Ken Resnick Talks Vince McMahon’s Ruthless Tactics, AEW’s Challenges, and More

Oct 13, 2020 - by Steve Gerweck

On the latest edition of Wrestling with History, Ken Resnick recounted his relationship with Gorilla Monsoon, Vince McMahon encouraging talent to violate their notice periods, AEW’s challenges drawing in mainstream fans, and more. Here are some highlights:

On Gorilla Monsoon’s personal character: “I had a great relationship with Gorilla Monsoon…he was fabulous to work with. I had gotten to meet him and know him a little bit, but they had decided – and Vince had a hand in it – that I was going to start doing some color on the matches, especially those for Prime Time Wrestling, at the arenas with Gorilla Monsoon. He could not have been more welcoming (and) could not have possibly been any easier or any greater to work with. He was one of those people who was so good at what he did, but (also) an amazing human being…I couldn’t begin to hold a candle to Gorilla Monsoon but he treated everyone as an absolute equal.”

On working commentary with Gorilla Monsoon: “After the first match we called at ringside, we took a little break, and I remember thinking to myself that it was effortless to work with him. It just flowed and he made it so easy… He made certain during his call of the match, he would pause to allow me or whoever he was working with to get time and to interject, and to be part of the call.”

On Hulk Hogan winning the title at a house show on a Monday night: “They certainly weren’t going to change the title on a house show in Salisbury, MD… Madison Square Garden is Madison Square Garden. It would only be logical that if you were going to change it at a house show you would change it at Madison Square Garden… It was pretty much the home venue of the WWF… In those days, pre Internet, the majority of the magazines were in New York or along the I95 corridor and they pretty much all covered Madison Square Garden… that was the place to do it.”

On Vince McMahon buying out talent’s notice periods from other territories: “It was common knowledge. Vince wasn’t outwardly doing that, but he was saying (things like) ‘if you can start a week from Tuesday, we’ve got all these ideas and I’ll pay you XX, (but) if you’re going to start six weeks from Tuesday, I’m gonna have to drop your pay precipitously.’ Sometimes greater than the math would have dictated. I think it was a situation where he wasn’t outwardly doing that, but he was kind of encouraging it… by that point in Vince’s mind, he was trying to do a hostile takeover. We see it today in all businesses: The best way for a business to expand is if you competitor doesn’t exist, or if their market share is greatly reduced.”

On the challenges AEW has making stars compared to the WWE in the 80s: “Until he made the jump to WWF, and Piper’s Pit became so big, he went from being a big fish in a kinda small pond, to being a big fish and a really, really big pond. Same thing with Ricky the Dragon (Steamboat); he was a big fish in a small pond and then he became a big fish in a really big pond. The one problem that AEW has (is that) everyone now has national exposure. It’s not like they can pick out unknowns and make them big stars.”

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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