Known as The Bad Man from Borger, Texas, Stan Hansen has pretty much kept to himself outside the ring. That is until now. Wrestling Perspective is proud to present Stan Hansen's first ever shoot interview. In this interview, Hansen discusses:
The recent All Japan shake up
His friendship with Brusier Brody
His famous "walk out" on Verne Gagne
Here's an excerpt from the Stan Hansen interview:
Wrestling Perspective: As an outsider looking at the All Japan situation with Misawa splitting from the organization to form his own company and taking numerous wrestlers with him, it looks like loyalty played a large factor in your decision to stay with All Japan. Is that categorization correct?
Stan Hansen: Yeah, of course, yeah. I'm loyal to Giant Baba and Giant Baba is All Japan Pro Wrestling. Ms. Baba represents Giant Baba. There was never any doubt in my mind where my loyalty lies. That's with Giant Baba.
Wrestling Perspective: You have worked with All Japan since, what, 1981?
Stan Hansen: Ahh, '82.
Wrestling Perspective: So you go back a long way with the company. This seems like the biggest upheaval since it began 28 years ago. What is your take on the situation?
Stan Hansen: Well, you know, everybody has to do what they want to do.
Wrestling Perspective: This wasn't out of the blue though.
Stan Hansen: I don't know. You hear rumors of people being dissatisfied. Japan has been a very stable and a good place to work because of the stability and because of the stability of All Japan. New Japan has been real stable too. But there's been 15 different bosses, eight different bookers. There's always some new group running things. All Japan always had one boss and it was very stable and everybody knew where they stood whether they maybe not liked it or liked it. I always liked it. I think all the Japanese, from a Gaigin perspective, looking at the Japanese they had it pretty good too. They had a stable job. He supported 50 different families for a long time. After he passed away, it wasn't (laughs) within months that there was some kind of a power struggle. I think that was bad. I think that was just not class. The guy who broke every one of those guys in, started them from high school, supported them, made them over a period of time all top professional wrestlers, respected in Japan. I still respect them as wrestling goes, but when he passed away, everybody started scrambling for the reigns or whatever. I still don't think that was good, the way it was done.
Wrestling Perspective: If Baba had not passed away, this wouldn't have happened?
Stan Hansen: I don't think so. I think there might have come a point in time where he could have stepped back and given it to them or whatever. I have no idea. I was not in on that information. I never involved myself in that part of their business. I just took care of Stan Hansen's business.
Wrestling Perspective: What about the future of the company?
Stan Hansen: I think there is a future for All Japan because there are a couple of people, you know. I think now, surprisingly, people are going to look at All Japan as the underdog. There's going to be somewhat of a sympathy factor there. All the tremendous bad press they all laid on Ms. Baba and everybody else for whatever reason and theres a lot of different reasons. One is it's a male-dominated society. Two, Ms. Baba took care of Mr. Baba's business in a way that he appreciated and allowed him to take a lot of pressure off. She took a lot of the pressure of the day-to-day running of the business off of him. I think that maybe didn't set well with a lot of people.
Wrestling Perspective: Do you have a very good professional relationship with her?
Stan Hansen: I didn't have a relationship with her to be honest. I had a relationship with Giant Baba. I did know her and say hello to her, but I never dealt with her ever. Just in passing.
Wrestling Perspective: What about after Giant Baba passed away?
Stan Hansen: Of course, after he passed away I gave my condolences and I felt for her. I felt for her loss and everything. But she basically backed out of the business after a couple of months and stood in the background to take all that pressure off of everyone, but that didn't seem to satisfy everybody. They just wanted, from my take on it and that comes from nobody but just my take, they wanted the whole company and everything just to be given to them. After 30 years of somebody's work, they wanted her to just give it up and give it to them.
Wrestling Perspective: Her husband had built it up from nothing, just on his name alone.
Stan Hansen: He built it up for, of course, for him and his wife and for those 30 wrestlers who left and 50 to 100 Gaigins who had worked for him over those years too. Sure, he got ahead and made a lot of money. He never flew me to Hawaii, but he flew all of his Japanese talent to Hawaii every year. (laughs) So I don't know why, why they want it. They just, obviously, probably didn't like Ms. Baba and didn't like that situation. But the bottom line with me just lies with the fact that she represents Baba and my loyalty lies with Baba. Nobody else.
Wrestling Perspective: Tell me about Baba.
Stan Hansen: He was a straight shooter. He was a man of his word. In this business, (laughs) he's the only one I ran into who gave me his word and kept it except for maybe Ole Anderson down in Atlanta. When I went in there, he said he was going to do certain things and if it all worked out then that's the way it went and everything worked out that way. But I'd put Giant Baba in a class of his own as far as somebody in that position dealing with me anyway.
Wrestling Perspective: How much longer are you going to be doing this?
Stan Hansen: Oh, I don't know. (laughs) I might be finished right now. I don't know.
Wrestling Perspective: Do you have any desire to go back? You've seen it all and it's probably just a money issue now.
Stan Hansen: Do I have a desire to go back? I don't know if I have a desire. I still feel like I can compete once in a while. I can still compete at a top level. Day in and day out, touring and touring like I did for 15 years? I don't think I can do that. But I think I can still go there and compete and be not embarrassed. I have certain standards in my mind that only I know. If I feel like I can go out and have some matches on those standards most of the time. If it will help All Japan Pro Wrestling, then I'm willing to do that, if they want me to come. There's actually other companies that would like for me to work. But I'm not interested in working for anybody but All Japan.
Stan has much more to say and the only place you can read the complete interview is Wrestling Perspective.
That's not all you'll find in Issue #87. David Skolnick writes about why wrestlers and why wrestling fans don't seem to care about wrestling's rich history. This article has been getting rave reviews from people inside the wrestling industry.
Then enjoy one of the most thought provoking articles of the year as The Phantom of the Ring takes on those pesky academics who write about wrestling.
Issue #87 is an amazing piece of work...order it today!!!
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