AWA, Wrestling, Gene Oakland discussed on The Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast
I do believe that there's some people who are wondering who the heck you are and I do want to fuck you. You have to talk about I I I. I've heard that now I will say we've got some. We've got some emails in and We're GONNA get phone calls and they're plenty of people excited to talk to you today and ask questions But I I do for the way background because WWF the WWF wwe. They've gone through a lot of announcers over the years. You were there at a pivotal time and your face is going to start showing up more and more often. WWE Network Archives get added. But you got your start in pro wrestling in the AWA. Ken Do you mind. Just is giving a little bit of a background about how you ended up in the Awa and kind of work your way to The timeline of WWF. And I know we've got some stories about that. Vince McMahon job interview. Oh sure no I'll be glad to wait I was actually doing the sports on the six and ten o'clock news at the NBC affiliate in Rochester Minnesota. Although I kinda commuted still lived in the twin cities and in the mid eighties here in Minneapolis Saint Paul. There was a huge celebrity. Golf Tournament called Duff Celebrity Golf and tennis tournament and I mean they got so the the real a listers. One time they had the cash cast from hillstreet blues they had the cast from Mash so it was a national type celebrity tournament and I had been involved with it before I got started in television and they had an area at the tournament called celebrity corner where they would have someone you know. Bring up the the national celebrities onstage and interview them and talk to them so the crowd could listen and get to know. Oh them a little bit. I on a personal level and I was doing that one year and one of the guests we had was vern Donya on you and I did a thing with burn for about fifteen or twenty minutes and then saw him later that night in the clubhouse and you yeah we talked for a couple of minutes and he wanted to know a little my background and you know I told them and where I was working now and and that was it and about a week and a half later. I get a call at the television station. Rochester and the switchboard operators. Just going crazy. She goes. I don't know if this is true. But there's a man wants to talk to you and he says he's Verne Ganja and you know I took the call and realize it was vern and he said when are you going to be up in the city's next and I told him I was up all weekend. He said how about would. Would you like to have lunch on Saturday. which we did we spent some time and he said what would you think of coming to work for me? And that's how I ended ended up starting in the AWA I. How much of a wrestling fan were you at that point? What kind of experience you had with pro wrestling fan and in the level of interest that you convey I I mean I was a wrestling fan as I think you know you being from this area that that was the real heyday of the AWA? I mean in terms of the crusher and mad dog Rashawn blackjack Lanza Lanza Nick. Bach Winkle Bobby Heenan The the road warriors so I was a wrestling fan in that. When I was around on weekends I certainly would would watch all star wrestling on television and had gone to a few of the shows so I guess the easiest way to put it away? I was a fan I. I wasn't a fanatic. You know coming in you know I. I knew who the baby faces were. Who the heels were you know who are the big names? It's you know I. I certainly had name recognition and and facial recognition so. I wasn't coming into a ice cold but at the same time it was one hundred and eighty degrees from you know doing sports on the six ten o'clock news. Oh Oh Yeah I mean all that by road warrior. Hawk is quite different than sitting behind a desk or going to a local basketball game or or that kind of thing man. What commission exactly? Yes absolutely Oh I was just going to go to Scott passenger who Emailed and said he had a question but apparently I didn't get to in quite quick enough so i WanNa know our phone numbers. If you WANNA talk to. Ken resnick. The phone number is six four. Six seven two one nine eight two way that has six four four six seven two one nine eight two eight. I'm Ken when you when you signed with Awa Or started working for them you were. It was the midst midst of of a pretty big wrestling war. Gene Oakland in institution in the Awa especially in the Saint Paul Minneapolis area or aws based A Ah very popular figure and and and kind of the face of the company more than Joe Biden crusher. How did you were you aware of the pressure fresher face the day that you showed up in gene? Oakland wasn't there D Don't shoulders well to correct you. When I came same gene was still there and you know I was actually fulltime? I was working in the office as well so the plan was us for me to to. You know. Spend a couple of weeks which I did you know during the interviews just watching gene and then I started off doing the the smaller markets. Like if I remember the first interviews I did for were stationed in in Lacrosse Wisconsin. So Oh that was the plan that I was going to kind of be a backup and learn you know the I mean I knew television was fine in front of a camera. You know more than intimidated but to kind of learn that way so gene was still there for a few weeks and then all the sudden gene was just gone he left in. I was the guy so at that point. There was a lot of pressure and also so from the fact that the the wrestler's talent really didn't know me yet and there wasn't a trust built up And I was very lucky in that having worked in really work more closely with blackjack Lanza who also worked in the office. Jack Kid Kid be kind of told them. Hey this guy is okay you can trust him. Yeah he's not out to show you up he's out to put put you over so that part came came very quickly but I know in my mind I said to myself. I can't imagine what might have happened. Had I not been. They're not talking about myself but had gene just just up and left and someone have been throwing into that where you know just from the get go and I mean it was very difficult for me. Ah But I was lucky in that I was able to learn from the likes of Jack. Lanza Nick Back Winkle and Bobby Heenan and and I remember when it all happened sitting down with Jack and I never forgot the two best pieces of advice anyone ever gave me came from. I think it was Jack and Nick Bach Winkle together when we were talking Jack Acces. Let me give you tell you two things. You're following Gene Oakland. which is pretty big shoes to try and fill so be yourself be? Ken resnick. Dole's try and be gene Orland and the other a piece of advice which I never ever forgot he said to me you know what the best way to get yourself over in. This business is with with the boys and the fans and I said no tell me he said the best way to get yourself over is. Don't try and get yourself over uh-huh and those were the two things where wherever I went and even other shows that that I did you know years later I I never forgot. It always remembered those two things and when I was getting ready to tape whatever I was doing I always repeated those things in my mind right before we started searching for more great pro wrestling. Talk and join me. Jason Powell host him to flee weekly pro wrestling boone own podcast.