Dave Sullivan Talks About The Vince McMahon Sex Trafficking Charges, And More

“Evad” Dave Sullivan recently appeared as a guest on Wrestling Epicenter for an in-depth interview covering all things pro wrestling. Here are the highlights:

On why he this was the right time to write his book:

“Well, my football coach, Sandy Buda, he wrote his book too called the Moonlight Gambler. And, we were out having an alumni thing for the Mavericks and he said, “You should do it. You have a story to tell. It is good for your family!.” He was right. I did it and it was fun to do. ”

On the book’s art featuring his wrestling days and not football:

“Well, we did a couple three different covers. In the end, we chose to use the wrestling cover and have the football picture of me, my brother, and my dad as the back cover. I think it just comes down to that I was more famous for my time in pro wrestling than I was for my time in footbal..”

On there still being a market for 80’s and 90’s wrestling today:

“Honestly, I think there is because it is so much entertainment now. I think people liked it when it was a little tighter and there wasn’t as much flying around and talking. Back then, it was a lot more grappling and fighting and I think a lot of people miss that.”

On the Vince McMahon sex trafficking claims impacting pro wrestling:

“Well, with the Vince McMahon thing happening, it is going to be bad. And now, the feds are going to get involved and that is going to make it worse. We have all heard the rumors (about Vince) through time and history. But, now all of those rumors are going to be investigated.”

On WWE trying to remove Vince from their history when he crated it:

“Oh, they are! Remember, before, this was all territories. I worked in them. Rod (Price) worked in them. Vince and WWE were going but it wasn’t like it is today. He (Vince) killed all the territories off. And now, well, you’ve just got the WWE and the independents with AEW hanging on. ANd, this could benefit AEW, honestly because WWE is a family organization right now. That is why they are trying to back away from him (Vince McMahon) so badly. Because, that’s their market. This is not good if you’re a family organization. And, I understand they are trying to remove him, scrum him from history. With him being the main guy for so long, that is going to be difficult to do.”

On being a part of the classic “Steel Curtain” era of the Pittsburgh Steelers:

“All of it! All of those men that were in that locker room are all in the Pro Football Hall of Fame now. From Chuck Knoll, he was a great coach! He wouldn’t talk too much. He’d just coach you, he wouldn’t yell at you. He had his law degree so he was a very intelligent man. He was always just trying to make you better. Then you had Jack Lambert, the toughest man you ever met for 218 pounts! You had Mike Webster, probably the greatest center that ever played. You had Franco Harris! Rocky Bleier had just retired and he was the sports anchor for one of the local stations but he was around. Then you had Lynn Swann, John Stallworth, Donnie Shell, Jack Ham… And you look at it now and they’re all in the Hall of Fame! Mel Blount! They changed the whole rules of what you can do as cornerback because of him and Michael Haynes. They were so physical! Guys couldn’t get off the line of scrimmage!”

On Steve “Mongo” McMichael being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame:

“He is a good man and was fun to work with. I’m happy for his induction. But, I’m really sad for him and his family for the health problems he has to deal with.”

On what banged up his body more, the square circle of the wrestling ring or the grid iron of football:

“Squared circle, no doubt about it. You can be in there 2 times a night, you’re on the road 300 days a year. And, you’re doing all of it. That’s the thing about wrestling, you’re doing all this and you’re the guy taking all the bumps. There are no stunt doubles. So, yeah, wrestling really was harder on my body. My back, my knees, and my shoulders all still hurt from it today. Football, a little bit, I’m sure. But, wrestling was harder because I did it a lot longer than I played football but also I wrestled so often. And, Japan was real tight too. Plus, in football, you always got a week to recover! You don’t get a week to recover in wrestling!”

On the tough reputation of Portland Wrestling:

“Don’t forget Crush, Bryan Adams! He was a real big, tough guy too. Honestly, Portland was a lot of fun because DOn Owens and his son ran it for so long. And then, Sandy Barr took it over. ANd, it was really such a family run territory that did have a lot of big, tough guys working there. We had some smaller guys too. But, mostly big guys and everyone had a good attitude for the most part. That was because it was just Portland, Oregon and into Washington. So, you didn’t have a lot of overnights. But, we did always get together after the shows and have a few drinks, talk, and things like that. So, it was a close-knit territory. We weren’t like the AWA. Before WWE came around, AWA was the largest territory. That’s why Vince took so much from them. He stole Jessie “The Body Ventura, Andre the Giant had already worked with his dad but he took, Hulk Hogan, “Mean” Gene Okerlund… He stole all their best talent and just drove AWA into the ground. But, AWA stretched all over the midwest and had some major cities!”

On Japanese wrestling reaching more than the small niche audience it once did in modern times:

“Again, they do a lot of flying around. But, they still try to make it look like a contest. I remember Harley Race got a hold of me back when I was going up there with “The Grappler” Len Denton. Harley said, “Kid, make it look as real as you can without killing each other.” And, that’s just how he talked. Everyone was “Kid” and he’d have a cigarette in his hand. “Now kid!” But, ever since he told me that, I look at wrestling like that. So, now, I see these guys flying around and I’m thinking, “There is no way I’m going to stand there and let this guy do this move if this was a fight. I’m not going to stand there and catch ya!”” He continues, “The Great Muta! He was probably the best example of a guy who could do that flying, acrobatic stuff and make it look like it was part of a fight. It looked snug and tight. And, that’s why fans liked it and that is why current fans are noticing Japan. Because, if you watch WWE… There is more walking and talking than there is fighting sometimes. People want to see action!”

On Harley Race being a different class of man:

“Harley Race slammed Andre the Giant way before Hulk Hogan ever did. And, he did it on the concrete floor too! (laughs) Ric Flair likes to tell that story. Ric Flair couldn’t believe it. Back in the locker room, he goes, “Did Andre agree to that spot?” And Harley said, “Kid, I called it and Andre did it!” (laughs)”

On his brief stint in Dallas, Texas with the Global Wrestling Federation:

“I enjoyed it there. It was a good crew. Skandor Akbar was the booker. But, there were all kinds of good guys there. James Beard, Booker T and Stevie Ray of Harlem Heat who went on to WCW with me, and, of course, Rod Price was my favorite. It kind of felt a little like Portland because it was a family environment and I really got along with everyone down there. The only thing there was a little more travelng because it was Texas. But, it was a good territory. I enjoyed it.”

On his Captain Ron persona in Global:

“True story. James Beard, Rod Price, and I were on a boat going to an event and they just started coming up with it. Oh, and on a trip back from Japan, the in-flight movie was the Kurt Russell movie Captain Ron. So, that played a part in it too. But, they kind of just started spitballing and saying I should wear an eye patch and all that shit. And, sure enough, not long later, there I was down there doing it!”

On working under Dusty Rhodes in WCW:

“Dusty was a great guy. How I ended up there is I was in Puerto Rico working with Dick Murdoch. And, I enjoyed Dick. Dick and Dusty were a tag team together and were close. And, when I got up there, who is Dusty’s kid who is the big star now? Cody! Cody Rhodes was in the same grade as my son. And, we would go and watch the kids amateur wrestle. And, Dusty loved football. So, we hit it off right away. But, Dusty was incredible. The guy would have been a great Reverend! The way he could talk and get the crowd going! Amazing. He was like a preacher. And, that was kind of his nick name. And, to see his kid, Cody, now be the top star in the world, just like hsi dad was? That’s incredible. And, Cody was a good little grapper back then, too!”

On the crop of talent WCW had when he got there:

“Dusty kept it as a tight group. I think that is how he wanted it. But, there was incredible talent there. I worked with Ric Flair. I worked with Paul Orndorff! Dustin Rhodes! Sting! I mean, Ric Flair was a night off. But, you couldn’t question the talent of that era. We didn’t have a name like Hulk Hogan. But, the talent was very strong!”

On playing Kevin Sullivan’s slow brother “Evad”:

“Kevin Sullivan came up with that. And, it was a great opportunity. I got to really work along with some of the top stars like Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage. But, did I enjoy it as much as some of my other characters? No. I mean, I did it. I could pull it off. But, I would much rather be a barbarian or just Dave Sullivan. Even as Evad, Kevin and I had brawling matches with the Nasty Boys. And, I enjoyed that. We all wrestled the same style and it was fun. But, that character? I could do it. But, it wasn’t as fun!”

On it being ironic that his least favorite character is his msot famous one:

“Well, I would just rather be a heel than a blue-eye. That is what they call it overseas. I mean, it was great to be out there and be a babyface. And, I’m generally a nice guy and I’ll always be humble because that is the way my mom and dad raised me. But, it is a lot of fun being the other guy! (laughs) I remember we were overseas and Dave “Fit” Finlayy was approached by someone with pictures to sign and he looked at the guy and just let them fall to the ground and walked off. (laughs) You can do that as a heel. As a babyface, if someone asks you for an autograph, you have to stop and sign it. As a heel, you can just say “fuck off” and keep going. That’s more fun. (laughs)”

On his “I Wanna be a Hulkamaniac” theme song:

“That was a Jimmy Hart thing. Yeah, I mean. I was doing the Hulkamaniac character at the start of it. But, I didn’t much like the song. It felt too kiddish… Which was probably the point. but, it just wasn’t my favorite.”

On if he’s surprised people still ask about Ralph the Rabbit:

“(laughs) Yeah, they do! “Do you still have him” I mean, that was 20 something years ago! Rabbits don’t live that long! But, I did take care of him when we were on the road. But, it is kind of like Mick Foley. We were in Germany and he took one of his crazy bumps and his ear came flying off! We wee all like, “Oh, that’s not good!” (laughs) They sewed it back on. But, yeah, Mick got way more over when he used that sock, Mr. Socko!”

On not being a fan of DDP when we first spoke to him in 2008:

“(laughs) No, DDP is a good guy. He just can be a little overbearing sometimes. But, he’s a great guy. No one promotes themselves as well as DDP does! It can be a bit much. But, our matches were OK. They were OK because we practice them. We wend down to the Power Plant and practiced, we didn’t call it in the ring like Harley Race. But, no, our matches were OK. And, no one has done more for people than he has. He’s a good hearted guy. It just is that sometimes it can just be too much. But, I still love him!”

On what he felt was the demise of WCW:

“I think it just got to where everybody on the show was a heel! I mean, everyone was joining the nWo… At one point, it felt like Sting was the only babyface left… Sting and DDP. And, if you kill everybody, who do you have to work with? But, for a while, they were more popular than WWE! For a while, Vince was on the back pedal! But, after a while, I guess that is part of it. Too many heels and then, all of a sudden, Vince was winning the ratings and not long after, they (Turner) sold it.”

On Sting calling it a career next week:

“Yeah. I mean, I guess it just means that we’re all getting old. (laughs) Steve is a good dude. He is originally from Omaha, Nebraska. So, even though he grew up in California, he’s still got that mid-west attitude. He’s still got family around here. Steve Borden is just a really good guy. He can sit with you and talk to you all night about anything. But, when you see Ric Flair have his last match and then you see Sting have his last match. It is like, well, I guess we’re getting old! (laughs”

On leaving wrestling in the early 2000’s:

“Well I got remarried. And, my body was starting to really get beat up. And, I got an opportunity to coach college football again. We moved up here (to Nebraska) and I had a chance to teach again too… That was in 2001 and I’ve been here ever since.”

On getting back in the ring in 2023:

“I work with the NWA around here. Brian Blade runs it and I’m good friends with him and Donnie kind of talked me into it. I still keep in shape, I still work out. And, I enjoy getting in there and I enjoy the people. Plus, I’m a heel again! (laughs) And, what Brian does is more wrestling like what you grew up with watching Portland and WCW and less talking.

On what he wants people to take away from his book “Meet Dave Sullivan”:

“I wanted people to hear my story. I wanted to tell the story about how hard it was to make it in pro wrestling, how hard I worked at it, my story about coming from football to wrestling, and a little background on my family as well. Basically, I wanted to tell my story and give people the opportunity to know who the guy was behind the Equalizer, Evad, and those characters that they remember.”