Chappell: Why did you never come back to Jim Crockett Promotions again?


Valentine: I talked to Crockett a couple of times. I had a meeting with him when he was in Dallas . He offered me a helluva contract to leave Vince…but Vince talked me into staying and I stayed in the WWF until 1992.


Chappell: You went to WCW for a little while after that, right?


Valentine: I went to WCW, and they were going to give me a push…and then Bill Watts came in and things just didn’t work out. He had different plans, so I quit.


Then I did a couple of more Pay Per Views in New York, in and out. From the period of about ’94 to ’97 I worked Independents, but it worked very good for me. Put it this way…it was very lucrative. Especially overseas in Europe, Japan, and Australia…it was great.


Chappell: Around 1997, didn’t you come back into WCW, which was hot at the time?


Valentine: I got a good contract there, but they still weren’t using me the right way…in my opinion. But I didn’t mind…I was sitting home getting a good check, so I still did the Independents. (laughs) 


Chappell: So you worked the Indy’s then, even though you didn’t have to?


Valentine: WCW was paying me to sit home…but I couldn’t just sit home, you know? So I kept booking the Independents. So it worked out good for me.


Chappell: And you’re wrestling here tonight in Lenoir, so obviously you’re still going strong in the ring. Tell everybody what you’re up to currently.


Valentine: I’m still wrestling! I’m not really doing anything else right now.


I became a Christian, a couple of years ago. And with that, I’ve done some public speaking at high schools, colleges and churches…and I’m pretty good at it. I’m long winded though, I go about 45 minutes or an hour! George South had me down in Charles ton, South Carolina with a preacher named Jim Palmer…I was down there for a whole week of crusades. I’ve also done a lot of the same stuff with Ted DiBiase, and I’m still doing things with Ted.


Chappell: Something else that I heard is going on with your life currently, is that you’re going to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame next weekend at WrestleMania XX. Congratulations!


Valentine: Thank you, David . Yeah, it was sort of out of the blue. You know, I figured Vince had forgotten all about me. Like they say, everything in life is timing…my Dad taught me that. 


It’s been ten years since I’ve been in the WWE…what they call it now. Unfortunately, I saw Vince at (Road Warrior) Hawk’s funeral…I say that because a funeral is a bad place to have to see anybody. But, Vince was very receptive to me. He goes, ‘Man, you haven’t changed a bit. You look great.’ When I was leaving I went to shake his hand, he grabbed me and said, ‘Give me a hug.’ My wife said, ‘Man, Vince is all over you…says you look the same. Maybe you should get a job up there as an agent or something…boss people around.’ I just laughed about it…but I said later, ‘I’m gonna call him.’


Chappell: I take it you all probably talked again?


Valentine: Two weeks went by…I left two different messages. On the second message, the lady says to me, ‘He knows you called. You’re on his list.’ I go, ‘Yeah…right.’ (laughs) Another week goes by and I’ve almost forgotten about it, and I’m on my way to the Hilton in Charlotte for the Mid-Atlantic Convention…and I turn on my cell phone and there’s a message from Vince McMahon.


He said, ‘ Greg , I’m returning your call. I’m sorry it took so long to get back to you. I really want to talk to you. I hope you’re doing well. Give me a call back.’ I go, ‘WOW.’


We played phone tag a couple of more times, but we made connections when I was out in Phoenix…and we made the deal there. He said he wanted to bring me in, talk to me and induct me into the Hall of Fame and be part of WrestleMania.


Bourne: It’s so well deserved for you.

Valentine: I’m really looking forward to it. Guys, I’m rubbing shoulders with some good people there. Jesse Ventura, Superstar Billy Graham, Tito Santana…


Chappell: That’s perfect, because you and Tito had the great program you’ve spoken about this afternoon.


Valentine: That’s right. And Bob by Heenan, I believe will be there. Don Muraco, Harley Race will be there too.


Chappell: And it’s their big 20th Anniversary WrestleMania show.


Valentine: And I was on their very first [WrestleMania].


Once again, timing is everything. I hope I can do more up there with them...I hope this is the start of something more. Whether it’s working and training guys, or working once in a while myself, or being an agent…I hope there is something there for me.


Chappell: Wrestling obviously still means a lot to you, Greg .


Valentine: Wrestling is my whole life. A lot of times people probably think, ‘You’re too old. Get out of wrestling…it’s a young man’s sport.’ But to me, it’s a darn career.


I’ve been doing this 34 years. It’s me…I’m Greg ‘The Hammer’ Valentine. It doesn’t matter where I go or what I do…I can’t forget who I am. I see people…they have to know I’m 50 some years old…they say, ‘When you gonna go back wrestling? George Foreman can do it.’ (everybody laughs)


So, I’m hoping I can do something in some capacity for the WWE. I know they’re going to do a bunch of interviews with me while I’m up there for WrestleMania. It will be a nice payday for us, too. I’m really looking forward to it…going into the Hall of Fame.


Chappell: I think they’ve slotted five hours for WrestleMania on the Pay Per View showing, so hopefully you Hall of Fame guys will get featured on the big show on Sunday.


Valentine: What they’re going to do, is that they’ll have a lot of us sitting ringside. They called me yesterday afternoon and told me that. They’ll shoot camera shots with us. I’ll be there with my wife, Julie. They’re flying us first class up there on Friday. We’re staying at the Hilton…everything’s being paid for.


 I’m not coming back until Tuesday. On Monday, I’m talking to Simon and Schuster about doing a book.


Chappell: That’s fabulous!


Valentine: Yeah…I believe Vince is strongly involved with their company.


So, a lot of really good things are going on.


Chappell: Boy, no doubt about it! I remember a few months ago the WWE came out with a publication called the 50 Greatest WWE Superstars of All Time…or something like that. And you weren’t in there! I couldn’t believe you weren’t in there…I remember calling Dick just to vent about that. But they’ve made amends in my eyes by putting you in their Hall of Fame!


Valentine: Yeah…I saw that book, too. You know David , whoever decided to do a project like that…they’re SO many deserving guys. My wife saw that book too and she goes, ‘Well, why is so and so in there…he’s not even a legend.’ I go, ‘Well, Julie, look…Tito’s not in there either. There are so many good guys. They also went in there and picked some oldies, really oldies that have passed away.’ I told her my not being in that book wasn’t a slight to me. I certainly didn’t take it as a slight.


You know, sometimes it’s a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ Vince saw me at the funeral, and when I called him I told him I’d been thinking about asking him if I could come up to WrestleMania. Then he said they’d been talking about me as well for quite a while. And, so, it happened that way.


Hey, I’d rather be part of the Hall of Fame than have my little picture on that magazine!


Chappell: Absolutely!


Valentine: Like I said, Tito wasn’t even in that magazine…


Bourne: And there are some current guys in that Top 50 magazine that they are still trying to get over now…that probably shouldn’t have been in there.


Valentine: But, I have to say, the WWE magazine people have been good to me. Right after I talked to Vince at the funeral, a guy called me up from the WWE Magazine, and they did a good article on me. That was really the start of getting me going back there for WrestleMania.


That was a REAL nice article. I talked about Flair…how I’d still like to get in there and bust him in the face! (everybody laughs)  They dictated it over the phone, and they printed it 99% how I told it over the phone.


I told Vince, I said, ‘Thanks very much for that article.’ He laughed. I was being set up, but it was good, and for all the right reasons! I’m glad…glad to be part of WrestleMania and the Hall of Fame.


Chappell: You’re still making waves now, much like you always did in the Mid-Atlantic days!


Valentine: Yeah…still trying!


Bourne: I love those moments where I can mark out like a kid again. You all did that Royal Rumble…where Flair won it in ’92.


Valentine: Yeah…


Bourne: For a moment you [and Flair] stopped, and looked at each other, and to me it was 1980 again, man!


Valentine: (laughs) Yes…I think I put the figure four on him!


Bourne: Yes! You did…oh, it was great!


Valentine: That was my last shot up there. ’92, Royal Rumble ’92. Flair won the (World) Title at that Royal Rumble, right? I did come back up there for another Royal Rumble, I believe in ’94, but that was it.


BUT…now ten years later I’m back again! (everybody laughs) I’m just glad I’m here, and able to do it. I know it probably sounds redundant…but timing IS everything.

Chappell: As we wrap up Greg , anything about the Mid-Atlantic territory in closing? I talked to Blackjack Mulligan a few days ago, and he kept saying what a grind the Crockett territory was. He enjoyed it a lot, but said the travel was long and the bookings were hard. Long matches, double shots…things like that.

Valentine: Well, you know, a lot of times I come up to the Carolinas now and work these Independent shows for Tony Hunter, George South and Greg Price. And I tell you what, it really loosens the memory cells up in my brain. (laughs)


I start thinking about all the trips I made years ago for Jim Crockett. I think, ‘How did I do it?’ And they’re some things from those trips, added on to that, that I really can’t mention! A lot of really crazy things! (everybody laughs)


Chappell: A lot of miles down the highways of Virginia and the Carolinas…


Valentine: Yeah…you know, 300 mile trips to Richmond. Wrestle in a cage, and bleed all over the place. Get back there and tape your head up, and drive all the way back to Charlotte. Me and Piper, or some of the other guys.


I used to wrestle Piper, and then we rode together. We got along better in the ring if we rode together, because then we could talk.


Chappell: But back in those Kayfabe days, you and Piper had to travel together in disguise, right? (laughs)


Valentine: (laughs) We had to hide when we stopped to get beer, or whatever.


But my goodness, we’d get in at five in the morning…and then be back to Charles ton, South Carolina by three in the afternoon. And the double-shots, like Jack…Mulligan said.


Chappell: Those double-shots had to be brutal.


Valentine: Sometimes we’d do doubles on Saturdays, and then come back and do doubles on Sundays. BUT…the money! The money was great. And we were young bucks, and we could handle it then.


But it wasn’t just the physical part of our schedule back then that was so tough. The physical part I handled pretty well. But all the risks we had to take…when you’re on those little airplanes. I always thought about my Dad in that crash…and Ric was in that same crash and he was scared sometimes. But we had to fly…we couldn’t make it by driving alone.


We traveled SO much…and when you’re traveling you take so many chances. And, to still be here, I’m just very blessed. A lot of great times in Mid-Atlantic.


Chappell: In closing, anything you’d like to say to your many fans from the Mid-Atlantic days?


Valentine: I really appreciate being remembered. You know, I’m not on television much anymore…though I’ve been on a little bit lately on Raw and Smackdown with the WWE Hall of Fame. It’s really nice to be able to walk through airports when I’m doing these Independent shows, and people still run up to me and say, ‘Are you Greg Valentine?’ And some say, ‘Did you use to wrestle?’ And I go, ‘I STILL WRESTLE!’ (everybody laughs)


Chappell: Do you tell them, ‘AND DON’T MAKE ME MAD!’ (everybody laughs)


Valentine: Yeah! ‘NOT AS MUCH, BUT I STILL WRESTLE!’ (everybody laughs)


Chappell: Or…‘I’VE BROKEN A LOT OF LEGS AND I’M NOT THROUGH YET!’ (everybody laughs)


Valentine: I’m not done yet! I just talked to Terry Funk today, and he’s still wrestling too. Terry’s farewell tour has been going on for 20 years, and he’s still doing it! (laughs)


But seriously, it’s a real blessing that people still remember me. They remember that Mid-Atlantic era of the 70s and 80s, the times that I was in and out of Jim Crockett Promotions, and that time was a real joy for wrestlers and wrestling fans alike.


Fans tell me often, ‘We really enjoyed that type of wrestling you did in Mid-Atlantic, much more than what we see today.’ But I want to tell the fans one thing, Vince is going back to old school wrestling. I know this, because I’ve talked to him about it. And you can already start to see the change back on television. Matches are going longer, and you’re seeing more wrestling as opposed to other things.


Chappell: Hey…when you’re talking old school wrestling, in my mind, you’re talking Greg ‘The Hammer’ Valentine!


Valentine: The WWE is going back to old school, and that’s barking right up my tree. There goes that timing thing again we’ve been talking about…it might just be my time again.


Chappell: I really hope that it is. Well Greg …Dick and I thank you for all your time today. I know you are on a tight schedule, and need to get into the building for this evening’s event here at the Mulberry Center in Lenoir. We really appreciate everything.


Bourne: This has been great. Thanks Greg …we appreciate your taking time to talk with us for our site.


Valentine: Oh…I appreciate it guys. I know you guys appreciate wrestling, so I’ve liked talking about it today.