Source: The Ross Report
2017 WWE Hall Of Fame Inductee Teddy Long spoke with veteran professional wrestling announcer, Jim Ross, on his podcast, The Ross Report. Among other things, Long talked about his upcoming induction into the WWE Hall Of Fame, the differences between working for WWE and WCW, how he became a professional wrestling referee, and a special moment he shared with WWE Chairman Vince McMahon after Long became D'Lo Brown's villainous manager.
"It feels real good. It's something that I never expected. It really was a big shock to me and a big surprise. I'm really honored and I certainly thank the WWE and Vince McMahon for everything that they've done for me." Long continued, "well, Mark Carrano was the one that made the call. He called me and he kind of joked around a little bit about some other stuff. And then, he finally told me that I was going into the Hall Of Fame. And he congratulated me and he thanked me and he told me that he was one of the guys that went and took my name into Vince and got things kind of rolling. That went over really well. I was really excited."
Long admitted that he is happy with who is inducting him at the Hall Of Fame ceremony, but he would not reveal who will be doing the honors in case WWE does not want the information getting out prematurely.
"Well, I do [know who is inducting him], but I don't know if they want me to say it or not, so I guess I'd better leave that alone. I don't know if they want it out there or not."
On major differences between WWE and WCW, Long suggested that he did not get much feedback at WCW.
"When I came there [to WWE], I found out this is a business and it's not a joke because I didn't understand that coming from WCW because nobody was really sitting me down and explaining that my role was to draw money or my role was to put people in the seats." Long elaborated, "[WCW] were never honest with you. Do you know what I mean? And that's kind of bad because sometimes when you did a bad job, some guys would say, 'hey man, that was great. That was great. Good stuff.' And that's really not good. If somebody [does] bad, tell them they [had] done bad. If they don't accept the criticism, that's really too bad. So I think the problem there was a lot of people weren't honest."
During the conversation, Long claimed that he taught himself how to referee, as he was thrown into his first match when the promotion was in a pinch.
"I taught myself. I went into the ring, my first referee match, I had at the Cobb County Civic Center in Marietta, Georgia. About 30 minutes before showtime, there was no referee. Louise Manning came to me, she was the promoter at that time, she came to me, she had sent to the varsity and got me a referee shirt and she told me, she says, 'we don't have a referee tonight. You're going to have to referee.' I had never refereed in my life!"
With respect to the current deemphasis on managers in pro wrestling, Long professed that the decline can be attributed to generation trying to get away from the old ways.
"I think it's probably just I believe it's a new era now and I think they're just trying to get away from a lot of the old stuff that we used to do and kind of bring something new into what we're doing now. The business has changed. It is entertainment now and we make movies now! But I think that a manager is always valuable, especially when you've got a guy that can talk and a guy that can back up what he says in the ring."
Long acknowledged that people often ask him why he went to WWE as a referee when he was a manager in WCW, as though it is a demotion. The former manager of 'Mean' Mark Callous countered that the spot that was open with WWE at the time was for a referee, not a manager. Moreover, the referee who registered the pinball in Ricky Steamboat's NWA World Championship win over Ric Flair at Chi-Town Rumble stated that he got paid more as an official in WWE than a manager in WCW.
"Well, that ain't what they wanted right then. They wanted me to referee, so [if] that's what they want, [if] that's what they'll pay me to do, then, that's what I'll do. I ain't ashamed of refereeing again. Refereeing is the reason I'm here today!" Long added, "I made more money there [in WWE] refereeing than I did in WCW managing. No, it wasn't a bad job at all."
When Long was called upon to portray a heel manager in WWE, the hype man who was 'down wit' da Brown' got a strong vote of confidence from McMahon after WWE's Chairman saw Long cut a promo for the first time.
"When I walked out the first night and I walked out with D'Lo Brown, and I cut this promo on Tommy Dreamer and then when I [came] back and I walked in Gorilla, and Vince looked at me and he said, 'I can't believe I've had you here right under my nose all this time.' And I remembered that and that made me feel like, 'hey, I've got this. I'm going to take care of this.' So that was a big moment for me then."
Business is about to pick up here. If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit The Ross Report with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
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