Justin Credible talks battling addiction, Scott Hall

Apr 23, 2012 - by Steve Gerweck

This past week, the Shining Wizards Wrestling Podcast (www.shiningwizards.com) had the pleasure to sit down with PJ Palaco, better known in the wrestling world as Justin Credible. They discussed a variety of topics, including the origins of the Justin Credible character, his love for old school NWA and how ECW incorporated the NWA style of wrestling, his respect for Jerry Lynn and how they hope to steal the show again during Extreme Reunion, his personal battle with addiction and his feelings on Scott Hall and others who battle with substance abuse, and what his interests are outside the world of wrestling. Some highlights:
SW: “How did you end up in ECW?”

PJ: “Well, take you back to 1997. I was wrestling for WWF as Aldo Montoya, as “The Portuguese Man O’ War” They weren’t doing anything with me and the character was a little ridiculous. They really weren’t doing much. I was a young man, 23 years old, and I was like, you know what? I am really coming into my own as far as my work. And I just wanted an opportunity. I asked- I was good friends with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, and all those guys, and they were having a lot of success in WCW at the time, and a lot of power- so I asked for my release early to get out ’cause I still had a couple years left on my contract with Vince, and Vince would not let me go to WCW. Obviously, It would make them look bad to see another guy jump ship, go over there with Scott and Kev, So Vince gave me a partial release and let me go to Paul, ’cause Vince was working with Paul a little bit at the time. So they let me go to ECW and the rest was history. ”
SW: “How did the Justin Credible Character come about, the name and the look?”

PJ: “The look was just the flavor of the month at the time. Jean shorts, and as well, a lot of that had to do with I didn’t have any wrestling gear other than Aldo, and it was something i whipped up in a weeks notice. it just kinda stuck you know, the grunge look of the 90’s. And the name, Paul E saw the name on a bumper sticker one day and just thought, hey that would go good with you, and the character just really evolved as an extension of me.”
SW:” What advice would you have for younger athletes to keep them out of trouble? ”

PJ:” I think the culture of the business really has changed. And quite frankly back then the reason a lot of the guys went towards, they were using performance-enhancing steroids, and using painkillers and stuff really was because they had too. We were wrestling 300 plus days a year. I remember being on tours 25-30 days straight, without coming home, wrestling every night, sometime twice on sundays. You do a matinee and drive to the next town and do an evening show. They drive us into the ground. Nowadays the schedule is a lot lighter. It’s just a lot different. Vince is a lot more conscious of that. Back then, it was the wild west days, we were drunk or on drugs all the time. You had to do it to make it through, body wise we were all hurting bad, and you know, it just became real problematic and when you roll that hard of course you’re gonna have addiction and all other kinds of problems. Emotionally, mentally, physically, I just think some guys can handle it better than others. ”
SW:”You take guys like Scott Hall and Jake the Snake, these are guys that have great minds for the business.”

PJ: “Tremendous minds for the business, Scott is one of my best friends in the business. He is one of the smartest guys I have ever met as far as pro wrestling, the business end of it. Scott’s just always had his issues, and you know, unfortunately he is still in a bad place and it breaks my heart. He’s a great guy. ”
SW: “People Like Scott Hall who suffer from the disease of addiction, and things like that, they will change their lives when they whole-heartedly feel like doing it, and no one can push them to do it. ”

PJ: “I hope I am wrong, I don’t see Scott getting to that point. I unfortunately know Scott to well and I just think, you know, he is never gonna find that place. I think Scott is happiest when he is in the wrestling business and I think right now he has a real hole in his life and I think he is missing that, and I hope he finds it again, that happiness and that passion.”
SW: “We do too, you never wanna see anyone in that kind of condition”

PJ: “No not at all. I mean hell, I had my problems with addiction , not as well documented. I went through WWE sponsored rehab a couple of years ago, turned my life around, but its still a struggle for me everyday. I am thankful that it never reached those levels, and addiction is addiction and it doesn’t make it any different. It’s a real, unfortunately, a lot of us are a product of the times, just some guys handled it better then others and seeked out help, and others have not. Luckily the younger guys have learned from the car crash and the car wreck that it was and it’s definitely changed, and you know, not even a quarter of the guys out there, today are you know, most are straight edge and its very encouraging. ”
For the rest of the interview visit www.ShiningWizards.com. The Shining Wizards is a weekly wrestling podcast dedicated to discussion of WWE, TNA, ROH, DGUSA, Evolve, Chikara, CZW, Beyond Wrestling, and the entire wrestling scene, including talk of the yesteryear of the sport. Past guests included Nigel McGuinness, “Primetime” Sam Roberts, Drew Gulak, Gabe Sapolsky, Pat Buck, Jonny Mangue, and Rhett Titus. Join us every Thursday night and on Facebook for ongoing discussions about the state of the sport. The Shining Wizards, where it’s wrestling talk…..and talk about wrestling.

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