August 17, 2013
Not to toot my own horn, but I've got a rep as a very solid worker. I've always been a ring general and dictating pace and controlling traffic in the ring was always one of my strong suits. That said no one is infallible and I've screwed up on more than one occasion in that ring, and I thought it would be fun to share with you a few of those instances here today. I've got three stories to share today and I might as well deal with them in chronological order.
This first in ring blunder was back in 1993 in Hanover German on a CWA Catch Wrestling show. CWA was based on a World Cup tournament format and the main event each night was a non tournament tag team match. All tag matches in Europe were 2 out of 3 falls and weren't really treated as all that important by the boys. The show was supposed to end at an exact time so the tag match got whatever time remained in the show. On this particular night I was tagging with David Taylor (Squire Dave Taylor from WCW) and our opponents were Hiro Yamamoto (Now Hiro Tenzan of NJPW fame) and ...someone who's name escapes me. Thankfully this 4th person doesn't play into the story at all, which is likely why I can't remember him. Before I get into this match I need to point out that both Hiro and I were quite green back then but had wrestled many times in CWA by this point and as I mentioned earlier I was more often than not the ring general.
Okay in this particular match Dave was to take the first fall on Hiro, Hiro was to take the second fall on me and then in the third I would take it on Hiro to win the match. There were a few other spots we planned to do as well but that was the basic lay out. The show must have gone a little long that night because as soon as Dave scored the first pin fall on Hiro the ref comes over and tells us we need to wrap this match up. In order to shorten the match up Dave tells me to start the second fall and says, "skip all the spots, go straight to the finish." I was figuring on this anyway so when I got in with Hiro I told him, "No highspot, just go finish" and started into our planned sequence for the finish. Unfortunately my brain chopped too much out of the match and I went straight into the sequence leading into the 3rd fall, not the second, and quickly pinned Hiro to win the match in 2 straight falls. No one said anything and after getting our hands raised Dave and I headed to the back where it all of a sudden dawned on me that I hadn't just cut out our high spots but had cut out the middle fall off the match, you know the one where Hiro would pin me, and as a result Hiro got pinned in back to back falls to lose the match. It was a complete accident but I felt terrible. I waited at the locker room door to apologize to Hiro for effectively burying him in our match. When Hiro came through the door, I started to apologize profusely and he just started to laugh, saying "Finally you, finally you f-ck up, every time before me, but now you, finally you f-ck up." I was relieved that he wasn't hot at me, but now my concern turned into embarrassment at making such a bone head mistake. Thankfully Hiro and I had worked many times and put each other over countless times so he knew I didn't do it to avoid getting pinned.
This next tale is from 2000 in WCW, and before I start, NO... it was not the next mistake I would make in the ring; it's just the next one I'm going to tell you about. As most of you should know WCW was a very busy time for me and I'm going to use that busy schedule as my excuse for the blunder in this match. This was during the time when I was the US/Canadian Champion, the Hardcore/S.H.I.T Champion, and Cruiserweight/100Kg Champion. I held all three titles and on this episode of Thunder I had to defend all three titles in three separate singles matches. I wrestled Juvi (Cruiser), Norman Smiley (Hardcore) and Ernest Miller (US), and probably had a promo or 2 as well. This made for a busy and challenging night. To make it more challenging Juvi's English was dodgy as hell, I'd never worked with Norman before, and Ernest Miller was a pretty limited worker, so I had to plan out and remember all three matches and my promos. Oddly enough I remembered and executed everything we intended to do and nothing physically got messed up, the problem was a result of a very important detail falling through the cracks that afternoon.
You see my Hardcore match with Norman was a Submission only match, which I was either never told, or simply forgot about by the time I got around to planning my match with Norman; I suspect the latter. This wasn't a huge deal because I pretty much won all my WCW matches with my 1/2 Boston Crab as I did the three matches on this night. The problem was that Norman is a very good mat wrestler and I decided to break out the spot, I used to do with Jerry Lynn in ECW, where you flip flop back and forth exchange 2 counts to open the match. Norman and I ran the spot and each time one of us got the cover the ref would just stand there and look at us. We didn't want to stay visually pinned for any length of time so we counter through our spot despite there not being any counts, with me getting madder and madder at the ref for screwing up my spot. By the end of the spot I was furious and I asked the ref at the end of the match what the hell he was thinking. He of course told me that it was a submission match and pin falls didn't count, and I felt like an absolute tool, My Bad!
Last but certainly not least is this final story from my WWE days and a live event show where I tagged with Bob Holly. I think we were facing Val Venis and either Mark Jyndrak or Lance Cade. Bob and I were the heels and were having a lot of fun in the heat after we cut off Val Venis. In the heat Bob hits Val with his drop kick, which is of course really good. He then tagged me in and I decided to show off a little and try to top him with a drop kick of my own. I of course threw the higher drop kick (in Bob's defence he didn't know it was a competition when he threw his, but this is my story so I won.) Before I tagged out I hit Val with my standing vertical suplex, holding him for quite a while especially when you consider Val weighed about 270lbs back then. Bob never being one to back down from a challenge decided to top my suplex and proceeded to hook Val, look straight at me, and hoist Val up into his own standing suplex, holding Val easily as long as I did then proceeded to do a full squat...yes, while holding Val in a standing vertical suplex (Bob smoked me in round 2).
Rather than come up with a tie breaker we decided to get back to the business at hand but I do think the crowd was into our rivalry, perhaps I was getting into it a little too much as well because I'm just about to do the stupidest thing I think I've ever done in a match. You know the spot where the heel bumps the baby face off the apron in a tag match. Often times the guy doing it is so obvious that the baby face looks like a complete idiot for getting hit. Well after the suplex spot I was back in and bumped Val and realized just a second or 2 too late that it was a perfect time to do that spot. I was in a good position to do it, but I sensed that I missed the opportunity for perfect timing and thus didn't do it. I told myself to keep my eyes open for the opportunity to do it again, and it did...well sort of. I ran a spot, bumped Val, and sensed that I was once again in a the perfect position where I could legitimately surprise everyone with a shot at the guy on the apron. I seized the moment, spun around, and let loose with a huge hay maker right hand. Unfortunately my ring awareness was not what it usually was and when I spun around and tagged that guy on the apron it wasn't Mark Jyndrak or Lance Cade staring back at me it was Bob Holly. Bob didn't sell the punch for a second, he just stood there with a, "What the hell are you doing" look on his face, a look for which I had no answer. The crowd kind of popped for the spot, perhaps thinking we were doing a break up angle off of the drop kick and suplex competition but that was not the case. I just got turned around in the ring and punch my own partner for no reason what so ever; I felt like such an idiot. Thankfully we went into the hot tag and the finish shortly thereafter and I doubt by the end of the match anyone outside of Bob and I remembered it, but God I felt stupid.
Well that's it for today folks, three strikes and I'm out. Perhaps next time I'll share stories where I get things right.
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