Chuck Palumbo has lifted the lid on what it was really like being part of the contingent of wrestlers that came to WWE from WCW following its demise in an exclusive interview with Inside The Ropes.
Palumbo was one of several wrestlers who made the switch to WWE following Vince McMahon’s purchase of World Championship Wrestling in March 2001. Palumbo and tag team partner Sean O’Haire were the last ever WCW Tag Team Champions in that company and brought the title with them when they entered WWE.
With a whole new tranche of talent entering WWE, some superstars already with the company were hostile to their new colleagues. Speaking to Inside The Ropes’ Kenny McIntosh, Chuck Palumbo discussed his somewhat rocky relationship with two men he was soon working in the ring with – The APA of John ‘Bradshaw’ Layfield and Ron Simmons.
“That’s the truth. They were not welcoming in the beginning. Eventually, I developed a good working friendship with all those guys. But in the beginning, John in particular, probably the most, he wasn’t welcoming.”
“These guys, yes, they felt like we were a threat. But if they saw the big picture, this was the most real time in the business. Take advantage of it, befriend us, vice versa, and let’s make money. You have a lot of talent, you can do a lot of things. But in the beginning, yeah, and I’m sure they’ll tell you the same thing. In a way, maybe they wanted us to pay our dues coming over there. I get it, but were they welcoming in the beginning? No way.”
“It’s funny, Ron Simmons, always a sweetheart. From day one with Ron, he was fine.”
Ron Simmons himself had crossed wrestling’s great divide in the mid-nineties albeit with a break in between leaving WCW to join the then-World Wrestling Federation. Simmons had become WCW’s first African American World Champion in 1992 before leaving the promotion in 1994. After a short spell in ECW, Simmons became Faarooq in the WWF in 1996 first aligned with manager Sunny before going on to more success as the leader of the Nation of Domination.
Chuck Palumbo also opened up about another tag team adventure of his, teaming with Billy Gunn in the fabled Billy & Chuck tag team that led to a controversial wedding ceremony on SmackDown.