I'm from Waterloo, Iowa. I was 25 [when I began], 25 years ago. I'd been an amateur wrestler in high school, and I wanted to go on to a professional career, because I'd wrestled quite a few of the guys. I'd seen the profession, I knew I could handle myself, and so I got into professional wrestling.
I really enjoyed wrestling. I got to meet hundreds and hundreds of people, and I enjoyed it very, very much. When you're in wrestling, you get to meet people, and if you like people like I do....
For five years I had actually been starving in wrestling, and one night I happened to hit a guy with my famous "heart punch," and he dropped over dead. And I was an overnight sensation. It was onward and upward after that. It was a shame that it happened, but the man actually was ordered never to be in professional sports. But he got in there, and me hitting him caused his heart attack. The fans turned–at that time I didn't know whether they liked me or hated me–but they turned overnight on me, and they started sending me hate mail. And I found out the fans are very, very vicious, and over the years they put lit cigarettes on me, threw pop in my face, did a lot of despicable things. So I started my legendary saying, "I love to hurt people," because you find out that you can't really worry whether the fans like you or dislike you. You've got to do your own thing.
For 25 years I've been "the bad guy," and for 5 years in a row I was voted "The Most Hated Man in Wrestling" because the man who died in the ring was quite popular. The fans, not knowing it was not my fault, blamed me for it and really rode me for the longest time. I found out that it helped my career quite a bit, so in helping it, that was all right with me. I'm not proud about it, but it happened, and we just go on.
I had a six-year run with the NWA around Florida and Atlanta that I enjoyed quite well. I've been trying for the last two or three years, maybe the last five years, to get into the WWF, and I haven't been successful with it. I'm still trying very, very hard, and one of these days I might make it. Vince McMahon–of course, who at the moment is the czar of wrestling–he can point to you and you can get in, or he can not point to you and you can't get in. So you have to be very, very careful, and I'm still looking for that moment or break.
I have a boy in Texas, and I just recently got married a second time to a fine lady in Connecticut. My first wife got killed in a horrible car accident. A lot of times I'd come home a little scarred up, a little scratched up, and [my family] didn't like that. But we bought a 400-acre farm out of it, and a large herd of cattle, so it paid off in the long run.
I wish I hadn't been injured as much as I was. It ended quite suddenly when the arthritis in my leg, which I had tried to fight for years, slowed me down to where I had to quit. I've had a couple of organizations talking to me about trying to sign me up. My future career is actually being a manager. I've been in security for quite a few years, and I like the security work. Right now I'm working for Wells Fargo. I've been with two or three security outfits. They're not high paying, but I'm trying right now to get into corrections.
Twenty-five years ago you actually had to wrestle more. I think the athletes are a little better athletes at this time, but they don't have wrestling skills that we had, where we went long periods of time. In other words, [today] you have a whole card in an hour and a half, where in the old days, you had to wrestle one hour and a half. So it's quite a difference.