George Steele Remembers Randy Savage, Talks "Mine", New Book, More
January 2, 2021
Show: Interactive Wrestling Radio courtesy of www.WrestlingEpicenter.com
Guest: George “The Animal” Steele & Rampage Jackson
Your Hosts: Patrick Kelley & James Walsh
Every now and then we get the chance to sit down with a guy that we grew up watching. We were blessed with that chance recently as we sat down with George “The Animal” Steele to talk about his brand new book out and available now.
Following the trend of strong new books such as those by Jimmy Snuka, Jimmy Korderas, and Hardcore Holly (all of whom we interviewed and are still available to listen to at our site), this book is an incredibly enjoyable read. From overcoming dyslexia to transforming from the meanest heel in wrestling to the most lovable cartoon character in wrestling, the Jim Myers story is unique to say the least. You will get a glimpse at his uniqueness in this interview. But, for the full scope, you simply have to pick up the book.
We also air the entire hour long Rampage Jackson teleconference from a few weeks ago in case you hadn’t heard it already.
An MP3, transcript, and YouTube video of this 30 minute plus interview is available at www.WrestlingEpicenter.com. It is free! No registrations required. Just come on over and click. Check out our store to show your appreciation!
GEORGE “THE ANIMAL” STEELE
Should we interview George or Jim?
George “The Animal” Steel joins us on the program to plug his new autobiography, and immediately kicks things off by being in character. While acting like The Animal, he asks “Do you want to talk to George or do you want to talk to Jim?”. He later jokes that “It is two people using the same body, what can I say?”. He also jokes, “I wrestled part time through the summer until 1986. At the end of the summer, my wife used to say it was time to put George in the box and bring Jim back out.” He jokes it wasn’t always an easy transition. After that funny moment, the rest of the interview was conducted out of character.
Did “The Animal” Ever Turn Up when Jim (George) was Coaching Football?
James (interviewer) asks if George ever showed up when Jim was coaching a football game. “Only once,” George said. They had gone up 14 to nothing in a game and he turned around and joked to his offensive coordinator, who was his brother in law, “Are they going to let us play any offense today”. His brother in law turned around and said, “Yeah, now”. The other team scored a touchdown and scored 2 more prior to half time with the score being 21-14. “I didn’t know what to do. They were completely intimidated by the other team. Then, someone told me to make them more afraid of you than they are of them. George showed up, and we won! So, George has a coaching record of 1 and 0.”
On the process of writing the book:
George says the process of writing it was like “looking at your life through a rear-view mirror” and it was interesting for him to look back on aspects of his life including his faith in God and having to struggle with dyslexia in his youth. He says that “When God takes away something from you, he gives you another gift and another direction” and with dyslexia, he was also blessed with a great memory.
On the main theme of the book:
George says “It is about overcoming obstacles”. He talks about his dyslexia and Chrom’s disease.
On the way wrestling was to what it is now:
“It is a completely different show now”, says George. He feels the new guys are “fantastic athletes…much better athletes than we were. But, we’re tougher”. James jokes by saying that Kofi Kingston could probably play any sport he chose, but he’d still rather have George on his side in a dark ally fight.
On wrestling the late-great Randy “Macho Man” Savage:
“It was old school, old wrestling, that’s me against new shcool, new wresling, that was Savage. This is a tough business. It takes a little intelligence to be good at it. Old school, we knew the outcome and how we were going to get there but for the most part, everything we called in the ring. When Randy (Savage) game along, being a true professional, he wanted to have it be perfect. He wanted everything written down, planned out, coriographed, this way, and that way. That just didn’t work with me. So, the first time we were going to wrestle with our pgraom , he came in with about 5 pages written out in a notebook of what we were going to do. I took them and, after I read it, crumpled it up and threw it in the garbage. I read the next page, crumpled it up, threw it in the garbage. Each time I did, he’d start growling (does the sound effect). He was getting more angry and more angry. He thought, in his way of thinking, that I was taking a lazy approach to the business. I’m thinking I’m taking a more intelligent approach to the business because what gets over in LA might not get over in New York. You have to change things and you can do that on the run if you understand ring psychology. That’s another art that is lost. Those were arts that I was taught. Here we are, we have the new generation, we have the old generation and we have this great storyline, this GREAT storyline… We had this old, one time most rotten, meanest heel in the history of the business and I became a cartoon, lovable character. So, that’s what he had to deal with! (Laughs) For the timing and where we were in the business, it was actually perfect”.
On Bruno Sammartino Accepting the WWE Hall of Fame Induction:
George gives his thoughts on someone he worked with, Bruno Sammartino, who he says was “the greatest thing that ever happened to wrestling”. He goes on to say that he’s often asked about his opinion of Bruno going into the WWE Hall of Fame. “I supported his decision when he chose not to go in for all those years and now I support his decision to go in.”
On the origins of “Mine”:
Something not mentioned in the book but is on the cover is “Mine”, his stuffed animal friend who belonged to George… Hence why it was… “Mine”. “Mine was at the end of my career. I had gotten Chrom’s disease. We sold a boat load of them. In fact, HEY! Keep it down! I keep a few in the closet and every now and again have to keep them in line!” James mentions that he saw quite a few people talking about “Mine” in response to the interview and wanted to make sure and throw that in.
On acting in Ed Wood:
George says he was actually calm. Tim Burton, who produced the movie, asked George why he wasn’t nervous. Bill Murray was walking by and said, “He’s been acting his whole life!” George loved the experience.
Check out the rest of the interview to listen to George talk about the evolution of his wrestling character, his time in Football, his work with the national Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame, and his overall opinions of the wrestling business today.