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  1. #1
    Word Enthusiast Steven's Avatar
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    Favorite Backstage Stories

    This seems like a fun thread idea. We've all heard many, many backstage stories over the years, from Taker taping his fists at Gorilla just in case HBK didn't want to do business at WrestleMania 14 to Sean Waltman using various bags as toilets and everything in between.

    I just heard one that now ranks right up there as one of my very favorites. On the newest episode of Something to Wrestle, a story is told from Bob Holly's book that involved the Kliq. Bob, like many, was the victim of some childish pranks and shit from those guys early on in his run, back in 1994, including discovering by way of Randy Savage that Shawn Michaels had been ripping up his food orders while on an overseas tour, leaving Holly with nothing to eat after the shows. Bob confronted Shawn, basically told him if he kept fucking with his food then he'd kick his scrawny ass and was pretty much not fucked with anymore.

    The story I love, though, came shortly after. Kevin Nash was sitting with, I believe, Scott Hall in the hallway of a building and just randomly saying shit to people as they walked by. He did so to Holly as he was walking by and Bob says he stopped in his tracks, turned back to Nash and told him, "If you ever say anything like that to me again I'll knock you the fuck out." He then reached up and drew an X on Nash's chin, saying, "Right there. That's where I'll hit you and knock you the fuck out."

    Nash was apparently speechless and, well, the Kliq didn't fuck with Bob Holly anymore.

    Coming from Bob's book, the veracity of this claim is somewhat dubious. That said, Prichard said that he hadn't heard that exact story (though he did verify the food one), but that it sounded exactly like something that Bob would do and that he doesn't doubt that it actually happened. I can just imagine Holly, in his Sparky Plugg getup, drawing an X on Diesel's chin. That shit's awesome.

    What are some of your favorite stories?

  2. #2
    The Brain
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    I was a little put off by the stories of the guy abusing rookies, but I do love how hard as nails Holly apparently is in real life. I can absolutely imagine him cowing Nash.

    I can't think of any backstage stories I love off the top of my head, but I always like hearing them!

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    There's a great story about Owen getting the pigs being delivered for a Godwinn angle holed up in Vince's office....

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  4. #4
    Word Enthusiast Steven's Avatar
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    Based upon what I've heard from a bunch of interviews and such, Bob was a stiff worker, in general. That Tough Enough thing still gets a lot of hype, especially, but that wasn't anything unusual. According to Bob's book, the only reason the kid got a busted lip and all that was because he didn't know to follow Bob and allow him to direct where his body should be. If someone grabs you, throws you into the corner and starts laying in kicks, you don't try to get up. Matt did and instead of getting some probably kinda stiff but ultimately not injury inducing stomps to the chest, he got kicked in the face a couple times. The fact that they then played it up for full dramatic effect on a reality show didn't help matters/

    Bob, and WWE management, apparently viewed him as something of a proving ground. A stiff shot here and there are going to happen in pro wrestling. So how does this new guy react to it? Do they get fired up and try to start shit? Do they piss and moan about it? Or do they roll with it and just keep on keeping on? That makes a lot of sense to me, personally. As has been said a million times, it ain't ballet, and I think it's a good thing to know how a talent is going to handle that sort of situation should it happen at random by accident on live television or something.

    Feeding into the double tough thing, though, when that infamous Tough Enough segment was filmed, it was actually the day before Bob went in for neck surgery after his mistimed spot with Brock Lesnar saw him get dropped on his head. He was under orders from Vince to not even get in the ring, but he claims that he saw the cast just fooling around and goofing off when they were supposed to be working out and it pissed him off. These kids are being put up in a phat mansion, paid well, getting access for first class training and facilities and they're not taking it seriously? Not on Bob Holly's watch. His intent was to show them what it was like to be in the ring with someone who works a little stiffer, as many do and especially did back then, but as mentioned, the nature of the surroundings painted him as some sort of asshole who just wanted to beat Matt up.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    I also like the one about how Jerry Lawler was the one to break up the backstage scuffle between Hart and Michaels in 1997, because it started in the bathroom while King was sat in one of the cubicles mid-shit.


    What else....

    I love that whenever Bobby Heenan showed something to an interviewer on a piece of paper that he didn't let the audience see, it was usually some pretty graphic pornography.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  6. #6
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    Oh Bob Holly. I loved him as a kid.

    My favourite stories are always the fights where someone much smaller absolutely destroys someone much bigger - specifically coming to mind right now is Jericho taking down Goldberg right after the latter had come to WWE. For some reason that's made all the more hilarious to me by picturing Jericho in his top knot and Goldberg with his bald head.

    I also like the one about Lesnar and Angle having a shoot amateur match one time backstage for 15 minutes or so, until Vince split it up.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    I find most of the Mr Fuji ones a bit much for my taste, but him paying $1000 for someone to take the engine out of Bobby Eaton's rental car is a pretty impressive rib.

    There's an Owen one that I can't remember the full details of but it amounts basically to someone being really cautious about getting ribbed by him again, only to come back from the ring and find that his bag had been chained to a pipe on the ceiling. I'm not sure the 'hows' and 'whys' are all that well known but Owen's athleticism certainly gives him an advantage there!

    The other fun one was him holding his weight down at a house show so that Lex - obviously being pushed as the strongest guy in the company - just plain couldn't lift him. His team was against the Allied Powers and a few minutes later he naturally went up like a leaf for Davey Boy, who as his partner in crime, promptly danced around the ring shouting that he was stronger than Luger.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Does it count as a story, if it's the time that Ricky Morton once had to go up to Bill Dundee and say 'in the match, hit me in the fact as hard as you can, because your working punches are fucking killing me.'?

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  9. #9
    The Brain
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    I'll count it! That feels like a very Morton thing to do. You'd think Dundee would have picked up better punches working with Lawler!

    In ring stories can be a lot of fun too. I can't remember the exact details, but I did hear that in one of the big TLC matches Bubba Ray got his bell rung, and one of the other wrestlers had to explain to him which one was Jeff Hardy so he could do the next move.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    The best in-ring story I heard recently was Ernie Ladd getting so fed up of a babyface who was getting too keen and not listening to him call the match, that he backed him into a corner and backed into him, grabbed the ropes, and said over his shoulder, 'you're gonna stay there until you listen to me; and when you listen, then we finish the match!'

    There's one about Savage getting irate because Jerry Sags farted in front of Liz, so he put her on a plane back to the US. In the meantime someone told Vince, who supposedly had her put on to a Concorde flight as soon as her plane set down so she could still make the tour. And rumour has it, he's supposed to have fined Sags for it, leading others to call it the most expensive gas he ever passed.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  11. #11
    The Brain
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    That Savage story is seriously mental... most of all Savage for putting Liz on the plane in the first place, but the fact that she was jerked around to that extent by men in her life at all is kind of a downer when I think about it. The dark underside of the Savage/Liz story, I suppose.

    I really enjoy the one about Heenan not being told beforehand that Bock was dropping the AWA title to Wanz, so that his post-match freakout would be his most authentic ever. True or not, he certainly goes ballistic on a whole new level afterwards!

  12. #12
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Heh, Heenan hated being jerked around like that. He preferred to know and prepare, I believe. Lawler has spoken about how he preferred to be surprised like the audience, so there's clearly no 'right' way.

    At the more bodily end of the spectrum Cornette once told a story about having stomach flu, but 'the show must go on', so he had the match and promptly shit himself every time he took a bump.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  13. #13
    The Brain
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    HAHAHA, that must have sucked for everyone involved.

    Heenan definitely strikes me as the super-prepared type. I think that's part of why his work suffered in WCW, he felt no motivation to prepare because nobody was bothering to play off him anyway.

    Another story that I'm afraid I only half remember, but I believe it was Terry Taylor who was once booked to wrestle Flair in an hour long match, only for Flair to show up at the last minute, hung over from a bender the night before. A frustrated Taylor told Flair to just do as much as he could and they would book a new finish on the fly if Flair couldn't make it the whole way. 45 minutes in, Flair had kept the match so active that Taylor was the one who ran out of gas and called for the finish early. More evidence that Flair is a freak of nature.

  14. #14
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    A good Flair one was when he wrestled Kerry, who had been Mia before the bout. With Flair already on his way to the ring they found Kerry out of his mind and asleep in his car. Again, the show must go on. So they woke him up as best they can and sent him out, and then Natch is supposed to have dragged him to something pretty decent. Was real pissed at him afterwards, as you might expect.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  15. #15
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    One I heard years ago relates to the toughness of Ray Traylor. When he first broke in and was working as a bodyguard for Corny and the Midnight Express, he was working a 'you can't hurt him', monster kinda thing. Dusty hit him with a chair and he no-sold it and Dream did a huge theatrical job of looking all incredulous, like 'do I have to shoot you to put you down'?

    Naturally getting a top star to do that back then was no small deal. So Ray basically is kayfabing everyone about how impervious to pain he is. To the point where a taxi door gets latched on his hand and Traylor no-sells it.... all he did was very quietly say, 'brother, the door's closed on my hand', until they opened it up.

    I imagine he'd have been howling once they got away from the paying punters.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  16. #16
    The Brain
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    I would imagine so! But some guys could just be that tough I suppose. The stories about guys like Haku and Race are scary in and of themselves!

    Speaking of, I think Dusty did that same spot with Meng in '94. And it was still great.

  17. #17
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    There's a rumour that Gorilla Monsoon called the 1993 Royal Rumble while being barely able to see it. He'd either lost or broke his glasses, can't remember the exact details, and is supposed to have got through it by a) his knowledge and experience and b) a lot of help from Bobby.

    Heenan has definitely said this happened at some point - the idea that it's the '93 Rumble is where it maybe tips into rumour. But it's a good story, nonetheless.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  18. #18
    The Brain
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    I'll have to listen closely to that one!! Poor Monsoon, I wish his health had held up better. It's sad to see him slowly working less and less over the years, though he clearly still loves doing it and is very good at it.

    I like the one that Monsoon couldn't tell the Rougeaus apart for some reason, so just BS'd his way through their matches. Not sure if that ones true but he sure doesn't go out of his way to say their first names in many of their matches!

  19. #19
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    This one could get a couple of different reactions, I guess. But during the Mid-South days, Bill Watts used to have a big series of fines that would be levied. Sometimes they'd be for things like being late, not being dressed properly, all the kind of stuff - other times they'd be for making the referee or your opponent look shit out in the ring or having a stinker of a match, or overusing gimmicks in a way that detracts from their effect. Basically, if you can imagine me not liking something I saw, Watts probably fined someone for it.

    Anyway, that's no story by itself, but the minute it becomes kinda funny (if you're inclined to see it that way) is that Buddy Landel, who has never been together enough to capitalise on his talent, at one point got himself so many fines that he had to start paying them back in instalments, because if they took it out of his cheque in one go there'd have been no cheque left.



    Another Mid-South one was when Ernie Ladd was booking, and Watts wanted to get JYD over as the next top star for the territory. Ladd phoned Watts and said, 'this won't work, the kid doesn't have it. I booked him in a time limit draw with Super Destroyer to see what he can do, and he can't go'.

    To which Watts responded, 'you're fired'.

    Ladd was naturally taken aback. But Watts hit back, 'the point isn't to see what he can't do, but what he CAN do. He shouldn't be doing time limit draws but beating guys in 3 minutes. You're fired.'

    The happy ending to it is that Ladd took the point, was quickly rehired, and went on to have a huge hand in turning JYD into one of the most profitable performers in wrestling and one that made a buttload of money for everyone involved.


    Mid-South is also the territory where all the best 'crowd heat' stories come from. The guy who jumped the barrier with a pistol to get at the Fabulous Freebirds, someone attacking Dennis Condrey in a convenience store because he was angry at the way the previous night's main event had gone, and DiBiase being driven away from the arena in New Orleans in the trunk of a car because there was a genuine fear that he'd get lynched, all stand out as 'this shit is crazy' stories.
    Last edited by Prime Time; 4 Weeks Ago at 06:57 AM.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  20. #20
    The Brain
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    I don't think much of Watts' WCW era and he seems like a pretty shit person, but I have to admit I've always wanted to watch more Mid South because it's clear he was tapped into something special at the time. Kind of shitty to take advantage of Landell though. Love the shoutout to the incredible success of JYD, which doesn't get much talk anymore. In fairness to Ladd I was pretty sure JYD wasn't CAPABLE of having a good match, until I watched him in Mid South. What would Ladd have said if he was booking JYD in the late 80s??

  21. #21
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    I don't think its' really taking advantage of Landel. That's certainly not the way the story gets told, anyway. More a case of the rules were the rules and they applied to everyone equally, and Landel just wasn't much good at living in an orderly way that would comply with rules. Maybe nowadays you'd want a bit more understanding from your employer but it was a different time, a different culture.

    You're right about what Watts had going on at Mid-South, but it's clear he's an interesting character all round. He's one of only a handful of people Vince McMahon has ever let take the reigns in the WWE, for one thing. Granted, it went nowhere and he quit within about three weeks, but the fact remains he was brought in to effectively be the top creative force in the company - aside from when he could have gone to gaol I can't think of another time that Vince has thought to do that, and that tells you something. Watts is the only guy to run his own successful promotion and then have an important role in both the WWF and WCW. Even if those last two were ultimately no more successful than Vince Russo (though still infinitely less harmful, I'd wager).

    The thing that I'm more concerned about is whether we should be OK with wrestling promoters fining talent in the first place. But I'm somewhat mollified in that by the fact that Mid-South was one of the better paying territories, especially compared with their notoriously stingy near-neighbours in Dallas and Memphis. Speaking of Dallas, someone who pulled double-duty for World Class got paid $63 for a show, on which they had a downside guarantee of $50 for the night. If they'd wrestled one match and been beaten in six seconds, they'd have still got 80% of their cheque. They are furiously supposed to have said 'if they needed the extra $13 that fucking badly I wish they'd have kept it!'

    Pretty clear there was a lot of mutual respect between Watts and Ladd. Speaking of Ladd and as we're somewhat on money, he used to apparently have a trick where if he thought he was getting stiffed on a payoff he'd talk a stroll around the ring as the arena was filling up, so the audience would see he was there and the promoter couldn't say his plane was late or whatever, and then would go back and demand that they paid him what he was worth. We've been conditioned by the WWE to think badly about wrestlers who 'hold up', but promoters have so much power that sometimes it's nice to see people with a trick up their sleeve.



    Changing tack a little bit, another one I enjoy from Cornette came when someone asked him about the Dusty finish. He said he loved Dusty's booking but yes, the worst thing about it was the overuse of contrived finishes which should happen about once in a generation if you really want to keep the full effect. That's where Dusty, for all his brilliance, wasn't quite at the level of his mentor, Eddie Graham. But anyway, the actual story Corny told in response was that he used to keep a diary of what finishes they'd used and went up to Dream and said, respectfully, that they'd done the exact same wacky finish in the same town a few weeks or a month earlier. To which Dusty flashed him that infectious smile and said 'that'th OK Kid, ya workin' with th'omeone different thi'th time!'

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  22. #22
    The Brain
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    Man, you're way better at this backstage stuff than I am. It's sort of a blind spot for me, so these stories are really interesting to me even if I don't have a lot of my own to share.

  23. #23
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    If I have, that's only going to be because I've had this long period of relative apathy towards wrestling. For a long time there listening to old road stories and backstage trivia through the new 'shoot' interviews was one of the only ways I could feel connected to something that I'd largely fallen out of love with.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  24. #24
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Anyone ever heard the one about how Bobby Eaton and Barry Windham, to keep house shows interesting for themselves in the 80s, if they were working against each other would give themselves little handicaps as to what they could and couldn't do? The best one is them having an entire match - that got over with the live crowd - with both of them on their knees throughout.

    The way it's told is that they were both just so talented that it was just to challenge themselves, stop them getting bored with how easy this whole wrestling thing is....

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  25. #25
    The Brain
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    Haha! That's quite incredible, I've never heard it but I could believe it, and I bet it was still a damn good match. Would love to find that gem on tape somewhere!

  26. #26
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    With the passing of Brian Lawler, stories of him are naturally doing the rounds. One I recently heard was of people remembering a match in which he was in control and got to the top rope for a big move, at which point Bob Holly rolled up his opponent, Scott Taylor, and beat him (with the referee even pausing for an age before counting the three). The camera even managed to catch a confused Brian still stood on the top rope mouthing confusedly 'but that wasn't the finish....'

    Would have been interesting to be a fly on the wall backstage after that one.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  27. #27
    Senior Member LWO4Life's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prime Time View Post
    With the passing of Brian Lawler, stories of him are naturally doing the rounds. One I recently heard was of people remembering a match in which he was in control and got to the top rope for a big move, at which point Bob Holly rolled up his opponent, Scott Taylor, and beat him (with the referee even pausing for an age before counting the three). The camera even managed to catch a confused Brian still stood on the top rope mouthing confusedly 'but that wasn't the finish....'

    Would have been interesting to be a fly on the wall backstage after that one.
    Would love to see that match.

  28. #28
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    I think it might be Heat match so maybe on the network? Could also be Shotgun Saturday Night, which wouldn't be.

    Similar situation, Volkoff stories doing the rounds. Heard one about how Corny had a new sportcoat that he wanted to break out for the show, one of those garish polyester numbers he used to wear. It's one of the territories where it's hot so you put that kinda stuff on literally as you're running out of the door to go to the ring. So the time comes and he's about to head to the ring, only to find that Nikolai had sewn up the end of the sleeves.

    Nikolai is a nicer guy than some of the others who are known as 'ribbers' so the ending is that it was only a loose job, so you could break through it and it was really just for the reaction rather than to really put someone out. But still, you can imagine the promo that Cornette would have been cutting in that locker room.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

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