Chuck Palumbo On Insight With Chris Van Vliet: Podcast Recap

Former WWE wrestler Chuck Palumbo recently guest starred on Chris Van Vliet’s podcast Insight. On the show they talked about his time in WCW and how he felt after Nitro ended. They also talked about his partnership with Billy Gunn and more. The most notable quotes can be found below.

On what he is doing now:

“So right now it’s a restoration of a home built in 1924. It’s basically ripping the thing down to the studs and rebuilding it with modern touches. But we are also preserving the 1924 style. It’s a lot of work but a lot of fun.”

On his original path:

“I originally thought I was going to go into law enforcement. First I went into navy and then college. I got a scholarship for college from the navy, but I had no plan but I was always interested in trying different things. I was also naïve so I took a lot of chances. But sometimes you have to take those chances.”

On what went through his head when he saw a WCW Powerplant advert:

“Opportunity. I knew nothing about wrestling, I didn’t know what was a work and what wasn’t. I knew who Hulk Hogan was, but that’s about it. During final exam week, I’m flipping through the channels and it came onto Nitro. I saw 2 guys being very athletic and physical. At the end of the match, the commercial came up. I wrote the number down and called the number. Next day I get a call and they ask if I’m an athlete. I said I played basketball. They tell me to get $300 together so I can try-out. I saved up some money and flew to Atlanta. I make it through the try-out and take me into the office. They say take your shirt off, I did and they said I look good. Then they ask me ‘What’s your plan?’ I didn’t have one. Next thing they said was ‘Alright. Come back with $3,000 and we will come and train you.'” I was 26 years old and the ad said I could make 6 figures. I’m thinking I’ve got to go for this. I sold everything I owned and drove cross country with our clothes in garbage bags. Then it’s off to the Powerplant 5 days a week.”

On the potential of a 6 figure contract:

“That’s what it was for. It’s all it was. I started training, and when you are young and naïve you don’t know the adversity that you are going to face. If I had known that I was going to face that type of adversity at that time, I wouldn’t have made that decision. No guarantees of money, no benefits, no place to live. I started off in a hotel living daily. At the time I wasn’t thinking that though. 7 or 8 months later I have a training contract, about $1,000 a week. Going from nothing to that was a big deal.”

On if talent paid attention to ratings during the Monday Night Wars:

“Not as much. This business is about self promotion, what’s going on that night. Guys are more wrapped up in staying alive. If you’re taken off TV for 2 weeks, things change. There’s a backstage dynamic to navigate through to stay current. Some of the senior guys who have that navigation down, may have space in their brains for that part of it. At that time we are just happy to be on TV and stay on TV. We weren’t thinking dollars and cents, we would have done it for free.”

On cutting his hair:

“It wasn’t long after I was finishing the Discovery shows. Long hair is a lot of work. It is a nice change and you can look back now with the internet. When I had the long hair, I was recognized all the time. When you are big with long hair, some people know. But California is not that big into wrestling, the fans are more diluted.”

On when WCW closed their doors:

“We were looking for answers. Shane McMahon walks into the locker room, you know it’s real. Next thing is am I going to have a job? Is this ride going to end? OK if we go over there, are we going to survive. Vince doesn’t accessorize a guy from another company. There’s double the roster but the same TV time, where do we fit in? When we get there, it’s such a challenging time. The Monday Night War, the guys were taking it personal. A lot of guys were not that welcoming. If we bonded, we would have all made more money. It ultimately reflected in the product, it went downhill. But it was a fantastic time to be in the business, that will never happen again.”

On the Billy and Chuck partnership:

“It was pitched on a whim, like all things at that time. I think the first person that told me was Triple H or Sgt Slaughter. Later Vince outlined it. We were going to have our hair platinum blond and wear robes. We were like alright. Little did we know that cable television network week was coming down the road. The wedding was where they wanted to peak out. We were number 1 rated that night. But the characters were just 2 guys having fun, and the audience saw that. When they saw that, they read that. It was like we were 2 bros. A lot of straight guys were like wow that looks so fun. It was just a character and we never took it personally. The storyline at the time was cutting edge. It also paid well.”

Chris mentions Billy Gunn telling him that his kids found the storyline difficult:

“I’m glad you brought that up. My daughter was super young at the time. I don’t think she believed that it was real, she was like dad what are you guys doing? Some of the guys were like tell them you don’t want to do it. We were actors playing a role, and some guys were trying to live their gimmick too much.”

On what he is grateful for:

“My daughter, my health and people around me.”

Featured image: Motor Trend

Chuck can be found on Instagram here.

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