Dean Malenko Shoot Interview

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There are very few men in this business that are considered the best at what they do but make no mistakes about it, this man, the man with a 1000 holds is up there on that list and respected by everyone on a global level. Dean Malenko for the first time ever sits down with RFVIDEO to discuss his entire wrestling career and holds nothing back, even discussing the biggest tragedy’s that shook the wrestling world in the mid 2000’s with Eddy Guerrero and Chris Benoit. We cover his entire career from what it was like growing up in a wrestling family. When did his dad smarten him up to the business What are his early memories getting into the business as you will hear it all.

Dean discusses with RFVIDEO his early Japanese career for UWF and how he ended up working for Giant Baba and All Japan Pro Wrestling. Dean made a huge name for himself early in his career by becoming one of the best workers and crafting his style in the land of the rising sun. Did you know that Dean was a referee for the WWF before he made a name for himself. You will hear why Dean left All Japan to work for New Japan and it was in New Japan where a friendship was formed with two of the best workers of all time. A bond that later would end tragic but non less they were friends until the very end. Dean goes into great detail how he first met Eddy Guerrero and Chris Benoit in New Japan. You will hear tons of road stories not only in Japan but of course in WCW and WWF and who can forget ECW!!! We talk about his initial meetings with ECW and how he wound up working for Paul Heyman. What were his thoughts on the ECW locker room and some of the more violent matches. You will hear inside stories on the Malenko-Guerrero Classic from ECW, thoughts on Taz and Sabu and so much more from ECW. There are just so many ECW stories as this was a great part of the shoot.

Why did Dean leave ECW for WCW with Chris Benoit and Eddy Guerrero? Did he think it was the right decision? We talk about all of his major programs in WCW including working Rey Mysterio, working the cruiserweight division, evolution of the Brian Pillman character and tons of Pillman stories. What was it like being around Hogan, Nash and Hall. What was Eric Bischoff like to work for and how did politics play a role if any during his run. What did it mean to become a horseman for Dean? He talks about so many issues that took place during his time in WCW and how they were not used correctly and why the radicals always stuck together. What were his memories of the entire Sullivan, Benoit and Nancy storyline and what was real and what was a work. We talk all about Chris Jericho, the WCW landscape always changing with new bookers including Russo and Ferrara.

You will hear first hand details on why Dean and his inner circle who always stuck together quit WCW and what lead up to it. How did they first meet Vince McMahon at a hotel when they were still under contract with WCW and details emerge about a secret phone call with Bruce Prichard. Why it took a year for them to leave and how he wound up at the same hotel a year later making his WWE debut that he first ran into Vince at. What was it like to make his WWE debut with his friends. Why was Shane Douglas left behind? We talk about all of his major storylines that he was involved in during his WWE run as well.

We could not sit down with Dean and not discuss the tragic passing of Eddy Guerrero. We talk all about that day and the days leading up to it. Eddy is a big part of the interview during so many chapters of his life, so if you love Eddy Guerrero his stories are the best. We talk to him about Vicki getting involved in the business and if he liked that idea. We had to ask Dean all about the Chris Benoit murder suicide as Dean gives his views on what happened. We talk about the weeks before it and what happened after the incident. We asked him every question you would want to know as nobody knew Eddy and Chris better than Dean. Dean was open and honest about both men and did not hide anything when we asked him the rough questions surrounding their passings.

Why did Dean finally retire and we talk all about his role as a WWE producer behind the scenes. We break down the role of a producer as he explains what his job was really like and what talent did he like to work with the most. There are tons of locker room stories and Dean is one of the funniest guys of all time. His dry sense of humor shines during this amazing tell all interview. Why did he leave the company and how did he end up working for AEW. Dean gives his views on the biggest names in the business. If you’re a fan of ECW, WCW and WWE this is a must.

What are your first memories of professional wrestling?
Memories of your father growing up?
Was it hard growing up the son of well-known heel?
When did he clue you in as to how the business worked?
How did he react to you and your brother wanting to get in the business?
Memories of training?
What were the biggest things your father taught you?
You’re considered an awesome in-ring worker – did the physical aspect of the business come easy to you?
What were the hardest parts of the business to figure out from a performance standpoint for you?
Memories of working as a referee early on in your career?
How did working as a ref help you as you learned?
Memories of working for WWF as a referee early on – how did that come about? Was there ever concern that they’d only see you as a referee?
Memories of working for UWF in Japan?
How did you end up there working for Hisashi Shinma?
Why were you billed as Dean Sarcoff instead of using the Malenko name?
Did you like the style in the ring?
Obviously you spent a lot of time in Japan, but what were your first memories of working there? Did you take to the culture right away?
Memories of working with:
Akira Maeda, who at the time was considered one of the baddest men in wrestling
A young Nobuhiko Takada
Osamu Kido
Mile Zrno
Yoshiaki Fujiwara
Kazuo Yamazaki
Why do you think the original UWF shut down?
You come into All Japan Pro Wrestling in 1988 – who reaches out to bring you in?
Giant Baba is always spoken about as being one of the best promoters ever and a gentleman. Talk about working under him?
Describe his style in how he promote and ran his company?
Who ran the locker room and how were finishes handled given how the business was protected?
Talk about how the differences in how wrestling was treated by the media in Japan and the United States then?
There’s all sorts of stories of Motoko Baba playing bad cop for her husband – did you ever witness any moments where someone crossed her? What were your dealings with her like?
When you and Joe were first brought over for All Japan, was there any discussion of what your role would be or of any promises?
Describe a basic All Japan tour in terms of travel, how you are treated, what is expected of the talents, etc.
Compare the UWF style to the All Japan style in terms of how guys would work in the ring.
Did it seem like a different fan base at the time?

Memories of working with
Tiger Mask
Toshiaki Kawada
Kenta Kobashi
Akira Taue
Masa Fuchi
Shinichi Nakano
Great Kabuki
Samson Fuyuki
Akio Sato
Yoshinari Ogawa
Mitsuharu Misawa
Johnny Smith
Richard Slinger
Jim Brunzell
Tom Zenk
Stan Hansen
Dan Spivey
Johnny Ace
Robert Gibson
Fire Cat

Memories of wrestling your brother for the All Japan Junior title in 1989?
In 1989, you and Joe had the chance to work with a few other legendary teams in All Japan.

British Bulldogs. Memories of working with Dynamite and Davey Boy?
The Fantastics (Bobby Fulton & Tommy Rogers)
The Southern Rockers – Rex King and Steve Doll
Doug Furnas & Dan Kroffat
Steve Williams & Terry Gordy
The original Undertakers – Val and Tony Puccio
Billy Black & Joel Deaton
Kamala & Kamala 2

You become a regular for South Atlantic Pro Wrestling in the Carolinas, which was an effort to relaunch the Charlotte territory – how did you getting booked there?
Memories of the crew at the time?
Did you think the group had a chance to take off?
Memories of working a young Ken Shamrock?
Memories of a young Pitbulls, who were working as the American Bulldogs?
Were you around for the Ken Shamrock-Nasty Boys incident and if so what are your memories of the situation?
Why do you think SAPW didn’t pan out?
WCW brought you and Joe in for their NWA Tag Title Tournament at Clash of Champions 19. How did that come about? Was there ever a promise of more bookings?
Was that the only time you worked for Bill Watts? Any dealings with him?
Memories of working Koloff and Steamboat?
You and Joe worked the WWC Anniversario in 1992 – any big memories of what it was like working on front of that audience – worked Rex King & Steve Doll.
Memories of touring Australia in the early 1990s?
You jump to New Japan in October 1992. Moving from All Japan to New Japan is pretty rare at that point, so what leads to you going to New Japan?
Is Baba offended?
Were you worried about burning a bridge?
You come in as part of the Junior Heavyweight division. Talk about who was in charge of the division in terms of booking and handling finishes.
Compare the New Japan style to All Japan?
How different or similar was the touring, travel and what was expected of you by NJPW management?

Thoughts and memories of working with:
El Samurai
Norio Honaga
Koji Kanemoto
Tatsumi Fujinami
Tony Halme
Satoshi Kojima
Takayuji Iizuka
Akira Nogami
Hiroshi Hase
Dave Finley
Sean Waltman came in to work one of the Best of Super Junor Tournaments – memories of him working the tour.
Memories of Jake Roberts working New Japan
Great Sasuke
Super Delphin
TAKA Michinoku
Koji Kanemoto
Gran Hamada
Brian Pillman
Alex Wright

First memories of Jushin Liger?
What do you think It is about Liger that’s given him such longevity and popularity?
What do you think about him retiring this January?
Would you want to take part in his retirement ceremony if invited?
You first cross paths with Eddy Guerrero in New Japan. Obviously, we’ll talk a lot about Eddy as we go but what were your first memories of him as a person and worker?
Did you spent a lot of time with him while touring Japan?
You also meet Chris Benoit for the first time in Japan. Obviously talking about Chris now is a complicated subject, but let’s talk about him.
What were your first memories of him and why do you think you clicked as friends?
What were his best qualities as a wrestler and a person?
There are claims that at times he could be a bully towards others. Justin Roberts tells a story in his book about Benoit hurting him at an airport. Do you think that’s a fair assessment of Chris?
It’s said that he changed after Eddy Guerrero passed away. Would you agree?
You are probably considered one of his closest friends – did you have any suspicion that something was wrong before the end of his life?
When did you learn that something had happened?
There were text messages sent by Chris that weekend that the family was sick and that’s why he missed the PPV that weekend. Did you have any
When the police disclosed that they believed he killed Nancy and Daniel, what was your first reaction?
How did WWE react to the situation?
What’s your take on all the kneejerk reaction to steroids being a root cause of the situation?
Where do you place blame on the situation?
How did you feel about WWE getting so much scorn in the wake of the Benoit tragedy?
When you look back on him, how do you rectify the good memories with the end of his life?
How do you feel about WWE ignoring him in their history?
How would you like fans to remember Chris?
As we’ve learned more about CTE, do you hope people become more sympathetic towards Chris?
If you could speak to Chris today, what would you want him to know?
Before you came to ECW, you had worked for Paul Heyman and Jim Crockett’s WWN TV pilot, a project that never got off the ground – what are your memories of the tv taping in Ft. Hood Texas?
Memories of teaming with Rocco Rock as the Kimodo Dragons?
Who first contacted you to come to ECW?
What were your first impressions of Tod Gordon?
Same question for Paul Heyman?
You came in the NWA title tournament – were you just booked for that initial weekend or was it always going to be a longer run?
Memories of wrestling Osamu Nishimura and Shane Douglas that night?
Were you surprised Shane threw down the NWA title? What was your thoughts on it at the time.
Thoughts on the fans there as they were said at the time to be the smarter fans? Thoughts on the Philly fan base in general?
When you started with ECW, did you have to clear it with New Japan at the time?
What were your thoughts on the bloodier and more violent side of the company? Did you ever have a problem with the level of violence?
Was there ever anything Paul pitched that you turned down?
You did a promo to promote when you were first coming into the company, but after that ECW created the Shooter character – what did you think of the silent assassin character?
Memories of your initial feud with Taz /Tazmaniac as he was known as the time?
Taz sometimes has the rep for being hard to deal with – was that your experience with him?
Memories of working with Jason Knight?
Were you surprised when Paul made the decision to put the TV title on you so quickly?
Memories of working Scorpio for the belt?
Memories of the night Chris dropped Sabu on his head and the aftermath?
What led to Joe coming out of retirement to team with you in ECW?
Was there talk of him doing more with ECW?
You and Joe wrestled Sabu and Taz – which brings us to Sabu. Thoughts on him and his importance to ECW at the time?
What did you think of him as a worker?
Any favorite stories of Sabu?
Memories of being put together with Chris Benoit and Shane Douglas as the Triple Threat?
Did you feel the group ever really had a chance to click as a unit?
Thoughts on Shane as a worker?
The Sabu & Taz feud led you to working with Public Enemy as ECW built to the Three-Way Dance. What memories do you have of Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge?
You and Benoit win the Tag titles leading into the Three-Way Dance – How would you rate Chris as a partner – which of you would you say was the leader of the team?
ECW builds to the Three-Way Dance and is pretty much the best in product in America at that point – what did it mean to you to finally have some place that you clicked with in the States?
Were you upset when Sabu no showed the three-way dance?
Did you agree with Paul firing him?
Do you think the situation was overblown?
One of the good things that came out of Sabu being fired was the next show, Hostile City Showdown, featured you replacing Sabu against Eddy Guerrero?
Memories of that first match, which kicked off the feud?
Why do you think the feud with Eddy Guerrero clicked the way it did?
What were your favorite moments of that feud?
Memories of The Flagstaff in Jim Thorpe?
Thoughts on the Malenko Guerrero Classic where you and Eddy wrestled 3 matches in two days.
Memories of your ECW farewell against Guerrero?
Memories of the match where Taz broke his neck.
What made you decide to pay tribute to the crowd and say goodbye that night?
Were you surprised that ECW dedicated an entire TV episode to you and Eddy after you left?
Let’s talk some urban legends from that time period:
Was it ever true your WCW contracts were initially only 90 days?
The Guy Evans book Nitro that was published last year stated that WCW basically took over the financial side of your NJPW talent contracts to keep the WCW-New Japan deal alive, so that they were paying your contracts but you were still available to New Japan. Is that what you remember about that situation?
Had it not been for New Japan’s involvement, do you still think you would have left ECW at that point?
Was there anything ECW could have done to keep you, Eddy and Benoit at that point?
Memories of the following from your time in ECW?
Mick Foley
Mikey Whipwreck
Ron Simmons
Tommy Dreamer
Stevie Richards
Was there anyone from ECW you wanted to have the chance to work with but it didn’t happen?
Do you think you would have gotten the opportunities you had in WCW and WWE had it not been for ECW?
What were your first impressions of WCW backstage and how had it changed from when you were there in 1992?
You, Eddy and Chris all leave for WCW together. Do you think you would have made the jump if all of you weren’t going together?
Who gives you the Iceman and Man of 1,000 Holds moniker?
What are your first impressions of the WCW locker room as compared to ECW and New Japan?
First impressions of Eric Bischoff and whether he was approachable?
Do you think he only had eyes on the top names or he cared about everything on the card?
Same questions for Kevin Sullivan?
Did coming from Florida and having the family history that you did make it easier for you and Sullivan to relate to each other?
WCW launches the Cruiserweight division and you are a big part of it right out of the gate. What were your thoughts on how WCW treated the Cruisers overall?
Your feud with Eddie continues in WCW, but at times, the matches are used for backdrops for announcers to hype Hulk Hogan and other main event players. Fans at the time complain its disrespectful to names like you, Eddie, Benoit – how did you feel at the time? Was it just the role you were hired to play or was it something that bothered you?
What was the WCW locker room like politically? Was it as chaotic as its been claimed or were a lot of the stories overblown?
Urban legend time – is it true that Hulk Hogan was getting royalties for action figures of other WCW stars? The story that makes the round is someone bought a Malenko vs. Jericho figure set but it rang up as a Hulk Hogan doll.
Memories of wrestling Sting and Ric Flair on Nitro?
You were going back and forth between WCW and New Japan at this point – who was in charge of setting up that scheduling and telling you where you were required to go?
Memories of winning the Cruiserweight title from Otani?
Rey Mysterio comes into the company in the summer of 1996. Memories of working with him and why do you think you meshed so well in the ring?
WCW began building the Loose Cannon Brian Pillman storyline at the end of 95 and beginning of 96 – what did you think of it? What are your memories of Pillman?
Is it true his entire storyline was supposed to end up with him launching a new Horsemen like group that would have included you and Benoit?
Memories of working Franzz Schuuman in New Japan and CWA in Europe?
Memories of the late Mark Curtis?
First impressions of Chris Jericho as a person and a worker in WCW?
Memories of working the outdoor PPVs in Sturgis? How was that atmosphere to perform in?
Memories of the chaos of the World War 3 Battle Royals with the three rings?
Thoughts on the feud with Chris Jericho where he mocks you and your 1,000 holds?
Did you have any issue with Jericho insulting your father as part of the story?
Memories of the angle where you are under the mask as Ciclope?
Thoughts on being added to the Four Horsemen?
Favorite Mongo McMichael memories?
Do you think WCW got the most out of that incarnation of the group?
Thoughts on Pro Wrestling Illustrated naming you the #1 wrestler in the PWI 500?
Memories of the following from WCW:
Memories of working with Waltman in WCW
Hulk Hogan
Lex Luger
Hall & Nash
Ultimo Dragon
Jeff Jarrett
Jerry Flynn
Joe Maggs
Disco Inferno
Jerry Lynn
Scotty Riggs
Bobby Eaton
Brad Armstrong
Steve Regal
Hard Work Bobby Walker
Dave Taylor
Tony Schiavone
Bobby Heenan
Mark Madden
David Flair
WCW was notorious for being completely disorganized at times, so what was the worst, most ridiculous thing you can remember going on?
Memories of the Horsemen’s feud with Raven and Kanyon & Saturn
Memories of the program against Rey & Kidman
Chavo Guerrero Jr.
Silver King.
Barry Windham
Curt Hennig
When did you first realize there were issues with WCW and the wheels were coming off?
Were you surprised when Bischoff was sent home?
What were your first impressions when Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara were hired?
Did you think it would be a step in the right direction?
Under Russo, the company became more of a xerox of what WWE was – being there week to week, did it seem like he knew what he was doing?
Thoughts on the Revolution group he booked you, Saturn, Benoit, Shane Douglas as
Everything seemed to come to a head when Russo was sent home and Kevin Sullivan was put back in charge
Why did everyone have an issue with Kevin when he obviously wanted to push Benoit to the moon
Is it true Mike Graham threatened to slice everyone’s necks if they cost him his job?
Is that the reason everyone is able to walk out and go to WWE?
Kidman, Konnan and Shane Douglas were initially going to leave with you for WWE but in the end they don’t – why not?
How happy were you to get off the WCW Titanic?
Did you ever think the company would really, actually go out of business?
Who do you blame for the death of the company?
Talk about the negotiations to go to WWE and who handled them with out
Theres an urban legend that Douglas thought he was going with you and then learned the four of you had signed to go without him – anything to that
First impressions of WWE management – Vince, Prichard, etc.
Compare how WWE runs things to WCW
Memories of the night the Radicalz debuted on Raw.
How insane was that to be part on?
Memories of the ten man tag on Raw – Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Perry Saturn, Triple H & X-Pac defeat Cactus Jack, Rikishi Phatu, The Rock & Too Cool (Grandmaster Sexay & Scotty 2 Hotty) (10:09)
Working with Foley
Steve Austin
The Rock
Winning the Light Heavyweight title from Essa Rios
His program with Scotty 2 Hotty
Memories of working Wrestlemania 17, your first Mania?
Being part of Eddy Guerrero’s program with Chyna
Teaming with Saturn
Memories of the program with Lita and the Hardy Boyz
Memories of the hotel room vignettes
Memories of Lita in the ring – did you have any issues with putting her over?
Memories of working with Crash Holly?
Why did you disappear off TV during the WCW invasion?
Memories of working with the following in WWE:
Steve Blackman
Brock Lesnar
The Dudley Boyz
Justin Credible
Christian & Edge
Terri Runnells
Molly Holly
Bob Holly
Jerry Lawler
D’Lo Brown
Big Bosssman
Thoughts on Triple H’s work in the ring and beHind the scenes
Thoughts on what he’s built with NXT
How has Paul Heyman changed over the years
In 2001, you made the announced that you were going to retire at the 4th annual Pillman Memorial. Why did you choose that show to make the announcement? Was it health or just making the decision to transition into producing?
Were you OK with that being your last match if that was it?
You wrestled against Chad Collyer, who you trained, in your last official singles match. What led to you making the decision to come back to wrestle?
Why do you think Collyer never found his niche in pro wrestling?
Eddy Guerrero passed away in November 2005. Bob Holly wrote in his book that Eddy was in terrible physical shape backstage and would then will himself to go perform – you were as close to Guerrero as anyone, so what was he like in the days leading to his passing.
What are your memories of the day Eddy passed away in Minnesota
WWE did several tribute shows to Eddy that weekend and later utilized his name in a storyline where Rey Mysterio dedicated his Rumble win and World title run to Eddy – were you comfortable with Eddy’s name being used in the stories?
Were you surprised when Vickie Guerrero got involved with the company?
Why do you think WWE made her a full time character?
How did the loss of Eddy effect the locker room as a whole?
What was the locker room response to Vince McMahon announcing the Wellness Policy being instituted in the wake of Eddy’s passing?
Do you think anything could have been done to help Eddy?
If Eddy had been alive, do you think the trajectory of Chris Benoit’s life would have been different?
You inducted Eddie into the 2300 Arena Hall of Fame on the same night you were inducted – what did it mean to go back and honor Eddie and go back to Philly?
How do you hope Eddy is remembered by the fans going forward?
Would you have wanted to work the ECW One Night Stand PPV if you were asked?
Urban Legend time: Is it true the second One Night Stand was initially to feature you vs. Benoit in tribute to Eddy? If true, why were plans changed.
Talk about the roles of a Producer in WWE?
What are the responsibilities of the job?
What makes a good producer?
Talk about the process of how a match is put together on TV. You get the script and then what happens?
If something goes wrong, who’s blamed? The producer or the talent?
Who were your favorite talents to produce?
Is there more satisfaction out of performing or producing a great match
Whats the best and worst part of that job?
On a Wrestlemania week, how insane is the workload for a producer?
What was the breaking point that made you decide to quit WWE?
Whats the craziest vince mcmahon story you have
What was the reaction by the company when you gave notice?
Did you know AEW was an option when you quit?
What are your initial thoughts on AEW so far?
Compare working there to WWE in terms of creative freedom and collaborating?
Initial thoughts on Tony Khan?

In the past, anytime the boys are allowed to run a company, it’s never worked out well long term. What are your thoughts on the Elite all being VPs in the company?

Who do you think are the next great talents?
Have you ever thought of writing a book about your career?
Would you ever want to train talents again?
What do you hope your legacy in pro wrestling will be?
Do you have a personal favorite match?
What was your favorite city to perform in?
It’s been said you have an amazing memory for driving and traveling and getting around a city, so what are the best and worst cities to drive in?
What’s the best places to go eat in your favorite city?
Any final words for the fans who have supported you over the years?