The Latest Episodes of INSIGHT with Chris Van Vliet
Oct. 25, 2022

Buff Bagwell Is Sober Thanks To DDP & He Has A Hilarious New Gimmick "Mr. Bagwell's Neighborhood"

Buff Bagwell Is Sober Thanks To DDP & He Has A Hilarious New Gimmick "Mr. Bagwell's Neighborhood"

Marcus Bagwell (@marcusbuffbagwell) is a professional wrestler better known as Buff Bagwell from his time in WCW and WWE. He joins Chris Van Vliet from Diamond Dallas Page's house in Atlanta, GA to talk about his recovery from an addiction to alcohol and prescription pills and the gratitude he has to DDP and Steve Yu for helping him get sober. He also discusses the docuseries he is part of with Butterbean called "Change Or Die", his career in WCW, why he only had one match in WWE, what he thinks lead to him being fired by WWE, the infamous Cameo that he sent to a fan, the recent passing of his mother Judy Bagwell and much more!


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On DDP helping Buff Bagwell:

“Dallas is so great. He’s got such a great team man. With Steve Yu and all of his family, it’s family. From the camera guys to everyone, it’s a team, it’s a family. Steve is Yoda man, it just happened that he picked out [me] in the Change or Die docuseries. So it was what can we do that is the complete opposite of Buff Bagwell? Steve came up with Mr. Rogers, how much different is that? The gigolo Mr. Rogers so to speak. So we didn’t really know, we put the outfit on and I felt like Mr. Rogers. Everyone just started laughing, puppets came in the scene and all the Mr. Rogers stuff, and it all just happened, it was magical.” 

On transitioning from Buff to Marcus Bagwell:

“So Buff has got me a long way in life. But Buff is also what has got me into a lot of trouble. I think everybody was just thinking that it was time for a change. Then the show came out with Dallas, the docuseries, The Change or Die thing. Dallas from the get go, was not wanting to call me Buff anymore. It was all about me, and it got me a long way. But I think that Dallas and Steve saw it before anybody, Buff had maybe had his run. Dallas was not wanting me to bring the hat out, and I said ‘But Dallas, people want to wear that hat all the time.’ He goes ‘I know, but just leave it on the table. Let them see it but don’t wear it.’ He also said that he feels sorry for the older guys that are holding onto things. He said to me ‘I kind of feel sorry for you when you walk in here with your top hat on.’ I said that I feel sorry for me too, but the fans love it. Dallas then said ‘Yeah, but I think we need to recreate you, man.’ I’m thinking to what? Then all of a sudden the Mr. Rogers thing came to life. Then we did the debut in Baltimore with Mr. Bagwell’s Neighborhood. Buff was something that was great, to be Buff in the 90’s with that frame, it was so much luck, but so much work.”

On multiple trips to rehab:

“I have been 4 or 5 [times]. Out of those 4 or 5, I didn’t know what was wrong with me for 3 of them. I didn’t know about my sleep apnoea, and I had severe sleep apnoea. So the 4th one, I took my CPAP with me, and if I had listened and would have been ready, I probably could have gotten clean there. But I didn’t, I didn’t and came home 20 something days clean. My sobriety date was August 27th of this year. I am clean 40 something days, I am not a big counter, but I know my sobriety date. Everyone decided for me to go, and it was time. So I went.”

On being ready to go to rehab:

“You have to be ready and that was what happened before, I wasn’t ready. Everybody wants to know why this time was different. This time, I had a lot on the line. Along with my age and my maturity, I was ready, and I was tired. I would have asked for help if I had known all about it, but so much was going on. I was making a lot of money and trying to manage my life and do all these things, but my life became unmanageable. I saw videos of myself that my friends were taking, and I was just in this position going [slurring] ‘I’ve got to straighten my life out. I’ve got to go [to rehab].’ Even though I was blacked out there, I was still thinking that I have got to kick out. When they said that it’s time to go, intervention style, Dallas led it and they ran the intervention and had every answer. My life had become unmanageable, my niece took over and it went from there.”

On drinking:

“To escape, I was so depressed. I was depressed about my life. I think this was the min key, I was lonely. Do you know how many times Marcus or Buff Bagwell has been lonely in his life? Never. A woman, from the time when I was a kid, whether it was my mom or my wife, a woman took care of me. I’m so thankful for that it is not even funny, but all of a sudden there was no one there. I had run off everybody except for Dallas Page and Steve Yu. they stood by my side through the whole thing. I started isolating and got so lonely, I just stayed by myself and drank. But I was still saying professional, I was calling Steve to do some work, and he wasn’t returning my calls, he didn’t know what to say to me. He knew I was drinking or drunk, so he didn’t answer. So they came down and I am so grateful for my niece, their family is phenomenal.”

On the infamous Cameo video:

“Oh yeah that was really bad. I saw that back the day I got out of Black Bear [rehab]. I either turned away or didn’t watch the whole thing, but man I watched that thing back. When that was playing, I almost said cut it off, it was that bad. So much was going on when you are doing what I was doing with drinking and taking pills. You think you are thinking clearly but you are not, it’s just this fog. It’s just a crazy place to be, but you make it make sense, and addicts are the best at that. But this young boy needed a Cameo, it’s not about the money, this kid needs this and I am doing the right thing. No bro, you are not doing the right thing. Dallas called me the next day and says ‘What are you doing? Bro, don’t get on the camera.’ he was brutal when he saw me, I don’t know what I was thinking, I was screwed up.”

On what’s next:

“It’s really hard for me, but it really is one day at a time. But I am really excited about being sober for the first time in my life. I think this is the first time I have been totally sober since 16. That is totally sad and pathetic but those are the facts. I got arrested at 16 for blowing a 0.01. I had a sip because I was trying to be cool, I get in my Jeep and I got arrested at The Big Chicken. I have been at the wrong place at the wrong time so many times. But where do I go now, the sky is the limit. That is great and dangerous. I have Dallas and Steve with me, the sky really is the limit.”

On having one match in WWE:

“Absolutely I am [upset], that’s where part of the depression part of drinking was. You throw it into a pile and set fire to it, that is in there. It was so depressing to me, the only thing that didn’t make it worse was that the fans knew that I got screwed. The fans know, and still know, that Buff Bagwell got jibbed man. Without that I would be completely depressed. But they know that, I did get jibbed. I was Buff Bagwell bro, and I got fired in Atlanta, Georgia. A lot of guys may have the same story, but they don’t have this one. I’m the only guy, to my knowledge, I’m the only wrestler in history to be the main event one week and then fired the next. Where do you sign up for that? Buff Bagwell was main eventing against Booker T, and then they fire me in Atlanta, Georgia the next week.” 

On the backlash from the Tacoma match:

“We were in Tacoma, Washington and the next week is Atlanta. Now you are Vince McMahon, are you going to put us in Tacoma, or are you going to wait 7 days and put us in Atlanta? They call it the invasion, what are we invading, Alaska? Little things I never told anybody, they were about to play my music and Booker went out first. Think about it, he had 2 belts, and I went out second, I never saw that before. He may have not got music, I will have to check that. But my pyro was off the charts, here was what I was told 10 seconds before I came through the curtain, out of nowhere like a ghost, Shane McMahon appears. He says ‘Mark, you can’t look in the cameras?’ I go what? He goes ‘You can’t look in the cameras.’ I go ‘Shane, that’s all I do. I look in the cameras, I pose and wear the top hat, that is my whole gig bro.’ He says ‘You can’t do it or your fired.’ I want you to watch a Buff Bagwell match anytime the year before, and then watch that match. I don’t look anywhere near that camera the whole time in 3 years. That takes me completely out of my world. I come out, do the pyro, do the posing, but then it is like where is the camera? I see it and I start talking to someone over here, I was out of my game right there. They took my leg off right there. I was told not to look in the camera or I was fired. Jim Ross called me that Wednesday before Atalanta saying that they have big plans for me in Atlanta, so they took me off of the house shows. That got to be that my mother took me out of them, it stuck bro, he started a rumour that stuck so much. So I started a rumour, so let’s say that she did do it and she was lying to me, do you fire Buff Bagwell over that? Let’s say it was the bad match, how about 5 years of never tripping and stumbling previous? You don’t fire a Buff Bagwell over one match. So the match and the mother stuck bro, to the point where I was like if she did, you don’t fire Buff Bagwell over it. You say to Buff to tell your mother to leave us the hell alone, you don’t fire me over that.” 

On an in-ring comeback:

“I would love to wrestle again, I think I have got one more run left in me. I know I do. I know I have got a little bit of a career left, I took a bump with crutches at the GCW pay-per-view a year ago. I took a superkick from Joey [Janela] and I took a good clean bump.”

On what Buff Bagwell is grateful for:

“Sobriety, Steve Yu and Dallas Page, and God.”