The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever: Chapter 5

Foreword | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6
Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12
Afterword, Acknowledgements, About the Author
 

The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View EverPicking up the pieces

Still scrambling to figure out how to get things on track, we were fortunate that next up were Sonjay Dutt and Jamin Olivencia, the two best workers, by a long shot, on the card.

Sonjay is now working in Impact Wrestling as a backstage producer and (at this writing) is the X Division champion there, after turning down an offer from WWE to go there full-time. At 35 as of this writing, it might have been Sonjay’s last chance at WWE, but he said he didn’t want to have to basically wave goodbye to his family to take the gig, a nod to WWE’s notoriously tough schedule, which has talent on the road Thursday night or Friday morning to work the weekend house shows and a monthly brand pay-per-view, then on location either Monday or Tuesday for live TV, finally getting back home Tuesday or Wednesday to rest, recuperate, catch up on laundry, get reacquainted with the family before starting it all over again.

We’d used Sonjay for all of our AWE house shows in 2011. He’s a good worker, and he also lives in Northern Virginia, so he didn’t have to drive that far to work with us, meaning we could make a mutually beneficial deal on trans, the stipend that you give to a talent for driving or flying on top of their talent fee.

Jamin was then and is now one of my favorites in the biz, though it’s likely you hadn’t heard of him until you saw his name earlier in this book.

At the time we were working with him, in 2011, Jamin was working in Ohio Valley Wrestling, which was then still a WWE developmental territory, in the days before NXT.

OVW was a feeder that groomed the likes of John Cena and Brock Lesnar on their way to the top of the wrestling world, and Jamin was on his way to a long reign as the OVW heavyweight champion.

But other than a cup of coffee in WWE, a couple of dark matches, one TV squash match, Jamin wasn’t destined to make it to the big-time. The timing just never worked out for Jamin, a small guy when he was at his career peak when WWE didn’t give small guys a second look, then a guy who had probably aged out of WWE by the time the E finally built up what it’s now calling the 205 Live division.

It’s a damn shame, because Jamin is one of the all-time good guys in the business, showing up early for every autograph signing, spending extra time with every single person in line, posing for every selfie, never complaining.

Jamin also has a damn good head for the business. He headlined a house show for us in 2017, and the angle we worked out ahead of time was to have him in a match for the AWE title, but before he could actually compete for the belt, he was supposed to get injured in an opening segment with two heels, C.W. Anderson and David Tita.

The way Marvin and I wanted it done was that it would look like he was really, i.e. not kayfabe, injured, borrowing from how WWE had Daniel Bryan leave his triple-threat world title match at WrestleMania 30 with what appeared to be a serious neck injury, only to make a shocking return later on his way to a historic victory.

So this was our plan. Jamin, day of the show, decides that the best way to sell it is for us to not even tell C.W. and David about what we were planning, so that when he went down to injury, they would look authentically shocked at what was taking place, better selling the injury to the crowd.

It worked like a charm. Even the boys were fooled, and when we sent Marvin out after the first match to inform the crowd that Jamin was on his way to the emergency room with a possible torn ACL, you could have heard a pin drop.

The card went on, with C.W., David and Sonjay in a triple-threat elimination main event, and with nobody any the wiser, with the crowd invested in what they saw in the ring, we hit Jamin’s music.

The roof almost came off the building.

That’s how you do good business in wrestling right there.

Rewind six years, and Sonjay and Jamin had fans at the AWE pay-per-view at a fever pitch. Jamin got the fall at the end of what was clearly, even then, going to be the match of the night.

By this point, we had it figured out, how we were going to account for the time lost to the early finish of Funk-Dreamer. Turns out it was Fit Finlay who would come to the rescue.

Finlay and Alex Silva were matched up in another match that I’d been excited to see play out on the live stage. Finlay was already then making the career transition to producing backstage, so pairing him up with Silva, a guy that I would have sworn in 2011 was destined for WWE, made more than a lot of sense.

We were all hoping that Finlay would carry Alex through the match to the point where either WWE or at the least TNA would text him that night and tell him to show up Monday to sign a contract.

Silva had the look of a Randy Orton physically, and his mic work showed promise. We stuck Tammy Sytch on his arm for the match with Finlay, and they looked like they had been together on TV for years. There would be more behind-the-scenes chemistry between the two later, but that’s another story for another day.

What I had hoped would be a Silva showcase match at Night of Legends, unfortunately, wouldn’t materialize, and couldn’t, because of the circumstances involving the early finish to the Funk-Dreamer match, and the quick plan we devised to account for the lost time.

The angle that we worked out was basically the old worked-shoot injury, complete with the referee giving the X signal to the back to get the medics to come out to check on Finlay, who would feign a knee injury.

This would eat up several minutes, and then give the excuse as to why Silva, the rookie, would be dominating Finlay, the grizzled veteran, thereafter, on the way to the pinfall.

The issue that would make both guys look not so good was that even after it was determined in ring, and in front of the live TV audience, that Finlay could continue, well enough was not left alone. Finlay played up the knee repeatedly through the match, causing innumerable stops and starts, killing any sense of flow.

That’s not being critical, because that was the angle, and how it had to be played out.

Basically, Fit was taking one for the team, though in the process, our guy Alex also had to take one for the team, and the guy that we had played up as being The Future of AWE left what should have been the biggest night of his wrestling career with, sure, a pinfall win over Fit Finlay, and a hot date with Tammy Sytch, but nothing to build on from there.

Oh, and a broken nose, from an accidental headbutt late in the match, that forced me into scramble mode. I mentioned earlier that all of the interview segments with Bill Apter and the faces and me and the heels had been filmed hours before the show. I was still in the tux that they’d decided needed to be the formal attire necessary to sell the big-show aspect to the proceedings, luckily, as it turned out, because the call came through my headset to grab a mic and grab Alex on his way backstage for a quick interview.

It was part time-filler, part color, with Alex’s face literally providing the color. Dude looked like he’d just crawled out of a car accident, blood streaming down his nose and splattered all over his face.

My job was to ask one question and then hold the mic, and make sure no blood got on the tux.

At least one mission got accomplished.

 
Continue reading. Go to Chapter 6.