Former WCW star Erik Watts, son of legendary pro wrestler / promoter “Cowboy” Bill Watts, recently appeared as a guest on The Two Man Power Trip Of Wrestling podcast for an in-depth interview. Below are some of the highlights.
On feeling the pressure of being the son of a legend: “It was a ton of pressure but nothing different than every day in my life. It was a ton of pressure. My Dad and my Mom were preparing me for life early and when other kids (I was 14/15 years old) had banquets and were excited are they going to get Most Valuable Player or this or that and my Mom was accepting and allowing people to have me come and speak at other banquets, which is really odd. But my family was always and especially with my Mom, you can dream and believe whatever it is that you want to achieve.
“When I got to WCW and started there the pressure was enormous, my optics were different. My optics was it really sucks that these guys want to be pissed off about me being from a line of pro wrestlers but they just don’t get it. They are mad because it is just the thing to be. They are pissed off right now because they want to think it is the silver spoon or there is some corner cut or some edge cut. Even more when the kayfabe sheets were all up-in-arms about it, it was than some of the “smart marks” and their remarks. I felt bad for them. Was it rough on the road, especially when you got around guys that wanted to act like your friend? And they were your friend but they were just mad about the situation and they were afraid they may catch some shade for being my friend or should they be on the bandwagon of who is this and why is he here and is it just because of his Dad and that is the only reason he is here type of sh*t? That was there too. I felt bad for the situation and that the situation was going on. For me it was just another day and I tried my hardest. To be honest, when I came out and I wrestled- for people to say that I didn’t pay my dues? I put up more rings, I traveled more time on the road than they ever would have and I had done more things for the sport as far as promotions and marketing and it is what paid for every meal I ever had since I had been in existence. People don’t get it but kayfabe ran in my family forever.
“I think my first year in wrestling I worked something like 302 matches. But that is what it took to try and get good. So you go back to asking me did it suck and did I get heat, yes I did. I would never do it a different way as far as wrestling is concerned and I could never be more proud of who I am and who my father was and who my family is. I don’t take it personal and all of the stuff that was going on at the time because I don’t necessarily expect everyone else to understand but I would have do it in the exact same way. I would’ve tried my hardest to be the best that I can be no matter what because that is how I was raised. In every sport and in every part of my life and it wasn’t going to change especially for wrestling where I felt so lucky and so blessed to be a part of because going back to what I said it has provided everything for me and my family since the day I was born.”
On his first backstage experience with the man then known as “Stunning” Steve Austin: “Steve Austin or Steve Williams on the day I met him he was new. He was athlete, he was a stud and he was competitive. I named my paint company after something he said. It was me and Dustin (Rhodes) that were going to wrestle him and Flyin’ Brian and as you know as a rookie you go up and say thank you for the opportunity and ask if there is anything that I can do special? I had asked Steve is there anything special I can do for you and Brian and we were at Center Stage and he looked me right in the face and said: “Son, I’m going to promise you two things.: an ass-whooping and a brush with success.” He said: “You are going to brush up against me and I am a success now f*ck off.” On the inside Erik Watts wanted to just jab him in the mouth and see where it went because I just went up to be respectful and instead I just walked off and went around the corner and kind of started laughing because that guy right there is awesome. In his character he knew he was great and Pillman was the same way they knew they were great and knew they were unstoppable and knew they were the best in the business, the only difference was it wasn’t there time yet. That was the aura of those guys.”
On his friendship with Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque: “Let me just say this. Before and take away the part that he is one of the more incredible workers of all time. He is a special breed that wants to perform and tear down the house. This was a guy who when he came to WCW was 260-270 and all he would talk about was Killer Kowalski and his school and was an old school, old school, old school athlete. My first time around him when he first came in we were going around wrestling and I was experimenting with some moves and I said to him I wanted to try this move (a AAA inspired arm drag off the ropes) and he after he questioned it he said to me if you can keep me safe I am cool with it.”
“It came full circle because Kevin Sullivan hated me. When I was leaving WCW the first time, Sullivan loved it. In Jacksonville, Florida Sullivan came up to me and said he was so glad to see me leave because not only did he want me to do the job for Lévesque but he said I want him to beat you with your STF finish. When we tied up, Paul said I’m not using your finish and that is bull sh*t and he actually wanted to put me over. I ended up putting him over no big deal but that is the kind of person he is. Knowing the right from wrongs and putting his young name on the line for the business was unbelievable and we became decent friends. What is cool about Triple H to me is that when he was trailblazing and was making his mark I gave him a call and asked him to put in a good word for me with the office when I came back from a trip to Japan. He was at dinner with Chyna at the time and asked me to call him back and I actually never did call him back but to have that connection with him, to know that had I cashed in that chip something could have worked and to have him tell you something like that means a lot.”
Check out the complete Erik Watts interview from The Two Man Power Trip Of Wrestling podcast at Podomatic.com.