Gateway: What was the path that got the Mongols
Crockett Promotions from the IWA?
George Scott saw us in the IWA, and liked us a
lot. Soon after we started for Crockett, we wrestled
Ole and Gene [Anderson]. We went around the circuit
Gateway: Your stint in the Mid-Atlantic area as
Bolo Mongol was relatively short, about the first nine
months of 1976. How did your transformation into the
Masked Superstar in September of 1976 come about?
George [Scott] just came up to me one time and
told me that we’d always had a masked guy in the
area and asked if I’d be interested. I told him it
would be up to Geto, but at that point Geto really
wanted to go home. After Geto and I talked about it, I
told George that I’d try it.
Gateway: The star masked-wrestler on the heel side
about a year before you was the Super Destroyer, Don
Jardine. Did you get a sense that George Scott was
still trying to come up with a big time replacement
Yes, I did. I had never really met Don for
probably 10-15 years after that. I think that maybe he
thought that all this was a slap in his face, but I
didn’t know Don at the time. You know, George just
liked Don’s gimmick.
some reason, Don left the area…I don’t know what
the circumstances were. I suspect it was probably over
money or promises he felt weren’t kept. Don was a
top star, but he left, and he probably left them in a
was just timing…I was a guy that looked somewhat
similar to him. I’m sure George’s thoughts were,
‘We’ll make another masked guy.’ George gave me
a good chance to really do something with the Masked
Gateway: But how in the world did you pull it off?
Bolo Mongol and the Masked Superstar couldn’t have
been more different as characters.
As I was still wrestling as Bolo Mongol, Boris
Malenko took me to Park Center in Charlotte every
Monday during the day when we had off time to try to
change my approach. I would focus on more wrestling
and less stomping, and would work on interviews.
day we finished Bolo with a hair match in Greensboro
against Wahoo on a Sunday evening, and Monday night I
was in Greenville as the Masked Superstar…and nobody
Gateway: What an amazing feat. The styles of Bolo
Mongol and the Masked Superstar were absolutely
It was a lot of effort by George Scott, and a
great deal of effort by Malenko. They just completely
changed my style.
I was working as Bolo Mongol, I was a
specialist…eyes, ears, nose and throat. (everybody
laughs) And you know, I never had to talk at all as
Boris Malenko and the Masked Superstar
Richmond, VA (BILL
Gateway: You just mentioned the late Boris
Malenko. Boris was your manager while you were Bolo
Mongol in the Mid-Atlantic area, and also for a long
while when you were the Masked Superstar for Crockett.
Tell us a little bit about Boris Malenko.
He was with me for a long time…a real good guy.
He knew the wrestling business, and he knew psychology
better than just about anybody.
of the greatest pieces of advice that Boris ever gave
me, and it actually made my career, was to pay close
attention to the other individuals that were in the
territory. If they’re all yelling and screaming, you
just talk. If they’re all talking, you yell and
scream. In other words…be different.
Gateway: So, it sounds like you patterned the
Masked Superstar in a lot of ways around that piece of
Very much so. The most popular shows on television
now….Oprah, Dr. Phil, they’re all talk shows.
People listening and watching want to get to know you
as a person, so you have to connect with them in what
you say and how you say it. So, it was very hard for
someone like [
my] Snuka, because he had to do everything just on his
if you can talk, and tell them half of what they want
to hear, you’ve really won the battle. You don’t
need to be yelling and screaming at people.
Gateway: Did you feel that your interviews were
one of your biggest strengths as the Masked Superstar?
I’ve gotten a lot of the comments over the years
saying that I did good interviews. I talked just like
we’re talking here tonight. But part of talking is
also listening. I would just talk, without the yelling
and screaming, and tell the people what I thought they
wanted to hear.
everybody is like [Ric] Flair. Flair was the only one
for a long time that was yelling and screaming.
Everybody looked at Flair differently because of that,
but that was his gimmick. Now you turn on the TV, and
all [the wrestlers] are yelling and screaming.
Gateway: Except in rare instances, don’t you
think that fans just sort of get numb to all the
yelling and screaming after a while?
No question about it. You get so you don’t even
listen to it. It reminds me of a coach I had in high
school, Charley Slick…a real mean guy. This guy
played for the Pittsburgh Steelers years ago, and he
would scream, cuss, yell and bark up and down. When
you’re a freshman or a sophomore, you would pay
attention. But by the time you got to be a junior and
a senior, you knew that all he did was yell all the
Gateway: You just tuned him out.
For sure. And on the flip side of that, when I was
coaching I had an old coach, Bob McNay, you all may
have heard of him….he coached at Northwestern.
Anyway, at the time he was our head coach and I was
his offensive coordinator. Bob never cussed and he
never yelled. But when he raised his voice, that place
just stopped and stood still. I tried to carry that
mindset over into wrestling….it was really the same
thing Bob had taught me years before.
MALENKO AND ANDRE THE GIANT
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