7. "Hell, I Don't Need A Finish, My MANAGER Is My Finish"
There I was, 29 years old, and though semi-experienced at life, still green as grass as a pro wrestling manager. In retrospect, I have to look back at myself and laugh. I knew how to draw heat by talking. I'm a natural conversationalist, so standing in front of a bunch of strangers and getting them to hate me seemed simple enough. As well, in the initial iteration of my gimmick, I attempted to dress in a manner similar to a 21st century update of the Grand Wizard of Wrestling. I was in the locker room at KYDA (short for Keep Your Dreams Alive...yeah...I know...) Pro Wrestling, where I was brought in to add heat to the act of the extremely talented champion, then ex-ECW, and WCW/WWE developmental signed wrestler Christian York. For the first three weeks of our pairing, I was outside of the ring, knowing only that when he applied a hold, that was my time to go crazy on the crowd. As well, I was there to distract the referee. Both jobs, fairly simple, and I was exceedingly happy with my time at KYDA Pro. However, one week, I get backstage and York pulls me aside and pretty much buries my work. "You're out of position," he started. "You aren't actually paying attention to what's happening in the ring, either. But, I do think you're funny, so we'll make this work." Relieved, I put on my less-than-flashy eyesore of a brown, beige and orange plaid sportcoat, a bandanna emblazoned with "KONG" in puffy iron-on letters, white shirt, beige slacks and brown cowboy boots (we'll talk about those boots in a bit). As he sat and discussed the main event with his opponent, I sat there and was shocked as, when asked for the match's finish, he turned to me and said, "hell, I don't need a finish, Kong's my finish," and dismissively pointed at me, said, "belt shot, disqualification," and walked away. Fast forward to the match, and at the 20 minute point, I thought I was paying careful attention to the goings-on in the ring. York had pretty much called the entire match for not just his opponent, but for me, too. Of course, the very moment I let my mind wander, BAM! There's York, over in the corner selling, and I heard "it's coming. Watch the Irish whip." Excited, I grabbed the title and as York reversed the Irish whip, but the babyface was still set to unleash a running clothesline, WHAM! There I was, belt shot to the back, directly in front of the referee. Left with no other choice, the referee rang the bell to signal York's disqualification, and there was the KYDA Pro Heavyweight Champion, escaping with his title by nefarious means, like a thief in the night. As the weeks continued, my interference during the babyface's comeback as York's finish became quite the "over" spectacle in front of that crowd of 125 in that converted storage space. The entire feud was built around a) If Christian York was so talented, why did he need this "ding dong" outside the ring to ultimately keep the title on him via disqualification, b) This "ding dong" looked at Christian York as a meal ticket which is why he was interfering, and c) when somebody finally punches King Kong in the face and incapacitates him, they can win the KYDA Pro title. By literally deciding to not have a finishing maneuver, and to base his hear around me as his manager, York not only got himself over, but he got me over and the person that eventually defeated him over, too.
Besides having been an independent professional wrestling manager for a decade, Marcus Dowling is a Washington, DC-based writer who has contributed to a plethora of online and print magazines and newspapers writing about music and popular culture over the past 15 years.