Tony Atlas wrestled for WWE across four separate spells between 1979 and 2009. In an exclusive interview, the WWE Hall of Famer recently recalled how Vince McMahon was a huge fan of Teddy Long.
Long worked for McMahon as an on-screen authority figure, manager, and referee between 1998 and 2014. The 75-year-old’s contributions to the wrestling business were recognized in 2017 when he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Speaking to Sportskeeda Wrestling Senior Editor Bill Apter, Atlas outlined how McMahon felt Long was instrumental to WWE shows:
“He’s the best piece of talent that Vince McMahon ever had (…) We was on a show one night and they didn’t book Teddy. Vince McMahon walked into the building, Vince McMahon Jr., he said, ‘Where’s Teddy?’ The promoter said, ‘Well, we didn’t book him because we don’t have a flight for him.’ Vince said, ‘I want him here even if you have to get a private plane. We cannot do this show without Teddy.’ He sent a private plane. He said, ‘I want him here.'” [6:41 – 7:20]
Atlas spoke about several wrestling topics, including his tag team partnership with Rocky Johnson in the 1980s. In the video above, watch the one-time WWE Tag Team Champion reveal why many people thought Johnson’s son The Rock was a girl when he was younger.
Tony Atlas on Vince McMahon’s last-minute changes
It is well known that WWE’s Executive Chairman frequently altered his booking decisions at the last minute before events.
Using the Teddy Long story as an example, Tony Atlas elaborated on how McMahon often changed his mind at short notice:
“You rehearse all day for what Vince wants you to do. Five minutes before you walk out on stage, Vince comes and changes it. The only person that I knew who could do that was Teddy. Vince said a thousand and one times. He said, ‘The program is no good without Teddy. Teddy Long is the program.’ He’s the best piece of talent that Vince McMahon ever had. If you don’t believe me, ask Vince.” [7:25 – 7:52]
Atlas also explained why McMahon would never allow Long to join a rival promotion like AEW.
What are your favorite Teddy Long moments in WWE? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
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