Guest: : Lex Luger
Your Hosts: Patrick Kelley & James Walsh
Literally 18 years to the day after Lex Luger shocked the wrestling world and helped make the debut episode of WCW Nitro a success, we had occasion to sit down with the legendary former wrestling great. It was an amazing experience to speak with such an acomplished wrestling performer so candidly about his unique, often difficult journey through life over the past 10 years or so. From momement one, shooting the stuff about the upcoming football season, Luger seems happy for the first time in a long time and as a long-time fan and journalist, I can tell you that was a great thing to hear.
The interview, to promote his great new book called 'Wrestling with the Devil", discusses everything from career highlights to life lowlights and his finding of Jesus Christ. The book gives you such an amazing peak into the life of a wrestler who was amongst the absolute elite of our business and his rocky ride since his active wrestling career came to a close. I strongly suggest you picky it up. Tyndale, who also released NFL legend Tony Dungys book, did an amazing job piecing together a presentation in this book that both showcases Lex Luger's wrestling career and, as it should be, his personal life. You can buy it now at book stores everywhere and at www.Amazon.com.
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"THE TOTAL PACKAGE" LEX LUGER
On the release of his book: "So far, so good". He had help writing the book and says that getting the right people to help him write the biography was why the release was pushed back a few times. He jokes that the delays were entirely on him but is thrilled to have it out now.
On Sting: "Still are best of friends...we talk all the time". Luger says he was honored to speak for Sting during his TNA Hall of Fame induction and maintains a close friendship with Steve Borden to this very day. Sting also wrote the foreward to Luger's autobiogrpahy which some, including James, say is worth the price of the book in and of itself as it is so well done.
On contacting WWE regarding possible use of pictures for the book: "I have a great relationship with them now". Luger said that he could have gotten pictures from them for his book if he had asked, but the publishers opted to have personal pictures used instead. He feels it was the right move as the personal pictures make it a more personal feel rather than a career retrospective.
On his relationship with Vince McMahon: "I know he wants to come off as "Bad Boy Billionare" but he's not", said Luger. Luger elaborates saying that when he was down and out after wrestling with all the problems he faced, Vince always went out of his way to check in on him and offer help. He feels not enough people realize that Vince is a genuinely good person on top of business man. But, he says that is probably by Vince's own design.
Comparing the WWF from the NWA/WCW he previously knew: "Vince is a creative genius", says Luger. He puts over the great things he did in the NWA like being a member of the Horsemen but he loved the Narcisist character and felt it could have gone further. When he was approached about the "Yankee Doodle Dandy" patriotic gimmick later dubbed the "American Rebel" by Stan Lane on commentary, Luger says he remembers speaking to Vince about it and not being sure if it woudl work. Vince said, "When you step off that boat, you're going to be a red, white, and blue hero". He says he was right and it was an amazing run.
On jumping to WCW for the first Nitro: "It was huge! To have worked a WWF house show the night before and the following night be on Nitro?", says Luger. James mentions, as is touched upon in the book, it was the start of the contractual system that we know today where every name has a no compete clause and a set deal.
On beating Hollywood Hulk Hogan for the WCW Title: "I didn't know until I got to the ring!", Luger says. Luger says that Hogan felt the WCW fans needed a positive as the nWo had been getting the better of them for so long. He was honored that he felt strongly enough to choose him to be the guy to capture the belt. "It was only a week, but it was huge!" He then jokes about the after match celebration and the Giant (Big Show) carrying him around like a little baby. James says it felt special because they stuck with the celebration. They then joke about how long it took to scrub off the nWo paint.
On Miss Elizabeth: "I had a very negative influence on her at the time". He felt that he needed to acknowledge all his misakes in the book in order to make it a complete and honest account of his life. He approched Elizabeth's passing with honesty and acknowledges the level of tragedy.
On his brief return to the ring in 2003 with TNA: "I was a mess back then", Luger said. On the appearances (a tag match with Jarrett against Sting and AJ and an attack on AJ wher ehe slammed him over the top through a table weeks later), Luger said he remembers that AJ Styles was an absolutely incredible athlete and an incredible guy as well. He says he's glad to see TNA has a strong foundation but obviously is not yet in any position to compete with the WWE.
On his finding of Jesus Christ: "I was basically an Athiest", said Luger. His journey to salvation began prior in 2006 while in jail. But, it was tested and made stronger in 2007 when he attended what we lovingly call the "Fiasco in Frisco" fan convention at the Cow alace. He suffered a muscle injury in his spine that made him paralyzed. He couldn't move his arms or legs. "Could you imagine, a guy who worked out religiously not being able to move?", says Luger. He says when he asked the doctor how long he'd be without the ability to move, he was told forever. Thankfully, that has not turned out to be the case. He can walk and drive now. He says he is grateful to have that kind of movement back and does not take it for granted.
Listen to the full interview at www.WrestlingEpicenter.com . The show also includes a post show where James & Patrick discuss The Fallout of Summerslam and the current state of TNA.