World Wrestling Insanity interview with Tommy Rich
Host: James Guttman
Interview available at WorldWrestlingInsanity.com via ClubWWI.
You’ve heard the speculation, the second-hand stories, and the slander. Now, hear his story in his words as only the legendary “Wildfire” Tommy Rich joins ClubWWI.com for a one hour shoot interview with James Guttman that hits you right between the eyes.
For the past 30 years, few stars have had the success and longevity of Tommy Rich. From his early days as NWA hero to his Full Blooded Italian ECW heritage, Rich has done it all. Now, he speaks to ClubWWI.com frankly about every topic you’d expect including: Heat With Ric Flair, The Two Things He Had With Him The Night He Hid Under The Ring For Jerry Lawler vs. Austin Idol, John Cena Blaming Old School Wrestling For Drugs, How Paul Heyman “Used To Talk a Rebel’s Game,” The Wrestler Who Named Him Wildfire, The Wrestler Who Wanted To Bring Him To The WWF, What Happened When He Tried Steroids, The Last Battle of Atlanta, The Promise Abdullah The Butcher Kept, Heat With Bill Watts, The Insane Payouts He Got From Bill and Eddie Graham, What Happened For The First Time At The ICP Show That Never Happened In His Entire Career, Why He Went To The AWA, Drinking, Vince McMahon Sr., Wahoo McDaniel, Chris Benoit, Dusty Rhodes in Polka Dots, and More. (read the full list on WorldWrestling Insanity.com)
A huge topic in Tommy’s career is the short NWA World Title reign he had when he defeated Harley Race. Wrestling historians and fans have wondered about the story behind it for years. Guttman asks Rich about it and cites Michael Hayes on a recent edition of WWE 24/7. Hayes said that the title switch was acutally a “screw job” like Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels. James asks Rich about this and Wildfire has plenty to say….
“I’m gonna tell you about Michael Hayes. Michael Hayes is a jealous man. First off, he wouldn’t be in, he can run his mouth good. That’s the only thing he can do. He wouldn’t even be in the wrestling business if it wasn’t for Buddy Roberts and Terry Gordy ’cause he would have gotten his ass whooped every time he came out of his door. Michael Hayes is a f–. That’s what I think about Michael Hayes. Michael Hayes don’t know nothing about my business. He don’t know nothing about his business.”
Tommy then goes into the incident between Hayes and Mark Henry, racism, the suspension that followed, and more. From there, he gives “The Real Deal” story of his NWA Title reign including the wrestler who called for it to happen, why it happened as it did, and the politics of it all. It’s a rare chance to hear the story of one of wrestling’s most mysterious moments from the man involved first hand. He then shifts his attention to other critics of his title reign.
“They can call me a seven day wonder. They can call me whatever they want to call me, but the bottom line is that those calling the names, they ain’t never been there. My name is on that paper. I’m up there with the real World Heavyweight Champions when wrestling was wrestling. So if I had just held it for 24 hours, it would still have been one of the biggest things in my life. And for anyone to say anything different of themselves that they wouldn’t have done it (for a short period of time), they’re a liar. You know what I’m saying? It ain’t a big deal to me. I’m proud of being a World Heavyweight Champion because I got to be one when wrestling was wrestling. And to be put in that group of guys, guys like Lou Thesz and Harley Race, the greatest, I mean, those guys were NWA World Champions. Nowadays they got 15 World Heavyweight Champions. What’s up with that?”
Aside from his entire career, Rich talks about today’s wrestling on ClubWWI. JG brings up the current shows and asks Tommy if he gets to see any of it. His response:
“I’ll be honest with ya. I used to flip through to see if I see some old buddies on there. I was flipping through one night and I see this old boy there in a Jacuzzi and I thought, oh boy! Bet some pretty girl’s gonna get down in here. And all of a sudden a boy came out and got in there with him. I never flipped back again even to look and see if one of my buddies was on there. Ain’t none of my buddies gonna be in no Jacuzzi with no other man. ”