August 27, 2008
I wrote the following for my “Storm Front” article for “Fighting Spirit” Magazine, back in April, and it is being reproduced with permission from Uncooked Media Ltd.
It’s WrestleMania time again, and as you read this WrestleMania XXIV should be in the books and no doubt everyone will be writing about it. To keep with a WrestleMania theme and avoid ending up another in a long line of articles written about WrestleMania XXIV, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at my personal WrestleMania experiences.
WrestleMania X-Seven in Houston was my first WrestleMania, and the start of what I jokingly call my WrestleMania curse. This was the year Shane McMahon “purchased” WCW, and Shane and Vince fought at Mania with several of us WCW guys watching on in support from a skybox. I supposed if you wanted to stretch things you could say I was a part of WrestleMania X-Seven but for me, sitting in the stands doesn’t a WrestleMania moment make. The part of the story you may not have heard is that at one point (or so I was told) we (the WCW crew) were going to be doing a run in on the Vince and Shane match but it got scratched at the last minute. The reason for the change of plans I was told, was that our appearance at Mania was supposed to be a big surprise, and the day before WrestleMania Shawn Stasiak did a radio or internet interview and mentioned that we would be part of WrestleMania, stooging off the whole angle. With the cat out of the bag Vince blew a gasket and cancelled the whole thing. If our flights hadn’t already been booked we likely wouldn’t have even got the cameo from the skybox. That’s one WrestleMania moment down the tubes several more to come.
The following year was WrestleMania X8 from the Sky Dome in Toronto. I wanted on this show so badly. This was my first chance to work a WrestleMania; it was back home where I grew up, and a chance to work in front of an unbelievable crowd. I didn’t much expect or think I really deserved a spot on the card. The talent roster was jammed packed so it would have taken a ton of politicking to get on the show, but it didn’t keep me from hoping. A few weeks out I was told about the 6-man match I was to be involved in with Test, Mr. Perfect, and myself, squaring off against Rikishi, Scotty 2 Hotty, and Albert. We were told right from the start that it would likely be the live Heat match, which goes on right before the PPV, but if when the show got laid out there was extra time we might get to be the opener. I never figured we’d make the show so when we didn’t I was just still thrilled to death to work the dome and what to this day is the largest crowd I’ve ever worked (68,237). In a strange twist of fate the WrestleMania X8 photo of the packed Sky Dome that WWE took from the rafters of the arena that night was actually taken during our heat match and although I am microscopically small I’m in the ring in the photo.
The following year in Seattle for WrestleMania 19 was when the Mania curse took full effect. I spent the whole “Road to WrestleMania” with my fingers crossed that I would make the show. William Regal and I were the World Tag Team Champions at the time and every PPV event passed with us hanging on to the belts my hopes got higher and higher. I figured for sure as World Tag Team Champions we would make the show, and sure enough when the WrestleMania programs were printed William Regal and I were defending the titles against RVD and Kane. The only problem was William Regal got very ill a few weeks before WrestleMania and the match had to be changed. Chief Morley ended up stepping in for William Regal but as the show was being laid out, time was looking very short and we ended up getting bumped of the Mania show and our match took place on the live heat show before the PPV. Not only did this cost me my illusive WrestleMania moment, getting bumped from the PPV down to Heat likely took a zero off our pay cheques despite still having to wrestle the match that night. What a difference 30 minutes makes.
19 was definitely my best shot at a Mania match but I had my fingers crossed again the following year in New York for WrestleMania XX. I wasn’t getting nearly the push this year; I was tagging with Val Venis and we were not really in the Title picture. In the weeks building up to Mania they announced that there would be a Fatal 4-Way match for the World Tag Team Titles on the show. They did qualifying matches to earn spots in the match and I honestly feel that Val and I got somewhat shafted when we lost to the Dudleys on Heat in our qualifier. The Dudleys deserved the spot over us, but where I take exception is that Lance Cade & Mark Jyndrak got a spot over us.
The other 3 teams were in the story line mix and deserved the spot but from an “angle” perspective, having C &J or Val and I in that match really didn’t make a difference. With no story line edge I always figured you should award the “money” spot to the most deserving team. Val had been a loyal hard working WWE employee far longer than Cade or Jyndrak and both of us had in the neighborhood of 7-8 more years in the business, than C & J. I also felt we were far better workers, and would have contributed to a better match. I think had Val or I made the effort to politick for the spot, the office would have agreed and given it to us, but unfortunately that was something Val and I never did.
The following year in LA was my last WrestleMania. I was retired and teaching in OVW by this time but WWE was kind enough to invite me to the event and flew me out to LA for the HOF and WrestleMania. There was no chance being involved in the show that year but I did make a ton of Internet headlines after the show because of a verbal confrontation with JBL backstage. The “confrontation” was blown out of proportion and really didn’t amount to more than JBL blowing off some steam over something he heard I said about him in OVW. To this day I don’t know what I said that offended him, and suspect it was simply an exaggerated or out of context report he got from some stooge in OVW.
WWE and I had parted ways by the time WrestleMania 22 rolled around and I suspect my chances of getting a WrestleMania moment are well behind me. I guess my only chance now is that they do a “gimmick” Battle Royal at WrestleMania XXX and feel they need a Serious guy with a Large Penis who can Cabbage Patch. I’m not holding my breath. I suggest you don’t either.