Kevin Sullivan Rips ROH’s Business Model, Explains Comedic Hulk Hogan Dungeon of Doom Skits, more

May 18, 2018 - by James Walsh

Show: Interactive Wrestling Radio
Guest: Kevin Sullivan
Date: 05/18/18
Your Host: James Walsh

Dusty Rhodes used to call our guest this week the “Devil Himself”, if you will. Kevin Sullivan is a true legend in wrestling having been both a successful in ring performer in seemingly every major promotion except the WWE. We discuss a few career highlights as a booker includin mhis famed angle with Hulk Hogan and convincing Hogan to turn heel and form the New World Order as “Hollywood” Hogan. Plus, some incredible stories about his time working with Brian Pillman and an extremely interesting take on All In and Ring of Honor.

Sullivan will be taking part in a fan fest that will serve as the retirement show for “Fantastic” Bobby Fulton of the Fantastics who is calling it a career in Centerville, OH this Memorial Day weekend. You can follow the link below to the facebook page of the event to find out more includin who else will be appearing. Such stars as Abyss, Brian Pillman Jr, Bobby Eaton, Jim Cornette, Shane Douglas, Demolition Ax, and more are confirmed.

To listen or watch a YouTube video of the interview, visit the Wrestling Epicenter web site.  For more information on World Classic Professional Big TIme Wrestling’s fan fest, click here.


On the legacy of the Fantastics:
“They were the most underrated and under-appreciated tag teams of all time. Look at who they worked with. The Midnight Express, the Road Warriors, I think they had a thing with the Fabulous Ones. They were really a great team. And, not disparaging anyone, especially someone that has passed on, but Bobby (Fulton) was the camptain of the team.”


On his work with Brian Pillman in WCW and the creation of the “Loose Cannon” Character:
“We lost not only a great talent. We lost a guy that would have been the greatest booker of all time. He gave Terry Funk and I an idea one time to where Terry and I looked at each other and said, “WOW! This kid thinks outside the box!” Do you remember when the Bengals were in the Super Bowl? That was when (Edward) Debartolo sent the two hookers up to the hotel room of one of the receivers and he was smoking crack in the hotel room when they knocked the door down. Well, Brian could get on the side lines. He told us he was going to wait until the ball was near one of the goal posts, he was going to take his clothes off while running, bringing chains, and padlock himself naked to the post. Tell me that would not have went all over the world! Everybody would have known who he was. And, I’m sorry. I don’t mean to demeen anybody but when they say “Loose Cannon”, there is only one “Loose Cannon” and don’t demean yourself by trying to copy something. Hey, there was only one Leonardo Da Vinci. Don’t try to be another “Loose Cannon.”


On his take of the home invasion between Pillman and Steve Austin:
“Everybody says about that gun incident, “That went too far,” right? Well, aren’t we still talking about it? (laughs) When you talk about reat feuds in wrestling, whether it be the (Bruiser) Brody and (Stan) Hansen versus The Shiek and Abdullah (The Butcher) or Dusty (Rhodes)versus Terry (Funk). We wouldn’t even bring those up if Brian had lived until he retired because the only feud that we would have talked about was Austin and Pillman. That is how good Brian Pillman was!”


On Sami Callihan saying “Booker Man” ala Pillman at Superbrawl VI on Impact:
“WOW! I’m very familiar wth Sami Callihan. Sami hit me in the head with a chair and I had a lump that looked like an alien coming out! Sami’s a very talented guy. That match (Superbrawl VI), probably the biggest compliment I ever got in my life. Kevin Nash told me when he was with WWE, a bunch of them went to a hotel room and bought our pay per view because they wanted to see me and Pillman.”


On Sullivan sending Pillman down to ECW while still working for WCW to sell the angle:
“Well, Brian worked us all. He was such a great performer and a mastermind. He actually had wanted to go to WWE so he worked a thing where he got fired by us, supposedly, he was being paid by us and we sent him to ECW to make it look legit. He was getting paid by ECW while working there. And, he was getting paid by Vince McMahon! He was getting three pay checks! He was such a brilliant guy!”


On the Dungeon of Doom / Hulkamania vignettes that get made fun of these days:
“Well, that wasn’t my character driven usual person. Look at who I had. I was using guys that Hogan was comfortable with. I was using cartoonish guys he had worked with and was comfortable with. I was doing this so he would be comfortable with me because of my mind. When he first got there, I knew he woudln’tdraw money as a baby face. You’ve got to realize. I’m going to go ask Hulk Hogan who revolutionized the wrestling business to turn heel and give up all his merchandise and all his extra curricular activities that he’s making money on? Who am I? So, I’d better make him comfortable because he’s bringing in guys that are his friends. So, why don’t I lump them together instead of putting them in every other segment? You know what I mean? There was (John) Tenta, (Brutus) Beefcake… I could go on down the line. Isn’t it better to put them all in one segment and get it over with? Wouldn’t it be? I mean, you could go to the doctor and get one shot in your ass or you could get six shots. You get it over with! But, it was stragetically designed to get him comfortable with me and trust me.”


On convincing Hulk Hogan to turn heel at Bash at the Beach 1996:
“Well, I’ll tell you how I did it. We were in Chicago, Hulk came out and “Mean” Gene (Okerlund) saved the night because they boo’d (Hogan) out of the building. Gene said, “This is a somber mood. You can hear the people.” I went to him (Hogan) and said, “There’s no turning back now. We’ve got to turn you.” Everybody was against it. Everybody was in his ear! That night, he brought his agent to my house. He, Hogan, stayed in my house. I drove him down the street to the event as the event started.I was going to make sure no one touched him or got to him. And, the rest is history!”


On the nWo’s Impact on the Attitude Era and late ’90’s Wrestling Boom:
“They (the nWo) were the catalyst.”


On the nWo versus the Bullet Club:
“Here’s the thing. You usually, in wrestling, can bring the same idea back years later. But, you can’t today because of the Internet. You remember how I said about Brian Pillman being Leonardo Da Vinci? You can’t ever top those guys. But, the Bullet Club comes damn close! But, they’re making the same mistakes that they made with the nWo. How many people are in the Bullet Club now? 122? I think of myself as a historian, a half-assed historian, we dont’ learn anything from history and we continue to make the same mistakes. The nWo in my mind should have been Eric Bischoff, (Hollywood) Hogan, (Kevin) Nash, (Scott) Hall, Syxx-Pac, and maybe you could have taken Randy (Savage). But, that would have been it. Once you start throwing T shirts on people and think they’re going to be over, you’ve made a BIG mistake.”


On Roman Reigns being boo’d like Hogan was in WCW:
“It is so easy. I think I could get him (Reigns) up and running in 8 weeks. To me, it doesn’t matter if they cheer him or boo him as long as it gets asses in seats. I used to think you could get a guy over just by pushing him. You can’t do that anymore. This is now. Wrestling fans are conasaursnow. Like the cigar days or the wine craze where everybody was a conasaur of wine. Now everybody is a conasaurs of wrestling and they’re not going to take you shoving people down their throat. I think this is a challenge that they think they’re going to win. I think they should cut their losses and turn him.”


On the talent he saw during his ROH run:
“Let me tell you about their talent. I’ve seen them all in my 40 years. Jay Lethal and Jay Briscoe matches are just as good as Funk and Brisco, Flair and Steamboat. These guys are just superb. They’ve got some great young talent. Dalton Castle? He’s a special talent. They get Cody (Rhodes) there. He’s a special talent and an influx of New Japan guys.”


On his issues with the way ROH is run:
“Sin Clair owns 171 stations. They own the biggest station in Seattle and I get the Seattle TV because I’m in the islands. They’re on Channel 5 which, like I said, is the biggest in the market. Ring of Honor is not on Seattle TV. In other markets, they may be on a Thursday, a Friday, or a Saturday. There is no continuity. You know what I mean? There’s no, “At 8 p.m. on ThursdayFriday, or Saturday, watch Ring of Honor!” It is all spread out! Now, here’s the kicker. Do you realize those guys booking for ROH have no idea what the ratings are? They’re not allowed to see them. So, if you and I shoot an angle on segment 2, I can’t tell you if that angle got over or not. THese people are booking with their hands tied and blind-folded. How can you progress not knowing if you’re succeeding or not? I look at this (booking) like it is a war. If I send out a thousand troops against the Mongols and I don’t know if we won or lost, how do I decide how many more troops to send out? James, you do realize Sin Clair is one of the most conservative networks in the country, right? Were you aware of all the talking heads on local news repeating the same bulletin given to them? The main thing with SIn Clair is politics. Wrestling is not a fly on an eleplant’s ass – It is a nat on the fly on the elephant’s ass! I don’t know how you can expect these guys doing the writing to know if they are succeeding or not. That tells me they, Sin Clair, really don’t care. They just need to fill an hour segment or a 2 hour segment.”


On All In versus ROH’s numbers in the same market:
“I’ll give you why and I think this is the definite proof. Last Saturday, Ring of Honor was in Chicago wih Cody and all of the boys, right? They drew 1,600 people. On Sunday, All In drew 11,000 people in 29 minutes and 31 seconds. What is wrong with this picture? People look at Ring of Honor and think it is uncool.”


On ROH drawing their biggest house for Supercard of Honor:
“You can’t say, “They drew 6,000 people!” 100,000 people came in for their vacations from Japan, Australia, Ireland… Wha tare they going to do if they’re wrestling fans? Of course you’re going to go to the show! They haven’t drawn! Are you kidding me? What else would a wrestling fan do?”


On how All In managed to sell out without everyone fully knowing what it is yet:
“Well, you’re going to get to see Penta Zero. You’re going to get to see Rey Mysterio. You’re going to see Cody, probably, win the NWA Title – That is the first time a father and son have both been NWA Champion. Think about that. That’s historic! You’re going to get t see the Young Bucks. You’re going to get to see Kenny Omega and other New Japan guys. But, they’ve got a story line. It is us against them! There is no story line in Ring of Honor.”


On his program with Steve Corino in ROH:
“I’m not putting anybody over but that was Steve Corino’s idea that I did. We couldn’t follow all that great wrestling (in ROH), but he gave a story line that I’m not going to say was over but at least people were following it a little. Wrestling is a circus. If you don’t like the high wire act, don’t worry because the clown car is coming up next. Then we’re going to see, back in the day, the elephants. Then we’re going to see the pretty girls and the horses. And then, at the end of the show, someone put their head in the lion’s mouth. You saw danger, comedy, everything. Wrestling should be like that. They are so overloaded with no-stories and misuse of talent, just like everybody else.”


On his praise of Dalton Castle:
“That Dalton Castle, he’s once in a generation. He’s today’s Gorgeous George and I haven’t seen anything, Gorgeous George was before my time, I’ve never seen anybody portray how he portrays it and is over. Do you think they should do vingettes on this guy? (laughs) Lets go and see how he trains because this kid is an unusual kid, I’m sure he’d come up with some unisual things that will make you say, “Oh! I like that!” instead of him going out and having a match. It’s the same… Wrestling, now, everybody is doing everything. It is a video game. Maybe we need to have these characters develop and honed so when he walks through, you say, “Oh, I can’t wait to hear him talk like a Dusty Rhodes used to do… Or a Steve Austin used to do or the nWo used to do.” I don’t know why wrestling has gotten away from letting people get over by doing interviews and giving them some substance to where you say, “I like this guy” or “I don’t like this guy, he’s an arrogant asshole.” That’s my take on it.”


On if he expects to ever be in the WWE Hall of Fame:
“No, I never worked for Vince McMahon Jr. THere’s a guy that got inducted in their Hall of Fame there a few years ago who was actually let go from there (WWE) and was in WCW. He did an angle, he never got over. And, they put him in the Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame should be for guys who worked for Vince for a long time and drew money.”

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