It’s not every day you find yourself on the other side of the phone with former WWF and Bison star Bob Backlund. We followed up after our interview with some questions from you, the fans.
Fans – What’s the secret to the crossface chickenwing?
Bob Backlund – Facial expressions. They (the crowd) don’t look at the hold, they look at your face. I go nuts when I put it on somebody. That’s what makes it successful. Kurt Angle used to try to use it, it didn’t work at all. He only tried twice. I don’t think he understood about entertaining people. The hold is put in, that move will do damage if you want it to, but again, with the business, it was more about the face.
Has anyone ever hit you for real in the ring?
I don’t know if you remember Harley Race. He was one of the tougher guys in the business and I had a lot of matches with him. In the book, he said, “You know, there are a lot of people that tried to take Bob Backlund on and nobody ever tried twice.” Well, I was in such good shape. My upper body was so stiff. I didn’t even realize they were trying to do that. My upper body, you couldn’t move it with a truck.
So these guys were going after you, but it still took a lot to bring you down?
They tried to take me on, but I just thought they were messing with me. I didn’t even realize it. Harley Race says that in the book. So I couldn’t tell you who it was because I didn’t realize it. I thought they were all the same.
What is your worst botched experience in the ring?
That never happened. Well, when I first got in the ring, I was going to jump over the top rope and I jumped over the top rope and I just spun around it. That was sort of embarrassing. When I got done with the match, I couldn’t find the dressing room. Everything gets turned upside down. Every corner looks the same. I was walking around all over and I couldn’t find the dressing room. (Laughs) All the guys knew it was my first or second match and they were all back there laughing.
What was the greatest venue you ever wrestled in?
Back then, and it still is, Madison Square Garden rules. That’s where everybody wanted to get. I wrestled in the Tokyo Dome and there were 60,000 people there. But the Madison Square Garden rules.
Is there someone now that you would’ve had a lot of fun with in the ring?
Oh yeah, There’s quite a few of them. I would’ve loved to wrestle Brock Lesnar. With what he did in high school, college and wrestling and all that, it would be a pleasure. That would’ve been a big challenge.
Where are you now?
South Glastonbury, Conn., with my wife. She’s from North Dakota State also. I met her there, she was a cheerleader for the football team and I met her during the football season. We’ve been together for 42 years. We’ve had our ups and downs, but we said, “Till death do us part.” And we meant it.