Bob Backlund was a great storyteller in a WWE ring but the former WWF champion is telling his greatest story ever with his new autobiography. I was lucky enough to get some time with the champ who talked about his legendary career with me for almost a full 90 minutes.
Bob Backlund is a name that doesn’t get the recognition he deserves by the WWE. A nearly six-year WWF title reign with plenty of MSG sellouts has certainly earned Mr. Backlund more respect than he has gotten since departing in the 1990s. That is why I am excited to do whatever I can to help Bob promote his new book and tell his story.
I started watching pro wrestling in 1982 and Bob was my champion. As a teenager I grew even more fondness for Bob’s work thanks to tape trading and the opportunity to see dozens of Bob’s classic matches as WWF champion. Today you have to go to YouTube to see Bob at his best, which is unfortunate considering that the WWE has a website and a network, neither of which are doing much to promote his championship era.
Bob’s new book Backlund: From All-American Boy to Professional Wrestling’s World Champion is one of the most comprehensive books ever written about his time period in the territories through his championship run (1973-1983). I will save the details for a future book review, needless to say it is one of the most detailed autobiographical accounts of a former pro wrestling world champion next to Lou Thesz and Bret Hart that I’ve ever read.
The entire interview is close to 90 minutes and can be accessed below via YouTube or MP3 play or download. I’d highly encourage you to check out the interview in its entirety as there isn’t a dull moment in the conversation. In the meantime, here are a couple of highlights and excerpts from my curfew-draw chat with the former two-time champion.
On difficulties approaching the match with the Iron Sheik knowing he was going to drop the belt -“The way I was trained, when I got into the ring I tried to do what was best. No matter how bad I wouldn’t have wanted to do that, still it’s a business and you have to treat it like a business and because of the way I was trained, I was really disciplined with that training as far as maybe I don’t like it but that’s our business and we got to do what we have to do in the ring. I tried to do my best that night and make it look as real as possible and go from there.”
On why he thinks Hulk Hogan should have been fired 30 years ago – “When you’re champion and you’re telling kids not to do this and not to take this drug and not to take that drug and I don’t hate him, I don’t dislike him, I respect what he did in the ring but I don’t respect that he was telling kids not to do those things and he would go and do them himself. You have to stand up and you have to walk to walk or you’re not the man. You don’t walk the walk, that’s the most important thing about being WWF champion or any champion at all. You can’t be lying to kids and expecting them not to do it and you’re going out and doing the same things you’re asking them not to do. That’s the reason. I like all of the wrestlers, I don’t like the things some of them do.”
On the WWE Network not featuring his WWF title matches, only putting a handful on the network – “They might get over. They were good matches, they were solid matches, and people could get into this. It might catch on. They might be worried about that. I don’t know, again I was the guy who said “no” so that may be the reason too.”
On the controversial incident at an ECW show where he allegedly started shooting his own angle and had to be escorted out by security (not covered in his book) – “Oh just it wasn’t much, oh that was yeah. I had a couple of people sitting in the front row and I was in the back of the dressing room and I asked the referee, “When would be a good time for me to go down and get those guys?” because we were going to leave. He goes, “after this match.” So I went up to the top of the building, it was kind of in a theater where it was built up and I started walking down the aisle to find those two people I was going to pick up and the people started, they got into it, they got into the character of Mr. Backlund, they went wild. I just walked out, they didn’t do anything. What they had, after that match they ended with they were going to do something after that match. They weren’t going to leave, they had a finish that was going to be extended after the match so they were still taping. I was told that was a good time to go out and get them and get out of there. It wasn’t because they didn’t tell me about, “okay it’s going to be a pin but there’s going to be something after-match stuff going on in the ring that they’re going to film.”
To order Backlund: From All-American Boy to Professional Wrestling’s World Champion, visit BacklundEnergy.com. Bob will even sign it for you.
For more information on his 67′ Corvette, visit http://backlundenergy.com/vette2.html. Check out the page to view images of Bob and his Vette’.
Listen or download the entire interview here…