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Road Warrior Animal Interview Page 2/3

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Road Warrior Animal Interview Page 2/3

Road Warrior Animal

Matt Turner/Getty Images
Eric: Speaking of Hawk, sadly he passed away a few years ago as have many of the wrestlers you have been in the ring against. What are your thoughts about the current WWE Wellness Policy and do you think it can help stop the epidemic of wrestlers dying at such a young age?

Road Warrior Animal: You know, here’s the thing. Unfortunately, wrestling took a bad hit for that because it happened to be wrestlers. No one said anything when Mickey Mantle was a drunk his whole career because baseball was so respected. Look at Darryl Strawberry and these other guys. If you really wanted to get nit-picky about it, you could find just as many baseball players who have gotten in trouble.

Unfortunately, we’re in a profession that we’re on the road. Our business is year round. So therefore, our stress levels are higher. Our cortisol levels are higher, which are released naturally in the body. I think the Wellness Policy is a great idea. We’re independent contractors so I love seeing the company say we’re offering a wellness policy to you guys to make sure that you stay healthy, fit, and alive.

One thing I think has to be watched more are the concussions. You know, the WWE took a bad rap with Chris Benoit. The next few seconds were not audible. You can’t count on that one freak time when somebody is going to be home by themselves and say hey. Another one of the problems with those drugs, and it’s all prescription medication, is that you wake up in the middle of the night and you forgot you took them so you take some more to go to sleep and the next thing you know, you took too much. You know, it’s tough to explain.

But I think that the Wellness Policy is a great idea. I’d like to see them take it one step further and have everybody in the company supplied with Blue Cross or Blue Shield or some kind of medical coverage as part of the contract. They need that. You see, guys don’t go out and get checked because some guys can’t afford to go out and get checked on what they make. You’ve got to figure, you’re on the road 365 days. Even if you’re on the road half-as many days, you’re traveling so much that you don’t have the time to go to the Doctor a lot of times. And the guys don’t pay for the insurances. And it would be nice to have the insurances.

Eric: Who came up with the idea for Rocco and what went through your mind when you heard that you were going to be paired up with a ventriloquist dummy?

Road Warrior Animal: Ha, ha. I got asked this question in an interview the other day. Let’s just say that Rocco disappeared shortly after making his debut on television. He was purposely lost in the airlines in the luggage.

The WWF, they had a group of writers. Whose idea it was? It definitely wasn’t Hawk’s or mine, I’ll tell you that right now. People have to understand the concept of it. It wasn’t done to put a joke on anybody, it was the fact that we were so overpowering in the ring and that nobody believed that anybody could beat us. You could have put Andre the Giant and Hulk Hogan against us and they wouldn’t have believed that they could have beaten us in the ring. So they were trying to figure out something to soften us up so if somebody was beating us up, the fans could say “Oh, they’re really getting to the Legion of Doom” and start cheering for us. So they tried the ventriloquist dummy. They were also doing it for marketing purposes figuring that they could sell a whole bunch of stuff at arenas throughout the country.

We had that dummy with us when we went to Wembley Stadium (note: SummerSlam ’92). I’d love to have run it over with the Harley to be quite honest with you.

Eric: One of the questions I get asked most about on this site is becoming a professional wrestler. What advice would you give to my readers that might want to become a wrestler?

Road Warrior Animal:Here’s what you have got to do. First of all, get your butt into the gym and work out. Get as big as you can. Get as strong as you can naturally because you are going to have to deal with throwing bodies around the ring. Just don’t try to be some Joe Schmoe off the street or some skinny kid trying to get into the ring because it is not going to work.

You can go to the WWE’s site and they have camps that you can go to or at least try out to go to. There are camps all around the country. You’ve just got to go and find the quality guy to go and learn from.

You’ve got to be an athlete. It’s got to be second nature. You’ve got to know how to work and use the other guy's momentum in your favor. It may not be a bad idea to go to an Ultimate Fighting school for awhile, just to get the training under your belt for a month, and get yourself into wind-shape or ring-shape because that is very important.

I think that the WWE and TNA have something on their site that you can go down to one of their camps or whatever they call them now. The WWE has one down in Florida that is the minor league of professional wrestling, Florida Championship Wrestling. They used to have other training centers, one in Louisville and one in Georgia. They canceled them both and moved them down to Florida so guys are learning to wrestle there.

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