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BRUCE MITCHELL FEATURE
Original Headline: "Chris Jericho In The Smoky Mountains: Another View"
Original Publish Date: December 22, 2007
Pro Wrestling Torch Newsletter #1003
Note: I've known K.C. O'Connor for twenty years, since the days when he was a teenager and a part of the "Front Row, Section D" regulars who faithfully attended the monthly wrestling shows at the Greensboro Coliseum in the '80s until the early-'90s. K.C. fit right in with us and had a real ringside ability to get under the skin of wrestlers like the late Eddie Gilbert and Ron Simmons (Psycho Sid Eudy once hocked a loogie at him after K.C. accurately critiqued his wrestling ability). K C. was more than just another smart-ass, though. It turned out he was, and is, a real student of the sport.
Jim Cornette was so impressed after spending just a couple of hours watching a Clash of the Champions with him one night (the old TBS two hour WCW wrestling specials - kind of a quarterly predecessor to Monday Night Raw) that he hired K.C. to be one of his assistants in his fledgling Smoky Mountain Wrestling promotion. K.C. had never worked a day in the pro wrestling business before Cornette gave him the job.
He moved to Tennessee shortly after and spent a few years driving up and down the two-lane highways and dirt roads for Cornette, doing every behind the scenes dirt job there was to do for the promotion. I even spent a week traveling with him, attending the Smoky Mountain Wrestling "Bluegrass Brawl" in Pikeville, Kentucky - featuring the Final Conflict Loser Leave Town Cage Match between Jim Cornette's Heavenly Bodies and the Rock & Roll Express. It was one of the best, hottest shows I ever attended. K.C., the ringside attendant that night, even knocked Cornette down at the cage door at the climax of the match, saving the day for Ricky 'n' Robert, which was a little ironic seeing as Jimmy Del Ray of the Heavenly Bodies was one of his roommates.
Then one day he called to tell me that Cornette had just attacked his car with a baseball bat, something about a dispute over back pay and a video camera.
K.C. is now a successful real estate broker in Wyoming and recently emailed me asking for some book and DVD recommendations. I had just finished Jericho's memoir and told him he ought to get it first, since K.C's name was actually on the lease of the apartment in Morristown that Chris Jericho lived in while in SMW and described so vividly in the book.
A week and a half later, I received the following email:
I'm 270 pages into Jericho's book, up till his working in WAR.
If the chapters on his time in SMW are any indication, he's taken as many creative liberties in his memoirs as every other bullshit artist before him.
I couldn't care less that he says the house was Anthony's, (Anthony Michael, one of the original Dudleys in ECW) when Anthony moved in with me after Del Ray moved out. It's irrelevant that he thinks he was invited to stay in my house and Rex and Bruiser weren't. Corny was the one who asked me, not Brian Hildebrand. Brian had his own place and said, "no," when Corny asked him to put Jericho up.
***image1***It's flat out false that he almost came to blows with Bruiser and Bruiser liked him. He piped off one time in the car and Bruiser shut him up with one line, end of story. I mean, really, we're supposed to believe he was gonna challenge Bruiser f---ing Bedlam to a fight over dirty dishes? Please! Whenever Bruiser went back to Hamilton for a few days, he made it clear to me that I could use his Jeep, but Chris wasn't allowed to touch it.
Bruiser particularly thought Jericho was the one guy in the locker room that would be voted most likely to "Honk On Bobo." (I will give Y2J for reminding me of that K9 classic, as I'd forgotten that one...) Bruiser especially thought Jericho was a piece of shit when he wouldn't cover me one night at Subway, when Chris was pulling down $900 a week while I was driving him around without being reimbursed for gas, and I was making $150 a week.
He never drove Murdoch around. That was my responsibility, to chauffeur Capt. Redneck. Jimmy would never ask his hot young babyface to drive his guest lead heel around for the tour. Kayfabe, ya know? Jericho heard me and Del Ray telling the story at home of tossing the beer bottles out the window as we were the ones in the car with Murdoch every night.
Same for the roaches in Boo's (Balls Mahoney) bed. He must have heard that from Anthony after he left, because Boo came in after Jericho was gone. And it was Anthony and D-Lo (Brown) that found the roaches. I was gone by then, too, and I left six months after Chris.
He didn't tape Corny at the drive thru, either, although he was in the car that night. J.R. Benson and Ron Hed, the sickies from CA, taped it. The Strange Kentucky People tape is 100 percent true. Even down to R&R and Jesus pics in the living room. Scariest thing I've ever seen.
I'm glad he admitted he had a shit attitude and f---ed Jimmy by not working the gimmick tables. He took, mocked, and gave nothing back to the company. Lance at least stuck around and worked with Brian Lee for $150 a night that summer. And Morristown wasn't a dry county; he just wouldn't go out with us. Del Ray and I invited him several times to the club in Mo-town, where we both got drunk and laid often. Even the Macho Man hit the club with us, but not Chris.
Yes, their videos did nothing for them. They were abysmal in theory and in fact.
Yes, the penalty box matches were a stupid idea and poorly executed.
Yes, he did skip a show one-night claiming car troubles when he really went to Nashville for a KISS reunion concert.
Yes, he used steroids. I saw the needles in his room and heard him talking to Bruiser about getting more.
Yes, he did kick it with a vampire stripper at the Mouse's Ear. Anthony and I goaded him all night to approach her. It was the only girl we saw him talk to the whole time we were there. He did leave with her.
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