Jay Lethal was recently interviewed on “Insight with Chris Van Vliet” to talk about “Best In The World,” how he broke into pro wrestling, his “Black Machismo” character in TNA, Ric Flair and the “WOOOOO! off” they had, the phone call he had with Randy Savage shortly before he passed away, and more.
Jay Lethal talking about his start in Ring of Honor:
“My first couple years there, I was terrified. I was wrestling with guys like Samoa Joe, CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, all these legends. There was still training that I still needed to complete because my school had closed down. There were still a lot of things I didn’t know. When I sat down with a wrestler, I noticed that I wasn’t coming up with any ideas. They would lay the whole thing out for me because I wasn’t that skilled. I really felt like somewhere along the way, someone thought that I could hang here, but I can’t, and I’m getting exposed at every turn, and it’s just a matter of time before someone says, ‘Hey, what are you doing here?’, and they would kick me out. That’s my whole description of my first three or four years at Ring of Honor.”
Lethal talked about shaving his head:
“I had cornrows for almost 13 years straight. The thing about cornrows is they look good, but after a certain amount of time, they pull your hair out. I, through the cornrows, and my dad’s genetics, a combination of both, started balding. The braids on the side would look super full, but the braids from the top would look kind of thin. The funny thing is sometimes I would let my braids out and have my hair down. I loved doing that, but you would really notice the hair was thinning, so I had to keep the braids in. I remember one of my friends said to me, ‘Don’t cut it’, because I said, ‘I think I need to cut my hair.’ He said, ‘Did Hogan ever cut his hair? Did Macho Man or Jake the Snake ever cut their hair? No, they kept fighting the good fight, so keep fighting the good fight.’
I said, ‘No, I don’t think in this day and age I can fight the good fight.’ I remember going to the barber and I said, ‘Cut it.’ Then I said, ‘Wait a minute. I have a great idea. Maybe I can have whoever I’m feuding with, maybe they can beat me down and shave my head.’ So, that’s what we did. I didn’t want to do it. I really didn’t, but there was one day I was getting my hair braided, and I was like, not only does it hurt, but it’s getting painful because there’s so little in the middle. One time my sister said, ‘I can add fake hair to it.’ I was like, I think I need to cut it. I love it now. I didn’t love it so much when it first happened. It took a while to get used to. When I had the braids, every week, because I was wrestling so much, I had to get my hair redone. Think about it. For 13 years, at the end of every week, you have to sit down on your butt so your sister can braid your hair, and it takes like three or four hours because she has to undo it, you have to wash it, and redo it.”
Click below to check out the full interview.
If you use any portion of the quotes from this article please credit Chris Van Vliet with a h/t to WrestlingNews.co for the transcription. Also, be sure to subscribe to “Insight with Chris Van Vliet” on your mobile device by clicking here if you have an iOS device or here on your Android device.