EDITOR'S NOTE: In this - Part 3 of our series "The Legends of Wrestling," we bring you the story of a man who may not physically stand as tall as his competitors, but whose talent and persona have raised him to unimaginable heights for nearly six decades. WTVA's John Dolusic introduces us to Bill "Superstar" Dundee.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WTVA) --- "I'm five foot seven, two hundred and ten pounds, but I am the baddest five foot seven you will ever be around.
Sage words from Bill Dundee, who's is not your average superstar. For 55 years, he’s made a living in the ring - wrestling everyone and anyone willing to get in the ring with him. But in a world full of Goliaths, he’s the “David” intent on slaying every giant...that stomps his way.
Dundee, from Australia, first flew into the ring with his drop-kicks and pile driver moves in 1962. It didn't take long before he was a crowd favorite, and that brought him to the U.S. There, he met and fought another star, Jerry "The King," Lawler.
"Lawler, he was the bad guy and I was the good guy," says Dundee. "So, he beats me up and gets me down and gets blood on me and we book the match on Monday night and the rest is history as they say."
Lawler -- Dundee's feud "partner" -- agrees.
"It's really hard to pick out one particular guy, except maybe Bill Dundee," says Lawler, when asked about is favorite opponents. Bill and I wrestled against -- and with -- each other over 500 times throughout our careers, so I'd have to put Bill at the top of that list."
After reaching great heights, Dundee decided it was time to join the national and international scene. He met with WWE owner Vince McMahon, and quickly discovered they didn't see eye to eye when it came to authenticity.
"Maybe its me that's goofy, I wanted it to be real," says Dundee. "Vince didn't care what he said about it, 'Naw, its showbiz.' You can't tell people its showbiz."
Showbiz or not, the fans take it very seriously. And the price of that kind of fame does at times lead to match ups with fans, like one time when Dundee, playing a bad guy, crossed paths with a female fan...and her baby.
"So, she is standing there, saying 'Dundee, you son of a dadadada,' Dundee recalls. "She is calling me all kinds of names. I said, 'Lady, you know what you should have done with that day the day it was born?' She looked at me and said, 'What?' 'Flushed it down the toilet.' And I just kept walking, and she had this thing, BAM, the scar is still on my chest, and I went 'sheesh!'
Having gone through all this and so much more in his six-decade career, Dundee sums up his views on how wrestling should be perceived.
"John Wayne believed he was John Wayne," says Dundee. His name was Marion Morrison. He believed he was John Wayne. Lawler, when he puts his crown on, he's the king of Memphis."
And in the same way, Dundee himself is fully immersed in HIS persona. He’s a superstar. And, at a age when most people are asleep in a rocking chair, HIS light...still shines.
- LEGENDS OF WRESTLING 3: Bill "Superstar" Dundee
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