When Hacksaw Jim Duggan Broke the Hearts of Millions

"Hooooooooooo!" and "USA! USA!" – chants synonymous with the 2×4 brandishing, thumb-wielding, red, white, and blue-wearing, stars and stripes saluting Hacksaw Jim Duggan. But did you know there was a time when Duggan broke the heart of his adoring fans? This is the tale of that strange and almost forgotten saga!

Uncle Sam’s favorite nephew: ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan.
Uncle Sam’s favorite nephew: ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan. [Original photo: WWE.com]

Hacksaw Jim Duggan Breaks Hearts

Yes, there was a time when the beloved Hacksaw Jim Duggan broke the heart of his adoring fans and followers.

No, we’re not talking about when Duggan was pulled over on the side of the highway, spliff in hand, with The Iron Sheik back in ‘87 (you can learn more about that here).

Instead, cast your minds back to the near end of WCW in 2000.

Team Canada and the Misfits in Action were at war (lest we forget the name of the leader of the M.I.A., General Hugh G. Rection, aka Bill DeMott).

Other Misfit members included G.I. Bro (Booker T), Major Stash (Van Hammer), Major Gunns, Lieutenant Loco (Chavo Guerrero), Sargent AWOL (The Wall– they must have been running low on Army puns), and Corporal Cajun (Lash LeRoux).

A bunch of Misfits (in action) in WCW: Hugh G. Rection (Bill DeMott), G.I. Bro (Booker T), Lieutenant Loco (Chavo Guerrero), Major Stash (Van Hammer), Major Gunns, and Corporal Cajun (Lash LeRoux).
A bunch of Misfits in Action in WCW: Hugh G. Rection (Bill DeMott), G.I. Bro (Booker T), Lieutenant Loco (Chavo Guerrero), Major Stash (Van Hammer), Major Gunns, and Corporal Cajun (Lash LeRoux). [Photo: wrestlepedia.fandom.com]
The Misfits were indeed at war with The Canadians, though we’re not talking about The Hart Foundation. We’re talking about the REAL Team Canada, led by one-half of the former Impact Players: Lance Storm.

Other members of The Canadian crew included the future TNA cage-walking Elix Skipper, Carl Ouellet (the ageless PCO of Impact Wrestling), and ECW alumnus Mike Awesome.

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Team Canada in WCW: Lance Storm, Elix Skipper, Carl Ouellet (aka PCO), and Mike Awesome. [Photos: WWE.com, Online World of Wrestling, and WWE Network]

Jim Duggan and WCW Fall Brawl

It all took place at WCW Fall Brawl on September 17th, 2000.

Rection had vowed to take the United States Championship and the ‘possession’ of Major Gunns back into American hands from the dastardly Lance Storm.

The special ring enforcer is– cue your best ‘’Hoooooo!’’– Mr. America himself, Hacksaw Jim Duggan.

Now, when a professional wrestler is shoehorned in as a ref or special enforcer, it will most certainly go south later on for someone involved in the match.

You just knew that the writing was on the wall from the get-go when Storm and crew were blessed to hear the Canadian anthem played out in its entirety before the bell.

Meanwhile, Duggan was continuously serenading the New York crowd with chants of "USA!"

Little did the audience realize what would happen after six minutes and forty-eight seconds of wrestling action.

Rection was readying to hit his finisher from the top rope. However, Uncle Sam’s favorite nephew, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, struck him across his back with the patented 2×4.

Storm covered for the win, retaining both the Canadian (well, U.S.) title and the services of Major Gunns.

Yes, Duggan had suddenly and shockingly turned heel.

Duggan had betrayed America.

Fans will always talk about Hulk Hogan, the man who told us to drink our milk and say our prayers, turning heel in ‘96, thus breaking the hearts of Hulkamaniacs worldwide.

However, many fans may not realize that Hacksaw, the man who had been a hot patriotic babyface most of his career, turned his back on the USA and sided with Canada.

Duggan had become a heel and was now aligned with Team Canada. At this point in his career, Hacksaw decided to ditch the long hair and beard to morph into this new anti-American persona.

Elix Skipper, Lance Storm, and a clean-cut Hacksaw Jim Duggan as Team Canada in WCW.
Elix Skipper, Lance Storm, and a clean-cut Hacksaw Jim Duggan as Team Canada in WCW. [Photo: thewrestlinginsomniac.com]
Referencing the US elections on November 6th, 2000’s WCW broadcast, Hacksaw gave the following heel holler:

“They always say the best way to get someone’s attention is to whisper. But that ain’t Hacksaw Jim Duggan’s way. I go up to the front door. I kick it open. And I say what I’m going to say. That’s why I’m here tonight to tell you what’s wrong with America.”

Wrestling fans had never dreamt of these kinds of words leaving Duggan’s lips at this point in his career.

“Now I don’t have ten days, so I can’t talk about the lost respect for elders. I can’t talk about when a handshake meant something. I can’t talk about when an honest day’s work makes an honest day’s pay.

“But here on Election Day Eve, what I will talk about is something you proud– you proud– Americans may not know. Only 30% of you big old proud folk will pull yourself out of your big old easy chairs and drag your freight down to the polling place to cast a vote. And you call yourselves true Americans!

“Sure the choices may not be too good, but they’re the best that you’ve got. You’re the ones that they came from and you’ve got to make the choice. So let me regain my composure, like a true Canadian should, and tell you what’s wrong with America. It’s you!”

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Unfortunately for Duggan and the wrestling audience, this anti-American persona was not long for the world. It lasted all of three months to the day, to be exact. He was soon booted out of the group and returned to American soil, where he belonged.

Duggan Opens Up About the Debacle

Hacksaw Jim Duggan later claimed this whole heel turn debacle in WCW was a Vince Russo idea.

“WCW was going under,” Duggan explained in a shoot interview with JOB’D Out Wrestling. “It was obvious business-wise.”

“I was on an extended contract, and they were trying to push me out of it. First of all, they did the janitor deal at WCW. They were like, ‘You’re going to have to clean Vince Russo’s toilet with a toothbrush.’

“I was like, ‘That’s cool. That’s fine.'”

He made that work by cleaning Russo’s toilet with gusto, with water flying everywhere.

“I made it work. Put me on camera, I’ll get my stuff over. And people embraced the gimmick.

“Then they flew me out to Atlanta for another big meeting. They were like, ‘Duggan, okay, we’re going to turn you against America.

“I said, ‘Where are we going with this?’

“They replied, ‘You’re going to be part of Team Canada.

“I said, ‘There’s a lot of heat there!’ I’ve spent more time in Canada besides the US, you know?”

“They put me with Lance Storm,” Duggan continued. “And Lance, he’s a great technical wrestler, but he’s as exciting as this wall!”

A clean-shaved Hacksaw Jim Duggan with short hair on WCW television as part of the Team Canada angle, October 4th, 2000.
A clean-shaved Hacksaw Jim Duggan with short hair on WCW television as part of the Team Canada angle, October 4th, 2000.

Duggan later explained that at one point, he was asked to ‘turn it down’ for the cameras to allow Lance Storm to shine more.

“They were like, ‘Hacksaw, you want to tune your s*** down a little bit. We’re trying to push the kid [Lance Storm].

“I’m like, ‘Tune my stuff down? Tell the young boy to turn his stuff up! This is the professional league. It’s one of the most competitive businesses in the world.”

Hacksaw Jim Duggan.
Hacksaw Jim Duggan. [Photo: WWE]


Hacksaw Jim Duggan would only have one more match in WCW after his fling with Canada. In a losing effort on Thunder, he faced Mike Awesome on December 22nd, 2000.

The good news was that Duggan finished up with WCW the way he started: flying the old red, white, and blue. More importantly, he was back in Uncle Sam’s good graces!

All is forgiven, ‘tough guy’!

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Mike Gentry is a lifelong professional wrestling fan who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Acting and Directing. In recent years, Mike has taken his hand at writing. In recent years, Mike wrote, edited, and produced an online production raising money for a local amateur theatre. This work caught media attention and was featured on BBC South East Today, KMTV, Kent Online, and BBC Radio Kent. He received an Accolade of Excellence for the 2020/2021 National Operatic and Dramatic Association - South East Awards for this accomplishment. He can be reached on Instagram @mikeyguk85.