Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

Heroes in the Business

April 1, 2008

I would say that the largest majority of people in the wrestling business were inspired by another wrestler creating a strong enough interest for them to eventually become involved in professional wrestling in some capacity. Those that are in the business have probably been positively influenced as well throughout the years through their experiences with different performers as well. I’ve decided to focus this excerpt into my wrestling life about those that I felt that have influenced me in either or both of those circumstances I’ve mentioned. I would consider these gentlemen to be my heroes in the business and I wouldn’t be surprised if they are a stark contrast to your wrestling heroes but please allow me to elaborate on each so that you may be able to identify.

 

I want to take a moment or more to clarify that there are a small minority of performers in the industry over the last handful of years that were lucky enough to trip up to the spotlight that had little interest or desire in the business at all. I’m sure you know these people that call or called themselves wrestlers at one point between their football and acting careers. You can replace football with bodybuilding or acting with writer or a number of other things but I’m sure you get the idea. Many of these people saw professional wrestling as a logical platform to a higher goal of something they might consider as more respectable. Jesse Ventura is definitely not someone that comes to mind because politics was an afterthought of a successful wrestling career that he retired. I don’t want you to think that women in the business are exempt either because I feel that many today are more goal oriented beyond professional wrestling than men. I couldn’t say whether that is a good thing or not but I look at it as a betrayal of the business especially for those that have paid dues and linger in obscurity while these people occupy a spot they don’t respect. Any tested independent wrestler that has sacrificed and endured knows of the people I speak and can sympathize with exactly what I’m talking about in this paragraph.

 

As I’m sure most in the wrestling industry today, they have found respect in the eyes of those they might not have ever thought prior or a level above what they had come to already have previously. I can tell you that they have been heroes of mine that have tragically disappointed me in personal experiences with them in the course of my career as well. Regardless of that fact, those that can’t recognize or appreciate these experiences will be stunted in their wrestling maturity and will be realized by others that will be able to acknowledge these encounters to grow as a performer. The common differences you can see is how a young person in the business will respect the words of those that have been tested in the industry. How is advice is taken or adhered to is a testament of how they will be gauged going forward. You and any reading this can probably name at least 20 people that have or will go nowhere because of an attitude or lack of respect. There have definitely been arguments made about me to that respect over the years and I welcome the chance to rationally debate them at any point.

 

Anyone that has read any interviews or profiles on me would know that I had many favorites prior to getting into the wrestling business. I can remember being completely overpowered with emotion watching the Road Warriors destroy opponents in the ring during their NWA stint. Before hardcore wrestling was ever popular, the feelings that would overwhelm me would make me want to destroy furniture and people in my wake similar to how I perceived anything they were challenged with. I was at many Philadelphia Civic Center events solely because the Road Warriors were performing screaming along with all of the fans that adored them. Despite all of this, I couldn’t call them influences or inspirations for me getting into the business especially because of my rather small statue. My heroes or influences were those with a subtle style that might be missed by a casual fan but I’m sure they were well respected by those in the business.

 

One of my original idols prior to getting into the business was “Lord” Steven Regal. He is now known as William Regal but those that have been around him for years still refer to him as “his Lordship” or Steve. During my brief involvement with WWE, he was highly respected by all of his peers for good reason. There’s not a person in the business that can’t know his contributions to the sport unless they were too self-absorbed to recognize them. I was privileged enough to adore him from afar as a fan as well as personally during my tenure with the World Wrestling Federation. Before any of you get the wrong idea with my connotation of the word adore, I mean it in the context to revere, idolize, respect, and admire. I would challenge you to expand your vocabulary if you were searching to find a more devious meaning in what I was trying to explain.

 

The truth of the matter is that there’s no better word to describe the emotion around the entire experience. He was truly a mentor to me prior to me even knowing him personally. While I realize that he has had his share of personal demons, there’s no discounting the fact that his ring expertise were second to none. I’ve spent the greater part of my wrestling career mimicking his work and studied him during my time in the Memphis developmental territory while he was the trainer. By this point, he had exercised his demons and was trying to make a concerted effort to dedicate himself to returning to the spotlight in a prime spot with the major wrestling company. He was able to achieve this goal and I’d like to think that I may have played a small part in it but I doubt it. Either way, it was an even greater experience in his presence learning from him that it ever could have been just watching him on a televised broadcast.

 

We might find our influences in odd places and some might think this by me saying that Raven played an intricate role in my development prior to and during my wrestling career. Many of you would think of his ECW, hardcore style, and wonder how he influenced me considering there was a big difference. In my upstart as the Reckless Youth character, I even dressed similar to him and greatly stressed over being labeled as a clone. I was quickly able to break the mold more so because his Raven character embodied a style. That right there speaks to how influential he was to the rather newer generation of wrestlers getting into the business. I was more so wrapped into his characters portrayed from the past like Scotty the Body and Scotty Flamingo.

 

This guy grew up two towns over from me in New Jersey and would be one of my most influential people in the business to this day. I spent quite a bit of time studying his movements in the ring to the point that I emulated much of his pre-Raven style. And make no mistake, Johnny Polo was a great color commentator and his Saturday morning antics with Gorilla Monsoon were classics. For obvious reasons, He will be remembered most for his Raven character but I’m not sure he will be appreciated correctly for his contributions to the sport. Because of this reason, I’m going to try to touch on it out of respect for his accomplishments.

 

The Extreme Championship Wrestling spirit was embodied in him. People that have profited off that brand should be playing royalties to him for the rest of his days. It was his controversial ideas and his character that put ECW on the map. He enjoyed a cult following and personified a movement. He truly was ECW and was responsible for ushering a new era of wrestling that affected the major companies in the industry. He was responsible for blurring the lines between characters where there was only shades of grey. This distinction carried over to both major companies at the time and their styles were influenced as well. Raven will not be properly credited for his role in the change of an industry from the grade school appeal to a more hard edged young adult appeal. While they are many positive qualities I can take from his Raven character, my biggest influence was in his earlier years during a short period in WCW as Scotty Flamingo.

 

My last influence came later in my wrestling career to the hands of someone that I never cared for much growing up. The man known as Rick Martel was never on the top of my list for anything growing up watching the sport. I didn’t care much for Strike Force and “The Model” didn’t do much for me. I couldn’t especially stand that he wore his laces outside of his boots. Prior to training, I couldn’t put my finger on why it didn’t seem ring but I learn later than laces are supposed to always be tucked in. I wouldn’t become more enamored with Rick Martel until a show I did in front of about 5 people in Boston.

 

As with the late 90’s in the business, promoters with money were popping up all over the country with good payouts and headline names galore on a show. Such was the case with this one promoter running an all day show at a venue in Boston. The promoters name escapes me at this point but he had quite a bit of talent on the show including many names that were once headliners in the WWF. The venue was nice but as with most wrestling stories of that time the ring was in horrible shape. It was most definitely a boxing ring and the ceiling was so low that you could not go to the second turnbuckle let alone the top. Some of the taller wrestlers actually had to squat as to not hit their heads on the ceiling while running the ring. Couple this with the fact that the ring ropes were not designed to bounce off of, it made for very uninteresting matches. Many of the younger guys and some of the bigger names refused to do much of anything considering the poor ring conditions and the very weak crowd. Despite any of this, Rick Martel worked as if it were Wrestlemania. He worked harder than I even considered and went way above the bump quota anyone set for the night in one match alone. I actually cringed with each bump he took thinking how horrible the ring was but remember that the old WWF rings were pretty bad too. I started to think this might feel like “normal” to him or might feel soft. Either way, within a few minutes into the match I was intently watching and the in found respect grew to the point that it has carried to this day. Shortly after that point, he began working regularly in WCW but was later injured. I followed those matches and even began to watch older tapes of his work. He was definitely an influence as to how not to forget where you came from and to always respect the business.

 

These are the major influences that I have carried over the years and will not loose site of. There have been some others that come to immediate mind like Curt Hennig, Rick Rude, and the Great Muta but these 3 gentlemen are the foremost in my mind as those that influenced me before and during my entire wrestling experience. Many will find their influences in many different places but mine have definitely played heavy roles in my overall work in my handful of interesting wrestling years.

The Death of Friendships

March 28, 2008

I really enjoy sharing some of my stories of experiences I’ve had over the years in professional wrestling. I think that many of them are quite entertaining and hope that those interested can get a good laugh. Unfortunately, every story doesn’t always have a fairy tale happy ending. This will be the case with the next two experiences I plan to share in this weblog. This story as well as the next will be of a far more personal nature and dig a little deeper into my personality. I really have nothing to hide and don’t mind sharing these pieces of me because I’m sure those that may read this can identify with these experiences whether they are in the business or not. The focus of this story is about the death of friendship.

 

Before anyone reading misunderstands the context, no one has literally died but rather the friendships I had with these individuals is now non-existent. Arguments could be made that the professional wrestling business has played a role in the demise of these friendships but this is more just the harsh reality of life. Depending on your personal desires, ambitions, strengths, or weakness, things can dramatically or gradually change in your life that can adversely affect relationships with those you call friend. I am by no means taking the moral high ground in any of these situations and will try my best to be completely objective about each of these situations.

 

I’d like to interject just a touch more clarity into the psyche of Tom Carter before we go a little further. I am and always have been introverted by nature. While some of you have witnessed the extremely extraverted antics of my Reckless Youth character, nothing could be further from the truth of my true personality. In many cases, after the short periods of public display of that character, I would spend a great deal of time to myself to offset the uncharacteristic behavior. I would find myself doing very much the same before an event as well and this behavior seemed to confuse many people in or around the business. It was very much thought that my in-ring personality was an extension of my true self or my actual personality and nothing could be further from the truth.

 

Because of the nature of an introverted person, it was common to only maintain a small close network of friends. An investment is made in these individuals that you would feel would be lasting relationships that would transcend an event or specific periods in your life. I would consider many people acquaintances and hold a select few close to my heart. This might not sound like the reinvention of the wheel to most but those with extraverted or far less introverted personalities can make friends and or associate with people generally much easier than an introverted person. Couple this with playing a character far different from your true personality my subconscious self would counter balance by reacting even more introverted in every situation but an actual performance itself. Now that I’ve completely bored you to tears explaining details of my idiosyncrasies, I’ll delve more into the thick of it.

 

My oldest friend, Accie Conner, has been more affectionately known in the wrestling business as D-Lo Brown. Some may be surprised to know that he did not grew up on the mean streets of Chicago but rather the far less controversial streets of a little town in New Jersey called Burlington. I’m not sure what he is or isn’t admitting to these days since we no longer talk but much of the persona he projected in the D-Lo character was nothing more than a guise. Much of my character was as well but those that questioned me I would openly admit to that fact. Accie and I went to high school together and were first acquainted on the school wrestling team. We both shared a love for wrestling to the point that we would stage events during wrestling practice, start impromptu matches during gym, incorporate interactive interview sessions during speech classes, and hold public displays after school on public property for anyone to watch. I can fondly remember one time where he and I began wrestling in his neighborhood on his front lawn. After a short period of time, cars passing by stopped in the streets and neighborhood kids passing by all gathered to the point where we had quite a few people cheering each of us on until the end. This actually became a regular event in his neighborhood that was appropriately dubbed lawn wars. I actually have a smile on my face thinking about it now. This continued on and off even into our somewhat turbulent college years. I can remember holding indoor events at my house while family was away and lining the living room with mattresses. We gathered a few other interested people and it would typically end with neighbors calling the police and or furniture being broken. You can do the math on the type of destruction when you have a bunch of wired kids using reclining chairs as the turnbuckle and bouncing off the walls as if they were ring ropes. Again, I have an ear to ear grin.

 

Through a set of circumstances, Accie and I ended up at Larry Sharpe’s Monster Factory. All during this time, our friendship grew outside of the business while we began to develop success inside of the business. Contrary to what you might think, Accie’s World Wrestling Federation success was not the downfall of or friendship. Actually, we remained quite close all during that time and he championed me to the point that I was eventually signed much due to his diligence. Our downfall was due to relationships formed outside of the wrestling business and lack of communication at a critical time in our friendship. The death of our friendship was on September 11, 2001. Circumstances surrounding this day eventually drove a wedge between us to the point that I did not attend his wedding a few short days after that historic event. It was a culmination of events that led to that point but we would not speak until many years later which was the ultimate demise of the friendship. It pains me to think about it to this day but I’m sure he felt and still possibly feels just as betrayed as I did. We spoke on probably two occasions for a short period of time in the recent past but it has been abandoned by both of us considering how drastically our lives have changed in all this time when we did not talk.

 

If any of you have read many of my stories or been around me at events, you would know that I was very close with a wrestler by the name of Don Montoya. I struggled to refer to him as his character name over the years because he and I began so close outside of the business. It was common for me to refer to him as his real name Tom Alvarez. Most of the time people in the business would think it a joke when we both introduced ourselves as Tom. He and I became friends during the time that I was training at Larry Sharpe’s Monster Factory. I had been there on and off over the years and his class was at a point where there was no trainer. I had no respect for him or his friends that all seemed to join at the same time. This was a point where independent wrestling focus seemed to begin to shift from workers to ticket sellers. He and his friends had little or no training and would get prime spots on Monster Factory shows because of the amount of tickets they sold. I had a lot of resentment towards them because I had more of old school thinking with paying dues and earning spots. Because of money and booking arguments I had with Larry Sharpe, I was not allowed to wrestle at shows and often would be relegated to trivial duties at shows if I was at them at all.

 

Tommy began to distance himself from this pack of misfits and take the business more seriously after a few months. He would ask me quite a few questions about how I did certain moves outside of the normal course of what little training there was and I would refuse to answer him. He would ask me how I did the Texas Cloverleaf and I would tell him to learn how to do a hip toss or an abdominal stretch first. It wasn’t till he later would come back showing me that he self taught himself much as I did that he began to earn my respect. He and I seemed to share the more old school aspect of the business as far as getting your name out at your own expense. Over the next few years, he and I would regularly travel all over the eastern half of the United States for chances to wrestle for little or no money. It was not uncommon for us to get a $15 dollar payday in Ohio after a 12 hour car ride at our expense and we sucked it up. We bounded on these long trips working in Detroit on one night and Boston on the other. All this time we were financing our trips from money we made at our regular weekly clerical jobs.

 

As time went on, our friendship transcended into our personal lives sharing holiday or special family events with each others families. I had joked that over the years he had become more of a family friend than my friend alone as the years went on. This all changed drastically with an odd set of circumstances where he completely cut off communication with me and members of my family that deeply hurt everyone involved. The death of this friendship was one Christmas morning in the not too distant past.  It was not until some time later that individuals in my family tried to pull him back into the fold. For obvious reasons, it was no longer a comfortable or trusting relationship for anyone involved. Because of these reasons, it fell apart again recently and the wounds of the past were reopened. I think it’s safe to say that there will no longer be attempted reunions. I would say that this relationship fell apart due to immaturity and a self-defeating personality on his part but I’m sure I had some part in what may have precipitated his reactions. Despite all of this, I laugh to myself and write quite a bit about all the jokes we played on each other and others around us during our wrestling experiences. It still makes me smile to this day regardless of everything that has become of our friendship.

 

I have one other friendship with a guy named Dave Keller that gradually ended more so because of changes in my life than anything he did. Accie, Dave, and I were intertwined in our early years backyard wrestling that eventually migrated to professional wrestling. Many of you would have never heard of Dave’s name because he stopped wrestling within the first year of his wrestling career. He was older than Accie and I with a family that he needed to provide for. Accie and I had the ability to sacrifice time and money to make our way in the business and Dave didn’t have that same luxury. As he pulled away from the business, our common bond with the wrestling business was shattered eventually leading to the death of that friendship. Dave was a key friendship in my life at a point that I was slow low that I considered killing myself. You read that right and this was a period probably 3 years before I even began training. I can remember Dave trying to recruit me for a weekend of backyard wrestling one time and I was very depressed in general over a long time girlfriend leaving me. He told me that no matter how down on myself I felt that I should always take comfort in knowing that I had a really good dropkick. Again, you read that right. He went onto explain with passion how difficult it is to have such a good dropkick and to never forget that whenever I allow myself to feel lower than what I truly am. As silly as those words may sound, it kept me alive and I still utter them to this day whenever I feel down on myself for any reason. It makes me chuckle to myself and realize that I can get through however difficult anything may be. I truly miss that he and I can no longer connect due to the fact that time pulled us apart.   

 

I write all of this just as incite into my experiences that I’m sure many of you can identify with. At this point, those close friendships are gone and much of my focus has been on my family and career outside of wrestling. I have been fortunate to have met wonderful people in the business over the years but the three mentioned above were intertwined more in my personal life that transcended the business which hit a lot closer to my heart when they failed. May be you can get nothing from this story but entertainment and maybe that’s all there is from it.

You’ve got nice boots

December 13, 2007

My wrestling training days began about 2 years before I ever actually was officially trained. My backyard friends and I stumbled across Larry Sharpe’s Monster Factory in Clemmonton, New Jersey. Desperate to wrestling in a “real” ring rather than on the hard ground, our group would rent Larry Sharpe’s ring on a monthly basis to perform our shows. More often than not, many of the official trainees and trainers would stick around to poke fun at us or take pot shots at each other because one in our untrained group might be better than someone currently training.

 

The Monster Factory’s head trainer at the time was a guy by the name of Glen Ruth that enjoyed some local independent fame wrestling as the Spider. Glen eventually went on to form a tag team with another guy that would later lead the WWF “New Attitude” generation as the Headbangers. I don’t know if Glen ever went to college but his hazing techniques were reminiscent of any fraternity stereotype you could possibly think of. I would say that most time he was brutally honest to a flaw but was a genuinely good teacher of his craft. I learned quite a bit from him as far as in-ring presence as well as out-of-ring antics. Through the barrage of daily verbal assaults, none stood out more on my mind than the times he would talk about how nice someone’s boots were.

 

I have no idea if he coined the phrase but he surely used it and I most certainly ran with it at any chance I had. In case you couldn’t tell, saying that to another wrestler was typically an insult. A wrestler that you think was performing poorly might ask you to comment on his match or a particular move and the polite response was to say that he had nice boots. Over the years, I found myself using that as a polite response as well as a straight out rude comment to another wrestler for various reasons. As with most things in wrestling, this phrase was picked up by others and then carried around throughout the business. There are very few expressions in wrestling that bring such fond memories to me than the comment about how nice someone’s boots might be. I have a lot of things to thank Glen Ruth for in my upstart and laughter through all of the insanity is definitely one of them even if it was at my expense.

Connecticut rings hurt

November 13, 2007

During my early upstart days, the power of the internet worked in my favor more times than not. I got started working shows just after the famed Malenko/Guerrero series in ECW. I was a huge fan of the more technical wrestlers for some time while training and the Malenko style really appealed to me. In the upstart and throughout my career I tried to blend a style between Malenko, Ultimo Dragon, and Steve Regal. Somehow or another, partly because of my ring name, people seemed to imagine that I was more of a dare devil Sabu style wrestler or insane acrobatic stylist like Rey Mysterio Jr.. The first insult I received during my career was at the hands of a fan from a wrestling show I did in New Britain, Connecticut.

 

This was my first venture into Connecticut and it was working for two Pennsylvania based promoters by the name of Ed Zohn and Doug Flex. The venue was at an indoor astro-turf arena probably used for soccer. Considering the beautiful open areas around the town, I didn’t understand the need for an indoor arena. Maybe it was for a non-seasonal league of some sort but who really cares. I had already logged quite a few wrestling miles by this point and the venue really didn’t matter much to me. My only concerns revolved more so around the condition of the ring I was expected to perform in.

 

I think a lot of guys take for granted the rings they work in nowadays. I know I sound like an old man but that is because I am. When you are talking about the mid ‘90s you can safely say that most rings were not up to par with the coming changes of ring styles or the overall decrease in average wrestler size. I was at the time about 180lbs. soaking wet and a typical bump in the ring for me did not feel nearly the same as the average wrestler at the time being about 65lbs. more than me. Couple this with the fact that these heavier wrestlers were not only bumping considerably less but not doing any of the aerial techniques that had become commonplace for the lighter weight wrestlers like myself. It was safe to say that both Ed Zohn and Doug Flex did not do such a good job in the ring rental department that cold rainy day.

 

I typically would walk a ring prior to the opening of the venue to the public. It’s funny how this practice has become so commonplace these days especially when many guys are working in the same ring every week. In the mid ‘90s, no one walked the ring but me. It was usually thought of as an odd request I made to a promoter. Most of the time the ring crew might not even have the ring assembled until just before they opened the doors to the fans. I actually began the practice because I have poor vision and did not wrestle with contacts. I needed to be able to measure steps and gage the limitations of the ring in general. When you were wrestling in California one day, Texas the next, and Delaware on the last, you were sure to encounter quite different rings across each area of the country. The focal point these days is on the wrestler you are working because many of the limitations of the ring have been eliminated. We have Smokey Mountain Wrestling (SMW) to thank for the mainstream overhaul in wrestling rings from the late ‘90s to current. That’s another story. No one got the memo on what a wrestling ring was supposed to be at this particular venue in Connecticut.

 

I went out to do my normal ring walk to gage what kind of limitations I’d be working with as far as the ring was concerned. The location of the locker room was such that you actually walked through the waiting fans to get to where the actual event was taking place. I was recognized by a fan that claimed to have driven a few hours from a remote place just to see me perform. He said that he had heard a lot of positive things about me and was looking forward to seeing me in action. I thanked him and said that I hoped I wouldn’t disappoint. Upon entering the area where the ring was located, I immediately knew I had my work cut out for me if I was going to please anyone.

 

I don’t really expect it but often time fans don’t take into consideration what limitations a performer might be working with. I guess it’s understandable because they parted with their hard earned money and expect satisfaction in return. Regardless, you can’t drive a car without gas. If you have no money to gas in the tank, it’s not the cars fault. Well the limitation as plain as the eye could see this night was the boxing ring that was being used for a professional wrestling event.

 

In the eyes of any wrestler, whether they a once-a-month or every night worker, would cringe at the site of a boxing ring at a wrestling event. There have been many jokes made in such situations that bumping on the floor would have more give. Couple this with the fact that the top rope was sagging somewhat below the second ring rope you could plainly see the ring was not designed much for aerial wrestling. I mean we are clear that the ring was not meant for wrestling at all but even more so that climbing to the top rope would require significant circus skills that I missed on “circus wire act day” of professional wrestling school. Needless to say, the style of every match that night was going to starkly contrast their typical ring style including mine. My saving grace was that I was going to compensate by blending comedic aspects into my match. Unfortunately for me, this fan that had traveled to see me was not particularly happy with my performance and was more than willing to let me know after the event.

 

The fan told me how disappointed he was and how poor of a wrestler he thought I was. He complained about driving the distance he did and then went on to say how I was not nearly as good as a handful of his favorites. His favorites included Rey Mysterio Jr. and some top names at the time in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). Despite his attack directed at me and him associating me with a class of wrestlers far greater than I, I said very little other than apologized for disappointing him. He began to get more ignorant until at which point that Don Montoya stepped in and began to tear into the fan for knowing nothing about some of the limitations discussed in this writing. Shortly after that, Ed Zohn came over and tried to calm down Don not knowing the situation that had taken place. Ed said something about never allowing the fan in the events at that venue again but I spoke against it.

 

Ultimately, Ed Zohn and Doug Flex ran a few more events at that location with that same fan in attendance each time. This fan was entitled to his opinion regardless of the scar that it left on me after his attack. This is part of the entertainment business anyway so I had to endure it as part of the trade. The promotion did come through with attempts at getting a better ring in the remaining events which was welcomed by all of the wrestlers. I take solace in the fact that I eventually won over the discontent fan by showing him exactly what my character, Reckless Youth, was live as opposed to the often skewed interpretations of print. I was able to do this despite the shortcomings of my first appearance in Connecticut in the stiffest ring in the state.

 

Next Time around: You’ve got nice boots.

All the prostitutes in Uniontown

November 9, 2007

Norm Conners was a notorious manager and promoter in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania independent wrestling scene for more years than most can remember. I’m sure Norm could bore us all with exact numbers but this is more about a booking that came from the famed Steel City Wrestling (SCW) days when the promotion was one of the few independents that had a legitimate weekly TV program for more than a minute.

 

At the time, Mike Quackenbush and Christian York were Steel City Wrestling’s main babyface wrestling. I believe my character, Reckless Youth, served as more of a tweener and Don Montoya was a full blown out heel. It was normal for Quackenbush, Montoya, and myself to travel together to many shows at the time and would regularly hook up with York during our travels. Norm Conners’ TV taping shows ran in a little town of just outside of Pittsburgh called Irwin. During this time, it was not uncommon for our group to get bookings on other nearby independents because of the strength of the SCW TV product. One such town that will always stand out in my memory is that of Uniontown, Pennsylvania.

 

Uniontown was home to an independent promotion that I have no idea of the name at this point after several drops on my head throughout my storied career. The promoter had originally booked Quackenbush, York, and I in a triple threat match. Montoya was scheduled to wrestle some local guy. I was infamous for showing up to shows and rebooking my match and or others to a more agreeable form to me. In my opinion, most promoters had little sense of booking a show. They may have had a handful of cash to have a show but that is about where their brains stopped. Contrary to popular opinion, my changes were not about selfish wants but more about a concern to entertain the people that paid a ticket to the show. These changes eventually led to the triple threat match being reorganized to a tag match pitting Montoya and I against Quackenbush and York. This match would later become known as the greatest tag team match ever wrestled at least in the minds of Quackenbush, Montoya, and I.  We weren’t sure where it stood in York’s mind more so because he seemed to be a in a drug related daze before, during, and after. If the event was captured on video, I’m sure it would not be as perfect as it was in our minds. As usual though, nothing went without a hitch.

 

It was no different than any other wrestling venue that we normally worked but there was not a worker on the show other than ourselves that we knew. This was very uncommon since I could easily run into someone I knew in a locker room across this country because of the lengthy travel time I put in. The promoter was not too receptive to me changing the main event more so because he did not know or care much for Don Montoya. Don hadn’t really been on the uphill swing yet on the SCW TV so the promoter didn’t really know who he was and looked at him as nothing more than a huge fat guy. Montoya was tipping the scales over 350lbs. and most people didn’t think much of him unless they worked him. The local guy he was supposed to work thought him too fat to do anything with so he really didn’t want to wrestle him at all. Montoya always had an uphill battle anywhere he wrestled because people initially judged him only on his size. Those that knew his work knew he had one of the best cardio conditioning compared to anyone in wrestling and moved like a lightweight in the ring. He was able to easily adapt to various different styles and could judge his opponent or crowd to gage a match. Unfortunately, this particular night his ego was terribly bruised after the repeated assault by the promoter and the wannabe wrestlers in that locker room.

 

You would think things couldn’t get much worse but like typical indy wrestling they did when the ring broke a handful of matches prior to the main event. Now the promoter was walking directly up to Montoya and specifically telling him not to bump because he would make it even worse with his size. Don was easily the biggest guy on the show and bore the brunt of the promoters ring breakage issues.

 

Montoya was really upset and pacing back and forth in the locker room. He was going on about just sitting in the car until everyone was done and that he just didn’t feel good about competing. I can remember within the minute prior to us going out of the gorilla, I looked at Montoya and told him to channel all his pain and aggression from tonight into a killer promo that none of these goofballs would soon forget. I could see his mood change and it was almost as if I unleashed the beast. I more of less believed that we would never be wrestling in that venue ever again and took it as “gloves off” when I hit the ring. My promos were never a work. They were always a shoot especially when I was cutting someone down terribly prior to working them. As we were the heels out first, typically you run down the town a little and talk down your babyface opponent. I took the opportunity to run down each and every wannabe wrestler in the locker room and rip to the promoter on how low budget the promotion was. When Montoya took the microphone, the beast was unleashed. He cut a promo the likes of which I have never seen to this day from anyone. He systematically ripped apart the promotion, wrestlers, and town completely in a 10 minute promo that had me laughing and clapping at the end. Always leaving on a high note, Montoya pointed to the promoter’s wife, mother, and sister, thanking the hooker population of Uniontown for taking the night off to come see wrestling. They were on the balcony and I was sure each of them was considering jumping over the edge as they railed him profusely after Montoya’s tirade.

 

The match itself had a beautiful opening exchange, a classic turnaround that drew major reaction from the crowd, a nice swerve with a rarely seen double heat, and an escalating finish that ended with a thunderous reaction from the crowd when the babyface team went over. The match had all the elements of a classic and the night embodied the spirit of independent wrestling. Despite that, I fondly remember more so to this day to how the hookers of Uniontown took to the balcony’s edge as they were called out by one of the original microphone riot inciters.

 
Next Time around: Connecticut rings hurt.