Billy Gunn

Billy Gunn Is JACKED at 60! AEW, New Age Outlaws, DX Reunion, Retirement Dream Match

Billy Gunn (@RealBillyGunn) is a professional wrestler currently signed to AEW. He sits down with Chris Van Vliet at the West Coast Creative Studio in Hollywood to talk about his legendary wrestling career where he has wrestled in 5 separate decades, how he still looks this good at 60 years of age, why his AEW run has been the most fun of his entire career, working with his sons Austin and Colten Gunn, not being a part of the DX reunion on WWE Raw, winning King of the Ring and the promo where The Rock called him “Bob”, coming up with the legendary entrance for The New Age Outlaws, wrestling Sabrina the Teenage Witch, wanting a retirement match against Will Ospreay and more!

“Don’t be afraid your life will end; be afraid that it will never begin.” – Grace Hansen

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On being in better shape than when he debuted:

“Well, I’m a different me than I was then. So because I know you want to talk about this, I’ll give you a perfect lead-in because that’s what kind of guest I am. When I was training horses and riding bulls and all that other stuff working out was the last thing I wanted to do, in a sense of working out to look good. Working out to keep your joints and stuff good is one thing, that’s a total different workout training horses and stuff. I don’t have to be me now, so working out was never really a thing. I mean, I worked out when I played football in high school, but you know how that is, hey, you guys go do full body and you let me know when you’re done in an hour. This is one of those when you really don’t lift you just go hey, I can lift more than you and that’s it. Like there’s no structure, no plan, no nothing, that was the extent of my working out until I got into this lovely business. Once I kind of got into it and realised it was a thing and now I’ve transformed from that to this, which is not bad.”

On looking this good at 60:

“I have a different mindset than most people. It’s just not an option, it’s just not in my DNA, it’s not in my thought process to not be me, to not work harder or not to be better than I was yesterday. Age doesn’t mean anything to me. If I’m gonna get older, it doesn’t matter. That doesn’t mean because I get older that my life stops and I stopped doing the things that I love. So just probably five or six years ago, I really just when dove head off. Help from Mike and help from Ferland and guys in Orlando that know that this is their life, right? So if I want to be in their life I’m going to the people that have done this. I’m sure if those guys wanted to know about wrestling, they’d come to me, right? Because I know a little bit about that. Not a bunch, but I know a little bit. So it’s the same thing. When I really wanted to get into this really it’s just been the past few years that I’ve really got into seeing what I can do.”

On competing:

“My wife and Mike, they didn’t have to talk me into it, but they kind of convinced me. You’re that type of there’s, it’s not that you can’t do it. It’s just that’s a different animal than what I do. And sometimes I get a little shaky when I get outside of my comfortability. I’m not a dieter, I am very good with my food now. But I’ve been super lucky because my genetics and my metabolism have always allowed me, as long as I’m close to eating good, I’m okay. But once I realise about competing, that is a whole different animal. My kids thought I was a walking action figure. I remember the day we were in the gym, and I happened to have this big sweatshirt on and I was probably maybe four or five weeks out. I took my top off and my kids just stood there and stared at me and they go you’re like a real live-action figure right now. And I went well, thank you. So that was kind of cool. But yeah, the dieting and the way that you eat and what you do. It’s amazing if you take the time to figure out what food can do to your body.”

On having fun:

“At this point, that’s all I want to do. I’ve done it all, pretty much everything that you can do. I’ve been to the top, I’ve been to WrestleManias, I’ve done this, I’ve done that and I’ve lived that stressful being on 24/7 and for so long that now my kids, The Acclaimed me, it’s all about having fun. Now it’s just enjoying because I can’t do this forever, and we know, of course, everybody thinks I’ll do it until I’m 100 years old, which ain’t nothing. You haven’t missed a step and it’s not a thing. So they’ll come a point where it’s it’s over, but at until that point, I’m not going to let myself go out there and just be that’s just not in my genetic makeup.”

Was it ever not fun?

“It was probably my TNA run and it had nothing to do with TNA, I was in a whole other headspace. I love the girls, Beautiful People were amazing. Trying to redo the thing with Brian, Road Dogg, just kinda was a thing that we were trying to recreate. But when I was with the girls, it was so much fun because they made it fun. It wasn’t just me, they put me with them for a reason. It was just kind of window dressing at the time. But the girls had total trust in me, they believed in me, they knew if they had questions or wanted to do something that I wasn’t going to just do something. It’s never about me, it just isn’t, with the wrestling stuff it has never been like that. Because I’m not a wrestling person. We all know that right? We all know Billy’s story, he just got into it because he had nothing to do, so he became a wrestler and I just happened to be good at it in certain aspects of what I do in wrestling. It’s not that I’m the greatest wrestler, I’m not that. But I did enjoy it. But I didn’t know what I was doing. And to this day I don’t know what I’m doing but I’m very good at making other people and making other people live the dreams that they want. And that’s okay because I’ve had my run in the sun or whatever they say. So I don’t need that. I just want to have fun. I just want to watch my kids because that right there in itself, I watch them and just laugh so hard, because they are probably the most entertaining kids that I’ve ever seen. The energy, the enthusiasm the way that they just, and they’re the same way they’re not selfish at all. They just aren’t, it’s amazing.”

On scissor me Daddy Ass:

“So this is the thing. It’s very interactive with us, and this is my outlook on wrestling. I’ve never been good at the wrestling part but I’ve been really good at figuring out how to get people to react. So when I do some kind of wrestling move, there is a reaction. Because I’m not going to wrestle and get the people. That’s just not my forte, that’s not my thing. That’s never been what I’m good at. I’m good at taking a heck of a butt-whooping. That’s what I’m good at and taking things. But now that I’m older, I don’t want to take off these things. So it’s all about crowd participation. We have it, you can channel there’s all kinds of stuff to chant, there’s something to do. So now, when we come out, it’s it’s very much, okay, now we get to be interactive. Now we get to participate in a show that we came to see. So that I think that’s where that comes from. Not that Max and Anthony aren’t appealing to the people because there’s all the rap, the energy from Anthony, the, you know, the scissors stuff. So it’s very interactive and if you can do that you can get anybody.”

On The New Age Outlaws intro:

“The thing about it is it for some reason it never got old. I can do it 100 times and it’s such a time to get, I can just just let it rip. And I can’t tell like I tried it. I’ve tried a couple of times just to kind of get into and I can’t I just can’t do it. I just if for some reason. It makes me I guess so excited and so glad to do it I guess that I lose my mind when I do it. I love it. Yeah. Never got old.”

Who came up with New Age Outlaws?

“I think Vince Russo. I’m not 100% sure. So Brian was wrestling somebody’s in a singles match, I was on commentary. If I could find it, I would go back because I’m sitting there and JR pitches something to me like, hey, so I hear you guys are calling yourself the New Age Outlaws. And I go Yeah, that’s the stupidest name I’ve ever heard. Don’t ever say that again. And Vince buzzes me in my ear. He goes, Hey, that’s your new name. Hey, this is a good place for me to know that like maybe just buzzed me before, but things happen like that, you just go at the moment, right? And then, like I and so now I go from like trying to be Mr. heel talking to just going oh, because I hated doing ringside, commentating anyway, so it was just like, let the sails right out of me and I just went, okay. So, so bad.”

On being at his worst while battling addiction:

“I woke up in a house. My house was destroyed. There were things everywhere. There were no dogs, there was no wife, there was no nothing. I literally just went, Yeah, this is it, I can’t do it anymore. One or two things is going to happen, it was just like a couple of days before that. I just drove to the gas station and hit one of the pumps and the cops came up to me and go hey, you alright? I said Yeah. When you’re an addict you come up with [excuses], I have some of the best excuses ever. So you just start splurting out, and they just have to take me at my word. I went home and I’m like, Damn, if they just arrested me maybe that would have straightened me out. But when you wake up, and you have nothing around, you have nothing to your name, and nobody wants to be around you. You can’t talk to anybody, because they don’t want anything to do with you. My wife left cuz she knew she was getting a call one day and she ain’t sitting around waiting for that. That’s one of the worst things that you could ever put somebody through, those are my biggest regrets. The call that I’m dead because I wrecked two cars. I would take a massive load of pills before when I flew home, just so I didn’t have to deal with her and listen to her. And they would kick halfway there. I ended up in a ditch and now she’s at the hospital having to come get me you know. So, like, you don’t want to live like that. So she left, she was out. She goes, I ain’t doing this no more. It was my decision that like, I had to know that this was it for me. This is it. I can’t do it like this is I don’t want to live like this and I don’t want to be by myself anymore. But this is how I’m going to be because nobody wants to be around me. So I made the phone call and was gone.”

On potentially not going back to WWE if he did not get clean:

“Not at all. When I left rehab and kind of started doing my programme like I was supposed to, they’d asked me when I left there, they just come up with this 18-month programme. It was a new trial kind of thing where if I can remember. The first three months of you call this number if your color comes up, you go take a drug test, and then you have to call a counsellor every day just to kind of check-in and just say, Hey, how are you today, this kind of thing. And then at the end of the three months, if everything’s good, the next three months is like every other day you call this number, and then it just kind of backs off instead of going and living in a sober house. I didn’t want to do that. Not that I am too good, just that it wasn’t going to suit what I was doing at the time. But this checking in and keep being accountable every day was something yes, I had to do. I went to meetings every day, it was right down the road from my house and just doing everything that they told me I had to do to stay where I wanted to stay. I did it and it worked. It’s amazing. It worked, it never gets easier. It’s just I know that if something starts getting weird or going haywire, I just go to a meeting and that’s it, that’s all I have to do. I don’t have to use that’s the last thing I have to do. Because there are times when I start kind of it’s not that I don’t have [urges]. We were in Vegas, I was going kind of beer would taste good, but it’s not anything crazy. It’s just, if I get overwhelmed with things I just go and that usually fixes it right off the bat.”

On not being a part of the DX reunion on Raw:

“Yeah, it was just a miscommunication. It was trying to get [there] and believe you me, I get it. I work for a completely different company. If I can do it, fine. If I can’t get it I’m not gonna [be mad]. I spent the majority of my life doing that company and being a part of it. So of course, they want me to be there. But if the company that I’m with now has some issues of what they need and what they want, and if it doesn’t work out, then I can’t go, I can’t be mad about it. You know what I mean? And was I upset? Yeah, cuz I want to hang out with the guys and relive that moment as much as you can. But if it doesn’t work for the company that pays me then I’m not gonna go.”

On guest starring on Sabrina the Teenage Witch:

“So they were looking for somebody to do the show. I didn’t know anything about the show I just knew at the time it was pretty hot. But she lives in a regular world but there’s a realm world and I’m whatever I am there. And so they asked me to come do it and I said, Well, yeah. I’ve done some spotty stuff, in some shows, but nothing like that. A talking role and a major part where I got to beat her up and all that. So I was doing it and it was great. But the way they [shhot it], I’m so used to live TV, that when you do movie stuff, that’s a whole other animal. Because they like I kept trying to tell them, hey, I can do this in one shot, I’m really good at this. Like if you just tell me and they go, Well, that’s not how we do it. So that was my first real experience of how to do that and that’s okay if I don’t do that anymore, but I did do it anyway. But yeah, it was that and then they wanted me to press her and do all this stuff. And I said I ain’t sticking my hands in between her legs, because I’ll be cancelled. So we did certain things with her and then certain things with her stunt double and then they said they’re gonna throw a cat on me and I had to do these lines with a cat and stuff. A talking cat in the realm world. So it was a different experience and it was actually pretty fun.”

On not knowing the lyrics to I’m an ass man:

“I didn’t know the lyrics to ass man for a year. I never knew the lyrics to that song because all I do is listen and feel what I can do with the song. It’s never about what I hear that people singing. It’s about the melody and what I need to do, like energy-wise with the song. I walked out to it and they said hey, we got new music for you tonight. I went Okay, walk down it and listen to it. I went oh, that’s kind of catchy but never heard the lyrics. Didn’t know what the lyrics were for at least a year.” 

On never seeing Chuck Palumbo in AEW:

“He just has no desire right now. He has all his other stuff going on. I’ve asked him to do a couple of things. He just, it’s not that he won’t do it for me, it’s just not him anymore. The boys wanted him to come do my birthday celebration when we did the birthday thing. I called and asked him and he’s got so much other stuff going on that he’s okay that he doesn’t do any of the wrestling, and I get it.” 

On Will Ospreay:

“I don’t know what it is about that kid. I love him, I tell everybody that’s my retirement match. When I retire it’s me and Will, and he just said on some media scrum that he’s in AEW to retire me. Because his work really isn’t me. It’s so opposite of me. But I love him. He’s good. He’s very energetic. Just the stuff he does is amazing. He’s so athletic and could do so much stuff. But he has charisma with it and he’s very good at that. And I love that, I don’t know I just love that kid.”

On The Rock’s “My names Billy…” promo:

“I don’t think there is a story behind it. It was just we were in a programme to go to Rumble or something, whenever we did the kiss my ass match. He always had his own rider and stuff. When I heard it the first time to I went, That’s genius. The only thing that used to make me mad, I’m telling you right now and I’m not the greatest promo ever, right? I’m just not good at it. It was something that I’ve struggled with a little bit. But I could do it. But the problem is when I did it, they would always let him come over the top of me and just crush every bit of heat that I had. But that was because they weren’t his promos, they were just promos to the point of what I’m trying to get across. They weren’t in-depth. It was just more to the point Hey, this week I’m gonna go out there. I came out of the segment and I’m gonna beat you half to death. That’s what I’m going to do whatever. And then he comes over the top and he’s one of the best promos ever because he just is, it’s hilarious, It’s entertaining. So whatever heat that, again, was wiped away. So finally one day I walked him back. I said, Okay, that’s it. Stop letting him come over the top of me. I can’t compete with that I just can’t. And you’re killing every bit of heat that I’m trying to get to there, trying to get to where we’re trying to get to. So now the only way I’m getting heat is like beating the life out of him is just beating him to death. You know, which gets old, but if you can’t cut that promo, you got to protect me just a little bit. Let me do it. Give me some time to kind of let it sink in. And then he can come over the top somewhere else. But he cut that, I laughed so hard. It was great. It was so good. It’s hilarious. But all his promos are, he has that niche and he’s good at it.”

On winning King of the Ring:

“They just came to me. So they just said that, hey, you’re winning King of the Ring and I went awesome. I said that should go somewhere and it went, Yeah, right down the toilet. They hardly even mentioned me in the past King of the Ring winners. But this sounds bad, I don’t care. I don’t. That doesn’t define me, winning things and doesn’t define who I am. As long as people know, hey, I could stick him in there with anybody and He’ll do whatever I want him to do and he can work with anybody, and he’ll do his best to make them or do whatever we want, I’m cool with that. The winning titles and winning this and winning that it’s, you know, it’s all fake. But it is exciting, I get that. And it is exciting and I’m not trying to diminish any of the things that I’ve done or won. But it sits different with me because like I said, I just was never brought up in wrestling because I don’t know how it works. I barely know how it works today. But it was a guy is going to pay me a pretty good amount of money to run around and do stuff that I love to do. I’m going to travel all over the place, I’m going to go out there for 10-15 minutes, I’m going to run around in my underwear, I’m going to pull my pants down, and they’re going to pay me to do that. So I don’t care about positioning and all that other stuff. It’s what it is.”

On the potential retirement:

“I wish I knew, I don’t feel too bad. But a lot of it is the way that I take care of myself. I mean, yeah, do I wake up and everything until I get moving? Yeah. I just found I have two stress fractures in my back, but they don’t stop me from doing what I do, it doesn’t hinder me, but I can still do what I do at a pretty good level. I mean, I’m not gonna go out there and go 25 minutes with Will [Ospreay], that ain’t happening. But do I still have equity in the company? Can I still bring something? Damn right. I can because the minute I step out there those people go nuts and they start saying my name. So as long as I bring value and it’s not, you know, if I go out there and they go, Oh, God really? The first time I hear that I’ll quit. But as long as I can do something to help The Acclaimed or help the company or help my kids. Yeah, I’ll stay around. There’s no reason I can’t. I have no problem just being The Acclaimed’s sidekick. I love it. Because I get to run around talk to people act like a goofball interact when I want to and work every now and then. When I work it’s nothing crazy. My kids asked me that they go, did you just take a triple powerbomb? Go What are you thinking? I went, I thought it would help the match. [They go] Okay, don’t ever do that again. I said okay. Well, I thought in my head it did. But as long as I can do that, and I feel good and I’m not you know, it’s a struggle. The only thing is a struggle is flying these days. Because I hate it. Yeah, but I mean, as long as I’m still as long as I’m still having fun and doing what I do, and I can bring something to help I’m in, I’m good.”

What is Billy Gunn grateful for?

“My wife, my kids and my job.”

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