Dave Finlay has opened up about his time in World Championship Wrestling and how the company forgot about him following his feud with William Regal.
Following the fame he garnered from competing on the now defunct, World of Sports, Dave ‘Fit’ Finlay sought to advance his career and in-ring technique with a tour of Europe and Japan before he was brought to WCW where career rival William/Steven Regal had been plying his trade since 1993.
Introduced as The Belfast Bruiser, Finlay resumed his on-screen enmity with Regal over the WCW World Television Championship but shortly after their storyline came to a close, the Irishman seemed to fall into obscurity.
Through the years, the star would sheer his locks and shave away his moustache before undergoing a character overhaul as Fit Finlay. Eventually, in WCW’s new-era under the guidance of Vince Russo, he would ditch his Irish heritage and don the camo attire as a hardcore specialist alongside Brian Knobbs and The Dog as The Hardcore Army.
Speaking to Sitting Ringside, the man who loves to fight detailed how the company didn’t take him seriously and all but forgot about him apart from when they needed a big name to get over:
“I was a little disillusioned because I wasn’t wrestling every day or involved in everything. It was a culture shock. No matter where I went, I wrestled the same and to me, I didn’t get over in WCW. I floundered there and I don’t think anybody knew what to do with me. It was a short-lived thing and it didn’t work. Scott Hall and those guys came over at the same time or shortly before me and it was overshadowed by those guys, and rightly so. It was a shock to me that I wasn’t involved much and a little depressing. I just wanted to get in the ring and do my thing, not sit at home. Apart from that thing with Regal, I did a run with Goldberg when he first started and getting him ready. I felt like WCW didn’t do me any favors and I didn’t do them any favors.”
The highlight of his WCW run, the wars with Lord Steven Regal provided several excellent bouts which harked back to the pair’s World of Sports days. However, so convincing were they, that both men fooled many into thinking that their hatred was real:
“If you’re going to impress your peers or have them asking you a question when you’re coming through the back like, ‘What the heck, you guys have beef?’ If they believe there is something going on or you have a bad attitude or you’re stiff or whatever, if your peers believe it, everyone else is gonna believe it. We take it seriously. As you journey through (wrestling), you start off with nothing, you get very little pay, and you climb the ladder, but it brings seriousness. ‘I have to do this job, I have to succeed, I have to climb the ladder’ because it’s the only way you go to bed. The business doesn’t owe me anything, but we put in the effort and for the most part, it paid off. It wasn’t a joke to us. This, to us, was real and a lifestyle.”
Finally, Finlay came to the moment in WCW that he hated the most. The aforementioned run with The Hardcore Army which saw him placed as one of the main names of the company’s forgettable hardcore division.
“I hated the hardcore stuff, it was a waste of my abilities. It felt like it was dumbed down a bit.”
Following the purchase of WCW by World Wrestling Federation, Dave Finlay chose to step away from the squared circle and take a role as trainer where he helped to overhaul the non-existent women’s division into a much talked about entity.
Credit for the interview: Sitting Ringside
h/t for the transcription: Fightful