INTERACTIVE WRESTLING RADIO INTERVIEW -Headbanger Thrasher

Show: Wrestling Epicenter
Guest: Headbanger Thrasher
Date: 12/21/2023
Your Host: James Walsh

 

Glen Ruth is a Jersey guy who made good. Training under and later for Larry Sharpe, Ruth would work the entire wrestling industry including the later days of Memphis Wrestling with USWA and beyond before Jim Cornette presented he and his tag team partner with the personas that would land them in everyone's living room, the Headbangers! Mosh and Thrasher would enjoy success on the WWE roster including winning the World Tag Team Titles in the early phases of the Attitude Era. And now, they're officially WWE Legends!



Glen Ruth, Thrasher, joins us to discuss how the deal to sign with WWE in 2023 came about, how the TKO/Endeavor buy out of WWE impacted the deal, and, of course, we talk about the colorful characters he encountered during his time in pro wrestling. Some of those names include Owen Hart, Vince Russo, and Jim Cornette!



This is quite a chat with a good man who certainly earned and deserves the respect he's getting!



 

 

 THRASHER:

 

On his new WWE Legends deal and how wrestling fans honor the legends more than some other sports:
"Well, that is what it is called but I don't really look at us that way. But, I guess the reason wrestlers are remembered that way is because we're around all the time. We're out there, 200, 300 days a year. There is no off season. Most sports have an off season and the next year, you'll forget a player. "Oh yeah? He still plays?" So, I guess it is more mainstram... Well, mainstream might not be the right word. The NFL is pretty mainstream! (laughs) I don't even really want to say that it is more televised but it is. There is more football on TV today than there is football or baseball or anything like that There just is. But,"

On how the deal came to be:
"We did a deal with Panini Cards where we had cards and were signing a bunch for them. Well, the people at Matel saw it and they contacted WWE and wanted to do something for us. They said that we weren't under any kind of deal with WWE and they said, "We need to make that happen." Well, one day I was driving and I got a call from Chaz. He said, "Did you get that message?" I said, "What message?" I had seen that I got a call from the 203 area code. He said, "You need to pull over and listen to that message!" (laughs) So, we were thinking, this is early April. This is the Hall of Fame call! So, we call and it is John Cohen. He lays out the plan for the WWE Legends deal which is basically a merchandising deal, "Are you guys cool with that?" We said, "Of course we are!" He said that he will send over the paperwork after the Mania stuff dies down... And then, the buyout happened. And, we were like, "Holy Crap!" We thought our deals would be squashed because of new owners of WWE... But, nope! We signed the papers in May and to this day, I still pinch myself... It is an honor to be thought of like this. To be relevant again! And, I want to thank the fans. Without them, we wouldn't be in the position that we are."

On WWE being "Home" for the Headbangers:
"Well, if you think about it, WWE was the only umbrella we really ever were under. We didn't go to WCW, we didn't go to TNA. And, we didn't go to AEW... We were asked a couple of times. But, we never did! WWE has always been the place that we call home. I know that is what everyone says now when they go back or whatever. But, I mean, shoot. I started doing WWE stuff in 1992! I was on the very 2nd edition of Monday Night RAW against Marty Jannetty. I've never seen myself, really, as anything but a WWE guy."

On his new T Shirt:
"Yep! ShopWWE.com. The first one. I've been told that so far, it is doing pretty well. There are other things that are out there. There's an app called WWE Champions. We're on there as well. Hopefully there will be more good things to come!"

On the memory of the Headbangers living on:
I do love the fact that we're always remembered... Sometimes we aren't always remembered in the best of ways... That bothers me. I'll be honest. I don't think there is a tag team now, last year, last week, or even 10 years ago that have the continuity that me and Chaz had. Or, the finisher that me and Chaz had. Right now, Chaz and I could go out there and do the 3D or the Doomsday Device. Bit. O guarantee you, we won't be able to go out there and do a Stage Dive! That is just how I feel. I feel we are one of the most underrated tag teams ever."

On if he feels they peaked before the Attitude Era really broke huge:
"Well, we were there from about 1996 to 2000 or 2001. So, we were there with DX, the Dudley Boyz, The Hardy Boyz, Edge and Christian... But, I got injured. ANd, I was just coming back from being injured... But, you put us in that ladders match (TLC, WrestleMania), where are we at right now? You know what I mean? It was unfortunate. I got hurt. And, because of that, we were unable to do all that we could have done."

On how true he was to the Headangers name with his musical taste:
"It wasn't a hard thing for us to take to because that was what we were listening to. All the heavy stuff! AC/DC, Metallica, Guns N Roses, Marilyn Manson. That is what everybody did back then! I had the tattoos. I had the bald head. So, Jimmy told us he didn't really like the Spiders and he didn't like the masks or hoods. So, he said, "Let me think about it" and after the Danzig show, that is what he saw us doing."

On Jim Cornette coming up with the Headbangers gimmick at a Danzig concert:
"(laughs) Every time we tell that story, people say that they wBere surprised Jim was at a Danzig concert. Because, that is what we were thinking too! "What were you doing at a Danzig concert?" But, that is how it happened. Jim wanted us to be like the guys in the mosh pit. Chaz had been in a mosh pit before. He wanted my name to be Slasher but I thought that was too close to the Guns N Roses guitarist's name Slash. So, we modified it to Thrasher. And, there you go!"

On how Jim Cornette impacted his career:
"I knew Jimmy years before this (the start of the Headbangers). Larry Sharpe and the Monster Factory used to run shows under the promotion name of WWA. They used to bring in guys like Jim Cornette, Jerry "The King" Lawler, Abdullah the Butcher, "Iron" Mike Sharpe, "Cowboy" Bob Orton... Guys like that. So, i got a chance to meet and know some of these guys before anything really happened in my career. So, when Jimmy started Smokey Mountain, he was like, "If you guys ever want to come down, give me a call." Same thing with Jerry Lawler. hI was still working singles and he said, "If you ever want to come down and work USWA, let me know. I'm always looking for guys.""

On finding Chaz as his partner:
"I never wanted to travel alone. (laughs) It was so weird. So, when I hooked up with Chaz, I felt like, "All right. I've got someone who I can trust and who always has my back Lets start getting out and getting places!"

On the difference between being in WWE as a big star after having been an "extra" in his youth:
"You know, it is weird because you're always told not to go up there and do jobs. But, Larry Sharpe was very old school. Very, very old school! He would always say, "It is a lot harder to make this look believable getting your ass kicked than kicking somebody's ass." I was up there for maybe 2 years doing that and I got to know everybody. I knew Vince, I knew Shane, I knew Stephanie... So, it didn't really bother me much. But, once we started really running, we didn't really go up there that much. We started working USWA, Smokey Mountain Wrestling, Ozark Mountain Wrestling as the Spiders. We went over to Smokey Mountain as the Headbangers which Jim ran and he was already in with Vince. Smokey was closing Jimmy was like, "I'm going to try to get you guys jobs up there. Vince is changing." It was going from being superstars winning squash matches to superstars making super-superstars. It was like TL Hopper having a great competitive match with Owen hart that made Owen Hart shine even bigger. Well, Jimmy told Vince that he had these guys called the Headbangers and said he knows them because they wrestled job matches as the Spiders. Vince said to sign us to part time deals. I'm really proud of this because we were the only part time guys who got signed to full time deals."

On regretting not taking pictures during his career:
"You know, a lot of times, you hear the old timers telling guys not to take pictures for this or that reason. Let me tell them now - Take the fucking picture. Because, I wish I had a picture of me with Owen. I wish I had a picture of me with George "The Animal" Steele. I know it was more taboo back then but there are so many guys that we've lost over the years that I wish I had pictures with... Take the pictures!"

On Shotgun Saturday Night's Concept:
"It is funny. We were on the first match on the first episode of Shotgun Saturday Night. It was us as the Flying Nuns against the Godwins. I'll never forget it. It was awesome! Vince came to us and told us he wanted to do something different with us... He told us about Sally Field when she did the TV show. I don't know how old you are but if you remember it, no one but me and you will remember it! (laughs) Well, he said he would love to do that with us. It was the second gimmick we did. We came in as the Headbangers and sort of morphed into the Flying Nuns and then morphed back to the Headbangers. (laughs) Needless to say, it didn't last too long as it got some backlash from the church... Which is understandable! But, we are one o the only undefeated tag teams ever! (laughs)"

On the concept of holding Shotgun in strange venues:
"I loved Shotgun Saturday Night. First of all, we both lived in New Jersey so the shows would always be just a drive for us. That is why we were on 90% of that first run of shows. It was like, man, this show was made for us! I loved it. The places were so small and it made it so personal. It reminded us of the indies but also it reminded us of concerts and the mosh pits! (laughs) When I tell you the people were close to the ring, I mean they were really close to the ring! They put rings in places I didn't think you could fucking fit a ring. Those first shows were awesome! But, then it went mainstream and it started to be taped before RAW in the arenas."

On Vince Russo's vision for wrestling:
"I think at the right time, there is room to do stuff like that. But, to do it just to do it? I am not for that. I'm old school. To say, "Hey, Wrestler A and Wrestler B. You guys are going to have a First Blood match!" ... Why? Was there a problem in the locker room? I mean, tell the story! People get invested in the storyline. I mean, that happens a lot today too. Look at Steve Austin. Why did people connect to him so well? Because he told a story. His problem with Vince McMahon grew and grew over time and people started to be like, "Hey, I feel that way about my fucking boss too!" (laughs) He didn't just come out and say, "Hey, Fuck you, Vince!" If he did, people would be like, "Why did he say that? Why doesn't he like Vince?" But, the way it was done, everybody understood it. Everyone got behind it. And, Steve could have very well have gotten over as a heel as he did as a babyface. I bet if you asked Steve Austin now, he'd tell you he didn't think he was being a babyfce. He was just being Steve."

On his relationship with Owen Hart:
"I loved Owen Hart. I remember one good Owen story I can share. We were booked in a hotel and Owen showed up to get a room and they were full. We were just starting back with WWE so we said, "You can stay with us if you want." He said, "Thank you. I'll sleep on the floor." We were like, "No, you don't have to do that." Well, we got to the room and at the time, Owen was one half of the WWF Tag Team Champions and he had just won his bunch of Slammy Awards. So, he unpacked his suitcase and he laid out his Slammy Awards and the tag titles and said, "Ok, boys, I'm going to go take a shower." So, he goes in and leaves these things out. Well, we were idiots and we couldn't help but pick up the tag belts and start jumping up and down on the bed celebrating like we were the champions. We tried to put the stuff back before he came out of the bathroom but when he did, "So, did you guys have fun?" He knew exactly what we were doing! (laughs) He said, "That's why I laid it out for you." That was Owen. He was such a class guy. Whenever my kid would come to the show, Owen would play hide and seek in the arena with them. Everything about him was family. He was one of a kind."

On returning to the ring in 2011 with Jim Cornette watching:
"It was WrestleManai weekend and I guess it was in Miami. We were going to have a match and let me tell you about Jim Cornette. If you don't want the truth, don't ask him the fucking question! He's going to give it to you straight even if it could hurt your feelings. Well,I asked him to watch our match and knowing how he is, I was nervous. We went out there and did the match and he watched every second of it from when we talked out to when we came back through the curtain. He came up to us, put his hands on our shoulders, and said, "Boys, I couldn't even tell. Was it 1997 out there?" This was 2011! I had gone through a struggle with my weight. At one point, I was 315 pounds. That felt great. I really came back because I wanted to end things on our terms. I didn't like how things had ended. I wanted it to end on our terms and not because of an injury or something like that. When I went out with my knee injury, I had a really hard time coming back from that. I was so worried about my knee all the time. It was so bad. It was more of a mind thing than anything else."

On returning to WWE in 2016:
"Returning in 2016 was phenomenal because it was nearly 20 years after we left and we just didn't think WWE would ever aknowledge us ever again. But, they did. And, we went out and had that match with Heath Slater and Rhino. That was awesome. There were talks that we would come do more stuff with them and that didn't seem to happen but then it did again and again. And, for me, that was like going full circle because my oldest kids got a chance to see what pulled daddy away when they were little. It was good for my younger kids because they got to realize that their dad has this different, weird ass job. (laughs)"

On if he'd ever return to a WWE ring again:
"Well, I'm 54. Chaz is 52. I don't think that we could really go the way we used to. I've learned to never say never. I never would have thought I'd be sitting here under a WWE contract for merchandising for the next 5 years at this point or to be honored in this way. So, I never say never. But, I don't know if that is going to happen or not."