Ron Simmons Says Racism Does Not Exist in WWE, Talks Working with JBL, the Origin of “Damn” and More

Nick Paglino

WWE Hall of Famer Ron Simmons, aka Farooq, recently did an interview on the WNS Podcast, and below are some highlights:

On His Coastalmania Appearance:

I'm looking forward to that. But I'll tell you, I'm really looking forward to coming back to the state of Texas. Particularly to Galveston. As you know I've come there many times throughout my career and as a matter of fact I was a native of Texas for around 4 Dallas so I consider myself to be somewhat a resident of Texas so. I'm really looking forward to this and it will be something I'll treasure for a while because I'm in retirement now and didn't have a chance when I was on the road to come back and meet and greet and talk to a lot of the people particularly in Texas. So this is going to be an opportunity for me to do that.

On the transition from football to wrestling:

Well, I've always been a fan of professional wrestling.and because I've always loved sports that particularly had to have some kind of physical prowess and athletic ability. So, I've always been a big fan and I recall myself as a young man growing up watching guys like Tony Atlas, Dusty Rhodes, Ric Flair and throughout my football career I was always a big fan and I thought perhaps in the back of my mind one day that after my football career ended and if I didn't go into Communications field coming out of the college I was at, I would probably give it a shot. As it turned out, I played 25 years of professional ball and decided to give professional wrestling a shot and got trained by Hiro Matsuda whom I consider to be, was, the best in the business at that particular time and for me he'll be forever the best. And that transition for me it was harder than I thought it was going to be. I thought that coming from football it would be somewhat easy but I've got to be honest it was probably the hardest thing I've ever done as far as requiring physical ability.

On the reaction from friends and family when he became the first black world champion:

At that particular time, it wasn't so much celebrated as the first Black World Heavyweight Champion. It was just me having won the World Heavyweight Championship at that time. And then I think that perhaps as time went on then it set in that history was made. That I was the first black man to wear the World Heavyweight Championship and even to this day I sometimes have to catch myself to make sure that was real and that I have gone through the things that I did because I consider that to be quite an accomplishment. And I'm proud of myself and the most proud of myself for the fact that it opened up more doors for other young black men and women to pursue professional wrestling. But it gave encouragement to all young athletes. So, thats one of the things I'm biggest and most proud of.

On black wrestlers being given the opportunity to be world champion in WWE:

All the years I've worked with WWE, that opportunity is there for any man or woman for that matter. If you're willing to work and put in the dedication that it requires you will get that shot. That I have no problem with. I've worked with Vince (McMahon) for quite a while. I know him, I know all of his family members. So, that's not true. If opportunity presents itself and if there's someone they consider to be worthy black or white they will get the opportunity to put that belt on and I'm certain that it won't be long before that happens because you look up there you have quite a few black young men up there now that given a couple of more years under their belt will probably be wearing that belt really soon. So, no I have no problem with that. I think that's going to happen real soon.

Does he prefer tag or singles wrestling?:

Oh definitely tag. I had the most fun starting with Butch and Doom. It was there. But I think perhaps throughout my career and then of course with The Nation Of Domination. With all of the guys in there I had a lot of fun. But, my brother, and native Texan I might add, Bradshaw. It was the most fun. I mean I couldn't think of a better way to wind down and end my career than being in a tag team with him and it just was fun all throughout the years we worked together and then not only to have success at it but to be able to entertain the people to the fullest and then to have them years after that is over to come up and say that that was the most enjoyable period of time throughout my wrestling career and what they've seen in professional wrestling. That's what made it worthwhile. It was definitely the highlight of my career. After winning the World Heavyweight Championship, that would top it off. The APA.

On working with JBL in the APA:

There's just so many of them. We had a great time all the way. We had such chemistry together. We both had similar out of the ring things in common. We both had football background and we liked to go out and raise hell in bars and get in fights for real. So, it was just a natural that we worked well together and it came across well on-screen because that was us in reality and that's what made it such a success.

On the origin of "Damn!":

I think that started being catchy when I would go to different towns and I would be in a match and we would be doing something and I would get frustrated probably because I couldn't pin the guy and things weren't going my way throughout the match and they would hear me say 'DAMN!' and then the people in the audience just started saying it and it really resonated with them and it's catchy because all of us at some point in our lives somebody comes along and ticks us off wether it be in traffic or whether it be your kids or whether it be someone at customer service not giving you the best treatment you just simply have to say 'DAMN!'

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