Kevin Sullivan on Russo, Bischoff, WCW’s Downfall, and More

Nov 25, 2020 - by Steve Gerweck


Kevin Sullivan was a recent guest on VOC Nation’s In the Room Podcast. Sullivan talked about his start in wrestling, people who inspired him, the importance of kayfabe and it’s impact on the current product, the downfall of WCW, and more. Here are just a few highlights:

On the people he worked with: “The guys that should be in the Hall of Fame are the enhancement talent that made us look good. Without them, we wouldn’t have drawn money. I was lucky enough that I got to wrestle in single matches with Andre the Giant, I had a three year run with Dusty Rhodes, I wrestled Hogan for three years, I wrestled Blackjack Mulligan, Barry Windham, Wahoo McDaniels, Ernie Ladd; I’ve gotten to wrestle the crème de la crème. I look back and I say wow I was very lucky that they were nice enough to say ‘let’s make this kid’ and they did. It takes two to tango and they did more of the work than I did, that’s for sure.”

On the devil gimmick in Florida: “I never used the word devil. I’ve been to India, I’ve been to Singapore, Malaysia, I spent a lot of time early in my career in that part of the world. I wore my robe everywhere I went: When I went to the gym, I wore my robe; when I went to the grocery store, I wore my robe; when I trained, I wore my robe; when I got in a cab and left for the matches, I wore my robe. People never saw me watching a match. I was a magician. You didn’t see me until I went to the ring. I did it that way on purpose; I didn’t want people to say ‘oh I met him, he’s not such a bad guy.’ That’s what I did.”

On who taught him the business: “I was taught by some of the best. The (original) Sheik, who is my hero, once told me ‘once they see that you can talk, you become human.’ He said to me, ‘you’re not a human being.’ I was around a lot of very talented guys and I was lucky.”

On the current product lacking kayfabe: “These kids are the greatest athletes of any generation. They’re fabulous… Look at the guy who has drawn the most money in the history of wrestling. Nobody has drawn as much money as the Undertaker for as long as he’s gone, ever. Ever. Just this year he decided to get on social media. Do you think guys that have great matches (are supposed to) get on social media and say ‘brother we had a barn burner tonight, it was wonderful, thank you very much, see you next week.’ I mean it’s like going to a movie – the willing suspension of disbelief… The problem I have, is because they are much more talented – they are so far above our generation – if they would watch what they would say a little they would be better off. That’s my opinion and everybody has an opinion.”

On how to fix the WWE ratings: “If I was Vince McMahon, I would ask (the Undertaker) ‘what do you need and we’ll give it to you and stay out of your way and you book it.’ I think the Undertaker would turn that business around in six months.”

On the downfall of WCW: “They went to comedy. Funny doesn’t earn money. It’s that simple. I’m a boxing fan; do you go to see a fight that’s just going to be a joke? No… Then they tried to bury Ric Flair in a desert?.. They wanted to get rid of him. They wanted to get rid of Ric Flair since 1989. They don’t know where to drive the stake… He’s the greatest champion of all time and they tried to get rid of him, that’s how silly these people are. Egos!”

On Eric Bischoff: “Eric did an amazing, amazing job. But he had to go out to the north tower… If someone wanted to (say) foreign object, he had to listen to them (change the name to) international (object). (It was) wasting his days. He could have been using his time (better). They succeeded in spite of themselves, and they succeeded because of Eric Bischoff. And Eric was a smart enough guy to listen to guys that were very smart. And in the end, they made a huge mistake and they went to comedy, and comedy doesn’t draw money.”

On AOL buying Turner: “I think it was destined to die because they didn’t want it to work. AOL didn’t want wrestling, didn’t want it.”
Sullivan also talked about the NWO and what went wrong, Vince Russo, ECW, and even the cult classic promotion TWA and promoter Joel Goodhart who was the precursor to ECW.

Link to the show:

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