As noted earlier, part two of Edge on Chris Jericho’s podcast, Talk Is Jericho, is now available. Here are some highlights from the interview:
Wrestling Bob Holly in one of his first WWF matches: They [WWF] needed somebody to wrestle Bob Holly. Somebody didn’t show or somebody got stuck at the border or whatever it was and I didn’t have a car. I had just finished college. My car was broken down. I had no money. I was living in Rockwood, Ontario and doing my internship. It was probably the lowest I’ve ever been from a financial like, okay, what am I going to do tomorrow standpoint. Which is generally how it works, then all of a sudden this blast of sunshine comes flying through. Jay ends up getting ahold of me and says Carl DeMarco is trying to get ahold of you, they need somebody to wrestle Bob Holly. I’ll drive you there. Okay. So Jay comes, picks me up, drives me to Copps Coliseum. Felt pretty confident, strangely. Three hours before the show. I was the first one in the dressing room. I beat Barry Horowitz there, which is saying something because he, he didn’t get there much after me, that’s his thing.
So I got there. It’s 7:30 start. I’m on first with Bob. Bob gets there about 7:00. Classic Bob walks up to me, “how long you been working?” I was like, “about four and a half years.” “F***,” and walks away. Okay. Alright, well, how’s this going to be? I think it was George Steele was the agent, or one of the agents. They said crossbody for the finish. Okay. So we went out there, had nothing but the finish. Bob hadn’t talked to me still. So we go out there and I just started calling a few things and I’m surprised that Bob didn’t try to take my head off.
But right out of the gate I just started dancing like a fool, and it got a reaction from the crowd. Jimmy Lake was the ref, and I still have a picture of it, he’s just looking at me dumbfounded. But then he started laughing and Bob started chuckling, which I realize now was a feat in itself. Oh yes, I was Sexton Hardcastle, which was the new moniker, which I still think might be the greatest name ever. I still think that’s the greatest handle ever.
But yeah, I gave them a cassette, and I came out to the ring to Walk, because I hadn’t seen ECW at that point so I didn’t know Van Dam came out to it. So I came out and I started doing this horrible Caucasian running man to Pantera. It was just all sorts of ridiculous. It didn’t make any sense, but for whatever reason the crowd reacted and the match ended up, I remember it being good. Like, this is a good, solid match with false finishes. They’re into this. This is pretty cool. He was still Spark Plugg at this point, wearing racing stripes. I don’t know how much people got into that character at that point, but they were into that match, which was cool. I’m not saying it’s because of me. I’m just saying it was a good, solid opening match on a card.
We did the finish and it seemed to work out well. We got to the back and Bob was like, “damn, kid. Thanks.” I was like, alright, cool. Scott Hall, Razor at that point, he goes, “man, kid. You got something there. You just got to learn to work for 10000 people instead of 10.” Okay, duly noted. Got it.
Getting a call from Carl DeMarco and signing with WWE: He goes hey, I got a contract for you. It’s waiting down in Stamford. I was like [stammering]. It was like, everything just started spinning and just so many endorphins and adrenaline, it was like everything good inside you just [explosion sound] burst out.
I flew straight from Winnipeg down to Stamford. They had a limo pick me up. Whoa! What is going on here? I just went from an Econoline van where you can see eight inches of ice on the inside of the windows, to… like, I’m in a limo? I’ve seen a limo [laughter] but I didn’t know what it looked like inside, nothing. So number one, my first time flying into New York. I had been through New York once coming back from a hell tour down in the southern states. So I’m in the limo. I’m pulling up to Titan Towers, the WWF logo on the side and everything, I’m just like oh, man. Okay, this is it.
Then they took me to the TV studios and I go in there and you see posters and things like that and I look and there’s a ring setup and Michael Hayes is standing there. I’m like, wow that’s Michael Hayes. What’s going on here? Okay. And he goes, “alright, let’s have a match.” Oh! Like, I’m right off the plane. I had just flown from Winnipeg, just finished a brutal tour. I was like, okay, alright. So I get my stuff on. I hop in there. We got in and he just got in there and called the match. We had like a ten minute match and he hit me with the stiffest left jab ever and then DDTed me so hard, like just the tightest, stiffest DDT I’ve ever taken.
So we finish the match or whatever. I didn’t complain. I didn’t say a word. He just goes, “oh, you okay? Everything good?” I was like, “perfect. Great. A-okay. Thanks very much, that was fun.” Then after the fact, I found out that he vouched for me after the match. He said we got something here. I knew enough at that point. Just shut your mouth. Shut your mouth, grit your teeth, and say awesome. Thank you.
So from there I got called up to JR’s office and I sat down and he goes, “okay. We got a deal for you. Here it is, and I want to preface this with you will make, and do as much work as you put into this.” It was for 210 dollars a week, because after the currency exchange that worked out to 300 Canadian. They said just keep working. There was no farm system. They said just keep working. Keep getting booked. I got signed at the end of ’96. I kept working. Bad News and Jerry wanted Jay [Christian] and I to Japan. Cool. Sold. More experience. Awesome. Working guys that can’t speak English. This is going to be more experience.
That’s what they said. Keep the rest out. We’ll call you when we’re ready for you. Just keep working. Pennsylvania Championship Wrestling, okay I’m there. Cleveland All Pro, okay I’m there. Southern States, okay I’m there. Grand Prix, okay I’m there. Candela, okay I’m there. I just kept going wherever I could, but now I had 300 bucks, or 210 bucks depending on where I was, to at least eat. That’s really what it was. It was like, okay here’s a little morsel so you can keep doing your thing.
Then finally when I signed my deal deal, my very first deal, they also paid all of my college fees as a bonus. I think I owed like 40 grand, which they didn’t have to do, I always felt was very, very cool of JR to do. He was like we’re going to take care of your college, by the way. I was like oh, because that had been hanging over my head while I had been trying to just get somewhere and make it. I was like oh, man. I got this 40 grand that’s over my head and I’m making 50 bucks on this show. Cool, now I’m making 210, but that’s not going to chip away at 40 grand. So they took care of that when I signed my deal.
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