Check out this week's IN THE ROOM, as with Brady Hicks, as former WWE star and TNA agent D'Lo Brown checks in to offer his thoughts on everything from wrestling's glory days, to the network, to the health and viability of TNA as competition for WWE. Other topics of discussion included D'Lo's thoughts on being a "rock star" and part of pop culture during The Attitude Era … TNA's relative health, attempts to grow, and criticism of its management … working backstage as a "teacher," then going onscreen as part of Aces & 8s … the trial and error of wrestling angles … being a Nation of Domination member, including The Rock, D-X skit, Hart Foundation racism angle, chest protector, and Ahmed Johnson … and the "real" New Jack, including some crazy Smokey Mountain stories.
On The Nation of Domination Being "Short-Changed" as a Stable:
I totally believe The Nation was short-changed. I believe that a successful group, a successful stable … first of all you put guys there who need help getting over, and then once they get over you kind of split them up and see what they can do. Instantly we were put together, [and] our group exploded. When Rocky and Mark Henry came in, it exploded. If you look at the careers of the members afterwards … we all became better for being in that group. To me, that is the benchmark of what a stable is supposed to be. Every guy comes out of it better. And I’m sorry, [but] we’re right there with some of the great groups in the history of this business. I’d put The Nation up next to anybody, anywhere, and say “Here’s what we did. What did you do?” … The Nation [also] did tons for African Americans. [Before] we were either Birdmen or we were pimps. Finally there was a group of black men who were just normal characters. We weren't Jamaican. We weren't bank robbers. We weren't Men on a Mission. We were real, bonafide characters, not charicatures.
On TNA Trying to Compete with WWE:
When [Hulk] Hogan and [Eric] Bischoff came in, there was also that sense of feeling that we could do something. And it just never really materialized like I envisioned it would … There was a sense of momentum, it was an excitement, it was a euphoria that was running through the locker room. We're going to go live, we're moving from Thursday, we're going to jump on Monday, and we're going to attack the bear. And by us jumping back to Thursday about a month later that let everyone know that the bear kicked our ass. That was very, very deflating.
On Joining the WWF as The Attitude Era Took Off:
I consider myself extremely lucky. I got there and [WWF was] right in the midst of 80 consecutive weeks of losing to WCW on the Monday Night Wars, and morale was pretty low. I was happy to be there. I was just in Puerto Rico like a week before and now I’m on Shotgun Saturday Night, and I was happy as hell [at] this place I always wanted to be. But the rest of the locker room was a little down. And then all of a sudden it started … you could just feel a difference. We used to have this thing called "The Tarp Monster." If you've ever been a TV taping you know the tarp that goes over the upper level, the upper bowl, of the arena that kind of blocks that off so people can't sit up there. We called that The Tarp Monster and it was the most amazing thing because The Tarp Monster would eat seats … every week you watched that tarp go back another section … You know when you're getting on a roller coaster and you're going uphill and it's going really slow …? You kind of know that on the other side of that precipice something crazy is going to happen. That was the three or four months leading to the big break where we jumped over that hump.
On How Wrestlers' Appearances and Styles' Have Changed Over the Years:
Guys like Harley Race and Pedro Morales, compared to today's standards, wouldn't get jobs. But back then it was a different time in the business where all people wanted to see was the big, burly, brawling-type guy. It was the guy you wanted to see sitting at the end of the bar who would punch you in the face. And that was the definition of what a tough guy was. So it was a whole different body type that was in the late '70s, '80s, and early '90s as compared to now where everyone is cut like Arnold Schwarzenegger used to be. It was a different time in the business … What passed as a great match in 1975 and 1980, some of these great five-star matches, could not compare to something that goes on today in the ring.