Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Albany Daily News. Posted by Ryan Frost
Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Ryan Frost
Buff Bagwell in WCW
Currently Known For:
1991 - 2006
January 10, 1970
Buff Bagwell in WCW
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Marcus Bagwell is one of those wrestlers that just screams 1990s, mainly because of his unique look while wrestling from the oversized hat to the leather pants and gelled hair. Bagwell held a bunch of odd jobs early in his life, including working in his family’s lumber company, but then it went under so he started working as a massage therapist while trying to set up a career in boxing.
Bagwell hadn’t given much thought to pro wrestling, but in the late 1980s he says a woman named Missy Hyatt moved in the apartment next door to him. At the time, Hyatt was an announcer for WCW, and said that Bagwell should try his hand in wrestling. He was never a big fan of the business, which put him at a disadvantage in the locker room.
When he got to the WCW for the first time, Bagwell said that “Everybody in the world said I would never make it, that I was too young, I was too little, so for me to make it at WCW was the biggest thing ever for me and I was only 20 years old. Not only did I make it, I made it at a very young age and proved myself. I became very popular very quickly.”
He’s certainly right about that, as Bagwell would join several different tag teams early in his WCW career, and he won multiple Tag Team Championships over his first five years. In late 1996, he was finally ready to go solo and change his moniker to Buff Bagwell, He joined the popular nWo faction that many of the other WCW wrestlers had joined, and although he didn’t win any singles titles in WCW, Bagwell was still one of the more memorable characters of WCW’s heyday.
Bagwell was one of the many wrestlers that didn’t know where their future lied after WWE purchased WCW in 2001. “Nobody knew what was going to happen beforehand,” he said. “It took everyone by surprise when we walked up and all of a sudden Shane McMahon was there. It was a really horrible atmosphere in the changing room that night because people didn’t know if they still had jobs or not, there was a lot of uncertainty.”
Bagwell thinks that WCW could still be around these days, but that the market became oversaturated when WCW’s Monday programming expanded to three hours. “I think it was just too much TV. That is the honest truth. I think we watered it down,” he said. Luckily for Bagwell, he was one of the first wrestlers that was offered a WWE contract, but it was very short lived. Just a week after making his debut, Bagwell got the news that he was being released. Apparently there had been complaints about his attitude from other former WCW wrestlers, including getting into a backstage fight.
Bagwell says that he’s still not sure the exact reason he got fired since there wasn’t an official confirmation. Regarding himself and other former WCW stars, though, Bagwell says that “My honest opinion is that it was set up for us to fail.” He also compared WWE boss Vince McMahon to “Satan” in his own words, saying that he wouldn’t want to work for him again. Regarding his firing, he said there were “No warnings, still don’t know what happened. They said that we were going to chill out for about three months and bring you back afterwards, but of course that wasn’t true. I shook their hands and thanked them and went on my way.”
Now out of a job and no WCW to go back to, Bagwell turned his attention to the newly started Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. He would make a handful of appearances over the first year of the company’s existence, but would leave in 2003 and only make a couple of appearances in 2006, as well. For the most part, Bagwell had to focus on wrestling for independent promotions.
Bagwell has wrestled in smaller companies such as X Wrestling, World Wrestling All-Stars, National Wrestling Alliance and many, many more. HIs career had to be put on hold in 2012, however, as after suffering a seizure while driving. Bagwell then crashed his car and broke several bones, requiring surgery. It took several months, but Bagwell finally recovered and was back to wrestling in 2013. He’s been in the ring ever since then, and has freedom as a big star in the 1990s that is still relatively young at 47 years old.
One thing that’s gotten a lot of headlines since Bagwell left WCW, though, is the fact that he became a male escort in Atlanta, Georgia. His profile is still active on a website, but says that he’s not working in that department. He was even featured on the show “Gigolos”, and said that a contract he signed with the show required his website to be active. “I was a gigolo for a night,” Bagwell explains. “I’m on the website still because I signed a piece of paper...I was broke and I signed a piece of paper that allowed him the rights to put me on his website.”
Bagwell says it was actually his wife’s idea to do the gigolo show to help pay the bills. “It’s crazy. $400 an hour, $3,000 for the night, $10,000 for the weekend, and I’ve done one of those and that was when me and my wife were broke up, so I got $8,000 to go to Paris,” he says of the short time. “I was in season five (of “Gigolos” and it was the last episode of season five and it was the highest rated show they’ve ever had...The bad news is I’m on tape doing everything you can do with a woman.”
With that said, Bagwell says he’s only for hire if you want him to put on a match at a wrestling show. Things are going well for Bagwell as promoters are still calling. “I do my own thing, I’m my own boss, I go and work where I want, when I want,” he said. “85 percent of my bookings are repeat business which means people like me and they can trust me, they know that I’m not going to screw them over. I have a very good following and I’m sticking with it without the pressures of the politics of the big time wrestling.”
There was a personal grudge that Bagwell held toward the WWE because of the company’s politics, but says that he’s finally gotten over it in the past five years, yet still he doesn’t “know that answer” to why he was fired. “I’ve got assumptions. I’ve got ideas, but I don’t know. Nobody told me why.” Because of the political game within pro wrestling, Bagwell has some advice for youngsters that want to wrestle.
“Any kid that walks up to me and says they want to get into wrestling I tell them ‘Don’t.’ It’s just a bad time, and it’s because there is only one place to go. TNA is trying but they’re not really there. There just needs to be at least two big companies.” HE also tells independent wrestlers to “Get out of this business now. That’s the honest to God truth. I do it much nicer than that. There are some guys I push that really have the ‘it’ factor.”