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10 Questions with Jethro Hawg
by on 2003-04-29

Q1: How did you break into the wrestling industry?

JH: I started training in 1985 with Walter Shefchyk, his wife was my music teacher in elementary school. Of course I had also watched New Brand on T.V. He had no place to train us so we, Dirty Dan Denton and I, learned to take bumps in Walters back yard. We also did training in his basement. After a short time we ended up using Tony Condello’s basement ring. That is where I met Tony, Freddy Peloquin and the rest of the boys.

Q2: Very quickly Randy Rose was doing jobs on AWA TV.

JH: Working in the AWA was like a dream and a nightmare all in one. I was just 16 then. The first time I went in to work Wally Karbo asked me if I was 18, I said yes of course. However, there I was with DDD, Monte Black, Brian Jewel and Mike Phillips. I was so nervous!!

I, like many others had grown up watching the AWA shows, and there I was, in the dressing room with guys like Ray Stevens, Nick Bockwinkel, Curt Hennig, Buck Zumhoffe, etc.

Q3: You had a singles bout with Ray Stevens where he obviously realized you had no idea how to hit the ropes.

JH: Working with Ray Stevens was unbelievable, the absolutely lightest, easiest worker ever. He was very nice to a totally green 16 year old kid, who had no idea what he was doing. I had only worked in front of a crowd once before that. I worked Walter at Chalmers. Walter by the way was the only other guy I worked with that was as professional as Ray.

Q4: Who else was in the AWA at the time?

JH: The AWA stars that I recall were Jerry Blackwell, he didn’t do t.v. he just came for the arena shows, Rob Ricksteiner who later became Rick Steiner, Scott Hall who was real good to the green guys because he was one himself. Larry and Curt Hennig, Larry was also one of the guys that was good to the green guys. Nick Bockwinkel and Ray Stevens, oh and Boris Zukhoff who had the biggest cranium I have ever seen, it was funny to hear him talk, he was from the south I believe as his accent was quite heavy. Buck Zumhoffe was always goofing around, he once put Jerry Blackwell’s pants on and said he had lost 400lbs. on Verne Gagne’s iso-metric weight loss system, funny stuff.

I worked the “Long Riders” once in a tag match with Brian Jewel. The bigger guy on the team, Scott Hog Irwin, who has since died, stretched me out some, I really learned how to sell a step over arm bar that night!

Q5: How did you end up in WFWA in the 1980's and what was it like?

JH: I got into the WFWA via training at Tony’s place. Once in 1988 I went on a Northern tour and worked The French Mad Dog (Freddy Peloquin) almost the whole time. He was a lot of fun. Freddy was the booker then, The “Golden Sheik” Larry Anson was on that trip, he worked Mike George who Tony had brought in with a couple of girls, Shirley Black and Sandy Partlow, and two midgets.

Nothing really exciting happened at those WFWA shows, except when I was in a tag with the “Alaskan”. We worked a match with Gene Swan’s late father Bruce, a guy that always treated me well. He tried a leg drop during the match and was standing way to close and planted his ass right on my face! I was not too happy at the time, but it is one of those things you laugh about later.

Eddie Sharkey was fun, imagine a 40 something guy with the attitude of a teen on a lot of caffeine!! That guy never quit! Most of the guys on his crew were quite good, some had big heads, but most were easy to get along with.

Q6: Where did the Jethro Hawg charater come from?

JH: On a trip to Brandon Tony had started calling me “Hog”, I was still working as Randy Rose then, everyone thought it was this hilarious rib. Eddie Watts was on that trip, and he told me to make something of it. He told me the story about Dusty Rhodes in the WWF, and how they called him the “common man” and that it was supposed to be some big rib. Dusty just took the gimmick and ran with it. How successful it was for him I did not know but the story made sense to me, so that is what I did. I made myself into “Jethro Hawg”. I thought it was time to have some fun wrestling, I’ll tell ya’ wrestling in coveralls and carrying a pig, IS FUN! For a while.

Q7: Whose idea was it for Johnny Swinger to steal your pig, and did you actually have it as a pet?

JH: The whole pig stealing idea was Don’s (Callis). We had done it several times on the “Northern Tour”, it was really funny. Now who would have started a rumor about that?? I did buy the pig specifically for the gimmick but yes she lived on the small farm I was on in southern Manitoba. Great pet, she would chase the kids around the yard never hurt them, didn’t bark or bite, scratch things, the only problem was that pig could out snore me, easily! O.k., barely.

Q8: You survived the trips up north somehow...

JH: The dreaded “Northern Tours”, well they were cold, the travel was brutal, you would drive for hours on ice roads and frozen muskeg that turned into massive speed bumps from the big trucks driving on them. The fastest you went was 20km’s/hr. Boring!!

Joe E. Legend, would go in the ring van and have the boys pile their gear on him and he would sleep in there for 20+hrs. We were constantly trying to find ways to keep ourselves entertained.

The first time we crossed a frozen lake we saw a hi-way tractor stuck into the ice, it had gone about half way through and the ice had frozen around it. So we had to stop and get some pics. We took this opportunity to scare the life out of poor Johnny Swinger. He being from N.Y. had never been out in the frozen wasteland we call northern Manitoba, so Tony had picked up his cell phone and was pretending to call the Chief at the next reserve and we were all telling him how the van could fall through the ice at any time and that Tony should not drive so slow, etc.

So at the climax of the rib we all started screaming and jumping out of this moving van onto the frozen lake. I grabbed him and yelled we’re all gonna die!! He must have elbowed me about a dozen times trying to get me to let go of his jacket. He was whiter than the snow!! He almost left the tour, but to his credit stuck it out. Poor guy!

Q9: Tell us about some of the other Winnipeg wrestlers.

JH: EZ Rider and Chi-Chi Cruz were some of the best guys in the locker room. Both were easy to work with.

Don was angry at Tony for booking me as Don never would have unless Tony told him too, so he had Cheech chop me about 50 times during my first match back with Tony in a long time, to try and make me quit. After that Cheech and I got along fine, I even sold him a car as that is what I was doing for a “real job”.

As for someone I never wanted to be around it would have been Eddie Watts, he was a genuine heel, kind of a bully, not a lot of fun to be around, he did give me some good advice.

I did enjoy working with Gerry Morrow as well, he was always nice to me. The first time I worked with him I gave him a few arm turns and he took a bump, I was about to drop the leg on his arm and he looked up at me from the canvas and said, “If you hurt me, I will KILL YOU!!” Needless to say I was always extra careful about working with Gerry!

I do have to say that out of all the guys I worked with the best friend I have made in wrestling would have been Kelly Russell, he was a great friend to me when I was working, absolutely the best ref I ever worked with. We still keep in touch.

Q10: What is your favorite Tony Condello story?

JH: Well my favorite Condello story involves a cheese log and the fact that Tony has a very small…….ummm, I’ll save that one. The one I can tell is a rib we played on Tony up north.

Don and Lenny (Dr. Luther) had come to me and asked if there would be a way to get my pig to molest Tony in some fashion. Yep, no problem. We were all sleeping in a gym that night and Tony was exhausted as he would not let anyone else drive the rental van. So he was out! I made a trail of crackers to Tony and the last one was in his “fro” the pig ate her way across the gym until she came to Tony’s hair, what happened next was really gross, she cacked up some of the crackers in his hair, just as he woke up to see the pig!! I have never laughed that hard!

Our thanks to Randy AKA Jethro for taking time to share these stories of his career with our readers.

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Quotes from the boys: Moondog Manson says "The key to success in the wrestling business is by being humble, respectful, and paying your dues. With out these you will fail.".
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