The reunion special for Legends' House aired Thursday, but before that, WWE Hall of Famer "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan sat down for an interview with Philly.com. Heres the full transcript:
Q: How did you feel about the reunion special of Legends’ House and seeing the cast again?
“It was exciting to get everybody back together and it was actually good to see everybody … even Tony Atlas for a couple of minutes.”
Q: Let’s start from the beginning of this process. What were your thoughts when you were approached about being on a reality show like Legends’ House?
“I was excited to be part of it. Everybody from my generation, the scuttlebutt was that they were going to do it and everybody wanted to be part of it from Sgt. Slaughter, Ted DiBiase, Jack “The Snake” [Roberts], so when I got the call and found out that I was one of the eight chosen I was really excited, except when I got there and they said, ‘Well, you have to have a roommate.’ Well, jeez I haven’t had a roommate since college. Who am I going to room with? They say, ‘Well, you’re rooming with [Roddy] Piper.’ I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh!’”
“It actually worked out well because we didn’t really know each other. We said hello to each other, but we didn’t know each other prior to that. Over the period of time of Legends’ House, we became best friends and now our families are friends and even our daughters are good buddies. We really hit it off.”
Q: You mentioned that the guys in the house didn’t really know each other, which is kind of strange because back in the 1980s you guys were around each other more than you were around your own families. Was it just that specific group of guys or was that the business in general. You just didn’t get to know each other personally.
“That’s kind of one of the misconceptions of wrestling. A lot of folks think that, ‘Well, you guys are all good friends, aren’t you?’ I said, ‘Yeah, we all compete for the same money. We’re real good buddies.’ It’s a business, you know. You would show up at the show and do your time at the matches and everybody would go their own way, so it’s not like everybody was stuck together. We traveled together sometimes, but it’s different when you’re living with somebody. When we got there they took our cell phones, there was no TV in the house, no computers so they really kind of forced us to interact.”
Q: You lived in a day and age when that technology didn’t exist, so was it like going back in time a little bit or have you become dependent on technology?
“That’s the one thing about the WWE Universe. They’re on the cutting edge of all of this technology stuff, so they got the Twitter and Facebook going real early, but you know what was hard for me was being away my family. I have two young daughters and being away from them was the only real hard part.”
Q: How much of an adjustment was it being in a house with the other legends and being away from your family?
“It was definitely an adjustment, especially at this stage of your life. You’ve been married 25 years and all of a sudden just being in a house with a bunch of other guys. I think no matter what, if you take eight A-type personalities and put them in a house together there’s going to be some kind of fireworks. There certainly was at Legends’ House.”
Q: How did you handle all of the emotions and personalities in the house?
“With me and Piper, we handled it well. With Tony and I, we didn’t handle it quite so well. Piper and I became best friends and Atlas and I came close to having a fist fight a couple of times. It ran the whole gamut of emotions while we were there.”
Q: This is a two-part question: Why did you and Roddy Piper click so well and why did you and Tony Atlas butt heads so much?
“With Piper and I, even though we didn’t really know each other, once we got there and got to talk we noticed we had a lot in common. In our profession there is a high divorce rate, a high drug and alcoholism rate, a high death rate and Piper and I sat and talked and we both realized that it’s about family. He loves his family, he’s been with his wife for a while, we had an awful lot more in common than we had thought.”
“With Tony Atlas and I, I’ve known Tony for 25, 30 years and we butted heads that whole length of time, but we’ve always been in a dressing room, locker room type of situation where you’re not together all the time. I just got tired of his B.S. Tony had trouble with everybody in the house. I can understand having trouble with me Piper and I. We’re kind of hard to deal with anyway, but to have trouble with Hillbilly Jim? Hillbilly is almost like a Buddhist monk, he’s so easy-going and you got to work at it to have trouble with Billy.”
Q: Talk about those last couple of days in the house and all of the emotions that surrounded them?
“I think everybody realized that it was coming to an end. We knew we were getting close to going home and it was kind of a bittersweet deal. We started to really click, we started to really enjoy ourselves, but we were all ready to go home and see our friends and families, too, so emotions were just building and building. I don’t think anybody expected that last episode to be nearly as emotional as it was. I think at that dinner Jimmy Hart was the one that got the ball rolling expressing his story about his daughter and of course I told my little story, which was very traumatic for me. Then Pat Patterson came out of the closet, which was kind of a well-known secret in the wrestling world. For him to do it on camera was a moving experience for Pat and something I think he’s glad that he did.”
Q: How important was it for Pat Patterson to reveal to the world that he is gay?
“I think wanted Pat to do it. Him and Gene Okerlund are really close and I think Gene wanted him to do it. Pat really struggled with it. There was one episode where he almost says something at the house, but it doesn’t actually come out. We were all kind of hoping that he would and then when he finally broke down and did it, I think everybody was legitimately happy for Pat. I didn’t know Pat. He was always an office guy. He’s management and I’m labor, so I didn’t really understand him as a person until I stayed with him at Legends’ House, but I think we were all happy for him that he was able to come out and do that. I think he feels real good about himself for doing it.”
Q: Pat specifically talked about how you guys are not just the characters you play on television, but that you are normal people. Why did you think that meant so much to him that he wanted to come across as himself on camera?
“We really didn’t have a choice because the cameras were with us all of the time. They must have thousands of hours of video. They had five camera crews, they had hidden cameras, still cameras. They even had a confessional where you go sit and talk and get stuff our chest. Over that length of time I don’t think there’s no way you can carry any kind of false persona. People saw exactly what I’m like with my kids and my and my wife because I’m a pretty silly guy. I got those big rabbit ears and was jumping around in the LARPING episode and my daughters just shake their heads.”
Q: Do you think it’s hard for wrestlers that they can’t figure out how to be themselves? That they’re always kind of caught up in that wrestling persona?
“I think some guys really do lose themselves in the persona. Hacksaw is an extension of my personality, which I think most good characters in our profession are — just an extension of who you are anyway, but you’re not that all the time. My good friend Randy Savage or even The Ultimate Warrior, they kind of lost completely. Jim Hellwig was gone. He became the Warrior. Randy Poffo was gone. He was the Macho Man. You say, ‘Hey, Macho. You want to get something to eat.’ And he’ll say, [Imitating Macho Man] ‘Yeah I’ll have a burger.’ It’s easy to do when you play that part a lot, but you have to come back to reality. If I’m Hacksaw all the time I’d be spending more time in jail then I would at home.”
Q: What was your biggest takeaway from Legends’ House?
“Without question it was the relationship between Piper and I. I just talked to him yesterday. He lives out on the west coast. I live on the east coast, but anytime we’re close to each other we make an effort to get together. He’s one of the best friends of my life.”