When we reminisce about the WWE Attitude Era, images of intimidating wrestlers like Kane and The Undertaker’s Ministry of Darkness come to mind. However, the fear that ran down the spine of Brian “Road Dogg” James had a different source – a real-life tough guy without a horror gimmick.
In a recent episode of “Oh… You Didn’t Know,” James opened up about the wrestler who used to send shivers down his spine: Steve Blackman. Surprisingly, it wasn’t a scripted character that scared Road Dogg but the genuine toughness of Blackman, especially after witnessing an altercation between Blackman and John Bradshaw Layfield at an airport. Although James acknowledged that some aspects of the fight may have been exaggerated over time, the incident left a lasting impression and made him wary of ever crossing paths with Blackman on bad terms.
“I was scared to death of him,” admitted James. He recalled being present during the confrontation between Blackman and Bradshaw, where rumors of knockout blows and intense brawling circulated. While James clarified that the reality of the situation might not have lived up to the rumors, he emphasized the palpable tension in the air. Bradshaw didn’t emerge from the encounter on the winning side, further fueling the apprehension.
James vividly remembered a moment when Blackman threw a kick during the skirmish, only to get his foot stuck in the baggage claim. The result? A bag went flying across the floor, amplifying the sense of fear that had already taken hold of Road Dogg. “It wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be,” he reflected. “But it was dang sure a fight… it scared me.”
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Beyond his wrestling persona, Steve Blackman was renowned for his legitimate shootfighting skills. His prowess in martial arts was so impressive that Bob Holly believed Blackman would have triumphed in the Brawl for All tournament, WWE’s experiment in blending combat sports with professional wrestling.
Brian “Road Dogg” James’ candid admission provides valuable insight into the lesser-known aspects of professional wrestling, where the line between scripted entertainment and real-life emotions can blur. In a world where toughness and bravado are celebrated, acknowledging fear and intimidation is a rare but crucial glimpse into the human side of these larger-than-life performers. James’ revelation serves as a reminder that even the toughest wrestlers can grapple with genuine apprehension, highlighting the psychological challenges that come with the profession.
Steve Blackman’s reputation as a legitimate tough guy added a unique layer of complexity to the backstage dynamics of WWE’s Attitude Era. During this period, where scripted drama and real-life tensions often intertwined, Blackman’s presence undoubtedly left an impact. His aura of authenticity and martial arts prowess brought an element of unpredictability to the locker room, creating an environment where respect and caution coexisted. This juxtaposition of scripted personas and genuine toughness contributed to the unique appeal of the Attitude Era and underscores the multifaceted nature of professional wrestling, where both the spectacle and the reality play significant roles in the narrative.