Del Wilkes, known during his WWE run as The Patriot, recently gave a lengthy interview with wrestling podcast The Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling.
Wilkes is best known for the role he played in the 1997 WWE storyline that involved Bret Hart’s Hart Foundation stable feuding with Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, Ken Shamrock, and many others during a United States vs. Canada angle. Wilkes was brought in to play The Patriot, the ultimate American hero. He had a successful run feuding with Hart during the summer of 1997, but injuries cut his time with WWE short. Wilkes was eventually released from his WWE contract in late 1998. However, Wilkes’ iconic theme music lived on, as it was later used by Kurt Angle upon his entrance to WWE in 1999.
During the interview with The Two Man Power Trip, Wilkes addressed many topics. Some of the more interesting comments from the podcast can be read below.
Wilkes on the abrupt end of his angle with Bret Hart in WWE.
“My health issues brought the feud with Bret to an end. I had just major serious injuries. I had totally blown out my right knee, which has since been replaced twice. I literally couldn’t work without the help of a big knee brace that I had to wear and that brace limited what I could do in the ring and my movement. I had torn my triceps, it was literally ripped off the bone and rolled up the back of my arm and these injuries were creating big problems for me. Unfortunately it brought an end to my career and to that angle we had going on. I was just physically unable to continue to perform.”
Wilkes on the pulse of the WWE locker room in 1997.
“It was obvious things were heating up. The relationship between some of the guys and specifically Bret and Shawn (Michaels) and people were taking sides. There was Bret, Owen, Davey Boy and those guys and then you had Hunter, Shawn and that faction and Bret was very vocal to me about his displeasure with the way things were going. We spent a good bit of time talking to each other and talking about things we wanted to do in matches down the road that we were going to have and he really didn’t mind sharing with me his displeasure with the way things were in the company and his relationship with Shawn.”
Wilkes on the Kickstarter campaign for the documentary Del Wilkes: The Man Behind The Mask.
“This is the whole story. This isn’t just about The Patriot or Del Wilkes the professional wrestler. This story starts at birth. It starts with my Mom and Dad and goes all the way back to my grandparents. It covers my high school football, college football and my very brief NFL career and transitions right into my wrestling career. Also some of the dark periods that happened after my wrestling career was over it and brings us up to this very day. I think there really is a story here for people. No matter who you are or no matter how successful you’ve been if you make some bad decisions you can put yourself in bad situations and this shows that there can be life after those dark moments. I think it is an inspirational story that people can take from. Especially those who may be struggling in life.”
Wilkes also addresses his time in WCW, Japan, others using his Patriot gimmick following his retirement from wrestling, and much more. The entire Del Wilkes podcast can be downloaded from the Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling’s website.
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