If you were expecting to see a YouTube video of my actual birth, you won’t find it here. It was so long ago it would have had to have been on film (pre- VCR), and I don’t think my mom would have appreciated being broadcast on the internet with feet in the stirrups.
No, what I’m talking about took place in December of 1998. I was trying to get booked on “The Mighty” Angus’ show in Spooner, WI. Angus and I had gone through wrestling camp together back in 1997.
Angus said he’d like to book me, but that everyone else on his show had some kind of a “gimmick” and I didn’t. There was Farmer Mike, Playboy Pete Huge, Big Daddy Hoofer, The Masked Jungle Fighter, The High Rollers, Haystacks Ross, and others (at least I think these guys were at the Spooner show I’m thinking of and not a different show there, so let’s pretend they were). Then there was just plain old Darin Davis, with his black tank top and black tights.
Angus suggested that I pick something like a doctor. Maybe I could come out in a white lab coat or something. I figured why not, it’s only for one show anyway.
Luckily Opera Man, another guy from Ed Sharkey‘s camp, worked at the laundry in a hospital. They probably threw their scrubs out after a few washes, so they wouldn’t notice if a few were missing, would they…?
So I had the scrubs and I had the name (Dr. Darin Davis). Am I missing anything? A couple of days before the show, I was driving by Axeman Surplus on Minnetonka Blvd in St. Louis Park, MN on the way to wrestling camp. I had the idea that maybe I should see if they had any surgical gloves. Why not, it’s only for one show anyway.
They had a few that I picked up, and another one that I’ll tell you about at a different time. I was now officially a world-class surgeon. From Minneapolis. No, wait,… from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Yeah.
I rode to the show with Opera Man, who had sort of “retired” from wrestling after just a few matches and started working as referee Bob Boyer. Sharkey gave him the name. It was probably the name of some old-timey wrestler that Eddie worked with. It sounded better than most of Sharkey’s name suggestions. Usually he would say “Sammy Foreskin” when someone asked him for one. He was the one that told SPCW/SDW promoter Ed Hellier‘s son that he should go by the name “Frank Stool” when he started refereeing matches. And he used it. All Eddie’s suggestions were a “rib”, and he probably got a big kick out of it when they stuck. I don’t think anyone went with “Sammy” though.
We got to the show (I think it was the Spooner Ice Arena or Civic Center) and when they started lining up the matches, commentator and legendary wrestling personality “Slick” Mick Karch asked me, “What kind of a doctor are you?“. I was going to tell him I was a surgeon, but for some reason I responded with, “I’m a proctologist“. Why not, it’s just for one show. I’ve already got the glove.
Back in the locker room, I met my opponent, Mikey Medallion, for the first time. Mikey was going to be the “face” (the “good guy”) and I was the “heel”. I hadn’t seen him wrestle before, and he hadn’t seen me. It’s always tough the first time to figure out what kind of wrestling style a person has if you haven’t seen them wrestle. The style they say they have (cruiserweight, brawler, power, technical, etc.) might not be the same as what you think they meant. The only thing you can do is make a guess based on their size. I guessed more of a cruiserweight style, which turned out to be right.
Now comes the “fun” part. I’ve already set myself up as a proctologist, so now I have to break it to this guy that at some point that I need to figure out how to set him up for some kind of “exam”.
“Your going to do what, now?“, he said.
“I want to make it look like I’m going to examine you. You know, your… uh… prostate”, I said.
“Yeah. Like in a doctor’s office.”
“I know what your talking about. But how is that going to work?”
“I don’t know yet. How do they actually do it?”
“I don’t know man. I’m too young to know that!”
“Well, if you were bent over somehow.”
“Like after a boot to the gut or something?”
“Ok. Wait..wait. But then what happens?!?”
“Then I go in for the exam”
“Ok, but you said you look like your going to give me an exam. What stops you from actually giving me an exam?”
“Uh… I’ll have the ref stop it”
“Ok, but get him over here now. I want to make sure he knows he needs to stop it!”
I don’t think Mikey was too relaxed before the match. I could imagine him thinking that he’d talk to some wrestler a week later and they’d say, “He didn’t give you that B.S. that the ref was going to stop hit, did he? He always says that!”
The match went on pretty much without a hitch. Any men in the audience over the age of 50 started to squirm when the glove came out. Mick Karch did an excellent job as usual on commentary, building up to the unveiling of the glove by continually saying, “He didn’t say what kind of a doctor he was…” and then “Oh my God, he’s a proctologist!”
One of the equipment setups that was special for this show was that they had monitors in the locker room so the boys could see the matches. When I got back there, everyone was rolling on the floor laughing. Several people told me that I needed to use that gimmick permanently.
A great post match interview with Mick pretty much sealed the deal. The gimmick seemed to fit. I looked a lot more like a doctor than a bodybuilder or a bouncer, or a biker. It was more believable. And it worked as a heel.
I had a show a week or two later where I had to be the face. I used the same gimmick but I didn’t use the glove. “It wouldn’t work“, I said. “You can’t be a crowd favorite and do that.” I could have just tried it for one match, but I was already thinking longer term and that I was going to be doing this gimmick for a while, so I didn’t want to change anything “permanently”.
After the match, a couple people came up to me with disappointed look on their faces. “We saw you a couple of weeks ago in Spooner. Why didn’t you use the glove on that jerk? We really wanted to see him get the glove.”
Over the next couple of shows, it became clear that I had it wrong. How could you not be the “face” with a move like that. People wanted to see a heel get subjected to it more than they would a face.
For the next three years (up until I stopped actively wrestling) I used the gimmick as a face with only a couple of exceptions. The interesting thing about all of this is I would have never even tried the gimmick if I wasn’t convinced at the start that I would never do it again. I wouldn’t have gotten the bookings that I know I got because of the gimmick. I wouldn’t have people that let me know that they still have a glove I signed framed on their wall.
There’s a lesson here that that I won’t dig into too deeply since it’s not that type of a site. If you’ve ever heard of things like “30-day trials“, where you can convince yourself to try something because your only going to do it for 30 days, then you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t think about it as something permanent, you’re more willing to try it.
Anyway, hope you enjoyed the story.
[Unfortunately, I don’t have a copy of this match or the interview. If anyone knows someone that has a (probably horribly degraded) tape of the Spooner show from 12/12/98, let me know.]
Interesting story, and funny too. I got a lot of laughs watching your matches while you portrayed the “doctor” Also, I appreciated your technique and your wrestling skills.
Good to see this collection again. I enjoyed reading them again. Is lthat a sign of advanced age? Maybe.