April 23, 2009
I wrote the following for my “Storm Front” article for “Fighting Spirit” Magazine, back in February, and it is being reproduced with permission from Uncooked Media Ltd.
While updating the photo galleries on my website recently, I’ve been going back through photographs from my career. In addition to all the great memories this has brought back it has also stirred up some not so great ones. It is those somewhat less than fond memories that have inspired me this month, so I’m going to put the concept of wrestling “Mulligans” on the Storm Front. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, Mulligan is a golf term, which basically means “do over”. For example: If you were playing golf, and were allowing Mulligans, and you knocked your tee shot into the water or into the bush, you could simply call Mulligan, tee up another ball, and start over without taking a penalty stroke. This can be a very handy device, and while it doesn’t erase the error, it does allow you to just pretend it didn’t happen and get the shot right the second time. There is or course no such thing as Mulligans in pro-wrestling, but if there was there are a few moments in my career I’d like to have back to do again. I didn’t’ make too many mistakes during my career so thankfully there aren’t many moments I’d like to change but I thought it would be fun to look back at a few of my less than stellar moments, and fix them with a Mulligan.
For my first Mulligan, I would like to have a second go at the second match of my career. Looking back I realize this match was such an insignificant part of my career that it’s horrendousness didn’t really matter, but at the time I was absolutely furious after this match and would have killed to be able to erase it from existence and pretend it never happened. This match was by far the worst match of my career. It was in October of 1990 and held in an agricultural Quonset in Strathmore, Alberta. This was the debut of Sudden Impact the pre-Thrillseekers combo of Lance Storm and Chris Jericho. In this debacle of a match we faced Ed Langley (the old guy who helped train us) and Steve Gillespie (a perennial jobber for Stampede Wrestling). Jericho and I were only in our second match so we put our faith and the fate of this match in the hands of our more experienced opponents. This turned out to be a really really bad idea. The problem was that our opponents were not nearly as up to the task as we would have hoped. Despite working for Stampede Wrestling for a couple years Steve was in no way shape or form a ring general, and despite numerous stories to the contrary Ed Langley had no experience what so ever and had absolutely no idea what he was doing in the ring.
The idea of this match was to get over the young new tag team of Sudden Impact so we could go on to feud with the companies top heel tag team the Predators (they also sucked by the way). To accomplish this (or rather in a failed attempt to accomplish this) Ed and Steve proceeded to completely eat us up in the match and give us practically no offense what so ever. When Jericho finally made the hot tag, he was cut off almost immediately with a low blow and then for the finish the heels did a misdirection spot where they crashed into each other allowing the still testicularly damaged Chris Jericho to score the win with a fluke roll up. We looked like such completely losers in this match that you’d have thought we were being booked by TNA to join the Front Line. After the match we were so mad at home bad the match had gone that we swore we would never get eaten up so badly in a match ever again.
Another moment I’d like to have back is from my Smokey Mountain days, and occurred during the Fire on the Mountain match I had with the Heavenly Bodies in Johnson City, TN in August of 1994. It was the night after the famous Night of Legends show in Knoxville where Jericho broke his arm in the afternoon and still worked the match against the Heavenly Bodies that night. Chris bled buckets in that match and to this day it is the second biggest blood bath (behind the Eddie Guerrero – JBL match) that I’ve ever seen.
I’m sure Jericho would love to have that afternoon to do over so he could avoid breaking his arm, but it’s the following night at Fire on the Mountain that I’d like a second chance at. Jericho has surgery on his broken arm that morning and Doctors said it was only going to be an in and out day surgery so I stayed in Knoxville, so I could take him from the hospital straight to the show. He wasn’t going to wrestle on the show just stand in my corner as a show of support and be involved in the finish. There was a long delay at the hospital and in the end he had to remain over night so I had to race to the event in Johnson City without him. I made the show with very little time to prepare for my match which made it one of the most hectic day of my career, and that doesn’t even cover still having to wrestle the Heavenly Bodies in a Handicap match that night.
The match that night was going unbelievably well. The Bodies were amazing and the crowd was incredibly hot. Watching the match back now the mistake that I made in the match really didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things but I’m a perfectionist and it still bother me to this day. The idea behind the match was that I would have to go it alone without my partner (remember he’s in the hospital). I held my own for a long time against SMW’s premier tag team, but eventually they cut me off and started beating the holly hell out of me. After the hellacious beat down Jimmy Delray was to hit me with a splash off the top rope, which I would kick out of. This was going to be the “Oh My God this kid won’t stay down” moment, which would fire up the crowd and bring SMW main stay Tracy Smothers out from the back to become my impromptu partner. Now there would be a light at the end of the tunnel, if only I could make the tag. Shortly there after Delray would miss his moonsault finisher and I would make the hot tag to Tracy. Unfortunately that wasn’t exactly what happened because I had a brain fart and moved on the Splash by mistake. I can still feel the rage I had in me when I realized I screwed up. Thankfully the others covered well enough and the crowd still popped on the missed moonsault and the hot tag, but that kick out would have been a magical moment and I screwed it up, and not just for me for everyone else in the match. Moving on the splash probably only took the match down from a 10 to a 9 but everything else was pure magic that night, and moving on the wrong move was such a stupid mistake.
ECW was a hot bed for in-ring mishaps and the crowd loved chanting, “You F—‘d up” when they occurred. I avoided that chant better than most and the one movement in ECW I’d like to have back didn’t even get the chant. The match I’m referring to was a Dream Partners tag match that took place while Chris Candito and I were ECW Tag Team Champions and also feuding. As a team we were feuding with RVD and Sabu but because the Triple Threat had turned on me, Chris and I were also at odds. For this match we each picked a new partner and faced each other in a tag match. I picked RVD and Candito picked Sabu. At the finish I was to run wild with a chair hitting Candito, Sabu, and then swing at Rob but pull up short, realizing that despite our on going feud we were partners that night. As soon as I pulled the chair shot on Rob, he was to double crossed me and hit me with the Van Daminator. If you saw the match you will likely remember that is exactly what happened. The problem was that I got busted open and required 8 or 9 stitched by my right eye afterwards and it was completely my fault.
When you get hit with a chair there is a certain side you want to get hit with. The guy taking the chair wants to get hit with the side of the seat that you sit on. In ECW we called it the soft side but more accurately it’s the flat side. I knew what side of the chair to use the problem was I was hitting Chris and Sabu first then getting hit myself. In order for all of us to get hit with the proper side I would have to flip it over after hitting Chris and Sabu. Not wanting to tip my hand to the crowd (if I flipped the chair over the smart fans would know I would ending up eating the chair) I decided to keep the chair the way it was in hopes of fooling the crowd.
In hindsight this was not a good idea. Not only did I get hit with the hard side of the chair but when Rob kicked the seat it unfolded the chair and I took the lip of the seat in the face. The few people who might have been more surprised when I got hit with the chair, was in no way worth the stitches, and if I had it to do over, I’d have flipped the chair, or better yet not flipped the chair and just started out hitting Candito and Sabu with the wrong side.
I would also like to have my US Title tournament match with Buff Bagwell to do over again. It’s not so much the match I’d like to do again, as it is the finish. Buff and I faced off in the opening match of the tournament and if you recall I wrestled 3 matches that night to win the title. I was winning all three matches with my ½ Boston crab. During the day Buff was complaining about having to put me over and was trying to get the finish changed. As a concession it was decided that when I put Buff in the hold they would show footage on the big screen of Kanyon hitting Buff’s Mom (she was a semi-regular in WCW) with the diamond cutter in the parking lot. The rational was that Buff could save face by tapping more to escape in order to run to his mom’s aid than because I was beating him with my hold. To make matters worse Buff did the swimming like crawl to the ropes, which the ref counted as the tap out, which ended up looking like crap. I remember not wanting to rock the boat because Buff had a fair bit of pull and I had just started with WCW but looking back now I’d give anything to have a Mulligan of that moment, because if I did I’d have pulled him to the middle of the ring and sat down on that hold so tight he would have been tapping out for real. What a Prima Donna bullshit way to do business.
I certainly had more than just those 4 screw-ups over my career, but the others I’ve managed to get over or just forget all together. I guess that’s the bright side of getting old. You get to forget some of the mistakes you’ve made.