Manny Fernandez Rips Jim Cornette Over Claiming He Never Served in Vietnam

May 11, 2021 - by James Walsh

Show: Wrestling Epicenter
Guest: “Raging Bull” Manny Fernandez
Date: 05/05/2021
Your Host: James Walsh

Wrestling legend, no matter if he likes the term or not, “Raging Bull” Manny Fernandez opens up about his Vietnam military service, shoots on Jim Cornette saying he didn’t serve, clears up rumors he was going to marry Ann or Nancy Wilson of Heart, and he also talks about his bloody fight with Invader 3 in Puerto Rico, working with the late Manny Villalobos in the GWF, seeing JBL and others he helped train go on to be big stars, and much more! This is a fun, quick, hard hitting chat with the Raging Bull himself. And, as we said, he IS a legend even though he tries to shy away from that term.

Manny’s straight talk can also be heard on his new podcast appropriately called “No BS with Manny Fernandez.” You can check that out here.

Visit for the audio, video, and transcript of this interview. If you use this content on your news site or for a ducmnetary project, please feel free to do so as long as you give credit and a link back to our site!



On not liking being called a wrestling “legend”:
“I wouldn’t go that far. I don’t believe in legends. The only legends I believe in are those buried in Arlington Cemetery who fought for our freedom. One day, I hope I’ll be there myself.”

On his health status:
“Physically, I’m doing good. I just got back from the dentist yesterday and I have to have some teeth pulled and implants put in. So, I’m on antibiotics for that. Other than that, I’m OK! Got my treatment at the VA making sure that my mental status stays good and I don’t go around doing stupid things.”

On when he served in the military:
“I was EVAC in Vietnam. I trained as a SEAL. And, we did EVAC in Vietnam and Cambodia.”

On his college football days:
“Well, a lot of people know I don’t glorify wrestling. But, football is what I loved. I thought I would play football until the day I died. It didn’t work out that way. I just got involved through West Texas University, I got involved with pro wrestling. That’s only because I probably wouldn’t have kept a 9 to 5 job due to my PTSD anyway.”

On his finding wrestling:
“Thankfully I still have some people from my wrestling days like Terry Funk. But, I wanted to play football until I retired. That didn’t happen. I was brought into the business by people I respected. And, I respected the business. It allowed me to have a lot of opportunities in my life and to have fun. And, that is what I did. But, it all comes to an end.”

On how Terry Funk has impacted his life:
“Oh God! I met him in 1977. And, we’ve been very close since then – To this day! He’s like the mentor I’ve always wanted in my life. He taught me to believe in myself in the business. He put himself out there to make me. I’ll put it this way. If it wasn’t for Terry Funk, I probably wouldn’t be where I’m at. He took a risk dropping that belt to me in Florida. I owe it all to Terry. That’s all I can say. I owe it all to him. Every glory and good thing that I stepped into, it was all because of Terry.”

On if modern wrestles have gotten soft:
“You mean the gymnasts? The gymnasts that do their routines and should be wearing tutu’s or in the Olympics? I grew up in this business very tough – Blackjack Mulligan, Dick Murdoch, Larry Lane, even “One Punch” Alex Perez. They didn’t play. They were wrestlers and they wanted you to learn the proper way and the proper respect. We didn’t go out and flip around and do all this tutu stuff. Anybody today can be 110 pounds and say they’re a wrestler. Yes, it is very soft. I always say picture it, when playing football at West Texas State, I would go to the bar and no tough cowboy would mess with any of us. No one would come up to us and say something stupid. Nowadays, (laughs) Oh God! I can’t imagine what these clowns go through.”

On if he watches modern wrestling:
“I’ll tell you the truth, I don’t watch wrestling. I’ve seen enough. Even when one of my guys goes for a tryout with Vince, I don’t watch. They give me a lot of respect. JBL, R Truth, Booker T, and others came from me. Sometimes guys will come to me and ask me to watch their match – Great guys! Great talent! I tell them, “I don’t really watch.” Because I’ve got a big mouth… And, I’ll tell them the truth about what I feel.”

On if his being outspoken is a blessing or a curse:
“Both. It can go both ways. I came into this business by these 3 words Dick Murdoch told me, he said, “You’re going to go a long way kid. Just shut up and listen!” The 3 words, “shut up & listen”. They always respected that I did that. I shut up and listened and did what I was told until I got a little mileage under my belt. Then, i started to speak my mind.”

On his recent criticism of Dusty Rhodes’ booking:
“People get that confused because I tell the truth about it. But, I love Dusty! Dusty loved me… Well, there were times he hated me! (laughs) When I’d open my big mouth, he hated me because I’d tell Jim Crockett what I really thought. You know? (laughs) It was a bunch of crap! But, I love Dusty. But, Dusty was about Dustin. Dusty would book it to get himself over. He’d book the people that followed him, brown nosed him, and keep them strong. I’m not that kind of person. I don’t kiss up to anybody, I don’t bow down to anyone, and I damn sure am not going to brown nose anyone. He respected my talent and that I could draw people. I could put asses in seats. So, I got away with some things other people would not have gotten away with. I mean, I cussed out Jim Crockett a few times! (laughs) That is who I am.”

On a funny Dusty Rhodes story:
“I was in the ring and a guy came up to him… Bill Brown came up to him and said, “That kid is a good worker!” Dusty turned around and angrily said, “That’s not a worker, that’s an athlete!” (laughs)”

On being paired with Rick Rude:
“Oh God! It was a God send. Rick Rude reminded me of my younger days of “shut up and listen.” I would tell him, “Listen to me” and he had no problem with that. I would tell him to watch things like his clotheslines because he might break their neck. He would listen. That is how we gelled and became a really good tag team.”

On if it bugs him not seeing “Raging Bull” merch like there is for guys like Rude still:
“Nah. I didn’t want a legacy in pro wrestling. I just wanted to be in a business that was handed to me by some really awesome people. Period. I’ve done already had my legacy – Serving my country.”

On those who deny he shot on Invader 3 over Bruiser Brody’s death:
“If you don’t know by now, people are so stupid. There are people who say we never went to the moon. There are people who still think there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I’ve never seen so many stupid people in my life. People will believe anything. How are you going to satisfy all the stupid people? It is like what old Forest Gump used to say, “Stupid is what stupid does!” (laughs) I dare anyone who says that to you to go drink a gallon of pigs blood and two things of Vodka and go chase them around. How long to you think that person is going to last without puking?”

On the late great Manny Villalobos:
“What a God send this kid was. What a worker. Working for his size. I mean, we lost a great one. I’ve lost a lot of great friends. Dick Murdoch, Dennis Stamp, Larry Lane, Alex Perez…. All the people who brought me in. Manny (Villalobos) was a guy I met working for Joe Blanchard at Southwest Championship Wrestling. Little guy who worked his butt off trying to be convincing with everything he did. But, the best time I had with Manny was when I was booking Global Wrestling Federation (GWF). I had so much talent there. JBL, Booker T, Stevie Ray, Black Bart, Johnny Mantel, all the kids were great. Rod Price! I had all this talent and they were huge! Rod Price, linebacker for the Raiders… Big guys! Booker T, Stevie Ray, JBL, all big guys. So, they said, “What are you going to do with this little guy Manny Villalobos? He’s so small.” I said, “I’m going to get him over! I’ll show you what I’m going to do with him. I’m going to get him over!” And, I just enjoyed it! I mean, I had him out there tearing me up. One angle, we had a car donated to him and I took the damn axe to the car and I overdid it. (laughs) The company that gave the car to us got mad because I was having too much fun. (laughs) I had the greatest run. That is the most respect I ever had for a wrestler… Any wrestler!”

On when Manny Villalbos almost shot Axl Rotten for not protecting him:
“Oh yeah! He would have put a bullet in him! He sure would have! And, I wouldn’t have blamed him. I wish I knew that story at the time. How stupid are you? Even I was out there putting him over, getting him over strong. And, some idiot like Axl Rotten to do that to him. And, what did he do? Die at MacDonalds? OD at MacDonalds?”

On other memories from Global:
“Just the crew. We had an amazing crew. Black Bart! I used to love to listen to Black Bart, “I’m not gonna wrestle these stiff young guys anymore!” (laughs) And, he’d go out there and bust his butt. And, I’d say, “I thought you weren’t going to wrestle those stiff young guys anymore.” “Ah, shut up!” (laughs)”

On the “Maniac” Mike Davis persona:
“There is another guy we lost so young to a heart attack. I knew him from Florida. I spent a lot of time with him and Denny Brown. But, Mike Davis, when he did the bungee chord thing and came down with a moon rock! (laughs) He did that so good, I almost pissed my pants! (laughs)”

On taking the spray cans out of Vader’s elaborate mask in Japan:
“(laughs) That was the best one! I got in trouble for that one! That got me in all kinds of trouble! To this day, whenever I talk about this, I die laughing! He did it 3 times, and I was like, “Dude, if it didn’t fire the first 2 times, something’s wrong!” (laughs) I got a lot of heat for that. I also pulled a rib by always having Gary Albright around. Vader wouldn’t go anywhere near Gary Albright.”

On Jim Cornette questioning his military service:
“You know what? If that guy was half a man, I’d discuss him. But, he ain’t even a man. Like I said on my podcast, he’s about as many as a bowl of tapioca pudding. (laughs) Lets go back to the subject, “Stupid is what stupid does.” Yeah, he’ll talk when he’s trying to put himself over but if I was standing right there, he wouldn’t say anything. When I was in the territories, I didn’t even hang around wrestlers. I had a home that was 40 miles away. I went home. I didn’t even want to be around them. Wrestling is what I did for a living. It was not my life. I had a life. I rarely would talk to people unless I was working with them, in the dressing room, or in the ring. And, Dennis Condrey is somebody I rarely ever talked to at all. Dennis Condrey was kind of a loner in my book. And, Bobby Eaton didn’t even open his mouth. So, for this idiot (Cornette), when I made the mistake of posting my records of serving in Cambodia and I got chewed out for it by my girl saying, “What are you trying to prove to someone that doesn’t even matter that is still around?” Here’s a guy (Cornette) who got a job by bending on his knees to Jerry Jarrett, sucking up and kissing ass as a photographer, and he wasnt to talk shit about somebody? You’ve got to be a man first! You’ve got to be a man first to stand up and say to someone’s face what you really think. He’s not a man.”

On if there was any truth to rumors he claimed to be engaged to a member of Heart:
“(laughs) No! I mean, back in the day when they were young and hot, wouldn’t you want to be engaged to one of them? But, not now! Not Ann Wilson that I saw at the NFL Draft. She got heavy!”.

8 Responses

  1. Josh D. says:

    He didn’t serve in Vietnam. It was proven by an activist group called Stolen Valor by them doing a FOIA request. Another group published it. As a veteran myself, Manny can go spread his bs elsewhere, but the truth is real.

  2. John says:

    Leave poor Jimmy alone! He hasn’t said anything defamatory or offensive.

  3. Luke says:

    I don’t really care whether it’s true or not, but Cornette was far from the only one who called bs here, why is he being singled out?

  4. art123guy says:

    @Luke-Search “Jim Cornette on Manny Fernandez” on you tube. The video was posted 10 months ago so I’m not sure why it’s being brought up now. My guess as to why he’s singling out Jim is because Jim’s take is easily found on the web.

  5. Luke says:

    I know what Jim said. It’s just that over the years I’ve been hearing plenty of wrestlers say that Manny is full of crap, I have no idea why he’s got no issue with anyone else. Then again, never cared about Manny Fernandez back when he wrestled and can’t say I care about him now…

  6. Mark says:

    If he had been in Vietnam then Manny would have to watch out for booby traps (such as the Punji Stake, the Rolling Trap and Cartridge Traps) which one can learn about from visiting Cu Chi Tunnels (which are worth visiting) in Vietnam.

    But crossing the road in Vietnam is very nervous for a first timer as there is a lot of motorbikes on the road and the drivers ignore the lights at the crossing. Also, in Vietnam remember to keep your palm face down as having your palm face up is how they call for dogs there as thus having a palm that is face up is considered rude in Vietnam.

  7. Damien says:

    Did you ask him how he paid back Invader…2 months before Brody died…or how he was a navy seal in Vietnam in 75 when last ones left in 1972

  8. Bob says:

    He got out as an E-1 (Fireman Recruit), schooling was listed as Pump Repair. He never attended BUD/S, was never assigned to a SEAL Team, never deployed to Vietnam,

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