Here’s some highlights of an interview with WCW’s ‘The Taskmaster’ Kevin Sullivan.
SK: You had two different feuds with Hulk Hogan in WCW and incorporated a couple of Hogan’s friends, The Butcher and Avalanche, being Ed Leslie and John Tenta. What was that feud like with Hogan, and being able to work with Hogan?
Sullivan: Anybody that has ever worked with Hulk, when you get in the ring with him, there’s a different presence. The people at that time were electric when he came into the ring.
I saw something different. I saw that Vince was pushing Austin, who was the anti-hero. The culture was quickly changing in the country, from the babyface and heels – there was a grey area. Austin did a magnificent job and The Undertaker, at the time, was an anti-hero also. I saw that Hogan’s run as a babyface was about over.
My whole trip while I was working that was to have him get comfortable and ask him, if he’d turn heel.
SK: Soon after that, you became The Taskmaster, formed The Dungeon of Doom, and again feuded with Hogan. This time you had more members. One of them was Paul Wight aka The Giant and also known as The Big Show. What was your first impression when he was brought aboard WCW?
Sullivan: That he was a great athlete. I mean, he was very quick and fast for his size, and as young as he was – I don’t think Paul was more than 24 at the time when he came in.
He was put in a position a lot of people couldn’t have gotten. You’re going from not being in the business to working with Hulk Hogan and put in a position to draw money, and he did it very, very well. My hats are off to him. He listened, he was under Hogans wing also, and Hogan groomed him very well, I think.
SK: Have you ever had an incident where the younger guys don’t listen and want to do it their way?
Sullivan: I was a young guy once and I thought the same thing. I think you get the most out of people by listening and telling both sides of the story because the word politics really means compromise. If you give somebody an idea and explain it to them right, and give them your passion, your direction, and what you see, if they come up with something that’s similar or better, you can’t be pig-headed and say, ‘No, we’re going to do it our way.’ If that was the way things happened about booking, you turn to page 40 and look at that situation. Well, there’s no page 40. There’s no book on how to get the most out of guys in a situation. I never had that much of a problem with guys because if I did, it was maybe one out of a thousand, and we would usually come to an agreement.
I’d like to say something about the young guys now. These young guys are the most talented of all time. They have a great view of the business. All of a sudden, these guys that have been working for 10-12 years that maybe didn’t get their recognition are now getting recognition.
The other thing, the guys that have left WWE, it’s going to give the younger guys in NXT a chance to grow and get on the main roster. I think this shake-up in the wrestling business is going to be good for both companies, and ALL the companies really because we’re heading into another wrestling boom, I believe. You can watch all these different guys on television, and it’s going to cause competition among the talent. They’ll work harder, work smarter, and whoever rises above to be the next Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, or The Rock is going to really set the wrestling business on fire again.