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No Laughing Matter: An Interview
with Bill DeMott  
October 30, 2003

by Rick Scaia   
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


[NOTE FROM THE PRESENT DAY: As discussed in yesterday's OO, Bill DeMott has officially resigned himself to retirement as a result of a bad neck.  Obviously talented for a big man and dedicated to the business, DeMott's "Hugh Morrus" character was one of the most under-utilized of WCW's boom era...  and in the only burst of momentum his career really ever received, he was hamstrung by an awful new "Gen. Hugh G. Rection" gimmick.  So we cannot sit here today and tick off a listing of his voluminous in-ring honors on the ocassion of his retirement.  His was a potential that went mostly unrealized.

However, his love of the business and interest in remaining a part of it even after his body gave out on him was a matter of record even two full years ago.  In this Summer 2001 interview, DeMott discussed the later days of WCW, his initial participation in and the direction of the inVasion angle, and some of his own personal beliefs about how the wrestling business works.  And he also expressed his hope that he could remain active for 10 or more years, but that if he couldn't manage that, that somebody would give him a shot to contribute in other, off-screen capacities.  With his debut as a color commentator on this week's Velocity, it seems that particular comment by Hugh was especially prophetic.


A Talk with Bill "Hugh Morrus" DeMott / August 9, 2001 

OO Interview Originally Published August 15, 2001

On the afternoon of August 9, 2001, at the Brian Pillman Memorial Event, Hugh Morrus was kind enough to set aside about a half hour of time to talk his new home, the WWF, the last days at the old place, WCW, and of course, about Brian Pillman, who Hugh was lucky enough to have worked with.

As we pick up the conversation, we are talking about Hugh's recent lack of TV time as he transitions to the WWF...

HM:  Hugh Morrus 
RS:  Rick Scaia

RS:  Now, we're seeing you constantly on house show line-ups, but not so much as an active player on TV...  now we see you here, clean shaven...  can we expect some sort of repackaging, a new Hugh?

HM:  I don't know if it's a repackaging, I just think that there's so many guys, now...  you gotta remember that until the new show gets started, if it gets started, there's a lot of guys here.  So for us to come in, we're still the red-headed step-child. So you're not gonna see all of us come in at once, that's just the way the business is.  So I'm sure you'll see me make my big return to TV soon enough.

It's good to do the house shows, though, cuz then you're ready for it.

RS:  So you'll look good when you do show up on TV?

HM:  Yeah, well, I'd like to think so, anyway.

RS:  Now, you've got guys who really are getting the TV time, who are getting over, like Booker T starting to add depth to his character, or Lance Storm getting over as a heel...  do you think yourself or anyone else is ready to step up, or deserves more time....

HM:  I don't know if "deserves" is the right word.

RS:  I mean more do you think anyone else, after working house shows, whatever to make the transition is ready to get that shot?

HM:  Oh, then I think a lot of us are ready.  A lot it is timing, too, though.  You gotta remember where we came from, everything was just done on a whim.  We were in the same business, but a very different way of doing business.  But now, anything that happens now, there's a plan.

Everything that happens with the Alliance now, you're gonna see us all at one time or another, but as for when, it's all just timing.

RS:  Are you guys, then, looking forward to the split house shows in October, and hopefully getting your own TV show down the line to sort of force the issue?

HM:  You know, I don't really know much about that.  And to be honest, I don't concern myself with it.  I look at it as I have a job, my job is still there, and WWF, WCW, ECW, whatever way it falls, for myself personally, that's just where I'm going.  I don't look at it as when are we gonna split up, anything like that.  Hey, we're on TV, we're part of the Alliance, and this is the business we're in.

RS:  Alright, backtracking a bit, now, to your last days in WCW...  you guys thought you had a big May pay-per-view to build to under Eric Bischoff, and then with like a week's notice, Vince McMahon pulls the rug out from under everything and buys you up...

HM:  Heh heh, if it was a week, it was a week longer than most of the boys knew about.  Cuz we didn't know anything about it.

RS:  Three days, then, a little less than a week....

HM:  Actually most of us didn't know anything till we got to Panama City, but yeah...  it's hard to say anything about the last days, because you gotta remember for the last 3 years, it seemed like every four months, we had a new boss.  We were just groomed after a while, you had no one to answer to.  Until Johnny Ace stepped up and became the go-to guy, the guy who'd take responsibility for what was going on, it was almost like you just showed up, did what you had to do to get through the day, and then go home.

I don't know how many guys were really looking forward to the plans or what was supposed to happen for that May PPV or not.  It was just, "Let's go out there and try to put our best foot forward."  And that's when a lot of guys got a chance to show that they did belong with the company.

RS:  In talking to Terry Taylor yesterday, he made it clear that they had concrete plans, exciting things they wanted to do for the May PPV before Vince came in...  but that never translated to the guys who were going out and putting on the performances?

HM:  Right, right....  well, Terry and all those guys, they were in a rough spot.  When you're management, when you're an agent, I guess it's, everybody's going, "What the hell are you gonna do about this?".  But you gotta remember, if we didn't know who our boss was, then they didn't know who their boss was.  So when a creative team has a plan, the rug gets swept out from under them, they have to feel ten times worse than we ever did, because at least we still get to go out there and perform, get something accomplished, but all their hard work goes out the window.  So hats off to all those guys.

You know, everybody says, "I could book a show" or "I could do better than that"...  well, I'm here to double dog dare anyone out there to take a Terry Taylor's spot and come out of it sane, and still thinking about the business the way he does, still loving it.

RS:  Terry said something almost identical yesterday, that he gets frustrated because nobody realizes it's easy to identify a problem, but harder to propose an actual solution....

HM:  Sure, sure....  that's why some people are called armchair quarterbacks, even though we're the ones out on the field doing it.

RS:  I guess the armchair quarterbacking is our job, on the internet...

HM:  Hey, no disrespect to anyone, but until you've been in it, been a part of it... and now, Terry's been on both sides of it, he's been in the ring, and now he's on the headsets, behind the curtain, whatever you want to call it...  I defy anyone to say they could do a better job and then go in and actually do it.  Anybody who's ever said, "Ah, I could do better than that" has always backpedaled away.

So I got nothing but respect for those guys.  Sure, sometimes we have words, but you gotta respect 'em.  They work hard to get things going, and sometimes if they get it swept out from under 'em, it sucks.

RS:  How about your new bosses, the McMahons...  do you get to "have words" with them?

HM:  [chuckling]  Oh yeah, sure...  but it's all nice words, like "Hello, how are you?" and "Are you ready to work today?"....

RS:  So, interacting with the new bosses, smooth so far?

HM:  Tremendous, just tremendous....  everybody's just one big family there.

But look, it's still wrestling, and if somebody says, "We all love everybody," then... look, you don't gotta love everybody else, but everybody's gotta be on the same page.  That's what they shoot for, and everybody there is nothing short of professional, from top to bottom.  It's a machine, it's an amazing machine to be a part of.

RS:  Even though you've got a whole creative team, you guys know the buck stops with one person, Vince...

HM:  That's what they tell me...  [chuckling]

RS:  You mean you don't really see that in practice?

HM:  Like I said, I came from six, six-and-a-half years of wanting to be involved in things other than what I do in the ring, so I'm just kinda sitting back and for the first time, enjoying the ride.  I'm enjoying getting into the kind of shape I'm getting in.  I'm enjoying being able to be a part of this whole Invasion thing.

Any day when you can walk into work and give an Austin a slap, or an Undertaker a "Hello," and still have my boys around me, then that's a good day for me.  I'm not gonna get into the politics until I'm further into it, or till it's my time.  I'm just digging the fact that now, I'm surrounded by the guys I used to work with, and now, the guys I looked up to coming in.

RS:  So you're definitely interested in jumping to the other side, like we've heard Dean Malenko's getting ready to do?

HM:  Yeah, I think so...  absolutely.

RS:  What, three years, five years, ten years down the line?

HM:  Hopefully it is ten years from now.  Hopefully, my body holds together. I want to still be doing this five or ten years from now, but yeah...

I think I've got a lot to offer.  "The Laughing Man" is always looked at as a goofy guy, but there's a serious side to me, and business is business, and I love this business.  I can definitely see myself down the road as a behind the scenes guy.

RS:  Cool...  it's coming up on group photo time, so just to wrap up, with today being about Brian Pillman, I know your career actually overlapped with his...  which not everybody on this card tonight can say.

HM:  I definitely did have the honor of working with Brian....

RS:  Any cool memories, funny stories, favorite performances of his that you could talk about briefly?

HM:  I got to work with Brian a lot.  When I was with the Dungeon of Doom, and we were getting going, and he was with the Horsemen, we did a lot of house shows together.  The one time we actually got on TV, I think, if my memory's any good at all, it was Lakeland, FL...  so he said, "Why don't we just throw 'em at each other tonight?".  Now, me being green, I had no idea what he was talking about, but I figured it out right after the first chop he gave me that he wanted to throw 'em and let's have at it.  So me taking advantage of my 330 pounds, at the time, we started going at it.

But man, he was a consummate professional, he was a lot of fun in the ring, a great guy out of the ring.  And always encouraging.  He didn't have to be that.  A lot of these veterans don't encourage the new guys, but Brian wasn't one of those guys.  If he had something he could tell you, something constructive, an opinion about something, he was there with it.  Just as a person, he was always great to me, and I had a good time working with him. It was an honor, and now it's an honor to be here every year.  You take care of the people who took care of you.

RS:  Since you brought it up...  last year here, it was you and Vampiro. And I don't know how to say this diplomatically, but I thought you guys had the second best match of the night.  I mean, you tore the house down, but....

HM:  [laughing]  Don't worry about it, man, it's kind hard to follow Benoit and Regal!

RS:  [chuckling, happy to be let off the hook] Awesome stuff from them last year, yeah... but for you tonight, what's the plan for you?

HM:  Umm, I think I've got Mark Henry tonight...

RS:  Yeah, I know even last night, Les was still trying to piece together a card...

HM:  If it's Mark...  yeah, he's a big man, and I used to be a big man, so we'll see...

RS:  You know, people still think of you as a "big man," always like "he's really talented for a big man"....

HM:  All this change in physique, and I lost my beard...  I don't feel like myself anymore.  But I'm coming around to think, maybe it's a good thing, that change is a good thing.  So I just look forward to whatever's gonna happen.

RS:  Well, we'll all sit back and look forward to seeing you back getting major TV time.  And thanks for taking the time to sit down and talk with us...

HM:  Nah, man, thank you.  I appreciate it.


Rick Scaia is a wrestling fan from Dayton, OH.  He's been doing this since 1995, but enjoyed it best when the suckers from SportsLine were actually PAYING him to be a fan.

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