The Honky Tonk Man hasn’t forgotten his wrestling roots.
The Phoenix resident will wrestle on Diamond Championship Wrestling’s card at 7 p.m. Saturday night at the Frank Gruich Community Center in Biloxi.
“I’m looking forward to it,” the Honky Tonk Man said. “I’m looking forward to talking with the wrestlers in the locker room. I’ve supported independent wrestling for the past 20 years. I honed and perfected my craft in the South with Robert Fuller, Jerry Lawler and Jimmy Golden. I bounced around the territories and learned the business.”
The Honky Tonk Man, whose real name is Wayne Ferris, began his career 40 years ago in Malden, Missouri. He later fought in Memphis, Pensacola, Mobile and Birmingham as “Dynamite” Wayne Ferris. He and Larry Latham were in a tag team called the Blond Bombers, wrestling throughout the southeastern U.S. The Honky Tonk Man also wrestled alongside his cousin, legend Jerry Lawler, for Memphis Wrestling.
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The Honky Tonk Man became a household name nationally in 1986 for his stint with the World Wrestling Entertainment. Dressed as an Elvis impersonator, he carried a guitar to the ring. His signature move is the Shake, Rattle and Roll, a swinging neck-breaker. The Honky Tonk Man is also known to smash his guitar over the opponent’s head.
On June 13, 1987, he defeated Ricky Steamboat to win the Intercontinental Championship. He held the title for one year, two months and 27 days – the longest Intercontinental Championship reign in history. The Ultimate Warrior ended the Honky Tonk Man’s title reign at the first SummerSlam in 1988.
“That match changed my career,” the he said. “I was glad to be a part of the whole thing. I did a good job of catapulting the Ultimate Warrior the way the WWE wanted. He did a good job with it.”
During the 1980’s, the WWE was known for its colorful characters like Hulk Hogan, Randy “Macho Man” Savage, Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase and Ricky “the Dragon” Steamboat.
“We had a good crew of good guys and bad guys in the ’80s,” the Honky Tonk Man said.
The Honky Tonk Man, 64, sees several differences in today’s pro wrestling from his days. He doesn’t like the changes.
“It’s more geared toward the video game,” the Honky Tonk Man said. “I’m a traditionalist, not a stunt man. You don’t have the traditional good guys or bad guys because wrestling’s more corporate now. The good guys and bad guys are mixed in.”
The Honky Tonk Man promises to put on a strong show Saturday night.
“Most of the independent shows are back to basics and old school,” the Honky Tonk Man said. “Fans like those kind of shows.”
Battle in Biloxi
When: 7 p.m. Saturday
Where: Gruich Community Center
Tickets: VIP Ringside $15;General Admission $12; Balcony $10.