Ken Shamrock talks working with The Rock and Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, fighting Kimbo Slice, HHH
Source: Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling
The Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling Podcast recently spoke with former WWE Superstar and UFC Hall of Famer Ken Shamrock to promote his upcoming bout with Kimbo Slice in Bellator and his bare-knuckle fight against James Quinn in the UK this September.
You can check out the full episode on iTunes by clicking here, they sent us these highlights:
Why a bare-knuckle fight in the UK against James Quinn?
Why not man? It is fun, it just sounds like fun, go in there and fight someone. I'm not going to get arrested for it. I'm going to get paid for it. I'm going to entertain the fans, entertain myself. What's not to like?
If you could predict it, what are your chances?
There is no doubt in my mind I'm going to walk in and win this thing. I'm in a different place now. I feel in a better way now than I did 15 years ago. I feel real good and real confident.
In June you are going to face Kimbo Slice as part of Bellator 178, how did the Kimbo Slice fight come together?
I was working on the Bare-knuckle fight and we were promoting that, and we were getting a lot of attention. We heard that Kimbo was going to be signing with Bellator. Well, that's a fight that should've happened awhile back and it didn't. I've always wanted that fight. I reached out and said "Throw my name out there and see if we can get any traction with it." My business partner at the time Dez, threw the name out and they showed a huge interest in that fight. So we sat down and understood that this was a fight that the fans wanted to see. This is a fight I wanted, a fight Kimbo wanted, and there was nothing left to do but sign a contract to make it happen.
Are you doing this for fun or is this a vendetta?
Of course it's for fun; obviously I have reason to do this. I have to shut this guy up. There is some personality behind this. I'm doing this because it's what I love to do, and I'm getting to do the fights I want to do. I'm not trying to be the World Champion anymore. I just want to have fun and do the fights I like.
Is this your last main event?
I think there's one or two left in me. I think right now I have to focus on this one and get the job done. I definitely see what my options are. So as long as I feel healthy, I feel good, I feel I can compete in the ring at a high level and that I'm not endangering myself obviously, then I'm going to keep doing the fights. So if the fights that I take make sense, and there not a 27 year old number one contender in the world, then I'll probably be interested in doing fights that make sense and fights that are marketable.
What have been your experiences with Bellator and Scott Coker?
Well I first did something with him in San Diego with the Tito fight. I wanted to explore Tito, I really felt during that time, that his direction and what he was doing was tremendous. He's received a huge response and has a huge following and respect on top of it. How he's approaching everything and the way he's doing his job at promoting Bellator, and the people that he's brought in to pay tribute to. The fans, the fighters and the media deserve to be able to have a choice on what type of coverage they want on a particular event.
What is your current relationship with Dana White and the UFC?
As far as I know we're fine. They have a job to do. They have a lot on their plate. It's not like we pick up the phone and talk on weekends. As far as I'm concerned, there is no issue between us. They're doing what they have to do. I'm doing what I have to do. There's no conflict there.
Going back to the early days of the UFC, how do you reflect on your fights with Dan "the beast" Severn?
Yeah that was fun. The first time I fought him, I was definitely healthy. I felt great during that time. I had already fought Oleg (Taktarov) and then I fought Severn. Both of those guys won the Ultimate Ultimate, which was the winner of all tournaments that competed in a tournament at the end of the year and the winner of that would end up fighting me. So we're talking the best of the best I had to fight to keep my title and I had to do that four times.
You also had the chance to wrestle Dan Severn in the WWF, do you feel that the WWF missed the opportunity to promote a marquee rematch with Severn?
I don't know. They know better than I do. They know what they can market and what they cannot. They know what sells, they know what will work. So who am I to say "You should put Severn together that would have been a big draw or you should have put me with The Rock" That's not my place. The fans can do that, they can put their opinions on it. It's not my place. I leave that to guys who know how to do that the best.
Sticking with your pro wrestling career, a lot of people don't realize you trained in pro wrestling before you did MMA, where did you train and how did you get your start in the wrestling business?
I started out with Buzz Sawyer in Sacramento. He had me shoot on guys and beat them up. They tossed me a few bones here and there. But, after Buzz passed away, I started seeking training elsewhere. My Dad had found a place in North Carolina, which was with Nelson Royal, so I tried out. Nelson got his organization (Atlantic Coast Wrestling) up and running and six months later I was working there
You joined the WWF in 1997 and ascended quite quickly into a top spot in the WWF, what are your memories of working for Vince McMahon and was it a positive time in your career?
Absolutely, it was tremendous. It taught me discipline; it taught me how to manage my time. It taught me that family is important and being away from them for that long was not something I wanted to do. It taught me to reestablish my life so I could make more time for them. It also taught on how to market myself, market my fights and being able to get the fans to want to watch what I am doing. It gave me an understanding on how the world works. And what people actually want to see and to pay attention to that.
In recent years there has been talk of heat between you and Triple H. Is there truth to that rumor or is the heat coming from one side and not the other?
There is nothing with me. I learned a long time ago that you need to bury the hatchet. No need to hold grudges. That only weighs you down. There is nothing on my end. I don't think they think much of me on their end. No problems here. It's just a shame that they don't listen to the fans.
Prior to Bret Hart leaving the WWF for WCW, Bret had stated that he would drop the belt to a small list of guys before he departed; your name was on that list. Had Bret ever talked to you directly about including you?
He talked to me about it, and I had some other people talk to me about it and it made sense. He helped me transition from the MMA world to the pro wrestling World. He helped build my character. I stayed up in Calgary for a few months in preparation for the feud with Vader and he helped me work on my moves for pro wrestling. So it made sense if he was going to drop the strap he was going to give it to me. He was a shooter with so many submission moves. So if I were him I'd want someone with that shooter style.
You cannot mention Bret Hart without mentioning Shawn Michaels, who one month after Bret's departure you main evented the DX In Your House pay per view with, what are your memories of working with Shawn?
Shawn was a tremendous talent. When he stepped in the ring, and when he started to perform, he became bigger than life. He was also a tremendous personality. Just watching him the way he moved, the way he walked and the way he talked. Everything seemed in tune and everything was aligned with his character and he didn't miss a beat. He was a superstar.
During the start of the Attitude Era you were involved in a long feud with the Rock over the Intercontinental Title, how was working with The Rock?
I will tell you what, the Rock was my nemesis. We did enough for each other; we put each other over to be famous. If we didn't have that feud with each other we wouldn't have had the success we both had in pro wrestling. We really did build each other. I'm very thankful we had those opportunities and those matches.
From working with an up and comer like the Rock to teaming with a veteran like The Big Boss Man, your fellow Tag Team Champion and fellow member of the Corporation, what did you learn from Ray Traylor?
Boss Man had been in wrestling for a long time. He was also a genuine good person and I really enjoyed my time with him. Just learning from him and when to go, when not to go, when to blow up, when not to blow up. Talking to him and hearing his perspective and how to squeeze a crowd. There were some good things that he was able to instill in me. I got a lot of help. I was very grateful for that.
Prior to your exit from the WWF, you feuded with Chris Jericho, how was working with Jericho?
Jericho, I guess he was ok. I didn't get to know him. I didn't get to do much with him. We didn't get to talk a lot. There didn't seem to be much chemistry.
After you departed the WWF was there any interest from WCW?
None, early on maybe, but they had so many superstars they didn't really look twice at me.
If you can narrow it down over your career, what would your favorite wrestling match and your favorite fight be?
That's hard to say because I got to work with Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold, Bret Hart, the Undertaker. But if I have to pick one I'd have to say me going on to win the Intercontinental Title (Defeating X-Pac in a tournament final). I think that has to be my most memorable match.
But my favorite fights? There are probably two of them. My first was being the first King of Pancrase tournament winner. That was a 60 man tournament and I won that tournament. The other one has to be the UFC, the first ever single fight, super fight, whatever people want to call it. Every single belt goes through the belt I won.
What does the future hold for the "World's Most Dangerous Man"?
Well, Kimbo is going to be on June 20th. I hear people talking about Kimbo and we have the opportunity for the most televised fight in the history of all MMA. We have the chance to break all those numbers and they ask is this is the biggest feud? This isn't a feud, this is a guy who has been spoon fed for his whole career. He's 5 and 2 as an MMA fighter. Every one of those fights has been guys who don't know how to fight on the ground. They've all been stand up guys. None of those guys have been able scrap on the ground. He has a tremendous following that he's built through the internet. He's done the best with nothing and he's beaten nobody.