Teddy Long On Racism In Wrestling, Managing Undertaker & More

The following are highlights of a new AL.com interview with former WWE performer Teddy Long:

On being a General Manager in WWE: “I had a great experience with that. It was the first time ever (a babyface played the general manager role). They talked to me a couple of times about turning me (into a heel, or bad guy) and Vince said, ‘No.’ He saw that people liked me. If the people like you, why turn? That’s what Vince is all about. He’s about money. My character was definitely me. Vince was the guy behind a lot of it, but I made the character me. That’s how I got over. I wasn’t being someone else.”

On his favorite SmackDown memory: ” I think it was the wedding. I had the wedding with Kristal Marshall and had the heart attack as I said, ‘I do.’ That was some good stuff. But I had so many memories. I had an opportunity to put Rey Mysterio in a big position one night so he could qualify for the world title. John Laurinaitis and Vickie Guerrero … we had some good times. (Guerrero) was a sweet woman.”

On managing The Undertaker early in his career before he came to WWE: “Mark was one of the nicest guys you ever would meet. ‘Taker is a business man. He’s a lot like Vince. When you can, yourself, get involved in storylines with Undertaker and people like that, you don’t let that go to your head. I never did that.”

On racism in wrestling and Ron Simmons becoming the first black World Champion in WCW: “I thought it was a significant achievement. There had never been a black world championship before. Back in the day, there was a little racism in our industry. You saw black guys get beat and they never thought they would be able to get to the top. But Ron Simmons was a brand. He was a former Florida State University (All-American) football player. Putting the belt on him was no racism thing. They put the belt on him because (the company felt that Simmons could represent the company as champion).”

Check out the complete interview at AL.com.

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