I went a little off the tracks last time but I’m ready to return to August 28, 1999, my debut under the name of Sacryfyce, which would be a name filled with irony and disposed of after it’s first use!
Again we were in Ashtabula, OH and the setting was once again the USWA ran by Wildman Doug. This time around I was a member of the locker room and still felt odd and undeserving of being there with the other veteran wrestlers. Unfortunately, this night would live in infamy for a number of reasons.
First, The Wildman had become a wild drunk, hours before the show and far worse than usual. As bell time approached, the card had yet to be posted and Doug was nowhere to be found. Preston Steele was there again this time and took ownership of the locker room and started putting the card together. I had to think hard about recalling this event, but now I remember clearly this was all in the same night, as I was never in the room before and never saw the “board” filled out before my eyes. Again, this was a different era where kayfabe was being broken, but not destroyed.
Fortunately for Preston, most of the boys already knew their spots or had their spots for the show. Ours was to close out the night with a 6-man tag, of which I was the bodyguard, manager or lackey for my “Dogs of War” Dennis, Lucas and Shade. I can’t for the life of me remember who the opposition was, except for one guy, and we’ll get into that in a moment.
The show started barely on time and the wrestlers went out and did their thing. Intermission started and midway through, there was a rumbling on the microphone. Wildman Doug, intoxicated beyond the point of standing, was mumbling and uttering words under his breath. The only words you COULD understand were the random expletives he began screaming at his co-owner partner Randy and the couple of other people trying to get him to peacefully leave the ring. Not a good sign when your owner is yelling things like “f’ing ball sack” into a audience filled with kids!
Somehow the show restarted and we got to our main event time. I remember all four of us coming out to Rob Zombie’s “Dragula” which was overplayed on the circuit at that time, but hell, I didn’t know that! This was it, I made it to the “big time!” 17 years old and being involved in my first match. If only it went smoother.
For whatever reason, the 6 man had degraded into a street fight rules style match. That meant anything and everything was legal. Looking back, I think it’s because none of the guys in the ring really knew what they were doing. That could be none more evident than the man that stands out in my mind from that match: a bulky, squat blonde by the name of Bounty Hunter. The man was weilding weapons like it was no tomorrow.
Now, as you probably figured out already, I’m far from being stupid. I knew better than to stand around and just be a useless object around the ring. I even knew enough to move, duck, and scatter around so as not to block the fans’ view. The action started to spill to the outside, a regular occurence in these sort of matches, and then the action came toward me!
Here I was, 17, 6 feet 5 inches tall and a wiry 180 pounds or so, face-painted, black trenchcoat, playing cheerleader and now standing opposite of this Bounty Hunter character, who was brandishing a steel chair. Now, what does one do in this situation? I had no weapon in hand. My mind was processing a gameplan as the first chairshot ricocheted across my arm and shoulder! Holy crap! That fricking hurt!
I dropped to a knee and clenched my arm. I wasn’t even involved in this match via physicality, and had a specific spot at the end in which I would get involved. So that begs the question: why in the hell did this guy hit me? Only God knows why, and in my quick thinking I knew enough to play “dead”, though that wasn’t good enough for my Bounty Hunter friend.
Chairshot across my back now and I was laid out on the floor. As Good Ol’ JR says “Someone at home is sitting on their couch saying Oh they know how to do that!” Well I can assure you, metal on bone is no fun, especially when you’re not counting on it.
Preparing for another strike, I looked up at Bounty Hunter from the ground as he pointed his finger at me, yelling “stay down!” which I had every intention of doing. I winced in pain, half acting and half real, hoping for this monster to go away, which my plan worked accordingly.
I finally got the long awaited queue, which I was late for, to get involved for the finish of the match. The referee got laid out (imagine that) and I slid into the ring and made the longest reveal of a surprise finish in the history of wrestling, struggling to slide my damaged arm out of my cumbersome trenchcoat, to rip it off revealing a striped referee shirt! I prodded down to the mat and slapped my hand 3 times to give the Dogs victory.
The crowd was booing for the most part, as Randy came to the ring and started tossing us “NWA” t-shirts that were a black and green 100% ripoff of the nWo phenomena that had run its course in WCW over the previous few years. Our NWA stood for “New Wrestling Alliance” and I can recall some ill conceived and pointless promo about how we were “taking over” the USWA, as people packed up and sprang for the door.
The “takeover” I speak of wasn’t just a wrestling storyline either, as this was the final straw with Doug’s drunken act all day long and Randy had decided to split from him permanently and branch off into his own group. The NWA namesake WAS a storyline, but became what we call a “shoot” or real by the end of the night. Interesting to say the least and Doug was passed out somewhere and didn’t even see it.
Of a more serious note, Shade was being escorted by medical staff into an ambulance. He was knocked out with a concussion during the match, as we later discovered, was caused by Bounty Hunter hitting him with the “wrong” end of the chair, striking him right at the base of the skull and back of his neck.
As the details came about, Bounty was yelling, screaming and carrying a commotion in the back, as my friends and other wrestlers confronted him about swinging the chair the way he did. Being from West Viriginia, I suppose no one ever questioned his experience or training, and now that it was in question, it came off as though I might’ve known more than this Bounty Hunter guy. That was the last I saw of him.
After cleaning up the armory, we all went to the local hospital to see how Shade was doing. They would only let two of us in at a time, so the rest of us waited outside in the parking lot. Oddly, Dennis was still carrying around his tag title belt while smoking, and Lucas paced around, in and out of the automatic doors.
I didn’t have a belt or smoked, so I sat on the curb, staring out into the lot. Ironically, I would break down in this exact spot almost 10 years later, leaving a wrestling show I worked in town!
Another fun fact tied to this story is that I never knew Shade’s real name until this point in time. He had kept it this highly guarded secret and everyone but his closest friends and family knew his name. Of course, you needed your real identity to check into the hospital and that is when I found out he had the simple name of “George” which didn’t fit quite well with his goth persona!
I didn’t get home until after 4am that night and driving back on the long black country highway, I nearly fell asleep at the wheel, veering off into the median before spiking back to life and jerking my wheel, and car, to safety on the empty road.
My first “match” was in the books. My arm hurt. My back hurt. My friend got hurt. My other friends divorced the Wildman and USWA was seemingly done for good. It was the first of many ups and downs for me in this business, and my future in it wasn’t exactly set in stone.
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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