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Weekend Conversation with Spike Dudley

By Jason Powell, Torch assistant editor

Conducted Apr. 14, 2000


Jason Powell: How did you suffer your injury?

Spike Dudley: I think the initial injury actually happened at the Guilty As Charged pay-per-view. I did a little flipping thing and hit the guard rail pretty hard. My knee locked up on me about a minute later during the match. I thought it was just banged up and worked on it for the next two or three months or so. Actually, two months. I broke down and had it checked out and had the MRI and all of that done and found out I have a torn PCL, posterior cruciate ligament.

Powell: Has ECW taken care of you and your medical bills since then?

Spike: Yeah. I'm quite happy with ECW's care of Spike. How is that (laughs)?

Powell: What does the rehab entail?

Spike: At this point, there is not a lot I can do. The way it works is that the PC ligament wraps around the knee. What they had to do is rip out my wasted ligament and replace it with a cadaver's achilles heel. It takes time for the new ligament to shrink up to the bone so I can't bend my knee for twelve weeks. Right now, the only therapy I can do is leg raises and leg lifts with a straight leg while trying to keep the rest of my leg as strong as possible. Unfortunately, I can't bend my leg and the problem is that my hamstring is going to shrivel up and die in the next four months from lack of use. Once the brace comes off, then I have to strengthen the rest of it up. I would say it is about a six month process before I can get back in the ring.

Powell: What are you doing to keep yourself busy?

Spike: There isn't a lot I can do. I can sit here and flex my leg and watch a lot of wrestling tapes. That's about it, really. I can't really travel. If I'm on my leg for more than ten minutes it starts to kill me. I have to sit here and keep it elevated unless I'm doing therapy.

Powell: Has the injury made you consider toning down your in-ring style?

Spike: No, not at all. Not at all because the injury was a freak thing on a move I have done one hundred and fifty times. Injuries are a part of the game. I never expected to not have an injury. It's just a drag that this one put me out as long as it did.

Powell: Are you worried about the long term effects your style might lead to? For instance, do you see it shortening your career?

Spike: No. If anything, I'll come back stronger from this injury. If anything the next six months from not bumping might have a positive effect on the length of my career. Actually, taking time off will help to heal a lot of the other stuff going on. During the next six months the only thing I'll be training, I should come back a lot healthier than I was prior to the injury.

Powell: But in general, you take some pretty severe bumps. Are you concerned with the toll they will take on your body?

Spike: No. You say I take severe bumps. I say I don't do anything that I'm not capable of (laughs). It's not a consideration. It's not something you can really think about. I like to be as safe as possible, but I'm not going to worry if I take three bumps instead of two bumps, if I'm going to be able to walk when I'm fifty. That's dumb. I live for today, not tomorrow.

Powell: What about bumps like the one New Jack and Vic Grimes took at the pay-per-view? You say you are very safe with your bumps, but obviously that bump wasn't well planned. Is there a line wrestlers can cross where it can be damaging to the company or is anything fair game?

Spike: Yes, there is a line. I don't know what they were thinking when they went up there. God bless them both. They were doing it for the good of the company. Any time you are taking a risk where there is a probable chance of injury, screw it. I have never gone out and taken a bump that I didn't know I would be able to walk away from. Even Cactus (Mick Foley), who takes the craziest bumps in the world, everything that he does is done with a degree of safety. When you lose that element, they you are really going over the line. Then it isn't a work anymore and wrestling is a work.

Powell: Do you think New Jack and Grimes's bump crossed the line?

Spike: I don't know if they did it intentionally or not. I think things got out of control. As you said, it probably wasn't pre-planned. I'm not sure that they knew what they were getting into when they started climbing up there (the top of the scaffold). I don't look at it and say, "They're stupid, they're idiots, they're morons." I just think things got a little out of control. Do I think those two will ever do anything like that again? I don't think so. I just hope people don't start doing things like that as a trend. That would be a shame.

Powell: How has your injury affected you psychologically? When Robert Smith of the Minnesota Vikings injured his knee for the second time, he was so devastated that he went so far as to hint to teammates that he was considering suicide. I realize that is an example of a severe overreaction, but how has this played on your mind? Is it difficult so sit out?

Spike: Yes, it is very hard to be out. I have my up and down moments. I actually have thought, if I were really extreme, would I have had the surgery? If I were like Sabu would I have worked through it or something? Have I lost something now that I have given in and taken time off? To be honest, that is silly (laughs). I would like to have as healthy of a life as possible. Paul E. (Heyman) wants me healthy. Taking six months off to heal is not a big deal. I think I will be back stronger than ever and it will result in a stronger career.

Powell: Have you suffered any concussions as a result of your bumps?

Spike: I've had a few concussions. Well, actually I would have to assume that I have had a few. I've never gone to a doctor and had them confirm it, but I've been knocked out a couple of times. Overall, I've probably had three or four.

Powell: Being from California, I'm going to assume you are aware of the problems San Francisco 49'ers quarterback, Steve Young, has had stemming from his history of concussions. Do you fear that repeated concussions could leave you in a situation similar to his?

Spike: No. I've never suffered any other effects from them. I don't have reccurring headaches or anything like that. The last time I had one was two or three years ago. I don't think about it. You guys make it sound like every time I go out I am taking my life in my hands, but I don't look at it like that. I consider myself one of the safer guys in the business regardless of tables and things like that. I've never hurt anybody in the ring. Aside from this injury, which was freak because I just landed the wrong way doing a move I have always done, I've never had any major injuries. I think I have a pretty good ratio going (laughs). I don't think like that. I think I do what I do pretty safely.

Powell: You have worked with Mike Awesome a lot over the past year. Did his jump surprise you? Do you feel he betrayed you and the rest of the locker room as some of the wrestlers feel?

Spike: It surprised me. I didn't see it coming. Do I feel personally betrayed? No. I don't think he thought of the boys when he did it, but I don't take it personally. I don't really know his side of the story. I wasn't on the road this weekend so I didn't see him. Basically, I only know what I have heard from a couple of the guys I have talked to. It's pretty much the same story that is out on the web, he used one of his connections to jump to WCW. For whatever reason, he did it. I don't take it personally.

Powell: Were you tight outside the locker room?

Spike: He wasn't really around that much. I had nothing against Mike and always got along with him. But we weren't tight, close buddies, no.

Powell: So it isn't as if you will be keeping in touch with him?

Spike: No, I wouldn't say that.

Powell: Some sources in ECW have told us that Mike Awesome had been complaining about his checks being late over the last 30 days. Have you had similar experiences to his? Have your checks been late?

Spike: No, I've always been happy with ECW and my checks (laughs). Honestly, there was the ordeal or whatever it was a year or so ago. But no, I have no complaints with my situation with ECW. Paul E. has always been good to me.

Powell: There have also been reports that several wrestlers are still owed pay-per-view bonuses from last year. Even if you don't care to talk about your own situation, have you heard similar complaints?

Spike: Well, everyone has their own deal. All I can do is speak for myself. I have no complaints about my pay-per-view payoffs. I'm not going to stir things up talking about who has been paid what. It's none of my business. If I have a problem with my pay-per-view payoffs I will take it to Paul E. in the office. I wouldn't do it on a website (laughs). I still work for Paul and don't have any problems with him. Anytime, and I mean anytime during the past three and a half years that I have had a problem financially... and trust me, when you start with ECW, you don't make too much. There were definitely some starving days. But any time I have or had problems with my money or payments, I've gone to Paul and he takes care of it like that. I'm not kidding you, Paul has never screwed me on anything. Anytime I have ever asked for anything he has given it to me. It blows me away that people would go to the press and complain rather than going to Paul.

Powell: Any thoughts on Tazz coming back to take the ECW Title?

Spike: I thought it was pretty cool. I thought it was a little twist that Paul E. pulled. I wasn't there so I didn't get to see him, but I thought it was nice. I'm kind of curious to watch TV tonight to see how they did it.

Powell: Personally, I really liked the move to use Tazz, but there are a couple of people in ECW saying it was a bad move because it puts the belt on a WWF wrestler who will only be around for a short time. Do you agree or disagree with those thoughts?

Spike: I couldn't care less (laughs). Who cares? It was a nice swerve. The people didn't see it coming. The boys didn't see it coming. Is ECW going to be hurt by it? No. Is the WWF going to be hurt by it? No. The only person that is hurt by this whole ordeal is Mike Awesome. I think it is pretty cool that the companies are working together to a degree. I don't give two rat's asses about the booking of the titles and who appears on what show. You know, whatever (laughs).

Powell: Have you signed an ECW contract? If so, how long is your deal?

Spike: Yes. I have a three year deal.

Powell: Signed, sealed, and delivered?

Spike: Oh yeah. I guess I'm getting close to entering my second year of the deal already.

Powell: Once your deal expires, are you interested in working for one of the other companies?

Spike: Not right now. Of course, going to the WWF seems like the ultimate. That is where the big money is, the biggest TV exposure, the big league, and things like that, but I'm really, really happy in ECW. I'm not a greedy person. I make what I think is a very good living and I suspect it will only get better if ECW grows, and yes, ECW will continue to grow. The other thing is that when I go out to wrestle a match, there is no time limit. Paul E. doesn't tell me to get this move in and do this and that, it is me doing my stuff. That's what I'm happy doing. I don't know if I would be as happy wrestling for New York or Atlanta where they tell you, "Give me three minutes" or "You have to say this." Everything is scripted out and planned out. Granted, they have a great product, but I'm not sure that is what I like doing. I'm not into the acting stuff. As Spike, I like to go out, get nutty, and be extreme. That is what I have fun doing.

Powell: Kari Bullock played your look alike on-air girlfriend. Did you enjoy that?

Spike: No, I didn't. It was kind of neat. One thing, I don't know where all of the shit about the girlfriend stuff came from. I had no say in that (laughs). I thought it was neat that she looked like me when she was dressed up and I thought it was a cool little angle. But no, I didn't like "Spike and his mutant girlfriend who looks just like him." No, I don't like all of that. I guess it is kind of cute and funny. It was a little angle and it worked because, sure, Mike nailed the hell out of her. But it was kind of awkward for me. It isn't natural for me to walk down the aisle while holding hands with a chick. It's just not my deal.

Powell: So would you oppose the angle if it came up again?

Spike: I'm not opposed to anything if Paul E. says to do it. I'll take his word for it. He is the booker and I will do whatever he wants. It wouldn't be something that I would suggest. How is that (laughs)?

Powell: How long to you plan to wrestle?

Spike: As long as it is fun.

Powell: What are your plans for life after wrestling?

Spike: Honestly, I would really, really like to get into the training aspect of it. I would love to have my own little school or even some affiliation with ECW and the House of Hardcore. Just train guys. I think I have a pretty good base to be able to start guys out.

Powell: Who trained you and what year?

Spike: I trained in 1993 at APW which was Pacific Coast Sports. They changed the name a couple of years into it. The guy who basically trained me was Ricky Thompson. He was a seventies worker and did the California, Arizona, and West Texas areas. He pretty much only wrestled in the summer. But back in the day, anyone who worked was a good worker. He was friends with Roland Alexander, the guy who owns APW. Basically, those two sat down and came up with their training outline. Ricky taught me for my first four or five months, but then he had some deal with his work. I was taken over by some of the students who were there. The guys who were ahead of me at the time were Mike Modest, Robert Thompson, and Mike Donahoe who is Maxx Justice now. Those were the three top students when I came in. They had probably been there anywhere from a year to even two or three years before me. So, Ricky and those three guys were my base instructors for the first year or two. I had my first match in June of '94.

Powell: Both you and Modest appeared in "Beyond the Mat." What did you think of the movie?

Spike: I liked the movie. I thought it was powerful. I know seventy-five percent of the guys in the movie and it was cool seeing the stuff. I've hung out with Barry (Blaustein) a little bit and I think he is a really nice guy. I'm glad that his movie did as well as it did. It was cool.

Powell: You wrote a letter to this website a few days ago. For anyone that missed it, describe what you did prior to wrestling.

Spike: I went to college and moved to San Francisco like everybody does. I started working the teaching job. A few months into the teaching gig, I saw a commercial for the APW wrestling school. I called them up and told them I want to be a referee or a manager. I went and started wrestling. They said, "Hey, you are good enough to be a wrestler." So I started training to be a wrestler. I taught two years while I was training and working indy shows. I quit the teaching job and got into a financial printing position in San Francisco. That was the job I used to transfer to New York so I could have some income while I was working for ECW during my first year. They don't pay you too much when you start (laughs). That was pretty much it.

Powell: We hear the "LSD" chants and you use the Acid Drop finisher. Anything we should know (laughs)?

Spike: Not since my college days, no pal (laughs). To be honest, I never came up with any of that stuff. It was pretty much the Queens crowd. I just go with the flow and they can chant whatever. But no, I'm not a strong endorser of LSD (laughs).

Courtesy of Pro Wrestling Torch and Jason Powell