World Wrestling Insanity interview with Tony Atlas (Host: James Guttman)
Interview available at WorldWrestlingInsanity.com via ClubWWI.
He’s the WWE Hall of Famer who bleed red, white, and blue with a set of biceps that has taken out foes for decades, now ClubWWI.com is honored to welcome Tony Atlas for an uncut shoot with James Guttman that lasts nearly an hour and will give you insight into this business like never before.
From his time as Samba Simba to being the only one on hand to help Bruiser Brody following his fatal stabbing to Mark Henry in ECW, Tony Atlas has tons to talk about. Preparing his new book “Too Much Too Soon” co-authored by Scott Teal at Crowbar Press brought many memories back to Mr. USA and he’s on hand to talk about them allin one of the most in-depth shoots you’ll find with one of wrestling’s most well known stars anywhere and you can hear it right now on ClubWWI.com!
Tony Atlas has been known for his sense of humor backstage for years, but it was his most recent stint with WWE that allowed fans to hear the laugh and see Mr. USA in a whole new light. In his 54-minute ClubWWI.com shoot, Tony discusses with James Guttman how Vince McMahon deserves full credit for the reinvention. It was his idea and based on who Atlas truly is. The one thing Tony learned about pro wrestling is that acting isn’t an option. He asks James what he notices when he goes to the store. Guttman is stuck for an answer, so Tony fills him in…
“What you notice is that everyone’s acting the same. There’s not one person on this planet that has the same DNA, fingerprint, or personality. Wrestling is the only business sin the world where you do not have to act. People always think we’re acting. We’re not acting. We’re just being ourselves. You can’t be yourself in regular public. You have a certain code you have to work with in societyâ€¦That’s why the Undertaker is so good at what he do, he ain’t acting. Kane ain’t acting. Trust me on that one. (laughs) Trust me. Kane becomes himself in the ring. He fakes outside the ring.
“That’s why he’s so natural in it. He doesn’t have to pretend. You can only pretend so long. There’s an old saying, what’s in the dark will soon come to the light. That’s why a few times, like when I was in WCW with Cactus Jack and Barbarian, they tried to make me into a bad guy. It didn’t work. It’s not me. It’s not in me. I’m not a heel, no matter how they promote me. I was with Mark Henry, people didn’t dislike meâ€¦
“I couldn’t do anything to make them people dislike me. Because they knew it wasn’t me. Like when Vince made me Samba Simba. That didn’t fly either. Because people know I’m a patriot.”
Tony speaks at length about his patriotic outlook, personal responsibility, and more. It’s not just how he expects others to handle themselves, but how he approaches his own life. He explains further to ClubWWI.com listenersâ€¦
“My contract just ended a couple of months ago. I was making a lot of money. So what should I do? Complain? You have to readjust. Whereas before, what I was making in one week, now maybe it takes me a month to make it. Maybe two months. That doesn’t mean I should stop making it. Before, I could pay my bills with one job. Now it takes two. Don’t mean I should stop living or stop trying. I got the opportunity, ways and means, to support my family. It may take a little more effort, but I should count my blessing that I have the ability to do that.”
Among other topics Tony touches on during his ClubWWI shoot include respect from younger stars, his feelings about Mark Henry, the most amazing man he’s ever met in wrestling, his friendship with Dick Murdoch despite Dick’s alleged KKK ties (“As long as he kept the rope in the trunk, I was fineâ€¦”), and tons more.
It’s the earlier days of Tony’s career that taught him about the way the business truly works. In one of the most remarkable stories you’ll hear, Atlas talks at length about the night Bruiser Brody was fatally stabbed in Puerto Rico and how he was the only one to accompany Brody to the hospital. Not only was Tony shocked that no one else volunteered, but the reaction after he returned to the locker room was cold, to say the least. Wrestlers were getting dressed and talking about their matches that night. It shocked him, but as Tony tells ClubWWI.com members, it’s the way the industry works. Although he stays positive, it’s a harsh realityâ€¦
“Can you imagine? A guy gets stabbed and everyone’s putting on their wrestling boots. The wrestlers are like separate businesses. One is McDonald’s. One’s Burger King. They all sell hamburgers, but they’re more concerned about their business and once you’re gone, you’re gone. I’ve only had three wrestlers to call me since my contract ended with WWE. Of all the wrestlers I talked to and helped, only three called. That was Teddy Long, Mark Henry, and a guy from the office by the name of Howard Finkel. The only three guys to call since I left. The rest never called to see how I was doing. Nothing. It was like I was never there.”