I've been wanting to start doing interviews with on 11 Points for a while now... and, finally, this is the debut. I had to wait for the right person to talk to and, good news... my first interview participant is a great one.
His name is Al Burke and during the true golden age of the professional wrestling (the late 80s/very early 90s), he was a wrestler in the WWF.
Now, if you're saying to yourself, "I don't remember anyone named Al Burke. Are you sure you don't mean Mr. Fuji or Greg 'The Hammer' Valentine or Tito Santana or something?"... you're fine. Because Al was just cracking into the wrestling business at the time... so he wasn't one of the wrestlers who became a household name.
No... he was most often the guy who got beat to hell and pinned by a WWF superstar on the Saturday and Sunday morning shows.
Shows I used to watch religiously. And I know that virtually every male of my generation can say the same.
I talked with Al and asked him 11 questions about his career in the WWF and beyond. Enjoy.
Al Burke takes on the Ultimate Warrior.
Who are some of the legends you faced in your time in the WWF? I faced Andre the Giant two times, when Andre and Haku were tag team champions. Ultimate Warrior once [video to the right!], Hacksaw Jim Duggan two times, Big Boss Man three times, Jake "The Snake" Roberts two times, Dusty Rhodes three times, Big John Studd once. Tag teams: Legion of Doom, the Rockers, the Bushwackers, the Hart Foundation, the Nasty Boys. Never faced Hulk Hogan.
Which wrestlers stand out as the best to work with, or the worst? The Bushwackers were very funny. The Rockers were fastest moving. Tony Atlas [who wrestled as Tony Atlas and later as Saba Simba] was the worst worker. Ultimate Warrior was "stiff" [meaning his moves hit hard].
Did people ever call you a "jobber"... and does that term bother you? When you get out of wrestling school, you know next to nothing as a pro wrestler. I was told it would take 8 years in the business to really understand and to be a pro. We were jobbers and happy to be. It was also a way to make back the cost of going to wrestling school. I paid for mine in the first year.
After the first year with the WWF, I became the booker for the jobbers out of Minnesota for the next year or so. At times I’d book 10 to 20 guys to go to the TV tapings. A few of my guy were too big and were not invited back. It's all about the look and doing the job and most of us were happy to do just that, as we putting in our time and learning to become real professional wrestlers. Most of the wrestlers were jobber in the beginning.
Al Burke and a partner (who gets thrown out of the ring instantly) versus Legion of Doom.
Were you under contract with the WWF and did you travel with them? I was never under contract and we would get paid by the night. I did travel and went to many states and that was another great part of the whole pro wrestling experience.
The WWF was peaking in popularity at that time -- were there groupies... and did you ever experience anything crazy with them? Yes, there were groupies... we called them "Ring Rats." Sorry, but I need to plead the 5th amendment...
How did you get started in pro wrestling? I had friends that knew Hulk Hogan when he was still with the AWA and "Rocky III" had just been released. They took me over to Hulk's place to meet him and as he was ducking to get through the doorway of his bathroom, I was impressed. He sat down and told what we had to do to become part of this world. I did not do it for two years because I thought it was a stupid way to make a living. My friends jumped right in but only wrestled for about eight years. I have been going for 23 years.
Hulk Hogan suplexing the Big Boss Man. (Happens right at the beginning of this clip.)
What's the most iconic moment you witnessed during your time in the WWF? One of my favorites was when Hulk suplexed Boss Man off the top of the cage -- a great bump!
Tell me about your pro wrestling career outside of your time in the WWF.I wrestled under the name Mr. Outrageous, and it was a name that I earned... just ask all of my Outrageous women and some fans. WWF wants and needs to own whatever name you wrestle by and that is the reason that the names change when wrestlers go to work for different organizations.
My name was changed by Herb Abrams from Mr. Outrageous after my first UWF wrestling show to Dr. Feelgood who was debuted at the big BlackJack Brawl at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. My last match was in 2007 and it was under the UWF banner to crown the UWF Professional Wrestling King.
Al as the Billy Idol fan in "Wedding Singer".
Tell me about your post-WWF acting career... looks like you've been in some real stuff. Yes. Been acting for about 15 years now. I have been in 41 music videos, 34 feature films, 30 commercials and 11 TV shows. In Hollywood terms I am a success story.
I auditioned for "The Wedding Singer" and the read for "Large David Lee Roth Fan" but sometime later it was changed to "Large Billy Idol Fan" -- ([switching to Billy was] a great choice). At the wrap party, Adam Sandler was telling me that he had seen my promo tape and was the one who made the decision to give the job.
I've been in a ton of rapper videos, mostly as a cop: Eminem "Ass Like That"... Chamillionaire "Hip Hop Cop"... Slim Thug "So Incredible"... and The Game "Let's Ride" to name a few.
Were there ever any young wrestlers you saw and instantly knew they were going to be superstars?Eddie Guerrero. I met him when he was in wrestling school. I was on tour wrestling in El Paso and I went down to Juarez to make a special appearance at the Lucha show.
Do you still keep in touch with anyone from your WWF days? The last person I talked to is the Iron Sheik. And no, I never hear from Vince [McMahon].
Al has six movies coming out soon: "Halfway to Hell"... "Bio Slime"... "The Trek"... "Bowling Alley"... "Magus"... and "Roll Call". The UWF Old School DVD is also coming out later this year.