I had the pleasure of interviewing former WCW wrestler, Lash LeRoux. Lash talked about WCW and why he thinks it failed. He talked about his cartoons, Bret Hart, M*I*A, WWF/HWA, if he has plans on joining the WWA or XWF, some name associations and much more.
Paul Nemer: Who brought you into wrestling?
Lash LeRoux: Actually, myself. I played football and had a lot of success as an amateur wrestler in high school. So, during my second year of college I saw a commercial on Nitro for the WCW Power Plant. I went to one of the infamous tryouts, and the rest is history.
Lash LeRoux: Oh, man. There were dozens. I love Flair, Arn and the Horsemen. Hogan, of course. I used to go to Boutwell Auditorium in Birmingham, AL, which was about 65 miles from where I lived.. and watch the Armstrongs and Tom Prichard wrestle. I loved it all.
Lash LeRoux: I've just always loved to draw. This led to my love of cartooning. I was actually trying to create a newspaper comic strip when I started wrestling. It's funny, because as hard as it is to break into wrestling, it was even harder to break into cartooning. I finally combined the two in WCW, when I started doing my "Lashing Out!" cartoons for WCW Magazine. I've built quite a following for the cartoon series since then. And now I will be continuing the "funniest cartoon series in wrestling" as my "Lashing Out!" cartoons will be appearing once again on newsstands in "The Wrestler" magazine, and online on 1wrestling.com.
Lash LeRoux: Well, I don't believe that I could ever do justice to his career. That was just my way of paying my respects. It's funny, though, because I get more compliments for that drawing than any other. It's also ironic, because on top of being one of the finest wrestlers to ever compete, Bret is one hell of a cartoonist himself. He use to draw cartoons of the boys in the locker rooms on the dry erase boards, then I guess he kind of passed the marker down to me and I started doing it. Now that I think about it, some of my best work was probably never published. (*laughs*)
Lash LeRoux: Well, yes and no. It was obvious that WCW had way too many people trying to take charge while at the same time no one was really in charge. Still though, I don't think that was the reason for the WCW demise. I think WCW's failure can be attributed to the fact that it was run by a corporation who would rather sell the company than fix the problems. I firmly believe that if WCW had not been sold it would have ridden out the problems and business would have picked up again. Lows and highs -- it's all just a part of business.
Lash LeRoux: At first, it was pointless. The gimmick was brought to us (Hugh, Chavo and myself) as a way of keeping us on TV while providing comic relief for WCW. We didn't disagree with the gimmick, but I think we all knew that the fans would never take us seriously. The stuff we did was funny but I think it took credibility away from us as wrestlers. And then, we got the gimmick over. I think that's the greatest testament to what kind of talent we had. We took a gimmick that was meant to be a joke and made it one of the most talked about storylines of the year. I'm very proud of that.
Lash LeRoux: Oh, I loved it! It was so easy, because Hugh, Chavo, The Wall and myself were all very close. We still are. So, it wasn't hard at all for us to be a strong team with a lot of good chemistry.
Lash LeRoux: To be quite honest, I haven't really spoken at length with either company. They each have a lot of talented guys that I would love to work with again. I'm just slowing down a bit right now and not rushing into anything. The last year was amazingly hard on me mentally, just because of the feeling that you were back at square one. So, I'm taking this time to recharge my batteries so that if either company comes calling, Lash LeRoux can give them my absolute best!
Lash LeRoux: There's really not much tell. I guess that was the problem. I mean, you have to realize that the WWF now has all of the top talent from the WCW, WWF, and ECW. That means that if they have a hundred guys on their roster, they have a hundred of the best wrestlers in the world. That's a lot of talented wrestlers competing for the same amount of TV time that the WWF had before they bought the company. There's just not enough room for everyone on the roster. And that's cool with me. It was just obvious that the WWF didn't have any plans for me in the immediate future. So, it was better for me, personally, to pursue other options rather than be stuck in limbo in the HWA.
Lash LeRoux: It was the Nitro after Hugh Morrus won the U.S. Title from Lance Storm on a PPV the night before. The feud had been building between the M*I*A and Team Canada for a long time and finally Hugh came away with the gold. On Nitro that night we were standing in the ring with Hugh while he was being interviewed about his win. Before he could finish, the locker room emptied out onto the Nitro stage and all the boys gave him a standing ovation. In order to appreciate this moment, you have to realize that Hugh is the epitome of the hard working, over achieving wrestler. He never plays politics. He just always does what is asked of him without complaint. So many said he would never be a player and he proved them all wrong. There's not a man alive that has a bigger heart than he does. And for that moment, on that night, everything was perfect with wrestling.
Lash LeRoux: Made the world take notice of wrestling. He's the Elvis of wrestling. Because of him, wrestling became a huge entertainment phenomenon, rather than a side show.
Paul Nemer: Eric Bischoff
Lash LeRoux: Very smart businessman. Also very creative. People don't always give him enough credit. He didn't always know a lot about wrestling, but he knew a lot about entertainment. When his ideas worked within wrestling's fundamentals,
there was no stopping him.
Paul Nemer: Vince Russo
Lash LeRoux: A very creative person. Although I didn't agree with all of his ideas, he could come up with some very original concepts. He just had no way of being prepared for the politics of such a large company. Yet, I don't think that anyone could have come into the same position and done a better job under the circumstances.
Paul Nemer: Bret Hart
Lash LeRoux: A true legend. I admire Bret because he was never a phenomenon. Bret didn't get over because of his size or looks or charisma or wrestling ability. He got over because he took all of those things and made himself the best all around wrestler he could be. Which, by the way, turned out to be one of the best in history. I really admire guys who can put the whole package together. And, like him, start at the bottom of the ladder and work to get himself to the top. Bret's a man's man.
Paul Nemer: Vince McMahon
Lash LeRoux: Nobody knows wrestling like Vince knows wrestling. He's a genius when it comes to the wrestling business, but he also always keeps the very best people around him. That's very smart because it forces Vince to always produce his very best product.
Paul Nemer: Hugh Morrus
Lash LeRoux: There's not a man walking earth that I admire more than Hugh. He is what wrestling should be. He's always giving more than is ever asked and he never complains or asks for anything in return. The fans will never realize how much Hugh has contributed to wrestling because he will always let others take the spotlight. He's a true unsung hero and one of the best in the business. There are few wrestlers who are respected by their peers more than he is.
Paul Nemer: Kevin Nash
Lash LeRoux: The best "Big Man" to ever step in the ring. Kevin so charismatic and agile that you forget the guy is seven foot tall. There's been more than a few guys who have made big money in this business just because of their size, but none have been the complete wrestler the Kevin is. He also goes out of his way to help some of the younger guys and I've always appreciated that.
Paul Nemer: WCW
Lash LeRoux: I loved that company. Looking back things were never as bad as they seemed. WCW will always have a dear place in my heart because I gave so much to be a part of it.
Paul Nemer: HWA
Lash LeRoux: Great developmental territory. The WWF has a great system going down there and I'm sure that they will have a lot of top talent come out of it. Les Thatcher had been in wrestling for like 40 years. And the business needs guys like him to remind them of the fundamentals of wrestling, because the fundamentals never change.
Paul Nemer: WWF
Lash LeRoux: There's a reason why the WWF is the top wrestling company in the world. The have so much talent! It will be a long time before the WWF's popularity slows down. This business always has its ups and downs, but if the WWF continues to play its cards right it has enough talent to keep the product from ever becoming stale.
Paul Nemer: And of course, Lash LeRoux.
Lash LeRoux: I would have never started in this business if I didn't think that I could be a top talent one day. I'm only 25 years old, and without a doubt my best years are ahead of me. You've only seen a fraction of what Lash LeRoux has to offer!
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