KEN SHAMROCK INTERVIEW RECAP – Whether he would return to UFC or the WWE, Brock Lesnar’s jump to the UFC, What’s Wrong with wrestling nowadays and more.
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Q: Let’s start with the most recent happening for you: the Lion’s Den Scottsdale Elite Fight Team try-outs at your newest training facility in Arizona. How did they go?
A: It went well, right now they’ve got 350 students, only been open a short time, we got one in north Carolina, on in Conneticut, three is Detroit, two in Sacremento, one in Reno, and one in Scottsdale with more to come.
Q: You were pretty much the one who put Ultimate Fighting Championship on the map in it’s early days. How did you become involved in the sport and after seeing the evolution first-hand over the years, what would you say has changed in the past 15 years?
A: I think the biggest thing that’s changed is the rules, I mean when I first did it, It was basically just two guys getting in the ring, and it was bare knuckles, no time limit, and the only way you could win or lose a fight was if the guy tapped out three times on the mat, or your opponent threw in the towel so it was pretty real and now its been a lot more friendlier to the fans and also to the fighters by putting rules in there and time limits and certain things you can and cant do so its come a long way to make it more friendlier for TV and more friendlier for sponsors and a way for the guys to actually make a living in the sport as people will actually sponsor this now, back when I did it baby it was the real deal.
Q: You had that big match with Tito Ortiz on Spike TV in late-2006 which was billed as your retirement match. How come that stipulation was put on it if you didn’t truly plan on leaving the sport?
A: You know stuff like that, its just a shame that I cant talk about it, because right now were in the middle of a court battle with the UFC, and I cant really comment on that, because id rather have the lawyers deal with those because anything I say about any of that stuff they’ll try and turn it around so id rather leave it alone
Q: Is there a chance that you will ever return to the UFC? If not, what other upstart companies would you be interested in working for?
A: Well again you never know, I don’t know how things will work out, I hope we could put things behind us some day and that we can all grow up and be cool about this and lets get it done, instead of having to go through all this mess, but again im not an attourney and I cant answer those questions, only the attourney’s can.
Q: Well if you never return to the UFC, what other upstart companies would you be interested in working for, we also heard the rumours of you facing your brother Frank at some point in the future?
A: Well im looking at trying at trying to maybe face Frank, or maybe Hoyce Gracie, it just depends, there is a lot of ways that I could do this, I wanna go fight, I’d like to fight one more time, there is a lot of guys out there that would make sense to me but id tell you the ones who make the most sense to me and that’s Frank or Hoyce.
Q: Where did you get the “World’s Most Dangerous Man” nickname from?
A: They had this special they came out with, and im not sure if it was NBC or ABC, im not sure which one it was, and they were listing the world’s most dangerous places, animals, things, people, food, and at that time, I was the world champion, back when it was no holds barred, basic bare knuckles, no rules, I was the guy, and so people looked at that as you know this dude is dangerous, dude’s gotta be the world’s most dangerous man, he goes in there and fights with no rules, and that’s how I got that name because they did a special on me and it was pretty good too because they didn’t show the brutal side of the fighting they showed more of who I really was behind the fighting.
Q: What’s the deal between you and Dan Severn? We had him on the show a few years ago and he trash talked you a bit. Why all the heat?
A: One day we were sitting in this meeting room with Dan and his management as well as me and my management, and they were talking and at the time I was the champion, and they were asking questions, but none of them were directed at Dan, they were all directed at me, while we were both sitting in the same room, well Dan got up and left, he got pissed off and got up and left, and so then I got up and I told Dan I was gonna kill him for disrespecting this business by just getting up and leaving, and so he spouted off and said something like whatever your dreaming, and I said well yea you watch that this dream don’t come true and so when I got into the ring, I literally tried to snap his neck, when he shot in I just about popped his head off and that’s when he tapped out, but after the match was over, he walked up to me and said hey dude I didn’t mean anything by that and I said hey man no worries im happy.
Q: So Why does it seem that there is some still heat to this day?
A: I don’t think there’s heat, I think there is a lot of misunderstanding really, same thing with Tito and anybody else, people gotta understand, im one of those kind of guys that im intense man you know and if im gonna fight you, im gonna get in your face, im gonna try to break you down, im gonna try to make you get beat before you ever walk to the ring, that’s just me man.
Q: Training for MMA versus training for wrestling: what are some of the differences in your regiment?
A: Umm I think rest hahaha, you get a lot more sleep when your not travelling on the road all the time, that’s definitely a huge difference, you actually get an opportunity to set your schedule, get up and train and eat properly and then go train and then you have your fight and its all laid out, you get to do your interviews and boom there’s the fight, where in the WWE, your up on a plane, fly to a certain place, drive to 5 different places, you don’t get a lot of rest, your diet isn’t very good, its like being a rock and roll star, its hard to find time, you do, you do find some time, but you don’t find a lot of rest.
Q: Well speaking of the WWE, How did the concept of the “Lion’s Den” match in the WWF come about?
A: I Know Vince talked about it with me, and wanted to do some sort of match and I came up with this idea of building a cage and doing a cage match and fight in the cage, and then once we did that we tried to figure out different ways to present it, and I thought how bout hanging weapons in there, and so they hung the weapons in there, and that’s when I had the match with Steve Blackman and then there was another one called the iron circle, where I had seen this movie one time all these guys circled up cars and turn their lights on cause it was night time, and we fought in a circle of cars, and so there was a lot of original things I did there just like the straight jacket match where they put me in a straight jacked and I actually heel hooked Jeff Jarrett and just a lot of new stuff I was able to do, and those things are not done today, they have not been duplicated because there are not a lot of people who could do what I did, and if you look before I got in the WWE and after I was in the WWE, there are flying armbars, there’s leg chokes, there’s leg locks, and before I went in there there was the sharpshooter and the rear naked choke, that’s it!
Q: What were some of your favourite memories being a part of the WWE from 1997 – late 1999? Do you have any good road stories?
A: One of them is when I was with Steve Blackman, and he’s a cheapskate man, he’d stay at these road motels, he’d see 19.99$ and he want to pull over and stay in that, dude id say I want running water man, so he drop me off one time at the Hilton where I was gonna sleep, and he went off to stay at this hotel he saw off the road, I think it was like 9.99 or something, it was pretty cheap, and I remember the next morning he came to get me, and his hair is all sticking up, and his hair was sticking up, and look like one eye was still shut, so I go what happened dude, and I remember he looked at me and he goes well first of all, I walked into the room, and the place looks ok, he crawls into bed, turns off the lights, he feels something at the bottom of his bed, so he turns the light on, looks up and here’s this rat staring at him and so he kicks the rat off the bed, and he goes whatever, goes back to sleep saying to himself I can share a room with a rat, I got no problem with that, so he falls asleep and then he gets up at like 5:30, 6:00 in the morning, goes to jump in the shower, so he pulls the shower back, and turns the water on, and its straight brown water! It looked like the bates motel man I swear, he thought he wasn’t going to get out of there alive, he was gonna be carried off by rats.
Q: How was Steve like in the ring, I know you had quite a few matches with him.
A: He was stiff, He’d hit me with that Kendo stick, and he’d leave welts on me everytime, and I cant complain, because when I started out man I had to learn a lot about how to do things, so sometimes you gotta give them, but you also gotta take them.
Q: There have been many times that you were rumoured to go back to the company, but every time it turned out to be just that: rumours with nothing coming out of it. What would you say halted negotiations between you and the WWE?
A: Well the thing is that I honestly believe that the negotiations aren’t go anywhere only because I think that Vince McMahon doesn’t have ideas on bringing me back, I thought we left on pretty good terms but I don’t know but it seems to me that he’d be the man to get it done, and every time we start to get it done with different people it just gets shut down and the only way that could happen is if Vince shuts it down, but I dunno, I don’t know why they wouldn’t take me back or why they wouldn’t use me, because I helped create the WWE the way it is today with all these submission holds, I brought all this stuff in.
Q: In 2002, you returned to wrestling becoming the first NWA champion of the TNA era. You had a nice little run with some good matches against Sabu, Malice, and Takao Omori but why was that run cut short so abruptly?
A: I think they wanted to use me more, but at that time I was training for a fight with Tito and I couldn’t give them more time, so I think that ran short on that, and that was completely understandable with what they were trying to do, and they pulled me aside and talked with me and it was very very professional.
Q: You actually returned to TNA for a night or two in 2004 and then seemingly disappeared again, what was the deal with that?
A: Well I think it was just kind of a show up just to see if they wanted to do something and it was hard again because I was still training for a fight and they just wanted to see where I was and at that particular time things just wernt going to fit, I couldn’t do it.
Q: We’ve seen a slew of wrestlers having made the jump to MMA recently, your thoughts on those who have jumped including Brock Lesnar
A: Well I think Brock, especially Brock Lesnar, needs to be very very careful, because he’s a big star in wrestling and if he’s not careful, being in MMA could really bring him down quite a bit because he was built differently than I was built, he was built as a indestructible mass of a person, and now that he’s been in there and has been tapped out, it takes some credibility away from his character, so he needs to be very careful in his next match, and I said it before he fought Frank Mir that this was a very bad matchup for him because eventhough Frank Mir is slower and little bit older and doesn’t seem to have the desire to want to fight, the fact still remains that he is a very good submission guy and Brock doesn’t know anything when it comes to being on the ground other than how to wrestle, therefore it was just a matter of time before he caught him, I would of liked to see him fight a striker, where Brock could of just wrestled him to the ground and just laid on him and just punched on him.
Q: Looking at the other side of the coin, is there any MMA guys that you think could make it in the wrestling world nowadays?
A: I don’t, I think that Pro wrestling is one of the toughest things to achieve in the world because there is so many variables that you have to do you’ve got to be able to remember things and as your remembering things you got to be able to act in different ways up or down, sad or cried or excited, there is just so many things you gotta do, you gotta be an athlete, you gotta be a stuntman, there is just so many things to it and being a fighter, and coming from being a fighter, you don’t know how to let people know that your hurt, to let people know that your being beat up, or let people beat you up and feel good about it, there is just too much pride there, so it is a very difficult thing, and the only way you can find out if someone could really do is when they do it.
Q: Here on the show we have a segment dedicated to looking at how wrestlers are expanding into other media, and we recently noticed that you have a role in an MMA themed film entitled Never Submit, Is acting something you’d like to do more of now that your in ring fighting career is winding down?
A: Yea its enjoyable to be able to go out and do some acting and be able to read for parts, and people actually tell me that hey you know what you got it, you got it, you know how to get it done and so its exciting to be able to hear those things and be able to go read for parts and be able to do something after fighting, you know I love fighting, and Im gonna continue to fight, but I also understand that its gotta come to an end sooner or later so im preparing my business for that, im preparing my life for that, so when I get roles in any movies, I read for them and I got gyms opening across the united states, we just did a grand opening in Scottsdale, and were rebuilding the one in Reno, so were really starting to put our business plan together.
Q: Have you stayed in contact with any of your former colleagues in the wrestling world?
A: Well I dunno about “in contact” but definitely every now and then I come across or call Steve Blackman, Ive come across Mark The Undertaker a few times, and about 6 weeks ago I went and saw these guys on the east coast when I was down there doing some commentating I went by the show and saw all the boys there, Dean Malenko, The Hardy’s, and there was probably half the guys there I didn’t know, and when you’ve been in it, and your time goes by a little bit, you just don’t see the things you’d like to see in there, there is just so much flash and fast and there is really no story, and its not like the good old days with Stone Cold, Bret Hart and Mark and Kane and just guys telling a story, and more impact, you just don’t have it, its more lucha libre style where its alot more fast all the time and flips all the time and that’s good but every match there should be some stories told.
Q: They still have a large audience, but the viewership has gone down quite a bit since the days of the attitude era, what do you think the reasoning is behind that?
A: Well I think it’s the changing of the guard, Fortunately for Vince, he was able to, when Shawn dropped off, he had Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Undertaker is always good for bringing attention, but right now there is just nobody there that draws like Hulk Hogan or Macho Man or The Warrior, Or Steve Austin or Bret Hart, they just don’t have that guy right now.
Q: Alicia Webb, who played the character of Ryan Shamrock, your sister, and in real life you dated her for a bit as well I believe, how was it like working with her, and was there any truth to the rumours that they were thinking of doing an incest angle on TV with you two?
A: Yea they were, but that right there changed my vision on where I wanted to go in the WWE, I really thought that was something that really would affect my children and I had to go to Vince and I had to tell him that I couldn’t do this, and I think Vince was a little upset with me, You know I had to weigh it out and I thought kids at 5,7, and 10 years old, don’t understand that this is entertainment, they look at it and they think its fun and these guys get to beat eachother up and all these things are happening and I just thought that me doing something like that and my children really not understanding that, I thought it would hurt them so I went to talk to Vince and I told him no and I got beat for 3 months straight after that so haha it didn’t work out so well but I just couldn’t do it.
Q: Well its been great having you on The Main Event today, What does the future hold for you? Do you aspire to return to the octagon or wrestling ring or are you satisfied training the next generation of fighters?
A: Well im gonna return to the ring, im gonna train the next generation of fighters, and im opening a whole chain of gyms right now across the united states to build this business, and at each of those gyms teams were doing elite fighting teams and were gonna build one of the strongest fighting teams in the world!
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