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Interview Highlights: Johnny Valiant talks about Bruno, Heenan, Andre

Sep 2, 2003 - 2:07:00 PM
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Show: The Interactive Interview (theinteractiveinterview.com)
Guest: Johnny Valiant
Date: 2nd September 2003
Your Hosts: Daniel Edler & James Walsh
Recap by: James Walsh

The Interactive Interview is back with another Hall of Fame superstar. This time, it's Johnny Valiant!

Johnny goes 35 minutes with James and Dan talking about his career and life in vivid detail. You may want to listen to this one twice to give it a fair shake because there is a lot of information to be heard, you just have to be listening to get it.


WWF Hall Of Famer Johnny Valiant

-- Johnny grew up in Pittsburgh. He watched wrestling with his father as a kid and as a young talent. Guys like Bruno Sammartino and Johnny Valentine caught his interest.

-- Al Costello took no time proving that he is a great wrestler. He rubbed Johnnys nose in the mat several times to see if he could take it. Costello trained Johnny to wrestle.

-- Prior to wrestling as Johnny Valiant, Johnny wrestled as John Sullivan in several territories including Detroit.

-- Bobby Heenan put Jimmy and Johnny together. On the WGN TV show in Chicago, he was announced as "Luscious" Johnny Valiant, "Handsome" Jimmy's brother.

-- Johnny and Jimmy won the WWWF tag titles from Tony Garea and Dean Ho. Those guys were over, in Johnny's opinion. They were great wrestlers and Johnny says he and Jimmy were not. So, people were surprised they got the tag titles because of that fact.

-- He hasn't seen Dean Ho in years, he sees Tony Garea every now and again at Madison Square Garden when he goes by to say hello.

-- He saw Andre the Giant and Verne Gagne in the Garden. So, going to the AWA was something they had aspirations to go. He said you run a territory for a while and then go somewhere else so you don't stay too long like some do today. He said going to the AWA was that you worked 20 days instead of 30 and you still made great money.

-- The AWA was not a part of the WWA as far as he knows. He said they did interchange talent but they weren't the same company. Everything was distinct.

-- One of the differences between the AWA and the WWWF was that the WWWF liked big guys as heels where as the AWA had smaller guys as heels.

-- Johnny is currently living in Manhattan, New York.

-- Working with Tito Santana and Ivan Putski was always fun. He does not feel Tito took the business all that seriously outside the ring but was all business in the ring.

-- He still watches tapes of matches with himself against Ivan Putski in singles matches and he feels they were great matches because he was the total opposite of Putski.

-- He doesn't know how many of the guys from back in the 70's would fit in today but he says Tito would.

-- Managers are a big assist to a character. No matter if it is a girl or a guy, they make it easier in the ring and to get heat. He said they should be involved. He talks about his managers like Captain Lou Albano and Bobby Heenan. He said the Grand Wizard was another great one. He says managers, back then, were given to guys that just couldn't talk in terms of cutting wrestling promos.

-- He doesn't know why male managers are a rarity these days. He says it could just be that they're not needed or that people would rather have girls.

-- Jerry Valiant replaced Jimmy when Jimmy came down with Hepatitis. Of all the Valiant brothers, Jerry was the best.

-- The heat with Bobby Heenan in real life behind the scenes stems from Heenan really believing that he and Jimmy were despicable sorts of people because they kayfabe'd people all the time. He says Heenan gave him his break so he will not mock him but he doesn't really know why Heenan's talked bad about him of late.

-- He feels that they were basically fazing them out when Albano fired the Valiants on the air.

-- He managed Hulk Hogan in the AWA for six months before they realized that people wanted to like Hogan. So, Valiant was sent home and Hogan went on to be a face. He said that was his demise in the AWA.

-- Hogan and Vince brought him back to manage in the mid 80's.

-- He remembers having Ozzy Osborne in the opposing corner when he managed Beefcake and Valentine against the Bulldogs.

-- He feels that being dropped by the WWF in 1987 was a surprise but it ended up being a plus though it wasn't originally. Not having the money that WWF TV got for him was a set back but a few years later he became a comedian and that leads to why he did this interview to begin with.

-- Johnny Valiant is doing a One Man Show; the first time a wrestler has ever taken on himself. He will talk about his entire life in more detail than he did even on this interview and why everything fell into place. It's an off Broadway show. For more information, go to wrestlingthenandnow.com or Johnnyvaliant.net.

-- In terms of favorites between the McMahons in terms of bosses, he has none. He went to military school with Vince Jr. He had his best run under Vince Sr. So, he has no favorite. He likes them both. He's amazed at how good of a wrestler Vince Jr. has proven himself to be, though.

-- He feels Bruno might be bitter about the business but he isn't bitter himself. He is very grateful for all he was given and he actually enjoys the current product although he does argue with some of the moral issues of the show. He likes guys like Benoit and Guerrero a lot though. He wonders how they don't break their necks.

-- Jessie Ventura always had to take a back seat to Adrian Adonis. Jessie could talk okay, but Adrian could talk and wrestle.

-- Word associations get great responses including names like Brutus Beefcake, Hulk Hogan, Jimmy Valiant, and so many others!

-- PLUS, over an hour of James and the returning Rick Clarke (aka MrRickbear, aka www.pwbook.coms Pro Wrestling Encyclopedia).

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