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The Whole never told backstage story of the Acolytes vs Public Enemy
One of the stories about Ron Simmons and I this is always told is about our match with Public Enemy-however, the backstage behind the scenes story has never been told-so here it is.
Too much info to go into here, but the Acolytes were just kinda in space at this time. Not pushed but not buried either. I have written a lot about Vince Russo not caring for us and he was head of creative so we were just in limbo at this time and we really didn’t care about much.
Acolytes versus Public Enemy
Public Enemy (PE) was the favorite of Terry Taylor-the Red Rooster. Terry Taylor had as much or more heat than any of the boys in history. The Red Rooster was a rib; they wanted him walking through airports moving his head back and forth like a chicken. It was a rib from the office to put him in the gimmick to begin with. I can’t think of anyone in history that had more heat than the Rooster.
Before I arrive in WWE the boys, allegedly, had cut up the Rooster’s suit for being a stooge. What did he do? He stooged the rib, that’s why he had monster heat.
Terry was not a bad worker, he was actually pretty good. He just had more heat than a supernova star. He is the classic ‘stooge’. I had always hated stooges and so Terry and I never got along-I am sure the feeling was mutual. He was brought in by Vince Russo.
Russo thought all southerners sounded stupid-he said this when he wanted JR taken off of TV, he didn’t like me. But in fairness, I didn’t like him either. Problem when the Red Rooster came in was now two guys in creative didn’t like me-wonderful. It made for long TV days.
When Public Enemy came in there had been no table matches in WWE. Diesel had put Shawn Michaels through a table at the end of a great match and was the first time (to my knowledge) a table had been used in such a prominent way.
Public Enemy was coming in to do a table match with the Acolytes. I don’t think PE were bad guys, I didn’t know them well. I think PE had learned from Rooster and had gotten heat just because of the association.
We were scheduled to put PE through a table on TV to start the feud. Rooster argued that they should go over on us, that was shot down (not by us, we never said a word-not sure who did it).
That day at TV in Pittsburgh PE arrived around 530p, talent was supposed to arrive at 1p. They walked in like they owned the place. We all thought at the time it was a lack of respect. In hindsight, I think they didn’t know any better and probably meant nothing by it.
The pre match meeting didn’t go well; they didn’t want to put us over. We never objected to anything. We didn’t care, we weren’t getting pushed and it’s not like we were saints it just didn’t matter to us.
They finally agreed to go through the table at the end and for us to get DQ’d-setting up the feud and first ever table match in WWE.
As we were standing in Gorilla (curtain right before ring entrance) the music was playing and one of them said to me “We don’t like the table spot, we will do something different”. I just said OK-what was I to say?
The table was the finish-I have no idea what they wanted to do. Ron turned to me and asked what happened. When I told him, he calmly replied, “If they don’t want to go through the table then we’ll take the table to them.”
Gerry Brisco was the only person in Gorilla, this match was for “Sunday Night Heat” and came straight to me alarmed and asked if we were putting them through the table. My response, “Yes, I just don’t know if it will take 15 seconds or 15 minutes”. Gerry said to me that we were to get the proper finish done.
We didn’t know what to expect. We didn’t know if we were walking into a ‘shoot’ or what we were walking into. We decided to get our heat from the start. We took over on them and you can see for yourself in the video. Or ask Jimmy Corderas the ref-who knew nothing of the finish change. Hearing Jimmy’s side is pretty funny, because he was expecting a completely different match.
We destroyed them.
The video is the only one I can find and is edited down at http://www.johnlayfieldshow.com/wrestling-videos.html
This match was supposed to be a regular match-we used chairs, stairs and anything else we could find. Corderas finally DQ’s us. The match in the video is edited heavily; it actually went on for some time.
They did go through the table.
In their defense they met us in the back and shook our hands and said “Thanks”. Like I said, I don’t think they were bad guys-I don’t think they knew better. I don’t know-because that was our only dealings with them.
I can say this for 100% sure; they were not brought in to just be destroyed by us and fired. This event happened and changed everything. No one had told us to do anything-the finish was changed right before the match, by them and no one else, and we took it personally.
Kurt Angle had written in his book about this match. This was his first pro wrestling match to attend with his wife. Karen turned to him after this match and said that he would never go into this profession. For some reason the lawyers for his book edited this story out-Kurt told me later they never explained why.
A week later or so PE was released. I assume when the ‘office’ had heard they tried to change the finish that was the reason-I was never told, just my assumption.
I don’t think Terry Taylor ever forgave us, he didn’t last much longer after that either. I wish Terry well and am sorry about the passing of his wife. We didn’t get along on any level-but time heals all and I have no ill feelings for him nor toward Russo, we all change hopefully and I certainly have (hopefully for the better). I wish them both well.
A funny story is the Dudley’s came in from ECW right after this to work with us. They had no idea why this whole thing happened, we never really cared enough to tell our side so they didn’t know if we were the bad guys or what exactly happened.
The first match with Dudley’s where they ran in on us; Bubba hit me so hard with a 2X4 in my back that I lost all feeling in my hands and feet-we immediately admired the way they took it to us. A week later we got our receipt-they got up laughed, shook our hands and we and the Dudley’s became close friends. Two great guys that Ron and I enjoyed both being around and working with.
The Dudley’s told the story that coming in after PE-they had no idea what to expect. But as Herman Cain would say about the Dudley’s and PE-it’s like comparing apples and oranges, the Dudleys went on to become one of if not the Greatest Tag Team of all time based upon their longevity and titles (Only Road Warriors can argue for more titles are length of their run).
Bubba Dudley hanging out of a car going 60-80 mph while Devon drove to open our door and surprise us is a different story for a different time.
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