Kevin Thorn Talks WWE Royalties & The Network Model Not Compensating Past Talent, Relationship w/Benoit, Sid Vicious

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Today The Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling is brought to you as we welcome back our favorite guest and an amazing friend, Kevin Fertig AKA Kevin Thorn. John and Chad fill in some gaps following Kevin’s last appearance on the podcast (Part 1 is available as part of our archive) and we dive deep into how Kevin got into the wrestling business and how Sid Vicious played a major role in mentoring Kevin for his professional career. We also discuss in great detail how the WWE Network as it grows continues to neglect past performers for the usage of their likeness and images as well as explore the events and experiences Kevin had with Chris Benoit prior to the incidents that occurred nearly ten years ago. It is a fun and informative chat with the leader of the #BITECLUB and definitely a can’t miss episode. 

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Sid Vicious playing a major role in grooming him for the business:

My start came from working in a Golds Gym in Memphis, Tennessee and meeting Sid Vicious (Psycho Sid) and basically I became workout partners with him. I was always a fan of USWA and Saturday morning wrestling in Memphis but never really took a step to get into it and then I am working in a gym and one thing led to another and I ended up in Buddy Wayne’s backyard (who recently passed away) training in his ring and I still remember rolling out the carpet and there were two or three dead mice and rats inside of it. Sid kind of led me into some things and we started off with a headlock and it was one step at a time and Buddy Wayne would come out there to watch and Buddy Wayne gave Sid the thumbs up and we kind of went from there and a week later I was in a show just outside of Knoxville with Sid against Mo from Men On A Mission and we kind of went from there. 

The long standing rumors of Sid leaving wrestling to play softball:

He (Sid) was awesome and I think Sid got a bad rep and everyone always said that Sid would always no-show because of softball. Hell, the entire time I knew Sid he never played softball once. I know I never went and played with him and everyone would say he’s into this softball thing and I don’t understand where that came from because I never saw any softball out there. I heard he played and I heard it was a big thing for him but the time I was there he was coming back from neck surgery and hadn’t been in the ring for a while and was working out super hard, he got in ridiculous shape again, did some Independents and started to work with ECW. 

Getting his start in Memphis Power Pro Wrestling: 

It was awesome. Being a kid and growing up watching USWA when I could and sneaking to watch because my parents didn’t really want me watching wrestling it was very surreal and you would always wonder what was happening behind the blue curtain and when you finally got to see how small the locker room was and you are basically dressing in the Channel 5 cafeteria and using the small Channel 5 bathrooms it was definitely surreal. They used me from the start as a top level heel which was cool because I was a guy that had something but not enough to say I was any good. I can go back and watch some matches and now say HOLY CRAP I was terrible. I was bigger than normal and had some good size on me and presented in character in Seven that was cool and they could do promos with. I had a good little program with a guy named Blade Boudreaux  and had Brandon Baxter as my manager, it was good and I have definitely been blessed throughout my whole career for sure. To be in the position I am and to know the guys I have known, I have always had a good time that is for sure.  

Older content on the WWE Network and former superstars not getting paid royalties for the footage being used:

I don’t watch the Network, I don’t have the Network, I just wish the Network would pay me some royalties. I go to the mail every quarter and I get a small check and I say well that’s all great but Vince is making billions of dollars off the Network and for some reason my royalty check doesn’t reflect that. I keep waiting for it to say this is what you are getting for the Network and the Network doesn’t show up there. I often wonder how you are charging for it but I am not getting a cent for it. It is what it is. Maybe one day and now they are just trying to figure out how to pay everyone, they are good about that and they may figure out a way I guess. They are not paying me, maybe they are paying other people. From what I’ve heard people haven’t seen a check for it because to be honest when we signed our contracts it was DVD sales and VHS sales and Pay Per View buys. Now with digital downloads I just don’t know, it is what it is. 

The lack of Network royalties becoming a problem over time for WWE: 

I can only assume guys are wondering where it is that this Network is coming to be lucrative for everyone and it doesn’t have to be millions of dollars. Money here and there is for sure definitely worth it. Especially if from what I understand since I don’t own the Network you can punch in my name and bring up anything I’ve ever done. Now granted, they paid me well when I was there but that’s the point of royalties. Mr T still gets paid off the A-Team, Hannibal is still getting his cheddar and so is Murdoch. Something needs to be held accounted for or said for that. 

His connection to Chris Benoit prior to the murders of nearly a decade ago: 

I knew Chris very well. I find it hard to believe in the way he loved Daniel that it happened at his hands. I was with Chris the week before at a Ruth’s Criss (Steakhouse) in Louisville, Kentucky after an OVW show and my wife was pregnant at the time and to hear Chris talk about his excitement for me and how awesome it was to be having my first child that I just find it hard to believe that this man did that and guys that knew Chris have tried to figure out different scenarios to how or why or what could have happened. He didn’t seem like a guy that a week before I was on a Georgia loop of Macon, Savannah, Columbus and Atlanta  with him and Daniel was with him the whole time and Daniel is holding a belt and running around. The thing Chris definitely suffered from was major concussion syndrome. The times I was with Chris looking back I see that then he was very lost and incoherent at times because he may or may not have known where he was. At the time WWE didn’t have the concussion testing and that was something that definitely led to that day and not making excuses for Chris because I don’t know what happened but deep down in my heart I just can’t believe it did. I still haven’t been able to accept that he would do that to his son but knowing Chris the way I did and I rode with him and wrestled him that whole Georgia loop the week before and the fact that he couldn’t remember a match and he just wanted to call it all out there because he couldn’t remember it. Knowing how he was at the restaurant, he asked what I was going to order and he ordered the exact same thing because the menu just wasn’t there for him and that says something too. How much wear and tear on his brain did his style of wrestling have this happened to him? And of course the loss of Eddie (Guerrero) as well but Chris was always unbelievable to me and the way he spoke to my wife when she was pregnant and spoke to me, he was a man that loved his son and as a guy that is a father I cannot even imagine doing that to mine and can’t imagine him doing that to his either. I have a problem accepting that and unfortunately we are never going to know what happened that night at their house and that’s just the way it is. 

Kevin Thorn also discusses his comeback into Pro Wrestling, his physical transformation and getting into phenomenal shape, WWE Developmental and the trainers behind NXT, his relationship with Billy Gunn and much more.