Being based in Cincinnati, many of us would get bookings in neighboring cities like Lexington, Columbus, and Indianapolis. Indianapolis, of course, has a rich history of pro wrestling dating back to the days of Dick the Bruiser. In fact, Roger Ruffen, my mentor, wrestled for Bruiser many times when he was starting out and has some great stories.
One night, The Monster Abyss – known then as Prince Justice – had a match with a wrestler named Nick Rivers. Rivers was an athletic youngster who had a short run with the NWF Heavyweight Title back when Justice, Wildcat Chris Harris, and Rob The Bomb Williams all started taking bookings in Nashville and Atlanta on the weekends leaving Ruffen with a depleted roster and opportunities for new talent to start to shine.
Abyss and Rivers had good chemistry. But, it was hard to have a bad match with Abyss. Perhaps the best big man I’ve ever seen work, he doesn’t get enough credit for his athleticism. More than that, he is one of the best wrestling minds working today. He and Rivers hooked it up in a very entertaining match on this particular night that involved ref bumps, manager involvement (from Sin D, the First Lady of the NWF), and on this particular evening, a whole lot of blood.
Too much, really. Somehow Abyss got a ton of color. So much color that the wound continued to seep long after the match was over. He patched himself up with a giant white bandage taped to his forehead.
It was tradition for the boys to find an Applebee’s after every show. I liked it because of the half-price late night appetizers. Roger and the rest of the crew liked whatever happy hour discount there was on beer.
As we were all enjoying the food and the beer and each other’s company, Abyss was laughing. He’s a scary man, no doubt, but also one of the most entertaining people in the business. And he loves to laugh. And on this night, as he laughed, blood seeped harder into his bandage. That white bandage was soon turning red. Blood was tricking down his face as he dug into his meal. He ended up asking for extra napkins to continue soaking up the blood that was oozing out of his head. Our poor server was traumatized for life.
The next day one of our fellow crew, a wrestler named Taxi, was getting married. It was one of those long, formal Catholic ceremonies. Taxi and his wife were seated on the stage on a bench while the priest performed his various ceremonial duties. And there was Abyss, seated towards the front of the church, with a new white bandage on his head.
Taxi is still my favorite person to make laugh. His full-bodied guffaws are infectious. And the poor man was sitting next to his bride in front of all their family and friends staring right at the forehead of the giant Abyss, with his white bandage that was still seeping blood two days after his match. Taxi started to giggle. And so did Abyss. Their wives were mortified, I’m sure. The rest of us were very entertained.
I’ll never forget the weekend Abyss bled forever.
Tags: Abyss, getting color