I was originally going to write today about the War to Settle the Score which helped launch the WWF into a world wide powerhouse. The anniversary of that match between Roddy Piper and Hulk Hogan is this week. If you don't know or remember, it aired on MTV and was the original road to Wrestlemania.
Something else happened on this week in history. The footage of Dr. D David Schultz slapping the snot out of reporter John Stossel aired on ABC. I can still remember watching that episode of 20/20 in my parents' room. I was captivated by what was happening. Stossel was exposing the sport that up until that point I thought was completely on the level. (I was only 11 at the time) I've written about the incident before (click here to read it), but I wanted to talk more about the Dr. D.
Dr. D lays the smack down
Go back and watch some of Schultz's promos and interviews. The more I watch the more I see the man we know today as "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. He was wrestling's original redneck. Schultz's comments were often crude, brash, and sometimes even racist. Even back in the early days of the WWF and its global expansion I am surprised he was able to say some of the things he did, as the Hulkamania era was about to sweep the business.
Even after being released from the WWF as a result of the slapping incident, Schultz defended the honor of the wrestling on the talk show circuit. His tirade on the Morton Downy, Jr. Show is one for the ages. He had nothing to gain at that point, but made it clear that wrestling was not fake. Some of the things he said have obviously now been proven to the contrary, but you've got admire his passion for a business he loved, even if it stopped loving him.
I think it would have been awesome to see Austin and Schultz team up during the height of the Attitude Era, even if as a manager/wrestler role. He would have been a better fit than the Million Dollar Man was for "The Ringmaster." And while we're at it, let's get Dr. D in the Hall of Fame. He deserves it just for the slap alone as far as I'm concerned.