All the Pictures are from
DP: Everyone knows you from your long run in the WWF, which has been covered to death already, so let's start with this. What are you doing now?
HTM: I have been doing the Indy stuff for several years now.
DP: So you are remaining active. Do you have a web page where people can contact you for bookings or find out where you are at?
HTM: Yes, you can contact me at: www.thehonkytonkman.com This year I have been to Switzerland, Scotland, The Netherlands, Yukon Territory, and Alaska. I stay very busy and I enjoy what I do because I am in charge of my own business.
DP: What made you want to relocate to Phoenix, where you now live, after so many years down south?
HTM: It was simply the weather. My son was into sports and the weather is a bit better hear than in Calgary or Memphis. My wife never liked Memphis due to the Ebonics spoken by most of the people there. She could not understand whitey or blackie.
DP: What advice would you give new comers to wrestling about finding bookings, being wary or whatever?
HTM: We all get burned from time to time by some dirty dealing promoters. That aspect of the business has no social or economic boundaries. WWE will burn you as bad as any small time promoters! It is hard for young guys to break in now because there is just not too many places to get steady work. Steady work is the only way to learn the business. The fellows on the east coast seem to do ok with bookings but in other areas there is one or two shows a month or every 3 months.
DP: A lot of new guys read this page, so what else might you suggest them to do to help themselves out? What do you think promoters look for when they take people?
HTM: My advice to the new guys is try to perfect your gimmick. try different approaches until you find that little something that you can do very well. Learn your role so to speak. I don't know what promoters are looking for today. Hardcore is not it for sure. I think you have to be uniquely different to get over nowadays. Too many guys all look the same, dress the same and so on. Be different is the best way.
DP: Incidentally, a couple of Dibiase's wrestlers for his Christian promotion did some interviews with me for this page. For a compare and contrast, you have been a major critic of this promotion. Why?
HTM: The idea was stolen from Jake Roberts first of all. He created the whole wrestling for the Lord gimmick. Ted took it from Jake after Jake fell off the wagon too many times. I am critical because I do not think these non-religious wrestlers need to use religion as a tool to change people's lives or beliefs. I would want to be part of a group that traveled the country and gave uplifting speeches and testimonials about how you can become a better person by having high self esteem, desire, dedication to your job,family and so forth, along with working hard to succeed. I do not want to be part of telling someone how to get to heaven. That is something that is within a person and it is none of my business what someone believes or how they think they are going to get a ticket through the pearly gates. There is a thing in our country called separation of church and state. I think this was one of the best laws ever passed because it keeps people from inflicting their views on us in civic and municipal places. I also think there should be a separation of wrestling and religion! Churches were built for worship, not wrestling rings!
DP: I did not interview Ted, but the guys I spoke to seemed sincere. Do you think the bulk of these people are just working the religious angle?
HTM: Yes, I do think it is an angle for dough. I know first hand from some of Ted's disciples that they only do it for the dough. I have seen them drink, smoke dope, chase women, snort coke, the whole nine yards. They pass it off as, "I fight with my demons everyday, sometimes I win, and sometimes the demons win." Heck of a way to praise the Lord I say. To me it comes off like a prescription from your doctor. Every time you fall short of the Lord, ask to be forgiven and you will be. So how many times a day or a week or a month do you ask? Once a day for 30 days, 2 x's a day for 7 days. My little sister died at age 4. She was not baptized so therefore she will not get to heaven. Jeffery Dalmer killed numerous people and ate them. If he asked the Lord to be forgiven just prior to having his skull caved in by another inmate, then he is in heaven. My little sister isn't. I don't get it.
DP: Have you ever spoken to Ted about it? I mean, to be frank, if you are not working with them, why do they bother you so much?
HTM: It doesn't bother me at all. I have not spoken with him a about it. Nor do I intend to pursue the issue with him. I am not part of them because of my own.
DP: Aside from this then, let's get back to you again. You have wrestled many, many men, but with whom did you enjoy working the most?
HTM: That is a hard question because there were so many and so many good ones. Jake Roberts, Snuka, Steamboat, Savage, and of course Hogan. The answer I give most of the time is, "the guy I could make the most money with!"
DP: And the least, if you would like to talk about it?
HTM: The least was Ultimate Warrior. He was dangerous and I never wanted to leave the business on a stretcher.
DP: Did you create that shake, rattle and roll neck breaker or was it someone else's idea?
HTM: I gave it the name and McMahon loved it. I thought I needed something as a finish that was different and had a catch phrase to it that fit in with the Elvis gimmick. That simple swinging neck breaker still stands out today as a trademark of the Honky Tonk Man.
DP: You were trained by?
HTM: Herb Welch of the famous Welch/Fuller family
DP: One final thing I have to ask. Years ago I heard you on a WWF promo and you said "The people want to HEAR the Honky tonk Man dance, they want to hear the Honky tonk man sing." Just hows do you HEAR someone dance? Was this a slip or intended?
HTM: That was a slip for sure and it has happened a couple of times since! LOL
DP: Closing comments?
HTM: For all the young people who want to be in the wrestling business, I say, have a strong desire, be serious, be dedicated, and work hard. Anything is possible if you take that "prescription."