SK Exclusive: Kevin Sullivan discusses Brock Lesnar, Jinder Mahal, The Undertaker succeeding in 2018 & more
Part 2 of our exclusive interview with the iconic Taskmaster.
In case you missed the first part of our conversation with the legendary Kevin Sullivan, click right here. Through his long and illustrious career, Sullivan has been one of wrestling's most recognizable names both as a booker and a performer.
Currently, he's associated with PCW Ultra, as the promotion gears up for their big event on 16th of March. Ahead of the event, we caught up with Mr. Sullivan to discuss the state of professional wrestling, particularly the WWE product, in the year 2018.
In the past, you've been very vocal about Jinder Mahal being a great representative to connect with the Indian population. Do you think a heel can be a good representative for India?
Kevin Sullivan: I don't think he should be a heel, first of all. I mean you're the fastest growing country in the world. Wrestling has been your national sport forever. I can go back to Dara Singh and King Kong, who came to India and wrestler Dara Singh. You guys wrestle in the dirt, in the pit...I mean let's go back all the way to the Great Gama.
You guys have a great wrestling history. Dara Singh wrestled in front of 150,000 to 200,000 people when he wrestled King Kong, the Hungarian out of Singapore. Why is Jinder going to be a heel when he can be a great representative for his people? I mean people from India would flock to see him and I thought it was a great move by them.
For some reason, he's a little bit on the backburner now and I just don't understand that. Now the WWE's going into the Middle East also. I mean you go to London...there's a huge Indian population. You go anywhere...Boston, Montreal, New York...there's a huge Indian population.
And him being a heel is going against the grain because why make him a heel, when there are still stereotypes in the society over here. Let's make him a babyface. Let's give him a segment where he talks about where he's from, the history of wrestling in India and the history of India.
So Indian people who may not watch wrestling and that live in the United States may say- 'Hey, I like what this guy did. Let's go to the matches and see him in person'. This guy needs to be a babyface. He looks terrific. His work ethic must be impeccable.
Let's reward this guy and in rewarding him, you're also going to be rewarding the company and you're also going to open a place in India that's going to draw a lot of money with this guy.
Did you watch the WarGames match that WWE did recently, and if so, what did you think of it?
Kevin Sullivan: I thought it was okay, but I thought it was kind of predictable. They need something where people go- 'Wow! I didn't expect that one'. It's like anything else. We all follow the patterns. And their pattern is a lot of talking. You know who's going to win every match, just about. I think they need to do something to shake that up!
It's like when they got behind Jinder, they pushed him and then just stopped. And I know there was an injury there too. Come on you got to keep the guy alive. Let's do something to shake it up. He won the belt. I thought that was brilliant. But they're falling back on their old pattern of not trying to rock the boat.
In today's day and age we have to rock the boat because we're a global society. We're a global village now. What happens in the United States or what happens in India, vice versa, we know instantaneously what's going on. Yeah, I wasn't crazy about what they did but that was the easy way out and sometimes you've got to shake things up.
Having played a supernatural character through your career, do you think there's a place for an outrageous character like that in 2018?
Kevin Sullivan: No. The closest one is Bray Wyatt and he can get by because it's like a cult, rather than occult. I don't know if it will work in today's day and age, and I admire The Undertaker...I think he's drawn more money than anybody in the history of the business for the longest time.
But I've thought about this myself. Do I think he'd get over if he started in 2018? I'm not so sure. I'm not so sure that it can be done, no.
Do you think the fact that the business has been exposed has played a detrimental effect on professional wrestling?
Kevin Sullivan: I'll tell you something. I was watching an old Superman program and they showed this program with this wrestler from India of all places that came and was a shooter and none of the wrestlers wanted to work with him. They boarded him up because he was supposed to wrestle for the title and the promoters didn't want him to beat the champion.
Superman knocks down the door and the guy comes out and legitimately beats the champion; and the promoter says- 'Oh I love it. Real wrestling'. And I looked at the end of that. And that was made in 1953. I think people have known that it's not real for a long time, but they thought one guy was real.
I think social media has done discredit to wrestling this way. If I have a very good match with you, I don't need to text you and say thank you very much so that the world can see. I know when there's a magic show...I went to see Siegfried and Roy. I know they didn't do their tricks magically, but they didn't show me how their act was done.
Everybody's on social media except Brock Lesnar. You never hear anything about him. And he makes the most money. So if I was a young man starting today, I'd look around at who makes the most money and say maybe I should do something similar to what he's doing.
I understand that you have to have followers. If Brock opened up on social media, he'd have hundreds of thousands, millions of followers. Would you think he's the baddest man on the planet if he said 'I'm going out tonight to have a hamburger with Finn Balor, and we had a great time!'?
Kevin Sullivan: It takes the mystique of it away. Sometimes you don't want people to know everything about you. And that's a fine line. If you're in the entertainment business, you got to have social media, but be sure to hold something back. I think, and I've said this before on Podcasts...I think there should be someone in WWE who monitors the social output there.
How many tapes have come out with the Divas? I can think it can hurt as much as it helps.
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