This was filmed in 2009
The interview was conducted by Rob Feinstein
Disc One runs at One Hour and Fifty-Nine minutes long.
Kanyon is first asked if he was a fan of wrestling growing up. He said that his dad used to watch horse racing on Saturday’s and that wrestling came on after that and he was hooked at an early age. He said by age 12 he wanted to become a wrestler. He said that he saw Hogan win the Championship at the Garden in 1984 then when he saw Ric Flair wrestle Ricky Steamboat in 1989 at the Meadowlands he decided that he wanted to become a really good wrestler. He tells a story of how he went to the Meadowlands show and his uncle was there and shit all over him for liking wrestling but after the end of the Flair/Steamboat match, he told Kanyon that he now understands why he watches wrestling.
He said that his parents told him he could live on his own and train to be a wrestler after he graduated high school or that they would help pay for him to go to college. Kanyon said that he wasn’t ready to live on his own so he decided to go to the University of Buffalo to be with his friend and studied physically therapy. His senior year he got tickets to an indy show and talked with someone and ended up going to wrestling school after that and said that he lied to his parents about going there by saying he was at his internship or studying at the library.
On his training, he said that he went to the Lower Eastside Gym and got the shit beat out of him by one of the Power Twins from WCW fame on his first days. Kanyon then talks about how he watched a ton of wrestling from all over the world and that he had over 1,000 tapes in his collection. He said that Flair and Roddy Piper were his two favorites as a kid and said it was their talking skills that drew him towards them and even went as far as to make compilation tapes of them, even including every single mention of them throughout the show. He said that he knew someone who worked in the lighting crew for New York and Pennsylvania shows and they stole him one of the original “Piper’s Pit” posters from the set that Kanyon still has to this day.
He met James Mitchell in South Carolina where he was doing indies at the time. He said that Mitchell is a weird dude but was a good guy who took a liking to him. He then talks about wrestling against Billy Kidman at that time and how the shooting star press is one of the scariest moves to lay down for.
Kanyon got some gigs doing jobs at WWF Tapings when he was training with Afa in California. He said that he told him in his match against Diesel that he had to make him look strong because he was going to get the strap soon. Kanyon that he didn’t care what he had to do as he was on TV and after the match when they were backstage, Diesel went over to Afa and told him and put over Kanyon. He said that Diesel and X-Pac took a liking to him backstage as did Tony Garea. Kanyon said he told Garea he played rugby in college and said that Garea was in charge of putting together the squash matches at the time. Kanyon said that Owen Hart gave him the stiffiest missile dropkick of his life. Kanyon also said they critiqued him and said he needed to show some personality. He said that Bob Holly was really stiff with him and gave him a clothesline that gave him a sore throat for three weeks. Kanyon then said that he disagreed with what Holly did to Matt Cappotelli on “Tough Enough” and it made the business look bad.
He talks about how at that time (1995) was his favorite in wrestling as he was just breaking into the major organizations and learning and meeting from the top names.
Kanyon talks some more about the Kliq and how they would stand by the monitors and would bury or put over certain guys and recalls how one day he heard Scott Hall, after watching Jeff Hardy lose in a squash match, say how the WWF needed to sign him right away. Kanyon said he was jealous when Hall said that and would talk about how he and Kidman would tell each other what the Kliq would say about them backstage when they were in the ring.
When he was training in South Carolina at the Fabulous Moolah’s school, Mitchell told him that they had to “work this bitch” and pretend like he had not already been working for a few months. Kanyon said that he failed at working her on the first day but Moolah had a sense of humor about it and got him booked on a show once. Kanyon tells a story of that show as Curt Hennig was backstage and told Kanyon that Sean Waltman was pissed because he did a moonsault in his match. Kanyon said that this was before he knew that Hennig was a big “ribber.” Anyway, Kanyon went to apologize and Waltman told him he doesn’t give a fuck then suggest that they rib him back and that Waltman starts tossing stuff around to the point people were running backstage to break it up but Kanyon said that he got so caught up in and started shooting on him like an idiot and yelled about how Waltman had made Wade Keller put him over in his newsletter to get a push, which seem to piss off Waltman. After the show, Hennig told Kanyon that he would never get a rib over on him again.
He said that he worked for ECW when it was “Eastern Championship Wrestling” as part of a hockey player gimmick. Kanyon recalls how Heyman told him to blow a spot in a match against Stevie Richards to set up 911 running in and chokeslam them but he and Richards did not fully understand what he meant or the business at the time and they just ended up mistiming a bunch of moves.
After that he went to Memphis. He showed up to TV the first day with Kidman, who drove down with him after Kanyon’s original partner no-showed and they told Kidman that he was too small and did not use him but Kanyon worked with PG-13. He said that he was making $40 a night working in Memphis and shortly before that was making $70,000 as a physical therapist. He then said that he was still rough around the edges and did not understand the gimmick and Bill Dundee told him that hockey players are known for fighting and to go out there and beat the shit out of people and to not do his highspots. At the time, Kanyon said he was young and thought Dundee was a dick but looking back sees that he was just looking out for his career. He got his two weeks notice as the business was hurting and remembers Wolfie D telling him not to quit the business then telling him to head down to WCW as they were taping a bunch of TV Shows in Orlando. After contemplating whether or not to quit the business altogether after the office in WCW was not returning his calls, Kanyon said he was at a bar and talked to the bartender who told him that he should drive down to Orlando as he had nothing to lose.
Kanyon drove down to Florida and was in the arena as he bought a ticket and saw Head of Security Doug Dillinger, who both Kanyon and Feinstein said was a dick, look at him and walk over to throw him out but he saw Bischoff’s secretary and asked her if he could talk to Jody Hamilton to get some work at the tapings. He got to Hamilton, who wanted him to go see him on May 8th at the Power Plant but had no work for him at this taping. Hamilton called Kanyon on May 7th and asked him where he was then when Kanyon said he thought it was on the 8th when he had to be there, Hamilton told him to come in a few days. He showed up and met with Mike Winter, who he teamed with briefly as the Men at Work team. Winter worked him over for several minutes as Jody Hamilton came out and watched briefly then went back to his office. Winter then trained the others as Kanyon was walking around by himself as he had nothing to do but was looking around at all the cool shit in the building. Hamilton then wanted to see him and Kanyon went to his office and had no clue what was happening as Hamilton wrote down six dates on a piece of paper. Kanyon said that Hamilton always looks down when he talked to you and came off a bit odd. Kanyon then asked if he could come down and practice with the guys during the other dates and that got Hamilton to actually look at him as he told Kanyon that was the best thing he could have said and he got to train. After a few weeks he was working with HHH, Terry Taylor, and Chad Fortune.
Kanyon said that DDP took a liking to him and helped him out at the beginning. He also said that Disco Inferno was really nice to him as well and they became friends.
He recalls WCW doing a cross promotion with NASCAR and they were doing matches on the street but it was raining outside. Kanyon was scheduled for his first live match in a tag against the Blue Bloods. He said it was also Bischoff’s birthday and DDP invited him to a bar after the show. Kanyon said that DDP told Bichoff that he (Kanyon) might be something some day and shortly after that Kanyon was booked to face Johnny B. Badd on the Bash at the Beach preshow. Kanyon said that he was late to the show and thought the match went fine but was worried as he was late. When he went backstage, Badd thanked him for the match and then after that, Kanyon saw Bobby Heenan, who had his own dressing room, come over to him and tell him that he was going to be something in this business, which made him feel great and he was almost in tears afterwards then mentions how he was upset that Heenan buried him in his book.
Kanyon said that he thought Bischoff paid him a little less and did not give him perks like others got because of his friendship with DDP and how others would perceive him if he did. He talked about at the end of WCW, even guys coming out of the power plant were getting their cars and hotels paid for except for him and Disco. Kanyon also thought that Kevin Sullivan disliked DDP because he would push ideas on him.
On the “Who better than Kanyon” idea, DDP came to him backstage after he said it and wanted him to use it often. Heenan told him to compliment others before going into that bit but was fearful that Sullivan would get pissed if he started to do that so he decided against it, which leads Kanyon to think why Heenan buried him in his book for acting like too big of a star to listen to him. He then said that he talked to Heenan at WrestleMania XX to clear up the issue and that Heenan told him he understood.
He started to imitate DDP after he left wrestling for a bit. Kanyon said that Ed Ferrara and Disco wrote the angles for him and came up with the idea for doing Kanyon Cutters all over the place and even said that the plan was for him to do it all sorts of events like Atlanta Hawks game. Russo came back to the company and Kanyon said that they were butting heads and DDP might not have come back. Kanyon wanted Russo to drop the angle if DDP was not coming back and said that he had to man up and talk to DDP to sort things out because if he was not coming back there was no point of teasing the fans. After that, Kanyon was held off of TV for a few week then went home as he lost his grandparents and had to help out his dad.
Kanyon talks about how poor the morale was in WCW around the time the Radicals went to the WWE and a lot of the roster was calling up WWE and ECW looking for work. Kanyon said that he was going to ask for his release and even talked to Jim Ross before that and the WWE was going to offer him $400,000, a raise from his $270,000 he was making in WCW. Ross told Kanyon that he would not have to go to Developmental either. Kanyon said he went to Bill Busch, who had to go to a production assistant to find out who he was, and was told he would be seen in ten minutes. Kanyon said he was pissed and started calling Busch “Billy” and basically told him he was an idiot and how Hulk Hogan was bashing people as this was when he said that Kidman couldn’t draw anything, then told Busch that the Westminster Dog Show was going to beat them in the ratings that Monday because no one knows what the fuck they are doing. He then told Busch that he shouldn’t bother to ride coach with them on the flights in an attempt to bond because he hadn’t earned or deserved their respect. Busch said that Kanyon could not get his release then Kanyon brought up how he said in a meeting that if you were unhappy they would grant a release so he challenged Busch, who claimed he would get back to him in a week, something that Kanyon told Busch he would not do, and sure enough, Busch never got back to him.
He recalls how he came up to Hogan and asked for his release and how he thought what he did to Kidman was bullshit and hurt morale. Hogan then told Kanyon that it was a work and he would be doing something with Kidman down the line. Kanyon said that Kidman was not told that it was a work beforehand. Kanyon then told Kidman that it was a work after that, something that Hogan did not want to get out.
On the creation of the Mortis character, Kanyon said that Bischoff told him, Bryan Clark, Glacier, and Ernest Miller how the popular things were Power Rangers, Mortal Kombat, and over the top martial arts characters and thought they could revolutionize wrestling with these characters and wanted to go as far as having cartoons with them. Bischoff initially did not want Kanyon in the role but DDP pushed for him. Kanyon said that he was taking karate lessons with Glacier and Wrath to prepare for the role.
Kanyon said that Bryan Clarke as Wrath, who apparently recently buried him, would take care of him at that time because Kanyon was not making much money at all, which Clarke was pissed at WCW for doing.
He now talks about how he was Bipolar but not diagnosed at the time and said it was tough as he was untreated and he could become violent.
When asked if the nWo or anyone else tried to nix certain storylines, Kanyon was convinced that one on “WCW Saturday Night” taping, Sullivan had the Faces of Fear shoot on him and Wrath in their match as they beat the fuck out of them. Kanyon said that he did not want them to think he was a pussy but also knew they would kick the shit out of him so he hit one of them hard but not too hard. After that, they worked a program and it was fine. Kanyon also said that if the boss tells you to do something, you do it and he would have done the same thing.
Kanyon also heard a rumor that Nash nixed Wrath’s singles push. He talked about how Wrath can be difficult to get along with and believes he pissed off the Kliq while in the WWF and that was the reason why.
He talks about being gay and how he purposely acted homophobic in college so no one would know. He even dated a girl for a while so no one would think he was gay.
On helping train Kevin Greene and Steve McMichael, Kanyon said that Greene was cool but McMichael was crazy and a horrible wrestler too. He tells a story about being a bar when a girl came over petrified of McMichael, who was doing all sorts of crazy shit like snorting a line of salt and squirting the lime in his eyes then slamming his shot of tequila as hard as he could at the back of the wall and kept repeating this over and over. Kanyon did say he liked him on commentary.
When asked about Dennis Rodman and Karl Malone, Kanyon said that Malone was awesome and trained hard but Rodman fucked around until Hogan basically had to threaten him and after that Rodman was fine. Kanyon also said that Jay Leno took it seriously though.
Final Thoughts: Decent stuff so far. You can definitely see the bipolar in Kanyon here as he was hyperverbal and took the topics in many different directions. Kanyon was and at the time of this interview a die-hard wrestling fan. It seemed to mean everything to him. Kanyon was not afraid to hold back and did seem inept at handling himself backstage but not a bad guy or anything like that. Disc Two will be up tomorrow.
To close out September today and tomorrow, we’ll go with the brand split era and the Smackdown side of things. Benoit and Angle had the classics ***** encounter at Royal Rumble 2003, but before that at Unforgiven 2002, they paired off in another great match, this one has an ending that hearkens back to their WM X-7 encounter.
We get to the Invasion angle here. RVD has won the Hardcore title and puts it on the line against Jericho. RVD’s overness was evident from the get go but yet they anchored him with The Alliance. I feel Jericho was getting rather stale as a babyface here, and would in fact turn heel not long after this in his feud with The Rock. Pretty good match between the two here, maybe even forgotten since this is the show where Angle beat Austin for the title.
So how do we feel about the Roman Reigns push? Is it too soon? Think back to 2004, when it was decided to pull the trigger on a Randy Orton title run. This match is a setup for that push, prior to the title match at SummerSlam 2004. It’s a **** six-man match, easy.
It just goes to show that you never know who’s going to become a 16 time World champion in the future. Also, this was the year I was born, and Flair is STILL trying to get back into wrestling again. That should make everyone feel old.
In the beginning of the brand split, Smackdown appeared to have gotten the “wrestling” portion of the roster. It was very common for Smackdown to have awesome matches from one show to the next. Eventually, Vince and Co. determined that they would rather have RAW be both the sports entertainment AND the wrestling show, and Smackdown got the shaft in subsequent drafts
Following up on yesterday’s post, SummerSlam 2000 also gave us this great match; a 2 out of 3 Falls Match between two guys who matched up well. Jericho was the smart-ass babyface and Benoit was the ruthless all-business-in-the-ring type who happened to be a Shane McMahon associate around this time, as a stable was being built with Shane at the head, leading Benoit, Kurt Angle, The Big Show and Edge & Christian. That stable would be short-lived, however. This match is a personal favorite of mine.