Duke Droese On What Went Wrong In His Feud With Jerry Lawler

WrestleZone Managing Editor Bill Pritchard recently spoke with Mike Droese, formerly known as Duke “The Dumpster” Droese, who discussed several topics, including his feud with Jerry “The King” Lawler.

On whether he hears that he and Lawler were responsible for the first “hardcore wrestling” on WWF TV:

Droese: “Yeah, I get it a lot, and they say that because it was a trash can shot. And trash cans were used so much after that later on in hardcore-style wrestling. But, if you ask me, I would say one of the first kind of instances of hardcore-type something happening on WWF television, it would be Roddy Piper and Jimmy “Superfly Snuka” with the coconut. That was pretty stiff and that was, you know, I thought that was pretty rough. But people said that me and Lawler, the thing we did and the thing about that was, it was on live TV and we really didn’t have the okay to do that. We just…they wanted to set it up where we talked and he wouldn’t let me in the ring during King’s Court, and we argued, and I decided to leave. And he was gonna run behind me and jump me to set up the heat for an angle. And beforehand Lawler asked me if we could do something where he’d hit me with the can, and I said I was fine with it. So we just kinda roundabout talked to the agent that was in charge of the segment, which was Jack Lanza. Jack Lanza, if you know him, he’s freakin’ old school, like, ‘Don’t ask for permission, just ask for forgiveness later.’ He said, ‘It’s live television, screw it, just go do it.'”

“And that’s what we did, and if you watched it, if you ever saw it, when he hit me, the first shot, it’s like boom! And I drop to a knee, and he goes to hit me again, and immediately the camera angle shoots, it cuts away to a very far camera up in the rafters of the building somewhere,. You can barely see the garbage can coming up and down, you know. And they freaked out, they freaked out about it. They put, you know, commentary was Gorilla Monsoon and Macho Man at the time, and they came right back on live and said, ‘We apologize for that, you’ll never see it again, you’ll never see something like that on our television again,’ and they apologized, they apologized up and down ,which could have even good but you know it really started to kinda kill the angle. And I think that turned Vince off or maybe some other people off. And then, like the next weekend on Superstars, they did a taped segment where Jerry Lawler was in the studio, and he had to apologize to me, and it was comedy and it was funny. But I just didn’t think it was good for the heat of the angle. And the angle itself just kinda fizzled out after that. It was just really kinda strange. Something that easily should have been a pay-per-view blowoff match never went to pay-per-view. We ended up just doing the blowoff on Monday Night RAW, where I wrestled him, and of course I beat him, but I beat him by count out because Doink and Dink the Clown interfered. And that was setting up his next angle with Doink the Clown, where they did, you know, each wrestler had four midget wrestlers on, I don’t know if it was Sunmerslam or Survivor Series or something but, you know, Jerry Lawler has all the little kings and Doink the Clown had Dink and the three other little clown wrestlers. So they turned over the angle, you know, they ended it and put him with Doink, and it just ended there, and it really wasn’t anything great. And I certainly didn’t get a payday, a pay-per-view payday out of it either. So it started off real hot and it died pretty fast because they weren’t ready for that kind of violence on the TV yet.”

The full interview is available below:

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