-What do we have? I almost have this Grizzly guy tracked down. I have a lead on a bouncer who uses a cane to get around. He’s been arrested for hitting people with it.
-We have a murder, a stabbing. The victim went by the name of Mickey Von Hess. That probably wasn’t his real name, but his wrestling name. His real name might be Michael Schmidt. Victim was stabbed in the showers of the Montreal Forum. Took place on June Twenty-Fourth, Nineteen Seventy-Seven.
-Cold Fucking case man. Well a murder in another jurisdiction beats an assault in another jurisdiction. I’ll call the Mounties, see what they have on it.
-Yeah. I’m not sure if anyone was ever fingered for this case.
-He hasn’t gotten to that yet?
-It should be coming soon. I told O’Reilly to rattle his cage a little.
-Crap. I’m going to call the Canucks anyway, see what the official record has to say. At the worst, it’ll give us a way to checking his story, see how badly he’s jerking our chain.
-OK Captain, I’ll let you know if anything else comes up.
Chapter Twenty-One: “Peeling the Onion”
-The thing about any really good wrestling story is that getting to the truth is like peeling an onion. You start out with a dirty outer layer of bullshit and as you peel back the layers you get closer and closer to the truth and the truth starts to hurt your eyes and the tears start to come, but you just keep on peeling until you’re left with nothing but a peeled onion and the truth just kind of escapes or disappears.
That would be your story of Mickey right there.
Mickey and Darryl and Von Hess all got in a couple – a few days earlier. It must have been a Tuesday morning, because they were wrestling that whole week and we were going to do the switch on the following Tuesday. I met them at the airport in this beat up old Chrysler that I had been nursing along trying to keep it on the road ‘cause I couldn’t afford to buy a new one. Not too far from where I was about a year ago only a year ago I was nursing a Chevy instead of a Chrysler. Anyway, we worked out the plan for the switch of the title. We were doing shows on the weekend throughout Quebec to introduce Mickey and build to the big show on the Tuesday. The basic idea was that to get to Le Patriote, Mickey would have to fight his way through me. Not because I was an ally of Le Patriote but because I wanted the title as well. It would give me a chance to test out my Rattler persona, which at the time was all fresh, minty and new. Plus, I would cost Le Patriote the title giving us a reason to have a feud afterwards.
We were doing two shows at the Forum on Tuesday, one in the afternoon and one in the evening. The plan was for me to fight Mickey in the morning and lose, giving Mickey the shot at the title in the evening. Anyway, the Rattler was supposed to be a heel, a dangerous fucking guy, you know, but the Quebec crowds for some reason have always cheered for him. Plus I was the local guy and Mickey was the outsider, so after our first match in Trois-Rivieres, Mickey and I just decided to say Fuck it and make me the face – the hero - and him the heel. Just to make the topsy-turvy stuff weirder, Darryl was getting face pops – the crowd was cheering for him and he was wrestling Le Monstre who was also a local boy, but for sing cheered against Darryl. Quebec crowds are just odd.
By the time we hit Montreal, Mickey had worked out a tight little match. I mean I was green as grass, but I could bump, always my saving grace, so Mickey just took me by the hand and beat the shit - the ever-loving shit out of me – giving me a few hope spots here and there until the end of the match when it looked like I actually had a chance against Mickey until he low-blows me and pulls the tights for the win. So he leaves me folded up in pain in the ring and walks out flipping off the Forum crowd who are going mental… and then someone who has just been pushed to the edge by the match comes after Mickey with a knife.
So that’s your first – your outer layer of the onion – the story going that some nutcase with a knife attacked Mickey, sticking the knife in his side and when he got back to the showers, Mickey pulled the knife out and bled out in the shower. That story is pretty much bullshit. Somebody did try and stick Mickey, but Mickey took the knife away from him and broke the sorry son of a bitch’s wrist in the process. Then the police grabbed the dumb mother-fucker who’s howling about his broken wrist and swearing that he’s going to sue, and the police dragged him to the back and beat the shit out of him, sent him to the hospital with broken ribs and some busted teeth and told him that if he made any trouble that they would finish the job. The cops in Montreal were always a little brutal – still are – but in the Seventies they made the LAPD look like choir angels. Not that I’m complaining much, you understand, anyone who gets in the ring or takes a swing at a wrestler or who pulls a knife deserves what they get from my point of view.
Anyway, first layer of the story a fan stabs Mickey – he pulls the knife out, and bleeds to death. Second layer – also crap – a variation – fan stabs Mickey, Mickey gets to the back to the showers – Martin – Le Patriote he pulls out the knife and Mickey bleeds to death in his arms. Now, the ending of that story is getting closer to the truth because Mickey did bleed to death in Rene Martin’s arms. I should know, I was the one that ran for the ring doctor when I found them together with a bunch of the other guys who cam running when Rene started screaming.
Which leads us nicely to the next version of the story – that Rene Martin stabbed Mickey Von Hess, left him for dead in the shower and then came back to retrieve the knife, pulled it out which revived Mickey just long enough for the two to struggle in the shower and for Rene to scream for help, bringing a bunch of us to watch Mickey bleeding to death and thrashing as he died.
Now, even that story has layers because the main version of that story is – man sleazy, I tell you – the main version of that story says that Mickey and Rene were fighting over a twelve year old ring rat who gave outstanding blow-jobs.
-That’s disgusting. Is that true?
-She did give outstanding blow-jobs. Not that Rene would have cared, I mean he never would have turned down a free hummer, but he was much more likely to be interested in getting one from a guy.
-Is there much pedophilia in wrestling? Or was there?
-OK, look, I know that it’s wrong. But it’s not like any of the wrestlers were going around around chasing under-age tail. Not in Quebec anyway. You would just be sitting backstage, trying to catch your breath and suddenly this girl would in front of you on her knees sucking your dick. And sure you could push her off and maybe I should have a few times, but you’ve just finished a twenty-minute match and you’re sore and tired and exhausted and she’s good you know. Fuck, it’s not that much different in Quebec now, there are politicians and Disc Jockeys and TV producers all being raked over the coals for being with under-age pussy and the media is all in an uproar about their victims. And I’m sure some of them were, but some of them were girls who wanted something and went out and took it.
I mean it depends on the wrestler. I’m sure that there are just as many kinks in non-wrestlers as there are wrestlers. The difference in wrestlers is that we do so much fucked-up shit in the ring that when it comes to sex, we just can’t be bothered to hide it. I mean, fuck, I remember that week with Mickey and Darryl, I brought Mickey to introduce him to Le Monstre, Darryl had gone to talk to some one about stretching to help a fucked up back and Von Hess was talking to the promoter. So we go up to Le Monstre’s room and walk in and Le Monstre is sitting naked underneath this glass table stroking his dick and you know there was a bit of a wrestler in-joke about Le Monstre’s name you know. I mean he was a guy that wasn’t afraid to swing his dick in the locker room and he had no reason to be shy and every reason to be proud you know. So there’s Le Monstre stroking his dick under this glass table and on the table is this gorgeous stacked blonde wearing nothing but high heels, squatting on the glass table shitting on it. Mickey takes one look and goes running for the toilet to throw up.
-What did you do?
-Oh, I stayed to watch.
Any way, there’s a kink for every fucking one in wrestling. There are the guys who need to be strangled to get a hard-on; there are guys who prefer men, guys who prefer both sexes - sometimes at the same time. Guys who need to be beaten, guys who need to be in control, the whole nine fucking yards. Most guys though, there too tired to be chasing, they just let it come to them and for your average ring rat, it’s the wrestler that’s a fucking fantasy made flesh. I mean these women have very specific ideas as to what they want, you understand and most of us wrestlers as long as we’re getting some, could care less about the how. It’s like in Bull Durham; guys will put up with anything if they think that it's foreplay? Most wrestlers even more so. To your average Ring Rat, we’re big dumb walking dildos.
And it’s weird how it changes from place to place. I mean there are exceptions everywhere, but depending on where you are, you would be amazed how different parts of the country… women want different things. Quebec is known for amazing blow-jobs. New York and LA, the women are all into dress-up. Pittsburgh for some reason, the women are all into anal sex. Cincinnati – threesomes – I don’t get it but the rats like to tag team a wrestler there. Odessa, down in Texas, weirdest fucking thing, there was a ring rat who would jump me after each show and she somehow had her period synchronized with the shows. Wasn’t perfect but seven times out of ten when I hit Odessa by the end of the night I was parting the Red Fucking Sea.
Chapter Twenty-Two: “The Death of Mickey”
-As fascinating as all of this is, could we get back to Mickey’s death.
-Oh, yeah, sure sorry. Yeah, so Rene Martin would never have stabbed Mickey over a rat. Wouldn’t happen. But his belt? To avoid handing over his belt? Maybe. In any case, Mickey gets rushed to the hospital, but that’s just for appearances, the fact is Mickey died in that shower. And now things break out of control in the back. The promoter is tearing his hair out. Darryl, who was busy helping someone with their back, well he’s freaking out and he has to be pulled off Le Patriote – takes five six guys to do it. Darryl is swearing at him and Rene keeps shouting in French, “C’est pas ma faute, c’est pas ma faute” It’s not my fault, it’s not my fault, you know. Chaos reigns.
At which point, Bill Clancy Jr., he’s there to help the Quebec fed, he’s been sent there for some seasoning by Old Man Clancy, help with the booking some learn how things work and do some scouting at the same time – that sort of thing. Anyway, Junior cuts right to the heart of things and asks what are we going to do in the main event and the first thing that he can think of is to offer the title Darryl… Darryl does not respond well to this offer. On the plus side, it does distract him from Rene, but Darryl almost kills Junior and when he calms down enough, he walks out on the tour right there and then and grabs Von Hess and heads for the hospital.
Option number two is me. Not to win the belt, but to come out and fight “Le Patriote” at which point Junior announces that since everyone is going to learn about Mickey at some point, we might as well make it a part of the story line right away. I am told to go out and cut a promo where I accuse Rene of killing Mickey to hold on to his belt. I’ll fight him and lose, but put on the good fight. Rene will go to Toronto and drop the title to Carl Brewer who was scheduled to lose to Mickey in his first title defence. That way we still have the feud between me and Le Patriote for the summer only now it’s built on something that really happened and we are guaranteed that people will come out.
So, once again, Darryl has a match and a feud torn away from him and given to someone else. Mind you, in this case, he actually had the chance to safely refuse the match. Imagine turning down the chance to be champion of the world. And this is the thing. Once you have been offered that title and you turn it down the odds are pretty good that you wouldn’t be offered that chance again.
I have always felt guilty about that weekend. I mean, there was nothing that I could have done to save Mickey, but afterwards. I mean here is where wrestling is such a fucking topsy-turvy upside down bullshit industry. Here’s Darryl, he walks away from the whole thing, honours his best friend, his “brother” refuses to have anything to with the whole ball of wax that got Mickey killed. To this day Cage refuses to return to Montreal. And for doing the right thing, Cage is painted as a troublemaker some one who doesn’t get it, someone who doesn’t understand that the show has to go on. Your best friend gets stabbed in the shower and bleeds to death – you’re supposed to just suck it up and walk out there with a goofy smile on your face – assuming that you’re a good guy.
Meanwhile, I am beating Le Patriote’s ass from one end of Quebec to another, taking revenge for Mickey’s death – or at least that’s what we tell the fans. Truth is in order to have a good match, I am working hand to hand with the man who was the last to see Mickey alive. Show the theatre is that I am doing the right thing while the reality is that I am working arm in arm, hand in fucking hand with the man who is most likely Mickey’s killer.
And because I am working with Bill Junior, he ends up seeing that I have a feud with the twins in Puerto Rico which leads to them raving about me to their Pops and he takes that along with the recommendation from Junior whose judgement he doesn't quite trust but the twins convince him… which is why when I come back to Quebec from Puerto Rico there is a ticket waiting for me for St-Louis. I want out of Quebec because the whole feud with Le Patriote left me feeling dirty, well dirtier than usual, so I jump on the chance to leave Quebec and I walk right into St-Louis breaking with the NWA and getting two TV shows a week.
So, to wrestling fans in Quebec, it looks like I did the right thing and got rewarded for it. When the truth is I got rewarded for covering up Mickey’s murder with bullshit. And Darryl, for doing the right thing, well he was sent out to exile, he was sent out to wander the desert.
Brian Popkin, in his column "The Ultimate Fan", regrading the Ultimate Warrior, says ------------------- If you'd like to visit his home unannounced you can go to his listed address at 8711 E. Pinnacle Peak Rd. #185 Scottsdale, AZ 85255.