Buff Bagwell Talks About Retirement, Final WCW Nitro, WWE Overtaking WCW

Former WWE and WCW Superstar Marcus “Buff” Bagwell recently spoke with our friends at WrestlingInc.com for an interview. Below are some of the highlights.

On his plans to retire next year: “Yeah. I think so. It’s not necessarily - I think it’s a combination of my injuries, I’m not able to train like I used to. Let’s be honest, if your name is ‘Buff’ Bagwell you better look like ‘Buff’ Bagwell. If you are going to claim that schtick, you better live it for a lot of years, and I did, for a lot of years, but man, it gets tough. When you get older you get older and I’m 47 now, just really trying to make it happening, and I’m losing it so it bothers me that I don’t look like ‘Buff’ Bagwell, and I’m trying to show these fans a 20 year old memory, and I’m looking good enough to pull it off but it’s getting close. It really is, it’s getting close.

“Everybody says that I look great for a 47 year old, but for ‘Buff’ Bagwell standards and what I gave the people, I was such in shape at that time it’s such a difference. I think it matters a little bit, but I’ve received nothing but positive responses from everybody for my age, and how I look and been taking care of myself obviously. I dodged a bunch of crazy bullets, but hip and shoulder wise I don’t think I can pull it off another year without embarrassing myself, without having to hold a rope to clothesline a guy and it bothers me, it’s just not good.”

On wrestling for over 27 years and the changes the wrestling business has seen during that time: “The thing about it is, I was in the front seat riding it. It was one of the most unbelievable visual things you will see in your life. We went from Center Stage, with Chip Bernam, who was Head of Marketing. He grabbed me, the young, pretty boy and said for me to come with him. He used to give tickets away for free shows. There was Macho Man [Randy Savage], Nasty Boys, Sting, Lex Luger. We had a bunch of really good crowds, but nobody knew what WCW was, so when they finally got the Disney deal and people started noticing us. After Disney, then the nWo, there we went and there was no stopping it.”

On what he think led to WCW dropping below WWE in ratings: “I think everything you said. The changes, the background of one week it was [Vince] Russo, one week it was [Eric] Bischoff, you never knew who was running the shows. So I think some of it was that, but I think we just killed it. We did 3 hour Nitros, I can’t watch wrestling for 3 hours. Nobody can watch wrestling for 3 hours, then you had WCW Thunder on Thursdays. It was just too much for the fans, just too much.

“We’re making Monday Night Nitro and making millions. Everyone is happy and Eric Bischoff comes up with the Thunder idea, and we were like, Eric, don’t do that. That’s too much TV, it’s too much. He said that it would be a side show so we wouldn’t work it, it’d be like another group, kind of like what Raw and SmackDown is now. There’d be an A and a B show. That was his plan was, but he put Thunder out there the first week and it didn’t do well, so suddenly you had Bill Goldberg, Scott Steiner, all these guys get on Thunder, so it just added more work for us. I think it was just too much TV. That is the honest truth. I think we watered it down. I have a picture where we have the black and white nWo on, and the other side red and black and I couldn’t tell you why. I can tell you kind of, but the ones who were wearing the red were figured in. There was so much turmoil backstage. It was supposed to be Wolfpack, about 5-6 guys to get rid of the nWo, and become the next move, to keep an Elite Wolfpack group.”

On the final episode of WCW Monday Nitro: “I actually was believe it or not, on the final Nitro, but I never watched it. 100% I was on it, I did an interview with Luger. It’s not good on the very last night you’re not on the crowd. I’m trying to leave and go home and realize that my career is over. Half my way driving home my Dad calls and asked if I was going to be on TV, I said no. He said, well, they [WWE] just mentioned 5 names and you were one of the 5. I said, what? He said, believe it or not, I’m not just saying this as your Dad, because I went back and listened to it as well, but it’s probably the 2nd, maybe the 3rd biggest pop of the names mentioned; then to be fired 2 weeks later, how do you explain that? I still don’t know what happened. No matter what thought you come up with, drugs, whatever you want to come up with, hey Mark, quit it, or we’re going to fire you. No warnings, still don’t know what happened. They said that we were going to chill out for about 3 months and then bring you back afterwards, but of course that wasn’t true. I shook their hands and thanked them and then went on my way.”

Check out the complete Buff Bagwell interview at WrestlingInc.com.