David Crockett Shoot Interview

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I could not wait to see David Crockett. He was one of my all time favorite announcers during the 80’s. He was always cheering for the babyface and he has this emotional voice that made you want to cheer for the faces too. He was so good at what he did even thought Dave Meltzer said he was one of the worst announcers of all time. I happened to love watching him interact with the heels and loved it even more when he would be condescending to the heels, especially when he went to far and Nikita Koloff gave him a shoot close line. I first talked to David on the phone a few months ago and he was very excited to come to NY and take up my offer of doing his first ever shoot and signing. He was first class all the way, and many people don’t know after the sale of Crockett promotions David was hired by WCW and worked in production until its final days.

We started off the interview talking about what it was like growing up as a child in the wrestling business. His father was the owner and founder of Crockett promotions one of my personal favorite companies of all time. David talked about first being exposed the business at a young age. You will hear how he broke into the business and what roles he had early on before becoming an announcer. It’s no secret that he was once a wrestler himself and you will learn why he had to quit the business due to a illness. After his father passed away, David and his brother took over the business. Since David grew up around the NWA he was around all the legends of the 70’s and David talked about many of the top names of the territory and his interactions with each of them. You will hear what responsibilities he and his brother Jim Crockett had when they took over the family business. Why was it that Jim become the front man of the company and David took the back seat. What role did George Scott play in helping rebuild the company and what did the early bookers like Ole Anderson and Dory Funk Jr do for the company. You will hear early stories on all the top names like a young Roddy Piper, Ric Flair, Harley Rave, Wahoo McDaniel and the entire Mid Atlantic talent pool. David has story after story and held nothing back.

You will hear all about his infamous plane crash as he was on board with Ric Flair, Johnny Valentine when his plane lost control and crashed. Want to hear how the first Starcade came into play? How did Dusty Rhodes gain the trust of his brother and what tensions down the road came out of their friendship. For the first time ever David talks about his internal problems with his brother and Dusty Rhodes over financial decisions that were being made. Was Dusty over spending by booking bands and other decisions that David was not in favor for. Did the fights with his brother ever get physical? Want to hear about the real wrestling war between the NWA and the WWF before the Monday Night Wars? What really went on behind the scenes when Vince lost TBS and got a million bucks. Does David feel like they funded wrestle mania? What tactics were being played by both sides in the early 80’s as Vince started to buy out the territories and take their top stars. Want to hear about what it was like for the NWA to start to work with AWA and why it failed. Why did David have heat with Jim Ross over the sale of the UWF and why didn’t the NWA use the Mid South talent in more prominent roles.

Now the 80’s for the NWA was by far my favorite time as a fan watching the business. We talk all about the 4 horseman, Dusty Rhodes, Midnight Xpress, Rock N Roll Xpress, and the entire talent pool that was on TBS during that time. Was Magnum TA about to get the strap before the car wreck? Did Nikita and David have real heat and why did Nikita really close line him on TV. Was it a planned spot? We talk about the top angles and more of the expansions of the company and what led to it finally closing down. We spent a ton of time on the NWA during the 80’s and trust me I think I asked David everything you would want to know about that time period from 83 to 88. You will hear about the sale of the company to TBS and what David did to try to stop it from happening and why he finally excepted the deal with his brother. What was it like working for Ted Turner as you will hear all about the backstage politics on what it was not like for him to be a employee of a wrestling company and not have any real power. Even when WCW was in trouble you will hear why they would not listen to David just because of his last name. David was there with WCW until the end as the chief production manager. He will talk about how the company spent way to much money or crazy gimmicks and what it was like to work with Jim Herd, Kip Frey, and Eric Bischoff. Who was doing bigger business the NWO or the 4 horseman during their prime in the 80’s.

The stories are just endless and we talked about his brothers fall out with Paul Heyman after the failed WWN upstart in NYC. Who had Eric Bischoff’s ear the most during the Monday Night Wars. What did he think of Hall and Nash? How much heat did he get when Halloween Havoc ran out of time on live PPV with DDP vs Goldberg? What speech did David give at the final Monday Nitro in FL and why did he speak up and give that speech to the boys. Did David try to buy WCW before Vince bought it.

One of the best part’s of the interview is when David gives for the first time a direct message to Vince McMahon and you will want to hear what he has to say. I was shocked that David actually said this but RF VIDEO being the leaders of the shoot interview, captured this amazing message. If you love the NWA and the golden era of the Crockett years this DVD is not a must, its something you need to watch to survive, it’s just that good!!!

When you see the entire list of questions that I asked David you will see how in depth this interview was and it’s up there with one of my favorites because I was a huge NWA fan and I had a lot to ask him myself.

Obviously, you grew up with your family in the wrestling business, so what are your first memories of what your father did for a living?

What led to your dad getting into promoting events for a living?

Beyond wrestling,your father promoted a number of other events in the Mid-Atlantic area -concerts, roller derby, circuses, boxing, the Harlem Globetrotters, etc. Do you have any memory of which, if any, were his favorite type of events to promote?

What are the defining memories for you when you think about growing up around the wrestling business?
Any favorite stories from being around wrestlers as you grew up? Did you have a personal favorite?

What made you want to get involved in the business?

What were your original jobs working for Crockett Promotions?

Is it true your family didn’t want you to get involved with the wrestling side of the business?

You trained as a wrestler and did wrestle for a short time as David Finley, using your middle name. What led to you training? How did your father feel about you wanting to wrestle?

Memories of being trained by Gene and Ole Anderson?

How long did you train before you debuted? Did you ever feel the boys resented you for wanting to get in the ring?

Why didn’t you use the Crockett name in the ring?

Memories of debuting in 1971 against Johnny Heidman?

Memories of wrestling the following:
Gene Anderson
Les Thatcher
Frank Morrell
Jim aka JJ Dillon
Ole Anderson
Sandy Scott
Charlie Fulton
George Grant
Joe Turner
Tony Romano
Rock Hunter
Jesse James
Swede Hanson
Bill Bowman
Kurt Von Steiger
Bobby Paul
Nick Russo
Frank Hester
Joe Turko
George Strickland
Krusher Karlson
Randy Curtis
Tinker Todd
Abe Jacobs
Sonny Fargo
Joe Soto
Tony Romano
Angelo Martinelli
Krusher Karlson
The Royal Kangaroos
George Two Ton Harris
Killer Karl Kox
Billy Hines
Bobby Paul
Evil Eye Gordon
Dick Shannon
Terry Sawyer

11/23/72 you worked in Greensboro, NC at the Coliseum. Main event was Briscoes vs. Dory Funk Sr & Jr. You worked the undercard, teaming with JJ Dillon against Freddie Sweetan & Mike DuBois beat Jim Dillon & David Finley. At the time, it was the largest crowd to attend a wrestling show in the Southeast and the largest single night gate for the Coliseum. Do you remember the atmosphere that night and your dad’s reaction to breaking the records?

You pretty much worked undercards and didn’t often go over – was your father testing you by having you lose?

You teamed a bit with Les Thatcher – was that something the promotion wanted as a regular team?

During your time as a wrestler, did you have a favorite venue to wrestle in?

How would you rate yourself as a worker during that time period?

Why did you cut your career short after 15 months?

Do you regret getting out of the ring so soon?

After being able to have worked in the ring, how did that help you from an announcing standpoint?

Memories of the following during their time in Mid-Atlantic in the 1970s:
Sandy Scott
Fabulous Moolah
Gary Hart
Tommy Seigler
Brute Bernard
Abe Jacobs
Gerald Brisco
Paul Jones
Rip Hawk
Nelson Royal
Thunderbolt Patterson
Johnny Weaver
Man Mountain Mike
Ronnie Garvin
Missouri Mauler
Art Nelson
Homer O’Dell
Jim Grabmire

Explain what it meant to the territory in the 1970s when the NWA champion (example, Dory Funk Jr.) came to Mid-Atlantic and how were shows, if at all, promoted or presented differently because the World champ was in town?

Memories of Luther Lindsay and how the company dealt with his passing in the ring?

Once you left the ring, how did your responsibilities in the business change?

When your father passed away in 1972, how did that change the way Crockett Promotions was run? How hard was it to personally and professionally overcome his loss?

Why was John Rigley tapped to head the company instead of Jim Jr. or yourself?

Could anyone have actually replaced your dad?

How important was George Scott to rebuilding Mid-Atlantic?

When Rigley was ousted for having an affair, why was Jim Jr. put in charge but not you?

Compare how Jim Sr. ran the company compared to Jim Jr?

What led to you becoming a regular announcer for the company?

Memories of working with the following and how do you rate them personally as announcers:

Bob Caudle
Tony Schiavone
Jim Ross
Jim Cornette
Dusty Rhodes
Big Bill Ward
Dr. Tom Miller
Rich Landrum

What was your approach to announcing?

Did you want to know the finishes ahead of time?

You were pretty well known for being rambunctious and cheering on the babyfaces – what brought that on as opposed to just calling the moves?

Thoughts on being voted worst wrestling announcer for three years in a row by the Wrestling Observer?

What’s the key to being a good interviewer and making sure the star you are on screen with gets spotlighted?

First memories of Ric Flair when he was brought into the company?

How about Roddy Piper?

Their books have each told some pretty insane stories about partying during that time period? Any crazy nights where you joined them?

Were you ever worried some of the crazy behavior of the boys would come out and publicly embarass the company?

Memories of the plane crash in 1975?

When did you and the others on the plane realize something was wrong? Why do you think the plane crashed? Why didn’t the pilot try to land sooner?

It’s been said you were the least injured of everyone on the plane – how badly were you banged up mentally and physically after?

From a business standpoint, how did having so many talents hurt at once change immediate plans and what sort of changes are immediately made?

How was the company able to hide the fact that babyfaces and heels were traveling together on the plane and not expose the business, since it was such a story locally at the time?

Were you surprised that Ric Flair even returned to the ring after the wreck?

Obviously Johnny Valentine never wrestled again. Was there anything the business did to assist him after his injuries?

Were you ever afraid to get back on a plane after the wreck?

Memories of the following from their time in Mid-Atlantic in the late 1970s:

Blackjack Mulligan
Rick Steamboat
John Studd
Greg Valentine
Baron Von Raschke
Jimmy Snuka
Paul Orndorff
Masked Superstar
Harley Race
Wahoo McDaniel
Dick Murdoch
Ivan Koloff
Johnny Valentine
The Spoiler
Mr. Wrestling Tim Woods
Ernie Ladd
Boris Malenko
Mighty Igor
Ken Patera
Bobby Duncum
Tony Atlas
Andre the Giant

While your brother was in charge of Crockett Promotions, break down the roles you and other members of the family played behind the scenes?

What was a week in the life like at the Crockett offices?

After George Scott had run his course as the booker in the 1970s, Dory Funk Jr. and Ole Anderson each had turns booking the
territory – talk about why they were hired and how they did and why they didn’t work out long term as bookers there?

Talk about the process of grooming Ric Flair to be NWA champion and getting other promoters on board with him being placed at that level?

Talk about where the idea of building to the first Starrcade came from. That’s where Jim and Dusty Rhodes really started working together – initial thoughts and memories of Dusty and his creative side?

Memories of the first Starrcade event itself and why do you think it worked so well?

Why do you think your brother trusted Dusty so much?

What did you think of Dusty as a booker? What were his strengths and weaknesses from a creative standpoint?

A lot of people feel he focused too much on himself? Do you think that was the case?

It’s often presented that Dusty spent way too much and that helped pave the way for the end of the company – what sort of budgets did Dusty have to work with?

Did Jim ever try to reign him in?

Could you voice concerns to Jim about things you didn’t like?

The 1980s was the decade where the territories started to fall as WWF expanded nationally. When did you first learn Vince was going after the territories?

What were the first moves Crockett Promotions made to protect themselves against Vince?

Looking back at the Pro Wrestling USA alliance with the AWA, was it a mistake? Why did that venture begin and what led to it

Talk about the importance of cable TV as the business changed? Initial memories of the relationship with TBS and Ted Turner?

When Black Saturday went down and WWF bought out Georgia Championship Wrestling and locked everyone out of TBS, how dangerous was it for Crockett Promotions?

Why do you think Vince had a falling out with Turner?

When the idea of paying Vince $1 million for the timeslot came along, what was your initial feelings on the decision?

You’ve been quoted as saying that money paid for Wrestlemania – what do you think the history of the business would have been if that deal hadn’t been made?

What was the relationship between TBS and Crockett Promotions like on a weekly basis?

Memories of the following talents in the 1980s:

Tully Blanchard
Magnum TA
Rock N Roll Express
Arn Anderson
Midnight Express
Ronnie Garvin
Road Warriors
Big Bubba Rogers
Barry Windham
Michael Hayes
Jimmy Garvin
Baby Doll
Lex Luger
Kevin Sullivan
Mike Rotunda
Rick Steiner
Ron Simmons
Eddie Gilbert

Memories of the angle where Nikita Koloff hit you with the Russian Sickle. The belief is that he didn’t personally like you and walloped you hard because of it?

Memories of working as guest referee for Nikita vs. Flair?

How do you think the history of the business would have changed had Magnum TA not been in his car wreck?

Favorite memories of the rise of the Four Horsemen and when did you realize the company was onto something with them?

Memories of running head to head vs. WWF?

What were some of the tactics the WWF used against Crockett Promotions?

Talk about the battle to get Starrcade 87 on PPV and whether it was worth it in the end to have moved the show to Chicago and have run it on a Thanksgiving afternoon instead of night?

WWF had a hard time drawing in the Southern markets at first – why do you think fans remained loyal to the NWA brand for so long?
Why did Crockett Promotions starting buying out other territories that were obviously at the end of their run anyway?

Do you think buying Watts, Florida, etc. were mistakes in hindsight for the company?

Did you think so at the time?

Why do you think so many of the Mid-South/UWF guys were underutilized when the promotion was folded into Crockett Promotions?

What led to Crockett Promotions beginning to tour more?

Do you think the promotion expanded too fast?

Do you think running the Southern markets less allowed WWF to start to take root there?

Ric Flair and Arn Anderson have both said that if the company had stayed just running the Eastern Seaboard, Crockett Promotions would still exist – do you agree?

What were the biggest mistakes made?

What led to Crockett Promotions putting the first Clash of Champions up against Wrestlemania 4?

Did you ever get any flack from the cable companies for it?

There’s a lot of finger-pointing in regard to the person responsible for the death of Crockett Promotions – who do you blame? Is it a shared responsibility?
When did you first learn that your brother was looking to sell to Turner?

Were there any other potential buyers?

Did WWF ever approach looking to buy?

Did you want to sell the company?

If it was your call to make, what would you have done?

What led to the final decision to let Turner buy?

You’ve said you didn’t want to sell – what led to you finally relenting?

Could anything have been done beyond selling it to save it?

Why was the video library sold to Turner – at that point it wasn’t standard for the tape libraries to go with the rights to the company – Watts, Florida, etc. didn’t sell their libraries to Crockett.

Do you wish you had maintained ownership of the tapes?

What sort of deal was made to keep the Crockett family involved after the sale? You were supposed to consult, produce and announce, so what happened?

When did you realize that WCW wasn’t going to be Crockett Promotions reborn?

Why did WCW immediately fire Dusty?

First impressions of Jim Herd?

Jack Petrik?

It’s been said that Jim tried to argue with Petrik over a decision and that led to him being sent home – do you remember the situation at all?

Talk about your role working in production for WCW and what it was like watching the promotion going through so many changes and different leaders over the years?

Why did WCW finally get rid of Jim Herd?

Was Kip Frye a worthy replacement?

Memories of Bill Watts WCW run and why he didn’t fix the company?

Watt claims he brought the company down to affordable levels of finances – what sort of budgetary cuts did he make to the production end of the company?

Why did WCW never come back to the Crocketts for help? Did you ever try to get in charge?

Memories of the following in WCW:

Cactus Jack
Van Hammer
El Gigante
Johnny B. Badd
Brian Pillman
The Black Scorpion
Steve Austin
Paul Heyman
Rick Rude
Larry Zbyszko
Dustin Rhodes
Southern Boys Tracy Smothers & Brad Armstrong
Scott Steiner
PN Newz

How important was Bill Shaw to the success of WCW?

Why did Bischoff succeed and then fail?

How did you feel about WCW finally taking it to Vince McMahon with the Monday Night War?

Describe your role in production for Nitro and PPVs during that era?

Memories of the following during the War:

Kevin Nash
Scott Hall
Randy Savage
Hulk Hogan
Mongo McMichael
Buff Bagwell
Roddy Piper in the 90s
Booker T
Public Enemy
Gene Okerlund
Bobby Heenan

Talk about what your role as VP of Production was and what your responsibilities were?

What happened the night WCW ran too long with Halloween Havoc and went off the air with DDP vs. Goldberg in the ring? Who
was responsible for that happening?

Thoughts on the end of WCW and WWE finally owning everything?

How did you feel about the company shutting down?

Talk about the final episode of Nitro – you made a speech to everyone before the show backstage – talk about that speech and why you chose to speak about the end of the company that came from Crockett Promotions?

What do you think of the wave of nostalgia for 1980s wrestling and Crockett Promotions, specifically the material being available on the WWE Network and the annual gatherings in Charlotte?

Why do you think your brother Jim has never attended the Charlotte gatherings and has given so few interviews since leaving the business?

Do you think he feels the fans still blame him?

What did you think of the Jim Crockett Promotions “Good Old Days” documentary?

Let everyone know what you and your father are up to today and talk about the Crockett Foundation and what led to that being created?

Do you watch any of the current pro wrestling product?

When you look back on your time and your family’s time in pro wrestling, what do you think each legacy would be?

Any personal regrets when it comes to the business?

Would you want to see The Crockett family inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame?

Favorite road stories or ribs you might want to share?

Any final words for everyone who supported your career?