S.S.W. 33rd Anniversary

S.S.W. 33rd Anniversary

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Few Stories from My Book

Take a few minutes and check out this free preview of my book. Its on sale right here on this page just scroll down. These are just a small taste of my life's story and what you will read about in my book.

From Chapter 2 - The Dream Comes True

That next Saturday I went down to Al's and caught a ride with him and The Equalizer to Elizabethton. This was my first time ever speaking to The Equalizer. He is known to the boys as Krunch, a nickname he had gotten in his youth. On the way they both gave me advice on what to do in the ring, what to do if this happens or that happens. Everything was in a roundabout way, never anything to the point. I was sitting there listening and wondering if this would be the night I got killed by some angry wrestler.

The building was an old run-down school that was now the Gap Creek Community Center. It looked like something from a horror movie. The windows had been broken, and most of them had plywood covering them. The building itself was made of brick and old river rock. As we walked up the steps to the building, there was the smell of popcorn, wet paint, and crap as you walked in the lobby.

I followed Al down a flight of steps to a gym and then down another set of steps to the dressing room door. He told me to stay there and he would see if he could get me a match or two. A few minutes later, he came to the door and told me to come in and get dressed. I had a bag from years of baseball and had packed it with a pair of dress pants, my convict shirt, and a pair of tennis shoes. When I stepped inside the door, it was as black as any cave. I was nervous already and now I was in pitch black. I felt my way around a corner and way down on the other end I saw a light. I thought it might have been a train. I could see a couple of wrestlers changing.

Al had not said to come with him, so I did not go any further; I dressed right there in a dark hallway and then went back up on the steps.

When Al returned, he said, “Hey, it looks like it‟s your lucky day. You‟ll be reffing all the matches if no one else shows up.” I was not worried. I figured it would be like before: I would ref the first match and the other ref would show up. The national anthem played and off to the ring I went. I got in the ring and out came the first match. It was two masked guys. When I went over to check them, one told me a dirty joke. The other one had nothing to say but farted when he lifted his leg. Those was the two highspots of the match. For the next 5 minutes, these two guys did what seemed to me as play-wrestle and laugh. The match ended with an attempt at a schoolboy rollup and I found myself rethinking not only being a ref but also a wrestling fan.

I spent the next three-plus hours reffing 10 matches and in 8 of them the participants should have been thrown in jail for impersonating wrestlers. This was my first taste of many to come of bad wrestling. It was a joke that was not funny. It was a disgrace to all the great men and women who had came before and paved the way and built wrestling. It was a slap in the face to fans who paid hard-earned money.

On the way home, I asked, “Why did we go there? Is this what I have to look forward to?” Al told me, “At times, yes.” He then told me that there are a few good places around East Tennessee to go, but I needed experience. Once I got some ring time, he would help me get booked down around Knoxville. He said we went there because that was the only place running near home and they did not have another booking, and a day of work is better than a day at home.

From Chapter 3- The Battle and Life's Lessons

Another life lesson that I had to learn at an early age was that you have very few real friends in wrestling. As you are booking guys they love you. Leave them off one weekend and they hate you. Let them do what they want and they're happy. Give them direction and outline what you want – not so happy.

One night I was in a bathroom stall doing my business and I overheard a couple of guys that I thought were my friends. They were talking about me and how a new promotion was about to open up and they were going to no-show my town. For most 17 year old kids, that would have been more than they could handle, but I had been seeing and hearing it since I was 14.

Another battle I was fighting was with my family. I would be graduating from high school in 1992 and they only saw wrestling as a hobby. The only guy in our dressing room who had wrestled for a living was Wayne Rogers, and he was now only doing it on the weekends. My Dad was on me to make up my mind what I was going to do with my life. When I told him wrestling, it was not too exciting to my old man. I told him I had a plan, and that was to travel and make SSW a profitable business. I was not going to end up in my 40s wondering if I could have made a living in wrestling. I would be in my 40s looking back at all the places I had been to and had been paid to be there.

I want to make sure that this fact is known: nothing was ever given to me other than an opportunity. Everyone who has gotten into the ring has had the same opportunity – to learn, work hard, and to make things happen. I feel if you are in wrestling and have not made money or made it out of your home area, it is because you have not tried hard enough. There is wrestling everywhere. You have to get out there and find it and make it happen. It‟s no one‟s responsibility but yours.

 My dad bought the first ring and nice P.A. I had. I had to work doing construction for him to pay it off. Krunch and Al got me started but I had to learn my own lessons. Many people taught me many lessons but I had to learn how to apply them. Failure was NEVER an option for me! And it still is not. Everyday on Earth is a test. I may have not passed every test, but I have not failed.

From Chapter 11 - Oh, You want to Play?

Some guys are afraid to rib because they fear it might lead to a fight or an altercation. Not everyone has a sense of humor, and not everyone wants to be involved in the games. One guy that most people don‟t realize has a great sense of humor is Bull Pain. Bull is a large bald wrestler from Wisconsin. He has a reputation of being a tough guy. Like me, he has no problem telling people what is on his mind, or yelling at a young wrestler for not doing what he should.

Once you get to know Bull, you realize what a great guy he is, but most never try to get to know Bull. In 2001, my Dad had a very serious and dangerous heart surgery to repair a leak in his heart. Bull, who had only met my Dad one time, called several times to check on him. That meant a lot to me and always will.

I was on a card with Bull at a northern West Virginia high school. It was a run-of-the-mill spot town. I had wrestled early and was already showered and waiting on the boys I rode with to have their matches. Bull was on near the end, and as we were sitting there talking, one of the ring crew came in carrying someone‟s ring jacket back from the ring. Bull stopped the guy and asked him if he would please lay Bull‟s stuff out in his chair when he brought it back. The guy told him he would.

That night, there were several young wrestlers on the card, some having their first matches that night. They were sitting there listening to me and Bull talk. I looked around and told all of them that they needed to make sure to find a spot and watch Bull‟s match. Bull had been around since the 80s and had worked for all the big offices. They could learn a lot from Bull.

When it came time for Bull‟s match, he and manager Scotty Ace headed to the ring. All the young wrestlers filed out to watch from the back. A couple of minutes later, the ring attendant came back in with Bull‟s leather chaps and jacket. He laid them out nice and neat as he had promised Bull he would. As soon as the man walked out, I picked Bull‟s gear up and rolled it up in a ball. I looked around and there across from Bull was one of those square bags with wheels. I walked over and dropped the jacket and chaps in there, then
took my foot and closed the bag.

Bull came back from his match, and then all the young guys came filing back in. Bull looked around for his stuff and couldn‟t find it. He got upset and said, “I asked the guy to do one thing and he can‟t get it right.” He told one of the young guys to go get the man. When they came back to the dressing room, Bull asked him about his leathers. The man told Bull that he had done just what he had asked. I spoke up and told Bull, “He did; I saw him bring it in.” Bull looked at me and said, “What did you do with my stuff?” I told him, “I don‟t have it.”

Bull was looking around trying to find it. I spoke up and said, “Come on, guys. If you have his stuff, give it back.” Everyone started speaking up, saying they didn‟t have it. I looked at Bull and said, “Hey, that means we have a thief in here,” which sent Bull into crazy-man mode.

The worst thing in a dressing room is a thief. All the boys have to trust each other with their personal and professional property in the dressing room, and if you break that trust, something bad will happen to you. Bull walked over and slammed the door and started yelling, “I‟m going through every bag in this dressing room, and God help you if you have my stuff.” I said, “Brother, you know I don‟t have it,” and I opened my bag up.

 A couple of the other guys opened theirs up. I fixed my eyes on the bag I had put the stuff in. It belonged to a young guy who might have had a total of three matches. He sat in his chair with no worries. After all, he knew he didn‟t take the stuff. He leaned down and opened his bag. He saw Bull‟s leathers and shut the bag back real fast and sat up straight. You could see the wheels rolling in his mind. What is going to happen to me? How did this stuff get in my bag?

I spoke up again and said, “Hey Bull, look at that kid. He‟s acting funny and his bag is closed.” Bull headed straight at him and started yelling at this kid like a D.I. would a new recruit. Bull opened the kid‟s bag and the kid jumped up. Bull pushed him against the lockers and told him he had had it. The kid was trying to figure a way out of this. He couldn‟t get words out, but his mouth was moving. Bull then looked at him and said, “Lighten up, kid. We are just having some fun with you.” Bull knew once I opened my mouth it was a rib. He knew once I kept on that it was my rib and I would lead him to the victim. Man, how I miss days like this.

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