Forever A Horsemen: JJ Dillon

Forever A Horsemen: JJ Dillon

By: James Jackson
January 7, 2018

James J. Dillon, leader of the legendary Four Horsemen, Pro Wrestling Hall of Famer, WWE Hall of Famer, author and loving father. JJ invited Under Review into his home for an exclusive interview. JJ talked about his time working with Eric Bischoff and Vince McMahon, what got him into wrestling, the creation of the Four Horsemen and much more.

Q: What got you into wrestling to begin with?

JJ: “I was a fan. A lot of people are embarrassed to admit that at one time they were fans themselves. I don’t know why that is. There’s the fans and then there’s the people that are in the industry, I don’t see a problem with the two intertwining. As a 16 year old kid I saw wrestling on black and white TV's. Back then it was on Tuesday nights from Capitol Arena in Washington. When I went to my first live event, it was in Trenton at the armory. I wasn’t even old enough to drive, my mother took me the first time. I walked in there and there’s the color of all the fans and all the figures you see on black and white tv. There they are living and breathing so now I’m hooked.”

Q: What are your opinions on Vince Russo?

JJ: “Wrestling is a great industry, it’s a great is a business. Starting as a fan way back when, I had my perception of what wrestling was all about. When Russo came along, he had the magazine working with Vince and he had basically a different philosophy. He was more into doing things that were more shock factor and I’m old school with worrying more about logic and continuity and he has a strong personality. That’s when we kind of got on a bad trajectory. When he came to work for WCW, it’s like he wanted to do really off the wall crazy stuff. I think what bothered me most was he was given the authority to go ahead and do it his way for awhile. Then one day he came by my office and stood in the doorway with the door open and cut basically a promo. That was what crossed the line for me and made it personal. A couple years later, I was in New York for some kind of convention type of thing. They had brought all kinds of different people in. Russo was there, I was there and Baby Doll was there. They sat us at the table, they put me at one end, Baby Doll in the middle and Russo at the other end. He got up twice to go to the bathroom and never made eye contact with him. The third time he got up he walked up to me and stopped dead in his tracks, turned and looked me in the eye and walked over and stuck his hand out and said ‘I owe you an apology’. I said ‘It takes a hell of a man to say I was wrong and apologize one man to another’. I said ‘I’m man enough to not only accept your apology but the matter is forgotten from this day forward’ and it has been”.

Q: How did the Four Horsemen get created?

JJ: “I wish I could sit here and tell you that a whole bunch of us got in a room and thought wow we’re gonna create this stable and call it the Four Horsemen and get this guy, this guy and this guy. Truth be known it was a spontaneous thing, which happens to a lot of successful in the profession. We were doing a lot of TV and we had two hours of content each week for the Turner 605 show and we would down Saturday morning do two hours and have to get on a plane and go somewhere and wrestle Saturday night and wrestle somewhere Sunday night. The show was not done in segments, when we got there everybody would be hungover from the night before, no sleep, tired. Some of the best tv I think we ever did was under those circumstances. Where we’re there and they start rolling tape and they’d have a format and just go and sometimes there’d be a couple of interview spots and we weren’t sure who they were gonna put in there. I think it was one of those where somebody, I think it was Dusty (Rhodes) said ‘man Flairs got the world title, Tully and Arn are world tag champions and Barry’s this and you got all the gold belts all the bragging rights so all of you go out there. The only one I managed at the time was Tully (Blanchard) so that was the reason I was out there. Nobody remembers what town it was, we all just went out there and as I remember Arn just said ‘take a good hard look at your camera, here’s all the champions, all the bragging rights, we own all the gold’. Arn said ‘If you take a good look at this picture, never have so few dominated the whole rest of the industry. To try and find a comparison you’d have to go back in your history books to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse’ and he held up four fingers. We didn’t think anything of it, that’s just Arn sometimes. His mind would go places and he would do these great interviews that only he could do. For some reason that line after it was aired, it was like a seed was planted. Everybody was talking ‘did you hear what Arn said’, people would have copies of it and send it to other people. I remember when we got to Greensboro one time, the whole front row were like Horsemen fans all dressed with white shirts, ties, jackets and they had signs that said ‘Rock n’ Roll Express and when we get in the ring they’d flip it over and it would say Four Horsemen and they would all hold up four fingers”.    

For the whole unedited version of this interview click the video below