Home > Uncategorized > Countdown to meltdown–the 10 worst pro wrestling interviews of all time: #4 Cock-a-doodle dumb–Terry Taylor eats crow as the Red Rooster

Countdown to meltdown–the 10 worst pro wrestling interviews of all time: #4 Cock-a-doodle dumb–Terry Taylor eats crow as the Red Rooster

October 16th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments
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What a dope: "Are you sure Ric Flair started this way?"

Well, I’m the little red rooster
Too lazy to crow the day.
Little red rooster
Too lazy to crow the day.
Keep everything in the barnyard
Upset in every way.

Paul Taylor was a longtime pro wrestling fan who changed his name in honor of his favorite wrestler, Terry Funk, after breaking into the business around 1979. He really picked up stride as a performer in Memphis in 1982, winning the territory’s Southern title from Sabu (Coco Samoa) in an upset for his first major singles title. Promoter Jerry Jarrett took a liking to the kid, thinking he had a bright future in the business.  As Taylor and partner Steve Keirn were having some incredible bouts with Koko Ware and Bobby Eaton (one of the best teams of the era) for the Southern tag titles around the territory, Jarrett was thinking of recreating the magic of area-legend “Fabulous” Jackie Fargo, who had formed a charismatic tag team decades earlier with his brother Donnie. Liking what he saw from Taylor and Keirn, Jarrett thought he had found his new Fabulous Ones. About two weeks before the gimmick was to debut, Jarrett changed his mind, instead going with Stan Lane to be Keirn’s partner, in part because he liked the sound of “Stan and Steve, the Fabulous Ones.” Jarrett instincts proved to be correct as Lane and Keirn helped set the territory on fire again for nearly two years. (For a brief time, Taylor teamed with Bobby Fulton as the Fantastic Ones in Georgia, but that’s another story.) Taylor instead formed a team with Jacques Rougeau before the two eventually had a falling out in 1983 and feuded over the Southern title in some fantastic bouts.

Taylor was eventually “traded” to Bill Watts as part of the infamous deal that earned Memphis the services of a young, bland Rick Rood, who Jarrett repackaged as “Ravishing” Rick Rude. As part of the Jarrett/Watt talks, Bill Dundee was also shipped to Mid-South as booker, where he convinced Watts to push smaller, young heartthrobs like the Rock n Roll Express and Taylor. Like Jarrett, Watts took a liking to Taylor, who was not only good looking and athletic but had a good head for the business. Taylor had a good run in Mid-South before moving on to JCP, who had taken over the WTBS Saturday day time slot from Vince McMahon and was making the push to be a national promotion. Taylor won the National title and began wearing suits in his interviews, which, combined with his excellent in-ring ability, earned him many comparisons to a young Ric Flair and speculation of a future NWA World title run.

By the time he returned to Watts in 1986, he was a true star, winning the TV title and always working near the top of the cards. Watts loved Terry’s All-American boy look in part because he felt it would make a heel turn down the road that much more effective and shocking. He began slowly planting the seeds for a Taylor turn, which culminated in a feud with former partner Chris Adams. Taylor took to the cocky heel role very well and his newfound aggression was a stark contrast to his previous image, especially when he tore into jobber Davey Haskins as a horrified Jim Ross called the action.

Now that Taylor had proven he had the goods to work heel in the Watts’ UWF, he seemed truly destined for a brilliant career, capable of working with anyone a la Flair. Instead, Watts sold out to Crockett, whose booker Dusty Rhodes was determined to bury all the UWF wrestlers as inferior to the NWA grapplers. Taylor left the promotion shortly after losing a TV title unification match to Nikita Koloff at Starrcade ’87. He had an unforgettable brief heel run in World Class before finally signing with Vince McMahon, who deemed him the Little Red Rooster and paired him Bobby Heenan. (Initially, Taylor was also considered for the Mr. Perfect gimmick. Taylor had the cocky demeanor to pull it off, but McMahon instead went with the younger, more athletic Curt Hennig, who flourished in the role.) The Rooster name was taken from an old blues song that was later recorded by the Rolling Stones. The gimmick was dead on arrival as Taylor was made to look as a glorified jobber who was nothing without Heenan. They eventually split, with Rooster turning babyface. At the time, I figured he’d dropped the Rooster gimmick at that point and be his own man again as he feuded with Heenan’s henchmen. Instead, Taylor delved deeper into the gimmick, adding a red streak to his hair and referring to his fans as Rooster Boosters. If ever an accomplished wrestler committed career suicide by jumping to McMahon’s circus tent, it was Taylor with promos like this. How ironic that Rooster crows that the WWF is “number one” in this interview–he’s just a sad puppet on a string at this point. He eventually made it back to WCW as Terry Taylor but his career was never the same–the damage had been done.

  1. David
    October 16th, 2010 at 07:42 | #1

    Wow, that’s mega-bad!!! Who knows how far he would have gone had he stayed in NWA/WCW…

  2. Cousar
    October 16th, 2010 at 11:08 | #2

    I loved how the Taylor/Adams feud went through at least three promotions: UWF, WCW, WCCW. Taylor’s attack on Adams upon his debut in World Class was hilariously diabolic. I also enjoyed his reaction to Sam Houston being pinned by one of the Conquistadors in his WWF debut. Taylor could have been up there with Flair, DiBiase, Steamboat and Windham. Just think what the NWA could have been like with all those guys after the big gold.

  3. William Burnett – Little Rock
    October 16th, 2010 at 13:39 | #3

    Has there ever been, on eBay, a T-shirt, printed with the words … “I’m a Rooster Booster” ??

    I’m thinking PURE GOLD.

  4. admin
    October 16th, 2010 at 19:11 | #4

    Actually, the only Red Rooster T-shirt produced by WWF is a collector’s item–seems not many people bought them (shocker). I saw a pristine one that went for $300 on eBay last year–no kidding.

  5. Mike
    October 16th, 2010 at 23:32 | #5

    However, that red mohawk seemed to influence a lot of MMA fighters. I’ve seen more than a few of ’em.

  6. Old School Sammy
    October 18th, 2010 at 10:32 | #6

    Yeah Mike, that did Dan Hardy a lot of good this past weekend…lol

  7. Old School Sammy
    October 18th, 2010 at 10:33 | #7

    And I’m also not holding out hope for a Mattel Red Rooster Legends toy…

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