Bull Buchanan Talks His Son Working For WWE, John Cena’s Success, Attitude Era, More

(Photo Credit: WWE)

Former WWE star Bull Buchanan recently appeared as a guest on the Wrestling Epicenter for an in-depth interview covering all things pro wrestling. During the discussion, Buchanan commented on Brooks Jensen, his son, working for WWE:

“Yeah, I knew he was going to do it. He’s was crazy about it from a young age. You never know hwo good they are going to be at it. But, I knew he was going to give it a try. He was a real good state amateur wrestler. I had my retirement match in 2012… The Sheriff’s Department put the show on for me. D’Lo Brown came down and tagged with me. And, after that, I stayed away from wrestling for a year or more. But, he started wanting to get into it so I started letting him referee a little bit and I’d go with him to shows, we’d get there early and I’d get in the ring with him a little bit. We rolled around and I taught him a few things as he was getting started. And, it kind of all grew from there! Now my next son, he’s a senior in high school. He’s a big kid too. He’s already had a few matches. He also plays football. He’s about 6’3, a little over 200 pounds. So, he’s a big kid. So, I’ll start over with him!”

On his time working under Jim Cornette and Smokey Mountain Wrestling:

“Oh man, Smokey Mountain was everything I thought wrestling would be. It was a throwback. It was still a territory! We would work 4, 5 times a week. I go back and I look at some of those matches I had and it was almost embarrassing! I was so green! But Jimmy, he worked with me. He’d teach me things and help me out. And, all those lessons that he taught me and that guys like Tommy Rich, The Armstrongs, and all those guys like that… Man! If I could go back and be 21, in a perfect world, I’d go back to Smokey Mountain Wrestling. It is everything I thought professional wrestling would be when I was a kid growing up.”

On the origin of the name “The Punisher” & “Bull Buchanan”:

Well, Jimmy (Cornette) came up with The Punisher and he named me after Gene Simmons’ bass guitar. Jimmy was a real big KISS fan and I was too so it kind of fit. But, I immediately saw it like the comic book Punisher character first. As for “Bull”, that was Jimmy also. I don’t really know the origin of that. I guess it was kind of like I was a bull in a China shop kind of thing.”

On working for WWE as it hit the Attitude Era and became incredibly popular:

“That is the thing about that era that separates it from all other eras. It didn’t matter where you were on the card, you were a star. If you were an opening match guy, you were a star. If you were a mid carder, you were a star. Not to mention if you were an upper level star, they became some of the biggest stars ever. I mean, it was crazy. I remember we did a show in Las Cruces, New Mexico and we were about 100 tickets short of a sell out and everyone was walking around, “Oh my God, oh my God, we didn’t sell out.” We had sold out everyw here! Not just TV but house shows too. Everything we did, we sold the places out! Close your eyes and point at a map and wherever you point, we sold it out! Des Moines, Iowa! Sold out! Tulsa City, Oklahoma, sold out! You name it! It was a good feeling!”

On how the Attitude Era compared to just a few years prior when he came in with the Truth Commission:
“Man, I don’t think people realize just how down we were when I first came in. I don’t think people realize how bad things could have gone with just a few bad breaks. I mean, if Taker had left or Shawn Michaels had left. Because, when I got there, things really were down. And, we were just a few bad breaks from really being in trouble. It really did feel like a team effort to turn it all around. Of course, this business is a self promotion business. But, man, when we started gaining momentum. Austin got white hot, Rocky got hot. It all steamrolled. And, we overtook ’em! (WCW)”

On WWE destroying WCW:

“Looking back, maybe we would’ve been better off if WCW had still been able to stick around. (laughs) Because, it was good for the business to have somewhere else to go. But, right now, I was just saying this to someone earlier today, right now is one of the best times to get into the business because there are so many places to go. I mean, since the territories, you do still have options now with WWE, NXT which is part of WWE but is almost like its own brand now, AEW, ROH, TNA, New Japan… It is just a good time to be in the business!

On being paired with The Big Bossman in WWE:

“That was special for me. I was watching him when he was Big Bubba – Remember, I’m in Georgia! I remember when he first went to WWE, they would say that he was from Cobb County, Georgia. I always wondered if that was true. And, it inspired me. Because, I was always a tall guy but I was kind of lanky in high school. And, no matter how hard I worked out… Well, I saw him… He was from the same area I was from. He was big too. And, he made it! If he could make it, maybe I could! So, tagging with him was great. Especially doing his gimmick! I’ve still got the vest. He gave me the vest and I have kept it to this day. I learned so much from him. And, all of it wasn’t in the ring. I learned just as much from him out of the ring. One thing that comes to mind is when we were so hot, we would have TV crews come to interview us before SmackDown and RAW all the time. I am sure they still do. But, we didn’t when I first came in and when I did come in, I was part of the Truth Commission and we didn’t talk. So, one of the things that Ray did that I learned from was he knew how to make people feel comfortable. He knew how big of a star he was. Or, at least, he had an idea. So, he knew when people would come up to him, they would be pretty nervous – especially kids. So, he knew how to start offf with something to make them laugh, make them feel at home. I mean, we would get approached all the time back then. I’ve seen girls cry and hang on to Rocky’s arm and have to be helped off of him by their family because they couldn’t let go even though they wanted to. And, Rocky was always real cool about it. And, Ray would go through a lot of things like that and would always handle it right. Ray didn’t just make me a better wrestler, he made me a better person. And, even today, I still find myself doing things out in the real world that Ray would have done.”

On the elements that made Right to Censor work:

“Stevie Richards and I got to be friends well before we started the RTC thing. And, he had started going out there in his shirt and tie and doing his whole thing. He came to the back and he told me his idea for what the RTC would be and I was like, “Man, people are going to hate this!” He said, “Exactly!” And, he was right. Also, I made some good friends with it too. Godfather and I knew each other, we ahd worked together. But, we never really hung out. And, through this, I started riding with Godfather and Teddy Long and man that was a blast! And, to me, Val Venis is one of the msot underrated guys there ever was in the ring. I mean, with how smooth he was. But, I was a bad guy already anyway. So, it didn’t change much for me in what I was doing. But, Godfather was moving a lot of merchandise… I mean, a lot of merchandise. And, Val was doing real good with that too. It put a real dent into that for those guys. And Godfather, man, I know he hated it. But, when we got in there, we pulled it off. And, he really did go from being one of the most loved characters on the show to one of the most hated. That is impressive.”

On Ivory adopting the role:

“Ivory too, man. ivory was such a beautiful lady. And, she really had to work to dull that down and make herself look as plain as she could. But, we all got behind it. But, the timing was really its downfall. I think it had more legs to it but we ended up bying WCW and that meant there was more guys that had to be featured on the show and that was that.”

On Right to Censor winning in the end:

“You know, if you watch the show now, it went from an almost R rated TV show every week to a G rated show now. So, I guess you could say we won in the end! (laughs)”

On if he was surprised by the success of John Cena:

“Not really! I’m not a genius and you didn’t need to be a genius to see this guy was going places. I don’t think anyone could have known he would have been as big of a star outside of the business like Rocky has become. But, he was working shows for Rick Bassman’s UPW in California and would come and work WWE dark matches. And, physically, he was more impressive to look at in that time than he was later on. He was bigger and more cut. And, every dark match, he’d be better and better. Then, he went down to OVW and I heard him on the mic and I was like, “If they can’t do something with this guy, something’s wrong!” You know what surprised me? I was riding with Devon and Dave Batista. Dave was talking about how he was worried that they were going to let him go. I was like, “Let him go? How could they let him go!” And, I’ve seen John talk in interviews about the Thuganomics gimmick and how he thought that could have been his last shot. I couldn’t believe that! A guy like that, you would think they would give a lot of chances to. Well, I remember standing in Tucson, maybe Phoenix… Somewhere in Arizona. And, I saw Vince McMahon call John over and talk to him and I knew he was fixing to get the big push. I mean, I’m no genius. But, it didn’t take a genius to see where he was headed. I’ll include Rocky in this too. Both John and Rocky haven’t changed a bit in all the time I’ve known them. Not one bit.”