Billy Gunn Talks About Vince’s Vision For The Smoking Gunns, Training With The Harris Brothers & More!

Former WWE Superstar Billy Gunn was recently the guest on “The Art of Wrestling”. Here are some highlights…..

On Vince’s Vision for the Smoking Gunns:
“I would say a little bit more than other places, because let’s face it, the Cowboy thing back then wasn’t a hit. It’s a little more acceptable now..I don’t know if acceptable is the right word, but more over with the Bull Riding shows now, people are a little more into it. Back then, whenever you saw Cowboys, or I guess the “Texas Roughneck Guy” on TV, they always had black hats and would spit stuff and was just nasty; that was what Vince [McMahon] vision was for me and Bart. Our thing was, he never had any kind of like nice, good guy, Cowboy characters, so when he saw us, of course we went out and bought everything new from hat to shoes, those were all his vision. It took some people a little while to accept us other than the South. When you look at WWE now and you look over at a wrestler, you say, oh, you’re a character, but people don’t know my background where I actually was a Cowboy my entire life, before I got into wrestling. I went to college on a Rodeo scholarship.”
On not being a fan growing up:

“I didn’t start actually doing that until I started the business. I wasn’t a fan, that wasn’t me. I never been one to really study because I don’t have the patience for it; I want someone to just show me and I can do it. That was kind of the good thing about me, and I don’t mean to brag here or nothing like that, but I pick up stuff really easily, and I’m not sure why. I’m not talking about psychology wise and that kind of thing. There’s no way you can pick up what we do psychology wise that fast, but move wise and athletically, it came really easy for me. The only time I would watch other promotions on tape was when Jamie Noble made me watch it, he would make me watch PRIDE and companies like that. I was like the last part of Hogan’s big run here, late 92 and 93, think that was the only thing I did. I never ran the Indy’s, it was pretty much school and into WWE. I guess maybe that is part of the bad thing for me, for me, I don’t have the patience for it. I don’t want to sit and watch a bunch of wrestling when I can go out there and do it. It’s just not for me. It wasn’t teaching me anything. I am very high strung and want to do it, just show me and allow me to do it. Now that I have the coaching bug, I like to watch, just to see where everybody is at. But the thing about me being out here, I am very WWE, I just am…that is all I have ever known. So, when I see someone doing something, I would think to myself, oh, that would never fly out there [WWE], that would never work. You can’t do that out there. I try to separate myself; I like watching stuff as a fan, because I try to see if they can keep my attention. That happens within the first couple of minutes. If you lose me, I’m out; I just go to the back and wait for the next one, because if it’s not making much sense and you lose me, I’m not going to waste my time watching.

 On training with Ron and Don Harris:

“I left College and went to California where I went to pro Bull Riding, I went to live with my uncle to build houses. Something happened where Bull Riding wasn’t fun for me anymore, and like, even  today, before I wrestle I have butterflies, I didn’t have that feeling anymore in Bull Riding so I had to leave it. In between not knowing what to do with my life, all I had was my truck, my dog and a trash bag filled with clothes. I came back to California and lived with a friend I grew up with. The buddy I grew up with bought a gym, and asked me to come work out there while I am going through this crisis of not knowing what to do with my life, because I had no vision, I had no drive at the time for some reason. I didn’t have an option, my brain would say, just live it day to day; that’s really what I was doing, living day by day so I went to go work at the gym with my friend. When I was working at the gym, Ron and Don Harris were working out there, and they go, hey, we’re working Smoky Mountain and all of these territories and I started laughing, I said, really? That’s kind of funny. They were not as big as they are now. They were tall but skinny; so, they were like the tall, young Barry Windham. They didn’t get the crazy look until they went to WWE and had that crazy hair, in ECW as well, but once they left Smoky Mountain they changed their whole outlook because that wasn’t flying for them anymore. I knew them because they lived two towns over from me, so when I ran into them again, I asked them what they were doing and they asked what I was doing and said it was good to see you guys again kind of thing, and they said that they were wrestling. Then, every time I saw them, they would ask me if I wanted to try out and do it, then it happened. They kept asking me whether I gave it a shot, then I said, I don’t even know what you are talking about, let alone give it a shot, because they knew I was athletic, plus I was working out now, so I was getting some size to me, and they said, you might be pretty good at this, and I said, well, we’ll never know now will we? There is a switch, the day they took me into going, and I’m not sure why I did go, but when I did go, it popped. I wasn’t really against it, I just had no direction, what did I have to lose? What was I going to do? Say, go do some fake stuff and play with each other for a while and then we’re done? As you know back then, even though they knew me, they kicked the crap out of me. They took me straight from yes, I will try it, to beating the crap out of me. They beat me up, I thought the ceiling was falling down on me. The ring was set up, they had a little place where they can go, so since they were in the business they were able to go anywhere in Florida. It was hot, and it’s very weird because you make me look at it from a different light, something I never went into this in debt, like, wow, this is very different and weird. When we did it, and we were done and was tired of getting knocked out, I like being physical and while watching wrestling at the time, I was not getting it, but was getting it. What I saw on TV was not what was happening to me. I was getting beat down while on TV I was seeing something different. I’m trying to figure out what’s going on, because I’m wondering why they are beating me up while on TV I am seeing something else, I said, on TV it’s fake, and they go, no, this is what we do, and I go, ok, I’m in. I went, ok, when can we do this again? They weren’t in town that long, so, every time they would come back, I become fully involved. I start watching wrestling..I’m not watching too much because I don’t know what I’m watching, so I would just have them do stuff, but they weren’t coming in town enough, so I had to go somewhere where I can do this, like, I have to do this all the time because I’m one of those people where once I have my teeth into something, I have to go. I went to Eddie Mansfield’s school that nobody went to except for Bart, so this is where me and Bart met.”

Click here to listen to the full interview.


Huskie Howard

Huskie Howard

Huskie Howard is the owner and editor-in-chief of He is a long time contributor to, where he is known for his extensive coverage of Ohio pro wrestling and interviews with the stars of the Ohio pro wrestling scene.

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