The Fab 5:
June 25, 2009
I wrote the following for my “Storm Front” article for “Fighting Spirit” Magazine, back in March, and it is being reproduced with permission from Uncooked Media Ltd.
I’m going to take a look back at my career and talk about my favourite people to work with. I’m going to limit myself to only five (I only have two pages) and I’m going to list them in alphabetical order to avoid people thinking I’m ranking anyone. I’m not even saying these are the best five workers I’ve been in the ring with, just that these five guys were my favourites to work with. There were a lot of guys I had to consider and there were a lot of close calls but the following five guys make up my “Fab 5”.
Chris Candito: I had the pleasure of working with Chris Candito in both Smoky Mountain Wrestling (1994) and Extreme Championship Wrestling (1997-2000). Chris was both a joy to know and work with. When he died in 2005 the wrestling business and the world as a whole lost a great individual. I don’t think I ever worked with a guy that loved wrestling as much as Chris Candito did. It wasn’t about fame or money to Chris, it was about wrestling and having fun, and with out exception every time we wrestled we had fun. When we were both in SMW we actually lived in the same apartment complex. My wife and I had an apartment right across the parking lot from Chris and Tammy (Sytch), we trained at the gym together, sat by the pool together, and were the best of friends.
In ECW we picked up right were we left off and the program we worked were we held the ECW Tag Team Titles while feuding with each other was one of the best times in my career. Chris really helped me come into my own as a character in this program and we had the joy of both getting to tag as partners and square off as foes every night on the road. Most people would be furious at having to work back to back matches every night on the road but not Chris and I. We reveled in it and enjoyed every minute. Chris Candito was one of the best, and to this day when I think of him I miss him deeply.
Edge: As far as I’m concerned Edge was the highlight of my WWE career. In addition to working the first Invasion PPV together (Mike Awesome and I faced Edge and Christian) Edge defeated me for the Intercontinental Title at Summer Slam in 2001, and I returned the favour when Christian and I defeated Edge and Hulk Hogan for the World Tag Team Titles at Vengeance in 2002. My two best WWE programs were with Edge and whenever someone brings up all the stupid stuff WWE had me do (being boring, dancing, and having a large penis) and how I was wasted there, I just think back to my time working Edge and remember it wasn’t all bad, in fact a lot of it was pretty damn great.
If the great matches we had together weren’t enough to put Edge in my top five we were also travel partners on the road and became great friends. The term brother is thrown around a lot in this business, but in every sense of the word, except biological, Edge is very much my brother.
Fit Finlay: This one may surprise a few people because our matches together aren’t that well known, but Fit and I worked together a ton in Europe when we both worked for CWA Catch in 1993 and 1995. Fit is without a doubt the most talented wrestler I’ve ever stepped in the ring with; he is absolutely amazing. In 1993 when we worked together I was too low on the totem pole to work a program with Mr. Fit Finlay, but we had such good chemistry in the ring together I was the guy he faced (and beat) before almost every one of his big matches that year. I was likely 0-20 against the “Irish Ring Fox” (his nick name back then) but we had great matches and I learned so much.
When I returned to CWA in 1995 I was a much bigger star and in my first match back I challenged Fit for his CWA Middle Weight title, and we feuded off and on for the next 2 months. We did countless Iron man Match that year (we were the only guys who seemed to have good ones) as well as a Street Fight Cage Match, where I actually got the better of the great Fit Finlay. There is no one I look up to more as a mentor in this business than Fit Finlay
Chris Jericho: If I were going to do this list in order Chris Jericho would have to be at the top of it. I’ve known Chris my entire career. I first met him when I moved to Calgary to get into this business and we’ve been the best of friends ever since. There is no one who even comes close to being as big a part of my career as Chris Jericho was. We broke in and trained together, had our first match together, tagged together in our first tag match, got our first real break in the US together (SMW), worked in Japan together, and went on to work in WWE as both partners and opponents.
I don’t think we’ve ever had a bad match, and we’ve worked each other a ton. From the lows of tagging together in a match at a kids birthday for free hotdogs and coke (I’m not kidding read Jericho’s book), to the highs of facing each other at the first One Night Stand PPV in 2005. There is no one I owe more to for my success in this business that Chris Jericho.
Jerry Lynn: Jerry was a complete no brainer for this list. I honestly believe Jerry Lynn was the greatest opponent I ever had. When we were in the ring together everything just came together; our styles gelled, our priorities and goals in a match were identical, and the result was pure magic. We always had great matches but even more importantly than that, they were always unbelievably easy. You always hear about the constant grind of working on the road and how grueling the full time schedule can be but I honestly believe I could wrestle Jerry Lynn every day for an entire year and not only have 365 good matches but not be hurt or injured at the end of it.
Jerry and I were also travel partners for more than two years and never once had a disagreement or fight. I even jokingly referred to him as my road wife, because I spent more time with him than the woman I married.
That’s it for this month. Next month I’m going to go to the other end of the spectrum; so instead of my “Fab 5” I’m going to offer you my “Un-Fantastic 4” The four guys I least enjoyed working with in my career. Try to guess who they are before you pick up next month’s issue.