The following are highlights of a new Busted Open Radio interview with WWE Hall Of Famer J.J. Dillon:
On Daniel Bryan’s injury and pushed wrestlers having to leave due to injury: “It’s happened numerous times over the years on both sides of the extreme. Look at Magnum TA and what a future Jerry Allen had in terms of ‘the skys the limit’. He had the look, the speed, the size and on a rainy slick night his car slammed into a tree, slammed his head into the car and broke his neck instantly ending his career. It’s not only the dangers that one faces in the ring because of the natures that wrestling is. There’s as much danger traveling. During the glory years of The 4 Horsemen, Arn Anderson had continual problems with his neck. It got worse and worse and he felt a numb in his arm. It kept getting further and further down and finally it reached his hand. Arn was so committed to the Horsemen, he said numerous times that it was a level of excellence and commitment that doesn’t come along every day. Arn continued to go out there every day and as a result, the nerve damage continued to progress that he needed surgery and when he finally had surgery, the damage wasn’t reparable.”
On injured wrestlers coming back from injury who were popular when they left: “I think you have to look at each case on an individual basis. Daniel Bryan, there’s a guy that, from an outside perspective, it would appear that there’s a guy who didn’t set the mold of what you would expect Vince McMahon and the WWE to give a push. He had that ‘it’ factor. The fans wouldn’t give up on him and WWE had to elevate his status because the fans demanded it. It’s sad that a guy finally gets his chance and was on the climb to who knows where and how long and then this injury comes along. Doctors will look at a guy and sometimes a guy will get a second opinion from another doctor and the doctors will sometimes not agree on the situation. The one reality of the whole situation is not only in WWE but in the whole genre of Pro Wrestling, you don’t have the depth of talent that was there years ago. You don’t have another guy you can plug into that spot and keep the momentum going. It’s the sad state of reality of the business today. Take a look at Ronda Rousey. She caught the world by storm. What happens if she goes down from injury. There is no one left.”
On Daniel Bryan and WWE creative: “From the times I’ve seen him, he has that it factor and connects with the fans. One thing about creative is there were a lot of ideas over time throughout my career and the ultimate judge and jury is the fans. You would take a guy who had the right talent and didn’t have the right situation for him and you’d put him in a situation that’s kind of like just being in limbo just to keep him out there. Sometimes it catches on fire like you couldn’t imagine. That’s one of the things about pro wrestling, sometimes you have the right pulse and sometimes you don’t. Vince McMahon picked more winners than losers, but no one is perfect.”
On the emotion he and the Four Horsemen had being inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame: “When I first started I was a fan. It was in the late 50’s and I thought I could become a professional wrestler and appear at Madison Square Garden. The Hall Of Fame at that point was Baseball in Cooperstown. There was no wrestling hall of fame. You just took it day by day and pursued your career and I’ve said it time after time that the fans made wrestling the way it is today. Their the greatest fans in the world and whatever success myself and the Horsemen had was because of the fans. We gave everything every night. It’s like in any other business, you have to give respect to get respect. At the end of the road, I wrestled full time for 5 years before I managed, then I continued to wrestle while managing. After 20 years I had over 3,200 matches. I have done it all and when you look back and you’re being inducted into the hall of fame, all of my children were there in attendance to share the experience with me. We were treated with great respect by the fans and the stars of today. The following day going in front of 70,000 people getting cheered and a standing ovation, it was a very emotional moment.”
On Ole Anderson not being inducted into WWE HOF: “Well there are political issues that go back to Georgia Championship Wrestling. If people do their research, they would realize that there was a negative tension between Vince McMahon and Ole Anderson. Ole probably wouldn’t accept it if they offered it to them. The Horsemen wouldn’t be the way they were without Ole. When Lex Luger came around we camouflaged his flaws and he came along at the right time. When Barry came along I think that was the elite group. With Barry you had the young looks, athleticism and skills.”
Check out the complete interview at BustedOpenNation.com.
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