Gateway: The Masked Superstar was certainly
portrayed as being something above a screaming
and yelling thug-like heel. In fact, when you
first came into the Mid-Atlantic area, you were
promoted as being an Olympic gold medal winner
and having two doctorate degrees!
Boris came up with those things. I had the
medals because we’d just gotten back from a
trip to Japan where they gave us gold medals.
Every year we’d have this Madison Square
Garden tournament. For like four years, they’d
give you a gold medal if you won the tournament,
a silver medal for finishing second and so on.
Andre [The Giant] and I won it a number of times
so we got those gold medals, and we also got
runners-up medals a time or two as well. It was
a good gimmick, and Boris was there with me that
Gateway: Undoubtedly you had a great
situation being with Boris Malenko, and pushed
by George Scott, when you started out as the
Masked Superstar. And overall, the territory was
hot when the Superstar character was introduced.
At that time, and you guys well know this,
the Charlotte territory was THE territory. There
was a waiting list to get in. The money was
there, but it was hard…hard trips.
Gateway: Tell us about that.
One time I worked fifty-two weeks straight,
seven days a week. I broke my ankle in Savannah,
went to the hospital and had a cast put on it. I
went to the office on South Boulevard on Monday
afternoon…at that time I had to call in or
physically go in to talk about the matches. You
know….how did it go, did this work, did that
work—that type of thing. They don’t do that
Gateway: Now, wasn’t there an angle in
1977 with you and Igor when you came out on TV
and said you broke your leg? Everybody thought
you were faking it to duck matches with Igor.
You’re saying you REALLY had a broken ankle
It wasn’t just an angle…I REALLY broke
my ankle! That was a shoot…that was real!
I took a scoot out of the ring, and when I
went out of the ring my left ankle hit the top
rope and it boomeranged right down and broke the
bone right off…just broke it off. The bone was
pushed out underneath my arch…so I went right
to the hospital.
saw the doctor right away, and once they put the
bone back in place he told me I wouldn’t have
any pain. He put me in a walking cast that was
very thin…I could do jumping jacks and
everything. But the doctor told me not to do
anything on it.
Gateway: But there was the TV angle where
they suspended you because you didn’t bring in
a doctor’s note about your ankle. Did the
promotion make you appear at the Wednesday TV
tapings right after you were legitimately
hurt…just to set up this angle?
I saw George Scott the next day and had that
cast on, and George said, ‘What the hell is
that thing.’ I told him that I broke my ankle,
and he said, “Get that damn thing off.’ He
actually went back and got a saw and cut it off!
gave me Sunday, Monday and Tuesday off, and told
me I had to be at TV on Wednesday night. So I
got all of three days off.
Superstar and tag partner Kim Duk.
Duk was my partner at the time. George was nice
enough to just let me stand there when I did TV
that Wednesday. But it was still a lot of pain
just standing up on the ankle…it would throb
all the time. After that, I worked another 50
weeks without a day off!
Gateway: You really hit the ground running
when you started as the Masked Superstar. You
immediately put up a stipulation that if you
were beaten by pinfall or submission, you would
take off your mask and pay the winner $5,000.00.
You also came in with an awesome new hold…the
When I went to Georgia later, I even
attached a stipulation to the cobra. The deal
there was if anybody could break the cobra they
would win $1,000.00.
Gateway: Also soon after starting as the
Superstar, around Thanksgiving of 1976, you went
around the circuit with Andre The Giant. What
was Andre like to work with?
I wrestled Andre right away. Andre and I got
along real well. The first time we worked, Andre
had been drinking a little bit…he was tipsy. I
remember going in the ring and seeing this
legitimate Giant and thinking, ‘What the hell
am I doing in here with this guy...how am I
going to do anything with this guy.’ (laughs)
first time Andre and I worked, it was one of
those all day jobs. We did an afternoon shot in
Winston-Salem, and the night shot was in Shelby.
In Winston-Salem, he called a spot and I was
going to take a slam. But he couldn’t get me
up….not because he wasn’t strong enough. So,
I put my hand on his hip and pushed myself
up….and he went, ‘Thank you boss.’
the flip side, I was actually the first guy to
slam Andre. One time he called a slam, and I
said ‘What?’ (everybody laughs) He said,
‘Slam me.’ And let me tell you, even with
him helping it was hard getting him up!
The Giant (BILL
Gateway: It sounds like you and Andre had a
We did. And later when we would do more tag
matches, Andre really hated Igor, and he would
let me do anything to him. Andre was a very good
friend. He was my youngest daughter’s
Gateway: That’s really something. You did
work with Andre throughout a good part of your
career, didn’t you?
He’s the one that got me back into New
York. I went into New York originally under the
Masked Superstar. But I didn’t like it
there…I hated it.
first day I got there, I drove all the way from
Atlanta…I was in the Gardens in Boston. I
didn’t know anybody, and up there it was real
political. I get off on the exit going into
town, and my car engine blows up. Here I am
broken down in Boston…I don’t want to be
there in the first place! (everybody laughs)
I struggled through that whole time and then
gave my notice. I talked to [Vince McMahon, Sr.]
and told him I just didn’t like it. McMahon
Sr. had seen me in Japan, and wanted me to come
in…for about two or three years I just told
him no. Finally, I went in for about a year,
gave my notice and left.
I finally went back up there, it was because
Andre wanted me to come in. So, that’s how I
got back in there the last time…I didn’t
like it up there then either! (laughs)
MIGHTY IGOR, PAUL JONES, AND BLACKJACK MULLIGAN
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