Ron Simmons is a man of few words, which is a shame because the guy has had a long, storied career and probably has a lot of good stories to tell. Well, Simmons actually sat down with Slam Wrestling for a rare interview and discussed a few of the high points of his career.
Simmons started as a football guy, playing for Florida State and later playing a few seasons of pro football for the Cleveland Browns and the CFL’s Ottawa Rough Riders. So, which sport is tougher? Football or pro wrestling?
“In football, you are already accustomed to getting hurt and going to the physical part of it, but the biggest part of getting used to is that in wrestling, and particularly back then, you had to do it almost every day. In football, you have a season and you’re off for three to four months, but in professional wrestling, you have to get used to put your body through that on a daily basis. It took a while to retrain your body to going out there and take a physical abuse like that on a weekly basis. In the long run, at the time I started, yeah, pro wrestling was tougher on your body. Now, not having house shows every day, I believe it’s not as tough.”
The recently departed Dusty Rhodes was Simmons’ biggest supporter in WCW, and he took a minute to remember the man he considered one of his mentors.
“I started in Florida Championship Wrestling and he had more of an impact on my career than anyone, aside from Hiro Matsuda (Matsuda was Simmons’ trainer). When I was told about his passing, it was like if time had stopped, I couldn’t believe it. The last time I saw him was during the WrestleMania weekend. He was such a great guy. He always wanted to make sure that you remembered the fundamentals, the basis of what the business was built around. He always told me to never become too big to forget about the people, to always stay in touch with the people. He wasn’t the greatest worker on Earth, but he was so good talking to people.”
Finally, Simmons discussed the thing he’s become most known for, his signature catchphrase (or rather, catchword), “Damn!”
“Let’s just say I’d jump off the top rope and I’d sprain an ankle or I would miss a move or something, and the first thing I’d yell out was ‘Damn!’ and the people in the first few rows could hear me say that. Every time I was coming back to a city, the fans would notice that every time something would go wrong, I would say ‘Damn!’ and as I kept coming back to each of the cities, I noticed that they would all start chanting ‘Damn!’ One day I asked Bradshaw what they were doing. ‘I think they’re talking about you.’
The writers picked up on that too. So we were in Chicago and Booker T and John Cena were doing something and they asked me to just walk on stage and after Cena was done talking just to say ‘Damn!’ and see the response. And it got over with the fans. You never know what people are gonna like, right?”
So, if Simmons had been a, let’s say, more polished performer, he might not have had yet another career reinvention as the “Damn!” guy. Take your weaknesses and make ’em into positives, folks.
There’s still plenty more to be found in Slam Wrestling’s interview, including Simmons’ thoughts on his WCW World Championship win, and being involved in The Rock’s early career, so check it out by clicking below.
(Via Slam! Wrestling)