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In Defense Of… Sid Vicious

Bringing the truth to the wrestling fan!

A version of this article originally appeared on 411mania.com and was updated for the book IN DEFENSE OF… EXONERATING PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING’S MOST HATED. Learn more at https://www.jpprag.com

Certain people, events, organizations, and storylines in wrestling history have gotten a bum rap. Some writers have presented overtly critical comments and outright lies as fact, and others have followed suit. Well no more! “In Defense of…” has one reason: to bring the truth to the wrestling fan!

Intro

Some dame walked into my office and said…

First up is the king of the promo himself, Tim Hamilton, saying:

The credibility of Pyscho Sid as a credible Big Man.

The net basically ripped apart Big Sid, claiming his ring work was terrible, but he was real over with the fans wherever he went (ECW, WCW, WWF/E). He was just as solid as other big men (i.e. Nash, Hogan, etc.) if not better. [Th]e character of Psycho Sid was truly amazing and I loved seeing him snap. His facial expressions were priceless. Please come to the defense of Sid Eudy to ensure he is properly appreciated.

And then there was Richard McClellan who said:

Could you please defend my main man Sid Vicious? From CWF with Shane Douglas up to his last appearance in Tennessee back in May 2005. Thank you and all the best.

Rick Cobos also threw in about 8,234,463,653,352,021 ideas, among them:

[T]he WWF and WCW both putting their premier championships on Sid.

And since everyone called him by a different name, I thought I’d roll them up to one case!

Why this?

I’ve wanted to do this case for a while. Sid is another Big Man™ whose value is often brought into question. This is especially true because his biggest years in the industry were during the “transition”, when WWE was full of cartoon characters and WCW was changing head bookers every other day. It doesn’t help that Sid has a tendency to rub people the wrong away, especially after his recent appearance on Voice of Wrestling. But does Sid have a ballooned view of himself, or is it all justified?

What was Sid’s contribution to wrestling? Has he drawn as well as he thinks? Does he have a legacy worth maintaining? What about all the questionable actions he’s been involved in? Stabbings, squeegees, and softball — what does it all mean?

All of those questions I want to answer. But I can’t do that without a little background.

A little history, and some early counter-arguments… wait, didn’t I do this before?

The man born Sid Eudy was brought into the world on December 16, 1960 (though some claim July 4th due to an old gimmick). He grew up in West Memphis, Arkansas, which is as redneck as it sounds. As a kid in the south, Sid found himself enamored with wrestling. According to Chuck Helstein in his interview with Sid in June 2003:

As a kid, Sid was a big fan of Jackie Fargo, Tojo Yamamoto, and others. “I always thought Memphis was the only territory when I was a kid,” said Sid. Later, he discovered wrestling magazines and found out more.

Growing up into a large, 303 lbs., 6’ 9” man, Sid became an avid workout fan. One day while at the gym, he happened to meet the Macho Man Randy Savage, who was — to say the least — impressed with the big man’s size and presence. Much like how Dusty Rhodes recommended that Kevin Nash give wrestling a try, so, too, did the Macho Man.

Sid began to train under Tojo Yamamoto. If you don’t know, Yamamoto was a southern wrestling legend who began his career in 1953. By the time he started to train Sid, Yamamoto already had over three decades of experience that brought him seven NWA Six-Man Tag Team titles, twenty-two NWA Southeastern Tag Team titles, the NWA (Mid-America) Southern Tag Team titles, nine NWA (Tennessee/Alabama) Tag Team titles, the NWA (Florida) United States Tag Team titles, the NWA (Mid-America) United States Tag Team titles, the NWA Southern Junior Heavyweight title, the NWA Mid-America Heavyweight title, two NWA Mid-America Tag Team titles, the AWA Southern Tag Team titles, and the ICW United States Tag Team titles. To say this man had success in his years in the industry would be an understatement. Don’t forget: this was before titles changed hands so often, and having a few reigns made you a legend.

Yamamoto taught Sid more than just wrestling moves, but how to have an entertaining match, how to engage the crowd, and how to make his presence project to the rest of the audience. Sid took these lessons in and made his debut in Memphis in 1987. His first match would be teaming with Austin Idol against Memphis kings Jerry Lawler and Nick Bockwinkel. When he first premiered, Sid was known as Lord Humongous and wrestled under a mask (which actually got cracked at the hands of Jake Roberts when he DDTed Sid straight on his head).

Sid continued to wrestler in Memphis and Arkansas over the next two years. Of course he was green and loose at the beginning; but the fans were getting behind him even though he was behind the mask. However, you can only wrestle so many of the Memphis greats before someone else takes notice. And that someone (or something) was WCW. Jumping at the opportunity, Sid moved up to the big time at WCW in 1989.

Was this an early jump to the big time? Yes and no. Sid was more than passable as a worker, though obviously not as technically sounds as someone trained in the Hart Dungeon. But did Sid have his own style to add? According to Calvin Martin, Sid had this to say on Xtreme Mayhem Radio in August 2003:

[Sid] said a few years ago, everybody tried to take credit for the business doing so well. He brought up a segment with Edge on Tough Enough. Edge has said that he grew up admiring Hulk Hogan, but once he got into the WWE, he realized that he didn’t have to be Hulk Hogan to get over and he got there because of his workrate. He said whoever came up with that phrase should be shot and killed. He said not everyone can jump through a table, but everyone can work hard in their own way. He said it doesn’t matter who has good workrate, it matters who can sell tickets and draw money. They brought up Hogan, and Sid said that Hogan has always been credible and he felt that Hogan has been misused in recent years.

A little crass and scathing — and not how I would make an argument — but still to the point. Just because he could not pull off a top rope rana or trade move-counter-move for thirty minutes did not mean he was not working hard in his own way. We’ll return to this point later, but let’s just say for now that Sid had come a long way in a short time, and did not want to stop there.

And it was not like Sid was suddenly pushed into the NWA World Title picture. Far from it! Sid began tagging with Dan Spikey as the original Skyscrapers, managed by future GM of the blue team Teddy Long. The two would go on to some success and be involved with high profile feuds with the Steiners and, most notably, the Road Warriors. But luck would not be on their side as Sid went down with an injury in late 1989 before they could win any tag team gold. He was replaced on the team with Mean Mark Callous, who would later go on to be the Undertaker (but you know that from the last case).

WCW was not through with Sid, though, and were impressed during his short run. In mid-1990, Sid was able to return to the ring, but this time in a much more prominent role. Ric Flair chose Sid to join the Four Horsemen, seeing the potential and drawing power of the man. As it is, Sid is considered the first “non-technical” wrestler to join the Horseman, showing just how much WCW, Flair, and the rest of the Horsemen saw in the man. Under the wing of the Horsemen, Sid fought his way to the top, including losing a title match to Sting at Halloween Havoc 1990.

Though now near the top of the card, Sid returned to mid-card and tag team feuds for the most of 1990 and early 1991. He was even part of the winning team in the War Games match at WrestleWar 1991. All of these feuds, the reaction of the fans, and drawing power of Sid (we’ll get back to this later, also) caught the attention of another man: one Vincent Kennedy McMahon.

Vince saw a plan for Sid and wanted to give him the push of a lifetime. The plan was this: push Sid Justice as a top baby face and then have him turn on Hulk Hogan to challenge him at WrestleMania. And that’s exactly what was to happen, except there was a hitch: people booed Hogan! It really came to a head at the Royal Rumble in 1992 when Hogan pulled Sid out of the ring after he (Hogan) was eliminated. The crowd very loudly booed Hogan and those boos followed him for the rest of their feud, despite the fact that the WWF dubbed over the boos with cheers in every subsequent version of the match that has ever been reproduced since then.

It was tough. Sid was trying to be a heel, but the fan support was very real. People love who they want to love. It was an early version of Hart/Austin, but not the right time or the right people. Hogan went on to defeat Sid at WrestleMania VIII that year in the main event (sorry Ric Flair and Randy Savage, only the last match on the card is the main event) in front of a crowd that was definitely split.

By the way, this was not the only time Sid wrestled in the main event of WrestleMania. He would do it again at WrestleMania 13 against the Undertaker (which he also lost). And how many people have main evented at least two WrestleManias besides Sid? Well there’s Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Yokozuna, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, the Rock, and Triple H. That’s a pretty short list of the elitist of the elite.

Want to go a step further? Let’s do the list of men who have been in the main event of at least one WrestleMania and one Starrcade: Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Randy Savage, Roddy Piper, and Sid Vicious. That’s it! Sid is on the short list of the most elite positions in the world of wrestling. Two organizations have trusted him as both champion and to help carry the biggest event of the year. That’s some hefty responsibility, trust, and belief in someone. But I digress.

It was still 1992, and there was much to do. Though that did not seem on the agenda for Sid. Sid was feeling restricted in the WWF, and that Vince could not make him a big heel because he would limit what Sid could say. On a number of occasions, Sid has stated his disdain with tweener characters, and that he prefers heel/face lines. Again from Chuck Helstein’s interview review:

“Too many people are walking the middle of the road,” said Sid. He thinks people who play half heel and half face characters are not taken seriously because the fans don’t know how to react.

Sid realized the direction Vince wanted him and his character to go and did not think it was going to work. He wanted to return home to his southern roots. From the same aforementioned source:

Sid left the WWF because it was not working out as well as he had hoped. He spoke to Vince about it who told Sid to stay and he’d “make him the biggest heel in the business.” But, Sid felt it wasn’t time for him to be there.

And so in mid-1993 Sid returned to the WCW for a short lived run. We’ll get to the whys in the next section, but Sid was lined up to become the Unified NWA/WCW World Heavyweight Champion before he was fired from WCW and replaced with Ric Flair (who beat Vader in a match that is not replayed enough).

Sid would not sit idle, though, and went down to the USWA where he defeated Jerry Lawler for the title in July 1994. Less than a year later he returned to the WWF, re-fought his way up the card, and finally defeated Shawn Michaels at Survivor Series 1996 for the WWE Championship. He would lose the title back to Shawn and win it again from Bret Hart in 1997, before losing it to the Undertaker for good at WrestleMania 13. He would spend another few months in the WWF before leaving for other interests, working the independents in 1998, and spending half a year in ECW in 1999 before making his return home to WCW. In WCW he would feud with Hollywood Hogan, Goldberg, Chris Benoit (and even added the crossface to his repertoire), Kevin Nash, Jeff Jarrett, and Scott Steiner, again winning two World Heavyweight Championships along the way.

His in-ring career came to halt on January 14, 2001 at WCW Sin when Sid jumped off the second rope and basically split his leg in half. He would not wrestle a match again until June 12, 2004. Surely, times had changed for Sid.

Besides the points we made before, what was that history lesson for? To show that Sid was not just found, picked up, and pushed to the title. He worked hard in the independents and lower-card and got noticed. He moved his way up and around the major organizations, making money (we’ll get to it) and drawing in people wherever he went. It may have been just five years after his debut when he was in the main event of WrestleMania, but it would still be another four years after that before he won a major world title. Nine years is not an instant push. Sid waited patiently and did what the bookers wanted, which is another point we’ll get to shortly.

Sid’s history is often misunderstood, especially some of his most controversial moments.

Top three most infamous moments

Sid seems to be more famous (infamous?) for his out of ring antics then his in-ring accomplishments. There are three huge ones that come to mind that cannot be ignored.

No respect for the Hulkster, brother

Back at WrestleMania VIII, something amazing happened. Sid Justice kicked out of the Atomic Leg Drop of Doom! This was an unfathomable moment in wrestling history. No one had kicked out of Hogan’s finisher before, and few have done so since. The controversy stems from this:

Sid Justice double-crossed Vince McMahon by kicking out of Hulk Hogan’s legdrop during their match.

This is not what happened. Sid’s manager Harvey Wippleman and the future Godfather Papa Shango were supposed to interfere in the match and get Sid out of the predicament. Shango or someone in the back missed the cue and he was running about two seconds behind. To keep the pace and plan of the original match, Sid had no choice but to kick out.

And it’s not like Hogan or Sid have any ill will towards each other over the incident. As a matter of fact, Sid continually puts Hogan over as one of the best, and in ways that you would never expect. Sid had this to say:

Hulk is a real nice guy: Had his own style. Probably the easiest guy I’ve ever wrestled, he really was.

Sid thinks Hogan is easy to work with. What bigger complement is there from your co-worker?

What are you gonna do, clean my windows?

Another incident occurred in 1991 in an inter-promotional bar fight. Sid was working for the WWF by that point and ran into Brian Pillman who was still with WCW. As you can imagine, there would be tensions between two competing workers, and their exchange of words coupled with alcohol began to move to fisticuffs. Sid went to his car and then returned to the bar with his most dangerous weapon: a squeegee!!!

What was Sid thinking? I cannot say. Maybe he thought he was grabbing a tire iron or a shovel. Did he want to attack Pillman for real or just scare him a little? Who knows? The people at the bar had a good laugh and that was the end of it. Maybe he was really just trying to diffuse the whole situation?

But in the end, I really have to say: why does this matter at all? This incident was so far removed from the ring and has been blown out of proportion. What were the repercussions of this? A few guys got a good laugh and Sid hurt his pride a little? Big whoop! Sometimes when you are in fights you do silly things. I once threw a fishing pole at someone. Yeah, that’ll hurt! It’s really a very silly thing to hold against someone for their entire career.

TWENTY PUNCTURE WOUNDS?!?!?

But what isn’t a small and funny thing is Sid’s fight with Arn Anderson. In 1993, Sid and Anderson got into a verbal argument that escalated as the night went on and ended up with Arn having twenty puncture wounds and heading to the hospital.

Now, there is no excuse for hurting someone like that. But when asked about it, Sid has this to say:

The thing about that, man, is it’s over. Arn and I have sat down, talked about it, and hashed it out.

So Arn and Sid have been able to put it behind them and worked together in WCW. Why should we judge if they don’t? Well, there’s a part of the story that is missed. According to Scott Bowden:

Even though Sid was stabbed with the scissors as well, he was singled out because it was felt he instigated the fight and because Anderson suffered considerably more wounds.

Who grabbed the scissors? Was it Arn or Sid? We’ll never know for sure. The bottom line is a fight got out of hand, but Arn is hardly without blame. Both went way too far over something very petty, no matter what their argument actually was about.

And even though both have moved on from the incident, Sid has grown a little more used to dealing with it in his everyday life. Scott Bowden tells this story:

Sid and I were standing behind the curtain at the Coliseum as we watched a six-man tag match involving Lawler and Doug Gilbert. During the bout Doug missed a spot, and Lawler got noticeably pissed in the ring.

Handling the situation in a manner that his brother, Eddie, would have been proud of, Doug took an unscripted powder, leaving the rest of the boys to finish the match. Afterward, a steamed Lawler confronted Doug in the back, screaming at him for being unprofessional. Just when it looked like the two were nearly coming to blows, Sid said something like, “Man, sounds like it’s getting out of hand back there.” I laughed and said, “Yeah, I hope neither one of them have any scissors.”

I’ve never forgotten the look Sid gave me; it sent chills down my spine. Very quietly, but with a menacing tone, he looked down at me and asked, “What the hell does THAT mean?” With my heart racing, I said, “Uh, nothing. I just … hope there aren’t any, uh … sharp objects around.” He nodded his head and then screamed at me to “get the fuck away” from him. I quickly obliged.

I ostensibly had heat with him for a long time; however, after a while, I got the feeling that he was ribbing me. All the heels were sitting in the small dressing-room area in Nashville one Saturday night when he abruptly shouted, “Goddamn it, I should have both them NWA belts right now. Instead I’m sitting here in this dump with Scott ‘fucking’ Bowden.”

For weeks Sid would tell me that he was begging them to turn him babyface so he could finally get his hands on me and give me a powerbomb. He finally got his wish one night in the metropolis of Jonesboro, Arkansas. I was booked to manage Sid and Doug against Lawler and Brian Christopher (Lawler) in the main event. They were struggling to come up with a finish, one that would end inconclusively but leave the fans happy. Lawler finally suggested the following: After a ref bump (this is a Lawler finish after all), I’m supposed to nail Brian from behind with my Florida State football helmet (given to me by Uncle Bobby) but remain in the ring. Sid would then ready Brian for a powerbomb, but before the move could be completed, Lawler would gouge his eyes from behind. Sid, who wouldn’t be able to see at that point, would then grab me by mistake and powerbomb me.

Upon hearing the finish, Sid looked at me, shot me a sadistic smile and said, “Bowden, it’s time. You thought I’d forgotten about that scissors comment, didn’t you? Never! Never!” Later that night, right on cue, Sid positioned me and whispered for me to jump. I closed my eyes as Sid lifted me over his head and sent me crashing into the canvas. Sid was a pro all the way and didn’t hurt me in the least.

Still, the apparent heat lasted until a softball game at Chicks Stadium in Memphis. The heels, captained by Sid, were playing Lawler and the rest of the babyfaces in a charity game. Although Brian advised me to strike out on purpose to stay in character, I hit two triples, including one to drive in the winning run for the heels. This, of course, thrilled Sid to no end. From then on, he treated me like one of the boys.

Should have known that it would take softball to get back in Sid’s good graces.

Sid knows he did wrong, but won’t deny or pretend it didn’t happen. He has just integrated it into his life and moved on.

But, as Scott said, is what he moved on to… softball?!

The Secret of Life: Softball Style

Let’s get it out of the way real quick:

Sid has left wrestling to go play softball. FACT!

But as you must be aware by now, the facts do not end the case until we explore the meaning. Calling star witness Scott Bowden to the stand:

Sid had also taken a lot of flack over the years for playing softball when he took leaves from work to heal injuries.

That’s right, Sid has gone to play softball when he was INJURED. Look back at his career; Sid was a major workout buff and liked to stay in shape. He enjoys being physical. But when he could not get into the heavy pressing and bumps, he took up another activity. Are we to fault a man because he found enjoyment in another sport outside of wrestling? Also look how he ding donged around between companies over the years. Sid goes where he wants, when he wants. His goals were to enjoy life, make money, and try to stay as healthy as possible.

Many people, especially after the passing of Eddie Guerrero, have been critical that professional wrestling has no off season. While a football player may have time to heal some injuries (though many are permanent), a wrestler will continue to wear down his body until he can go no more. Well, Sid was not about to do this. He knew his limitations and knew that he wanted to be able to walk when he was fifty years old. So what did he do? He made his own off season! It was not every year. Hell, it was not even every other year. It was when he needed it.

Much like Chris Jericho, Sid had other opportunities and interests in life. He wanted to explore those opportunities and heal his body at the same time. How is that a bad thing?

And it is not like the companies held it against him! He was hired and rehired by the WWF, WCW, and ECW numerous times despite the fact that they knew he might take some time away.

On top of all that, it’s not like Sid has not worked through pain when he could have just sat home. At the end of WCW, he was suffering from a major shoulder injury. Instead of sitting at home and playing softball, he came to work and did everything that was asked of him. He knew he was fighting a losing battle, but did it anyway, and it only cost him three years of walking ability.

No, Sid did not use softball as an excuse or a crutch. He did not get fired over going to softball games over wrestling shows. He left companies to heal and to enjoy himself. What’s wrong with that?

What is this work ethic you speak of?

We just briefly touched on it about, but Sid is a hard, dedicated worker. He only left wrestling when he was really injured, not just to relax. And he did not always leave when he needed to, often sticking around well beyond his time. Hell, even when he could barely walk he still went on the WWA tour to contribute the only way he could: with his voice and crowd pleasing skills. Sure, he’s no Rock on the mic, but he still works hard to entertain the fans.

And yes, he is not Chris Benoit or AJ Styles in the ring. But that has never stopped him from learning and getting better. He was quite green upon his first entrance in WCW, but got training from the best, including Ric Flair and Arn Anderson. He added their moves to his repertoire and sought out things that worked for him. Whether it was a powerbomb or cobra clutch slam, whether snake eyes or a popping vertical suplex, whether learning the crossface or a triangle choke, Sid never gave up on getting better. Hell, his final injury in wrestling was performing a move he never did before: a second rope sledgehammer. Sure, sounds simple enough… if you weigh 180 lbs. Sid, on the other hand, weighed 300 lbs. and was not good on the ropes. He did what he was told, though, if only to move on.

Beyond being a dedicated worker, he is also the kind the IWC loves: one not just looking to protect himself. Sid is the one that wants to do what is best for the product, not just for himself. From the Interactive Interview recap:

One thing that bothers Sid is the way guys worry about who you’re working with and putting them over. Sid says he doesn’t really care who he works or who wins as long as he gets out okay and can go home. He also does not play politics very well.

And we know from history that Sid does not mind losing. He lost to Hogan, Undertaker, Hart, Michaels, Benoit, Steiner, Goldberg, Nash, et al! The man is a human jobbing machine, but still comes out looking strong.

In the same interview, this was noted:

Kevin Nash came up with the idea to hire a surgeon to cut Sid’s forehead prior to a match with Goldberg. Sid said it ended up looking pretty gory. “I called home that night and my wife was just in tears, man.”

If that doesn’t say dedication, I don’t know what does! He put his wife to tears for a match in a company he was not sure was going to live. That takes a drive like no other!

Despite his injuries and many people saying he could never come back from his terrible break, Sid has never given up. From the end of that same interview:

Sid has been told “it’s over” several times by doctors. About returning from this one, “I don’t know man. I just don’t know. I’m feeling a lot better but I just don’t know. Once I’m able to run again, I’ll make my decision.”

You see, that interview was a couple of years ago, and Sid continued to work until he could run. Now, he’s ready to go. From Voice of Wrestling interview recap:

Although he could work often he took every book he was offered, he doesn’t want to work for promotions that are “under the screen”…

Sid says he could work regularly now, but doesn’t. He’s ready to go.

Of course, that brings up our next point: Does Sid overvalue himself?

I’ll trade you these three beans for one Sid Vicious

From the just mentioned Voice of Wrestling interview:

Chris finished the conversation by asking Sid a very direct question: “Where do you rank yourself of all-time in professional wrestling when it comes to drawing money”? Sid explained first how he wasn’t in wrestling while Hogan was at his best. “As a matter of fact, when I came into the WWF, that’s exactly what I came in there for,” Sid said, “they thought I was the next person who was going to draw that kind of money… which I did draw that kind of money”. Sid said that like Hogan, he also drew a lot of money with a lot of different people, which there’s not many others that have done. Within his era, Sid said that he would put himself up there at One or Two, not counting Hogan. He even compares himself to Austin and the Rock claiming that they only drew major money one time, while he drew it a handful of times.

And your first reaction would be: WHAT?!?!

Well, Sid thinks he’s a draw, let’s look into it, main event PPV buyrate style:

Not the most stellar I’ve ever seen, sure enough. All together it’s a 0.90 PPV average, still above our “success” range (see the Eric Bischoff case). Of course, it needs to all be put into context. For instance, 1996 was a very bad year in the WWF. From WrestleMania 12, no PPV had broken the 1.0 barrier, and it was only at Survivor Series was that streak finally broken. And then it fell again and did not break the 1.0 barrier again until WrestleMania 14… in 1998!!

You see, Sid was a draw, but he was in a bad time in Wrestling. Sid vs. the Undertaker is the lowest drawing WrestleMania of all time. Absolute fact. Want to know why? Because everyone had already seen the main event. They saw it just a few weeks beforehand! Why would you spend $45 on a PPV for a match you’ve already seen? Several times?! The championship had been going around between Sid, Michaels, and Hart (with others mixed in for fun), and the audience was turned off. Sid cannot be held responsible for impossible booking conditions, yet still managed to bring in quite the crowd.

So with no support of story in an old match, Sid was still able to pull in a respectable (though not successful) 0.77 buyrate. Just as a comparison, WCW (which in a few months would be at the peak of its power) presented Uncensored in the same month to a 0.89 buyrate. So the highly successful WCW was only pulling in a buyrate 16% larger than the dying WWF. Not too bad of a day.

Sid, too, was on everything. One thing we know for sure is that the WWF/E and Vince McMahon are marketing machines. There were t-shirts and video games and figures and cards and all of that, and Sid was selling. Think back to the mid-90’s, did you see more people in HBK shirts, or Sid shirts? Hart or Psycho? The latter in both cases. Don’t forget, Sid said “during that era” he was probably number one or two, not including Hogan. So that means he considers someone like the Undertaker above him. On more than one occasion he has stated that he is no Hogan and did not bring in that amount of money for that amount of time, but there were small blips when he was bringing it in big.

The other point Sid was trying to make is that he did not just do it in one run like Austin or the Rock. He is not devaluing their contributions, but they really did most of their drawing from 1997 until 2001/2, and that was it. Sid was drawing in 1991–1992, again in 1995–1997, and again in 1999–2000. He’s had several runs. Yes, they were shorter than Austin’s or the Rock’s, but if you put them together, the man has had a long run being a top draw.

Does he overvalue himself? Maybe a little. It’s hard to say without using the way-back machine and fixing a lot of booking mistakes. But there is no denying that companies keep hiring him back because they do think they can get something out of him. Would you hire a guy if he wasn’t going to add revenue? Neither would Vince or Eric.

Sid, though, sometimes let’s his thoughts on his value go a little too far.

Why’d you say that? Why’d you have to tell me?

Sid has a tendency to put his foot in his mouth. Back to that Voice of Wrestling interview recap:

[Sid] doesn’t want to work for promotions that are “under the screen”, that don’t do much work to get his name out there, that don’t have television, and are basically “devaluing” the importance of his return. “Over my history in wrestling,” Sid explained, “I’ve just wrestled a handful of Independents. [I] just wasn’t interested in it. I don’t want to become someone who just does the Independents”.

Chris mentioned TNA and asked Sid what he thought about potentially working for them, but he’s not very interested. “One, I really haven’t had an offer from TNA,” he began, “two, I probably wouldn’t go into TNA because as it stands right now, they’re way, way, way away from anything I would be interested in doing”. Sid wants to have some sort of success before he retires and he doesn’t think TNA could provide that. “That right there would a worse way of cheapening myself than if I did an Independent show”. Sid doesn’t want to burn a bridge with WWE by going to TNA and even says that if he can’t work for Vince and them, he probably won’t work at all.

Does Sid have an ego? You sure as hell bet he does. Does he deserve it? You sure as hell bet he does. Why do I say that?

First off, the man has been wrestling for 18 years! Eighteen! This isn’t some flash in the pan guy. He has main evented two WrestleMania’s, a Starrcade, and has held the WWF Championship and World Heavyweight Championship both twice (equals four major world titles). Guess what? He’s right. Working too many independent dates will devalue his legacy. If he keeps going out there just for the buck or the thrill, he’s just another Jake Roberts or Terry Funk, a guy who can’t stop and is hurting himself and his family. Instead, he chooses to do this as a business. He’s staying smart. Not only does he have value, he wants to maintain it.

And by the way, Sid has been in independent shows, just select ones. He doesn’t need the work, he’s just trying to keep in shape. He’s not against independents, he just does not have to be on one every week.

“Sure,” you say, “that’s fine. Do a few independents to look big. Right. Well, what’s with the TNA bashing? I know you don’t appreciate that!”

Well, in many ways I don’t, but I understand what Sid is saying. First off, Vince now owns ALL of Sid’s matches. Everything he did in the NWA/WCW, WWF/E, and ECW are under Vince’s control. Like Bret Hart, Sid will have to play nice with Vince if he does not want to end up another Ultimate Warrior. I understand that. For the good of business and his legacy, he is willing to swallow his pride. The fact that he does happen to like Vince does help matters quite a bit. The fact that he thinks he has one major run left also goes a little way. How can he end his career in a company not affiliated in any way with his past? He’s not ready for that yet.

Still, there’s more to this story than meets the eye. Again from the same interview (hey, it’s a good one, what can I say?):

He described an incident with TNA when they first started that is part of the reason he has “a little beef” with them. They contacted Sid while he was still on crutches before they debuted over three years ago and they asked him to sign a Letter of Intent. He said that he was honest with them and told him he couldn’t get around very well, but they told him not to worry about it. Jeff was just looking for big names to put on the list and told Sid that they would just show him around in the back a few times. “Of all the people they tried to get to sign, I was the only one that did it,” he said, “then when it came time to get things going, they didn’t really want to do those things they were talking about. From there, I really just didn’t have much interest at all after that”.

Sid’s impressions with TNA are from his first dealings with the Jarretts. He does not realize that TNA is not under their control, that it is a totally different company. Remember how the Funks are having the same problem? Lex Luger in a recent interview said he was not aware of the changes there. Sometimes when you are so deep inside something you can’t see everything that is around you. Many wrestlers on RAW don’t even watch RAW. It seems strange, doesn’t it, but that’s their job, less their entertainment. Some are still fans and can watch, other can’t. If you worked at Wendy’s, could you eat bacon cheeseburgers every day? Would you notice if a new item was added to the menu? After a while, no and no.

So Sid really does not know what TNA is about nowadays, but that is forgivable. Normally I’d be the person to attack someone for not having their facts straight, but it is relevant to note where he is coming from. Sid, in his own way, isn’t really being malicious. He’s just trying to do right by himself for whatever the future may bring.

Mark out moments

But before the future, we have to think of the past. And just to help you remember a few favorite Sid moments, here is Richard McClellan with his top ten Sid moments:

1-ECW 99 when he showed up to a major pop and destroyed Kronus at GAC ‘99.

2-WCW 99 when he came back, attacked Nash, and then went on to feud with Goldberg

3-winning the WWF title

4-winning the WCW title

5-attacking HBK 4/3/95 after WrestleMania 11

6-WCW 93 joining Vader in summer 1993 as masters of the power bomb

7-his Memphis run 1994–95 (best year they’d done in a while, his 11/7/94 match in Memphis vs Undertaker was gold!)

8-turning on Hogan on NITRO 3/20/2000 which would’ve done a good gate for Spring Stampede until [Russo and Bischoff] scrapped those plans.

9-returning to WCW to punk out Steiner, [N]ov 27[,] 2000

10-Sid getting back into action 2004–05 after his injury by wrestling on various independents.

And then there are our favorite PWI Awards (via accelerator3359.com):

- 1991 Most Inspirational Wrestler, 2nd Runner-Up

- 1991 Most Popular Wrestler, 2nd Runner-Up

- 1992 Match of the Year, 2nd Runner-Up (Royal Rumble)

- 1996 Comeback of the Year

- 1996 Most Popular Wrestler, 2nd Runner-Up

Whether a fan of the north, south, and everything in between, Sid had something for you. To deny his 18 years of entertaining you is to deny being a wrestling fan at all.

Powerbomb… SMASH!

Sid Vicious is a man truly misunderstood. People often think of him as a big, clumsy guy who just rocketed onto the scene and stole a couple of world championships. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sid had nearly a decade of experience before he got his hands on the big gold. For eighteen years he worked hard in the industry learning to entertain more than wrestle. Not that he could not wrestle. Sure, he may not be able to do a catch-as-catch can style match, but he never stopped learning. From power bombs to cobra clutches to learning the crippler crossface to the final move that he did not want to do that broke his leg, Sid was always trying to grow.

He made his own path in wrestling going from organization to organization, mostly by free will. He did the unthinkable by actually taking time off to heal his body and pursue his other interests in life. A strange combination for a wrestler, and one needlessly resented by IWC pundits.

Yet Sid is mostly remembered for his out of ring antics, which are either complete lies, overblown pointless stories, or one-sided arguments that have reasoning behind them. Sure, he does have a big ego, but it is well deserved. He was on the elitist of the elite lists when it comes to men who have held championships in two major organizations, been at the top of the card in three major organizations, being in the main event of multiple WrestleManias, and being one of the very, very few who has main evented both WrestleMania and Starrcade.

Wrestling companies believe in Sid Vicious for one reason: because the fans believe in Sid Vicious. He was cheered when he wasn’t supposed to be, he sold when no others could, and created a following and legacy that is meant to be preserved. Why is he constantly attacked in our world when the simple matter is this: he has given us way more than we could ever ask for.

The defense rests.

After the Trial

Hung Jury

IN THE CASE OF THE IWC VERSUS SID VICIOUS AKA SID EUDY AKA SID JUSTICE AKA PSYCHO SID, SID HAS BEEN ACCUSED OF BEING A HORRIBLE WRESTLER WHO WAS PUSHED TO THE TOP WELL BEFORE HIS TIME TO THE CHAGRIN OF ALL. SID WAS NEVER LOVED BY THE CROWD AND HE DESERVES TO HAVE HIS OUT OF RING ANTICS RUIN HIS LEGACY AS ALL THE RUMORS ABOUT HIM ARE TRUE.

With 78.1% of the vote, Sid Vicious was found:

NOT GUILTY!

First off, Sid got a way higher voter turnout than I expected. I guess a lot of people are more interested in him (and despise him) than I thought. Which, in turn, only proves my point on how much he’s meant to the industry.

Response

A lot of people shared their personal experiences of Sid, but this one just tickled me:

Sid is the man.

Got my photo with him when [I] worked security, after his bodybag match with the [U]ndertaker in Cornwall[,] Ontario back in 1992 or so.

Very, very cool guy, had just broken his hand, and said don’t squeeze it.

So we took the photo with a soft touch of the hands and off he went to do an interview…

He is the man.

Dean Ward

The original version of this article appeared on 411mania.com and can be found on jpprag.com:

Part 1 —November 23, 2005 * Part 2 — November 30, 2005

IN DEFENSE OF… EXONERATING PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING’S MOST HATED
IN DEFENSE OF… EXONERATING PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING’S MOST HATED

IN DEFENSE OF…

EXONERATING PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING’S MOST HATED

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