Tag Archives: Shoot Interview

Shoot Interview With Carlson Mann, Part One

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.


#DCD17

Correct!

To Be Continued…

Shoot Interview With Disco Stu, Part Two

I read that FUW got shut down by the state of Illinois, why did the state come after FUW?

At the time the State of Illinois was treating pro wrestling as a sanctioned athletic event. They wanted FUW to purchase a promoters license at a rough cost of $10,000 and have our referees go through training at another cost of around $1,000. The State went around to the venues we were playing and told them if they booked us they could be fined as well. We kept doing shows and just stopped promoting them on our website. That worked for a couple of shows until we got a cease and desist letter from the state. Around that time we were tipped off that Vince McMahon was actually fighting the state of Illinois because he had to pay money to the state every time he ran shows in Illinois. Illinois was going to drop the fees the first of the next year which was three months away so we stopped doing shows until the time had elapsed. Dre (co owner) and I had a couple of meetings with the state. We didn’t really talk about it with the rest of the federation but there was a time that I was more than a little concerned about our future and the consequences we may have faced.

I recently watched the documentary Disco Stu: I Will Survive, where a story line mirrored the situation with your legal troubles with the state. Looking back do you think it was a good idea? Also, that was a innovative story line playing off a real life situation. You were ahead of your time as a booker.

The idea for the story line seemed so natural and as you saw from the videos you watched was hugely over with the crowd. I loved that angle and was so happy to be a part of it and help create it. I have no regrets at all about doing it. It’s one of my favorite angles we ever ran and I think it really help step up our product.

FUW being an outlaw promotion do you think you had enemies and maybe one of them was a whistleblower to get your promotion shut down?

Good question. We had fairly concrete information that a fully licensed fed in Chicago turned us in. We were a bunch of “untrained armatures” which we basically were but due to our business model of wrestling at colleges or college bars and having our stories appealing to that audience we were attracting a few hundred a show at that time while they were lucky to get a 100 in a community center. We did things like having live commentary throughout the show that injected a lot of comedy. Basically we didn’t take ourselves seriously and that’s what made our product enjoyable to the college crowd. This fed was pissed off by that and turned us in.

At anytime did you run shows out of state?

No we ran most of our shows in Bloomington/Normal, IL. We did run a couple of shows in both Peoria, IL & Charleston IL.

Did you bring in any “big names” to pop the town you were in?

No, that wasn’t our model. We went after the colleges crowds who were more interested in our story lines and characters than our athletic ability. This was also a different time in “Indy Wrestling”. Now I can hop on Twitter and message a wrestler from my childhood and offer him money to come do a meet in greet as way to market my show. Back in 99 it wasn’t that easy. The accessibility just wasn’t there. We did have a good relationship with LWF in Chicago. They were like older brothers to us and if we ran into any issues they would give us advice and at times a few of them would come down and watch our shows.

In today’s indie circuit a majority of wrestlers have to work a day job while wrestling at night, was that the case for you or was FUW making a decent income to keep you away from a nine to five?

So I mentioned our business model earlier but in retrospect to this question I will revise the term business model. FUW didn’t exist for profit. Truth be told FUW lost way more money than it ever saw. We never ran it as a business for of like the opportunity more like building out a dream. We would use the money made to update our equipment. Once we stared making decent pay days we as a group rented a warehouse where our ring was set up and allowed people to train, sleep and hang out.

As a person who wrestled, managed, and book a territory which job was your favorite?

I loved booking and getting in the ring but I’m not a wrestler. I had my moments and as much as I wished I was a wrestler the facts are I was not a great worker. I got the character over which allowed the crowd to give me leeway in the ring. Working as a manager was great because I was able to get that high of being in front of the live crowd without the pressure of trying to be a better worker and allowed me to use my character to help get another guy over.

After FUW folded was there any ambition to join another any indie company or try your hands with the big two WWF(E) or WCW?

I mean I had dreams of being a manager and character but realistically I was never a wrestler.

If Disco Stu was still in the wrestling business today, other than WWE or TNA what company would Stu go after to get booked?

I could see myself as a manager in an Indy or even ROH. If I had an opportunity to get my character over I think I could do well in a managerial role.

Back in 2008 there was a 10 year reunion for FUW, any chance for a One Night Only show in the future?

I don’t think so. We no longer have a ring or any of our stage and lighting rigs. As what happens in time a lot of us have lost touch with each other for various reasons. I think it’s best to leave that time in the past.

What does the future hold for Disco Stu?

Well as you know my alter ego Lawrence is the host of a weekly 80’s podcast but as far as Disco Stu goes I think there is one last project out there for me to put that final bow on FUW. I think the story of what we did would be interesting to lots of people out there. I have worked on a couple of ideas recently so don’t be surprised in the next year or two if you see one last FUW project out there and as I already mentioned it won’t be a show.

I know that wrestling documentaries and tell all books are huge with fans, can we expect one of those in the near future? And tell me more about this podcast, if you will.

The thing about FUW is we recorded everything, and I mean everything. There is a lot of footage out there that I think something could be done with and I may have starting working on something but I am in no rush to finish something. If it comes together I would be very happy but mostly I’m just enjoying going back and reliving some of what we did. When I look at what this group of untrained misfits did from an outsiders perspective I am still a little amazed at what we accomplished. When you live through it you often don’t look at it from a high level perspective. Going through footage and answering these questions has really made me appreciate what each member of FUW accomplished during that time. I haven’t talked to some of the guys and girls for many years but if anyone of them called me ‪tomorrow‬ I would take that call and love reliving the old times and catching up on life.My podcast is called the Awesome 80’s podcast. We review, relive and explore 80’s movies, television and pop culture. My partner Carlson (longest reigning FUW champion) and I do this weekly and can be found on iTunes, YouTube and TheAwesome80s.com‬. Over the past 7 years we have had the opportunity to interview some of our favorite 80’s celebrities and meet our incredible fans. We do occasionally discuss wresting and team up with other podcasts like the Old School Wrestling Podcast and the Drunken Zombie Podcasting Network.

Lastly, I have a few names I want to throw at you. Whatever comes to mind…

Hulk Hogan?
Creative control.
Tully Blanchard?
Cocaine = Jesus.
Nancy Benoit?
Woman.
Harlem Heat?
Wendy’s.
Carlson Mann?
Punk bitch.
Mad Dawg?
16 year old girls.
Bondage?
Awesome.

Before you go is there anything you want to say to your fans?

I will always appreciate our fan base that for 5 years showed up monthly to watch us perform, follow our silly storylines and allowed a bunch of skinny and fat kids to live out there dreams.

For more information on Federation of United Wrestlers visit FUWwrestling.com

Shoot Interview With Disco Stu, Part One

Ladies and Gentlemen I’m sitting here with Lawrence Tucker, but many of you know him as Disco Stu. How are you doing this morning?

Dean Martin once said I feel sorry for people who don’t drink because when they wake up that’s the best they are going to feel all day. Pretend I’m Dean Martin right now.

I wouldn’t say I’m feeling like Dean after a Vegas show, but I’m doing fine. And thanks for taking time for this interview.

Tell me at what age did you discover professional wrestling and what drew you to it?

I started watching WWF on Sunday mornings about the age of 7 (1986). I loved the characters, the characters always brought me in more than the work rate as a kid, like I’m sure many kids felt. I wasn’t even that big of a Hogan guy, loved steamboat and Jake.

Growing up did it ever cross your mind to become a pro wrestler?

Absolutely not. I was the kid who was skinnier than Screech. I could go to McDonald’s and eat 3 double cheeseburgers and lose 5 pounds in the process.

As for the character Disco Stu how did that gimmick come about? And if I may ask, is Stu related to Disco Inferno?

I was always a huge Simpson’s fan. My license plate has been DSCOSTU since I was 16 so when it came time to pick a gimmick for me it was obvious.

In the mid to late nineties WWF(E) and WCW were feuding in the ‪Monday Night‬ Wars, around that same time an indie promotion called FUW was making waves in locale territories. How did you become part of that promotion?

When I was a kid in school I would book shows in class instead of paying attention. I would pretend WCW and WWF were all one and I would write out story lines on feuds like the Steiners vs. Rockers. In early 98 a group of my friends would meet at Denny’s every Monday after Raw/Nitro to talk about it. We would print out “dirt sheets” and discuss rumors. A friend of mine was a film school drop out as was I so we discussed one night about filming a show we would write. So a week later six of us filmed the long lost FUW house show in my girlfriends parents attic and used flip in fucks as the ring. It was horrible but the word got out so a month later we did our first back yard show. It kept snowballing until Illinois State University got a hold of our tapes and offered us a paying gig.

Have you had any professional training to become a wrestler?

I didn’t but as FUW evolved we rented warehouses and created training facilities: crash pads for wrestlers. By that time I was barely a wrestler but was really proud of our guys who put in the work and taught each other how to work.

You also became the first FUW World Heavyweight Champion, what did that mean to you?

Honestly not much. There were two co-founders myself and another guy. We agreed I would win the first title match in a trampoline lumberjack match and if we had another show he would defeat me. I never expected to have another show. Three years later I was part of a team that won the tag belts and that meant a lot because I get we had a great match and gave the fans what they wanted.

In the match you had with Mad Dawg were you had a VHS tape on a pole, who’s idea was that?

So that show was supposed to be our last but much like Terry Funk we came back. It was actually the first show I didn’t book or help with creative which actually hurt me a lot because I wasn’t a part of it in any way. It was supposed to be our last show but I felt like I wasn’t needed at all. I was planning on not participating at all but the wrestler I managed XXX got injured so the “porn on a pole” match was in jeopardy. I hadn’t told anyone that I wasn’t going to be at the show but I had to fill in for him last minute and wrestle. The programs had been printed with the match so I stepped in to replace him.

You and Honky Tonk Rob formed a tag team called, Rhythm and Funk. Do you prefer being in a tag team or going solo as a single star?

I like being in a tag team. As I stated earlier my work rate was sub par so that allowed me to get my spots in, pop the crowd and let my partner work as well.

Memories from the tag match where you defeated Luke A Libre for the tag team belts?

Ha, well the joke there is that I received a concussion due to a rope break in which I got dumped on my head so memories from the actual match are not there. I have watched that match a 100 times so I know it move for move. The match online that is out there I believe is edited so there is more too it than you may have seen. My favorite memory though was working with Luke A Libre. Those guys were a lot of fun and the crowd was really really into the story our match told.

Winning the FUW World Heavyweight Championship didn’t mean much in your eyes, but you did go on to hold the Tag Team Championships did winning those belts mean anything?

In wresting titles are often called “props” I personally don’t believe that normally. I think that if the right people are holding a Feds titles it should elevate the shows they defend them on. However I was also the booker a lot of the time so it’s easy to say that the booker put the title on himself to get over. I don’t believe that was the case and we didn’t hold them long but if I’m being completely honest, hell yes it felt good and hell yes it meant something to be. I am proud of that match we won them at and I am proud to say I held the tag titles in my little tiny Indy fed.

Look for part two of this shoot interview in the up coming weeks. Massive!