Tatanka: First of all I would like to say "Hau Kola" Hello My Friends! Really at this moment I'm not interested in doing an interview about wrestling only because I feel there are greater things to be tended to in this country as far as helping others but I have given my promise and word and must stay True. We have had a great tragedy in our Nation this week and it is a time for the whole Nation and our Allies to come together and unite against the Evil that has come against this country and the Symbol of Freedom. We must also put our Trust in A Power that is Greater than us all; The Almighty God Himself. This Nation will overcome it's enemies and even be greater than before because as you have seen this country's leaders have turned to God and asked the world to do the same this day Friday the 14th, 2001. Pray for our President and all the leaders with him along with all the families that have lost loved ones, the people who are giving 100% to the rescue of lives in New York and Washington such as the firefighters, police, hospitals, and even normal everyday citizens. Play your part this week and every week as an American and be thankful for this great country and what you have!
Paul Nemer: I couldn't agree more. This was truly a sad week. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.
On to the interview
Paul Nemer: What was it like working with the Hart Brothers' Stampede promotion in Canada?
Tatanka: It was an honor to work with a family that has generations of wrestlers all throughout. Of course it began with their father Stu and the success followed all throughout their family with great wrestlers such as Bret and one we will not forget Owen Hart. Of course it was also an honor to work with a federation that was established in Canada for years with many loyal fans.
Paul Nemer: How long did you stay in the Stampede promotion?
Tatanka: I worked there on and off for about 6 months along with all my other travel worldwide with other federations. I was there reopening night of Stampede Wrestling as the main event with Jason Neidhart, which was a sold-out event and they turned hundreds away that night. They really have some loyal fans!
Paul Nemer: Who's idea was it to your Native American background as a gimmick?
Tatanka: I was wrestling as a Native American when I started wrestling in 1990 in No. American Wrestling Association in Charlotte, N.C. I started this character because I'm 100% Native from The Lumbee Nation (go to my links area of my site at http://www.nativetatanka.com to visit my Tribal Web Sites) and as George Scott and The Late and Great Legend "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers stated "You are truly Native and people all over the world love and know the Native Americans". They also talked about the success of Wahoo McDaniels at that time also.
Paul Nemer: What is your fondest memory during your time in the WWF?
Tatanka: They were many memories but I have to say holding a 2 year undefeated streak in The WWF that still holds today is one of the greatest. Also the second biggest memory would have to be that when I started there I began an angle or issue with Rick Martel, then Bam Bam Bigelow, then Yokozuna and Borga, then IRS, then finally Lex Luger. Each angle lasted 1 year each and also as soon as I was done one I was into another. Something you do not see anymore as far as angles lasting 1 year and being hot all throughout the angles. This is something I also remember because it was a sign of Vince giving me the ball and I ran and scored with it each time which brought the company success and also of course success to myself.
Paul Nemer: Did you like your role as heel or you preferred staying face?
Tatanka: First of all let me say I prefer being a baby face and that is what I will return as. But on the other hand I have also showed the Wrestling Industry and fans that I can dance on both sides of the track, which not many can do. My heel turn was discussed with Vince and me only and he called me in the office to tell me his thoughts. At first I did not care that much about it but after he went through it again and said it is only that you are claiming to be the real American and not Lex Luger because your people where first here and you are the True and First American. It also made sense because I was Hot as a baby face and that is always the way it has to be done to make it very successful for you as a heel. Also everyone just knew it was going to be Lex because he had heeled many times but we surprised the whole Wrestling Industry and went down in the record books as the Hottest Heel Turn and Biggest Surprise as Bill Apter put it. Success is what you are looking at not only for you but also for the fans. It does not make you less as a heel or pay you less; it is only you playing another part but again I prefer being a role model and hero and that is what I will be when I return.
Paul Nemer: Many people have told me to ask you this question. Why did you leave the WWF?
Tatanka: After leaving the W.W.F. in the later part of 1996 I decided to take a break from my busy schedule of professional wrestling and spend time with my wife. With WWF, I had a schedule of 300 days per year, which leaves little time for anything else and no balance in your life. Even with the great success I had acquired in the WWF. I decided it was time to get my life in order in all areas of my life. It was tough at the time because Eric Bischoff had called me personally and offered me the opportunity to come to the WCW. and be highlighted on their Nitro Show but I stuck to my decision of getting things in order completely in my life and decided to put pro wrestling on hold for a while. First thing my wife and I got in order was our personal relationship with God and his son Jesus Christ! This began the true success and fulfillment in my life and my wife's, which is so clear today in our lives. After spending time together with my wife we decided to start a family and enjoy one of the greatest gifts that God has given the world; a newborn baby! After 2.5 years I returned to the battlefield of pro wrestling and began right where I left off; defeating all those that stepped into the squared circle with The Native American Tatanka.
Paul Nemer: Between all the wrestlers retired and active, who would your dream match be with and why?
Tatanka: Well I will tell you this. I would love to wrestle The Rock not as a bad guy versus good guy but because of his hard work and wanting to entertain the fans. Also I would have to say Kurt Angle, Triple HHH, and Benoit to name a few. I have had so many great matches with all the successful angles I was in during my career at The WWF. I thank God for all my success and all the top talent that I worked with but I cannot really say that there is only one dream match I would prefer. I can say I had an awesome match with Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania at Ceaser's Palace, many awesome matches with Bam Bam Bigelow worldwide during our hot issue, Yokozuna in New York for the World Title and also in Montreal, Canada in a cage match; both truly rocked the house. Also there was the days of IRS after tearing my headdress up which was fired up matches and also my big turn and heated matches with Lex Luger. I believe that true success and talent of great wrestlers are that they can have awesome matches with most talent they work with!
Paul Nemer: Should we expect so see you back on Television working for Vince McMahon?
Tatanka: I am definitely returning and my return is very near and I expect by our conversations it will be towards November or December of this year. I have always planned on returning but have waited on the right timing and the timing is now! I have spoken to some of The WWF Officials but either them or myself have made any commitments thus far even with all the rumors that I am going there. I have also had many conversations with Hulk Hogan, which I cannot reveal but I will tell you I am definitely returning and returning as Tatanka, which is wanted and planned. For the latest info on my return go to http://www.nativetatanka.com.
Paul Nemer: Lex Luger
Tatanka: Superb Body
Paul Nemer: Rick Martel
Tatanka: A Seasoned Pro and Veteran; one of the best!
Paul Nemer: Ludvig Borga
Tatanka: First Defeat with the help of Yokozuna
Paul Nemer: Yokozuna
Tatanka: The best Big Man Talent and greatly missed!
Paul Nemer: Ted Dibiase
Tatanka: Used his success for God now!
Paul Nemer: Bam Bam Bigelow
Tatanka: Great talent and enjoyed working with.
Paul Nemer: Shawn Michaels
Tatanka: Another great talent and I wish him blessings for his possible return.
Paul Nemer: Mr. Chavis, again, I thank you for your time and I wish you the best of luck.
Tatanka: Don't forget to visit me at NativeTatanka.com, "Pilamia Yelo" Thank You and God Bless!
Thanks for reading,