ole to win in a virtual squash. Ole was nervous about it because Mr. Wrestling was so over, but for exactly that reason, he got a huge reaction, and the rematches drew great money.

-Harley Race was brought in to book Georgia for a while. Ole liked Harley but he couldn’t book for shit and sank the territory. Ole went to Jim Barnett and demanded (and received) a raise. He made great money until Harley’s booking finally got things to a point that Barnett couldn’t afford the higher pay anymore, and Ole offered his services as a booker.

-Ole found a way to make booking easy on himself by keeping his phone number a secret. He stayed holed up in his house most of the week, drove down to Georgia and dropped off his booking sheets, and left.

-Responds to Tito Santana’s allegations of racism by saying he didn’t push him because he didn’t see anything in him worth pushing. If he drew money when he went to the WWF, then good for him, but Ole didn’t see potential in him and therefore didn’t do anything with him; racism had nothing to do with it.

-Guys who made the most money for Ole: Stan Hansen, Dick Slater, Mr. Wrestling I and II. Notes that he didn’t book Slater as much as he would have liked because he looked too much like Terry Funk, so if Terry was on your card, you couldn’t have Dick Slater there.

-Thunderbolt Patterson: Agrees that Dusty Rhodes’ character was totally stolen from him, but disagrees that Patterson’s career was ruined by that. Patterson failed because he couldn’t bring himself to take advantage of any opportunities or promo time that he was given.

-Roddy Piper: Really liked him until he took a hit of cocaine right in front of him. He missed a house show 40 miles from his own house and Ole fired him two days later.

-A young kid named Terry Bollea comes to Georgia for a while. Ole hires him after asking four times “Can he wrestle?” and being told, “He looks good” each time. Ole gives him the name Sterling Golden and dismisses him as horrible after a handful of matches. Maybe he could have taken the time to train him, but between booking and his own matches, Ole decided he had too much to do as it was and sent him to New York, where Vince McMahon, Sr. renamed him Hulk Hogan.

-Was Hulk a good worker? “Did he draw money? Yeah, he did, so why else would I care?” The reason Hogan succeeded was because the AWA and the WWF had more towns to run. Hogan wouldn’t have lasted in Georgia because they were going to the same seven towns every single week and his act would have worn out much faster.

-The Tommy Rich vs. Buzz Sawyer Feud, which the interviewer calls “one of the greatest wrestling feuds in wrestling”: Ole can’t remember the feud at all and instead talks about Buzz Sawyer’s mic skills and dope habit. Ole fired him at one point until Buzz called him and begged for a job. Ole happily welcomed him back, and Buzz shows up for his first TV taping totally wasted and Ole fired him again. When Buzz died, the person who broke the news surprised Ole by mentioning how much Buzz liked him and always talked about him.

-Introduced Tommy Rich to Georgia by feeding him to Abdullah the Butcher for three straight weeks, which Barnett thought would kill his heat, but Ole booked Tommy to look so courageous and persistent that the crowd was going nuts for him by the end.

-Jake Roberts: Like most of the wrestlers he booked, Ole liked Jake until finding out about his dope habit.

-Ole goes to the movies and sees a film called The Road Warrior and gets Eddie Sharkey in Minneapolis to round up a bunch of bouncers so he can pick two for a new tag team idea. Ole meets up with ten of them. The first nine kiss his ass and talk about how great the Andersons are. The tenth sneers at him and says, “You don’t look so tough to me.” That was the guy that Ole decided to hire and mold into Hawk. He chose Animal because they apparently knew each other already and Ole had worked with Animal before.

-Ole trains them and finds that all they can do is throw punches and kicks, which Ole hated because “If you throw 42 punches, eventually fans figure out that there should be something wrong with your opponent’s face or he should be messed up.” I can’t believe I’m saying this, but THANK YOU, OLE.

-By the way, I’m now more than an hour into this and Ole has actually been a fairly pleasant, reasonable guy with a decent head on his shoulders.

-Harley once wanted the Fabulous Ones to defeat the Road Warriors cleanly on TV, explaining that “the people will never expect it.” Ole, taking that logic to heart, told Harley that next week, he’d get in the ring and take a big shit. People wouldn’t expect that, either…and it wouldn’t draw.

-Stan Hansen: Clumsiest wrestler who ever lived, but since he could draw, Ole learned to put up with it.

-Bruiser Brody: Ole fired him immediately after he cut an incredibly stupid promo where he stuck a light bulb in his mouth to make everybody think he was crazy. “No, they think you’re a dumbshit.”

-Ole begins using a kid named Marty Lunde to do TV jobs for a few weeks; a while later, Ric Flair brings it to Ole’s attention that the kid has started using the name Arn Anderson and is competing around Georgia. Ole takes a liking to him and notices that the kid wrestles a very similar style to Gene. They begin teaming up.

-Ric Flair: Hopes he dies slow. And he wasn’t the greatest worker in the world. Like Hogan, he wrestles the same match over and over again and only got away with it because he was the champion and he traveled the country. Ole really liked him at first and thought he had something special after seeing his first few matches. Down the line, after he realized that Flair was wrestling the same match over and over again, Ole recommended him for the NWA World Title because he carried himself as a champion should and he wouldn’t get overexposed with his formula. Trouble starting brewing when Flair made a $100 bet with a jobber over a football game and totally welched when the jobber tried to collect the following week. Ole made Ric pay the $100, and the bad blood started accumulating from there.

-Black Saturday: The Georgia territory was $100,000 in debt and Jim Barnett ran to the WWF for a new job. The NWA agrees to give the Briscos a loan to cover the debt, and the Briscos turn right around and sell Georgia to Vince McMahon. Ole sold his share of the company because he saw the writing on the wall at that moment. The NWA bylaws totally went by the wayside in the process, and as a result, Ole views 1984 as the year that the NWA died.

-So WWF Georgia Championship Wrestling dies a quick horrible death and Ted Turner buys the TV time back from Vince and gives it to Ole to launch a new World Championship Wrestling series. Ole gets into a long, complicated legal battle over the name and his efforts to recoup money from Ted Turner keep falling apart because every lawyer in Atlanta wanted to be on Ted’s good side.

-Ole gives up and goes back to work for Jim Crockett, which could be frustrating because the family always second-guessed him.

-Ole’s recollection is that the Four Horsemen as a unit was Dusty Rhodes’ idea and Dusty asked him to be a part of the group. Dusty promised him paydays comparable to what Hulk Hogan and Iron Sheik were making up north, so Ole agrees to join the Horsemen, and of course he makes $40 for his first match with them.

-Also, Tully Blanchard is a lying bastard.

-Made great money with the Rock & Roll Express because they had two assets: They listened and they sold well.

-Magnum TA: Once chewed out Magnum because of his habit of driving too fast. Pulled him aside after driving alongside him one night and told him to slow the damn car down from now on. A week later…

-Lex Luger: “Piece of crap.”

-On accusations that he’s an incredibly bitter man: “Who cares?”

-Puts himself over as the biggest hardass ever, noting that he got 100 stitches in his chest once and missed only one show. Goes back to Lex to note that he’d leave for weeks at a time for extremely minor problems.

-Jim Herd: “Think of the worst word that you know, and it won’t be enough.” Jim kept telling him how he wanted Ole to book angles, and Ole said he would only book what Herd wanted if Herd was willing to take the blame if it failed. Naturally, when Black Scorpion failed, Ole got the blame and was replaced by Dusty.

-Thoughts on Flair leaving the NWA with the title: Ole gets needlessly pissy with the interviewer here, jerking him around about promoters in charge. The interviewer begins naming various WCW employees and bookers and Ole yells at him for being damn dumb. He finally gets to his point, which was that it didn’t matter that Flair had the belt because it didn’t mean anything anymore. The NWA stopped doing the annual vote for the champion after 1984 and the territorial promoters were all gone. The belt was a piece of tin, as far as Ole cared.

-Ole asks what it means that Jim fired a three-person booking committee in favor of just having Ole do it. The interviewer doesn’t give much of an answer, thinking he’s speaking rhetorically, and Ole goes off on him again for being damn dumb. Hey, It’s Ole-That-I-was-Expecting! Where ya been for the past 90 minutes?

-He liked working with Sid. Well, there’s another reason not to like the guy.

-The interviewer asks about the Black Scorpion, and will wonders never cease, Ole makes me laugh out loud by immediately cutting a promo in the Scorpion voice. Herd was riding Ole’s ass about the cards he was booking, so Ole sarcastically writes “Black Scorpion” as a joke name on a booking sheet, Herd takes him seriously and Ole is stuck having to turn it into an angle.

-Ole turns it into a feud and hires a magician to do stunts, hoping it’ll die a quick death, but then, whoops, it got over…by the way, you never hear about that when Black Scorpion is discussed, and if you weren’t watching at the time, you’re probably rolling your eyes at the thought of it getting over, but in fact, Ole is right. It was a HUGE angle for the first few weeks, and everybody I knew who was a wrestling fan at that point was talking about who it might be. The angle only died when it crossed that line where even the densest mark was able to figure out that there wasn’t a good pay-off coming.

-Ole denies jobbing out the younger talent in hopes that they would quit. He was actually jobbing them out because he didn’t think they were worth anything.

-Was surprised when Mick Foley turned into a huge star because Ole just remembered him for doing stupid, senseless things in his matches. Foley does the kind of things that “I don’t appreciate,” but wishes him well.

-Rob asks him about locker room morale after Tom Zenk got fed to Vader and Ole doesn’t understand the question. He rephrases it and Ole still doesn’t understand it, so he just goes back to his previous mantra that he killed guys off because they weren’t worth anything, not because they were young & new.

-Ole calls bullshit on stories of house show business dying under his watch, saying that in 1990, they were running two shows per day and averaging $25,000 per house.

-Ole got himself fired after a Marietta house show where he went on a tirade about what a moron Jim Herd was, then looked up and saw Jim standing at the top of a staircase.

-Wasn’t surprised by the speed with which Eric Bischoff fired his son Bryant. Thought Eric was a suck-ass who climbed the ladder by going to lunch with his bosses every day.

-Signed Marc Mero for $50,000 a year because Mero was just starting out and he thought that’s about what a new guy was worth. Bill Shaw overrules him and offers Marc $180,000 plus all airfare & motel expenses.

-Ole talks about getting fired by Eric Bischoff; The interviewer mentions Jim Cornette’s account, which was that Ole got fired for conducting business with SMW on WCW property. Ole disagrees, noting he was part of a group of people who got fired and thinks Blackjack Mulligan tattling on him for badmouthing Eric had more to do with it.

-Regrets writing a book because of the backlash he got for his opinions.

-Bobby Heenan: Brought him in to work with the Blackjacks, so when the Blackjacks left, Ole released him, too. Found out years later that Heenan had bought a house in Atlanta because he thought he was staying, and he’s been pissed off ever since.

-Ole tells the hilarious story of why he refused to appear in the Four Horsemen DVD.

-Ole doesn’t have any favorite angles from his years as a booker, only because he was so damn busy all the time that he never bothered thinking about which ones he liked.

-Talks about the period in his career where he was booking for both Mid-Atlantic and Georgia, meaning he was booking 100 guys for five cities a night. Not surprisingly, he got burned out quickly.

-Problems with today’s business: His big problem is that since everybody knows the big secret now, nobody puts forth the effort to even try to fool people. Cites a match that he worked with Erik Watts about seven years ago in front of a group of new guys training for the business, and they managed to fool the entire group into thinking the match was turning into a shoot. It doesn’t matter that the fans are smartened up, you can still make them believe if you try.

-Memories of the Freebirds: Terry Gordy was okay, Michael Hayes was an asshole. Hayes criticized him for outdated booking, but Ole fires back with an apples-to-oranges comparison to carpentry.

-Final message to the fans: Thanks to the fans for a wonderful career, and without the fans, he wouldn’t have had a career, period.

Game Show Utopia is the site you’ve come to know and accidentally click on at the end of the column.

The 411: You know what? It's no fun mocking a guy's stupidity when you're put in a position where he comes across as a reasonable, decent guy. The Ole Anderson seen here, with the exception of his random tangent about the interviewer being damn dumb, comes across as level-headed and sensible about what the business should be and what he can teach about it. Whether you agree with him or not, this is a good interview. Very highly recommended.
Final Score:  8.0   [ Very Good ]  legend

article topics

Adam Nedeff

Comments are closed.