WWE Hall Of Famer Jim Ross recently interviewed fellow HOFer and former WWF Champion Bob Backlund for his FOX Sports column.
Backlund has been promoting his new book, “Backlund: From All-American Boy to Professional Wrestling’s World Champion”, and talked to Ross about various parts of his career. Backlund talks about being a babyface champion, then being a heel as ‘Mr. Backlund’ by believing in his character’s principles, and much more. You can read a few excerpts below:
Backlund on his “Mr. Backlund” heel character from the 90’s:
“It was a good thing for me to do because it brought me out of my shyness. Everybody said that I couldn’t do a promo. When I was Bob Backlund, because Vince wanted me to do an All-American Boy promo, and I don’t know if they were good or not but that’s what they were. Some people in the business made fun of me because of those promos. I was just doing my job.
When I became Mr. Backlund, those laughs were silenced because people found out that I could do a promo. As Mr. Backlund, I truly believed in what I was saying. I believed in every word that I said. I believed that society had fallen off a cliff morally compared to the ’80s. I believed that people should be held responsible for their own actions. And I believed that hard work and dedication paid off. I also felt that it was all right to have people have to recite the Presidents of the United States to me because it would encourage them to study and to remember important things.”
On being a top draw during his original run in the early 80’s:
“Sometimes when a guy is on top he isn’t given the credit when the houses are good. When the houses aren’t good the top guy gets all the blame. I think Bruno Sammartino put it the best when he said if the top guy gets the blame when the houses are down then he should get the credit when the houses (ticket sales) are up. Bruno also said if Bob Backlund hadn’t been drawing he wouldn’t have been there. When Vince Sr. told me how long I was going to have the title, if I hadn’t sold tickets I would have went to him and said that I don’t deserve this (the title belt) and given it back to him.”
Backlund comments on Brock Lesnar:
“Geez, he’s a great performer and I would have loved to have gotten in the ring and do a battle with him some way or another. He’s an amazing person and he’s got a look that is a gift from God. The power that he has, the strength that he has and his facial expressions, he’s really a natural for the business. A match with him would have been pretty awesome.
I would have loved to have seen who would have been able to pick up who in a short arm scissors during our match. I would have loved to have wrestled Brock to just see how strong that he really is. He’s at the top of the list of the men that I never got to wrestle.”