American Gladiators returns tonight, and Don Hollywood Yates, better known as Wolf, only has one thing on his mind: keeping up his rep as a trash talker!
“I’m kind of known for it, so had to make sure I kept it up,” Wolf tells me. Expect even more digs on the challengers’ skills when they are battling the big man. “I’ve had producers and everyone begging me to amp it down,” Wolf admits. “They’ve said, ‘You’re meaner and more ferocious. I don’t like to lose, so I’m doing everything thing I can to win.”
Wolf also reveals that Gladiators will offer up something new every episode. “We have seven new events and eight new gladiators, so every show is going to be a reveal.” That includes a new 60 ft. wall, a bigger tank filled with 200,000 gallons of water and a bucket load of new challenges. “We have Rocket Ball in the first episode, which is kind of a cross between basketball, Hang Tough and Powerball,” Wolf says. It’s basically four bodies all in mid air while trying to score points and a very high rate of speed.”
The Arizona native can’t wait to get back on his signature challenge, Hang Tough. “That’s what everyone remembers me for mainly. It’s very psychological game. I can taunt my opponents and mess with their minds right before I rip them off the rings and watch their souls leave their bodies when they’ve accepted the fact that they are defeated and there is nothing they can do.”
Ouch! Even though he’s an animal in the arena, Wolf has a soft spot for four-legged creatures, “because they don’t have a voice for themselves,” says Wolf. He also volunteers with Victory Junction Gang Camp, which caters to children with special needs. And he’s always down to aid a damsel in distress. “If I see anyone treating a woman wrong on the street, I will interject.” Nice to know this 6’4 mountain of muscle has got my back!
Of course, in the ring, it’s an entirely different story. The advice Wolf gives to this year’s competitors? “Pray,” he chuckles.
American Gladiators, season premiere, airs Monday, May 12 at 8 p.m. on NBC.