The Jack Brisco Interview
On April 2, 1996, Jack Brisco spoke to the media about wrestling for the first time in more than a decade when he gave his first shoot interview ever to Wrestling Perspective.
Paul MacArthur: I've always considered this interview one of Wrestling Perspective's biggest coups. Here's this wrestling legend who vanished in 1984 and when he decides to speak out, more than a decade later, it's to us.
David Skolnick: Obviously, we're both big fans of Brisco and we'd heard all the stories about Jack's matches with Dory Funk Jr. But how can I track him down? I let my fingers do the walking, or something like that. I called information in Tampa, Fla., and asked for the phone number of the Brisco Brothers Auto Shop. I got the number, left a message for Jack, who returned it a day or two later, and we set up the interview.
The only other person who I was able to get for an interview through that process is Stan Hansen, who's listed in the Denver, Colo., area as John Stanley Hansen - or at least he was when I found him.
This interview appeared in Volume VII § Number 60 of Wrestling Perspective, published in 1996.
This Interview Is Copyright © 1996 Wrestling Perspective.
In Perspective: Jack Brisco
Since his abrupt departure from professional wrestling more than a decade ago, two-time National Wrestling Alliance champion, Jack Brisco, has been somewhat of an enigma. During that time, Brisco has had nothing to say about the business that made him famous. In this April 2, 1996 interview with David Skolnick, Brisco discusses his extraordinary career, his legendary matches, how he helped Bill Watts and Hulk Hogan break into the business, and his side of the sale of Georgia Championship Wrestling to Vince McMahon in 1984 that led to the World Wrestling Federation's national success and escalated the wrestling wars that still exist today.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: You have quite an extensive amateur background at Oklahoma State University. Tell me how you first got interested in wrestling.
JACK BRISCO: I started in high school, my sophomore year. Amateur wrestling in Oklahoma. I wrestled in the heavyweight division. I won the state championship three years in a row, sophomore, junior, and senior years. I got a scholarship to Oklahoma State, a full scholarship in wrestling. I was national runner-up my junior year and I won the national championship in my senior year, '65.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Did you have in your mind that you wanted to be a professional?
JACK BRISCO: Yeah, I knew all along that I wanted to be a professional. There was an amateur wrestler in Oklahoma before me named Danny Hodge. Danny was kind of my childhood idol. He won three national championships at Oklahoma. He was my boyhood idol and I wanted to follow him. I always wanted to turn pro. After college, Danny helped out and a local promoter there, Leroy McGuirk, contacted me in my senior year and asked me if I was interested so Leroy helped me get started. I wrestled around Oklahoma for about six months for the Oklahoma office.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: When I interviewed Ron Garvin last year he said he wrestled you in your first match.
JACK BRISCO: My very first match was with Ronnie.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: He said he busted your eye.
JACK BRISCO: He sure did (laughs). I managed to take him down and he sat out and threw an elbow back at me hitting me over the eye splitting my eye wide open.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: This was an amateur-style match while you were still in college.
JACK BRISCO: Right. All my friends from college were watching me and Monday morning at school everybody came running around wanting to see where I got my eye split open (laughs).
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: A little hesitant about getting into the pros after that?
JACK BRISCO: Yeah, I thought about it after that. I'm kind of surprised Ronnie still remembers that. He busted me wide open.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: You worked for McGuirk and I assume Bill Watts was around at the time.
JACK BRISCO: Watts started a couple of years later. He was still trying to break into professional football. He didn't get a contract out of school. He had a couple of invitations to go to try out at different camps. He tried out for a couple of years for pro football, but it didn't quite get him anywhere. He and I were buddies while we were in school together. Bill came home after his last tryout, which was with the Denver Broncos, he made it to the last cut and they cut him. We were sitting around one night and he asked me what I was going to do. I told him, "I'm going to turn pro, be a pro wrestler. That's what you ought to do, Bill. You've been trying for two years now to try and catch on with football and you haven't been able to do so. You ought try professional wrestling." Bill was quite a wrestler in high school. In college, he almost made the team, but we had a heavyweight ahead of him named Del Lewis, who later turned pro. He couldn't beat Del off the team. Bill was second.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Was the transition difficult from the amateurs to the pros? Were you kind of smart how the pro style worked?
JACK BRISCO: I watched the TV a lot. I hadn't been to the matches a lot, but I watched TV a lot. I figured I could handle it pretty easily. Fortunately, I had a lot of good help from a lot of top pros in those days who helped me out extremely.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Did they smarten you up before the Garvin match?
JACK BRISCO: No (laughs). That was quite an experience. I was scared to death that night. I'll never forget that.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: When did you realize you're not suppose to kill the guy when you get in there?
JACK BRISCO: After that, they smartened me up (laughs). My eye was hanging out and blood was gushing out of me.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: How long were you in Oklahoma?
JACK BRISCO: I was there for close to a year. I went off to Tennessee for a while.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: To work for Nick Gulas?
JACK BRISCO: Nick Gulas.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: How was that?
JACK BRISCO: It was the experience of a lifetime. That made me want to rethink being a pro.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Why is that?
JACK BRISCO: Nick didn't care much for the wrestlers, especially the new guys, the rookie guys. My first night there I think I made $12.50. My first match in Tennessee.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: There not making much more now in Tennessee.
JACK BRISCO: (laughs) Right. Nothing's going right I guess. The next night I made like 20 bucks.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Who were you working with at the time?
JACK BRISCO: He had a bunch of local guys working for him. Nick didn't pay anybody so who's going to work for him? A bunch of average guys really. Everybody knew Nick didn't pay. He couldn't get any top talent.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: How long did you stay around there?
JACK BRISCO: Oh, maybe three to four weeks (laughs). I was just out of college. I learned fast. It's the way to do it. I got the hell out of there. I took my last 10 bucks, gassed my car up and headed home.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: And you thought that was it?
JACK BRISCO: Oh, no, I still had it in me. I was going to make it one way or another, but I knew it wasn't going to be there. I couldn't afford to eat, buy gas and pay rent. I got out of there while I still had a $10 bill in my pocket. I went back to Oklahoma. I had a friend, Killer Karl Kox, who was wrestling in Texas. He got me booked in Texas to work for Fritz Von Erich and his group out of Dallas.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Did that kind of restore your faith in the business?
JACK BRISCO: Yeah, yeah. At least I could make a living there. Of course, anybody starting out in wrestling in those days had a rough time trying to make ends meet, but in Texas they were pretty well organized. Fritz being a wrestler himself, he respected the boys. He made sure all of us at least made a living.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: You were doing openers and mid-cards at this time?
JACK BRISCO: Yeah, openers and worked my way up the card. I stayed there about six months and three months into it; I was catching on pretty good. Fritz gave me the opportunity for the Texas belt. I got the Texas belt. I was doing pretty well. Kox left there and went to Australia for Jim Barnette. Kox gave me his phone number so I called Jim. I got a nice contract for three months to work Australia.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: First time overseas?
JACK BRISCO: First time, first time out of the country. First time I was ever further away from home than Tennessee. I loved it. I fell in love with Australia. It was great. Jim had guaranteed me a good salary. Loved Australia and stayed there for three months. Another friend I'd met while I was in Texas, Joe Scarpa, was wrestling here in Florida.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Chief Jay (Strongbow) was your contact in Florida?
JACK BRISCO: Yeah, I called Joe and asked him if there was any room in Florida. Joe talked to Eddie Graham, the promoter here, and said, "Come on down."
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: What did you think of Eddie?
JACK BRISCO: Eddie was great. Eddie was probably more instrumental in helping my career than anybody. Eddie taught me the figure four leglock. That's the hold Eddie used for his finish. Before TV one day, Eddie got me down on the floor in the dressing room and taught me how to do the figure four. Before a TV match and I used it in that TV match. It was onwards and upwards from there.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: What year was that?
JACK BRISCO: That was in '68.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: You were Florida champ for a while.
JACK BRISCO: Yeah, I was Florida champ for quite a while. Off and on for two years.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Obviously at this point you were getting some name recognition.
JACK BRISCO: Yeah, I was starting to get name recognition all over the country, not all over the country but up the southeastern coast. The Florida Championship Wrestling tape was real popular. It went through the Carolinas, Florida, up and down the coast. I was getting quite a name for myself without really realizing it. Sometimes the tapes were going further up north. They were also going into St. Louis. I ended up going to St. Louis to work for a month. After working a couple of matches there, I began selling out the Kiel Auditorium. I worked against Dick the Bruiser, Harley Race, Black Jack Lanza, Dory Funk Jr. and Terry (Funk).
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Was that the first time you wrestled Dory?
JACK BRISCO: Yeah.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: You two had a legendary feud in the early Seventies.
JACK BRISCO: Yeah, we wrestled each other all over the Carolinas, Texas, St. Louis, Florida, Japan.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Did you realize you were having such good matches with Dory?
JACK BRISCO: Yeah, I really did. The first time out, his style and my style were very similar although different in that his is a little slower than what I was used to. At first, I didn't think it would work. But at the return matches, the crowds just kept getting larger and larger. Something's going on here.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Do you think that's when you cemented a national reputation?
JACK BRISCO: Certainly. Dory was a great wrestler. I learned an awful lot from him. So many hour time limit draws. I learned a lot more psychology and crowd control.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: You were based in Florida making shots elsewhere. How long did you stay in Florida?
JACK BRISCO: I was in Florida until early '73. I went to Georgia to wrestle there. I spent three or four months in Georgia before I got the title.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: What led up to that title victory over Harley Race? You were a hot commodity and a good draw?
JACK BRISCO: Yeah, by that time I had been to Japan several times, Australia a couple of times, the Carolinas. Everywhere I went I was selling places out. Everybody wanted me on their cards. I got around to a lot of places. Everywhere I went, I was very successful and sold out. You couldn't get a ticket to get into the place.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: You had wrestled Harley before.
JACK BRISCO: Yeah, I wrestled him in Kansas City, St. Louis and here in Florida. I held the belt for almost three years.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: You had the one-week where you lost the belt to Giant Baba. When did you first go to Japan?
JACK BRISCO: I first went to Japan before I went to Australia, right out of Dallas. Miyamoto was there. He had ties to Japan and he got me a six-week tour of Japan.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Who did you wrestle there?
JACK BRISCO: Mostly Inoki. He was getting started. Baba was still the top man. Inoki was second. I didn't realize at the time the effect our matches were having in Japan. I found out later when they started making videos and selling videos that one video with my matches with Inoki was at one time the number one selling video in Japan.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: After that first trip to Japan, were you hooked?
JACK BRISCO: Oh, yeah, very much so.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: You dropped the strap to Baba in December 1974.
JACK BRISCO: I was making frequent trips there as champion.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: What was the reaction in Japan to Baba being the first Japanese wrestler to win the NWA belt?
JACK BRISCO: Oh, it was amazing the reaction to the first time a Japanese wrestler winning the title and right there in Tokyo. They always have big media coverage. The media coverage was just astonishing.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: How was Baba in the ring?
JACK BRISCO: I found him to be a very surprising guy. I didn't realize the actual moves he could do because of his size. Quite amazed at his skills. I beat him a week later. The crowd didn't care too much for that decision.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: It's a different kind of crowd. They're much more respectful.
JACK BRISCO: Much more respect for us. They're not really loud. In those days it was hard to get a rise out of them at all.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Let's talk about the guys you worked with during your first run. You wrestled Dusty Rhodes.
JACK BRISCO: Dusty was real big here in Florida. I wrestled him a few times in Florida. Dusty was great. It was the first time I'd ever wrestled him outside of tag teams with him and Murdoch. It was the first time I wrestled him as a single.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: There's a world of difference between being an NWA champion 20 years ago and today or even five to 10 years ago. It kind of commanded the respect that you don't have with any champion now.
JACK BRISCO: That's true. It was great. A kid from Oklahoma having the heavyweight championship traveling around the world. It was quite an experience. It was great.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Did you have a favorite arena?
JACK BRISCO: Yeah, two favorites were the Armory here in Tampa and the Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Who were your favorite opponents?
JACK BRISCO: I always enjoyed wrestling Funk Jr., Harley and Black Jack Lanza. He was quite a wrestler.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: When did Jerry break in?
JACK BRISCO: Jerry broke in about '67, '68. In fact I remember one time, my second trip to Australia, he was still in college at Oklahoma State. I told Barnette about him. Jerry worked during spring break and the summer in Oklahoma. I told Jim about him and he gave him a contract to come to Australia for three months and he ended up staying over there almost nine months. From there, he went to Florida for a while and back to Australia and they wanted him in the Carolinas. In the Carolinas, he teamed up with Thunderbolt Patterson. He and Thunderbolt had a great run up there for a few years.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Back as champ, tell me the scenario of you losing to Terry Funk. Folklore says it was supposed to be Dory in the ring and something happened to him.
JACK BRISCO: Yeah, I was scheduled to wrestle Junior. He was having a lot of shoulder problems back in those days. He reinjured his shoulder and Terry filled in for him. We didn't know until the day before that Junior wasn't going to show. We wrestled in Miami Beach and there was a big sign out front saying Junior wasn't going to wrestle and that Terry was going to be there.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Was the decision made earlier that you would drop the strap to Dory and then it was switched to Terry?
JACK BRISCO: They decided to go with Terry.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: What did you think of that?
JACK BRISCO: It was a little hard for me to believe.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Did they say you'd get it back another time?
JACK BRISCO: No, I didn't go into that because I was mentally and physically worn out. I was looking for some time off. I was physically and mentally worn completely out. It was almost three years. A different city every night. A different opponent every night. A lot of times going to an hour draw. The traveling. I was pretty worn out. I wanted to hide out for a while.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Did you think Terry was a good successor at the time?
JACK BRISCO: No, I didn't. I didn't think he would do very well with it.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Was his style not conducive to an NWA champion?
JACK BRISCO: Yeah, I didn't care for his style or his personality. I didn't think it would last long and it didn't (laughs). Terry was a wild man and still is. He's been going for a long time.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: You drop the title, take some time off. Where do you reemerge?
JACK BRISCO: Oh, God, I hid out in Atlanta for a while.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: It was run by Paul Jones or Gunkel at the time?
JACK BRISCO: It was Jones. This is after the split. Gunkel had died. Lester Welch and Jones and Fred Ward, they were in control of that situation there and that's when Ted Turner and TBS got broadcast across the country.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: You bought into some territories.
JACK BRISCO: I bought into Georgia and Florida. I ended up going to Georgia when the split happened. I bought in on the Lester Welch side, the small side.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: That was the first promotion you had a piece of?
JACK BRISCO: I had a small piece of Florida. I bought part of Georgia. Later, I had a chance to buy more of Florida so I bought more of Florida.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: I guess good investments in those days.
JACK BRISCO: Yeah, in those days it was a pretty good investment.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: There's nothing there now.
JACK BRISCO: No, I was fortunate to get out when I did. I got paid big money for my stock in Georgia and here.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: You sold your Georgia stock to Vince McMahon. Tell me about that. That changed the face of professional wrestling forever.
JACK BRISCO: Yeah, it changed it all.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Did he approach you?
JACK BRISCO: No, it was kind of a mutual thing. I knew which direction the business was going in. I knew it was just a matter of time. The cost of making TV shows, the cost of renting the buildings, the newspaper ads, the cost of insurance you had to get, it was getting to where local promotions weren't going to be able to survive much longer due to the costs. I saw the money and the organization he had put together and I knew it was a matter of time if we didn't sell he was going to take it. I thought while the getting is good, I'd get some money out of it. It ended up that Jerry and I and the Georgia group were about the only group in the whole country to get anything.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: The rest of them got sucked up except for Watts, who got a portion of his money from Jim Crockett.
JACK BRISCO: He got a portion from Crockett, but only a third of what he was supposed to get. Jerry and I and the group that was on my side in Georgia were the only ones who got full payment for our stock. Everybody else went broke.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: It was you, Jerry, Ole (Anderson)...
JACK BRISCO: Ole was with us, but we weren't on the same side. Ole was 10 percent owner, but he wanted to retain ownership and I didn't. Between Paul Jones, Oates, Jerry and myself we had like 51 or 52 percent of the territory. I told all my people to sign their proxies over to me. Forget about Ole because Ole was against all of us. To be quite honest, he was taking all the damn money and got mad we sold.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Kind of a big pig head.
JACK BRISCO: Yeah, Ole was being Ole. If you know anything about Ole, you know what I mean (laughs). Besides, that bastard wasn't going to get the best of me. I was tired of his shit. I had as many people as possible sign over their proxies to me just in case he tried more of his stuff. We were all fed up him. So we sold.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Did you know it would kill Georgia Championship Wrestling?
JACK BRISCO: No, as a matter of fact I figured Crockett would come in much quicker than they did. They dragged their feet.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Why because McMahon and Turner weren't getting along?
JACK BRISCO: No, I didn't even know they knew each other at the time. This was before the sale. As a matter of fact Jerry and I had given not the Crocketts, but the Mernicks the opportunity to buy. They were Crocketts' partners in Virginia and parts of North Carolina.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: You gave them the opportunity to buy in and they said no?
JACK BRISCO: Right, they told us we were wanting too much money. McMahon ended up getting three times as much out of them (laughs). They were all a bunch of ... Southern promoters back in the old days thought they knew everything, owned everything and could do any damn thing they wanted. They ended up owning nothing.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Did McMahon promise you anything in return?
JACK BRISCO: No, Crocketts and Ole put out the stories for years that they had promised Jerry and I the tag team belts, which they never had, and promised us years of employment, which we could have had if we wanted. In fact, Jerry still works for him.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: So there were no promises. The rumors were the tag team belts and jobs for life. That's not true.
JACK BRISCO: Nothing was promised except money.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: But you did go to work for him.
JACK BRISCO: Of course.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: He said what? I want you guys to come here.
JACK BRISCO: Again it was the big, old, intelligent Crocketts. We were in the middle of a program with Youngblood and Steamboat and when we sold to McMahon, the Crocketts wanted to fire us.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: And you were only headlining.
JACK BRISCO: Yeah, we were only headliners and their world tag team champions. They wanted to fire us. We told Jimmy Crockett, "Hey, we're just selling our stock to McMahon. We're not selling our lives to him. We told you and gave you our word we'd stay here and work with you and if necessary, go into their territory and face them head on, McMahon's group." In fact, we went into Baltimore. The first group into Baltimore. Jerry and I were headlining the place and sold it out. Crockett didn't believe us. He thought we'd jump ship. He just stopped using us. We came on back home to Florida. I was going to retire really this time. George Scott was booking for McMahon. George and Jerry were close. I didn't know George too well. George and Jerry had spent years together in North Carolina. I knew George and his reputation throughout the South. George called and wanted to know if we'd be interested in working for the WWF. He called Jerry and asked him. Jerry called my house and talked to me about it. I wasn't real interested, but if the money was right, sure. George promised us a program with Murdoch and Adonis, they were the tag team champions. I agreed to go back to work. I hadn't worked in almost a year. I remember Jerry bringing over our schedule. I was scared to death. I hadn't seen a schedule like that since I was world champion (laughs). It scared the hell out of me. San Francisco one night, St. Louis the next night, Philadelphia the next night. Lord, I was scared. It was picking up and grabbing your bags and off running not knowing when you'd get home again. But I did it for a while.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Just got tired of it?
JACK BRISCO: Got tired of it. It got to where I couldn't stand the inside of a hotel room. I couldn't stand airplanes, couldn't even look at an airport. I told Jerry, "You do what you want to, but I'm out of here. I'm staying at home." I was in Newark, New Jersey, snow on the ground, about 10 degrees with the snow blowing in my face. I could hear the planes taking off heading south. I'm going to be on the next one.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: That was your notice that you gave.
JACK BRISCO: Yeah, that was it (laughs).
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: And you never stepped back in the ring again.
JACK BRISCO: Never stepped back in the ring again. That was '84.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: What do you think of McMahon and what he's done with the business?
JACK BRISCO: Well, there's several ways to look at it. As far as the wrestling end of it, I'm not at all real thrilled with it. I was never a great believer in gimmicks unless you are a gimmick. The fact is what he's done with it is make a worldwide sport. The opportunity is given to wrestlers to make big money. We didn't have that opportunity in my days.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Do you keep up with it now?
JACK BRISCO: I watch it occasionally. I don't really keep up with it. If there's no football or NASCAR on TV, I'll watch it. I love football. I've been a season ticketholder since the Bucs started in Tampa.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Let's jump topics. Were you responsible for discovering Hulk Hogan?
JACK BRISCO: Yes, back in my single days I was hanging around in nightclubs and running around with wild women. I ran into these two women one night at some nightclub who wanted me to go see a band that they really liked. I went to this nightclub called the Other Place. It was about midnight. I walked into this place and standing there was Hogan playing guitar in a band. God damn, if I had that boy, I could become rich (laughs). So they went on break. During the break, I came over to him at the table for a beer. He was just so impressive. He was only like 21 years old at the time. I couldn't believe my eyes. I asked him, "Did you ever think about being a wrestler?" "It's what I've always wanted to do. I'm a big fan of yours and I've been watching you for years. It's what I've always wanted to do." "Well, be at the Sportatorium at nine o'clock in the morning and we'll get you going." I got there at a quarter to nine and he was out front waiting. I introduced him to Eddie Graham and Hiro Matsuda. Hiro, Eddie and those guys fell in love with him just like I did. Hiro started working him out. Hiro had a gym, a place to train. He started preparing him there. Johnny Valentine was the booker in Florida at the time. For some reason, Johnny didn't like him. He went ahead and gave him some matches here. I'll never forget his first night. It was in Vero Beach. He was in the opening match with Don Cerano. Don was a hell of a hand in the ring. Jerry and I went out to watch Hogan in his first match. Hogan came out of the dressing room and the people saw him. They all just rose to their feet. His first match before he ever got to the ring, he had the whole place give him a standing ovation. Chills were running up and down my spine thinking about the all the money we could make with him. Like I said, Johnny was booking here and never gave him a break. He gave him an occasional booking. The guy got a standing ovation every place he went before he got to the ring. I got him booked. I was good friends with Jerry Lawler with the group in Tennessee. I told him he needed to go there to get some experience. I bought him his first pair of boots, his first tights and I gave him $100 to get him to Tennessee.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Did you ever get your money back?
JACK BRISCO: Ahh, no (laughs). Of course not.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: This isn't something that people do every day.
JACK BRISCO: No, it isn't. I just knew the boy had so much future. I remember when I was breaking in starting out. I didn't have a dime to my name. Hell, I helped the boy out. I told him, "The place you need to go is New York." "Oh, I'm scared to go. I'm scared." "Go and get yourself some experience and when you're ready for New York, let me know." After a while of him being in Tennessee, I jumped sides in Japan. I went from Baba's side to Inoki's side. Vince was helping Inoki book Americans at that time. I was there for the first time working for Inoki. Vince showed up. He was on a world's trip with his wife on vacation. They spent a few days in Tokyo. From there, they were going to Australia and New Zealand. So I told Vince about Terry. He told me, "By all means, if you feel like he's ready, call me and I'll take him up there." I told him all about Terry and the situation here and how the people just loved him. One day, Terry shows up at my brother's house, him and Beefcake. "I'm ready for New York." My brother called me and I went over to talk to him and called Vince. He said, "Oh, yeah, send him on up here." When he got up to New York, Vince freaked out over him. Vince and I bought him all the robes, fancy boots and stuff and he's a multi-millionaire today. I still didn't get my money back (laughs).
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: You wrestled Flair a number of times.
JACK BRISCO: Yes, many times. He is better than they say. He is without a doubt probably one of the all-time greatest. Never, never can get him upset, can't get him mad, can't get him tired. He's a 60-minute man. Never seen a man with energy like he's got. The knowledge of the business, his ring savvy. He's one of the greatest.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: You wrestled Piper early in his career.
JACK BRISCO: I sure did. I was very impressed with Roddy. From the very start I knew he had an awful lot of talent. He had a great gift of gab. He was tremendous. The best I ever heard on interviews. In fact, we got him to go into Atlanta before we sold out to help with commentating with Gordon Solie. That's how that got started.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Instrumental in anyone else's career I should know about?
JACK BRISCO: (laughs) No, that's about it.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Before you went to New York you had the run tagging with Jerry. Had you two tagged often before that? I know you tagged in Florida for a while with him.
JACK BRISCO: Just occasionally, off and on. He's done very well on his own. I've always done very well on my own. Of course, the bigger money in those days were in singles matches with the exception of the Carolinas. So Jerry and I talked about it. I was world's champion and they had put the junior heavyweight championship on him. We were both world champions at the same time, just different divisions. We decided once the title runs were over, he and I would go into the Carolinas and finish up our careers there. That's what we planned to do.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: It was your lone heel run against Steamboat and Youngblood. Whose suggestion was that? It seems almost sacrilegious.
JACK BRISCO: It felt that way too for a while.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: You were damned good.
JACK BRISCO: Thank you. We had a small town spot show where they put us together in a tag team match. The place was sold out. It was packed. Jerry and I decided to experiment a little bit with heeling with Steamboat and Youngblood. We got into the match. Things were heating up. I told Jerry, "Let's try a little heel maneuvers. Feel it out and see how it goes." We got quite a rise.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: That was the reaction you were going for.
JACK BRISCO: Right. They had a lot of top guys there at the time. Slaughter and Kernodle had just finished their run. Jerry and I sat down and talked to Youngblood and Steamboat. "We feel there's something there. What do you guys think?" They felt the same thing. That's how that little program came off.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Heel tactics for those days were very subtle compared to now.
JACK BRISCO: It wasn't all that much.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Did you enjoy working that way?
JACK BRISCO: I loved it. I really did. It was like a new lease on life. I was getting real tired of the business. I was getting tired of working. It rejuvenated me. I felt young again and going in there and going after it.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: How good were Steamboat and Youngblood?
JACK BRISCO: Excellent. Two of the finest workers you'd ever want to get in the ring with. It was so easy. Just 100 percent effort.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Jumping to St. Louis. You were Missouri State champion a number of times. You beat Bob Backlund right before he became WWF champion for the Missouri title. What were your impressions of him?
JACK BRISCO: Stiff.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Stiffer than you?
JACK BRISCO: Yes (laughs). It was like grabbing hold of a parking meter. He was the strongest kid I'd ever seen.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: But zip as far as personality.
JACK BRISCO: Yeah, nothing. Actually he didn't have much of a personality in the ring either. One athletic, in good shape kid. Never reached the charisma level he was capable of.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Kind of like a Dick Hutton from a different era.
JACK BRISCO: Yeah, I never thought about that comparison, but they were really the same. He had so much amateur in him. I don't think for several years he felt comfortable working. That's my own opinion.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Have you seen him lately?
JACK BRISCO: I talked to Bob about six months ago.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Have you seen his character?
JACK BRISCO: Yes, I have. I think he's doing great. He's finally opened up. I think maybe he realizes it is a work (laughs). I don't think he knew before.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: You beat Ted DiBiase for the title back in '81.
JACK BRISCO: I met Teddy when he was like 15, 16 years old when I first went to Amarillo. It was the mid-Sixties and I wrestled his dad a few times.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Better than his dad?
JACK BRISCO: Yeah, I think so. Of course, I never knew his dad when his dad was in his prime. When I was just starting, his dad was over the hill really. Everybody talked about how great his dad was. I never knew. I never saw him. Teddy had this natural ability. When he was in the ring, it just looked liked he belonged there. I was always impressed with Teddy. I thought Teddy had a great future from day one.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: What are your feelings on the business today?
JACK BRISCO: There's a great opportunity for the wrestlers today. Unfortunately, all the guys who wrestled in my day a lot of them didn't save their money and they're all in menial jobs now or whatever. There's a great opportunity for wrestlers today to be able to put money away and when their careers are over they don't have worry about it anymore. If they're doing that. Some of them have.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: When did you open the Brisco Brothers Body Shop?
JACK BRISCO: In '73 or '74. It was long-term planning. Wrestling's not going to last forever. After wrestling, I wanted something to make money. I needed something to do for money. We started in '73.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: You were the last NCAA champion to become NWA world champion. Why do you think so few amateurs are making the transition to the pros? Is it that back then the two were more similar than they are today?
JACK BRISCO: Yeah, I really believe that that's the reason. I wanted to be a professional wrestler since I was in high school. I don't know today if any of them want to be professional wrestlers because of the gimmick side of it. Amateur wrestlers now are very, very proud people. Amateur wrestling, I think, is the toughest sport going. A lot of hard work. It's tough. I don't believe they have the desire now to be involved in wrestling with the image it has.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: You said earlier that Danny Hodge was an idol of yours. How was he in the ring?
JACK BRISCO: We totally tested each other out. With me and Danny, it was the natural thing to do. I guess to the other guys, it looked like a shoot.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Anyone who gets in the ring with their idol has got to be a little intimidated.
JACK BRISCO: I was.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Besides he was a tough, mean son-of-a-bitch.
JACK BRISCO: Without a doubt (laughs). Without a doubt. Everybody in the business feared him. I had no fear of him. I didn't know what fear was in those days. It didn't matter to me. If you wanted to get it on, let's get it on.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Would guys test you in the ring?
JACK BRISCO: Yeah, I had a few guys test me. It didn't last long. I kind of had a chip on my shoulder in those days. I didn't feel I was getting the right treatment from everyone. I was getting overlooked a lot. I kind of had a little chip on my shoulder. If I felt I was being overlooked, I let them know.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Looking back, what type of mark do you feel you've left on this business?
JACK BRISCO: I feel I left a good mark on the business. After I sold my stock in Georgia Championship Wrestling, a lot of the guys hated my guts for what I did. Mostly people who owned the territories. Like Mike Graham, for instance, and the Von Erich boys and the young guy from Minnesota, Greg Gagne. I always wondered where it was written in the law that Mike Graham owns fuckin' wrestling?
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: You mentioned guys who were putzy sons of legends. It was handed to all of them. They did nothing.
JACK BRISCO: It was handed to all of them. If it wasn't for their daddies, they couldn't have made a dime. I always thought to myself, "Where is it written that these fuckin' guys own this business? Who in the hell do they think they are? It belongs to the wrestlers. It doesn't belong to these guys who get it handed to them on a silver platter." I always had kind of a chip on my shoulder about this stuff.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Every one of those guys had the opportunity to sell.
JACK BRISCO: Yeah, they all had the opportunity, but like I said, Jerry and I were the only ones to see the future and how this business was going to end up.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Does Jerry enjoy still working for the WWF?
JACK BRISCO: Yeah, he enjoys it a great deal. I remember when we sold. Ole told everybody in the business we wouldn't live for three days. He'd have us killed. On the third day, we celebrated (laughs).
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: There seems like there was some intense bitterness there.
JACK BRISCO: Intense.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Jack, do you want to add anything else?
JACK BRISCO: I just wish Ole well (laughs). Wherever that asshole is.
WRESTLING PERSPECTIVE: Thank you, Jack.
JACK BRISCO: I enjoyed it.
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