Chappell: And you were
still with Bigelow when you came
back into Crockett later in 1988,
right around the time Crockett was
selling out to Turner.
Humperdink: Yes, I came
back in during that time. And I
remember those ‘Clash of
Champions’ shows a little later. I
remember doing a Clash of
Champions in the old Mid-Atlantic
area with Tommy Rich…I believe
that one was in Charleston, South
Chappell: Yes, that one was
called ‘Coastal Crush’ or
something like that. I think that
one was in 1990.
And I remember you did Starrcade
at the end of 1988 with Bigelow in
Norfolk, at the Scope.
Humperdink: Against Barry
Chappell: Bigelow was in
the typical mold of most of your
House of Humperdink members, big
and imposing…a monster!
Humperdink: (laughing) He
Chappell: You actually
continued on after the sale from
Crockett to Turner, and even into
the early WCW days. Describe that
time frame for us.
I remember you as ‘Big Daddy
Humperdink: (laughs) Big
Daddy Dink! Yeah, David, I wasn’t
comfortable with that at all.
Chappell: The days of Jim
Herd and that bunch.
Humperdink: Jim Herd, the
Chappell: (laughs) I felt
just a slight tinge of sarcasm in
that last comment, Sir Oliver!
Humperdink: He knew
absolutely nothing about the
business. He was an executive at
Pizza Hut or something, before he
got his position in wrestling. You
could see the writing on the wall.
Chappell: Wasn’t Diamond
Dallas Page involved then…just
Humperdink: Yes, DDP was
managing the [Freebirds]. And they
brought me in as the road boss,
where I would go on the road with
Chappell: Did that pretty
much finish you up actively in the
business? By then, the old
territories had almost completely
Humperdink: Yeah, I retired
in ’92. It was right after that
stint with the Freebirds.
I saw some big, big changes in the
business from when I started!
Chappell: Boy, I’m sure!
Even though there weren’t many
other options available in ‘92,
were you pretty much done with
things regardless, at that point?
Humperdink: Yeah…it wasn’t
fun anymore then.
Chappell: I can understand.
Humperdink: But it was a
great business, and I had a great
time. But I wasn’t going to fit in
the way it was heading in the
I can’t have some intern, 23 years
old, telling me what I had to do.
By that time, I had been in it
nearly 30 years.
I had always told myself, when
it’s not fun for me anymore…it was
time to leave.
Chappell: That’s a great
philosophy, and you were able to
stay true to it.
Humperdink: The people at
WCW made it an easy decision.
People that knew nothing about
wrestling, trying to tell me how I
should be doing everything.
Chappell: That sounds like
a nightmare, and I’m sure in a lot
of ways it was.
Well, winding it down Sir Oliver,
how would you characterize the
manager’s role and place in
Humperdink: The manager’s
role was to highlight the talent,
and to add another dimension to
the talent. But never shinning the
light on yourself. Shinning the
light on the talent. That’s the
best way I can sum it up, I think.
Chappell: And for you, I
take it that a successful match
for you would be when those things
Humperdink: Very much so.
When you could walk out of the
arena, and get your guy over.
Maybe some guy who has never been
there before…just walking out with
you. Getting the guy to the next
That’s what my job was.
Chappell: When you look
back at yourself and your own
performances over the years, what
do you see as your greatest
strengths and attributes?
Humperdink: I thought I
could talk pretty well…
Chappell: I would say so!
Humperdink: I was never at
a loss for something to say!
Humperdink: I think I lent
credibility to the whole thing, in
that people knew that I couldn’t
do it myself…but I could instruct
other guys to do it, you know?
Humperdink: (pauses) It was
almost kind of like the wizard
behind the curtain, driving the
Chappell: You certainly
never outshined the talent, but
just by having a ‘House of
Humperdink,’ that tended to put
more focus on the talent that
happened to be part of that elite
Humperdink: Of course, I
had to have a certain amount of
heat on me…in order to make it all
Chappell: And you
definitely did that!
Humperdink: But I never
wanted to outshine what the guys
Chappell: And you certainly
never did, though I imagine that
was a tightrope walk at times.
Humperdink: It was…it was.
There were some guys that I had
been with that I did outshine, but
it wasn’t because I wanted to. It
was because they couldn’t carry
their end of it.
So, I’d have to turn it up a notch
or two trying in the process to
get THEM over…and it would just
get me over more. That’s not what
I was really wanting to do…
Chappell: I know…
Humperdink: But, you know,
if you find a guy that’s not
carrying the load, can’t do the
job, you kinda have to step it up
Chappell: Taking profession
wrestling to the present, how
would you assess the state of
professional wrestling today?
Humperdink: (pauses) Not in
a good state at all, and I don’t
think there’s anything that’s
going to revive it at this point.
Chappell: And with Vince
McMahon’s big national outfit,
wrestling managers have basically
gone the way of the dinosaur.
Humperdink: Before it gets
to that again, it’s going to have
to go through a territorial
Chappell: You think so?
Humperdink: From what I’ve
seen of the Indy’s, I’m not saying
they’re all bad…let me put it this
way---it’s not the guys’ fault,
because they don’t have anybody to
Chappell: That’s certainly
a big issue with today’s product.
Humperdink: Even the guys
that are working up in the big
leagues…they have nobody to learn
from---other than Flair.
Chappell: That’s true.
Humperdink: And that’s how
you learn your trade…is by
listening to the old dogs bark.
Chappell: And it’s not
Humperdink: And it’s a real
tragedy. And when all those old
dogs die, that part of the
business will be gone forever.
Chappell: Let me hit you
with a happier topic…
Humperdink: Anything is
happier that that!
Chappell: True! Tell us
about your being honored by the
Cauliflower Alley Club at the 2005
Reunion that runs April 14-16 in
Humperdink: (pauses) Boy,
congratulations, Sir Oliver. It’s
well deserved. What does being
honored by the Club mean to you?
Humperdink: David, it means
a tremendous amount. I’m truly
honored. Just to be a member of
the Club is a big deal.
And now, to go out there this year
and have them honor me as part of
it…it’s just a culmination of a
pretty good career.
Chappell: You have had a
Hall of Fame career, and I think
for those that follow professional
wrestling in its purest form, the
Cauliflower Alley Club is the true
Hall of Fame for professional
Humperdink: You know,
David, I don’t really want to make
it sound like that, because it’s
not really a Hall of Fame. You
know, this is more important than
a Hall of Fame, because with Hall
of Fame type things all kinds of
people vote you in. Being honored
by Cauliflower Alley…it’s your
peers that honor you. And to me,
that means more.
Chappell: That’s an
important distinction, and thank
you for clarifying that Sir
Oliver. ‘Hall of Fame’ was not the
correct term, though I think ‘Hall
of Fame’ denotes something very
significant and important…which
the Cauliflower Alley Club is!
Humperdink: Oh, I know what
you meant David…no harm and no
Chappell: A better analogy
would have been ‘All-Pro,’ where
the NFL players bestow that honor
on their fellow players…
Chappell: But the All-Pro
honor in the NFL is just for one
season. You’re getting yours for
your whole career!
Humperdink: I’m touched and
flattered and humbled by the whole
thing. They’re a lot out there
that sure deserve it more than me,
and haven’t made it yet.
Chappell: I know you mean
that when you say it…but you
really are too modest!
Humperdink: I just respect
everybody that’s gone before me.
It’s an honor to be mentioned in
the same breath with those the
Club has already honored.
Chappell: And this year’s
Cauliflower Alley Club ‘class’ is
quite a lineup! In addition to
yourself, this year’s honorees are
Jack Brisco, Terry Funk, Ernie
Ladd, Les Thatcher, Kenny Jay and
the husband and wife team of Paul
Christy and Bunny Love.
Also, this year is the Club’s 40th
reunion, so it should be extra
special. The 2005 event is going
back to the famous Riviera Hotel
in Las Vegas, and while seating is
limited, the event is open to
anyone who is a CAC member.
Humperdink: I really
believe in the Club, and I’d love
for any wrestling fans out there
to become part of Cauliflower
Alley…and as part of that to be
involved in our reunions. They are
Chappell: Cauliflower Alley
is certainly fan friendly, and I
don’t think there’s anyone more
friendly to the fans than you are,
Sir Oliver! At the Mid-Atlantic
Fanfests, you have been more
accessible and genuinely cordial
to us fans than just about any
Humperdink: I’m so
flattered that people even
remember me. I mean, sometimes the
people come up to me and say,
‘Boy, you were in my town one
night, and you did this and that!’
And David, honestly, a lot of what
they tell me I can’t even
BOURNE, SIR OLIVER HUMPERDINK, AND
THE MID-ATLANTIC LEGENDS FANFEST
IN CHARLOTTE, NOV. 2004
Chappell: (laughs) And you
just nod your head and smile a
But regardless of whether you
remember something or not, you are
always cordial to the fans…and
that means a lot.
Humperdink: I think getting
together with the fans is amazing.
I find it tremendously flattering
the things they tell me.
I’m not saying it’s a great impact
I made on people, but it was
enough of an impact that they
remember me so many years later.
And that’s very special to me.
Chappell: Sir Oliver, you
have been great and more than
generous with your time tonight.
Is there anything else you’d like
to get into that I failed to bring
Humperdink: Oh, I don’t
really think so David. You do such
a great job with these interviews.
I’m not one to give you
Chappell: Those words mean
a lot. The Gateway is fortunate
that so many great people in the
business, such as yourself, allow
us the privilege of chatting like
It’s been an honor and a real
thrill to have you in the
Mid-Atlantic Gateway. Please don’t
make it your last visit!
Humperdink: I’m just very
impressed by your site, and I want
to thank all the fans for
remembering me. It means a lot to
me to think that something I did
well over 20 years ago people
still remember, and look back on
fondly. It’s a tremendous feeling
Chappell: Once again,
thanks for everything Sir Oliver.
Come back into the Gateway
anytime! Take care of yourself.
Humperdink: I appreciate it
very, very much. Take care, and
RETURN TO THE MID-ATLANTIC GATEWAY