Lex Luger is responsible for two of the most memorable, iconic moments in the history of sports entertainment, and he recently revealed how they both came together. He shocked the world by appearing on the very first episode of WCW’s Monday Nitro despite everyone in the wrestling world being under the impression that he was a WWE employee. And while in the WWE, Lex Luger executed the Bodyslam Challenge on Yokozuna back in 1993 during what only ultimately amounted to a two-year WWE run.
Luger was a guest on The Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling podcast who sent the transcription of their interview with Lex Luger to Wrestling Inc. Luger opened up, perhaps like never before, about the aforementioned moments that have stood the test of time and are still talked about today. Luger has been long-time friends with Sting and inducted him into the TNA Hall of Fame before Ric Flair did those honors in the WWE. And ironically, it was the Icon who helped pull the strings backstage to get Luger to sign with WCW, and to shockingly appear on that first episode of Nitro.
“Not surprisingly and behind the scenes it was Sting that arranged all that. I was just having a casual conversation with him on the phone and mentioned that my contract had expired with the WWE but I planned on staying with the WWE and we were trying to work out a long term agreement for me to stay there. He just asked me in a casual conversation how things were going and I was about to sign a new deal with them and when he asked if my contract was coming up, I said well it is up… He said, so you are on their television and you are working their house shows and you are not under contract? He said you could literally come back here (WCW) tomorrow? He was blown away. He mentioned it to Eric Bischoff and at the time Bischoff didn’t feel I was the type of guy he wanted to bring in for whatever his reason are. Sting pressed the issue and Eric ended up embracing the idea and they both came up with the idea of bringing me on as the first big surprise on a Monday show. Why not give it a shot? Eric actually low-balled what he offered me because he really didn’t want to bring me in and Sting said take the offer because your salary will go up and you will be a huge hit here again and to go for it. So really Sting was behind the scenes and arranged all that and I came out and the rest is history.”
Sting wrote the foreword to Lex Luger’s extremely controversial autobiography, and he would be a likely candidate to induct The Total Package should the WWE ever decide to enshrine Luger in their Hall of Fame. As noted above, the Bodyslam Challenge resulted in a Hall of Fame moment, but Luger didn’t foresee it that way when it was presented to him. Lex thought it would flop.
“It was a magical moment. The buildup was incredible. I thought Vince was half crazy when he told me the idea of going from being a narcissist with the mirrors and Bobby Heenan to being like the big ‘Yankee-Doodle-Dandy’ patriotic hero on July 4th on the U.S.S Intrepid. I was scratching my head but it turned out fantastic and just a very special moment. The crowd went insane when that happened and it was a very special moment for myself and for so many fans who were there and watching on television. It is definitely one of the highlights of my career.”
There are a lot of “what-ifs” that surround the pro wrestling career of Lex Luger, especially since his WWE tenure was so short. He was a world champion in WCW, but WWE had much bigger plans for Luger that never quite came together. Lex was asked whether he believes Vince McMahon lost faith or interest in him becoming the face of the company in the mid-90s.
“Well, we will never know now will we because I went back to WCW. If anybody is great at recycling or reinventing a character it is Vince McMahon, so if I had re-signed with them who knows what would have happened to Lex Luger. I might have got repackaged as something totally different and maybe even become a bigger star than I ever became going back to WCW. I never lacked confidence so who knows and we will never know. I am thrilled with how it worked out going back to WCW. I feel like I had a great 15 year career and got to work main events and main event guys and there are always some periods where you are heavily involved and utilized more than others and sometimes a period or restart button can be great for a career. So who knows?”
[Image via WWE]