Welcome to “Ten Pounds of Gold”, where I, your host, Scott Brown, give you the chance to get to know the best wrestlers in the National Wrestling Alliance, personally.
On May 6th, as Jay Cal reported here on Alliance-Wrestling, the NWA posted a video message they had received from the next “Where Are They Now” star featured in their Ringside magazine, 2 time NWA World Heavyeight champion and UFC Hall of Famer, Dan “The Beast” Severn. In the video Mr. Severn stated, “I never lost the belt”, that he is the undisputed NWA champion and that he doesn’t want a shot at the title, currently held by New Japan Pro Wrestling star, Tenzan, but that he would be willing to defend HIS title.
I had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Severn about the video and would like to share his comments with you.
Before we get to that though, let’s have a little history lesson. Back in December of 2001, Shinya Hashimoto won the NWA World Heavyweight Title in a triple threat match against Steve Corino and Gary Steele. Hashimoto was a big time name and a legitimate tough guy, having competed in NJPW’s MMA-like Different Style Fights and being one of only 3 men, along with The Great Muta and Satoshi Kojima, to hold the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, the Triple Crown in All Japan Pro Wrestling and the IWGP Heavyweight Title. In March of 2002, Hashimoto lost the NWA World Title to Mr. Severn, who brought it back to the States. In May of that year, Mr. Severn was stripped of the title when he was unable to defend it in Total Nonstop Action due to a previously booked MMA fight. Ken Shamrock won the title in June at TNA’s first Pay Per View. Shamrock and Mr. Severn had history in Ultimate Fighting Championship. Mr. Severn had won the UFC tournament at UFC 5 and The Ultimate Ultimate in 1995, but lost to Shamrock that same year to crown the first ever Superfight Champion. Severn-Shamrock II happened in 1996 and Severn won the UFC Superfight Title the second time around. These were huge, main event fights for UFC and Severn-Shamrock III for the NWA World Title on PPV in TNA would have been an excellent way to launch a brand new wrestling company. That never happened. The NWA stripped Mr. Severn of the title, giving control to Jerry and Jeff Jarrett, exclusively in TNA. Mr. Severn never ended up working for TNA or getting a shot at reclaiming his title. He is prepared to remedy that situation.
When we spoke, Mr. Severn started the conversation by stating, “I’m pissed at the NWA. All they did was use me.”
He continued, “I’m a freaking shooter and I can work matches.” Frustrated, he went on, “All I was, was used to bring the strap back to the United States.”
When I brought up Severn-Shamrock III having big money potential for a wrestling promotion, Mr. Severn replied, “That was supposed to happen in WWE, but the powers that be had their heads up their asses at the time. I told the Jarretts, I’m booked the Wednesday that you want. I’m free the Wednesday after that. I’m free the Wednesday after THAT. My word means more than most people’s contracts.”
When the Jarretts decided to proceed without him and wanted the belt, he told them, “Send over whoever you think is capable of taking it from me and we will see where the strap stays.”
I asked Mr. Severn about his recent activity in a wrestling ring. He told me, “I will be 57 here in just less than 30 days. You will never find another 57 year old man that can do what I can do. And I’m life time chemical free. I have already outlived 6 of my cage fighting opponents and between 25 and 30 of my professional rasslin partners and none of them were older than me. If I went to Japan it would be good business. I don’t think Tenzan would mind dropping the strap to me, someone else with legitimacy. I would turn the belt over to another of the young bucks (eventually) but, it better be someone that deserves it.”
It was important to him that he and the title were respected due to their legitimacy. He said, “I have 4 belts in my travel bag. 3 from the UFC and the NWA belt and they are all proudly displayed. Why is it that I have been hurt far worse in my professional rasslin career than in all my cage fights combined? There’s a legitimacy in the ring. Most professional wrestlers are doing the most basic martial arts. Break falling. Bumping.”
I then asked him about the current NWA. “I had a conversation with Bruce Tharpe and I told him, give me time. I will make my schedule available. People say to me, you are an inspiration to me. I brought it (the NWA Title) back from extinction. I’ll let them use me one more time. Pay back… is a bitch. So, be careful what you wish for… because you might get it!”
Through out our conversation Mr. Severn stressed his personal integrity, his legendary toughness and his expectation to be respected. There is no arguing those points. Also, his opinions reminded me of the recent comments made by Vince McMahon, calling out his roster, “to reach for the brass ring.” If Mr. Severn goes to Japan and brings the NWA World Heavyweight Title back to the States, which young stud is going to be man enough to step up and take it from him? I can’t wait to see how this situation develops. That’s it for this edition of “Ten Pounds of Gold”. I want to thank Mr. Severn for taking the time to speak with me. Before you go, please visit http://goo.gl/slrkvQ and give $5 to help the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in this country and too many wrestling greats have fallen victim to it. Thank you. On a lighter note, every Thursday over at 411mania.com you can check out the weekly Comic Book Roundtable, featuring yours truly. We are wrestling fans, so I know you like babes and brutes in spandex and I promise you will enjoy my comic book review. So, now, as Ed Whalen used to say, “in the meantime and in between time, so long!”