Chappell: That Mid-South promotion was terrific. I actually moved out to that area in late 1984 for a while, and got to see that promotion up close.


Slater: You were out there the same time I was!


Chappell: Yep, pretty much…that was a heck of a promotion! And I want to talk some more about Mid-South in a little bit…and especially ‘Dark Journey’!


Slater: (laughs)


Chappell: I guess Dark Journey was really a ‘valet’ and not a manager, but I’d like your thoughts on your use of managers over your years in the business. Did you feel that they added a lot to the equation?


I know you had Gary Hart as your manager before you came into the Mid-Atlantic area, and for a while when you first came into the Crockett territory.


Slater: Actually, I’m pretty sure when I first went up to Jimmy Crockett’s territory, I’m pretty sure Gary Hart was working there…or came in soon after.


Chappell: That’s right…I believe Gary was focusing on Kabuki and the Magic Dragon for the most part then. But I remember you and Gary working together some in the Mid-Atlantic area.


Slater: I never really needed a manager to do the talking for me, but depending on the situation, managers could really add a lot…and generate heat. Gary was great…he managed Bobby Orton, Jr. and I in Georgia…before we ended up together in the Carolinas.


Gary was a talented manager…one of the best managers in wrestling.


Chappell: Since we’re still really talking about your pre Mid-Atlantic stuff, something that always comes up when the subject is Dick Slater…is the incident when Wahoo McDaniel shot you.


Slater: Well, Wahoo McDaniel, me, Tommy Rich and Andre the Giant were at a lounge in downtown Tampa that we always hung around down there. Andre, Wahoo and I were sittin’ at the bar, and somebody said something about Tommy Rich’s wife that got Wahoo real mad. Tommy went outside, this was about at closing time, and what I remember was that Wahoo got in an argument with this guy, and the guy went to the car, and gets his knife out, right?


So, Wahoo saw that, and I guess he went to the car and got a gun out.


Chappell: Oh boy…


Slater: I don’t know what’s goin’ on in the parking lot, because me and Andre are still inside at the bar. So when I go out, I see Wahoo with some guy by the shirt against the wall. I told Wahoo, ‘What’s you doing?’ Me and Andre just stood there looking at him. Then [Wahoo] grabs the guy, and he backhands the guy…and when he backhands the guy, Wahoo’s got a gun in his hand now, alright? He pistol whips the guy and the gun goes off…and I catch the bullet!


Chappell: Just your luck, huh?


Slater: Then he comes over, and stands over there looking at me. I said, ‘Wahoo, put the gun up.’ When the police got there, I told them that a sniper shot me…to save Wahoo.


Chappell: (laughs)


Slater: They took me to the hospital. I had to be in Japan three weeks after that to wrestle. He shot me with a nine millimeter…went in the side of my leg and came out the back of my knee. It blew a hole the size of a tennis ball at the back of my knee, and about the size of a quarter in the front…


Chappell: How long were you out?


Slater: I was back in the ring three weeks after that.


Chappell: Really?


Slater: Yeah.


Chappell: You mentioned early on that Bob Roop was there with you when you started in the business. Roop has said some things about putting you up and loaning you money when you got shot by Wahoo, and that you didn’t pay him back as agreed…


Slater: Bob Roop was never, ever in the same place as Wahoo and I. I haven’t seen Bob Roop since I left Florida and went to Georgia. I haven’t seen him…and that was way before I met Wahoo McDaniel. That’s a big lie there.


Chappell: I hope I’m remembering this correctly, but I read where Bob Roop was involved in trying to take over Knoxville at some point, and you got involved, and Bob said you stabbed him in the back…


Slater: I went to Japan…and got a phone call from Bob Roop. He wanted to start his own business in Knoxville, Tennessee…


Chappell: Okay…


Slater: He wanted to know if I wanted to go with him, and I said, ‘No, I was fine just where I was at.’ I was working for Ron Fuller…I went in there to work for Ron Fuller. I was traveling in and out of there, going to Japan back and forth, and with Jim Barnett.


I wasn’t about to jeopardize my wrestling career to work for Bob Roop. So, I mean, he can say all he wants to say, but Bob Roop…where’s he at now?


(laughs) But look at me, where I’m at now….


Chappell: I believe that Bob has also said, as ‘payback’ for your turning your back on him in this Knoxville takeover thing and not paying him back promptly for this loan…that about a month later he worked you over with a blackjack---beat your ass pretty bad.


Slater: (laughing hard) Is he kidding?


Chappell: You’re saying all that’s a piece of fiction?


Slater: A real big piece. He hit me with a blackjack at a bar, right?


Chappell: Uh huh.


Slater: He got the shit kicked out of him afterwards! (laughing hard)


Chappell: Oh, so you do remember something happening between you and Roop?


Slater: (laughs) Yeah…I remember that!


Chappell: So Roop actually came after you, and you’re saying he ended up getting the worst of it?


Slater: He sure did!


Chappell: Really?


Slater: Yeah…he went into the Pepsi machine head first!


Chappell: Courtesy of Dick Slater?


Slater: Yeah…you got it!


Chappell: (laughing)


Slater: He did use a blackjack…he did. He just didn’t hit me hard enough!


Chappell: (laughing) Well, I figured there might be another side to that story…


Slater: Mine’s the right one! If he thinks he’s ever beat me up, then he’s got a problem. He’s never really beat me at nothing.


I don’t know who he’s ever beat up, but he ain’t never beat me up. That’s just a rumor there.


Chappell: Well, you sure beat up quite a few folks when you wrestled in the Mid-Atlantic area! And you won quite a few titles. In fact, you were one of only a handful of stars that won all of Crockett’s singles titles during your Mid-Atlantic career…the NWA TV Title, The Mid-Atlantic Title, and the U.S. Title.


A ‘Triple Crown’ winner!


Slater: And Crockett even invented a Brass Knucks Title…he had Roddy Piper and me doing those damn taped fist matches!


Chappell: (laughs) Yeah, several versions of that Brass Knucks Title would magically appear every five years or so…and then just as quickly disappear!


I remember your very first interview on Mid-Atlantic TV in January of 1983. You came on and said you were the last surviving hero, and that anybody that got in the ring with you was in for the most violent match they’d ever have! Does that sound about right?


Slater: (laughs) Probably so…the last hero in the ring!


Chappell: Was Dory (Funk, Jr.) booking the territory when you first came in?


Slater: Yeah…Dory was there then. He sure was.


Chappell: When you came into the Mid-Atlantic area, you hit the ground running. I remember early on you confronted Roddy Piper on TV…one of those deals where everybody came out from the back and couldn’t pull you two apart!


Tell us a little bit about Roddy Piper.


Slater: Oh, Piper was a character! He’s a great guy. I mean…I love Roddy. He had the gift of gab, you know?


Chappell: Absolutely.


Slater: He could talk, and he was GREAT in the ring. I liked a good fight David, you know what I mean?


Chappell: Sure do.


Slater: I didn’t like to go in there and pussyfoot around, in the first place. I was a believer in what I did, and Roddy was a believable wrestler. We went at it. You knew when you were in there with Roddy, it was almost like a fight.


You know, we laughed at beatin’ the shit out of one another!


Chappell: (laughing)


Slater: We beat the shit out of one another! Greg (Valentine) was the same way. Wahoo was another one…chopping me in the throat every night.


It was physically hard. I mean, a lot of people say wrestling’s this and wrestling’s that…yeah okay, well you get in there and fight them guys every night!


Chappell: Did matches with those guys almost become shoots at times?



Slater: Oh, it was.


Chappell: It sure looked like it to a fan!


Slater: It was…for sure! (laughing) Travel was so far, by the time you got to the town, you were so mad, you wanted to beat the shit out of somebody!


Chappell: (laughs)


I remember only your second or third week into Jim Crockett Promotions, you called Jerry Brisco out on TV. What is your relationship with Jack and Jerry Brisco?


Slater: Jack and Jerry Brisco have been great friends of mine for years. They got a body shop down here…


Chappell: Right…the Brisco Brothers Body Shop.


Slater: The last time I saw Jack was at Hiro Matsuda’s funeral. Jack made a great comeback…he had a bad back surgery that got infected real bad, that almost cost him his life. He was in a walker for awhile. I’ve heard he’s gotten back in the gym, and his wife helped him tremendously in his rehab.


Chappell: Jack was in Charlotte for Fanfest at Thanksgiving, and I thought he looked great. Jerry was there, too, and looked good also.


Slater: It’s amazing what he’s done to fight back.


I felt real bad for him with that back surgery. He changed me from having a surgery…I was scared that I’d have to take those chances. I’ve been on that operating table, and gone code blue a couple of times…and that’s something you don’t want to do. I didn’t see no sign of light or anything at the time…you don’t know what happens when you get that way. I was there. I live for every day now.


My last operation was nine or ten hours on the operating table. I woke up…and it took me two years to walk after that. They called that a successful back operation…


Chappell: (laughs)


Slater: Hate to see a bad one!


Chappell: Yeah!


Well, you won the first of your Crockett titles within a month or so after entering the territory, beating Mike Rotundo for the NWA TV Title. Mike was just sort of starting out at that point…did you think he had the right stuff in those early days?


Slater: Mike’s a great guy. Mike’s wrestled in Japan a lot. He’s one of the guys that was a great amateur, a great amateur wrestler, like the Briscos. Jack Brisco was never beaten as an amateur the best I can remember. He might have gotten beat goin’ up the ranks, but he wasn’t beat goin’ all the way up to the national finals. And Mike was in that same class.


Mike was very good. He was kind of a quiet guy, but he had a dry sense of humor. And when he wants to make you laugh…he’s pretty funny!


Chappell: That’s interesting…Mike seemed really low key back then. And very soft spoken.


Slater: He was fairly soft spoken, but when you got around him and got to know him that changed. But he was never a boisterous person.


Chappell: Going in the other direction from Mike, I remember a match of yours from Richmond, Virginia in April of 1983 when you lost the TV Title to Joe LeDuc. Was LeDuc as crazy as he looked…and acted?


Slater: He loved pain, I tell you that! First time I ever seen Joe, he took an ax and had his arm down on a table, and he actually cut his own arm! This was on TV down here in Florida.


Chappell: Oh geez…I think I heard about that.


Slater: And then he took a piece of concrete brick, a concrete block, and put it down on a table and he took his head, and broke the block with his head! (laughs)


Chappell: (laughing) So he WAS as crazy as he looked!


Slater: I mean, pain didn’t seem to bother him…but that was a little nuts!


Chappell: (laughs) Very nuts! With him, what you saw was what you got, I guess!


Slater: He was a physical guy…


Chappell: No finesse with him! I enjoyed those matches with you two. Joe had just turned babyface…which was pretty interesting in and of itself. And they were tough physical matches.


Slater: They sure were.