After 27 long years in the professional wrestling industry, Marcus “Buff” Bagwell has decided to hang up his boots and call it a career. He won multiple tag-team championships in WCW with multiple partners and is most well-known for his run with the New World Order faction at the height of professional wrestling during the Monday Night Wars. I recently had a chance to interview him about his life, his career in the business and what’s next. We spoke for about an hour, covering some hilarious WCW stories and even talked about what the purchase of WCW was like through his eyes. I hope you enjoy reading this interview as much as I enjoyed hosting it. As he always said, “I’m Buff, I’m the stuff and the girls just can’t get enough!!”
I want to start all the way at the beginning. What got you initially interested in wrestling? What was the first time you saw it on TV?
I watched pro wrestling as a kid but I really wasn’t that into it. My brothers were, but I really wasn’t. They did the dress up for Halloween and stuff like that but I didn’t. I remember watching the Road Warriors and watching Ric Flair when we would come home Sunday night from deer hunting. We’d come home Sunday night and watch pro wrestling as a Southern family. That was really as far as I took it until I was 18 and Missy Hyatt saw me at the pool where we lived in Georgia. She actually saw me at the pool one day and I’m 18 years old. I was going to work for parents’ lumber yard and the business went broke my senior year. After 17 years of living an unbelievable life with Corvettes and four wheelers, you name it….all the way to flat broke. So, I was supposed to go to work (for the family business) as the third brother. So, with 3 sons and a family that’s flat broke in ’88 my dad has just enough money to kind of get us all into something. My oldest brother picks a gym, my middle brother picks a dry-wall company and at 18 really what do you pick? I had no idea. I went with massage therapy, thinking sports medicine from there. I wanted to do something with sports for sure. I was an athlete, I was All-County in football and baseball my junior and senior years but my grade point average was horrible because I didn’t need one. I was going to work for my parents. I wasn’t shooting for a scholarship, I was just playing high school ball; that was it. I had a great job waiting on me. But plans change in life, like we know…. And that happened. I get through massage therapy and graduate the class. It’s a 10 month, 9 to 5 course and it’s tough. It was really hard but I graduated and all that. It totally backfired in my face. I thought, I’m a young guy in shape, I’m 18, a southern gentlemen; I thought it’d be perfect. Instead it worked against me. Women saw me and would cancel when they saw me. They were embarrassed. I got it, but nobody told me until 10 months after I graduated. So, during that crazy dilemma was when Missy Hyatt saw me at the pool. She lived in my same complex. I didn’t even know who Missy Hyatt was. She sees me in the pool one day and she’s moving in next door. I thought that was kind of weird that in this big apartment complex she’s moving in (next door), kind of ironic. That night, she knocks on the door and tells us the truth. My wife’s there and I’m there. She goes, “My name’s Missy and today I saw your husband at the pool and just thought that he’d be a great wrestler, he’s a great looking guy.” The girl who moved her in didn’t know if I was single or married. She thought I was single. She Missy goes, “Move me in next door to that guy.” So she tells the whole story, on herself, to me and my first wife. We’re laughing, cutting up, joking about it. Finally she goes, “Do you know who I am?” we said no. She says, “I’m Missy Hyatt with wrestling. Why don’t you give it a go?” I said, “There’s no money in that stuff.” She goes, “Our lowest paid guy makes about a hundred thousand a year.” I said, “Wait a minute, what now?!” (Laughs) So, I was athletic in every way, but I really didn’t know how hard pro wrestling was at the time. But I’m still athletic so I’m going to give it a go. I go down to the school and it’s three thousand dollars and it looks like a dungeon. Kevin Nash was training in our gym by himself. It’s three thousand bucks and it’s a hole in the wall.
Did she get you involved in the training?
She got me a tryout. So I drive down. Now here’s the scoop. It’s three grand and it’s this dungeon place. Me and Buddy Lee Parker actually had words. He says, “You’re not big enough.” I said, “Not big enough? I saw Brian Pillman in the gym the other day and I’m bigger than Brian Pillman.” He goes, “But, Brian Pillman can wrestle.” I said, “How do you know I can’t wrestle?” So he agreed but it’s three grand and I didn’t have three thousand dollars, period. I went back home and I said, “Missy I appreciate it but I don’t have three grand.” So long story short, she found an indy guy named Steve “The Brawler” Lawler to train me for fifteen hundred bucks. I started with North Georgia wrestling and Joe Pedicino and those guys, and here I am 27 years later.
How did you go from there to breaking into WCW?
From there I went to Global. My name was Fabulous Fabian in North Georgia Wrestling. Then I was the Handsome Stranger which Joe was still involved in, but it was several people. But, that was the Global thing, the Handsome Stranger. When that shut down, WCW ironically called me up for a school contract. A week into this school contract, Barry Windham blew his knee out, they put me on the road and 27 years later, here I am.
Wow, I’ve never heard that story. So maybe if not for that injury, who knows what would have happened.
Exactly. That’s how it really went down. I actually signed the school contract in Savannah, Georgia to go to school for five hundred dollars a week. Thinking that was a lot of money. To me it was a ton of money at 20. I was broke and they gave me the foot in the door and all that. No more than a week into that, they put me on the road and saw I could actually do this. They were like, “Wow this kid can actually wrestle.” They actually put me on the road, and there it went.
How did the American Males become a team? Did that come down from the upper management or was that something that you two guys pitched to them?
That was my pitch to them. WCW was still in the world of babyfaces who shaved their faces; good guys don’t have facial hair. But we came out with goatees, ear-rings, chokers and we were babyfaces. They thought I was crazy and I said look, “I’m telling you this is the new look. Chokers and tats, what used to be bad is good now, I’m telling you.” They finally believed in me and gave me the go and the American Males had a good little run. I went right from that straight into nWo. Same thing, nWo was bad, but they were good.
What was that whole time period like in the nWo?
All of it was great. Everything nWo period, was fantastic. It was like a dream. It was unbelievable. It was like being invited into the coolest game, the coolest camps, Super Bowl winning football team, whatever. It was just the best of the best in one unit, at wrestling’s peak. It was just unbelievable.
It’s crazy to think how viewership has dropped so much since then; the numbers being drawn back in the late ‘90’s were unbelievable.
They really were. To give everybody listening, and even you an example….the Super Bowl is the highest rated show each year. The number they give is called a 24. They do about a 24 every year. When you get into buy-rates and all that, I’m not quite sure how to break it down into how many people that means, but basically if you do a 1, it’s close to a million viewers, it’s almost like ten percent. They do a 24 once a year….we were doing 6’s every Monday and Thursday, which is just off the chain. We were the highest rated television program in the history of television with the ratings of 6, for as long as we did. It’s crazy.
So on a little bit of a sad note; take me through that infamous episode of Thunder in the match versus Rick Steiner and the bulldog that caused the injury that changed everything for you. What was that like in the ring? Did you know what was going on or were you knocked out?
I was totally aware of everything. It didn’t change anything for me until wrestling was over because the 10 months when my career was over, was 10 months I look back on and was huge. I got hurt in the middle of pro wrestling’s biggest time ever, for almost a full year. I was back on TV in 3 (months), but still….to miss 10 months of pro wrestling, when wrestling’s at its hottest, is just bad timing. When it happened at the time, yes I knew for sure I was paralyzed; there was no doubt about it. I knew exactly what was going on, I was telling everybody what to do, no to touch me and all that. So Scotty (Steiner) just puts my arm over Rick, for me to get me the win, but I’m paralyzed. My arm just falls back to my side and they count 1, 2, 3, with both of us on our backs. It’s like…..who won?
I remember watching that live and thinking something went wrong.
Our announcers were never around us throughout the day, they didn’t look at one format…nothing. They knew nothing about the show, so they could call it as they saw it. So, when I was really hurt, they didn’t know. They’re doing the announcing but they’re trying to play it off but they don’t really know because they don’t know the storylines. They want to call it as is, so here I am lying paralyzed, and finally Heenan goes down to the ring and finds out. By this time, everybody saw a couple of commercial breaks and me still laying down and figures out this guys really hurt.
Bring me back to the time you spent with the other Steiner brother; Scott. Were you guys in competition as far as who looked better physically? Was it the same with Lex Luger in Totally Buffed?
Actually, believe it or not, I was very humble. I am very humble and actually, Lex Luger looked better than I did. So did Scott Steiner. There was never a competition of who looked better, because they did. There was no doubt about it. Scott Steiner was 260 pounds and looked like a pro body builder; I was 220 and held my own. I can walk out with him and I looked damn good, but I didn’t look like him. He was impressive, bro. Luger; the same thing. Luger was 6’4 and 280. I’m 5’10 and 230. I mean, regardless, he’s a bigger, better man. I always downplayed it and played the smaller guy, because I was the smaller guy. My name was Buff. I never said I was big. I said I was Buff and I was. I was very Buff, but I was not big. When everybody would see me in person, they would say, “I thought you’d be taller than that.” I said, “I never said I was big, I said I was Buff!” (Laughs)
Tell me about the Judy Bagwell on a forklift match. How did all that come about?
Oh, that was such a nightmare. Back up…the Judy Bagwell on a forklift thing wasn’t a nightmare at all. The timing of the company was such a nightmare. I had gone to South Padre Island in Texas for a pay per view and had gotten in trouble. Back then, our president’s name was Brad Segal. He was TNT’s president. He calls me in and I’m thinking…what’s he calling me in for? Well, I was on the front of The Globe Magazine, pulling girls bikinis off, on South Padre Island. But, here’s how it went down. I’m in South Padre Island and spring breaks going on, and all the management team kept coming up and begging me to help them. There were a thousand kids on the beach and not a sound was coming out of their mouths. The music’s playing; they’re trying to get a party going. It was horrible. So, they wanted me to get up and get something going. I said, “Can I cuss?” and they said no. I said, “I can’t help you.” Five minutes goes by and they’re panicking; they’re trying to find somebody to speak and do something fun and they come back to me again. I say, “Can I cuss?” They say no. So about five minutes go by and they say, “Do whatever you wanna do!” I grab the microphone and I step up in front of this entire crew of college Spring Breakers on the beach. Beautiful weather on South Padre Island and Nitro’s that night. I grab the microphone, I stood up on the stage and I go, “Who wants to see some pussy?!” The whole fucking place goes crazy, the music goes up and I point at the first girl and I point right beside me. She walks out, I grab her bikini, took them to her ankles, and she steps out of them. The next contestant did the same thing. There wasn’t a complaint, there wasn’t an arrest. All my bosses are laughing and clapping for me and I lost forty thousand dollars, which was one month’s pay.
Why did they fine you so much money?
I was in trouble for two or three things and when Brad called me down to TNT, I was in trouble for not doing a piss test. They would test us the night of Nitro. Could you just imagine what we’re doing backstage at Nitro? We’re doing pre-tapes and getting things put together for the number one show in the nation. But keep in mind; you have the other crew, whose job it is to get my piss. I said, “Look guys, I’m trying, man.” Owen Hart had died the day before, and Sting didn’t want to repel because he had died. So, I got out of that one because I peed the next day. Anything in your system then, would still be in there tomorrow. So, I dodged that bullet. There was something else I had done but had a good excuse or good reason for, and got out of that trouble. The third thing was the Globe Magazine. They threw the magazine on the table and I said, “Brad, come on man, that’s publicity! That’s cool!” and he goes, “TNT don’t think it’s cool.” So I say, “Are you saying you’re firing me?” He said, “I’ve got to let you go with some punishment, or fire you.” So he punished me for a month. In my head, I guess I didn’t put it together yet, I realized that was two pay periods. Two pay periods is a month, because we get paid bi-weekly. I get almost home and I go, “Wait a second…a month…that’s forty grand!” So I called him up and I said, “Brad, that’s forty grand!” He said, “Marc, one month….or forever.” I didn’t know, but we were real close to forever anyway. This is probably 2001, that’s when Vince bought it. So regardless, I did my punishment, came back, me and Lex were tag team champs. We get back together and we do that angle with me and Kanyon. I thought it was great. My mom was getting exposure! I got mom a job. She got a contract!
That was actually your mom?
That was my real mom! We had a great time on the road. But it was also a time where they brought “the box” in, where we had to check in with out fingerprints. Everybody was getting in trouble and they had all the things in the wrong areas. Like a bunch of wrestlers being late was the reason why we were not doing better shows. That’s not the reason. I mean, come on man, us being late is not the reason we suck right now. But they went to those kinds of manners, and cracked the whip and that’s when I started getting all my internet heat; that Buff was hard to deal with and all that. So, mom’s on the road with me, seeing that Marc ain’t doing nothing wrong and so she starts getting me heat! I’m saying, “Mom, you need to shut the hell up, you can’t talk like that!!” She’d say, “But he was late, and he was late and he got here after us!” So they thought, to be honest with you, that I was causing trouble. She’s on the road and sees that her baby son ain’t causing no trouble at all. The Judy Bagwell on a forklift match was the result of all that and it was on WCW’s last pay per view.
Towards the end of WCW, could you see the writing on the wall?
Nobody knew dude, nobody knew. In the end, this is exactly how it went down, it’s simple. We went to Jacksonville, Florida, me and Lex were tag team champions. We had some kind of pay per view that Sunday in Jacksonville, not sure which one it was. But it was the one that was before the Nitro in Jacksonville. They wanted us to put over Sean O’Hare and Mark Jindrak. I said, “They’re just kids, is that really what you want to do?” I said, “Let’s make a name out of them, then put them over. Let’s get some heat on them, you know, like we always do.” He said, “Look guys, this is between us, but we getting ready to go on a six week break.” We knew we were in trouble; the ratings were down. Russo had already come in, and there was that Russo/Bischoff arguing going on. So we already knew things were rumbling, but we had no idea that WCW was going away. We knew there was a break and my contracts coming up in July. So, I’m getting ready to start all the contract talks. The break was a six week thing. When we really knew what was going on, that’s when the arguments all started. Vince (Russo) was there a couple of weeks, then Eric was there for a couple of weeks, and then they were both there. But that was before we were supposed to go on our break, supposedly. All of a sudden, we pull up for Spring Break and Nitro in Panama City, and WWF trucks are there. Me, Goldberg, Nash, Hall…about 10 million dollars’ worth of WCW talent pulls up; which is kind of ironic, because we pulled up late. Those guys were always late. Lex and them were always late but I got away with it, since I ran with them! So then they took all the heat and nobody cared! So, we come rolling up and as soon as we saw those WWF trucks bro, we all turned into a bunch of kids and we all shot to our connections to find out what was going on as fast as we could. Within ten minutes of us breaking up to go find out from our people, what was going on, what I saw…was people crying, and people taking pictures with Ric Flair and the Four Horsemen. I knew something bad was going on. It wasn’t five minutes until our brains got wrapped around this; that they go, “Shane McMahon’s got a meeting in five minutes in this room right here.” So we went to Shane’s meeting, and Shane’s meeting was about forty-five seconds long. Every wrestler, every referee, every production person, everybody in the company is in this one room in Panama City. Shane walks in and he goes, “Hi, my name is Shane McMahon. We bought WCW today, we now own World Championship Wrestling. I will be running WCW, and they will be running WWF. We’re going to keep some wrestlers; we’re going to fire some wrestlers. We’re going to keep some referees; we’re going to fire some referees. We’re going to keep come office people and were going to fire some office people. Good luck.” And that was it brother. So of course, they come out with the paper for the show that night, and me and Lex aren’t on it. We’re the tag team champs at the time and we weren’t on it. They grabbed us before we left and had us added to do an interview. So the very first show, the night that Shane McMahon went on via satellite against his Dad, while his Dad was in Cleveland, me and Lex did an interview on that show for about ten seconds. That was all, but we were on the show. I started heading home and my dad calls me. He goes, “Are you watching the show? Vince just named five wrestlers and you were one of the five.” By the time I got home and got to the bottom of it, not only was I one of the five, I got one of the biggest pops. I really got one of the better pops. I was really excited because that wasn’t a WCW crowd; this was Cleveland, a WWF crowd. So I got excited a little bit. I came up with a good idea, because Vince owed me about eighty grand. So I called my agent up and I said, “Let’s be the first ones to cross the barrier and let’s save Vince 80 grand. We will show him we’re team players from the start.” He said, “Oh my God, that’s genius, that’s perfect.” So we do it, we get it all squared away, I sign my deal and I was fired within two weeks. I’m like, “Wait a minute, do I get my forty grand back or what?!” (Laughs) I’m sorry, it was more like eighty. It was almost two full months. It was eighty grand and they didn’t give me a pat on the butt or the back or a thank you, just, “Get out, bro!” They fired me in Atlanta!
I’ve heard Vince McMahon is notorious for changing his mind.
Yeah, but to be honest with you though, with every ounce of energy in my heart and my soul, the night that me and Booker wrestled in Tacoma, Washington, I felt that Vince McMahon was 100 percent sure that night, that WCW was not going to continue. There was no reason for me and Booker to wrestle in Tacoma. There was no reason for us to be the main event on Raw. We weren’t big enough stars to be main event on Raw.
It was almost like he (McMahon) was setting you guys up to fail.
Absolutely! And we did it a week before Atlanta?! Why would we do the invasion one week out of a city that WCW had never been to? Keep in mind, we knew all that. Me and Booker were talking about it, but we can’t go to them with it. You can’t go to Vince and go, “Hey Vince, are you going to keep us?!” So, we had to play along….and we did. We had a crappy match and we got booed out of the building. They try to say they fired me because I had a bad match. When do you get fired after 11 years of having great matches; after having one bad match? Or when do you get fired because your mother called weather she did or she didn’t. You’d get warned or whatever, but you don’t get fired. So, all those things were just excuses to make it easier on them; to make it liable. The entire world knows that Buff Bagwell should have been in the WWF his entire life. Instead, with one phone call Buff Bagwell was out. That’s the Jim Ross hate that I have. He called me and he denies it. He went on a roundtable meeting and dogs me out with Mike Graham, Eric Bischoff, PS Hayes, I can’t remember the name of the show, where he just dogs me out. His answer was, “Oh, I like Marc, I was just the messenger delivering the news…” That’s not true. If he had told Steve Austin he hated my guts, and then delivered the news, then he could have been telling the truth. He was dogging me out. Calling me a momma’s boy, horrible, whose mother calls, just dogging me out with this droopy ass lip of his. I hate his guts. He cost me millions…millions of dollars Jim Ross cost me, no matter what he says. He may not have been the person to say, “Go fire him.” But I promise you, his hand was in the pot. He acted and seemed like he was just the messenger, but that’s not true. He had a problem with me; he dogged me out on live TV. I have a disc that anyone can see where he’s dogging me out on that panel thing. Like I said, to tell the truth would have been, “You know what Steve, to be honest with you, I don’t like Bagwell but I was just delivering the news I was told.” Then he’s out of it. He didn’t lie. He don’t like me but he was just delivering the news and nobody will ever know. Instead he tells the biggest lie in the world that I can prove wrong. He says he likes me, he was just delivering the news…which is a flat out lie.
Tell me about your time in TNA and how was that as compared to WCW and WWE?
It was miserable dude, it was totally different. Everybody was arguing and fighting. As soon as the semis were at Nitro that day, it was never the same since. It was the XWF tryout and that thing where everybody was against each other. From that point on, it was just, you know, it was a spot that somebody was going to take away from you. They didn’t look at me as their buddy Marc coming to work for the company, I was going to take somebodies job away, and that’s the truth. Here’s two companies, and now there’s one company, and now there’s going to be some people losing some jobs. It caused a big deal, it was a giant deal. But TNA was horrible dude. Everybody’s on pills and stuff and they just picked on whoever they wanted to. It was all pills. I had rumors of the “pilled up thing” but never once. They even wanted me to drop my Buff character, and I did it. I did it. There’s a TNA tape where I break down after a match, after getting beat and I say, “That’s it, I’m done with Buff Bagwell, he’s been nothing but horrible for me.” The payoff was supposed to be that I turn babyface, and Ricky Steamboat was going to be my manager. I never saw Ricky Steamboat; I never saw anything grow from it. I just basically look stupid in the ring that day.
So did they tell you that they were going to bring him in, just to get you to do that, and then never brought him in?
That’s exactly what happened. Even before we shot it that night, I said “Where’s Steamboat at?” I said it to the main guy, Jeff Jarrett’s daddy. I said, “Where’s Ricky at?” He said, “He’ll be here in a little bit.” Then he never showed up. We’re getting ready to go out and I go to Ed Ferrara, one of my production guys, I say, “Come on Ed, what’s going on man?” He says, “Marc, listen to me. If I was you, I would just go along with it. Just do what they’re asking.” I just said okay. I was so tired of fighting them. Great….So, I went out and did this promo that nobody understood and I buried the best thing that got me as far as it could, which was the name Buff. It didn’t make any sense to nobody. Everybody was just like, “What is he talking about?!” It was kind of stupid. We would have did the whole story where Buff’s cocky and mean, and Rocky Steamboat was there to get me back right and be the true babyface. It all sounded great over the telephone. They just lied to me. It was brutal, man. Everybody was fighting against each other. WCW, man we were a team. We were all salary, which was huge. We were owned by a billionaire who didn’t care. Whether we drew twenty people or twenty thousand…we got paid the same. So we were all friends. Then all of a sudden I go up to that WWF world, and it’s dog-eat-dog.
Speaking of the WWE, what do you think about Seth Rollins using the blockbuster in matches today?
I think it’s great! I think it’s fantastic. I love it; it makes me feel really good. Some kid on the indies asked me and I said, “Heck yeah man, go do it!” It’s very cool. I think somebody should do the top hat! It’s been long enough and the hat is unique enough. It was only three or four years that people saw that top hat. I think it’s wide open for somebody to take the top hat over.
How do you feel about the guys today being smaller overall? Guys like Finn Balor being a main eventer even though he would technically fit in the cruiserweight division. Give me your take on that.
The size thing is kind of hard for me to argue about because I’m kind of a breaking battle of that when I was growing up, you had to be 250 and 6’3 for Vince to even look at you. That was always the rumor. That was always known as a big man’s company. You had to be 6’2 or 6’3 to even get a job there. All of a sudden you have to realize, even at WCW, you didn’t really see young kids there. All of a sudden….whose this kid named Marcus Bagwell on TV? Well I don’t want a pat on the back, and I don’t care to get one but you can bet your ass that there were some people sitting at home going, “Wait a second…if that kid can do it, so can I…” So I think a new generation started with your younger, smaller kids that said, “Well dammit, if that guy can do it….and he’s not very big or he’s not tall….” You could tell I wasn’t no skyscraper. I was a smaller kid. I was the rookie, the youngster, the little kid who fought his way up. You can bet your ass that caused a lot of careers. One of the New Day kids went to my same school. I don’t know which one he is. I don’t even understand it anymore. I try to watch and I don’t get it. But one of those kids went to my exact same high school that I went to.
Did your 2012 car accident and your recovery from that accident change your outlook on life and help you better put things into perspective?
Yes, it really did. It was a lot of things that happened at that time. My manager dies seven days before my wreck. There were two or three things that happened all at the same time for me to sit back and re-group and take a look at everything again. Keep in mind, the rumors from the internet world is that I am dead from a car wreck. That’s when I had to re-build my name and that’s where the Gigolos thing came in. I thought that was a good little thing to get my name out there and it worked.
How long was the recovery?
It was really bad man. Believe it or not, I tell people this and they don’t even believe me. I broke my neck on April 22, 1998. You can check the records. I flipped my jeep on April 22, 2014 so I broke my neck twice in my life on the exact same day 14 years apart, and I can prove it. I can prove it on TV and with the hospital paperwork. Now with that said, I flipped my jeep and I had to get my life back but it was brutal. I came home and looked in the mirror and said to my wife, “I can’t get through this time. I’m 42, I’m too old. I did too much damage this time.” So I was really beat up, dude. I got five plates in my face, I knocked all my teeth out, I broke my neck and I broke my jaw. I looked in the mirror and looked like an old body builder meth-head. A buddy of mine came by made me start going to the gym with him again and I stuck with it and finally became Buff Bagwell again for one nights time.
What’s going on with your Farewell Tour? Tell me a bit about that.
We’re doing the May to May thing. May was my starting month with WCW so we’re going from now until May 2018. It’s doing real good. If anybody wants information you can email [email protected] – You can book me for birthday parties, wrestling, and signings; whatever. If you want to follow me on social media, all that stuff is @MarcusBuffBagwell so just check it out and keep up with it. It’s looking really good. I got my Australia tour already up and I just got back from Germany and just shot an episode with Nash on a show down in Savannah, I did a movie with John Schneider from Dukes of Hazards that’s coming out. The premier’s going to be here in Atlanta with Dean Cain and Johnny Lee. So, there’s a lot going on and it’s just the same old thing…which one’s going to glue, you know?
I’m glad to hear about all of that and I will keep an eye out. How would you like to be remembered in the business of professional wrestling?
Wow that’s a great question. I’ve never been asked that question.
Well let me put some context behind that. Let me tell you how I remember you. I remember watching as a kid that you were always in character and I loved and respected that so much because no matter where you were, you were posing, you were flexing, always smiling. It was that obnoxious look with the chain on and the hat and the overalls, and it was the whole thing all the time. Almost like how Matt Hardy was with the “Broken” character; all day, every day. That’s what I remember the most. That and that you were great in the ring. It was the whole package.
Wow! I really appreciate that, and it does take a lot to do what we do, most people don’t realize. Like “Dancing with the Stars”….they have two dress rehearsals before they go on live. We talk for 5 minutes and we go out and perform in front of 20 million people. People have no idea the kind of pressure that brings and the years that we did it. I’ve done it 27 years now man! Out of that I’ve broken my neck, had a hip replacement, shoulder replacement and I still look pretty damn good. I’m still hanging in there. I’d like to be remembered, as you just said….entertaining. I’ve been thanked many, many times. That makes me feel the best when people come up and go, “Thank you for the years of entertainment!” I say, “No problem, man.” That makes me feel good because that tells me I did my job. All the stuff I did that nobody else did, like going up in the camera and talking to the camera. I came up to talk to y’all man. Everybody else dodged the camera. I came straight up in that camera and talked to y’all. “Look at me! Look how great I look!” It was fun, it was good, it was like you almost wanted to hate me but you couldn’t help but love me. It was a good fun character that made you feel good and laugh when you saw me, you know?
Absolutely. Last up here….what’s next for you?
To be honest with you, I was doing the farewell thing because I don’t think I can keep up my body anymore. My name is Buff Bagwell and I can’t look like Buff. With my shoulder giving me problems, and my hip just getting replaced and it’s not really doing so well for some reason; I don’t know why. But, I just want to be able to look like Buff always for the fans and so I don’t think I can anymore. It’s just that I’m getting older. Even though I look great for a 47 year old as people may say, I still don’t look to me like Buff Bagwell does. Buff Bagwell was one of the best bodies in professional wrestling’s history. It bothers me if I don’t show up and look tight and right. I understand I’m older and all that but it bothers me and it embarrasses me a little bit for Buff Bagwell to show up and not look right. That’s where it comes from. If something major ironically comes around and my shoulder miraculously gets better and my hip gets better and my body hangs on, there may be a second year but I really don’t think I can. I don’t think I can keep up the work anymore and what it takes to look like I look. I’ve been doing it for 27 years bro! Not missing a workout. Every meal; watching your carbs. Really even longer, almost 30 years because I’ve been doing the bodybuilding, training and eating right. Not just for the summertime…because there’s no winter in pro wrestling. Your shirt comes off every Monday night, bro! So there ain’t no time to eat a pizza, ain’t no time to cheat, ain’t no summertime with your sweatshirt on. It’s time to be Buff every Monday and bro that takes a toll on you, and it did on me. I thought up a great character but at the same time it’s one that’s really hard to keep up with.
An Interview By: Philip Meraglia
You Can Follow Philip On Twitter @phillyb1313