Hack-Man Pro-Wrestling Shane Douglas Interview Page

Last updated 4 December 1999

Prodigy Interview with Shane Douglas

By Bob Ryder

RYDER: Are you glad to be out of New York?

DOUGLAS: I feel like somebody took 1000 lbs off of my shoulders. It's unbelievable the way they run their company. I don't know how they were big for so many years...the number one group. I think now I can understand why Turner is able to give them so much trouble in the ratings...and Turner's product isn't great either.

RYDER: What did you think about the WWF talent level?

DOUGLAS: I felt like it was a step down. You have guys like Razor Ramon, basically a 3 move wrestler. I had gone from wrestling the Terry Funks, Ricky Steamboats, Cactus Jacks and others...it was like trying to make chicken salad out of chicken xxxx. And the amazing thing is Vince thinks they are wonderful.

RYDER: What do you think about the Monday Night War between NITRO and RAW?

DOUGLAS: I think it's laughable. From Vince's standpoint I have to laugh because 12 years ago when he undermined 28 other territories he wasn't crying then. Suddenly there is a guy out there with more money than he has and suddenly it's an unfair business practice. How unfair was it when he shut down 28 other territories down? As far as the business goes...I think they are gonna end up hurting each other.

RYDER: When you were at Titan, what was the mood? Everyone hears about the clique...is that what was running things?

DOUGLAS: That's running things from top to bottom. The day I was supposed to win the belt from Shawn Michaels, he refused to wrestle. He opted not to wrestle. His doctors told him a week before the show that he was going to be able to wrestle...and the day before he decided he wasn't going to. They ended up handing the belt to me, which was a farce...then they had me go out and do a job for Razor. Mr. Fuji and Yokozuna told me they were in the office and Shawn Michaels came in and said there is no way I can hold the belt...I can't get any heat and I'm very limited in what I can do.

RYDER: Why did you go to the WWF?

DOUGLAS: Because I thought the money would help me get to medical school faster. I turned out to be very wrong. The money I made in 4 months in the WWF turned out to be equal to what I make in a month at ECW. I mistakenly believed the grass was greener on the other side. After leaving I realized the grass was actually greener in ECW.

RYDER: I grew up in the Louisana area, and saw the glory days of the MidSouth and UWF...but I don't beleive I've ever seen anything quite like ECW...

DOUGLAS: And you know, I think that echos through when you hear the fans chanting the name. I think I said that in one of the sheets...that no other organization I ever worked at in Japan, Europe, or this country...have I heard the fans stand up and chant WWF, or WCW, or NEW JAPAN. I think that's simply because they understand they are paying big bucks to be there and they appreciate the outpouring that wrestlers in ECW give them. I can honestly say I've never been in the ring in ECW with anyone who has slacked off. Whereas in WWF, Razor would come to me and say there's only a few people out there...let's take it easy.

RYDER: How much input did you have in the 'Dean' character?

DOUGLAS: Very little. They originally just wanted me to be the Dean...but I pushed through the name Douglas. It was pretty ridiculous to try to pretend that I'm not somebody I've been for 13 years. Finally Vince went along with it...but not because I was urging him to, but because he thought it sounded better...and would be more marketable. The thing that really comes to mind is that he called me before I signed and said "anytime you have any trouble at all, you let me know". Well I called him and said I don't like the costume. He said "well I like it so it stays like that". I said I didn't like the fact that they only had me doing 30 second interviews. He said "we feel thats best". I had some input...they just didn't listen. The reason that hurt is that after 13 years in the business I felt I had a good feel for what could put me over. Some people might say I should be embarassed for going up there and not doing anything. I think they should be embarassed for having a proven commodity and they weren't able to do anything with it.

RYDER: They feel like they have to change everything about somebody. They had a good thing and screwed it up.

DOUGLAS: The amazing thing about it is Vince has lost sight of where he came from. In 1984 when he went huge he had Rowdy Roddy Piper, Jake 'the Snake' Roberts, Hulk Hogan, Greg 'the Hammer' Valentine, Randy 'Macho Man' Savage...they all had those names before they got there. I remember myself as a big mark at the time...I turned on to see Randy Savage...because I hadn't seen him but had read about him. I had read where Greg Valentine almost ripped an ear off Piper...I wanted to see them. I think people might have wanted to see the Franchise for the first time on a national level.

RYDER: What kind of shape do you think Vince is in right now? Is he on the ropes?

DOUGLAS: I think Vince is in big trouble. I think more so than he is showing. I think the Royal Rumble rating gave him a little bit to be happy about. But, 1.1 is not great. The sheets reported how awesome those numbers are...but they aren't in comparison to what they used to do. I think it is conceivable that in 6 to 8 months from now Vince could be a Northeast promotion. Really for all intents and purposes he is already. He usually keeps his house shows in the Northeast, Canada, or overseas.

RYDER: You made your big impact in ECW with the interview blasting Flair and the old guard. You really believed that, didn't you?

DOUGLAS: Oh sure...that was straight from the heart. And, the reason for that was not just to say 'look at me I'm Shane Douglas'...I mean before I did it nobody bashed other territories on a big level....nobody had ever done it. People would call me and say "you're out of your mind, you're burning bridges, you'll never be able to work again."

RYDER: Actually, I thought the same thing...I heard you on Mike Tenay's radio show going off on Flair and thought you were out of your mind.

DOUGLAS: Well, the reason was that anyone who knows me will tell you I have strong convictions...if I believe something I'll tell you. To me that is a virtue. I believe Flair should have retired 5 years ago. Just take a look at what he looks like now...he is a farce of what he used to be.

RYDER: What does Vince have to do to put things back on track?

DOUGLAS: It's very simple. He has to let the people with talent come to the front. He can't say 'I have the best looking grapes in the produce department'. When he puts a product out there, he has to live up to it. It has always been my believe since ECW broke it big and when UFC and such broke...reality is what sells today. Take a look at tv today...Cops, Unsolved Mystery's...they are all reality based shows. I think the days of 'this guys a pig farmer and can beat you up' are over. It's funny, ho ho, you get a belly laugh...but will people pay to see it. In our business people want to see reality.

RYDER: What was your deal with the WWF, and how did you get out of the contract?

DOUGLAS: I had a 2 year contract. I went and talked to Vince and told him I was literally losing money working for him. My wife and I were living off money we had saved the last few years. I went to Vince and his response to me was "Well there is money coming". I told him that I needed to pay my mortgage today. He said "Well I don't know what to tell you". I told him I would have to leave. I think the reason to let me go was he decided it would be easier to let me go than to try to fight me in court...because he had made so many statements and false promises, which I had talked to my lawyer about. He also talked to my lawyer. The things he had promised us are called "a fraudulent inducement"...he did exactly opposite what he promised us. I really don't think Vince had the money to spare to fight me in court.

RYDER: You are one of the few to get out of a contract with Vince that easy. It seems like more people should challenge him.

DOUGLAS: Well to start with I think his contracts are illegal. They are so blatantly one sided. I think any judge would go ahead and break the contract. It's a question of who has the guts to fight it. I was in a position where I didn't have any choice...I was starving. I had to make payments on my house, and I didn't think it was fair for me to take this job and become a "WWF Superstar" only to lose everything I had worked for.

RYDER: Did he give you an official release from your contract?

DOUGLAS: Yes, it's an official release. I've got it in writing.

RYDER: What do you think about the Billionaire Ted skits on RAW?

DOUGLAS: You know, when I first came to WWF, I asked if I could do some shoot comments responding to the WCW. The told me "We don't do that".

RYDER: What a difference a few months makes.

DOUGLAS: Yeah. Now that they are getting whipped in the ratings, all of a sudden the WWF does do that.

RYDER: You were in the WWF when Bill Watts came in. What was that all about?

DOUGLAS: You know, I've been negative about Bill Watts in the past...but I have to say that he was at least doing the right things. He was starting to get some steam on some people. That one RAW we left Shawn Michaels, Diesel...we left them all laying. It was the only time I felt I had heat there. A lady actually climbed over the barrier trying to get at me and save Shawn. She punched me twice. That's what they have to do to make money, and that's what Bill Watts was doing. But, Vince doesn't think that sells him babydolls and tshirts.

RYDER: What do you think about a guy like Bob Backlund? I was at Fanfest last year and he was hysterical...totally in character and making kids recite the list of Presidents to get an autograph.

DOUGLAS: People berate him so much. The guys like Shawn Michaels...they just crush him behind the scenes. He is a gentleman first of all...secondly, he had more heat than anyone up there...so what did they do...they pushed him to the background.

RYDER: What do you think about the Goldust gimmick?

DOUGLAS: I'm very good friends with Dustin, but I'll be honest with you...I don't like the gimmick. I think Dustin is a very talented wrestler. But the way they are portraying the gimmick is just not appropriate to put on television. Maybe that's just the conservative in me coming out.

RYDER: I can't understand some of the things they are doing. The Parental Guidance warning, for instance.

DOUGLAS: You know, if we could crawl inside Vince's head...I bet the only reason they are putting that Parental Guidance thing up is...he hopes to God not one parent makes their kid turn it off...but he is hoping that might get people to say 'Oh my God...what is this violent thing gonna be on RAW'. It's a business move, it has nothing to do with an 'I'll protect the kids in what they see' kind of thing.

RYDER: Are you back teaching yet?

DOUGLAS: I'm not right now. I have an opportunity to go back if I want to, but I'm not sure if I'll exercize that opportunity. Teaching is certainly not what it's cut out to be. I have a hard time accepting that a kid can cuss me out in a classroom and there isn't anything I can do about it.

RYDER: How much longer do you think you'll wrestle?

DOUGLAS: I think I'll go until I'm 35, maybe 36 tops. Maybe I'll change my mind at that time. Once I start Medical School, I can't imagine even having the time to wrestle. I'm 32 now, so I guess I have about 3 or 4 years left.

RYDER: Going back to Watts. What was the reaction when he was in and out so quick?

DOUGLAS: A lot of the guys...including the clique were disappointed. They thought Watts was gonna be the big savior for the company. I don't think they realized what that meant because they would have been doing a bunch of jobs and being laid out a lot. But, ultimately they would have gotten their steam back. Bill always built so the heel was strong and then got the babyfaces over. If you grew up in Louisiana you remember when Eddie Gilbert laid a flag over Watts.

RYDER: My favorite angle ever. They had people wanting to kill Gilbert. Jumping over the rails at every house show.

DOUGLAS: Even in ECW we do more to get our heels over. We are a bit different because the lines are blured more. But Vince would have been in great shape now if he had allowed Watts to do what he wanted to do.

RYDER: Compare the attitude in the ECW dressing room and in other places you have worked.

DOUGLAS: Nothing compares to ECW. In the back, we are glued to the monitor and we are popping like the crowd is. We are afraid to walk away because we'll miss something. There is a mutual respect in that dressing room that you just don't see anywhere else.

RYDER: What do you think about the FTC complaint that WWF filed against Turner?

DOUGLAS: That boggles my mind. We're talking about the guy why monopolized and perverted this sport for 11 years. That's like Chevy coming out and saying Ford isn't fair because they came out with the Explorer. It just reeks of whining. For 11 years Vince had a virtual monopoly. To complain now is just incredible. I don't see how Turner can help but respond. I don't mean saying "desperate people do desperate things"...I mean Turner needs to really respond. It amazes me. It's competition, and they can't complain because WCW may be putting out a better product...or has more money to promote their product. After screwing 28 companies 11 years ago, finally a bigger Golaith comes around and the shoe is on the other foot. What is their complaint? It's just mind boggling. It's laughable.

RYDER: Let's talk a bit about Paul E. Dangerously and the job he does booking for ECW.

DOUGLAS: Paul has no organizational skills to speak of...but he is a creative genius. By far the most creative person in the business. He created the Franchise character. I was always the guy they said would never make it to the big time..."he's too bland". My whole point was I had so much stuff I wanted to do...but nobody would let me do it. When Paul came up with the Franchise idea it was the perfect vehicle for me. Look what he did for Mikey Whipwreck...literally pulling him out of the stands. Stevie Richards has really blossomed...Tommy Dreamer, and others. Paul makes them more than characters...he makes them great workers who can put on a great show. I left, Sabu left, Public Enemy left...and he keeps on going. And he's showing no signs of burning out. Some of the stuff he has planned will be incredible. I'm as big a mark as anyone when I watch the show. I watch it as a fan. I even rewind to watch things over and over again. I never did that anywhere else.