INTERACTIVE WRESTLING RADIO INTERVIEW - KEN RESNICK

Show: Interactive Wrestling Radio
Guest: Ken Resnick
Date: 10/04/2018
Your Hosts: James Walsh


Former AWA, WWF, LPWA, TCW, and Roller Jam broadcast journalist and current Ring Warriors backstage interviewer Ken Resnick joins

Interactive Wrestling Radio for a new exclusive interview. The legendary personality sheds light on Ring Warriors' origins, the rise and fall of

Pro Wrestling USA, and his stint with the WWF/WWE!

 

 


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KEN RESNICK

 

On how he got paired up with Ring Warriors:
"The executive producer, a gentleman named Howard Lipkin, I've known for over 20 years. I last worked with him when he produced the Bryant Gumble Celebrity Golf Tournament from Walt Disney World that I co-hosted for him on ESPN. We kind of always stayed in touch. When he became executive producer, I dont know if he's the one that originally brought my name up or someone else. But, he is the one that called me. To show his sense of humor,the day before (he called) he said "Just so you get an idea of what we're going to talk about" and he sent me a clip from either Godfather 2 or Godfather 3 with Al Pacino saying, "Just when you think you're done, they drag you back!" (laughs) He said, "We're going to do a bit of old school with interviews and we want you to do them." And that's how the whole thing came about!"

 

On why there is always a demand for a new show that delivers "old school" wrestling:
"As successful as WWE is, and I always kind of laugh when I see people just ripping it on social media but it is obvious they watch every week, they are more, and bill themselves more, as sports entertainment. The demand for old school is like, if you go to a movie, like Star Wars or James Bond. You know it is fiction. But, while you're in the theater, you want to believe what you're seeing. I think a lot of old school wrestling fans want that and want that classic good guy versus bad guy. I think old school makes that a little easier." He continues, "I kind of laugh when I think back to my time in AWA and WWF, and even, as you mentioned, LPWA. Fans would recognize me when I was out and about and want to engage in conversation with me. They'd say, "It's not real with me, is it?" As Bobby Heenan said, "That's it. The magic is dead." I still run into fans now that will sometimes basically say, "I know everybody says it is sports entertainment. But, it isn't ALL, is it?" Fans today, down deep, still want to believe."

 

On feeling lucky about starting in wrestling at the national level:
"Someone just the other day, "Tokyo Monster" Kahagas, who is someone who I've gotten to know and is such a great human being and a really great wrestling talent, was on the first Ring Warriors show a few weeks ago. He mentioned on social media how excited he was because that was his first time on national television. I had never really thought about it. I was excited about being with Ring Warriors because I knew it was going to give a lot of younger talent great exposure. But, I never realized that for some of the great veterans in the industry, that was also going to be their first time. I started to think of some of the wrestlers who really generated great success really paid their dues in small territories in 8, 9, 10 hour car rides to wrestle in a small venue just to get the experience. How lucky was I to start in the AWA which was on in all these major markets but at the same time, I was able to learn the business by them talking to me and me sitting back and listening. From Blackjack Lanza to Nick Bockwinkel to Mad Dog (Vachon)... Watching Curt Hennig become the star that he was. When I think back at the talent that was in the AWA... The Hulk Hogan's! It was amazing! It is funny, some people aren't big on social media. And, I wasn't really big into watching myself on TV in those days. But now, on social media, people post these older interviews of me from the AWA and the WWF. But, at the same time, it is sad because they are posting them when somebody has passed."

 

On his time with WWF:
"My time with WWF was great and phenomenal. I sit back and think, "How lucky was I to not only do these interviews but also call matches with Gorilla Monsoon at the Boston Garden?" But then again, to do interviews with and learn from guys like Hulk, Bobby Heenan, "Macho Man", George "The Animal Steele, Freddie Blassie... I really do think about so many within the industry that never really get to the big time, for lack fo a better term. And yet, the first two promotions I worked for were the legendary AWA and then the WWF! "

 

On advice he got from Blackjack Lanza:
"Even at Ring Warriors, before we do our first interview, I never forget to not remember... Right after Gene Okerlund had left to go to WWF and I was the guy that was going to do all the interviews for the AWA, I had gotten very close to Blackjack Lanza. I was a little nervous. Right before, I was sitting with Jack. He said, "Can I give you some advice?" I said, "Please do! Anything!" He said, "Always be yourself. Don't try to emulate somebody else's style. You've got to be you or the fans will see right through it." Then he said, "You know the best way to get yourself over?" I said, "No, what?" He said, "Don't try to put yourself over." In othe words, be humble. Make it about the show, make it about the talent. Don't make it about yourself! Wherever I am and whatever I do in the wrestling business, I always repeat those words to myself before I start."

 

On the rise and fall of Pro Wrestling USA:
"The story about the rise was the promoters could see that Vince McMahon was doing something that they couldn't match. They kind of said, "The only way we are going to be able to survive is if we bind together and do a national TV show to go against him." Vern had partnered with Eddie Einhorn who was a minority owner of the Chicago White Sox and I think one of the other Chicago pro sports teams. That was the story behind the rise. They were able to get on ESPN. But, the biggest reason for the fall was even though it was all the promotersfrom all parts of the country with one goal in mind, they all thought that goal could be achieved by putting their guys over."

 

On working with LPWA in the 80's and the success of women's wrestling now:
"I think it is great.Those girls (LPWA) were ready for the big time. The reason the LPWA didn't succeed long term. I was involved in the business end. Theer was no national cable deals in those days. LPWA had to do syndication deals with every single television station. I was involved in a lot of that and talked to a lot of program directors. A lot of them were very honest. They would say, "The show is great. We love it. There is nothing we couldn't air due to violence or anything else. But, we just can't put a show on with women beating up women!" That was the biggest problem was the syndication. Even today with Ring Warriors! National distribution via WGN America. But, we (LPWA) were close. We had a deal with the Madison Square Garden network. But, sometimes you couldn't get on in Green Bay, WI because the program directors would say, "We just can't have women hitting women!" It just became too costly."

 

On if he knew wrestling would be what he would be forever linked to:
"I started off doing sports on the 6 and 10 O'clock news on the NBC affiliate in Rochester, MN. Growing up in the Twin Cities, I watched, like everyone else, the AWA. I never imagined or could ahve imagined I would end up doing professional wrestling all those years."

 

On some Ring Warriors talent that stands out:
"I really enjoy Ring Warriors ang etting to work with Howard again. A lot of the younger wrestlers I knew of but never had a chance to work with. One of them is Austin Aries. He knew who I was so it was great. We had a chance to sit down and talk about the business a little bit. And, you talk about starting to feel old, I worked with Wes Brisco's dad Jerry in the WWF! Sometimes I'll sit and see him (Wes) in the ring. He's such a great talent. But, I'll think, "My God! I worked with his Dad!" (laughs) I'm getting old!"

 

On the future of Ring Warriors:
"I felt the show that aired this past Saturday was really good. There were some growing pains in the first few episodes. But, I mean, there were some good matches. Some of the kinks got worked out. That first show wasn't the best. But, they're continuing to try to get better. The show this past Saturday was a good wrestling show!"