The Oshawa Express - Hawkeyes shelve senior program
Hawkeyes shelve senior program

Hacksaw Jim Duggan is still causing a stir with his patented 2X4 at the Great Canadian Wrestling show at the Legion in Oshawa.

By Wally Donaldson
The Oshawa Express

With his patented 2x4 board over one shoulder and a meaningful thumbs up with his left hand, Hacksaw Jim Duggan has given many opposing grapplers fits inside the squared circle these past 30 years. And while most of his events have been before huge throngs of supporters encompassing the domination of World Wrestling E n t e r t a i n m e n t (WWE), the 45-year-old native of Glen Falls, New York, can still mix it up with the best of them, be it on the big stage or smaller venues as demonstrated during Thursday night’s Great Canadian Wrestling (GCW) card at the Legion Hall in Oshawa. He’s still got the board, the thumbs up and the muchappreciated“Hooo!” battle cry. Clearly, this entertaining wrestler who has been successfully around the block on more than a few occasions, still has what it takes to entertain a crowd. And he loves every moment of it.

“This is great, isn’t it?” he remarks behind a curtain with a huge grin while fans react to an
ongoing bout inside the ring. Duggan has taken on the elite over his illustrious career, including Andre the Giant, the Iron Sheik and perhaps the epitome of his success, outlasting 19 other wrestlers to become the very first winner at Royal Rumble. His ability to toss One Man Gang over the ropes as his final opponent put Duggan in the record books. From his early days when wrestling was a sport to today’s keen entertainment orchestrated by WWE guru Vince McMahon, Duggan has seen a lot of changes in wrestlers.“The wrestlers are more professional now than back in the earlier days,” he notes. “It’s a much different business
from the hey-day of the 1980s. Not necessarily their ring work, but their approach to how they treat the business.


Back then, we partied all night. I don’t think there is as much of that today.” The focus on wrestlers for the sake of entertainment has changed as well, says Duggan.“The trend is now for smaller guys that fly and are fast compared to bigger guys that brawl. And that’s okay. It is all about entertaining the crowds.” Duggan doesn’t fly. And he’s not necessarily quick on his feet. But Hacksaw does demand the respect of opponents while still working up the energy to give fans every reason to give him a hearty thumbs up and a “Hoooo!” as he enters the ring.

Groomed for wrestling by Fritz Von Erich, Duggan’s initial goal was to play in the National Football League (NFL) and although signed by the Atlanta Falcons, constant knee injuries kept him from pursuing his dream. Following a coffee stop with the Canadian Football League’s (CFL) Toronto Argonauts, Duggan put away the pads for wrestling trunks. Ironically, Duggan began his pro career as a heel, including a stint in Mid-South Wrestling during the early ‘80s where he became Louisana State Champion.“The most fun I had was in the Mid-South Wrestling,” he he recalls. “The guys were much closer and we all travelled together. It was the early ‘80s, a wild time. I mean, if we got into a bit of trouble, there were people around to help sweep it under the rug. Nowadays with cell phones and the Internet, you could see your name pop up on the screen. I’m always telling kids to be very careful for that very reason.”

Perhaps Duggan’s biggest challenge was away from the ring in 1998 when he was diagnosed
with kidney cancer. He beat it and two years later, he was back in the limelight with World Championship Wrestling (WCW). Duggan’s high profile matches are plentiful throughout his stops in the WWE and previously with WCW. His most memorable was a bout against highly touted Andre The Giant before a sellout crowd at Madison Square Garden in New York.“That was a highlight,” he beams. “I mean, to sell out Madison Square Garden, have 20,000 screaming fans watching you perform, I still think of that (bout) every so often.”

Currently signed to a WWE contract, the demand for Duggan and the 2x4 board has taken him to 30 countries, noting with a grin,“I’ve been to every state in the US and every province in Canada. The WWE is worldwide.” And yet, Duggan remains a full supporter of smaller venues.“I think folks come to shows like the GCW with an open mind and 90 percent of the time they say, ‘Hey, a little local show with a big WWE production. It’s a great
night out.’“This is the roots of wrestling. The WWE is a phenomenon of which I am glad to be a small part of it. Still, I see the young guys coming up looking for gimmicks and I’ve seen some crazy ones.

They’re doing it for the love of the business and you’ve got to appreciate that.”



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