2017 WWE Hall of Famer Teddy Long spoke with FOX Sports after his induction was announced on Monday. The full interview is at this link and below are highlights:
Fox Sports: First off, congratulations on making it into the Hall of Fame. What was your first reaction when you got the call?
Teddy Long: Well, I was really surprised, you know? I had thought about being inducted into the Hall of Fame and I thought ‘well, if they’re going to do that, I’m pretty sure my time will come one day.’ And that’s what did happen. I was real excited, it’s such an honor to be a part of something like this. To go into the 2017 WWE Hall of Fame… man, it’s just great. It don’t get no better than that.
I just want to thank Vince McMahon and the McMahon family, and the WWE Universe, and all the people that just hung out with me and wanted some more Teddy Long. I’m just excited right now so I’m kind of lost for words.
Fox Sports: So is that how you eventually transitioned to becoming a GM as well? WWE just found out you had the talent for it?
Teddy Long: Let me tell you something. Vince McMahon, this man’s a genius. He can see stuff that a lot of people can’t see. I found that out during the years that I worked there, because I’ve seen some things that I thought wouldn’t work in my opinion. ‘Why are we doing this?’ And the next thing I know Vince turned that thing around and made it work. And he did the same with me.
I think what happened is after he found out that I could talk, for the general manager role you need people that can talk and be in that role, to be an authority figure. I don’t know what he seen in me, but whatever he seen I’m glad he saw it. And that’s why I gave him 100 percent every time I walked out of that curtain and walked into the ring. That’s why I was able to stay, I guess, in my position for 10 years.
Fox Sports: Who would be the people you would say were the most influential on your career?
Teddy Long: Well, The Undertaker, Mark Callous, me and him are good friends and we go back in the day. I used to manage him back in WCW when he was “Mean” Mark Callous. One of the nicest guys that you could ever meet. Great guy, and he gave me a lot of advice. I had the chance to sit down and talk with him a whole lot and he was very instrumental in my career.
Kevin Sullivan I learned a whole lot from. Like I said, he has a great mind for the wrestling business. In fact, he was a big part of the NWO when it was in WCW, he was doing a lot of the booking and writing for that. Kevin was a great inspiration.
“Hot Stuff” Eddie Gilbert, once again. I learned a whole lot from him. Guys like that that I had a chance to ride with back in the day. I learned a lot from everybody, I was able to get along with basically everybody. I might have had a lot of heat with some guys, but you know, who cares. I was able to get along, and I was able to make it in this business thanks to a lot of the guys that helped me and told me the truth.
A lot of guys will lie to you in this business, and tell you you’re doing good when you’re really not. But I had a lot of guys who were really honest with me that let me know when I was doing bad, and I was able to critique myself, too.
Fox Sports: Just before the WWE Draft in 2016 you made a return to Raw. What was that experience like, being backstage again?
Teddy Long: I was happy to come back. I love Vince McMahon to death, man. This man is the reason I am where I am today. Any time he calls, I’m ready to go, and I’ll come for Vince any day. I was just happy to go back. I watch the show, and I was real excited to meet some of the guys – Enzo and Cass, I really like those guys, I was happy to come back and meet them.
And I was happy to walk out on TV and do something… I didn’t really think much about it, I’ll go back and do whatever they want me to do, but to get the reaction from the people that I got when I walked out. That told me, ‘hey, I’m missed. These people miss me.’