We announced on Bloodstream amongst many other things that Beef Wellington would be fighting Lightning Mike Quackenbush in a match that we could only call: Beef vs. Quack. Of course as soon as we release Bloodstream, Quack calls us to tell us that after the back injury that he suffered during the Chikara Tag Team Tournament that he won’t be able to wrestle for us on Saturday.
One of the biggest distinctions between boxing and wrestling (besides the obvious) is that all boxers choose from the same complement of moves. Southpaws may come at you from a different direction, but all boxers use the same punches - jabs, hooks, crosses, uppercuts - that all boxers have used for generations. No one expects Arturo Gatti to invent a new punch, just that he will land more on his opponent and make his opponent miss.
Wrestlers, on the other hand, are expected to have a unique repertory of moves. Some moves, obviously, will be used by most wrestlers, but even a simple move like an arm-bar can have a surprising number of variations. The greater impact of the move, the more the audience expects the move to be unique. In fact, wrestlers are expected to have "signature" moves to identify them as well as "finishers" - moves that more often than not finish their opponents and win them the match. And because wrestling is theatrical in nature, the best signature moves, the best finishers are expressions of a wrestler's personality.
But, how does a wrestler find these unique expressions of their personality made flesh in a throw or a hold? Well, I can only speak for what I have seen and hope that the specific will illuminate the general. I am fortunate that in Montreal, I have seen the birth of a number of moves that have become, within the limited circles of independent wrestling, favourites of the fans. I have witnessed the birth of the Unpredictable Motion, the Package Pile-Driver, the Top Rope Brain-Buster, but no move electrifies a crowd more, no move is a better extension of the wrestler's personality than Beef Wellington's Top Rope Ass Punch.
I was there, in the studio, the day that Beef threatened to create the most devastating finisher in wrestling history; I was there when Beef first used the move; I was in the hospital for the aftermath; I was there when the follow-up match was signed; and I was there when it became obvious that Beef would be forever identified with the Ass Punch. So, I am well placed to tell the story. But really, this is Beef Wellington's story and he should be the man to tell it.
Beef has done several interviews, but he has never told the full story of the Ass Punch. Perhaps, because the interviewer did not know the right questions to ask; perhaps because they did not realize how vital the story of the Ass Punch was; perhaps because they were not very good at doing interviews.
No matter, because a few months ago, I was given by an IWS fan from Texas, a tape of an interview that Beef did on cable access show in El Paso with the Mayor of Tijuana that Beef must have given while visiting El Generico's family.
(This visit has acquired a certain mythic status with IWS fans. Beef refuses to discuss it in detail, but from time to time he drops the odd chance remark that gives one the idea that the visit was like an episode of Perfect Strangers shot live and on location in Mypos. As an example, when I went to pick up Beef at the airport when he came back from this trip, he refused to give me any details of the trip beyond this sparse and honestly bizarre conversation: "So Beef, why are you back two days early?" "Don't get me started. Generico has been trying to set me up with his sister the entire time." "Is she pretty?" "I have no idea. She wears a mask." "Does she wrestle?" "No, she teaches third grade at the local Elementary." "Well, then why does she wear a mask?" "The entire family wears masks. It's some lucha libre traditional shit. I don't want to talk about it." As I have said before, the Beef Wellington and El Generico roommate situation is like an Eighties sit-com...)
Sadly, I no longer have a copy of this tape because I played it so often trying to recap the interview that the tape eventually snapped, from the grinding sounds ruining my VCR in the process, although I am not certain of that because when my VCR stopped grinding, it caught on fire. On the bright side, by this point I had a fairly complete transcript. I would love to have another copy of the interview, but, unfortunately, the IWS fan from Texas who sent me the tape originally, a TV program director for a cable access channel, died suddenly during rehearsals for a children's hospital charity variety show. From what I have been able to gather, he was killed while trying to work out the blocking of the grand finale involving a couple of hung-over dwarves, a one-armed chain-saw juggler, a fire-breather with the hiccoughs and, tragically, an obese unicycle-riding stripper with an inner-ear infection.
It appears that the Mayor of Tijuana does a weekly show, in Spanish, on the El Paso cable access channel. When Beef came to visit El Generico's family, he was shanghaied to be the Mayor's guest. While the Mayor asked questions in Spanish and Beef answered in English, for clarity I have removed the remarks of the translator.
I would also like to point out that some additional Spanish translation was provided by the IWS' Official Translator, the Renaissance Man, Peter LaSalle. I refuse to guarantee the accuracy of these translations since Peter insisted on doing them as "Senor Weences Generico" in a horribly distorted Senor Weences voice.
All of which is to say that the following can only be called...
When We Were Marks Beef Wellington and the Secret Origin of the Ass Punch
MoT: It is our esteemed pleasure to have with us in the studio, the roommate of Tijuana's favourite son El Generico, none other than Senor Beef Wellington. Senor Beef, let me begin by asking you... Are you related to the famous Biff Wellington of Calgary Stampede?
BW: That question follows me everywhere I go. If there is one thing in my career that I could take back it would be when I was standing in the back of the IWS dressing room and Manny came up to me and said, "You're on in twenty minutes. What do we call you?" I didn't want to use Gorgeous Neil, the name Jacques gave me and I was hungry, so I found myself saying "Beef Wellington". It was only months later that I found out about the guy from Stampede, but by that point the name was so over in Montreal that I was stuck with it.
MoT: By Jacques, you are referring to your trainer Jacques Rougeau Jr., the famous Mountie?
BW: Yeah. We had left Jacques to come to the IWS, partly because we loved what we saw at the IWS shows, partly because we just wanted to wrestle more. I mean, Jacques did give us a chance to wrestle in front of 10, 000 people and I will always be grateful for that, but Double K and I made a decision that we needed to leave if we were going to get better.
MoT: Ah Double K, the villainous yet good looking Kid Kamikaze. You both started training with Jacques Rougeau Jr. at the same time?
BW: Yeah. I met Double K playing football, a sport where he specialized in vicious illegal tackles by the way... anyway Double K had heard that Jacques had a training school and he convinced me to sign up with him. Plus, if I remember correctly he got me to pay his entrance fee since he was short... and son-of-a-bitch, I just realized that he never paid me back. Bastard!
MoT: Yes, the treachery of tag partners. Senor Beef, although we have never had the chance to see you wrestle, we do hear things and what we hear about you is that you are famous all over the world for your Top Rope Donkey Punch.
BW: Ass Punch.
MoT: As you say, Ass Punch. Now if I understand this move correctly, you climb to the top rope and punch a man in his Ass is that so?
BW: Yeah. It's a pretty simple move... to describe anyway.
MoT: Yes. Is it customary for Montreal Wrestlers to bring their Ass to the ring?
BW: (Laughing) Well, it's not like they can leave it in the backstage!
MoT: Yes, I see. But Senor Beef does this move not seem needlessly cruel?
BW: Wrestling is a cruel business.
MoT: This is so true, and so often forgotten. But Senor Beef, although the Ass has an unfortunate reputation for being stubborn and inflexible with the right coaxing, a friendly relaxed attitude, and proper petting, el Burro can be a responsive and pliable servant.
BW: You should really meet Joey FitzMorris, he is the only guy that I know of that speaks of another man's Ass the way that you do.
MoT: IWS Commissioner Joseph FitzMorris? HACK PATOOIE (He spits) That racist bigot is a member of the SPCA?
BW: Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Anuses?
MoT: Is that a Teddy Hart Fan Club?
MoT: I am sorry Senor Beef but I find it hard to believe that the notorious bigot Joseph FitzMorris is a protector of dumb animals. From what I can tell his only interest is baby oil and the pinching of young men's bottoms.
BW: I think we have a translation problem somewhere...
(At this point my notes for the transcript become somewhat useless, partly because there is not much dialogue, partly because chaos breaks out for the next five minutes as the translation confusion is worked out with the help of a visiting guest lecturer on linguistics from the University of Tokyo; a nun, a rabbi and a terminal cancer patient investigating miracle cures; El Generica's entire third grade Elementary class; a live donkey; a NFB wildlife documentary; the show's producer; a touring cast of Cats; the Jamaican Olympic Bobsled team and an impromptu game of Pictionary. It is probably the fact that I replayed this segment close to a hundred times for LaSalle that the tape eventually snapped and burned.)
MoT: Let me see if I understand properly... You are not punching a wrestler’s pet burro? You climb to the top rope and then you punch a man in his... bottom?
BW: By Jove I think he's got it.
MoT: Hmmm... interesting. From what I hear, you seem to have some success with this move. Could you explain why the move is so effective?
BW: Well, I think that the best moves in wrestling are the ones where you simultaneously connect with your audience and humiliate your opponent. Look at the People's Elbow. All that running around doesn't make the move any more effective physically, although tearing off the elbow pad helps a little I suppose. But psychologically, that move gets into your brain. It's like the Rock is trying not just to beat your body, but your brain as well. The whole point is that the move is supposed to humiliate you, and getting angry, losing your cool... all of that plays right into the Rock's hands. Same thing with the Ass Punch, only the Ass Punch is more painful than the People's Elbow any way you look at it.
MoT: How do you know that the Ass Punch is more painful than the People's Elbow? Have you done tests?
BW: No, but it stands to reason, don't it? Which would you rather take? An elbow drop from right above you? Or a top rope punch to the ass?
MoT: I think I will vote for None of the Above. My program director tells me that there is an odd delayed reaction to the Ass Punch at times. Could you explain this phenomenon?
BW: Well, I like to think of it as a matter of Ass over Brain. You see a similar kind of event in reverse with gun shot wounds. Most of the time, when people get shot, the bullet isn't big enough or travelling fast enough to deliver enough kinetic energy to make someone fall down. But people fall down anyway, because they think that they are supposed to. The falling down on your ass is the Brain over Ass, right?
MoT: I think so.
BW: Then, on the other side of the scale, the Ass Punch. People think that they have just been punched in the Ass, that it shouldn't hurt that much, so they stay on their feet. Than the actual pain of the Ass Punch hits the brain and they suddenly realize that they are in agony and they react accordingly... Ass over Brain.
MoT: Very clever Senor Beef. So, tell me how did you come up with the Ass Punch?
BW: I shouldn't, no really I can't take all the credit. It never would have happened if Kid Kamikaze had his car, but his car had been stolen by Los Latinos, and they only stole Double K's car to get our tag belts, and they only did that because Commissioner FitzMorris wouldn't give them a title shot and he wouldn't do that because he didn't realize that was what they wanted, because FitzMorris quote "Don't speak Mexican" unquote. So really credit the Commissioner.
MoT: Los Latinos? Are they no-selling midget pieces of shit?
BW: That's not a really polite way to describe them...
MoT: From Peru?
BW: That would be them, yep.
MoT: But they don't speak "Mexican"! They don't even speak Spanish! They are from Peru, they speak Portuguese!
BW: Which the Commissioner doesn't speak either. Now, Double K and I had just won the IWS tag titles a few months before, beating the Hardcore Ninjaz who sort of disintegrated during our match with Hardcore Ninja Number Two turning Evil and turning on his brother.
MoT: The Hardcore Ninjaz? From Fabertown, Japan?
MoT: I have a postcard from Fabertown - sent by one of my supporters while she was touring Japan. Here, you see, it is a picture of the famous Ninja Gardens of Fabertown.
BW: I see the garden, but where are the Ninjas?
MoT: I do not think that you properly understand what a Ninja is. They are hidden of course.
BW: Right. Well, we had beaten the Ninjas for the tag team titles. Los Latinos wanted to challenge us for the titles, but Commissioner FitzMorris chased them out of his office because he didn't understand what they were saying, so the Latinos decided to force us to challenge them.
MoT: Sound strategy.
BW: Very. Kid Kamikaze had just returned from a safari in Africa hunting Canadian Geese.
MoT: Hunting Canadian Geese? From personal experience, that can be very dangerous. Canadian Geese are quite vicious when cornered.
BW: I think that was why he was hunting for them in Africa. Give them lots of room. So, Double K is just back from his safari, showing off his new safari hat, when Los Latinos steal the Double K K car and drive off with our tag team belts.
MoT: Kid Kamikaze drives a K Car?
BW: No, but we always call his car a K Car. Drives him nuts. So, Los Latinos have our tag team belts and Double K's car. We have to fight them at Violent Valentines. And I open my big mouth and say that I am going to unveil "The Most Dangerous Move Ever Seen In Wrestling!" Well, that meant that I would have to do some research. Normally, that meant that Double K would make the trip to the video store and come back with some Bruce Lee, some Jackie Chan, some Jet Li, some Steven Seagal that sort of thing and together we would look for some moves that we could steal or modify. But Kid Kamikaze can't go to the video store because he has no car. So, instead, I went to the video store alone, and well to make a long story short, I got distracted and instead of Enter the Dragon, I came back with... Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo. And the most memorable, possibly the only martial arts maneuver in Deuce Bigalow is the Ass Punch.
MoT: So you derive wrestling inspiration from Rob Schneider?
BW: Doesn't everyone?
MoT: A great deal begins to make better sense. Like the lifting of a veil. Go on Senor Beef.
BW: During the match with Los Latinos, I climbed to the top rope and I jumped down punching Latino Mysterio in the ass.
MoT: And this won you the match?
BW: No, this is when I broke my hand.
MoT: You broke your hand?
BW: Yeah. I didn't know it at the time. All I knew was that punching Latino Mysterio's bony teenage ass hurt like hell. As it happened I suffered a trans-meta-carpal fracture.
MoT: Sounds painful.
BW: It was. Thanks to Double K, we kept our tag titles, but it was obvious to me what my next step had to be. Despite the pain in my broken hand, I had to face Latino Mysterio, well maybe face is the wrong word. But clearly, I had to have a "My name is Beef Wellington. You broke my hand with your bony ass you Peruvian son of a bitch. Prepare to die!" match. And I also knew deep in my heart that I would have to win the match with an Ass Punch. It's like getting back on a horse that has thrown you. Either you get back on right away or you end up walking everywhere. The problem was no one wanted to sign this match between me and Latino Mysterio. Commissioner Joseph FitzMorris wouldn't do the match because he owed my Dad money or something. President Seska suggested that I do something disgusting to have the match. Emo, our tape dealer at the time, suggested that I do something even more disgusting involving a sailboat. I had nowhere to turn, no one to ask, no way of having the match...
MoT: Senor Beef, please, por favor, we are all of us paying for the full seat but only using the first six inches.
BW: I had to talk to Booker P. The Renaissance Man, Peter LaSalle. Oddly, like a lot of my matches, the match was signed in the toilet. Then. I only had to figure out how to deliver the Ass Punch without breaking my hand every time.
MoT: Ah, I see. This no doubt is where you were forced to travel deep into the Himalayas, to find a Tibetan sensei who could train you in the deep intricacies of the Ass Punch. You were probably forced to punch buckets of hot sand until your hands were tough enough to deliver the Ass Punch without shattering.
BW: The Himalayas? Tibet? No, it's Kid Kamikaze who's the world traveller. I never left Montreal.
MoT: Then Senor Beef, you must have returned to your trainer Jacques Rougeau Jr. for advice. Surely the Mountie helped you learn how to properly deliver the Ass Punch.
BW: Ah No. I didn't leave Jacques on bad terms, but I wasn't running back to him for advice either.
MoT: Then what did you do?
BW: Well, I realized after watching the tape of the match that I had punched Latino Mysterio more in the bones of his hip then in the ass. It was more of a Hip Punch than an Ass Punch. It seemed to me that if I punched my opponent more in the fleshy part of the ass than in the bony part that I would hurt my opponent more and myself less. Turns out I was right. The key you see is to aim for one of the two ass cheeks and hit dead center in the fleshy part of the ass cheek. Hurts your opponent like hell and doesn't damage your fist at all.
MoT: Thank you Senor Beef. That was very anti-climactic.
BW: No problem. Anyway, I faced Latino Mysterio, I punched him in the fleshy part of his ass and I pinned the Peruvian pip-squeak. There was a poster of Titanic and a E. Coli pile driver involved, but the key was the Ass Punch. And I knew, once I hit that Ass Punch and the crowd went nuts that I would be punching my opponents in the ass for years to come.
MoT: Thank You, Senor Beef. Good luck in your future matches. We will take a quick break before we come back to speak to the Jamaican Olympic Bobsled team.
BW: Thanks for having me I guess.
(That would be the end of the interview, although the Mayor did bring Beef back at the wrap-up of the show along with his entire audience for a group sing-along of Harry Nilsson’s “The Puppy Song” I really wish that I still had a copy of this tape.)
"frosted animal crackers"? Do you mean Carousels (made by Ripon Cookies, in scenic Ripon, WI)? Man, those things are great! It's fun to guess exactly what creature you've got beneath the gobs of pink-or-white frosting and sprinkles.