Winnipeg Fly-ins: Putting over Midgets
May 31, 2009 (Originally posted Nov 28/00)
This is the story of yet another, adventurous wrestling trip with Don Callis, for Winnipeg wrestling promoter Tony Candello. This time round, we were wrestling in Ontario, Northern Ontario to be precise, and like previous trips, we were wrestling on Indian Reservations. Unlike “Death Tour”, we did these shows in the spring, and because of this, we had to fly into these, otherwise inaccessible, reservations.
The flights were real bad. Normally I don’t have any problem flying but the turbulence were much more severe, on these small private planes. Each reserve had a small airport. I use the term airport extremely loosely, they were in fact, just long gravel run ways with a building at one end, which I assume had a radio in it. We’d land and be met be the locals in pickup trucks, or vans.
Headlining this trip: Don Callis and I, again for the WFWA Title; A ladies match, featuring Debbie Combs and Malia Hosaka; and a midget match, with two midget wrestlers from Toronto, Sweet Chris West and Farmer Pete. Callis was booking for Tony at this point and in an effort to get a decent payday, he only booked 4 matches, with the intention of he and I working twice in a mixed match with the midgets.
The shows were terrible, even by WFWA standards. We wrestled in Tony’s 10-foot ring, in front of very small, disrespectful, and often drunk, crowds. We were getting paid relatively little, so our only motivation was the attempt to amuse ourselves and have fun.
Living arrangements didn’t make the trip any easier. Most of these reserves didn’t have hotels, so we would stay in the Ontario Hydro buildings, which were there for their maintenance crews. These buildings had a kitchen living room and two bedrooms. The girls would, of course, get one bedroom, so it was always a race, and or, power play for the remaining bedroom. With Natch being the booker, and me being one of the bigger guys on the trip, we always managed to claim, the last bedroom. Each bedroom had two beds, so at least Natch, the girls, and I were comfortable. Everyone else fought for couches and floor space.
In spite of the horrible flights and unfavorable living conditions, we did have fun. Callis and I always did on these trips, because we booked them and could do what we wanted, with in reason. I again am using words, in this case “reason” very loosely, as our matches were, at times, quite silly.
We set up for the main event during our Title match. Natch would cheat somehow to beat me, then the baby face midget Sweet Chris West would run out and stooge him off to the ref. The ref would reverse the decision, and Natch would freak out and challenge Chris. We would then come back in the main event with the mixed tag. Natch and I worked hard in our singles match, but the mixed tag was booked, solely to entertain us.
Natch tagged with Farmer Pete whom, I would find out during the match, was extremely stiff. The first time we did the mixed tag Natch decided to have fun at my expense. We were in the ring he shot me off the rope, I was expecting him to kick me in the stomach, and when I bent over he was going to give me a knee lift. All went as planned except to my surprise, it was Pete who ran in for the knee lift. Not only did I take the bump for a midget knee lift, the little bugger stiffed the hell out of me. I got my revenge by calling the spot again the next night. This time when Pete gave me the knee lift, I took a Shawn Michaels like bump, soaring high into the air coming down, with my throat draped across the top rope, from there I rebounded back up and took a huge bump in the middle of the ring. It was all Natch could do not to die laughing right then and there.
The finish of the match was when we took it to a new level. We started the finish with Natch giving Chris a standing suplex, which is a huge bump considering his size. After the suplex Natch would cover him only to have his partner run in, to save his fellow midget. Natch and his partner would argue, Pete would shove Natch, who would stumble back and trip over Chris and take the bump. I would run in and cover Natch and both midgets would pile on top of me for the pin.
After the pin Natch would become irate and yell at his partner for costing him the match. Chris would come to Pete’s aid and both midgets would start backing down The Natural. Not to have my fellow tall person out manned I come to his rescue. With Natch and I now the heels and the midgets now the faces we square off and proceed to bad mouth our opponents claiming that we are better because we’re tall and they’re small. We jump our opponents and stomp the crap out of them. We pick them up, shot them off the ropes in an attempt to give simultaneous backdrops. The midgets, being good baby faces, were too smart for us, they grabbed us by the hair, as we bent over and ran or heads to the canvas. Natch and I took the bump and they jumped on our backs, high fived each other, and ran up our backs stepping on our heads, as they left the ring.
Natch and I then freaked out even further and attacked our ref. We through him to the floor and Natch sets up to piledrive him on the concrete. Since we had already put over the midgets, we figured we might as well put over the ref too. As Natch attempted the piledriver the ref blocked it and stood up, backdroping The Natural on the floor. As Natch takes the bump the ref charges forward and closelines me, he then rolls into the ring and fires up in a way that would make Rick Martel proud. The crowd went crazy.
At this point, I figure I’ve more than earned my $75 payday so I sell to the locker room. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Natch heading to the merchandise table and the promoter Tony Candello. I guess Natch figured he had at least one more job to do. Natch attacked Tony and Tony, at Natch’s Request fired back and slammed him through the merchandise table. A few minutes later, we both regrouped in the locker room for a good laugh at our own expense.
We tried to talk the girls into making the main event a 6 person mixed fiasco the last night, but they would have no part of it. They had never worked Tony’s shows before so I don’t think they knew what they were getting into, and just wanted to do as little as possible and go home. With a bit of effort I think we could have talked Malia into the match but Debbie was too far into her career to do a match for the sole purpose of screwing around and having fun. It’s too bad; Natch and I could have booked a classic and no doubt done jobs for the girls, the midgets, the ref, the promoter, and perhaps even a couple fans.
I guess it’s because of my early days with Natch in Winnipeg, why I don’t care about doing jobs. From day one we never took the job too serious, it was always about what made for good entertainment. As bad as many of our trips were together, they were always that, very entertaining. I wish we had this stuff on video it would be priceless.
Till next week,