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Today our guest is one of two people who can call themselves “Wrestling’s Living Legend” and today “The Living Legend” Larry Zbyszko joins the Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling. Discussing his Hall of Fame career, Zbyszko in true form tells John and Chad exactly why so many great moments took place in “Larry-Land” and how his “human game of chess” that he played with his opponents truly was that of a one of a kind superstar. Starting with his memorable run as the savior of Monday Nitro and covering the iconic turn on his mentor Bruno Sammartino it is a phenomenal look into the mind of a true master of the game.
Full Episode Link:
Larry Zbyszko On How His Feud With The nWo & Scott Hall Took Off:
The transition from wrestling to commentary:
For me it worked out great. I had a good twenty year career. By about 1992 I was thinking I’d start settling into the broadcasting thing. It was a good time, I was lucky with the body that I didn’t get hurt and didn’t have any artificial parts, didn’t have any major surgeries, none of that stuff. It kept me alive with the new generation and gave me more publicity because I was on Monday Nitro, then I was on some of the syndicated shows so I had a lot of publicity with the new generation and it was a great job. I worked out and kept myself in good shape and would golf a bunch, I was home so much the wife would get sick of me. It was kind of like the perfect ending to a good twenty year career. Anybody who does that it’s almost like you’ve got this special gift of gab or you are full of bullsh*t because either you can do a good interview for a couple of minuets and weren’t good color guy but for some reason I felt right at home. I had to soften my character up because for twenty years I was a big asshole and people believed I was an asshole and I softened up the character to where everybody loved me and then I was too old to hate and then I was a legend when I went against the New World Order.
Memories of Dusty Rhodes and Dusty’s turn to join the nWo:
They came to me and it was up to me whether it went that way or not. I knew it would make Dusty happy and me and Bischoff and me and Hall were the two biggest buy rates that they ever did and definitely was the cherry on the cake with everything else. It was a one time deal but I remember Dusty dropped an elbow on me and landed all his weight with that elbow he dropped in the Scott Hall match, the bastard (laughs). Me and Dusty had a good relationship. Especially when I would come down and do stuff for the Crockets and TBS and Dusty always treated me right. He always recognized the talent. The last time I saw Dusty the poor guy, he didn’t look too good. He looked pretty grey. The last time I saw Dusty right before he died I had got the weird feeling that something was going to happen and I would wind up like him. I realized after he died that since Dusty was so involved with the Performance Center that now unfortunately that Performance Center lost a lot of knowledge when Dusty passed and I think there is a void left that I can fill.
Recent work at the WWE Performance Center:
You get emotionally involved whether you want to or not. I go there and I look at the faces of these young men and women and they will come to me and ask can you watch my match and you end up getting involved emotionally. I’m old school and what’s in me is you do what is good for the business otherwise no one makes money. Some of these guys and chicks at the school are great and are going to be good and have great potential. It breaks your heart because with others you want to say; did you ever think about getting a job? You get kind of emotionally involved with it and I can’t help it and I kind of steer myself to people I know are going to be good for the business.
Getting to see old friends and his reaction to the passing of Rowdy Roddy Piper and The Ultimate Warrior:
You don’t get to see the guys too often and even though you spent so much of your life working with them and especially at the point we are at now when I go to Mania I’ll see a bunch of the guys and that will be cool but it’s amazing that they are dropping. Like with Piper, that shocked me and I never expected him to go. The Ultimate Warrior. That was wild. At 54 he looked like he was 80. I didn’t recognize the guy when I first saw him in the hotel, he looked like some old guy who was just shuffling by and I thought that’s the Warrior? Something wasn’t right and I’m surprised he didn’t keel over on stage.
The Dangerous Alliance:
The fans seemed to really like it and it was a cool group of guys. Me and Arn as the Enforcers, we were really over. Rude and Bobby Eaton fit right in and a young “Stunning” Steve with Paul E. so it was a good group of guys but the only thing with a group fortunately for me and Arn at 40 years old we clicked and it was great but it should have gone on a little longer. To be in a group you really couldn’t stick out, you were just part of a group and I had come from a school where it was better to stick out and be a single. But I was over 40 and Bill (Watts) came in at that time of the Dangerous Alliance so that’s when I kind of pulled myself out, got my knee fixed and wound up doing the broadcasting thing.
Larry Zbyszko also discusses his entire run with his mentor Bruno Sammartino, why he left the New York territory and never returned, feelings on Vince Sr., being AWA Champion as the company ended, working with Triple H in WCW, how well he and Scott Hall worked together and the pre-mature end to the nWo angle vs. WCW.
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