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Sean Oliver: Building Business with Shoot Interviews

Wayne Farris, better known as The Honky Tonk Man, demanded Seagram’s Extra Smooth Vodka. It was 2007, and the man who made his name touring the wrestling territories and eventually the WWE with an indestructibly greasy pompadour, a Memphis jumpsuit, and a frequently weaponized acoustic guitar was getting ready to sit down for a tell-all interview with Sean Oliver. Oliver was just getting his feet wet in pro wrestling skullduggery at that point, and he was thrown by the specificity of the request. As a rule, Oliver always delivers, and he had to go to multiple liquor stores in order to find a bottle of the stuff Farris wanted. “I think there was shit in front of it [on the shelf], and I dug, and I found the thing,” he remembers. Honky Tonk Man got his vodka, and Oliver got his show.

Given Oliver’s aims, alcohol is something of a necessity. Another former wrestler, Hornswoggle, was plied with Tito’s vodka before his interview, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine went for Merlot, and many others have received the lubrication necessary to sit in a cheap studio as Oliver gently peppers them with questions about fights, drugs, beefs, steroids, women, and road stories they lived through in their times as an employee and performer in the WWE or WCW.

In insider’s parlance, this is called a shoot interview, or a shoot, and it’s one of the hallowed traditions of bawdy pro wrestling scuttlebutt. A shoot happens when a producer pays men and women from the pro wrestling world to air dirty laundry and expose secrets of the business, which are then burned onto a DVD and sold for $20 a pop. The idea is to give viewers an intimate look at the squabbles and politics behind the scenes, away from the stagecraft out front.


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