EXCLUSIVE: I’m From Pittsburgh; Gangsta’s Paradise

Mark Madden

I’M FROM PITTSBURGH…

I’ve got the brains.

When I was Nitro color commentator, I occasionally appeared on Thunder if need for an announcer arose. But once I was asked to stay to wrestle – WRESTLE! – in a tag match pitting myself and Chris Kanyon against Buff Bagwell and Gene Okerlund. I was predictably awful, but I thought I took Buff’s Blockbuster finish OK.

Buff’s post-match review: “You were terrible. But you listened, and you were on time. Given your limitations, the best I hoped for.”

The next week, I “wrestled” Gene in singles. It was, without a doubt, the worst match in WCW history. Gene didn’t want to do it. I wasn’t thrilled, either. I had to laugh when the Internet said how bad it was. No kidding, Captain Obvious? Did you expect Rey vs. Juvi?

There was great fear backstage that I would hurt Gene – not through malice, but through being fat and clumsy. Arn Anderson implored me to “take care of Gene out there.” I honestly couldn’t make any guarantees. I was scared for Gene, and for myself.

The finish was Pam Paulshock – HOT!!! – hitting me with a low blow while I was up on the second rope preparing to – get this – hit Gene with a VADER BOMB. Pam was REAL SLOW getting there. For a second I thought I would actually have to VADER BOMB Gene. (Just kidding.) But Pam did get there, and Gene pinned me. 0-2. Crap.

Next week on Thunder, it was like the previous two weeks never happened. So, what was planned?

I was supposed to be Andy Kaufman.

The next week, I was supposed to wrestle Paulshock. Most of the “holds” would have been sexually suggestive, and I would have pinned her missionary-style, her ankles against her ears. I couldn’t make this up. God’s honest truth. Better than any lap dance.

The next week, I would have come out with a belt and proclaimed myself Intergender Champion, just like Andy Kaufman. I would have wrestled hot women for several weeks and defeated them, obviously gratifying my libido in the process.

Then, Vince Russo said, “Madusa’s going to kick the crap out of you.” Pause. “And y’know, Mark…we can’t control her with the women, let alone the men. She’s REALLY going to kick the crap out of you.”

Me: “Vince, I’m 39 years old and in really bad shape. What happens if I have a heart attack in there?”

Russo: “Tell me that wouldn’t pop a big rating.”

Then, my life was saved. Not by common sense; Russo was really going to go through with this. No, Standards & Practices, so long my enemy, came to the rescue by saying the storyline violated TBS policy concerning the depiction of man-on-woman violence. The whole deal got cancelled.

Just as well. While I was really looking forward to feeling up Paulshock and the other bimbos, did anyone want to see that? History notes that Kaufman didn’t draw in Memphis; the angle became larger than life because it got national publicity.

I would have loved doing the promos, though. I would have been one of the five best promos in the business. Then, as now. If I can entertain, aggravate and compile big ratings three hours a day on radio, imagine that boiled down into 90-second bursts on TV.

So, my mat career in a nutshell: WORST WORKER EVER, 0-2, gay tag-team partner (not that there’s anything wrong with that), pinned twice by Okerlund, never did get to fondle Paulshock (which I would have done aggressively, passionately and professionally).

I accept no blame for Kanyon’s suicide, though. I wasn’t THAT bad.

Crap, maybe I was.

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