Downtown Bruno Shoot Interview

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Downtown Bruno/Harvey Whippleman is truly the jack of all trades.  He also is one of the last of the mighty "wrestling managers" to work all of the major territories after the big wrestling boom in the 80's.  Bruno has worked with the biggest names in the business.  His best friend is only the biggest movie star in Hollywood, maybe you heard of him his name is Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.  During the interview you will hear how they have a strong friendship that has lasted until today, in fact we got a scoop about the Rock during this interview as well on how he surprised Harvey with a new gift.  Bruno worked a very long time for the Jarretts in Memphis and worked with Jerry Lawler, Bill Dundee, Robert Fuller, Sid Vicious, Paul Heyman and everyone under the sun in the 80's and 90's.  

You will hear on how he broke into the business in Hawaii. We talk all about his major run in Memphis discussing the biggest names of the territory.  How did he end up in Continental wrestling with Humongous who was Sid Vicious.  Who contacted him about coming into the WWE?  Want to hear about what it was like to manage Kamala, Giant Gonzales, Birtha Fay and of course Sid he has stories on them all.   

He has a crazy story on how Paul Heyman saved his life one night in a hotel.  Bruno is a true journeyman in our business and still works for the WWE today.  He talks about what his role is in the company and how he is also very important to the TV product that we see each week.  This is a really fun interview with tons of stories from Memphis and the WWE.  Bruno is a very positive person and has nothing bad to say about anyone and if he does he never really disclosed it as he likes to take the high road.  You will see several times when I bring up certain people if he didnt like them he basically has nothing to say on them and you will see who they were.

The interview takes us behind the scenes and he shares amazing stories on the biggest stars in the business.  You guys are going to love this interview as it was alot of fun to conduct it.

What was life like for Downtown Bruno growing up in Pennsylvania?

What were your first memories of professional wrestling?

Who were your favorites?

Did you have favorite wrestling managers?

In your book, you write about attending a wrestling show that was taking place at a fair and that ends up being your entrance into the business.  Before we get there, what do you think your life would be like if you hadn’t gone that day?

What was the promotion and promoter?  What are your memories of that day?

You get an offer to help with the ring crew in exchange for free admission - how did all this come about?

You end up going on the road at 13 and working for the promotion - what are the early life experiences and lessons you learn on the road?

Would you advise a 13 year old today to go on the road like that?

How did your family react to you literally running off to join the circus?

Are the wrestlers open to you or are they protecting the business?

What makes you decide you want to get in front of the camera and perform?

Jonathan Boyd of the Royal Kangaroos becomes your mentor.  For fans who are too young to have seen him work, can you talk a little about his career and what made him so special?

Memories of training and learning under Boyd?

Why do you think he took a liking to you?

What were the most important lessons Boyd taught you?

How do you think he should be remembered by the business?

Would you like to see WWE place him in the Hall of Fame?

Is it true you ended up being offered the role of a manager without ever having to take a bump?  How did that come about?

When did you get filled in one what the business truly was?

Memories of working for Dale Manning’s Mid-Continental Wrestling??

What was your first match as a manager like?

For fans who don’t know Manning’s promotion, what area did it run and was there anyone working for the promotion that stood out at the time?

What was the hardest part about learning to fit in inside the locker room?  What were the biggest mistakes you made and that you’ve seen others make?

Memories of working for Geto in PA?  

Where did the Dr. Lennerd Spazzinsky name come from?

You were trained by Geeto Mongol who gave you your first ring name - memories of Geeto and how you came to be trained by him given how the business was so closed off at the time?

How different were these “outlaw” shows from independent wrestling today?  Do you see them as similar?

What led you to changing your ring name to Downtown Bruno and was the inspiration for the name?

How did you land in Polynesian Pro Wrestling?

What was the territory like at the time and who was part of it?

Is it true your first plane trip was flying to start with the promotion?

Memories of Working under Lars Anderson in the office?

Memories of Lia Maivia?

Why didn’t she like you?

Memories of their legendary dog in the office, Francie?

Memories of Ata Johnson?

Did you ever end up getting over with Lia?

What was the Rock’s reaction to all of this stuff years later?

Memories of the following from their time in the promotion -
Ron Slinker
Kevin Sullivan
Jimmy Snuka
Rocky Johnson
Abdullah the Butcher
Mark Lewin

Is it true you got heat from the office for knocking the Islanders on TV promos?

The story of how Lars worked you for rent and Rocky Johnson’s reaction?

Did you like doing color commentary for the promotion?  

When did you realize you had the gift for cutting promos?  Was there anyone who helped shape your mic work or give you advice and guidance?

What led to the end of your run in Hawaii?

What leads you to Memphis?  Is it Lawler?

How do you first meet Lawler?

How do you land with Memphis Wrestling?

First thoughts on Jerry Jarrett and Jerry Lawler?

Which of them do you think was the better booker?

What was the best and the hardest thing about working live TV?

When did you first realize the TV exposure changed how you were seen and had to act in public?

Any scary run-ins with fans during the Memphis run?

Memories of Randy Hales and Eddie Marlin?

What made the WMC-TV studios so special?

Thoughts on Lance Russell and Dave Brown?

Walk us through a week working for the territory in the 80s?  What was the loop like?

Was it strange working the outside towns when they were a week behind in TV from Memphis itself?

Discuss what made the Mid-South Coliseum so special?

How did the Nashville Fairgrounds compare to the Memphis venue?

Any favorite or least favorite markets to work in?

Memories of debuting as Boy Tony’s manager?

Memories of working with Emily Arthur?

Memories of the angle where she, as a fan, was pulled out of the crowd at WMC TV?

Memories of the Downtown Connection - Big Bubba and Goliath?

Memories of feuding with Memphis Vic, Lou Winston & Jerry Bryant

Memories of managing Badd Company, Paul Diamond and Pat Tanaka

Why was Diamond disliked by the boys?

Memories of the night Rocky Johnson went after him for being a stooge?

Memories of the following from Memphis -

Tony Falk
Tojo Yamamoto
Tracy Smothers
King Cobra
Candi Devine
Cleo Reeves
Dennis Hall
Plowboy Frasier
Man Mountain Link
Referees Jerry Calhoun and Jerry Vickers
Dale Veasey
Barry Horowitz
Nate the Rat
Don Bass

Memories of Christine Jarrett?

What lessons did Lawler or Jarrett teach you in terms of wrestling psychology and the art of getting heat?

In your book you referred to Bill Dundee as “Satan” for the Memphis territory-  why did you feel that way and what did he do that was so off putting?

Memories of working with him?  Was he hard to deal with?

Looking back as someone who today is a veteran, could you understand why he acted the way he did or was he just being a jerk?

Is it true you were worried about heat because you had bumped for Dundee when Lawler didn’t want you to?

Is it true Dundee threatened to have you fired because you weren’t bumping for him?

Memories of Rocky Johnson coming to Memphis?

Did Rocky coming in help you with the Dundee issues?  

Tell the story of how Bill Dundee broke your collarbone?

How much time did you take off?

How excited were you to reunite with Jonathan Boyd when he came into the territory?

How had Boyd changed?  Why didn’t he last?

Memories of managing the Rock N’ Roll RPMS?

Memories of The Rock as a teenager when Bruno and Rocky Johnson were roommates?

Did you ever envision him going into the business?

Memories of stealing a car with him?

Memories of buying him a car?

Do you think you’ll end up a character in his new Young Rock series?

First thoughts on Paul Heyman when he came into Memphis?

Were you worried he was coming to take your spot?

Did you have issues with Paul?

Why do you think Paul had such longevity in the business?

What led to you leaving Memphis?  

Memories of your last night there?

How did you land in Kansas City?

Memories of Bob Giegel

Memories of Rip Rogers as the booker there?

What was the schedule and loop like for Central All Star Wrestling?

Memories of the following from the territory:

The Batten Twins
Rufus R Jones
Mr. Hughes
Mike George
Akip Sato
Porkchop Cash
Ric McCord
Bulldog Bob Brown

How was business for the territory?

Why do you think it was so bad?  Could anything have been done to turn it around?

When did you realize you needed to head out?

First memories of Sid Vicious?

You and Sid have been linked forever in the eyes of the fans - why do you think he took such a liking to you?

Is it true you suggested him for the Lord Humongous role in Continental?

Memories of Sid on the road?

He’s gotten a reputation for being unique on the road, what were the oddest or strangest things you experienced with Sid?

Why do you think he was so harsh with you on the road, especially since you got him his first career break?

What was the Continental schedule and loops like?

Memories of the following from Continental-

Robert Fuller
Danny Davis
Wendell Cooley
Jimmy Golden
Tom Prichard
Ron Fuller
Bob Armstrong
Doug Furnas
Tony Anthony
Randy Pee Wee Anderson

Any memories of stories of Gordon Solie who was announcing at the time

Memories of Humongous’ first big angle with Danny Davis

Memories of Sid working Scott Hall and initial thoughts on Hall

Thoughts on when Eddie Gilbert and Paul Heyman came into Continental as the new bookers

Missy at the time?

The story of how Paul Heyman saved his life

Memories of working for Steve Gatorwolf in The Southwest and what that territory was like

Memories of managing Sika in the IWF in Louisiana

What leads to you going back to Continental?

Memories of the following from this run -

Adrian Street and Miss Linda
Burrhead Jones
Terry Simms
Dennis Condrey
Jerry Stubbs

Mick Foley is in the territory at the time - first memories of him and did you think he’d go as far as he did?

How do you finally end up back in Memphis?  Had you be trying to get back in?  

Memories of teaming with Phil Hickerson?

Memories of Tommy and Doug Gilbert?

Memories of a young Scott Steiner in the territory?

Any Steiner stories from that era?

Memphis -

Jeff Gaylord
Gary Young
Brickhouse Brown
Brian Lee
Ken Wayne
Brian Christopher and Tony Williams as the New Kids
Chris Champion aka Cowabunga
Hollywood John Tatum

How was Eddie Gilbert as booker at the time?

How did Gilbert and Lawler help you after you ended up in jail for DUI?

How did the promotion change when Eric Embry replace Gilbert as booker?

Memories of working with Miss Texas?

Memories of Mark Starr and Billy Joe Travis

Initial memories of Jeff Jarrett and how he changed over the years

Memories of your feud with Jamie Dundee?

Memories of the Gilberts issues with the Texas hangmen?

The legend is Sid called you to ask you to come with him to the WWF when he left WCW - is that true?  What was your reaction to this?  

Did you trust him given everything that had gone on in the past?

How did Lawler and Jarrett react to you going to WWF?

Where did the Pee Wee Herman-esque look come for the Havey Whippleman character?

Where did the name come from?

Memories of your first night in the company and your dark segment with Gene Okerlund?

First impressions of the following

Vince McMahon
Gorilla Monsoon
JJ Dillon
Pat Patterson
Jay Strongbow
Rene Goulet
Tony Garea
George Steele
Bruce Prichard

When did you find out you were getting signed and what was your immediate reaction?

Memories of being teamed with Big Bully Busick early on?

Why do you think he wasn't long for the company?

Did Sid push for you to be put with him?

Once you were, were you traveling together?

Had he changed from the oddness of the early days?

Was he happy at the time  - he was making the most money ever in his career and was about to headline Wrestlemania

Memories of Hogan vs. Sid at Wrestlemania VIII

Was that your biggest payday in the business?

Memories of Sid’s program with Warrior?

What led to Sid quitting?

Is it true you quit with him and if so, what led to you going back?

What was Sid’s reaction to you going back?

Memories of managing Kamala?

Memories of traveling with Kamala and Steve Lombardi?

You and Lombardi worked together for so many years for the company together, what was your reaction when he was let go?

Memories of Kamala’s feud with Undertaker and working Summerslam 1992?

Memories of Kamala’s babyface turn and feuding with Slick?

Memories of working with the late Giant Gonzales?

What was it like traveling with Gonzales and helping him on the road?

You appeared on Regis & Kathy Lee with Gonzales-  what was that experience like?

Memories of his feud with Undertaker?

Memories of the angle where Gonzales blamed him for the loss to Taker at Summerslam 1993 and chokeslammed him?

In your book you noted you stayed in contact with Gonzales after he went home to Argentina, what are your favorite memories of him and how do you think he should be remembered in the business?

Thoughts on Taker as a talent and a person?

Do you think he’s really retired?

How does WWE ever replace someone like him?

Memories of the night Nailz went after Vince McMahon in the locker room?

Memories of managing Mr. Hughes and why did that run end so quickly?
Why didn’t Well Dunn last long after you were put with them?

Then it was on to Adam Bomb, memories of that partnership?

Memories of managing Savio Vega as Kwang?

You worked a lot with Howard Finkel doing Tuxedo matches at TV tapings - how did that come about and what are your favorite memories of Howard?

MAKE SURE HE’S OK WITH THIS - Would you care to discuss what happened the night Joey Marella died when he fell asleep at the wheel?

How bad were you hurt that night?

How did the company help you in the wake of the accident?

How quickly did you go back to work?

Did you ever physically heal completely?

Memories of working with the following from the 1990s WWF era
Hulk Hogan
Roddy Piper
Ric Flair
Randy Savage
Sherri Martel
Mr. Perfect
Rick Martel
Tito Santana
Bret Hart
Jimmy Hart
123 Kid
Shawn Michaels
Road Warriors/LOD
Ultimate Warrior
Papa Shango
Marty Jannetty
Brutus Beefcake
Ted DiBiase
Bam Bam Bigelow
Luna Vachon
Owen Hart
Bob Holly
Alundra Blayze
Jim Cornette

What was your reaction when Sid returned to the company in 1995?

Did you and he ever get back on good terms?

How do you think he should be remembered in the business?

Memories of managing Betha Fayte?

Why did you and she not get along?

What led to WWE shifting you over as a referee and why did that angle go nowhere?

How did you end up shifting over to working for the production crew?

Memories of working with Michael Hayes in the interview room?

Montreal Screwjob - who was right and wrong?

You’ve described that job as being something of a concierge for WWE - what were the strangest and most unique things you had to figure out and handle?

As someone who probably has more knowledge of how the company works on a day to day basis than anyone, who’s the unsung hero of the company?  Who was the most useless person there?

Thoughts on Power Pro Wrestling and memories of working with the following

Memories of teaming with Randy Hales against Cory Macklin and Dave Brown

Brandon Baxter
Bert Prentice
Scott Bowden
Uptown Karen

Memories of The Rock coming in for the tryout with Steve Lombardi that got him his job

Vignettes where he and mark henry double dated Moolah and Mae Young

Memories of the angle where he became WWF Women’s Champion - how did that come about?

Memories of wrestling against BB, Jacqueline, The Kat, Ivory, Luna, Moolah, Mae in a swimming pool for the title?

His reaction when he found out he was going over

Did he women have heat with him over it

Memories of losing it to Jacqueline the next night

Memories of the gimmick battle royal at wrestlemania 17

Thoughts and memories on

Bret Hart
Steve Austin
Shane and Stephanie
Triple H
Eddie Guerrero
Edge & Christian
Kevin Nash
Kurt Angle
John Cena
Brock Lesnar
Roman Reigns
Seth Rollins
Becky Lynch
Big Show
Eric Bischoff
Booker T
The Dudleys - D-Von, Bubba, Spike
Tommy Dreamer
Johnny Ace

Thoughts on the Benoit tragedy and memories of Chris?

What do you think was the best WWF match you’ve ever witnessed?

Do you miss performing?

What are your WWE duties like today?

How does it feel seeing so many of the old guard - Chimel, Lombardi, Cioda, etc. gone?

What do you think of today's modern day pro wrestling?
If you could give Vince McMahon advice on how to improve WWE today, what would it be

Favorite and least favorite cities you worked for WWF at the time?

Any favorite international cities?  

Favorite arenas to perform in?
Favorite celebrities you’ve met and interacted with over your career?
In your book, you wrote ECW was a failure.  Do you still feel that way?
What wrestlers would you like to see inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame?  Do you think one day you’ll go in?
Worst travel day ever?
Best ribs in the locker room?
What led to you deciding to write your book?  Would you ever want to do a sequel?
Who should play Downtown Bruno  in the story of your life?
Beyond pro wrestling, what's life like for Bruno Lauer these days?
What would you say are your favorite matches and memories of a life in pro wrestling?
If you could book one final appearance to close out your in-ring career differently, then or now, what would you do?
What do you think is the biggest misunderstanding of who you are as a person based on your public persona?
Any regrets?
How do you want fans to remember you?
Final words for your fans who have supported you all these years?