I didn't expect any gratitude from The Rock, so I could hardly be disappointed. Still, it was a bitter pill when in The Rock Says ..., his best-selling autobiography, the WWF's Big Man on Canvas made absolutely no reference to me or our past association. Nowhere did he mention our time together at Colgate pursuing our doctorates in philosophy. Nothing on how it was I who suggested the subject matter for his thesis, "A conjectural dialectic regarding the effect on Rationalism of Spinoza dedicating himself to the attainment of 'six pack abs.' " And I can only suppose it was his fragile ego that prevented him from recounting my part in the unraveling of the Prussian Conundrum, wherein we conclusively demonstrated that Hegel would have easily defeated Wittgenstein in a caged match.
I was a little more surprised by Mankind's 1999 autobiography, Have a Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks. Unlike The Rock, Mankind and I weren't wet-behind-the-ears students when we met, but purveyors of professional wrestling -- he in the ring, I as a promotor/manager. Though, truthfully, it was very early in our careers. How early? Well, suffice to say he was fighting under the name Australopithecuskind. As for me, I was handling an up-and-comer called D'Ziner, the first and only wrestler to employ the gimmick of hitting an opponent not simply with a chair but with a chair upholstered in the Scotchguarded fabric of his choice. Anyway, (the future) Mankind and I crossed paths near a dressing room soda machine in Pocatello, Idaho.
He said he didn't have change; I gave him $.45 for a Mr. Pibb. So imagine how I felt when I read his book and found not one word of appreciation for my act of compassion? I mean, Jesus, what's a person have to do to get acknowledged by an numbskull like that -- donate a kidney?
I'm reminded of these past snubs because, once again, I'm being utterly, unjustly, unacceptably ignored. This time in Chyna's semi-self-penned memoir, If They Only Knew. That this wrestling giantess could overlook my contribution to her success, could disregard a personal relationship that moved far beyond wrestler/manager and into the murky, metaphoric realm of metallurgist/geologist, shocks and hurts me. I must set the record straight.
I first met Chyna shortly after she joined the WWF. (Our late mutual acquaintance and total wrestling maniac, Alec Guinness, introduced us.) Back then, in her early days, Chyna was woefully underdeveloped, somewhat isolated and unworldly, and possessed a questionable record on human rights (hence her name, I quickly surmised). But she also had an ineffable quality that intrigued me. When I told her this, she executed a punishing pile driver on me and said, "Who you callin' un-F-able, jackwad? I've been F-ed plenty." How could one not be charmed?
I took Chyna under my wing, giving her the counsel and career guidance she desperately needed. For instance, it was I who first suggested she start taking anabolic steroids (though to give credit where it's due, she came up with the idea to do workouts in conjunction with them). I convinced her that her then-tag team partner, MonstroMenstro, who billed herself as "Your Worst Bloody Nightmare," was an image liability and should be dumped. And, in 1998, I got her through a period of recurring night terrors, calmly reassuring her that no state electorate was collectively stupid enough to ever elect a professional wrestler as governor, and even if it was, that was only one sign of the Apocalypse.
Under my management, her career caught fire. She swiftly rose from undercard nobody to undercard-who-sounds-vaguely-familiar. Together, we visited dozens of venues, won hundreds of matches, rebuffed thousands of Vince MacMahon's ass-grabs. Everything was looking up. We were happy as clams reaching for the brass ring on a runaway train to the top of the ladder. Until ...
Things went topsy-turvy. Went south. Tanked. Suddenly, incomprehensively, Chyna had less use for me than Andre the Giant had for his pituitary gland. I was shut out. She brought in a new manager, some schmuck spouting platitudes about "ethics" and "integrity" and "one set of books." Before I knew it, I was gone. I'd been tossed from the ring. And onto the scrap heap of Chynese history. "What went wrong?" I kept asking myself. My only answer? She's a chick. (Though not every hormone test confirms that.)
Well, that's my story. Every word of it true. If you've enjoyed reading it, all I ask in return is that you please find a professional wrestling fan and take a few minutes to read it to him, too. ©