Movie ReviewsWrestling Radio – Saturday Night Slam
featuring Kendall Cross and James Petulla
with Scott Casber, Scott McLin, and Kyle Klingman
on January 19, 2002
Casber: Hello Kendall. Where are we calling you from tonight?
Cross: I’m in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Casber: James are you there?
Petulla: I’m here guys. Hey, I was thinking about rolling this film out here in Oklahoma. We did a box office record last night. We’re in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I’m going to go to Iowa and open this thing.
McLin: That would be sweet.
Petulla: You guys have been so good to us. I mean this. With the support that we’ve got, Oklahoma is great and everything, I love Oklahoma. What we’re finding is that there are no chains here that handle a bunch of theaters. We have to deal with a dozen theater chains to get into a dozen theaters. I’m glad but Kendall go ahead.
Cross: So how are you guys doing? How about the Pokes beating the Hawkeyes last week? Huh? What do you guys think of that?
McLin: We’re still in tears. We’re torn up severely over that.
Cross: I was kind of excited about the whole thing.
McLin: I do have to ask you one question here, Kendall and James both. You were at the premier last night. I’ve got to believe the legendary Danny Hodge was in attendance last night.
Cross: You know what guys he cried. He loved it.
Petulla: I’ve never met Danny Hodge and I really didn’t know who Danny Hodge was. Keep in mind in the wrestling world I’ve been out of the loop. He came to the film and he was so choked up after the movie. He thanked me and he was crying. He thanked me for honoring the sport.
McLin: Danny Hodge is one in a million.
Casber: Danny Hodge makes me cry.
McLin: He is one of the greatest people walking the face of the earth.
Petulla: We had a camera crew last night and he got on the camera for us. I made a deal with him and he talked about the film and he also talked about wrestling and how the sport has changed. He along with Kendall will be featured on the DVD.
McLin: Excellent. Having said all that, Kyle, if you think you can handle these two I’m going to pass the torch on over to you brother.
Klingman: I’m not sure. There are some pretty tough cookies there. Kendall before we get to the movie what made you decide to retire after the World Cup in Stillwater? It was a great ending.
Cross: My thoughts were why not finish up on top. Very few wrestlers get to go out on there own terms. That’s the way I felt. I wanted to win the Olympics. I wanted to finish up on top. That was my goal. Once it was done I realized I should step away from it. Why not take a break and go on with life. That’s what I did. I won and it felt great.
Klingman: How special was it for you to end in Stillwater Kendall?
Cross: It was a dream come true. I finished up my career right in Stillwater wrestling in the World Cup against the silver medalist in the Olympics Guivi Sissaouri. It was good to finish up right in my home town and to finish up in front of the people who watched me through my career. A special moment, it really was.
Klingman: He actually won the World Championships this year Kendall.
Cross: He certainly did. I was very happy for him. It was nice to see a guy like Sissaouri win the worlds after getting beat by Brands in the ’95 World’s. Brands, me and him banging heads to make the ’96 team. I ended up making the team and running into Sissaouri in the finals. For Sissaouri to come back and to win the World’s was kind of a special moment for him. I’m very happy for him.
Klingman: Let’s switch gears to the movie here. Point blank what did you think of the movie?
Cross: Here’s my thought about the movie. It’s a story about a father and a son and their relationship. It’s not so much wrestling rather it’s about a father and a son. It’s about the relationship between the two. Wrestling is the background but the bottom line it’s about a relationship between a father and a son. This is an incredible story. I got to tell you it almost made me cry. From the beginning of the movie from the end of the movie it really made me sad. It’s one of those movies that you’ll relate to if you’ve been in sports. I think it will relate to a lot of people who have had kids in sports and who have been involved in sports.
Klingman: James, were you happy with the premier you had in Tulsa?
Petulla: Very happy. We beat Snow Dogs. It’s amazing what we got without the Hollywood promotion and the whole deal. I wanted to see how the film would do at an event like this where a lot of people wanted to take their kids before they started wrestling. As Kendall mentioned it’s a sad film. I was discouraging them from that. You know what I mean. I didn’t want them to come to a film expecting a lot of team spirit.
Cross: It’s not a motivational movie. It’s a sad movie and it will break your heart.
Petulla: The coaches that have seen this film have come up to me and thanked me for the awareness of the sport and for honoring the sport. That part was really exciting. A lot of moms have seen it and are relating to the relationship they have in their homes with their sons and their fathers and how hard they work.
Cross: That’s exactly right.
Petulla: The moms don’t realize what really goes on in the sport. Moms usually don’t know what kind of discipline and training the wrestlers go through. That was really exciting, the response I was getting from the females. Mothers and coaches were really into it. It was cool.
Cross: They loved it. It was a great movie. It was one of the most fantastic movies I’ve ever seen. Being a wrestler and seeing what the movie is about was really incredible. You have to see it in the movie theater, believe me.
Klingman: How does it feel to get a backing like this from these guys?
Petulla: It’s great. I’ve never met any of them. Kendall and I met for the first time yesterday twenty minutes or so before he saw the film. It’s wonderful. They watch it with their heart and they relate to it. It’s fantastic. It really is. My next script, and I’m serious, is going to be about an orphan boy and wrestling saves his life. He’s going to go on to win the Olympics like Kendall Cross.
McLin: Scott and I are volunteering for roles in the movie.
Cross: I think I’ve got the first position here. I want the movie.
Casber: You can be a part of the movie. You can sell popcorn or something.
Cross: James really brings out what wrestling is about.
Petulla: I really want you guys to see this movie in a theater. It did great in Oklahoma. The opening went well. I’ve been considering doing ten cities here but I’m going to do it in Iowa. I’m going to take ten to fifteen screens in Iowa and we’re going to do it in the next thirty to sixty days and that’s where we’re going to open the film. When I say open I mean not just in one theater. I’ve got to tell you mostly because of you guys and your support. I was talking with the owner of the Tulsa theater and she said don’t you know that people don’t go to movies here. I said thanks for telling me this now. I looked in Beautiful Mind and there were five people. Snow Dogs there were fifty. We had almost three-hundred.
McLin: All I know is when you do this big premiere I expect Scott and Scott to be at the theater with James Petulla, whatever theater you pick.
Petulla: Listen we’ll fly Kendall out. You coming out Kendall?
Klingman: Could I ask Kendall one last question? What does the Iowa versus Oklahoma State rivalry mean to you?
Casber: Good question.
Cross: How about that Iowa/Oklahoma State rivalry. Didn’t they win that last match?
Klingman: What does it mean to you to compete in it? How special was it to compete against Iowa?
Cross: That is the pinnacle. If you can beat Iowa, that’s where it is. That’s where it all is. It’s a rivalry like no other.
McLin: I want to know. When you come to the Iowa premier of Reversal, will you bring your gold medal so I can wear it?
Cross: I’ll do it. I’ll bring it.
McLin: I want to say I’ve worn a gold medal whether I’ve earned it or not.
Cross: Only a few of those Iowa boys have one. Only Brands and a couple others.
Casber: I have my buddy up in Ames that has one.
Cross: Who’s that?
Casber: That would be Ed Banach.
Cross: He’s an Iowa boy.
McLin: We can’t forget about the legendary Dan Gable.
Cross: That’s a given. That’s a given. He doesn’t count.
Casber: He’s still taller than you isn’t he Kendall?
Cross: Gable? He’s not much taller. You know what guys I’m going to lose you. I’m running out of battery. You guys have a good one. I love you guys. You guys take care. Bye.
Casber: Thank you Kendall.
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