Eric: Your autobiography, Hacksaw: The Jim Duggan Story, was recently published. What made you decide to write it and what can my readers expect from it?
Jim Duggan: Triumph Books contacted me about doing the book. I had never really thought of doing a book even though a lot of the guys have. It was just something that I wasn't quite ready to do. But, Triumph Books kind of gave me that little nudge to get me going.
I think the book, overall in general, is a positive look at the wrestling world. I mean, so many have seen The Wrestler or heard the horror stories about professional wrestling. I've been doing it for 33 years and it's been a good profession for me. I raised my family, paid for my home, and live a normal life and it is because of professional wrestling that this has happened.
Eric:You recently wrestled on SmackDown as part of the Blast from the Past Night. Can you tell me a little bit about that evening?
Jim Duggan: Of course it was great to be back with the WWE at any level. I had no idea before I wrote the book that I would be back with WWE so that was kind of a surprise. As an old-timer in the business, it is different to go back and take a look at it now. You can kind of appreciate the size of the WWE and the power of professional wrestling. Just all the TV trucks, the 18-wheelers, the buses, the limos, the cars, security, it is just such a huge operation. Of course, when you are younger, you kind of get caught up in the lifestyle and you don't realize exactly what's going on. Like I said in my book, I always bust the NFL guys, I'm like World Champions, you guys ever been to Japan or Australia. It's unbelievable the appeal of the WWE throughout the world.
Eric: When you go to one of these events, how do the young guys treat you? Do they come up to you and ask for advice because I've always been curious about how the youngsters treat the old-timers?
Jim Duggan: I think in general with wrestling, even on the independent circuit, the young guys are extremely respectful, almost to a fault they're too respectful. Those guys are always very congenial, even the top guys. [John] Cena, I was very impressed with Big John the first time I met him. It's different than it was in the old days. An old-timer hanging around in the old days was somebody that was in the way and someone that you wanted to get out of the way so you could move up.
Eric: What is the match or moment in your career that you look back on most fondly?
Jim Duggan: I think without question, it was main eventing at Madison Square Garden with Andre the Giant. That was probably the highlight of my career. Of course, I grew up in upstate New York and I've been to the Garden as a kid many times. And being able to wrestle Andre the Giant at Madison Square Garden was just a double whammy.
Eric:: Back when Mid-South Wrestling transformed into the Universal Wrestling Federation, you were not only the North American Champion but were also arguably the most popular star in the territory. What were your thoughts on the company deciding to expand?
Jim Duggan: That was the trend back then, everyone was trying to expand. It was grow or die as Vince was growing bigger and bigger. Bill Watts had a great product back then. You look at the talent and it's a who's who of wrestling and we would do Super Dome shows. But, I don't think that anyone is better than Vince McMahon at taking a company to the level it's been taken. I don't think anyone else would have accomplished that. The territory days are dead and that's too bad but that is just the passage of time and that just happens.
Eric: After you left the UWF, you joined the WWE. How difficult was the transition from a company that valued tough guys and blood and guts to a company that was geared more towards children?
Jim Duggan: Well it was an adjustment. The biggest adjustment of course was having to fly every day and going to cities long before you had GPS devices. You can only imagine flying into Los Angeles and having to say I'll be at the arena at 6:30. You're like, what, how do I get there, what do I do. The hard part was just the logistics of coming from a small territory into a world-wide territory where guys were flying all over the world. That was an adjustment.
The in-ring stuff wasn't too bad as my character evolved from the blood-and-guts chopping meat of Bill Watts. It actually got kind of comical with the cape and the crown, the flag, the board, the thumb, the tongue and the crossed eyes. I was the King of wrestling in the WWE. So it run the gamut of chopping meat to being crazy.
The interview concludes on the following page.