I'm coming to your town in my pink Cadillac
I'm just a Honky Tonk Man (He's just a Honky Tonk Man)
I'm just a Honky Tonk Man (He's just a Honky Tonk Man)
I'm just a Honky Tonk Man, I'm cool, I'm cocky, I'm bad"
Wayne Farris (born January 25, 1953), better known by his stage name The Honky Tonk Man, is an American pro wrestler, best known for his run in the then-WWF playing the character of a cocky Elvis Impersonator.
Having wrestled in various independent leagues since 1978, The Honky Tonk Man made his debut in the WWF in 1986. Originally planned to be a fan-favorite face, the initial negative reaction to the character caused a reinvention of the character as a smarmy heel, managed by Jimmy "Mouth of the South" Hart note . His first major feud would be against Jake "The Snake" Roberts.
In 1987, Honky Tonk Man would defeat Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat for the WWF Intercontinental title (by shadily using the bottom ropes for extra leverage on his pin). He would remain Intercontinental Champ for the next year and three months, fending off challenges from wrestlers such as "Macho Man" Randy Savage, George "The Animal" Steele, and Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake (often by forcing a loss by disqualification or count-out whereupon the belt would not switch hands).
Honky Tonk Man was originally scheduled to take on Beefcake at the 1988 SummerSlam Pay-Per-View event. However, right before the event, Beefcake was written into a feud against Outlaw Ron Bass, and was to be replaced in the match by a mystery opponent. That mystery opponent would end up being the then-red-hot Ultimate Warrior, who defeated Honky Tonk Man for the belt in a Squash Match that only lasted 31 seconds.
Throughout 1989 and 1990, Honky Tonk Man would make appearances as a mid-card wrestler and teaming up with Greg Valentine as the "Rhythm and Blues" tag team. He would also on occasion serve as a heel color-commentator, until leaving the company in January 1991. Farris would bounce around various other promotions, including a short stint in WCW, before returning to WWF as a color commentator and manager in 1997. From that point on, Farris would make sporadic appearance on WWF programmings, including at the 1998 and 2001 Royal Rumble as a Joke Character entry, as well as numerous appearances at independent promotions (including one Ultimate Champion Wrestling event where an accident at a photo-op nearly severed Farris' right index finger).
He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2019.
"He's just a Honky Trope Man":
- Arch-Enemy: Jake Roberts, Ricky Steamboat, Randy Savage, Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake.
- Berserk Button: He did NOT like people messing with his hair.
- The Cameo: He made a brief but startling cameo appearance in the opener for the 3rd season of Lucha Underground as the prison officer who returned Dario Cueto's possessions to him when he was released.
- Captain Ersatz/Elvis Impersonator
- Crowd Chant: "Here we go Honky!"
- Curb-Stomp Battle: His record-breaking championship reign was ended in 31 seconds by the Ultimate Warrior, Honky didn't even have time to finish getting out of his leisure suit.
- Defeat Means Friendship: With Lord Zoltan, after he declared his manager, Mayor Mystery, a failure for costing him a victory to Honky Tonk Man at KSWA's 2014 Fan fest/Toy drive.
- Dirty Coward: The Honky Tonk Man made a career of being a cowardly heel.
- Early Installment Weirdness: His run as a member of the Blonde Bombers in Memphis, since he had blond hair and looked nothing like he did later. He also had a thin handlebar mustache at this time, which was really bizarre looking on him.
- FaceHeel Turn: One of the more interesting turns of the 80s. Despite no less than Hulk Hogan endorsing Honky, fans just didn't buy Nice Guy Honky one bit. Eventually, this led to a promo where Honky, being interviewed by Jesse Ventura, thought he'd ask the fans for a "vote of confidence." Fans responded by mail with an overwhelming "nay," and Jesse, being Jesse, rubbed it in. Honky later responded with a bitter promo promising no more kissing babies and shaking hands, and adopted Jimmy Hart, the Mouth Of The South himself, as his new manager. And the rest is history.
- Fingore: As described above.
- Finishing Move: The Shake, Rattle, and Roll, a swinging neckbreaker (after doing a little dance).
- Lethal Joke Character: Became this after he smashed Jake over the head with a guitar, and then won the IC Title later.
- Long Runner: Held the IC title for 454 days (June 2, 1987 - August 29, 1988), which still stands to this day (December 28, 2020) as the longest IC title reign in WWE history.
- Motor Mouth:
- Both as the Honky Tonk Man as well as out of character doing shoot interviews for RF or Kayfabe Commentaries. When he does shoot interviews, he hardly stops talking to take a breath.
- In his one man stage show, which is different from a shoot interview and more like a standup comedy set, he usually goes well beyond the one hour limit that most clubs set for their acts.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: People tended to forget that Honky was still a pro wrestler due to his comical nature and tendency to be outmatched by the top Faces. He could put up a hell of a fight when he wanted to.
- Power Stable:
- Ring Oldies
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: His usual means of retaining his title, he'd get himself counted out.
- A non-kayfabe version was at his Halloween Havoc match with Johnny B. Badd where after the match ended in a draw, he walked out of the ring and never appeared in WCW again. He was scheduled to appear at the next pay-per-view, but he refused to lose to Johnny B. Badd without a contract. When he was denied a contract, he left and never came back.
- Small Name, Big Ego: The concept behind Honky's character, being an Elvis Impersonator who is not only convinced that he's a far better musician than Elvis himself was (and often pretended Elvis ripped him off), he also sees himself as a world-class fighter, while in reality he was a bullying Dirty Coward who ran from any fight he couldn't breeze through.
- Something Person
- Tag Team:
- (in Stampede): The Memphis Mafia
- The Blonde Bombers
- Raven's Raiders
- Midnight Express Inc.
- Rhythm and Blues, with Greg "The Hammer" Valentine
- Tempting Fate: The aforementioned Summerslam 1988 incident. "GIMME SOMEBODY OUT HERE TO WRESTLE; I DON'T CARE WHO IT IS!" Yeah, uh..... that was a bad idea, Honky.
- Theatrics of Pain: He'd sell anything, to outright comical degrees at times.
- Too Dumb to Live: Don't say, "I DON'T CARE WHO IT IS!" when shouting for someone to fight you for the championship title like Honky did, otherwise you'll be on the receiving end of a Curb-Stomp Battle from the Ultimate Warrior lasting 31 seconds.
- Weapon of Choice: Guitar
- Would Hit a Girl: Pushed Elizabeth down right before he smashed Randy over the head with a guitar, at a time when WWE guys NEVER hit women, and ESPECIALLY not Liz.
- Wrestling Family: He's Jerry Lawler's cousin.