Jack Brisco joined SLAM! Wrestling live for a chat on October 16, 2001. Here’s the transcript.
Moderator: We’re almost ready to go with Jack Brisco. Hang on just a minute folks, and we’ll be off and typing! Jack is down in Florida.
Jack Brisco: Good afternoon, sorry I’m a little late. Hope everybody is doing well.
lou: Jack, you knew Shohei Baba pretty well, what was he like inside the ring and outside?
Jack Brisco: Lou, Shoehi Baba was strictly 100 percent business inside the ring and for a man as tall as he was he was a very good worker.
Outside the ring, he was a quiet man and a very proud man.
He liked to play poker so on trips sometimes we would play poker. But he was a very quiet man and didn’t carry on.
He like to smoke cigars, drink his beer and play poker.
Russel Pitt from St. Pete Beach: Have you ever considered writing a book on yourself and your career?
Jack Brisco: Yes, I have considered writing a book! A very good friend of mine out of Asheville, NC named Bill Murdock and I have been discussing it for quite some time. We are planning on having an outline by early December. We would like the fans input on anything they would like to see in the book.
Russel Pitt from St. Pete Beach: Hi Jack I remember watching you wrestle a number of times in the Eddie Graham Sports Complex. Was this your favourite spot to wrestle?
Jack Brisco: It was one of my favorite places to wrestle. The Fort Homer W Hesterly Armory and the Kiel Auditorium in St Louis and the old Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto were my very favorite places.
Terry Dart: Mr Brisco, did you ever wrestle Don Leo Jonathan? If so, who won, Jack? Thank you.
Jack Brisco: Never did but I always wanted to. He was quite a few years ahead of me. He was a very impressive man. He was a very powerful and a very agile man for his size. Unfortunately his career was ending as mine was getting started.
Peter Traverse, Newfoundland: Of all the pro wrestlers in the world today, who wrestles the most like you did?
Jack Brisco: Kurt Angle is my favorite wrestler. He has a background similar to mine and I like the way he incorporates it into today’s style.
Keith: Who was the most fun to work with, in the ring?
Jack Brisco: It’s a tossup between Dickie Murdoch and crazy Terry Funk.
Mike: Hi Mr. Brisco. What is your greatest wrestling match/experience ever in Canada?
Jack Brisco: I was flying from St Louis to Toronto and had a stopover in Chicago to change planes. There was a big snowstorm in Chicago and Toronto and all the planes were going to be late. I wasn’t scheduled to arrive into Toronto until 9:45 or so. I called Mr Tunney and asked if I should keep coming. Mr Tunney told me to keep coming and he would have someone waiting for me when the plane arrived. I was scheduled to wrestle Johnny Valentine for the World title that night. Mr Tunney had a police escort waiting for me and I got a police escort from the airport to Maple Leaf Gardens. And I changed into my wrestling gear in the back of the police car. When I arrived at the building I could already see Johnny in the ring waiting for me. I ran from the police car to the ring.
Andrew Vaccaro, Melbourne, Australia: What are recollections of wrestling in Australia- your opinion on the wrestlers and the fans?
Jack Brisco: I first went into Australia very young and inexperienced, I was in my first year. I wrestled a lot of the big names like Killer Karl Kox, Killer Kowalski, Dr Bill Miller, Brute Bernard, Skull Murphy, Spiros Arion, Mario Milano, Tony Parisi. Being a rookie, a sure got schooled in a hurry being in the ring with such great veteran stars. I learned an awful lot from them. I loved Australia and their fans were fabulous.
frank: What was your favorite training method, were you a weights person or did you do more callisthenics like Karl Gotch?
Jack Brisco: When I was in high school and college wrestling coaches believed that weight lifting would make you muscle bound. So to keep in shape I did stretching exercises and for conditioning I did long distance runs and wind sprints.
Then when I turned professional I wanted to gain weight and Nick Kozak said he would help me and introduced me to a weight lifting program.
Herbie Menzies: How did you feel about Gerry doing all the oddball things with Pat Patterson? Did that hurt his legacy or was it just a case of keeping him fresh and with the times?
Jack Brisco: I think it’s great and I enjoy watching it. I think it’s very funny. Jerry and Pat like it and I enjoy watching it. Nobody in our family would admit he’s our brother when he was dressed up in the lingerie.
John Pollock: What’s more political, amateur wrestling or professional wrestling?
Jack Brisco: Professional wrestling is more political. In amateur wrestling smaller schools can compete better than smaller schools in football. It’s all about recruiting and coaching. Smaller schools have produced many national champions.
PETE LUCAS: In the NWA days who came up with the “bald headed eagle segment”, the segment that started the feud between THE BRISCO BROTHERS and RICKY STEAMBOAT and JAY YOUNGBLOOD?
Jack Brisco: Steamboat did.
Ranj Samra, Vancouver, BC: Hello Jack. I’d like to get your thoughts on Vancouver, BC’s All Star Wrestling scene back in the late 60s and 70s. Some great names came through there at the time. Any stories you’d like to share?
Jack Brisco: I was always a fan of Gene Kiniski’s. I loved what we called the Great Northwest: Vancouver, Seattle, I thought it was the most beautiful country. I enjoyed going up there and wrestling the different guys, especially Gene.
Peter: Did you ever wrestle for Emile Dupre’s Grand Prix in Atlantic Canada? If so what are your fondest memories?
Jack Brisco: I went to Nova Scotia one time and spent a week there. I worked with Rudy Kay and Terry Kay. There were both great workers. I worked with them for the World title up there.
Keith: Have you ever been involved in wrestling as a promoter?
Jack Brisco: I owned parts of Florida and parts of Championship Wrestling from Georgia.
Norm Kimber’s #1 Fan: Did you enjoy working tag team or singles, you seemed to excel at both. What was your proudest moment in wrestling?
Jack Brisco: I always enjoyed both. I started four years ahead of Jerry so I enjoyed the singles the most. After I had held the World title and Jerry had held the Wolrd junior title we wanted to finish our career as a tag team. We got to finish our career as World champions in singles and tag teams.
Keith: Johnny Valentine was known more for pummeling opponents than for wrestling moves. How did you handle that?
Jack Brisco: Before I was champion I had wrestled Johnny a couple of times and he almost pummeled me to death. After I was champion and figured out his style I forced him to wrestle and we had wrestling matches.
Eric Awin: In your day the Briscos Funks, Andersons, etc were the teams. Would it be fair to put the Dudley Boys, Hardy Boys in your league?
Jack Brisco: You’re kidding, right?
No, no, and no!
They didn’t allow tables in the ring and we knew moves besides jumping off ladders.
Phil Chertok: How’s the Brisco Brothers Auto Shop doing? And where can I get one of those T-shirts?
Jack Brisco: The body shop is doing very well, thank you. We’ve been in business 29 years. And you can get a t-shirt by calling (813) 879-4421. Ask for Arin.
George Yunk: Who is your all time favorite wrestler and why?
Jack Brisco: Lou Thesz was my idol. He was great wrestler, a great example, a class man.
Erin: What are your thoughts on the NWA today? With the 53rd anniversary taking place last week, and the controversy that happened, do you feel the NWA is getting a “black eye”?
Jack Brisco: It’s hard without TV. A lot of the promotions either don’t have TV or don’t have good slots. It’s tough to get people interested without TV even though there is some very good talent out there. In my day, not only did we have TV, but we were branded as the top promotion in whatever territory we were in and world wide. Even if you have TV, it’s hard to compare with the production values and branding the WWF does.
Todd: Has the WWF’s purchase of WCW and ECW been a benefit or a detriment to the world of sports entertainment? Is there any signs that Vince’s monopoly will end?
Jack Brisco: I can only speak as an outsider, as a fan. I enjoyed watching the other alliances and I was sorry to see them go. I thought they had good talent and were each different in their own way.
Matt, Atlanta, GA: Do you believe the wrestling business is in a downward spiral, or is it cyclical?
Jack Brisco: It’s very much cyclical and it’s slightly heading toward a downward cycle. The down times don’t last long.
Terry Harris: Did you enjoy working as a heel with your brother in your feud with Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood?
Jack Brisco: I enjoyed it immensely! I got to do it with my brother Jerry. I think the reason I enjoyed it so much was that I got to work with Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood, two of the finest wrestlers in the business. They were great talent and made everything so easy. I don’t know how much I would have enjoyed it if I didn’t have those two to start with.
Lou Holt: Mr Brisco. How do you think Ric Flair stacks up next to the great NWA World Champions Like yourself, the Funk Bros. and Harley Race?
Jack Brisco: Ric Flair is as good as any of us. He was a natural and one of the greatest champions of all time.
Alan Omelia: What was it like wrestling Harley Race in the early seventies.
Jack Brisco: I always thought Harley was one of my favorite people to wrestle. He was as dedicated and professional as anyone there ever was. He would do anything for the business. He was a great champion and I’m glad I got to work with him.
Char Provo: What are you thoughts of Stu Hart?…he is an all time favorite of mine
Jack Brisco: First, let me say how sorry I am to hear about Helen. I thought Stu Hart was a great guy and a great character. I always enjoyed wrestling in Calgary. It was a high spot of my career. I got to visit his home and meet his wonderful wife and all his children. We had dinner on a mountain overlooking Calgary. Stu always treated me with great respect. He always drove me to the towns in his Cadillac. Everything was good about Stu but his driving. The dungeon in Stu’s house was famous. He tried to lure me in but I wouldn’t take the bait.
Keith: Who was the best at the interview side of the business? Gene Kiniski was one of the all-time best. I saw him recently on a late-night talk show, still intimidating the hell out of the host. Hilarious! Who else do you remember for their mastery of marketing?
Jack Brisco: The greatest interviews beyond a shadow of a doubt was Roddy Piper, Ric Flair, and ole Dusty Rhodes. Gene Kiniski wasn’t quite in that class but he was very good. Gene was a different type of interview. He was very serious.
Terry Harris: What were your thoughts on working with Rowdy Roddy Piper, my thoughts are back then in Mid Atlantic he was at this prime.
Jack Brisco: I loved working with Roddy. He was so over with the fans it made working a pleasure. In my book, Roddy was one of the top workers of all time. I thought the world of Piper.
Bill Wellek: If you had a time machine…is there one wrestler today who you could ship back to your active days and fit in with you and your peers. And vice versa…is there somebody from back then who could fit in with today’s wrestlers?
Jack Brisco: I think I’d like to take the Undertaker back to my time. The Undertaker could have worked in any era of professional wrestling and been top dog.
Blair: What wrestling school out there would you recommend a person go to?
Jack Brisco: Steve Keirn does a great job with the students here in Tampa. The ones I have seen have all been very well coached not just in wrestling, but how to handle themselves in the locker room and how to do business.
Harley Race is another great trainer. I know he is as serious about his school as he was about his career and that means his students will be very well prepared.
James Charlton: What are your memories of wrestling in Japan? Specifically, what do you remember about your classic encounter with Dory Funk Jr. in 1974 and your various matches with Jumbo Tsuruta?
Jack Brisco: I really enjoyed Japan.
I knew wherever I wrestled Junior, whether it was Japan, US, or Canada it was going to be a long, hard fight. The Japanese people accepted both of us and it was a pleasure wrestling in front of them. I was just watching the match that you brought up! It is on my videotape Jack Brisco vs. Dory Funk Jr. and is available on my web site.
I have great memories of Jumbo Tsuruta. Jumbo was a great hand in the ring. Very talented in the ring. He came to visit me in the United States many times. I was very saddened by his death.
Matt, Atlanta, GA: What is your opinion of the lack of kayfabe in today’s business?
Jack Brisco: Since they advertise it as sports entertainment, it doesn’t bother me. Although, in the first couple of years of sports entertainment it bothered me quite a bit that they didn’t stick up for the time honored tradition.
Sam MacBeath: What was your greatest moment and who was your toughest opponent? Thank you .
Jack Brisco: My greatest moment was beating Harley Race for the World heavyweight championship in Houston, Texas.
Dory Funk Jr. was my toughest opponent because it was always a grueling match from start to finish.
ryan : what are your memories of Paul Boesch?
Jack Brisco: I loved working for Paul. He was one of the greatest payoff men in the business. He was a great promoter so he always had big crowds. He had top talent to work with. It was always a pleasure to work for Paul.
Frank From The CIBC: What was Frank Tunney like to deal with? I have never heard a bad word spoken about him.
Jack Brisco: Old Frank was a great guy. He was a great promoter. I think his happiest times were after the matches when we would drink beer and have bologna blowouts. We would stay up all night telling stories and Frank was always there to the end laughing. Those were great parties. I never heard a bad word about him either from any of the boys.
lou: Who would you say was your most challenging opponent? Also do you attend the Cauliflower Alley Dinners?
Jack Brisco: Dick The Bruiser in Kiel Auditorium in St Louis. He was such a brawler it was tough to get a wrestling match out of him. We were outside the ring almost the whole time. But it was always a sellout crowd.
I’ve attended one. They are either in Los Angeles or Las Vegas. My idol Lou Thesz was president. The one I went to they gave us a lifetime appreciation award. I met a lot of the old timers. It was a great pleasure to attend. I wish I could go to more of them
Scott Shelton: Do you think Paul Jones was underrated compared to other wresters of your era? Whose idea was it for you two to trade the Mid-Atlantic title so many times in the early 1980’s?
Jack Brisco: Paul was very underrated. Paul was a great wrestler. I had many title bouts with him over the Florida title and the World title. He was a great Mid-Atlantic champion. I always had great matches with Paul, and so did everyone else. All the boys enjoyed working with Paul.
Peter Traverse, Newfoundland: How did you get into the wrestling business?
Jack Brisco: I always wanted to be a pro wrestler. I wrestled amateur in high school and everyone always asked me what I wanted to do in the future, I said I wanted to be a wrestler. We got TV from Oklahoma City and I always read the wrestling magazines. Lou Thesz and Danny Hodge were my idols. I won a scholarship to Oklahoma State and I let it be known that I wanted to be a professional wrestler. Leroy McGuirk was the promoter in Oklahoma. He sent some of his men over to ask me if I wanted to be a pro wrestler. I said yes. That’s how I got started.
Moderator: We’re going to do three more questions.
John Pollock: What is your advice to younger people wanting to get into wrestling?
Jack Brisco: I advise them that it is a very, very tough life. I’d tell them the same thing I told Hulk Hogan when I broke him in. It’s a very tough life especially for a family man. Be prepared to put all your belongings in one suitcase and go on the road. You won’t know if you’ll be able to build any financial security. To do it you have to have complete dedication and work extremely hard.
Alan: Aside from Jerry, who are your other close wrestling buddies?
Jack Brisco: My buddy B. Brian Blair is one of my close friends. Buddy Colt, Karl Von Stoheim, and Chavo Guerrero all stay in touch. I love Don Muraco. Piper is a good buddy. Gene Kiniski is a good buddy and so is Lou Thesz. There are a lot of names and I don’t want to offend anyone by leaving someone out. It’s hard to stay in touch because we live in different parts of the country and the world.
Bill : Was there anything comparable to the “Montreal Screwjob” finish that happened to Bret Hart that happened in your era?
Jack Brisco: Not in the ring. They knew better!
And by the way, I thought Vince McMahon did the right thing by taking the belt off him. Bret Hart owed it Vince McMahon, the other wrestlers and the WWF to do the time honored tradition.
What does it mean, “I can’t drop the belt in Montreal because I’m from Canada?” He’s from Calgary!
That would be like me saying I couldn’t drop the belt in Florida because I’m an American!
Cain: Jack, if you could do it all over again, would you?
Jack Brisco: In a heartbeat!
Buddy Colt and I was having lunch with Mark Nulty and Brian Blair the other day. I told them, “Boys enjoy your careers. Enjoy every minute of it. There will be a time when it’s not there anymore. Buddy and I would love to be where you are right now.”
Moderator: We’d like to thank Jack Brisco for taking the time to talk to his fans today, and for his friend Mark Nulty for doing the typing. As always, we’re amazed by the quality and intelligence of the questions from our readers.
Jack Brisco: You’ve been a nice audience. Thanks for coming out today.