was conducted with "The Franchise" Shane Douglas via telephone call on
6/2/99 exclusively for ECWNews.com.
Please credit this site and columnist for any reproductions of this interview.
Frank Romeo: First off, I'd like to thank you for conducting this interview.
Shane Douglas: You're welcome.
FR: How does it feel being the hottest free agent on the market today?
SD: It's flattering. You know that when you take a look at the marketplace, you realize that 18 years of hard work have culminated by people who know talent and people who need talent seek you out. It's sort of a consensus feeling or a stamp of approval that the 18 years that I've put in have paid off. I'll be happier once I'm back working full-time again. I've really enjoyed my time off greatly. It's been six years coming and I've need it for all the nagging injuries that wouldn't heal because I've taken no time off. It's sorta really nice to suddenly feel good.
FR: How's the elbow doing?
SD: The elbow's great. It will never be 100 percent again. I've had three major surgeries done to it and the damage is pretty extensive, but I'm at about 96 percent, which the surgeon calls amazing.
FR: I remember reading the immediate reports saying that you'd never be able to wrestle again after the surgery.
SD: After I had the last surgery, the doctor said that it was touch-and-go and that he wasn't sure how it was going to heal. He told me that I may never regain enough use of it to be active again. I was going to listen to that and believe that. I sorta went with the typical "Franchise" nose to the grindstone attitude. He did tell me that any further major damage to it could be problematic.
FR: Who's the ankle doing?
SD: The ankle's healed. If you've ever broken a bone you know it takes a long time before you feel 100% off of it. I'm able to job on it. I'm able to lift. I'm just not able to roll from side-to-side on it yet. I am walking without a limp and stairs are no problem.
FR: Before you got into wrestling, what made you get out of the education field?
SD: Well, the teaching came in the middle of my wrestling career. I had wrestled from 1982 until 1991 when I got my first teaching job. I taught from '91 to '93 and took a short while off while I was with Steamboat, and then I went back with my dad when he got ill in '93 and taught till '95. So it was actually in the second third of my career. The reason I left teaching to go back to wrestling quite frankly is because I believe that the public school system today is a joke. I don't think the Littleton, CO or Paducah, KT or any of these other tragedies we keep reading about are coincidence or happenstance. I think it's clear that there's a small, small segment of the students out there, because of the total lack of discipline out there today. I'm sure that now someone else from the educational system is saying there's a flip side to this argument saying, "we do have discipline." Their discipline consists of out-of-school suspension, which is a reward to students, or there's in-school suspension, which is still a reward because they don't have to sit in class. There's also expulsion, which is just a validation for them to be out of school. So there's really no punishments that are viable punishments that keep a student from opting to misbehave or act out aggressively. Until that comes back, and I'm not just talking about the paddle, even though I do believe in the paddle, I think that until they come up with some real viable punishments, which is a bad word because you're not supposed to use the word punishments, you're supposed to use the word discipline. I like the word punishment and until they but they put punishment back into school, public school's gonna be a joke. The taxpayers are the losers because they are paying big bucks in taxes to run public schools, and it doesn't matter how good a teacher you are, you're still going to be ineffective if the student doesn't think he needs to sit there and listen to you, well then you can be Albert Einstein trying to teach Physics and it's just not going to work. What I was put in that position of being a glorified babysitter or a professional wrestler, to me that wasn't a very hard decision.
FR: At what age do you think children should be allowed to start watching wrestling?
SD: It depends on what kind of wrestling you're talking about. If you're talking about WCW, if I had kids, I'd say about 10 or 12, any age group. With the WWF today, I'd say a little higher, maybe 14-15 and up. With ECW, I'd say it's the same age group. I think we really have to start policing ourselves. In the overall scheme of things we are role models whether we like to think so or not. I remember hearing Charles Barkley say, "I'm not a role model," one time because he didn't want to be a role model. Just because you don't want to be one doesn't mean you're not. We are role models and we have to start policing ourselves and have some common sense on what we do, and say, and act out on television. The thing that I've always liked about ECW is that it's on a later time slot, and I didn't feel as though I was violating that title as role model. In Pittsburgh, the earliest we ever aired was 11pm. I don't think that a 10-year-old should be watching television at 11 o'clock at night and if he is, it's the parents' fault. When you have kids watching at 9pm and there's some pretty graphic things going on, I think it's trying to compensate your own argument for saying, "well, ya know, it's sports entertainment." Ok. Fine. Well then so are movies and if that's the case then nude pictures should be because it's simulated sex or whatever and kids should be allowed to watch that too because it's not real. It's really a lame argument to say, "well, we're sports entertainment and it's ok if we flip someone the bird, or smack someone with chairs, or slicing one's wrists and bleeding into a cup so somebody drinks it, well the kids know it's fake so it's no bid deal." Well, I disagree. There's a reason why kids shouldn't be watching nude pictures and ultra violent things.
FR: Are you still considering going into the medical field?
SD: I've looked at it, and there's a lot about the medical field that appeals to me.
FR: Was there a specific area you wanted to go into?
SD: Yeah, Orthopedic Surgery, and Ric Flair's comments not withstanding, I was a lot closer to being a doctor than not being a doctor. Because I was choosing not to stay in the field of work that he's made his life's work of, I find it amazing that he decided to attack me and accuse me of being a liar because I never went to medical school. I've said it before and I'll say it again here in your column, if Ric Flair wants to compare academic credentials, we can do that. He loses, guaranteed.
FR: What are some things you enjoy doing in your free time?
SD: I love reading. I'm a voracious reader of historical books, autobiographies, and biographies. I love reading things about the human body, and not just things in the weight lifting and body building categories, but how the heart works and how the lungs work. I get a couple of medical journals from clinics and I enjoy reading those. I love to work around the house and do yard work, it's brainless time. Pushing the lawnmower and trimming the hedges, it doesn't take a lot of thought to do that stuff. Sometimes in this business, especially when you've been as busy as I've been with promoting and doing other things for the company as I've been, and wrestling, and all these hats I've worn for wrestling, it's sorta nice to put the brain in idle for an hour or two and not have to think about anything.
You can look forward to listening to the story about Shane's debut match being a barbwire match, the personal meaning behind his entrance music, his favorite incarnation of the Triple Threat, the horror of the night he threw down Gary Wolfe, his opinions on some of the major names in the industry, his favorite "Owen Story" and much, much more.