1980s WWF Star Says McMahon Forced Him Out Of Wrestling
Boris Zhukov wins the award for the most unexpected voice from a ClubWWI.com guest. A good ol’ boy, Boris talks to James Guttman about his talent for doing impressions and changing his voice. The difference is so startling that JG asks if there was ever a consideration to work an angle with Zhukov suddenly speaking with his southern drawl. Unfortunately, WWF never did that and no other company ever had the chance. Why? Because when Boris left full time wrestling with WWF, he had no options left. For some reason, Vince McMahon saw to that.
“Full time duty I pretty much left in ’91 because I was training to be a truck driver in January of ’92. When I left Vince and stuff, I was never able to go to WCW because he never would release me out of my contract. I couldn’t even go over and do jobs in WCW back in the day. Dusty couldn’t use me at all.”
James responds with a “Wow.” As the ClubWWI.com interview continues, Boris explains that Dusty Rhodes had said he would use him, but never was able to…and it was all because McMahon had a spot in mind for Zhukov on WWF’s roster.
“After I officially left and everything, Vince kept trying to bring me back just to do jobs on TV. I said, ‘No. I’m done.’ I started doing independent shows. But he made it hard for me. Even when I worked for Universal Wrestling or whatever, they couldn’t even put me on TV. I couldn’t even get booked on WCW to do jobs.
“They wouldn’t use me at all and the territories at the time were quickly dropping out of sight. The only one left was Portland and I had no desire to move to Portland because it was all dying out anyway. I saw that happening when I was with Vince. Vince told us at a meeting one time that the territories were going and we pretty much just had to work for him. We didn’t have any place else to go and that’s pretty much what his whole goal was.”
Guttman tells Boris that this situation seems to come up a lot, especially with some tag team guys from his time period. One second, Vince was friendly and the next he was battling you. As JG points out, it didn’t sound like Zhukov had any heat with WWF but was being treated like he did. Boris explains to ClubWWI.com members that all seemed to be going well until he had to return and serve as a sub for an injured star.
“Well, he talked to me about leaving, you know. It came up after the run with Nikolai. (Nikolai turned babyface) when Reagan did the thing with ‘tear down the wall’ with Gorbachev and all that happened. There was pretty much nothing he could do with me. He told me I’d be finishing up and he got me booked in Japan and all that and pretty much gave me my notice. After we all that was worked out, I remember Macho Man had got hurt. He was in an angle with Jim Duggan.
“So Macho Man got hurt and he brought me in to take his place. I had a little run with Duggan until Macho Man came back. Then he just wanted me to come back and start doing jobs on TV because he started offering to pay for my rental car and hotel room and I knew exactly what that was. I said, ‘I ain’t doing that.’ They said, ‘Where else you gonna go?’ I said, ‘I’ll do something else for a living.’ I learned that when I first went to Atlanta and got started, old timers said, ‘Be ready for when you have to get out.’ Baron Von Raschke said to me, ‘Jim, there’s a day you get in, but there’s a day you have to leave. You have to have something else to do on the side.'”