March 29, 2006
Time for some Honky love
By JAMIE KREISER - SLAM! Wrestling
REGINA, Sask. -- Saskatchewan received a much-needed dose of Honky love this past weekend. Mr. Shake, Rattle and Roll himself, the Honky Tonk Man was the guest of honor at two High Impact Wrestling indy shows in Regina and Saskatoon.
In Regina, over 300 fans clapped, sang, jived and relived their childhoods along with the self-proclaimed "Greatest Intercontinental Champion of all time." (There would have been more of a crowd, but the fire marshal was forced to turn many away.)
Prior to a tag team victory with his partner Big Daddy Kash over Principal Richard Pound and "Taylormade" Todd Myers (Myers received the customary guitar smash over the head), the HTM made some time to speak with SLAM! Wrestling.
"I know those guys, that's the only accurate Canadian wrestling site out there," said the Honky Tonk Man, born Wayne Farris. The ring announcer for the evening, Bob Leonard, had just made the introductions. Turns out the HTM was an avid reader of SLAM! Wrestling.
It was 7:00 p.m., one hour until show time.
Farris chatted for a few moments, explaining that he did about 80 shows last year and traveled to six countries. He pipes up that "come hell or high water" he is one of the few wrestlers who are actually dependable; he guarantees he will show up if he is booked for a show.
While he is talking, it's easy to notice that unlike some other wrestlers from that era, he still looks the same. His face has aged a bit, but he's not a grossly overweight man trying to relive the days of old. The only real major difference is that his hair in the back is longer and he wears it in a ponytail.
And just like his audio blog postings on his web site (www.thehonkytonkman.com), Farris is just as blunt and outspoken in person.
It seems that no topic is off limits.
And there are few wrestlers that are spared from his fearless critiquing.
That evening he has Wrestlemania, the Hall of Fame inductions and even Bret Hart on his mind. (WARNING: Some of you Bret Hart die-hards might want to skip the next little bit.) "Right now the issue I really have is Bret Hart," he said unabashedly. "Bret going back like he did, but saying, 'I'm not getting paid for this' yet he is traveling around the world promoting the DVD for that company and he is getting paid to do that."
He is not done. He also took issue with Bret Hart's Hall of Fame induction.
"Why wouldn't he say, 'The only way I will come and do this Hall Fame, the only way I want to be a part of this is if I get to induct my brother, who died for this company, who died performing?'" he questioned. "He didn't die in a hotel room like an Eddie Guerrero, he didn't die of some circumstances we don't know about, he died performing in the ring. I take issue with the fact that Eddie Guerrero goes into the Hall of Fame, yet Bret wouldn't say, 'Why not my brother? If you want me, why can't you take my brother?' If I'm wrong on that, I'm wrong, but I'd like to hear what he has to say about that."
It has to be asked, will we ever see have the pleasure of seeing the Honky Tonk Man in the Hall of Fame?
"Not at this point with the restrictions they put on being inducted," he answered matter of factly. "There's a 90-day no-compete clause, there's restrictions they have that I'm not ready to give up. I'm not ready to give up the rights to my name and my character that I worked so hard to own."
Farris explains that he was the Honky Tonk Man across Canada and for Stampede Wrestling way before he ever went to the WWE -- well it was the WWF when he was there.
The WWE's ideas of legends and Hall of Famers have Farris questioning the program's legitimacy.
"(William) 'Refrigerator' Perry, who was a football player and appeared in one Wrestlemania, does that make him a WWE Hall of Famer?" he vented. "I say, 'no.' The Hall of Fame in the WWE is simply a way to sell tickets to fans and get more money out of them for the weekend that they are there."
Despite his harsh words, Farris shockingly doesn't rule out a return to the "fed." He says he would return if the situation was done the right way and once the company was done with him he would want the ability to continue to make a living with the character he created. He wouldn't want them to tie him up where he couldn't do anything else, he says.
Farris just wants to keep wrestling, and to be remembered as the most controversial man in professional wrestling.
"I'll keep doing this until the phone stops ringing," he promised.
NOTE: The Honky Tonk Man's Canadian odyssey continues with a show tonight, Wednesday, March 29th for Top Rope Championship Wrestling in Beausejour, Manitoba at the Brokenhead River Rec Center. It's a 7:30 pm bell time, and Honky Tonk Man takes on TJ Bratt.
Jamie Kreiser has decided to become a full-time Honky Tonk Man groupie. Feeble attempts to contact her can be tried at firstname.lastname@example.org