Everybody wants to know ...
Exclusive one-on-ones with Angle, Benoit, Bischoff
TJ MADIGAN - Calgary Sun
Why the heck is Chris Benoit still being billed from Atlanta? How did people react to Hulk Hogan's praise for Eric Bischoff at the Hall of Fame ceremony? And when Sylvain Grenier says the only woman he has time for is his mother, is that carny for "Girls have cooties"?
Everybody wants to know...
Chris Benoit... come on. From Atlanta, Georgia?!?
Benoit: "Actually, they say 'now residing in Atlanta', not 'from Atlanta'. A lot of people ask me, so here's the deal. When I signed with WCW in 1996, part of that signing was getting a green card and moving to Atlanta. That's reality. [Wayne] Gretzky left the Oilers when he saw an opportunity to better himself and his family. It doesn't take away from the fact that I'm damn proud to be from Edmonton. My wife's a U.S. citizen, but my first child was born in Edmonton. My family is here in Atlanta, but the rest of my family, they're all up in Edmonton. I am from Edmonton. I am Canadian.
"Anyone that's followed me knows I'm real. I don't have this outlandish character or all these corny phrases. I do a lot of my talking in the ring, but that's reality and I try to be as real as I can be. I am now residing in Atlanta, like they say. But the truth is, if we really want to be reality-based here, Chris Benoit now resides at the nearest Marriot Hotel."
Eric Bischoff, the unwritten rule of thumb at the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony is for inductees to thank the McMahon family and only the McMahon family. When Hulk Hogan gave you some of the highest praise, well, lets just say that a few jaws dropped. Did yours?
Bischoff: "That was an odd moment, wasn't it? Yeah, it did. It was gracious of Hulk to do that but it did, quite frankly, catch me off guard. It even made me a little weepy."
Kurt Angle, as someone who trained many years outside of the sports entertainment business, did you hear much about Stu Hart and the legendary Dungeon?
Angle: "I heard a lot about it. That's definitely my form of training. I have a lot of respect for it, because with my Olympic training, I trained harder than anybody who went through the Hart's training. I respect Stu, the way he disciplined them. I have a respect for it because I understood what they went through. If anything, I've probably trained harder than anybody in the Dungeon."
Sylvain Grenier, how does the WWE lifestyle affect your ability to have a relationship outside the business?
Grenier: "It's a great job but it does take a lot of time from you, because you have to train when you're at home. You have to take care of yourself, take care of your body. But I'm 27 years old, I'm young and single. Nobody sees me except me and my mom, which makes things really easy."
Steve Austin, people know you get dropped on your head for a living. Are you expected to do more of your own movie stunts than other actors?
Austin: "In The Longest Yard, I did everything in the movie that I was supposed to do. If you go see the movie, there's one stunt I don't do and you'll see why. The guy takes a pretty vicious blow and he does an amazing job. Adam Sandler does most of his stuff too, though. I did as much as I could."
WWE stars from Raw and Smackdown will come together for SummerSlam, August 21st on pay-per-view.
T.J. Madigan writes a weekly pro wrestling column for the Calgary Sun, which appears every Saturday. This column is exclusive for SLAM! Wrestling.
Visit the SLAM! Wrestling store!
See the WWE Hall of Fame induction ceremony
Order WrestleMania 21 Triple DVD Set