|YESTERDAY WHEN WE WERE YOUNG|
Since the debut my website, I have endeavored to write a new story for STORY TIME once a month, in addition to my monthly story for KayFabeMemories.Com. All my stories are original and as truthful as my memory allows them to be. Keeping in line with my website’s forum, I resist revealing any information that may be of a personal nature. I certainly do not want to tell anything “out of school.”
I have received numerous emails regarding the recently released WWE Special Collector’s magazine dedicated to The Undertaker. Many question whether I personally penned the final article about The Phenom, or if it was ghostwritten. I did indeed write every word of that article during the final months of my contract with The WWE. It is as true today; as it was the day I put my words on paper.
Many comments were also made about what The Undertaker had to say about me. Due to possible copyright infringements, I cannot repeat, word for word, what Mark Calaway had to say. However, I can tell you that his words eased some pains that I had been harboring in my heart. If you haven’t had the opportunity to see this fine magazine, it is a great read that I highly recommend to every Undertaker fan. I am proud as hell to say that it was an honor to hold the ladder, while Mark climbed to the top of The WWF.
In December 1990, I was thirty-six years old when I was signed to my first World Wrestling Federation contract. I was already a fifteen-year veteran of the industry. I had been married for eleven of those years with two young boys at my heels. As The Undertaker and myself hit the road together in January 1991, little did I know that I was expected to look out for another young man in addition to my own. My job title may have been “wrestling manager”, but the invisible fine print made me one of the highest paid babysitters ever.
You must understand that Mark Calaway was receiving the proverbial torch that was being passed to him by Hulkamania. Yet, I was charged with the duty of making certain that the fire remained lit.
You can ask my parents, I have always been a perfectionist. Everything must have it’s place; from my underwear drawer, to the paperclips in my office desk. It drives my wife nutty.
So, it was only natural that when I traveled the world that I adhered to a strict itinerary. I never arrived in a city without having hotel and rental car reservations, and to say that I was a victim of habit is an understatement. In my entire 12-years with The WWF, I never missed a flight; or even received one traffic ticket. Without a doubt, I was the perfect match for Mark, because he was the complete opposite. I am not saying that I was an angel, not by a long shot. When the mood hit me, I could party with the best of them. The tall “Deadman” that I walked beside, was the proof of that.
I have so many stories that I could tell about all the fun we had together, traveling the world all those years as “the duo from the darkside.” Hindsight being 20/20, at the time I wasn’t the one who was really having all the fun. I was always worried about, cars, hotels, planes, and things. Many times, by choice, I would stay behind in the room just to be sure that one of us was awake when we needed to be the next morning.
O.K., you will get one story out of me. We were finishing up a tour on the east coast of Florida. We were all going home the next morning, and “The PartyTaker” wanted to go out on the town. Being the opposite, I wanted to be fresh for my arrival in Sweet Home Alabama.
The rental car was in my name, and I was always worried that something would happen and I would be responsible for it. Anyway, PT (PartyTaker) took the car and promised he would be back at the hotel in plenty of time for me to catch my flight home the next morning.
I got my usual two-hour before the flight, wake up call. I showered, finished packing, and checked out at the front desk. If I called Mark’s room once, I called it a hundred times; obviously he wasn’t back yet, because I couldn’t find the car either. I was pulling my hair out! The sun was coming up, and I figured I would just catch the airport shuttle, when I started to hear tires screeching. It might as well been the “bong” of our ring entrance music, because I knew who it was.
Finally, my rental car slammed to a halt in front of our hotel and there he was. What a sight to see, red hair and all, grinning like a mule eating briars. He knew I was hot too, and he loved it. “I told you I’d be back before your flight left.” I didn’t say a word, as I grabbed the keys, tossed my luggage into the backseat and flew out of the parking lot. You just had to be there.
By the way, do you think there was any gas in the car? Please…it was sitting on “E”. Ahhhh… Oh yes, those were the days.
Join me next time right here in STORY TIME, for the continuing saga of Percy Pringle III, also known as The WWF character Paul Bearer.