Promoter: Conduct ‘Unprofessional’

By Mike Mooneyham

July 29, 2007

Pro wrestling great Bret Hart once said his proudest accomplishment in the wrestling business was that he never seriously hurt an opponent.

And that should be the goal of every performer who makes his living in the mat trade. A pro wrestler’s main responsibility during the course of a match is to protect the body of his “rival.” That, according to North Carolina-based promoter Thomas Simpson, didn’t happen in a recent match involving one of his charges.

Kirby “Krazy K” Mack, part of the high-flying young duo known as Team Macktion along with brother T.J., suffered a collapsed lung during a tag-team match with LAX (Homicide and Hernandez) on July 20 in Myrtle Beach. The incident, claims Simpson, was reckless and totally avoidable.

Mack, 23, was hospitalized at Grand Strand Regional Medical Center over the weekend and missed the third leg of UWF’s Rock ‘N Roll Express Tag-Team Championship which kicked off July 19 in North Charleston and concluded July 21 in Columbia. He should be back in action in a few weeks, says Simpson, but it’s the “lack of professionalism” that has Simpson steamed.

“In my 15 years of promoting and having ordered some fairly unprofessional things in the ring, I have never, ever witnessed anything more unprofessional than the way LAX, particularly Hernandez, acted toward the boys,” said Simpson, founder of the North-Carolina based OMEGA promotion that spawned such stars as The Hardys, Joey Mercury and Shannon Moore. “Hernandez didn’t even have the decency to come over to the boys and ask how they were doing after the match.”

Mack, a graduate of Boiling Springs High School, was injured when Hernandez (Shawn “Hotsuff” Hernandez) executed his Border Toss maneuver.

“They think, because they work for TNA, that they’re wrestling stars,” said Simpson. “They thought just because they had wrestled Kirby and T.J. on television, that they weren’t on their level. They didn’t want to make Kirby and T.J. look good and didn’t want to treat them as equals. But that’s just their mentality. That upset T.J. and Kirby more than any stiff (stuff), because they like to work stiff too. It was the lack of respect. Kirby and T.J. are used to dealing with real superstars who treat them as equals.”

“They were jumping and beating up on Kirby and T.J. and wouldn’t sell for them. Homicide was supposed to take the up-and-over backcracker thing, and he just let Kirby hit the mat. Hernandez used the Border Toss thing on Kirby, and he had hit T.J. so hard it left a purple welp on his back. T.J. said that was the hardest he had ever been hit. He said there was no way he could go over and tag Kirby because he was hurting so bad. It was absolutely, positively insane.”

Simpson said he did give Homicide (Nelson Erazo) credit for at least showing some concern.

“He did come over (in the locker room) and check on Kirby. But Hernandez didn’t say thank you, kiss my (behind), nothing. He just sat there and started getting changed.”

Simpson said it wasn’t the first time Mack had suffered a collapsed lung in the ring.

“The same thing happened about three years ago, and it was bound to happen again. But it’s funny that he’s taken all kinds of crazy bumps, all kinds of crazy dives and done all kinds of crazy stuff with those loonies like C.W. (Anderson) and (Steve) Corino, and nothing ever happened until Friday night when the guy didn’t protect him. It was absolutely, positively ridiculous. I’m so angry. It beats all I’ve ever seen.”

Simpson said numerous wrestlers expressed their concern over Mack’s injury. Hernandez, he adds, wasn’t one of them.

“Kirby said they would never ever work LAX again.”

Daffney (Daffney Spruill), who managed Team Macktion during the tourney, was among the most upset, said Simpson.

“She was so upset after the match about how Kirby and T.J. had been treated. She was back there crying. She said it was the most unprofessional thing she had ever seen. And considering the fact that she worked for WCW, that covers a lot of ground.”

Rick and Scott Steiner went on to capture the tourney with a victory in the finals over The Naturals (Chase Stevens and Andy Douglas) at Township Auditorium in Columbia. The Naturals had won three matches that evening to advance to the finals.

- Longtime heel manager Ronnie P. Gossett III passed away Tuesday in a Nashville hospital.

Paul “Ronnie” Gossett, 63, who looked like an oversized Boss Hogg from “The Dukes of Hazzard,” was a colorful, old-school manager and promoter who inflamed fans with his ringside antics and his strong mic work. Gossett spent most of his career working for Southern-based promotions in Georgia and Tennessee where he once served as Jerry Lawler’s manager in the Nashville-based USWA.

Gossett, who broke into the business at the age of 14, had been hospitalized since April with colon cancer.

Former wrestler Jim Powell, a friend of Gossett for nearly 30 years, called the manager ” a good friend and a great con man – the ultimate worker.”

A post by Powell on a wrestling Web site recounted the last meeting between the two this past Easter when Powell visited Gossett in the hospital.

“That day Ronnie told us that he had asked Jesus into his life and a few days later called me to tell me he had been baptized at the hospital. From that day he told me many times how sorry he had not come to Jesus earlier in his life. I am thankful for his conversion and the evidence of a changed life these last few months. When I think of my real friends, Ronnie P.’s name is always first on the list. Because of Jesus we’ll be friends for eternity.”

- Edge, who underwent surgery on his torn left pectoral muscle last weekend, is expected to be out of action for as long as five months.

Noted Birmingham surgeon Dr. Jim Andrews, who performed the operation, said the wrestler had a complete tear of the tendon attaching to the muscle.

“I didn’t think that the tear would be as significant as what we found when we went in,” Andrews told the WWE Web site. “Initially, we had thought it was a partial tear, but it turned out to be much more significant – the injury could have been career-threatening if not properly repaired.”

WWE fired Rene Dupree (Rene Goguen) on Thursday. The 23-year-old Dupree, son of former pro wrestling star Emil Dupree, was in line for a run with the ECW tag-team title. He was best known for his duo with Sylvan Grenier as La Resistance.

- Legendary Stampede Wrestling heel Tor Kamata (McRonald Kamaka) passed away Monday at the age of 70 in his hometown of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Kamata was born in Hawaii, but made a name for himself under the guise of a Japanese wrestler in the Calgary-based Stampede Wrestling, where he held that promotion’s North American title on three occasions in the early ’70s.

Kamata, who had honed his skills while training as an amateur wrestler in 1959 during his time in the U.S. Air Force, appeared as the villainous Dr. Moto in the AWA where he held the AWA tag-team title with Mitsu Arakawa, and also held the title on two more occasions with Arakawa in the WWA. He also enjoyed a stint in the old World Wide Wrestling Federation with Fred Blassie as his manager.

- Konnan (Carlos Ashenoff) is recovering in a Tijuana hospital after undergoing kidney replacement surgery Monday.

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