Duggan still proudly waving the flag
TIM BAINES - Ottawa Sun
In the fight of his life, 55-year-old Hacksaw Jim Duggan didn't need a wooden plank. When he found out he had kidney cancer some 10 years ago, Duggan was floored like nothing he'd ever experienced, something not even an Iron Sheik camel clutch could duplicate.
"I was in there joking with the doctors and nurses and then it was, 'You have cancer.' It was the most devastating, terrifying thing I'd heard in my life. My little girls were just four and six. I spent the week before surgery crying and praying. They detected the cancer early. I was really blessed. I tell people to get in there and get checked. (Doctors) can do miracles.
"My main concern was just to survive, but it's incredible to be back wrestling. Life doesn't last forever, but I do appreciate the sun shining every day."
A goodwill ambassador for WWE, Duggan, ever the patriot, is a big part of the trips to visit the troops.
"It's a real gratifying feeling. The kids that are out there protecting you and me -- they grew up watching guys like me, Hulk Hogan and Jake Roberts."
Duggan also wants to make it clear that he loves Canada, despite a TV role on RAW in Calgary last month, where Bret Hart's music played, but it was Duggan who appeared.
"I definitely had a few reservations about doing it," said Duggan. "They threw a little curveball at me. Bret and I have been friends for quite a few years. There was a huge pop until the fans realized I wasn't Bret. I didn't understand the reasoning behind it, but it got everybody in Canada talking about WWE. It took me 13 hours to get home. So I've been joking that's why it took me so long. Even though I carry the American flag, I can appreciate how passionate Canadians are about their country."
Duggan is coming off appearances in the Maritimes and is swinging through Ontario next weeked (he'll be in Cornwall Oct. 2, Renfrew Oct. 3, then 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct 4 at Tailgators in Ottawa, 1642 Merivale Rd., where he'll face Carl Ouellet.
Check out wrestlingsupershow.com for more details).
"I've being doing this USA character for so many years. Fans appreciate the oldtimer. I realize I'm at the twilight of my career. I only have so many more matches, but it's hard not to get fired up. I still get excited to wrestle, even after 30 years."
A legend who's done time in the old WWF, WCW and even TNA, Duggan fondly recalls his feud with Nikolai Volkoff.
"I used to come out and cut the cord on Nikolai's microphone," he said. "For 26 of my 30 years, I've had the Hacksaw character with the American flag and the 2 X 4."
Everybody together now ... Hi-yo!
Hacksaw Jim Duggan Q&A
Jan. 2, 2001: Duggan happy to offer family entertainment
Tim Baines is the Sports Editor for the Ottawa Sun and can be emailed at Tim.firstname.lastname@example.org.