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Where Are They Now? Honky Tonk Man
Some people say he's a loudmouth, and some say he's obnoxious. If you ask him, he'll tell you, "I'm cool, I'm cocky and I'm bad." But, regardless of whether you like him or not, it's widely agreed that he's the "greatest Intercontinental Champion of all time." For close to a decade, he was one of WWE's most hated villains. His name is the Honky Tonk Man.
In the Honky Tonk Man's long and storied career, he's competed at WrestleMania, held numerous championships and headlined Madison Square Garden. But, according to HTM, just making it to WWE was good enough for him.
"My goal from the start was to one day make it to the New York territory, and make a name for myself," said HTM. "I was fortunate enough to be able to go there and become a star, and it was very exciting. Being a part of that organization at that point in time, it was an honor."
Honky Tonk Man not only became a star, but also a champion. The greasy-haired Elvis impersonator is the longest reigning Intercontinental Champion in WWE history, holding the title for more than 14 months while defeating challenger after challenger all over the globe. His days as a champion however, came to a sudden end at SummerSlam '88, when a jam-packed Madison Square Garden crowd saw him torn apart by the Ultimate Warrior in less than a minute.
"I was Champion for 15 months, and lost the title in 13 seconds," remembers HTM. "The roof absolutely came off the Garden that night. I had headlined the Garden six times before and heard some explosive crowds, but nothing compared to the crowd on that night."
Since his departure from weekly TV, Honky Tonk Man has caught his share of controversial headlines. The ring veteran has been outspoken in his opinions on the sport, and several Superstars associated with it. Recently, HTM himself was the subject of another personality's pointed opinion, that man being Eric Bischoff. In promoting his book, Controversy Creates Cash, Bischoff said that his favorite firing was the time he fired The Honky Tonk Man. The WWE legend shed some light on why Bischoff may have felt the way he did.
"When I was in WCW, Eric and I didn't exactly see eye to eye," recalled the HTM. "I remember the night I walked out of WCW. The last thing I said to Eric was, ‘you couldn't hold Vince McMahon's jockstrap'."
"Of all the people that he fired over the years, for him to pick me, well I guess it's an honor. It means that he's still thinking of me," laughed HTM.
In regards to all the controversy that has followed him in recent years, Honky Tonk Man says it wasn't about bitterness, but about business. He even told WWE.com that he agreed with Eric Bischoff on one thing.
"I don't like to give Bischoff a lot of credit, but he was right when he said ‘controversy creates cash'," said HTM. "It was about survival for me. I said a lot of things and created a lot of controversies to keep my name on people's minds. Those days are gone now though. I've moved on with my life."
Today, the Honky Tonk Man lives and operates out of his adopted hometown of Phoenix. In addition to keeping busy by wrestling for independent wrestling promotions all over the world, he spends a good deal of time being a father to his kids and a husband to his wife of over 22 years.
"I don't walk around the neighborhood with an Elvis jumpsuit on," said HTM. "In my neighborhood, I'm known as Roy and Megan's dad. I'm the watchdog on our block."
When he's not keeping the neighborhood kids in line, he's keeping his in-ring opponents in line. In 2006, Honky Tonk Man wrestled on 81 shows in six different countries, and he has no intention of slowing down any time soon.
"It's the business I love, it's what I'll always do," said HTM. "I'll never be away from this business, I'll never quit. Being out on the independents, it's like starting over for me. It's refreshing to be around people who are so young and hungry to succeed. It's like a fountain of youth for me."
For years, sports-entertainment fans hated the HTM with a passion. Today, fans see the Honky Tonk Man in a different light, as he is cheered in every town in which he steps foot. The ring legend told WWE.com that the wrestling fans have always been, and will always be the foundation of the wrestling business.
"Wrestling fans are the truest fans in the world," said an emotional Honky Tonk Man. "If we the wrestlers ever lose sight of that, it will be the end of the business."