Ladies and Gentlemen I’m sitting here with Michael Carlson, but many of you know him as Carlson Mann from his time at Federation of United Wrestlers.
Michael, how are you doing this evening?
What got you watching pro wrestling?
I got into wrestling because the neighborhood kids like putting on their own matches. This was like 87′-88′.
At that point, did you start watching wrestling on television?
My friend Stephan who also wrestled with us literally could not get enough of wrestling. When we were at his house we wouldn’t just watch WWF but everything. I love the Pomp and Circumstance of WWF, they were cartoon characters. They looked like super heroes and movie stars. AWA, WCW looked like guys on my dads softball team. We had USA at my house and I loved coming home from church and watching the recap show. Gorilla Monsoon, Jesse Ventura, Mean Gene.
The matches from 87′-88′ were you and the neighborhood kids taking bumps or just going through the motions, keeping if safe?
The other kids were intense outside, fearless. I liked inside with the pillows. There were camel clutch, figure four, sharp shooter kids. Most of that did not interest me and I think that continues today. I need the story, why do I love this guy? Why do I hate this guy?
Top three things for me in FUW.
3. Keep yourself safe
2. Keep your opponent safe
1. Don’t be boring
Your job is to make people love or hate you period.
I’ll get to FUW a bit down the line…
Even if it is at a sale barn where they auction cows off. Entertain Basically to me I didn’t want to do a show initially. I’m cool with just messing around on some flip and fucks. I did not want to show anyone our attic wrestling. We also at the same time played Wrestling games on OG PlayStation and N64. The tournament champion would get a belt. One thing led to another and wrestling happens. I also loved a-holes, just loved hating them. Bobby Heenan, Roddy Piper, Rick Rude, Million Dollar Man.
The initial build of Hogan V Sheik, bromance with Hulk and Mr T. Andre being a bad guy; but I knew deep down inside that he was a good guy.
I also loved the stuff with the Russians because obviously they are coming to take over the red white and blue ala Red Dawn.
The neighborhood and attic wrestling, did you have your own characters or gimmicks?
Yes, but nothing planned. Other people in our fed came into it with entire characters ready to go. I had to find my way with help from others. I never stood in front of a mirror and did a promo until 1999. Most of the others had been waiting for this since Wrastlemania I.
Storylines and WWF characters aside. How about the NWA, Crockett, AWA etc. Did you watch any of those promotions?
Like I said earlier, My friend Stephan made me watch everything. Loved the Steiners, Luger, Sting, Dusty. Loved to hate Rick Flair.
What made you love Dusty Rhodes?
His belly stain, For all intensive purposes he was not an athlete. Did not matter his physique he willed himself over, crazy amount of confidence for the son of a plumber. It felt like a ride, a show with Dusty. He wanted you to have fun along with him. Flair, you just knew he probably was a dick of a character.
Did you enjoy the Rhodes-Flair matches?
Flair broke Rhodes ankle that gave me drama. Jesus, how many times did they wrestle?
That was around Starrcade (1985) where Rhodes defeated Flair for the Championship.
I was in and out of AWA, NWA, emotionally, their mid card guys were pretty boring to me.
CoCo Beware, JYD, Brutus Beefcake… Loved those guys.
Everyone has their one favorite wrestler growing up. Mine is Bret Hart, who was yours?
Hogan, don’t care how you feel. He may be a racist sushi eater, but I love the character.
I got no problems with Hogan. I wore my Hulkamania banana for Dan Cortese Day 2017.
To Be Continued…