Suge D was on the latest episode of Talk Is Jericho. During the episode, they talked about their match on Dynamite as well as Suge D's time in the British indie scene. He also revealed the origins of "Pineapple Pete" and how it came about by circumstance.
"So I get there, and this is what I've been saving for. So all the podcasts that have been asking me about the origins and all this other stuff like that, I said I was going to wait till it was on something that everybody can hear about," Suge D noted. "So here we are, the origin of Pineapple Pete. Pineapple Pete was a fashion choice by chance that you happen to pick up on. When I showed up, I had worn a button-up the first time in Jacksonville. It was a floral button up. I can't do denim because Orange Cassidy. There is also this cool flowery rope thing I wear, but Hikaru Shida could beat the s--t out of that rope. So it's like whatever. We're not doing that, so we'll do the button-ups.
"So I show up and I'm like, hey, you know flashy elements will stand out a little bit. So I'll bring this lemon shirt, but let me bring this pineapple shirt that I've got too, and these are old shirts like this shirt's four or five years old. I've worn them to parties and done all sorts of weird stuff and whatnot. So I show up and the only reason I chose the pineapple shirt, it was gonna be lemon shirt, but the only reason I chose the pineapple shirt was because it matched my gear that day. So I was like, OK, let's just run it. We'll put it on. It'll be something fun. We'll put it on."
Suge D then talked about the reaction backstage over Jericho's commentary. He shared the small exchange they had backstage as well.
"So get out in the crowd right? Show's moving," Suge said. "We're having a good time acting a fool and during breaks, people keep rolling up to me, and they're like, 'Pineapple Pete and Pineapple Pete this and Pineapple Pete that.' So I'm doing the huh, yeah, like cool. Alright, yeah, that's funny, but I'm not understanding what's going on. I'm missing something, so somebody finally rolls up to me and it's like they have commentary on the monitor in the back. So it's like we can hear it even though you can't because you're out there, but it's like, 'yo, Jericho is like on you.' The first time I heard it, my heart stopped because I was like, 'oh my God, like on me like he's burying me,' because unfortunately on the indies, you get people who try to be stand-up comedians and not actually put over the match.
"Sometimes it just completely deflates so I'm like, OK, well, I guess I'm done, grand opening, grand closing, but it's like, 'no no no, you just you just have to hear it. You have to see it.' So when we go to lunch, that's when you come busting out and your like, 'Pineapple Pete. What's your name kid?' And I'm like Suge. He's like, 'hey man, listen.' It really messed with me that day because I wasn't expecting to like run into you the way we ran into each other, but it was like, 'look, I hope your wrestling can back up all this stuff that I'm talking about you right now because I'd hate to be wasting all this good material on somebody that can't work.' So OK, no pressure."
Jericho then revealed where the term "Pineapple Pete" came from sharing a story of where WCW talent would hang out after TV tapings. He admitted that he just threw the line in there to entertain himself as he was commentating over 26 matches for a taping.
"Well, let me just speak into it, so like you just said, we had 26 matches that we taped, and you were in the crowd with a bunch of the people as the fans that we've been utilizing," Jericho said. "And so you're in there and you getting involved, and I see this guy jumping up and down with a pineapple shirt so flashback to WCW, we used to film worldwide tapings in Orlando. We would go there for two weeks, and we'd film three shows a day and you'd have all the Gypsies, tramps and thieves of the business there. And we used to stay at this, like there was suites with the all outdoor doors like it wasn't encapsulated, it was like more of a motel, but in this motel, there is the bar that we all hung out at which was called Pineapple Pete's."
"So Pineapple Pete's was kind of the epicenter for all of our debauchery and good times for years because we always stay at the same place. So as soon as I saw the pineapple, I'm like Pineapple Pete, and I just love saying Pineapple Pete because it conjures up good ideas. So whenever I saw you, I would just say, 'Pineapple Pete, I hate that guy,' and the only reason why I was saying is because I was used to love Pineapple Pete's, so it was just fun for me to say it to keep myself entertained in the middle of commentating 26 matches. That's all it was. So that's where it came from and that's where I started doing it."
Suge D has discussed his AEW opportunities and the emotions around that, and he talked about the reactions people on Twitter had about Pineapple Pete. He said that he thought things would just pass over and just be a fun little thing.
"But I wasn't expecting it to take off the way the way that it took off," Suge D admitted. "Of course, I take it as a compliment because you let me know that day like super nice, super gracious, and I was like, 'OK, cool. This is fun.' So I remember just taking a picture when the tapings were over, and I just posted it as kind of like an omen. I was like, 'by the time Dynamite airs, y'all will understand this photo, and it was me putting the putting the shirt over.
"So then the first episode airs of that commentary, and then my Twitter is like going crazy. I was like what the hell's going on? I'm not used to this. It's like did I say something? Did I mess up? Am I getting cancelled? I don't know what's going on, and I'm going through and it's just #PineapplePete, #PineapplePete, GIFs and videos were starting to pop up. And I'm like Jesus Christ. It's like I know I'm trying to get seen, but it's like I was not expecting it like this, and I got people calling me and people on this like dude, you're all over camera. Jericho's saying this and he's saying that about you and what not. I just couldn't put two and two together of everything that was going on, and it was so silly. I thought it was going to be like a passing thing. You just said it, and it would just it would just go away, or they'll be like, OK, but people really latched onto it."
Suge D talked about the conversation he had with some of his close friends telling him to capitalize on the opportunity that he has. He shared where Sugar Dunkerton came from and how a lot of things in his career come by accident.
"They really liked it, and I sat down with my best friend and I talked to my circle Timmy Lou Retton and Darius Lockhart, they're two supremely supremely, talented independent wrestlers," Suge D said. "I miss them, can't wait to see them again when this is all over, but we just got to talking as we do in the group chat, and it was just like, 'dude, this Pineapple Pete thing on some different stuff right now. It's tripping me out, and this thing is trending. It's really bad. This is trending now. So they started thinking, dude, have you thought about leaning into it and not trying to fight it?' And I remember when I started my career, I did a Harlem Globetrotter gimmick. That's where the Sugar Dunkerton thing comes from, from the movie 'Semi-Pro.' So at that time, I was growing out my hair and some of the best things in my career happen by accident because like I just couldn't afford to get haircuts so afro. He [trainer] rose up on me, and he's like, 'man, you just need tighten up that mic cap on your head man, get you some old ABA shorts.
"Man, you could be out here acting like a Harlem Globetrotter or whatever,' and I'm like, 'dude, you're going to completely tank my career. That's terrible. How is that even going to get over?' Then I thought about it, and I was like, 'I don't have much of a career anyway, so screw it. Let's try it,' and that got me through, so I just started thinking about this today. It was like, 'look, you have no prospects. If they don't want to bring you back because literally that's where I'm at right now, I'm going show to show, so it's like if they don't have a reason to bring you back or if it's not over or if they don't see that there's some potential possibly there, you're back at the house and there is no option.
"There is no indie to run to. There is no, OK, well, I'll just go do this company or do that company like the reality as an independent wrestler is if you're not on TV right now, you ain't working, and we don't know when we're going to be working on an independent level. So that's a new kind of pressure. So I got to go for mine. You know what? Screw it. Let's lean into it, and so far so good. It's even got so crazy that Pro Wrestling Tees, Ryan Barkin, he hit me up the next day, and he was like, 'Listen, I got somebody in-house that could do a design. I just need your OK. We'll do the usual split like we usually do. Do I have your permission?' Cool. Three hours later, Pineapple Pete shirt on sale, and it's Jesus Christ and it's selling."
Jericho noted that it's important, while on commentary, to help give people identities. He talked about how people became attached to Pineapple Pete and how it's important to get yourself over and recognized no matter how you do it.
"So if you have that many matches against people that the fans don't really know, we have to give them identities right away," Jericho noted. "So that's what I was kind of doing. So the Pineapple Pete thing was great because then it's like, OK, so now at least you have something people are attached themselves to, and that's why, when we finally had our match, I made very sure to say it's Jericho vs. Sugar Dunkerton aka Pineapple Pete.
"Also, that's why we did the promo where you're like, if you want to call me Pineapple Pete and then you took it to the next level. That's been sweet like whatever it takes in wrestling to get over and get people to recognize you, that's all that matters. It worked because people wanted to see that match."
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Talk Is Jericho with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcript.