In 1989, WWF Coliseum Home Video released Hacksaw Jim Duggan, chronicling some of his greatest matches against some of his toughest opponents. In the introduction, Duggan addresses his fans: “When someone gets inside that ring, I’m just askin’ one thing from all you folks out there. From deep down in your soul, from deep down in your hearts — HOOOOOOOOOOO!
“And then look at the dressing door. I’ll kick it open and come stompin’ down to the ring with just one thing in mind — and that’s not to wrestle, shoot take-down, or go behinds — it’s to beat people up. And that’s what I do best — tough guy! HOOOOOOOOOOOO!”
Twenty years later, those words echo loud and clear as the cry still goes up from wrestling fans whenever this great American hero storms into the ring. Armed with strength, patriotism, and the most lethal piece of lumber ever carried, Hacksaw is still engaging in hand-to-hand combat occasionally not only on WWE TV, but on various independent shows around the world.
Duggan is headed to Ontario for three shows this coming weekend: Friday, October 2nd in Cornwall at Murphy’s Inn; Saturday, October 3rd in Renfrew at Air Force Association Branch #433; and Sunday, October 4th in Ottawa at Tailgators for a 2 p.m. matinee. He graciously took time out of his busy schedule this past week to answer questions sent in by SLAM! Wrestling readers.
Q: How does your WWE deal work today? [Lonnie Chambers, Arnprior, Ontario]
A: I’m still under contract with the WWE and still make appearances occasionally on Monday Night Raw.
Q: If WWE would release a DVD about you, what matches would you want on there? [Ryan Schmauch / Jeremy Doughman]
A: Andre the Giant — the pinnacle of my career was me and Andre at Madison Square Garden. It was the main event and there was nothing like it.
Q: What was your relationship with Andre the Giant? [Jason Harris, London, Ontario]
A: I got along pretty well with the Giant. He was actually a pretty lonely guy, I thought. Everywhere he went — even Hulk Hogan could get away from it all — but Andre, everywhere he went he was still (recognized as) Andre, and of course, he was bigger than life.
Q: If a DVD were made about you, are there any matches that were never released before that you would like people to see, like your lumberjack match against Yokozuna? [Ryan Schmauch]
A: I think there’s a lot of great stuff out there that hopefully one day the WWE will do a video with. But yeah, those matches with Yokozuna I remember well, and of course him with Mr. Fuji. I was the only guy to knock Yoko off his feet, so yeah, there’s a lot of good stuff out there. Hopefully one day.
Q: Were you really injured by Yokozuna? I remember the big Yoko giving you a Banzai Drop and as a result, you spat out blood. [Krishincha, France]
A: He did hurt me during that match. Yoko cracked my ribs when he came down a little hard on me.
Q: Were you ever asked, or did you ever consider, wrestling in the original ECW? You would have been over like crazy in the ol’ Bingo Hall, I’ll bet — heel or face. [Dave Phlegmball]
A: No, I hadn’t. But you never know when you might get the call to go up there (referring to the current WWE ECW). I’m still training pretty hard and of course the Royal Rumble is comin’ up again and I’m looking forward to maybe having another appearance like I did in last year’s Royal Rumble.
Q: After spending years on the independent scene after WCW, did you think you would ever make it back to WWE, especially as an active wrestler? Was that even a goal of yours at that time? Thank you sir! [Ed O’Brien, Markham, Ontario]
A: Well, you never really can plan on it. I mean, the WWE is more competitive than the NFL, the NHL, major league baseball — there’s only 110 or so guys/gals on contracts with the WWE, so of course, it was a dream come true. I worked very hard and thank goodness my rapport with the fans was still there. It was an unbelievable opportunity to come back and wrestle for the WWE at this stage of my career.
Q: I live in San Antonio, Texas and the WWE did a draft here last year that brought all of the wrestlers to the city. At the time, I worked at a rental car company that served a lot of the superstars including Mr. Duggan. At the time, he was traveling with Super Crazy. I’m curious if they are friends, and by the way, Hacksaw is one of the nicest people I’ve met. [Ace Glynn]
A: Yeah, I sure am friends with Super Crazy. That’s one of the things about professional wrestling, is you might see a guy everyday for months and then not see him again. I haven’t seen Crazy since his release from the WWE, but yeah, we traveled together every day there for a while — we were real good friends.
Q: There’s a visible tension in the media currently between Bret Hart and Ric Flair. Would Hacksaw have any comments? [Duane Wolanuk, Edmonton, Alberta]
A: I don’t really know what’s going on between them, but either way, both those guys are in the business and they both realize this bit of friction has got everybody talkin’ about them — so it’s a good thing for both of them, I figure.
Q: Do you currently follow Canadian football? (Duggan briefly played for the Toronto Argonauts in the CFL.) [Kae]
A: Not too much, but I don’t follow the NFL neither (Duggan says with a laugh). I watch a little college football because I like the upsets and the kids play with emotion. Professional football — I’m not a big fan of.
Q: Have you worked any independent promotions recently that stand out in terms of quality or professionalism? [Terry Davis]
A: None in particular, but there are quite a few that run pretty well. But there are a lot of independent promoters who get a bad rap because a lot of the backyard stuff consider themselves independent promoters. Having said that, there’s a guy named Michael O’Brien in New England, and there’s guys in West Virginia currently who are very reputable independent promoters out there.
Q: Do you try to mentor as many of the younger wrestlers as possible? [Ace Glynn]
A: Oh yeah, of course. The kids today are bred to be very respectful of the business, just as I was. That’s one thing that has really carried over. I walk into an arena and everyone will pile over and introduce themselves — it’s a great feeling. I always keep my eye out for good talent too. I’m still with the WWE, and Steve Keirn — head of Florida Championship Wrestling, the school — is a very good friend of mine and we’re always keeping an eye out there for talent. And that’s the thing about these independent wrestling shows — like the ones coming up there in Ontario, Canada this weekend — some of these kids will be the stars of tomorrow. You just got to see them — they’re diamonds in rough.