The big day was upon me: I was going to make my professional wrestling debut. Well, sort of, kind of in a way, but not really. I wasn’t actually going to wrestle; rather, I was going to manage. This is where keeping a record of stuff comes in handy, because I have the exact date of my debut, August 28, 1999: a full 2 months before my 18th birthday. I now realize that legally I was a minor and never should’ve been around the ring. But what the hell, I was 6 foot 5 and having fun, right?
I was still periodically getting training here and there when I could with my would-be tag partner Shade. There were some meetings between myself, Shade, Lucas, Dennis the Hellraiser, Randy the VP, and Jimmy, a friend of theirs that was a huge wrestling fan but wanted to be a silent person on the business end. The ramblings however were far from silent. The meetings were about one goal, and that was taking the USWA company in a different direction. That direction, however, no longer included Wildman Doug, who had become a raging alcoholic, and combined with his nut job wife, who for all I know was on drugs as well, were hell-bent on power and control.
The last USWA event saw the Wildman get hammered beyond coherency and walking out on the locker room, but not before going into a tirade and shouting expletives at everyone in sight. The locker room was in disarray and a card had yet to be drawn up. The ship was out of control to say the least. Preston Steele, who I had mentioned earlier as being one of the stars on the show, stood up and started patching a card together on the white board. He acted as a professional, even though booking the show was far from his responsibility.
I had wondered about Doug, and whether what Randy, Dennis and Jimmy were discussing was right. Doug had always treated me fair, paid me for my work and he gave me the place I got my break at. Yet, I was young and naive and looking back on things, the ol’ Wildman got what he deserved. I’ll explain that shortly.
While this group was planning a siege behind the curtain, in front of the curtain, Shade, Lucas, Dennis and I would form a stable of wrestlers called the “Dogs of War”. Believe it or not, I was not “Scott Prodigy” during my debut. To fit in with the Dogs of War, each of us resembled the “Trench Coat Mafia” a term taken from the trenh coat wearing kids responsible for the tragedy at Columbine High School during that time. We would all wear black. Black cargo pants, black boots and black trench coats. Shade was “shade” because he wore “shades”. Lucas took the name of “Neptune” and donned face paint. Dennis took his self proclaimed nickname of “Hellraiser”. Now it was time for me to figure things out.
The “prodigy” name had always been something of my creation back from my early high school days of watching wrestling. I remember Jim Ross calling a match on one of the WWE Pay-Per-Views and during The Rock’s entrance, he called him a “young prodigy”. The name immediately resonated with me and I thought it would be hella cool to use that as a ring name if I were ever a wrestler. I paid close attention to the broadcasts for weeks at a time, and the moniker never stuck like “The Great One” or “The Brahma Bull” so I took ownership of “prodigy” as my own.
The origin of using the name “prodigy” began with a play by mail wrestling game called IWA, which was always prominently featured in each issue of Pro Wrestling Illustrated. In the summer of 1998, I sent in the couple dollars to join IWA and jotted down “The Prodigy” as my “wrestling” name for my fictitious entity in the game. Within a month or two, “The Prodigy” was on fire, winning titles and talking smack against other fictional wrestlers in a game determined by random points of some sort.
You’re probably wondering what the hell this has to do with me and my pro wrestling career. Patience young grasshopper, you didn’t think I was wasting your time with pointless banter, did ya? I was a 16 year old kid playing a game based on pro wrestling, but in reality, this experience gave me a forum to foster my creativity and build the character I would become. Everyone got to send in “photos” of your wrestler and a written promo, so it was interesting to interact in that type of environment with other people, even if it took 3 weeks for you to read their reactions and make your rebuttal.
A few months into playing IWA I stumbled across an additional letter stuffed into my envelope. Players had the option of sending private messages to other players through the mail service, and a player I had won the tag team championship with me wanted to exchange information. This is where I would meet Doug (not to be confused with “Wildman” Doug) who had a positive influence on me. He wanted to align with me and form a stable called the NTP (short for Notorious Thug Posse – his idea not mine) and we would rule the fantasy wrestling world together!
I exchanged phone numbers with Doug and using a calling card (this was the days before Skype and cell phones) I would speak to him on occasion, usually every week. Doug was a few years older than me, but also a big wrestling fan. He lived on the West Coast, San Francisco I believe, with his then fiancé or girlfriend, of which I can’t remember. He was originally from Pittsburgh, so we instantly bonded over being from the same regional area. It was from my conversations with Doug, which ranged beyond fantasy or pro wrestling speak, that we came up with many ideas, including swerves we would play in the game, and other ideas that would grow “The Prodigy” character.
The IWA was full of “leagues”, in order to keep the amount of players fair so that everyone could enjoy winning or losing in the fed. At one point I won the Heavyweight Title and defended it successfully for a month or two. My reward was an IWA plaque with my wrestler’s name on it and my real name as the “manager”. It was a cool achievement and I still have that plaque sitting around somewhere.
All good things come to an end though. Eventually some jerk decided to spend a good buck to infiltrate our league with an army of parody wrestlers, using his real name in conjunction with other popular wrestling names such as “Stone Cold” or “The Hammer”. There were no rules preventing how many leagues you could belong to or how many wrestlers you could own/manage. This guy filled our league with as many as 10 wrestlers and seemed to know the magic formula for guessing the strategies to win most of the titles in the league. The game quickly became boring as other players dropped out and we were stuck with the stagnation of this jerk winning month after month. Shortly the league closed due to inactivity and our wrestlers were “moved” to another league, but not all into the same league. The game was ruined for most of us and Doug and I quit shortly thereafter.
It was around that time that I started filming wrestling shows and getting my foot into the business. Fast forward to the time of this story and I was still considering using “The Prodigy” as my ring name. There were a few problems in my head though. First, I was aware that wrestlers steal good ideas all the time. I had this fear that using this name, it would certainly be stolen, so I had this sense of protecting it. Then another problem popped up as a short-lived newcomer to ECW started going by the name “The Prodigy” shortly after I started using the same name as my moniker. That’s where my IWA fantasy wrestling experience came into play.
Doug, who I tagged with, created a wrestler named “Sweet” Scotty Sensation. I remember driving home on the highway one day, thinking that certain wrestlers were able to keep their name throughout their career, if it were used in the vein of being a “real” name. Guys such as Steve Austin, Ric Flair and others. What if “Prodigy” became my last name? And then it struck me. Scott Prodigy. Damn, that’s a good name! Even though I no longer played the IWA game, Doug and I still talked here and there. I ran the idea by him, and said it was kind of a way of paying homage to our creations. He loved the idea. Thus Scott Prodigy was born, however, on August 28, 1999, I was not The Prodigy or Scott Prodigy at the time. So who the hell was I?
We had Shade, Neptune and Hellraiser. I was still afraid of having “Prodigy” stolen from me, so I went another direction, something I felt would fit into the Dogs of War. So I donned the black pants, t-shirt and trench coat. Inspired by Sting’s “Crow” character, I drew a large “S” over the side of my face. Damn, this character was going to be the second coming of Hulk Hogan! The crowd would go wild! The world would go crazy! Ready to bust through the curtain as a manager in my first match… “Sacryfyce” Eric Stone! Hindsight being 20/20, I realize how apropos that name would turn out to be, but I’m going to dangle that carrot for my next chapter.
Disclaimer: “Diary of a Present Day Pro Wrestler” is a recount of witty, funny, ugly and otherwise entertaining stories from Scott Prodigy’s pro wrestling career. While these stories are based on true events, the author makes no representation or warranties with respect to the accuracy, applicability, fitness, or completeness of the content. In some instances names, locations and/or other general information have been altered. The author shall in no event be held liable to any party for any direct, indirect, punitive, special, incidental or other consequential damages arising directly or indirectly from any use of this material, which is provided “as is”, and without warranties. The author does not warrant the performance, effectiveness or applicability of any sites listed or linked to in the content.
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