ALI STEVENS: A CONVERSATION PART II 

ALI STEVENS: A CONVERSATION PART II

What do you think of WCW releasing a lot of talent, especially older talent?

Well, my honest opinion of that is that you have to look at the person, the individual themselves because there were people who said that I needed to step aside in power pro. There are people who said that, but as the champion, whenever I came out there was a packed studio and I had 200 kids in my face, that’s who makes the decisions.

As far as the older guys, I don’t know. I don’t know how big a pop Kevin Nash gets. To me I will always be a Hulk Hogan fan. Whether I think hulk Hogan can wrestle, I don’t know and I’m not really going to comment on that. But I will say the man has sold out buildings and the man puts butts in the seats. But whether or not I think he deserves to step down so somebody else can step up, even he said on his interview, yes he would if a person came along who could do what he did, what he does which is put butts in those seats. I think the people who dogged Hogan out forgot the fact that Hogan had no problem stepping aside for Goldberg. Matter fact, he’s one of the only ones who did at first, so now I think it’s a point that do I think the older guys need to step aside or do they need to step up the pace; that’s the question. For instance everybody’s looking at Rock and HHH for instance the matches they’ve had; you take that match and you look at a WCW main event. But now you got Booker T. and Jeff Jarret, guys who will go and they will go and they will you know, Booker T. will work his ass off and Jarret will work his ass off, so can you compare that main event to a Rock and HHH main event? Yeah, so I don’t know if that’s an older guy stepping down if you take Kevin Nash out of the picture or Rick Steiner out of the picture I don’t know; I guess it depends on how you look at it?

Do you have any idea when we’ll see you on TV with WCW?

The story was supposed to be things were supposed to happen mid- to late-September probably after the Pay Per View, but something a lot of people don’t know I blew out my knee and I have a torn Lateral Meniscus that has to be repaired. That’s why I’m home now. I got the MRIs yesterday and they’re going to look at them and let me know if I have to be operated on so I could be out for 2-3 weeks. Which will pretty much blow my September start date. There was an opportunity that looked like it may have happened soon but it probably will be moved back until I’m completely healed, so it’s hard to say. But I can definitely say will be before the end of the year. Put it this way: after the knee is healed I’m going to push even harder and do everything I can to get that spot going, so I don’t plan on waiting any longer than I have to.

Everybody in Memphis knows you’re going to be on TV in no time!

I’m hoping so, I mean they pulled me off of TV there so, I’m hoping so. I’ll admit I’ll miss working down there--the fans are great there and like I said in my last interview, I think we shocked a lot of people, by we I mean myself and the fans, and PPW we shocked a lot of people being able to keep our heads afloat and things built up with what we were up against. I would like to see how things go now with the PPW and the MCW situation. Competition is good.

I would like to give an opinion on something:

This has been totally bothering me that I’ve been reading about and I don’t know how many people are into your newspaper or whatever, but you know this is something ...

First of all, a lot of people nowadays say that Randy and MCW certain older people from wrestling are talking about Randy and MCW are killing of this business. That’s a bunch of bull. First of all they’re killing off the business by saying these things. The fact of the matter is, wrestling is show business it always has been from Day One; way back to the days when it was a shoot, it was still entertainment.

When wrestling first started it was a carnival attraction and a guy first had to let one or two people beat him before they put the big bets out there. It was a wrestling attraction back then -- then he kicked the guys butt. The fact is this: as we grow up, as you and I have grown what we saw and caught our attention does not catch the eye of the fans these days. You know, we got up the guy worked a hold for 20 minutes worked up, got back in the hold, if it was a good guy We were totally in that phase of good guy/bad guy. These days it doesn’t work like that because half the people nowadays cheer for the bad guys more than they cheer for the good guys.

And I heard about an interview that a certain person did on one of these major Internet things and everybody talked about. If we went out there. I do think there’s not enough wrestling in pro wrestling these days but I also know that without those high spots and stuff like that it wouldn’t be no different than it was 10 years ago and people wouldn’t watch it. Its like a car; there are people out there saying they made a new Corvette they messed it up but if you say that to a 16 year old kid, he’ll say what the hell you talking about? The new corvettes are the funk!! That’s the same thing here. The people who barely watch wrestling anymore -- you got to think about wrestling is geared to people 16-35 or 40 years old people. And they try to keep the wrestling in it for the 25 and up. But the rest of the biggest people who buy those t-shirts are kids. And they want to see stuff that’s going to make them go ooohhh and ahhhhhhhh so that crap about we’re killing wrestling; no the reason why Randy ‘n’em can’t draw is because there are two national TV shows, and when these guys are talking all that shit, what’s his name Kenny Wayne or whatever his name was--Buddy Wayne, I told Buddy to his face the fact is “I’m not the Rock.”

You’ve got to give people what they want to see, yes that is true, but Lawler doesn’t even pull anymore. And that’s in Memphis! MCW’s been running shows with Lawler’s name on posters forever and they don’t draw. The fact is, if you’re not an national TV; if you’re not something that people want to see with the posters up in their rooms and all that kind of stuff, it’s hard to draw down there. That’s all there is to it. There’s a lot of competition now.

When they talk about how many people they used to draw, that’s where there was territories; they didn’t’ have the WWF to deal with...I’d like to see Buddy Wayne -- now remember Buddy Wayne has drawn some shows, his own shows. I suppose he was putting the shows together the way he said they should be down. He doesn’t draw shit. I know; we worked some of them. He didn’t draw nothing! That’s the bottom line to it. When the WWF of the WCW comes somewhere you’re talking about thousands and thousands of dollars of advertising money. Randy doesn’t have that; MCW doesn’t have that. You’re also talking about what you’re you going to do, you’re going to save your $10 and have $20 to go to a WWF show or spend your $10 to go to a PPW show? You’re going to save and go to those WWF shows and get you a front seat ticket. And that’s the bottom line to it.

So all these people going around talking that crap about, you know they forget back then it was territories and people waited for it because it wasn’t on national TV. I think there were only two shows out: Wrestling at the Chase, AWA, and USWA. Neither of them was on national broadcast. So when you came to a town it was something to see. That’s why they drew back then. And Harley Race will tell you that; that’s where I got it from. Harley Race, Jake the Snake any of those guys will tell you the difference now than the difference then. So when all those people are talking all that trash, No--that’s a bunch of trash. They make it sound like the young guys are killing off the business because we do--shit man come on, that made me mad, I’m sorry I was just venting on that one cause I keep hearing about this stuff and it’s like man we’re not killing anything, we’re trying to keep it alive.

Yeah, it’s pretty obvious that people’s tastes have changed otherwise there would be no ECW.

Ain’t that the truth I mean people want realism, and if I don’t like you and you and I are really fighting and we’re fighting for the title, I’m going to hit your ass with a chair. Buddy Wayne refereed a match I did in Nashville and he got real upset about the sleeper hold. Well, first of all, Buddy, people don’t go to sleep on a sleeper hold anymore. First of all nobody is going to sit there and let you hold them long enough to do it. It’s just my opinion, but it seems to be the opinion of a lot of the young wrestlers coming up and as far as when they’re talking PPW and MCW suck and they draw fleas its not a point they can’t draw fleas. It’s the fact that most towns you go to people don’t know about the shows #1 there’s not enough advertising out there. #2 depending on what else is going on, PPW you can watch that stuff for free on TV. It’s a whole different. I don’t know, that’s just my opinion. I would like to see everybody quit dogging the independents out saying that they can’t draw; no you can’t draw compared to the WWF and WCW and I would love to see any of those guys who are talking all that trash about how they used to draw because, shit, Ohio Valley doesn’t draw like they had how many WWF stars on their last big show and what did the draw 5 or 6 hundred? Building will hold 3000?

So do you think independents are still needed with the popularity of the WCW and WWF?

Oh yeah, cause without them where would we come from? Your new stars if you look at both of the shows there’s a lot of new talent and there’s a lot of people who never wrestled before. I mean look at Kurt Angle he did Olympic wrestling, but where did he learn his trade? Last I remember he was down there at power pro with us? Where did he learn to work the mike? Last I remember he was down at Power Pro with us. Where would I come from? Where would half those guys come from? You know. You need independents, even though both of the big two have their own wrestling schools, they really don’t like the idea of starting fresh with somebody. Kevin Northcutt and me came into the Power Plant and were proud to be there. But we’re also helping guys that are new learn, so you need that, you know? You need guys that have been around and know that basics, that way, the coaches themselves, Like the Sarge, would be going through a lot if he had to deal with all the guys that come through there by himself. He’d be taking bump, after bump, after bump, after bump.

So there’s definitely a place for Indies. Without them, you wouldn’t have the superstars. But the problem is, there people that run independents that need to understand that, “Hey look, when I’m looking at something on TV, when I go to an independent show, that’s what I want to see -- not some fat ass ‘Jug-a-lug’--” When a woman comes to a show, she wants to see a Rock, or a HHH--you know, a well built man! She doesn’t want to see her husband.

That’s the problem with Indies nowadays. The only people I know who [really encourages the wrestlers to get in shape] are Harley Race--and Bert [Prentis] --And down South, you have so many wrestling groups that think they know something--They all think they have what it takes to be a star--but ask they how many times they have been to a gym. You see them in the locker room smoking cigarettes, and drinking in the locker room--and they can’t cut a promo to save their life!

(You can e-mail James Haley at jhaley@memphisflyer.com)

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