When pro wrestling fans think of “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan the first thing that comes to mind is the image of him carrying the 2×4. The WWE Hall of Famer has explained why that piece of wood became a part of his performance.
Duggan spent most of his career as a babyface wrestler that represented America with the United States flag, as well as the trusty 2×4 piece of wood. Prior to Duggan breaking out as a big star in WWE, he was actually a heel in Mid-South wrestling that was part of The Rat Pack with Ted Dibiase (the future “Million Dollar Man”) and Matt Borne, who went on to be Doink in WWE.
Hacksaw recently spoke to Findlay Martin for issue 9 of Inside The Ropes magazine and discussed the origins of the 2×4. Duggan explained how it wasn’t so much of a weapon, but more of an intimidating presence:
“This was long before sports entertainment [laughs]. As a bad guy, walking back and forth to your car was dangerous. Walking back and forth to the ring, people would spit at you and kick at you. They really hated you. That’s where the 2×4 came from.”
“I was wrestling out in West Texas—Amarillo, Lubbock—and I’m sitting back there [in the dressing room], all covered in [saliva] and bruises from the fans, spitting and kicking on me, and Brody comes in and says, ‘Duggan, if you carry something to the ring, carry something you can use.’ And I’m sitting there in that old, nasty dressing room, and I looked down and I’m, like, ‘Here’s a piece of wood.’ So I came out there, yelling and waving that 2×4 around. It was like the parting of the Red Sea: people scattered.”
Duggan may have started using the 2×4 as a heel, but he will always be remembered by wrestling fans as one of the most popular wrestlers during the late 1980s boom period. Duggan went on to the first-ever Royal Rumble in 1988 and went on to be inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011.