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WWE Hall of Famer Greg “The Hammer” Valentine is one of the featured pro wrestlers in the 350 Days documentary. The doc focuses on life in the wrestling business during the golden era of the 1950’s through the 1980’s, when the road schedule for the talents typically revolved around a 350 day grind. The project was co-created by Evan Ginzburg, who was an Associate Producer on the film The Wrestler starring Micky Rourke.
Greg Valentine sat down for an interview with The Floor Seat and spoke about his experience doing the documentary.
“I thought it was great, when I got to see how it was done, the finished product. It definitely hit a nerve…it was about all the life and times on the road. We probably spent, I don’t know if it was 350 days, but it was close, all the time on the road, you know.“
The Hammer also talked about his old foe and bitter rival Roddy Piper. The two men had a blood feud in the NWA, with one of the most intense bouts of all time at Starrcade 83. The Dog Collar Match is still being talked about to this day as it definitely stands the test of time.
But what many WWE fans perhaps don’t know is that Valentine and Piper were close friends behind the scenes and traveled the roads together as well. Valentine talked about those days riding with the Hot Rod, including what their relationship was like.
“Probably the best relationship you could have with another wrestler, plus when you’re beating the h**l out of each other every night. But before he became the babyface and all that, when we didn’t have to wrestle each other, we did a lot of road trips together and Roddy was a great guy. I remember he used to write notes and I’d go ‘what are you writing all those notes for?’ I’d be driving and he would write down everything with a pad with a pencil and go through what he was going to say during interviews. He excelled at interviews, he was great.”
Of course Greg was a second generation pro wrestler, so he was already somewhat familiar with the lifestyle long before he actually broke into the business. Greg’s father, Johnny Valentine, was a legend in his own right and it was because of him that The Hammer decided to become a pro wrestler.
Greg talked about his dad, as well as his early days training with Stu Hart in the legendary Dungeon.
“I watched him when I was a kid and I watched him at ringside when I was 18, 19, before I got into the business so you know, that was my sole inspiration right there, Johnny Valentine. I watched back after my dad got crippled in a horrible plane crash after that, but I would watch some of my stuff nowadays and I would go look back and go d**n! I wasn’t trying to imitate my dad, but it just came out, like he just spit me out or something.
When I was up in Calgary, breaking in with Stu Hart, freezing to death and making about $50 a week and I go please, I remember calling my dad and I says ‘please get me outta here.’ He sent me to Detroit with the original Sheik and after that it got better. The longer I was in it and even when I was in Calgary, I was determined that I was gonna make it or break it.”
Valentine also discussed the WWE Hall of Fame. For many fans, the hall is nothing more than lip service, mostly because there is no physical building. Then there’s the fact that the final decision is Vince McMahon’s alone. Greg went into the Hall of Fame in 2004, so how does he feel about the topic?
“Oh, I was thrilled. They put in Andre the Giant, probably was the first one to go in and some other guys and they did it for maybe a couple of years. And then they didn’t do it. And then finally in 2004, Vince decided he was gonna open it back up and it worked really, really good. And it was in Madison Square Garden and there was 10 of us that went in and after that, it was a big success.
WrestleMania 20 was when they inducted me. I did my speech at the Hilton, Jimmy Hart inducted me. Then they put us all out on the stage at WrestleMania 20 and brought us all out, It was great.”
Valentine also talked about today’s product, which he admits he doesn’t watch. For The Hammer, it’s not so much about being better or believing himself to be above today’s wrestling, but more about what he sees as the biggest issue with the matches themselves.
“Grab a hold, you know? I hate that, running the ropes all the time and I hate some guy getting a guy and hitting him 25 times in the corner. I’m exaggerating when I say this but I’m just trying to get my point across. I don’t like that. One or two punches, flying mare and down and grab the hold. If they let me control the wrestling, I’d slow it all down.”
350 Days also stars Bret “The Hitman” Hart, Ted DiBiase, Lex Luger, “Superstar” Billy Graham, Tito Santana, the late “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka and many others.
The 350 documentary is currently available on iTunes, Best Buy.com, Amazon and at 350daysthemovie.com