WWE Hall of Famer Bob Backlund is one of the top champions in the history of the company, but his time in the wrestling industry is far from over, as he is now part of a current storyline as the life coach of Darren Young.
As seen on last week’s episode of SmackDown, Young asked Backlund to become his life coach, marking the legend’s return to WWE. In addition to working with the company again, Backland has also recently released the book Backlund: From All-American Boy to Professional Wrestling’s World Champion and launched a new website, BobBacklundNow.com.
Backlund recently spoke with Ring Rust Radio about his desire to return to WWE, his thoughts on Brock Lesnar and wrestlers jumping from the amateur ranks to the pros, his views of Hulk Hogan as the face of the company and much more.
It was a genuine surprise to see Backlund return to WWE programming last week with Young, but their partnership should make for an interesting story. When asked about a possible in-ring return, Backlund admitted to still being intrigued by wrestling again:
When I got put into the Hall of Fame in 2013, I told Triple H I would like to get back in the business and put a little bit more ‘W’ in it, and I was serious about it. I don’t know if he is ever going to take me up on the offer. I do think about it every now and then.
I would like to get back in there and have a war. I am 66 years old, but I feel like a spring rooster. I work out every day, and my pulse was 42 the other day. The Harvard Step Test really makes your heart rate go down. I do that a few times a day and a high number of squats with other stretching and weight routines.
Backlund has kept himself in excellent condition throughout his entire life, dating all the way back to his time in high school and college. The WWE Hall of Famer was a NCAA champion wrestler at North Dakota State University before making the transition to WWE.
As someone who made the jump from the amateur ranks to the professional ranks, Backlund explained what it took to make the transition successfully and his thoughts on someone who had similar success, Brock Lesnar:
It’s not a hard thing to do, more as it’s a mental thing to do. In amateur wrestling, you are always wanting to win matches and win matches and win matches.
I changed my goal when I got into professional wrestling, and I said I wanted to go out there and entertain at the highest level I could. I didn’t have any problem whether I won or lost as long as I had as good as a match as I could. Guys like Brock Lesnar that come from amateur wrestling love the business just as much as they loved the athletics in amateur wrestling.
Another wrestler Backlund interacted with during his career was Hulk Hogan. Hogan was the top star in the generation following that of Backlund and Bruno Sammartino, and Backlund was critical of how he carried himself as the face of the company outside the ring:
I know Bruno is a great man and has a lot of integrity and honor. He was very concerned at the time with what type of guy was going to replace him and take his spot. He didn’t know me very well, and I didn’t know him, but about two or three years later we found out we were on the same page. We got along very well but didn’t talk very much.
Hogan was a great person in the ring but we didn’t like his outside activities. We thought he wasn’t a very good representation of the business or a model for young people to look up to. He didn’t walk the walk.
The new generation of wrestling fans has never seen Backlund, other than in his sporadic appearances with the company over the last several years. Now with a budding relationship with Young, Backlund will have the opportunity to reach a new audience.
Whether wrestling fans liked Backlund’s wrestling style or what he did over the course of his career, the Hall of Famer has always said what was on his mind and believed in showcasing good moral values with his character.
As one would expect, Backlund is still fighting for the same causes that made him the All-American boy. Now he will have the opportunity to make an impression on a whole new generation of wrestling fans with his current role as the life coach of Young.
Backlund has always been a class act, and time has not changed his moral compass.
For more wrestling talk, listen to Ring Rust Radio for all of the hot topics or catch the latest episode in the player above (some language NSFW).