How did you originally get into wrestling in the first place?
I was playing professional football at the time and I was living in Florida. I had noticed that Hulk Hogan and André the Giant had broken into our appearance record at the Pontiac Silverdome. I forget which WrestleMania it was. I declared to my teammates that I was going to leave football and be a pro wrestler. They all laughed and thought it was funny. I walked into championship wrestling in Florida to check out the opportunity and before I knew what hit me, I was out of football, wrestling full-time before the off-season was over and then went back to football. It seemed to work out pretty good.
Difference between the WCW and WWF environments: “They were both very similar. I was more comfortable with WCW only because I lived in Atlanta and the airport travels anywhere. But both companies are very similar. You’re both traveling internationally and I mean, there are a lot more similarities than differences, let me put it that way. It was nice to have the option to, obviously of going to a company; leverage and negotiation. It was nice to have one or the other to go to, at the time.
His thoughts on WWE: “The WWE ended up winning the war, the Monday-night wrestling wars, and took over both companies. So now it’s all one, great, big conglomerate, internationally, ginormous wrestling entertainment industry now. There’s really no close competitors.”
There’s a lot about your career that most people don’t know. Can you talk about how you were able to handle your addiction to sex, drugs, and alcohol while you continued to wrestle? How did you get through it and what did you learn from that experience, those experiences?
“Well, in the end, I didn’t get through too well. As far as the PED’s, as they’re referred to now, they were very prevalent at the time, as they are so today. I thought I had a hold on that. Proper cycling and medical blood tests and things like that. There’s ways around the testing at the time. Obviously, there still is. So, I thought, at the time, I had a good grip on that. As far as the alcohol and the prescription drugs, they made a real mess in my life. Outside of wrestling, most of my career, I never really felt I had a problem with it.”
“I thought the drinking and the pills were more of a social thing that I did with the rest of the guys. Back then, it was a work hard, play hard mentality, Dan. So none of us felt we really had a problem. But guys were dropping like flies and dying. I was towards the end of my career and it was my real worst times because the alcohol was right after my retirement. I had too much free time on my hands.”
What did you learn from the experience?
“Probably the main take-away is that sooner or later, you make better choices. Have you ever heard the analogy of the frog in kettle pot? You put a frog in a kettle pot and gradually turn up the temperature until they actually boil themselves and they never jump out even though they could because the temperature’s turned up gradually. For me and a lot of guys in that business, it became a thing, where, you drank a little more and took two more pills. In the end, drugs and alcohol always win.”