All aboard the Lex Express with Lex Luger

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July 03, 2013

Once known to WWE fans as the vain Narcissist, Lex Luger replaced his purple tights with red, white and blue Zubaz in July 1993 and reemerged as an American hero. Positioned as a spiritual successor to Hulk Hogan — whose initial WWE run was coming to an end — Luger slammed Yokozuna on the deck of the USS Intrepid on Independence Day to announce himself as WWE’s new star. He then boarded a tour bus called the Lex Express and traversed the country for six weeks, exploring the United States while meeting WWE fans in cities from Baltimore to Chicago.

Go inside the Lex Express with these amazing photos

Luger’s journey ended on Aug. 30, 1993, when he pulled up to The Palace of Auburn Hills in Michigan to challenge Yokozuna for the WWE Title at SummerSlam. The challenger defeated the champion by count-out that night, but he never set foot on the Lex Express again. Twenty years later, called up The Total Package to talk about his unforgettable road trip and learn why you should never attempt to slam a sumo wrestler while wearing cowboy boots.

WWECLASSICS.COM: It’s been 20 years since you set off across the country on the Lex Express bus. Do you remember thinking it was a cool idea at the time?

LEX LUGER: I don’t know about cool, but it was a great opportunity. Obviously, you don’t look forward to being on the road for six weeks away from your family, but it was handled in a great way.

WWECLASSICS.COM: You were a bad guy early in your WWE run. How did your big patriotic turn come about?

LUGER: I was called into the office to meet with Mr. McMahon, which he doesn’t do very often. I walked in as The Narcissist and I walked out 20 minutes later as the red, white and blue good guy. How does that happen? I looked at Vince and said, “Vince, I know you’re really good at this, but how does a guy that’s been posing in mirrors as The Narcissist turn into an all-American good guy in one clean swoop? He said, “Lex, trust me. The people are going to love it.” As usual, he was spot on.

WWECLASSICS.COM: Were you uncomfortable with the transformation?

LUGER: Well, in my opinion, it was always more fun being a bad guy, because it’s easier to get people to hate you than it is to love you. You have to earn their trust and it takes time, so, if you want an instant reaction from the crowd, it’s always easier being a bad guy.

Watch Lex Luger in his Raw debut as The Narcissist

WWECLASSICS.COM: Your run as an American hero started on the deck of the USS Intrepid on July 4, 1993, when you slammed Yokozuna. What do you remember about that day?

LUGER: I was supposed to fly in on a helicopter in my red, white and blue shirt and blue jeans and cowboy boots and save the day. They had us standby down the Hudson River at this helicopter pad with this guy that was a Vietnam helicopter pilot. We just jumped in the helicopter. I wasn’t even strapped in. The helicopter pilot probably kind of wanted to show off to me. I was afraid I was going to fall into the Hudson River. I was holding on for dear life.

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