Shane Douglas Interview
Ben Miller: Can you discuss your legal situation with WCW?
Shane Douglas: Since Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff have been brought back, my lawyer, Eric Weisenburger, has contacted Dinah Myers, their chief counsel, thinking that something might have changed in their situation and her words to my lawyer were, “Nothing has changed in WCW’s official stand against Shane Douglas (or Troy Martin), and basically, we are where we were last week.
My lawyers contacted Mr. Thorton at King and Spalding in Atlanta, GA and go ahead and proceed. We had the papers all drawn up for litigation and we were holding them back hoping that something would change and give with this management and since it doesn’t look as though it has, Monday morning we are going to file the litigation. It’s a substantial lawsuit against WCW.
What is the grounds for your lawsuit, is it mainly wrongful termination?
SD: Wrongful termination, selective enforcement of contracts, discriminatory work police, the fact that I had my life threatened by management level personnel, Mike Graham, and about twelve other points. You know, it’s really a very substantial lawsuit. It’s not one of those frivilous lawsuits, you know, like ‘somebody combed their hair on the wrong side of their head and they are going to go out and sue them because they looked bad on television’.
It is all very substantive. We hired a private investigator that is going through and found a lot of information on certain people’s backgrounds that really heavily substantiates our claims. We have had interviews with a lot of people, current wrestlers and past wrestlers with the company that have substantiated vast portions of what we’re claiming and will do so on the stand when needed.
King and Spalding are chief co-litigators, so this is not some fly-by-night lawfirm like ‘Wei, Cheatum & How.’ This is a big lawfirm and they ain’t cheap, but what we’re going to walk away with is, first of all, vindication that we were right.
Kevin Sullivan and these guys came in, and instead of doing what was best for the company, they decided they were going to go for some personal attack and some character assasination so that they were going to teach Troy Martin a lesson. I guess because I am friends with Chris Benoit and Chris is a better man than Kevin because he took his wife from him. I guess that makes me wrong or puts me in the crosshairs of Kevin Sullivan because I’m friends with Chris Benoit.
This whole thing is just ridiculous in the way it transpired and the way it came down. The lawyers said to me that in law school they teach you there are certain lawsuits that you don’t want to fight and this is one of them for WCW. They have no grounds to defend it. The release was based on a clause that I was unable to perform for thirty consecutive days. I don’t know if you watched their TV, but three days after surgery I was getting bumped around the ring and knocked off the apron and everything else. I took a lot more bumps than Kevin Sullivan took in his career.
It’s going to be a pretty difiicult case for them to prove and defend. My guess is that, if they have any sense at all, they are going to settle this thing out of court. My guess is, without their stand changing, we are going to file these papers Monday morning.
You know, it’s kind of like a fight. You and I can look at each other, touch each other and call each other names, but until that first punch is thrown, we can still get ourselves out of the fight. Once that first punch is thrown, the shit’s on. I think Monday morning when we file those papers it’s going to be the first punch. We’re going to make one more contact with them Monday, but Dinah Myers told us Friday that there has been no change in their stance. Monday morning is probably pretty much going to be the same thing.
To make a reference point, throughout this whole thing, I’ve made several calls to Vince Russo and the only time he didn’t call me back was when he was out here in Hollywood doing something a few weeks after the whole thing went down back in January. Every other time he calls me back within an hour or two. I’ve called him four or five times over the last three days and heard nothing back. I spoke to Bill Banks this morning and I know that he (Russo) was home because Banks just got off the phone with him, so I proceeded to call again.
The fact that Vince Russo isn’t calling back leads me to believe that They’re being told by the legal department not to make contact and that, from where I sit, doesn’t look very good for me as far as being brought back.
Contrary to reports on the internet and stuff, I wish they were true. I wish I were being called back to work. I’m really eager to go back, but if WCW wants a legal battle, I am damn well capable of doing that, too.
Is there anything else that you want from WCW besides your job back at your former salary?
SD: Well, yeah. I want them to walk away with a black eye. I want them to grow up a little bit as a corporation and start treating the people in that dressing room as human beings. You know, if you are one of the stars, if you are Sting or Hulk Hogan, you get your own dressing room, you get fruit on your plate in a dressing room. Whatever you want, it’s there.
The other people are sitting in a dressing room; sometimes it’s forty people sitting in a dressing room that’s ten feet by ten feet, stepping over each other, water coming out of the shower getting your bags all wet and everything. Meanwhile, Hogan’s got a dressing room down the hallway that’s bigger than the whole thing. Why not give him the small dressing room? Part of his ego won’t fit in the damned thing. Let the forty guys have the bigger dressing room.
Treat the guys like god damned equitable. For god sakes. Is that asking too much to be professional? When I was teaching school, I was treated more professionally than I was working for a multi-million dollar corporation. It’s absolutely asinine and sickening.
I don’t want anything personally other than getting my job back. If I am not getting my job back, then I damned well want compensation for it. This is a multi-million dollar corporation. I have a multi-million dollar contract that I signed and I have done my damned well best to live up to every aspect of it.
Taking bumps three days after surgery with my arm in a cast. Getting knocked off the apron and onto a metal grate, which is not an bump to take when you’re healthy, let alone when you’re injured. Getting hit with sticks. Getting thrown over the top rope. Doing run ins, run outs. Doing color commentary and promos. I was doing a hell of a lot more work than most of the guys there when they weren’t hurt.
And they let me go because Kevin Sullivan and his cronies decided… There’s one thing that I want to say and I am going to say it every chance I get: It’s karma, brother. Kevin Sullivan’s favorite conversation is, “It’s karma, brother.” What goes around, comes around. Well, Kevin Sullivan, even with me not being called back to WCW, I am going to sit back on the outside, even as I sue the company, and relish them running your ass through the ringer, because he deserves every bit of grief he has coming.
Provided you have to go forward with your lawsuit against WCW, what is your next step? I heard rumors that you were offered a six-figure contract with XPW. Can you comment on that?
SD: I met with Barry Mendelson. Barry Mendelson is one of the financial people that is backing the company. All he wants to do is just completely run the business side of it and bring me in as the booker to run the creative side of it.
I’ve made it very well known through the course of my career that that is something that I am very interested in doing. I’ve done it a lot in the past with a lot of the angles that we have done in ECW. Either ideas that I came up with, or Paul would come up with a general concept and I would flesh it out for him. I certainly have experience in doing it but not on a full time basis and not on an in-depth basis as far as running a full eight or nine match card.
You’re right, though. I’ll confirm that. The company has made me a very substantial offer in the lower-mid six figures, and they’ve also offered me a portion of the company. That is something that can be very lucrative down the road. This company, from what I’ve seen, has every earmarking of future profitability.
If I have to go ahead with my lawsuit, I am not going to have my life put on hold because of something called World Championship Wrestling. I’m not a pessimist, actually, I’m an optimist. I am just taking a completely pessimistic attitude with it simply because historically, if you expect WCW to do anything that’s right, they will not do it. If it entails logic and common sense, that company is devoid of it.
My guess is that the lawsuit will go forward. Once we get the contracts ready to be signed — it would only take a matter of days, I would imagine, to get that done — this company has been very eager. They have wined and dined me and been very cordial in the way they have proceeded talking with me. I’m excited to get to work here. I’m not going to put my life on hold much longer.
My arm is healed. I’ve been released for the last month to go back to wrestling. I’m going to get back to the ring and do that. One thing that I don’t know that I would be doing… I would rather have Chris Candido or someone like that book the segments that I’m in because I don’t want to be a booker that is booking my own segments. To look like Dusty Rhodes or someone who’s feeding himself.
It’s also very likely that if I do become heavily involved in the booking, which looks like it’ll happen, I’ll be pulling myself off television more and more and more because I don’t want to be in the ring feeding my ego and have twelve wrestlers line up for Shane Douglas to knock down. I will certainly sign with this company.