Ken Resnick Talks About Hulk Hogan Smartening Him Up, Coming Up with His Own Style, and More
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On the latest episode of Wrestling with History on VOC Nation, Ken Resnick talks about the period between 1983 and 1983 and goes in depth about how he came up with his interview style, not overshadowing the talent, and how he got smartened up by Hulk Hogan. Here are some highlights:
On coming up with his own style: “Gene was so fantastic with his – if you will – comedic timing within the body of interviews. I was just smart enough to know that there wasn’t anyway I could do that anyway near the level of greatness that Gene did. So I just kinda subconsciously said that I’m going to play this absolute legit, that it’s totally real. So even when we were doing shows together there would be a marked difference. So when Gene kinda left suddenly for the WWF (and) I was the main guy, some of the best advice I got was to just be yourself. If you try and be someone you’re not it won’t be believable.”
On broadcasters not overshadowing the talent: “The best way to get yourself over – not only with the boys (the talent) but with the fans (as well) – is by never trying to get yourself over. So that’s how I played it… That was the one thing I really tried to do, and as I look back now it was maybe to my detriment, but I was so conscious of never trying to either overshadow the talent or take away from the talent that I think sometimes I didn’t react to things as much as I should have because I didn’t want to distract the viewer from the talent.”
On whether he knew wrestling was a work when he started: “I knew it wasn’t completely what it appeared to be. Punches were thrown, and holds that looked like they would be extremely painful there wasn’t a lot of pressure being applied. But early on I had a pretty good idea, but I didn’t realized it was quite as scripted as it was.”
On when he started to understand the business: “You might talk about the exact same match, but you’d talk about it coming up in St Paul, you’d talk about it coming up in Winnipeg, and you’d talk about it coming up in Denver, so you did interview after interview… There was a huge set; behind me there was a large piece of wood that was just straight that had that big red, white, and blue AWA logo, and then kinda jetted out to the sides at about a 45 degree angle. So you didn’t see anything but the (backdrop)… One of the heels would kinda go behind the set from one side, and maybe his opponent would go in from the other side, and they’d be back there talking about it, and then they’d come out again from different sides and act like it never happened. I’m sitting there saying to myself…really? You think I’m that dumb? So that’s how they played it, but it was the kayfabe era and you had to pay your dues and get accepted into the club.”
On Hulk Hogan smartening him up: “At TV, Verne had said ‘when we get back next week I’m going to take you out to the camp and just show you some different hold so you’ll understand the pressure points and things that’ll really help you in your play by play.’ Well I was a little naïve so I was like ‘OK well that makes sense.’ Gene had left so there was a time where I was doing both the interviews and the play by play, and even doing some ring announcing. So I said (OK) and that was it. So Wednesday night (Hulk Hogan calls and says) I’ll pick you up tomorrow when we go to the airport… I was thinking ‘is he trying to pull a rib and get me to miss a plane or whatever?’… (So he picks me up in his car) and Hulk says ‘listen, you know this (stuff) is fake right? All Verne wants to do is take you out to that camp, stretch the hell out of you, and hurt you making you think this is believable and real.’ It was Hulk that said ‘whatever you do, don’t go out there.’…So it was actually Hulk Hogan that smartened me up.”
Wrestling with History features former AWA and WWF announcer Ken Resnick and drops every Wednesday on VOC Nation. Ken looks back at the 80s and early 90s and tells stories from his time in the business.
Link to the episode here:
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