Steve Blackman Interview Transcript

Steve Blackman interviewThe following interview with former WWE star Steve “The Lethal Weapon” Blackman! The interview was taped December 27, 2003. This interview was previously broadcast on Pro Wrestling Radio.

Eric Gargiulo: What have you been up to since we have last seen you in the public eye?

Steve Blackman: The last couple of years I have been teaching karate, submission fighting, and things like that. I had my neck worked on. I primarily left wrestling because, I just had bad headaches due to some pinched nerves in my neck and I finally had that taken care of a few months ago. I have been just kind of rehabbing that. I was hoping I could it would be back 100% by now so I could make a decision on whether I want to try to get back in the ring or not, but it is still giving me a little problems with the nerves down my arm and so on. So I am just kind of rehabbing, working out, trying to get healthy again and make a decision on what I want to do.

Eric: Was the recent neck surgeries a lot of the WWE stars have had over the last couple of years available to you when you hurt your neck?

Steve: At first I did not know of a place to have that done, like the procedure Angle had done. After he had it done I went out and saw the same doctor. Now he had a different problem. He had discs pushing in like on his spinal cord, I had bone spurs digging in nerves in my neck. It is still the same procedure they went through the front of your neck down into your back, your downtime is a lot less, you are in the gym sooner, and so on. So I opted for that than the other route and being laid up for a year.

Eric: Was the neck injury more a result of the twenty years of martial arts, or pro wrestling bumps?

Steve: I mean I can’t say for sure, I am sure it all contributed. The first few years that I was back in wrestling was when it started to come on. The pain was much worse, so I just kind of lived with headaches every day. Probably from years of karate, football, wrestling, everything together.

Eric: Is it hard mentally to not be able to physically compete right now like you are used to?

Steve: It is frustrated. I wish I was at a 100 percent right now so I could get in the ring around here for a month or two, try to polish up, see if I feel good again, and maybe give Vince a call to see what’s going on. Even before when I was in there, I felt if I wouldn’t have had such a problem that I should have carried the ball better than I did so to speak.

Eric: Can you talk a little about Ground and Pound Gear (http://www.gnpgear.com)?

Steve: Some friends of mine started it down in Atlantic City, NJ and they asked Ken (Shamrock) and I to come on board with them. Every time you see UFC fights, people are always saying, “Take him to the ground and pound him.” So the Ground and Pound logo kind of stuck. They put it on shirts, the gear is pretty cool. A lot of shirts, sweat shirts, hats, and so on. It is some cool looking gear. If you watched the last UFC, Randy Coulture and his fighters wearing it, and some of the other guys, so it is starting to spread around pretty well.

Eric: Do you have a back up plan should your body not recover from your neck injuries?

Steve: I have a few options. I was out in Los Angeles for a while making some connections again out there at the beginning of the year. I had met some people while I was on the road about being in the movies or being a fight scene choreographer, something like that. I have been looking at some clubs. I have thought about opening a night club. I don’t know. I have been running through some things in my mind, trying to figure out what I want to do, but I wanted to wait and see how I felt after I had this procedure done, because I felt if I was 100% I was going to wrestle somewhere for a couple of more years. Like I said once, or twice before, if I can get my strength back to where it was a few months before the operation, and I have the same speed and strength that I had a few years ago, then I would continue to do it. I am realistic. If I feel that I look out of shape, I’m slower, or whatever, I will just bite the bullet and say, “It’s time to move on.” If I can maintain a similar credibility that I had before, I’ll just keep doing it.

Eric: If you were back to 100& and the WWE did not have room for you, would you be open to working for one of the Japanese offices?

Steve: Yeah, I have considered that. I actually had an opportunity to do that. I just put it off because I was going to get my neck done. I’ve got the opportunity to do that, something in England. Shamrock and I might just work in England. Like eight or nine times out of the year. There’s other options, but naturally if you are in the states then Titan is where you want to be. Unless you are really opposed to being on the road that often.

Eric: Do you still watch any WWE television?

Steve: I’d say 50% of the time.

Eric: What are your thoughts on what you have seen?

Steve: Um, it’s not bad. I mean it always goes in spurts. Wrestling is big for a few years, and then it drops off. Then it’s big, and then it drops off. Now 98, 99, 2000 those years are going to be hard to top, because it was really big. Someday it will get back to that. I have seen it, they have a lot of new young talent in there. Some of the guys are getting over. Most of the guys appear to be good workers, they just need to polish up a few things, they’ll move them along.

Eric: How did the tag team with Al Snow come about?

Steve: I don’t know, we just kind of fell into that, they put us together. We were doing something backstage, we had like a funny promo and it kind of stuck. After that people started doing that head cheese gimmick. You know people used to pop see what crazy thing that Al was going to have me do on the next TV. Every week he had me doing something ridiculous. I didn’t even believe him when I’d get there. Somebody would say, “Hey, come over here. We are going to do this with you.” I would be like, “Yeah right.” Like ten times in row, I wouldn’t believe them, and every time that was what we would be doing. It became amusing, people liked it for that aspect of it too. A change of pace, much out of character for me. As soon as they would bring us out, people would pop. Like what stupid thing is Al going to have him doing this week?

Eric: Did you enjoy it, or do you prefer your more straight-laced character?

Steve: I did that straight-laced character for a while, that is pretty much my persona but certainly in that type of business you should be more charismatic, be more open for things like that. That was getting over well. Even that stuff I was doing with Brian Christopher later on. That was amusing and out of character, and people got into that too. That is one thing I would definitely change if I went back. I would still have the same fighting attitude in the ring, but there are just certain times you just have to be more charismatic and do different things. That’s how you have to work that business.

Eric: How crazy were things backstage during the peak of the Monday night wars?

Steve: We did watch their show occasionally, it’s not like we were addicted to the TV or anything. If we were in there and somebody had it on, we’d check it out. It wasn’t faithfully. I only remember having it on there a few times. We watched our show to criticize our show and try to make it better, and stuff like that. Plus, back then it seemed like there were so many good gimmicks. It seemed that everybody that came on, people liked. Everyone had a good angle going, a lot of good gimmicks, people liked all of the different acts, and stuff like that. So, no I can’t say. Yeah, we wanted to do better than them. It’s not like the guys sat around and waited for their show.

Eric: How different was Vince from going from number 1 to number 2, back to number 1 again?

Steve: Vince, he doesn’t. He’s hard to read sometimes. Naturally I am sure he felt good about it. His show was doing well, it was popular. I mean, when you are outdrawing Monday Night Football then you are doing something right. And the guys were working hard too. Everybody was working hard in the ring there for a few years, everybody was healthy for a while, things just seemed to go well.

Eric: What do you remember about the Survivor Series 1997, because you were still pretty new in the WWF at the time?

Steve: Some of the guys that were relatives or tight with Bret felt some loyalty to stick with him. Under the circumstances for everyone that knows what happened and figured it out, I can’t blame Vince a damn bit for the way it went. If I was in his same situation I’d have done the same thing.

Eric: Ken talked about losing his cool once during a match when he was in the WWF. Do you recall ever losing your cool?

Steve: I think that’s pretty much happened to everyone a couple of times. It just happens, you want to do something, things don’t go as well. Things just don’t go the way you want them too, you get all pissed off, and go backstage, throw a temper tantrum, and then five minutes later everything is ok.

Eric: Are you surprised at the success of Rock and Triple H?

Steve: Yeah, Rock he carried the ball well. He started out just like everyone else. What I mean by that is, microphone ability kind of just there, nothing special. And then all of the sudden he developed that niche on the mic, and learned how to flow on that thing, plus he is a great worker in the ring, great psychology, great worker, looks good, yeah so he carried the ball well and he took off. I mean could I sit there and say, I mean when I first got in there it’s not like I would have said, “Hey, that guy’s going to make it to the top.” It’s hard to tell. Sometimes people just break out of that shell all of the sudden, and develop that niche, and flow with it. I mean, Austin kind of came out of nowhere when he started that 3:16. People love him. He’s great on the mic.

Eric: On your time in HWA, was it hard to adjust to going from the WWF to the HWA? Did you enjoy working with the younger kids down there?

Steve: I don’t mind working with the younger guys. After Brian Christopher and I ended our little run there together, I went home trying to let this neck heal a little bit, and so on, and figure out what new angle, or gimmick that I wanted to use, or they were going to have me do, so I was sent down there to polish up a little bit before I was ready to come back. You can’t just sit at home and do nothing because you want to be sharp when you get back in the ring. I didn’t mind working with the younger guys, it’s good to do that. It’s boring down there, but it’s necessary.

Eric: What were some of your favorite and memorable matches from your time in the WWF?

Steve: Oh, let me look back. I have had a lot of interesting matches. Well, Shane (McMahon) and I had an interesting match at Summerslam. Some of the other hardcore matches I had. Man, I wrestled a lot of guys. I did the hardcore thing for about a year. We had a lot of fun with those. Some of it was painful, but it was still fun when you are getting hit over the head with sticks every night. I had a lot of interesting matches with Owen (Hart.) Shamrock and I had a lot of interesting matches. A pretty good variety.

Eric: Thanks for taking time out of your holiday to join us. I would love to have you back in a few weeks to update all of the fans on your neck and status?

Steve: Sounds good, give me a buzz.

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