‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan brings his two-by-four and flag to Metro Pro Wrestling’s show Saturday at CommunityAmerica Ballpark

Though initially brought into the fold for safety, HacksawJim Duggans trusty two-by-four has become a staple of the WWE Hall of Famers All-American persona a persona that will have fans chanting USA! USA!throughout the CommunityAmerica Ballpark when he makes his way to Metro Pro Wrestling on Saturday.

Duggan and hardcore-wrestling legend Tommy Dreamer will be the featured attractions — alongside regulars Mike Sydal, Mark Sterling, Lucy Mendez and others — at Metro Pro Wrestling’s first show at the minor-league ballpark.

Before Duggan made his name in wrestling’s territorial system and later the World Wrestling Federation (now WWE), he had others helping him along the way. Duggan credits Bruiser Brody who suggested Hacksaw carry the two-by-four and second-generation star Ted DiBiase (aka the Million Dollar Man) as key players in his career.

They were great contrasts,” Duggan told The Pitch in a phone interview. “Brody was more my style. You know, people say, Hacksaw, whats your favorite move?’ Well, I kick and punch. Im a brawler, not a wrestler. That was Brodys deal. And then working with Ted DiBiase, [hes a] second-generation wrestler that knew all the finer points of wrestling, but I learned from both of those guys a lot.

As Duggan made his way through the wrestling circuit, he underwent a series of persona changes to find the Hacksaw” character. Initially known as BigJim Duggan, he sported short hair and a clean-shavenface and wore a long, gold bathrobe. It was Vince McMahon Sr. patriarch of the McMahon wrestling family who told him that he needed a makeover.

He said, Kid, you might have a future, but come up with something better than Big Jimand get rid of the gold bathrobe!’” said Duggan, who also wrestled as the masked Convict. Later, eh was Wild ManDuggan complete with fur and chains until finding his niche as Hacksaw.

That [Wild Mancharacter] kind of evolved into Hacksaw,’” Duggan said. As most good characters Macho Man, [Hulk] Hogan, Ultimate Warrior its just an extension of your own personality.

That being the case, a childhood memory played a key role in what Duggan considers the highlight of his career. He spent his childhood in upstate New York in Glens Falls, New York, and would travel to Madison Square Garden with his father for the National Invitational Tournament, an annual basketball tournament.

As an adult to drive up in front of Madison Square Garden and see your name, Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan vs. Andre the Giant, it was a double whammy,” he said.To be in there and main event a card with 20,000 people but a double whammy to be in there with Andre the Giant.

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From Mid-South to the Royal Rumble

Following the same path as many WWE hall of famers, Duggans career has roots in Bill WattsMid-South Wrestling, which Duggan said played a crucial role in his career development. The company, according to Duggan, was a huge training ground for wrestling talent.

Bill Watts was a taskmaster,Duggan said. If you didnt do it right, you did it over. Not only your wrestling deal, because its a learned trade, the more you do it the better you get at it. At Mid-South, you were wrestling at least nine times a week, in front of crowds. Also your interviews.

His career then led to WWE, where he became the winner of the inaugural Royal Rumble. Now a high point, Duggan said he didnt realize the significance of the victory at the time.

Back then, I dont think any of us realized how big the Royal Rumble would become,” he said, “one of the top four pay-per-views, but nobody realized how big WWE would become back then.”

Additionally, his first run with WWE occurred at the height of the Cold War, which was integrated into wrestling storylines. Duggan became a flag-waving American hero.

That was the golden age of wrestling,” Duggan said. “As Cary Grant and John Wayne and those guys were the golden era of Hollywood, people just remember Hogan, Macho, Warrior, Jake the Snake, and to be the guy that was carrying the flag through all of that and people [say], Hacksaw, youre an American hero.’”

But Duggan renounces the label of hero. He says heroes are the young men and women out on the front line.

Im a guy lucky enough to carry our flag around the world,Duggan said.

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Jumping to WCW and returning to WWE

In the late 90s, Hacksaw packed up the flag and two-by-four for rival company World Championship Wrestling at a time when guaranteed contracts were just beginning. At that time, WWE had introduced Lex Luger to its fanbase, setting The Total Packageoff on the Lex Expressbus tour, pushing him really strong” as an all American.

They wanted a body guy carrying the flag, you know, a handsome guy with a bunch of hair and white teeth — my gimmick,Duggan said. So the writing was on the wall, but it worked out great because thats when [WCWs] Ted Turner started to offer contracts. And up until then, nobody had a contract, so we all made the move to WCW and got guaranteed contracts for years.

With WCW, Duggan learned he had kidney cancer a discovery that he says puts everything in perspective.” He underwent surgery six days after the diagnosis.

The last thing I was worried about was wrestling,” he said. “I had two little girls. I spent time in their room crying and praying. I didnt care about anything but just surviving this disease and grow up with my kids.

“With the grace of God and early detection, not only did they save my life, but I was able to go back to work,” he added.

Years later, Duggan hacked his way back into the WWE Universe, locking up with the sons of his generations wrestlers.

It was great to come back in as a talent and [to] the WWE,Duggan said. Of course, WWF was my heyday, you know. WCW was the time I took care of my family, but to come back into the WWE, I always joke I said [in the] WWF, I wrestled Dusty Rhodes, Ted DiBiase and Bob Orton. And in the WWE, I wrestled Ortons kid, DiBiases kid and Dustys kid. First I beat up the old man, then I beat up the kid.

Duggan called his 2005 return and his 2011 induction into the WWE Hall of Fame satisfying.

That was something I was proud of, to still be able to entertain a crowd at that stage of my life,Duggan said. It was fun. Then, of course, be inducted in the hall of fame, no matter what profession youre in to be recognized by your peers. Theres only a few of us, so to have Ted DiBiase induct me into it, being there with Jake [The SnakeRoberts] and Stan Hansen and guys like that, its a great honor.

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Have board, will travel.

Aware that his career is winding down, Duggan said the squared circle is his lifes blood.And even on the long trips, hearing the fans yell, Hooooooo!before walking through the curtain still gets to him.

Its like a shot of adrenaline. I love it. And hopefully the fans have a good time too,Duggan said.

Working with companies like Kansas City’s Metro Pro Wrestling gives Duggan more of a chance to interact with fans. Sometimes, parents will tell their children about how they watched Duggan growing up. Others elicit a more emotional response one man started to tear up talking with the hall of famer.

Its humbling the effect you have on folks and to be remembered this many years after my heyday,” Duggan said. “I enjoy it very much.”

Hacksaw also urged those unfamiliar with companies like Metro Pro not to form an opinion based on WWE.

Its not like it comes by every week,” Duggan said. “And theyve got a great card, too. Guys you dont see together very often on a show this size.”

Fans at Metro Pro Wrestling will have the chance to meet Duggan, as well as see him team with Rory Fox against Kraig Keesaman and Kiyoshi Shizuka.

I know Im getting toward the end of my career, I have just a few matches left, so Ive got a young [kid] that has all the physical attributes in the world, and of course an old timers got all the tricks in the book,Duggan said. So, between the two of us, we make a great tag team. And of course, if things get out of hand, young lady have board, will travel. Hoooooo!

Metro Pro Wrestling’s first show at CommunityAmerica Ballpark is Saturday, August 27. The meet and greet starts at 5 p.m. with a 7 p.m. bell time. See MetroWrestling.com for details.

Also on the card:
Falls Count Anywhere: Central States Champion Ace Steel vs. Tommy Dreamer

“Hacksaw” Jim Duggan and Rory Fox vs. Kraig Keesaman and Kiyoshi Shizuka

Redwing vs. KLD

Devin Thomas vs. “Mr. Saturday Night” Michael Barry

Sterling Riegel vs. Mike Sydal

Mark Sterling vs. Darrien Sanders

Lucy Mendez vs. D’Arcy Dixon

Categories: A&E