January 14, 2004
Scotty Mac: ECCW's franchise player
By JASON CLEVETT -- SLAM! Wrestling
At the bar, Scott is a friendly, humble bartender. But when he dons a pair of shiny pants, he becomes Scotty Mac, a wildly popular pretty boy that teenage girls scream for at the Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling shows around British Columbia.
"It is part of being me. I play up to it, to pretty much everything that goes on out there. I am not doing anything specifically to get girls excited. I go out and do what I want to do and it gets that reaction," Scotty Mac told SLAM! Wrestling. "I guess that a lot of my fan base is female, but I do want to come across cool enough that the guys can cheer for me too. A 17-year-old guy should be happy about cheering for me as much as a girl. I cheered for a lot of heels in my teenage years, I realize that is what is in, but I want to be a cool enough face to appeal to more than teenage girls."
His wrestling career started in Edmonton in 1999. At the time, Can-Am Wrestling was one of the more active promotions in Western Canada and had a training camp in Edmonton. Scott did a handful of training sessions with Steve Wilde, Steve Gillespie and Vinnie Fever. However he didn't like the atmosphere.
"It wasn't very positive or encouraging and I didn't know if I was doing a good job or not," Scotty Mac said. "I grew up thinking 'this is what I want to do, this is my dream' and training with them I didn't know if there was even a reason for me to be there. So I left."
From there he moved back to Richmond, B.C. and started attending shows promoted by ICW, run by Timothy Flowers, and ECCW shows which Michelle Starr ran. Still wanting to pursue his dream, he spoke with members of both companies about getting started.
"There wasn't a lot that stood out between the shows, but what made me decide to train with ECCW was the way that they talked to me when I approached them. Flowers didn't seem interested at all, whereas Starr, Juggernaut, Rockford and other members of the roster were interested in me."
With the decision made, he joined the House of Pain, ECCW's training camp run by Chance Beckett, with Starr and Juggernaut also involved in the training. With such a varied amount of trainers Scott learned to be adaptable.
"I am one of those guys who can work with anybody. People often see me go into matches with a guy like Moondog Manson or Juggernaut, bigger hardcore wrestlers, and think that our styles are too different and it won't work. That isn't the case, it is exciting to me to be able to work a different type of match every night. It's much better that way. Training under different guys helped that."
He picked up the art of wrestling quickly and started working student shows at the House of Pain within a few months. He was set to debut in ECCW against Beckett on December 26, 2000. While practicing a springboard dropkick a few weeks before, he broke his wrist, but was determined to go through with his debut.
"I got my cast off on the 24th and wrestled Beckett in Bridgeview two days later. I would have wrestled anyone, but it was nice that it was Chance because I trusted him. It was exciting to wrestle my trainer in my first real match."
From that point on Mac was a regular on shows working his way up the card. ECCW suffered a major blow in the beginning of 2002 when one of its most popular stars, Juggernaut as well as its biggest heel, Dr. Luther, both left the promotion. The wrestling business also experienced a downswing at that time, so ECCW and other promotions were drawing less. But the loss of Luther and Juggernaut meant something else.
"It meant that they had to put a green guy named Scotty Mac at the top of the card," he laughed. "They had nobody built up for that position so I had to move into it really quickly. I didn't know if I was ready at the time, but was willing to give it a shot. A lot of people may have been put into positions they weren't ready for. Not only did the midcard guys have to move up to the top spot, but the new guys had to step up to the midcard."
Suddenly at the top of the company, Scotty was put into a three-month program with "Black Dragon" Bret Como that culminated in a Steel Cage match in which Mac did a legdrop from the top of the cage and beat Dragon for his first NWA/ECCW Title. It was an important moment for Scotty.
"We'd done a program over about three months, and the matches got better every time. I know when I wrestle him, not only will I have a great match but I will have a great time. He has become one of my closest friends in the business, and I look up to him like no one else. He didn't question the fact that I was going over him for the title, and for him to be cool like that was a big compliment to me."
From that point on the pressure was on Scotty as the company continued to promote despite smaller crowds.
"I was more than willing to accept it, and still I am. I love my spot in the company and playing such a prominent role. I can't take responsibility for low attendance because I know when I have left the ring, I have given people my part of the show. There has never been a time when I haven't felt like I have given the fans what they deserve. The crowds have been up and down, but crowds have been going down everywhere, even in WWE. Wrestling isn't on a high right now, so we aren't drawing like we used to. We did lose a lot of talent at that time, and we are now getting to the point that there are enough guys who know their way around the ring that we can put together a large show again."
The ECCW title has an impressive lineage. Some of the best talent in Canada have held the title, including Chance Beckett, Ladies Choice, Michelle Starr, Doc Luther, Juggernaut, former WWF star Kurrgan, and Black Dragon. At 5-foot-9 and 191 pounds he is smaller then some of his predecessors but works hard to prove himself and is proud to be continuing on the legacy.
"I am really proud of the ECCW title. We are in a time where titles aren't recognized enough as something prestigious and are called 'props' and to an extent they are. At the same time if a company has you as their champion, then you obviously mean something to them. I look at the title that way, and looking at the list of guys who have held the title, I admire and look up to each of them for different reasons. I was sad when Dr. Luther said he was retiring, because he was definitely one of the best ECCW champs ever."
ECCW has offered a lot to the youngster, giving him high profile matches and big wins. In January 2003 the promotion held their annual "Pacific Cup" a two-day tournament with a lot of the top names in the Pacific Northwest. Scott won early round matches over Beckett, Tony Kozina and Black Dragon before beating "American Dragon" Brian Danielson, one of the top independent wrestlers in the world today, in the finals.
"That was such a feeling of accomplishment. Kozina, Dragon and Beckett, I couldn't have been happier just facing them. They are my three favorite guys to work so it was my dream tournament. Then to add a guy like American Dragon on top of it in the finals was a treat and an experience in itself. He is able to have such impact, yet is so safe at the same time. I feel lucky to have wrestled the talent that I have since I started with ECCW."
Danielson wasn't the first big name that Mac has been privileged to wrestle. He successfully defended the NWA Pacific Junior-Heavyweight title against Christopher Daniels in 2001, another top independent star. It is important to Scotty that he performs well in his victories.
"I went over Daniels which was difficult. Much like beating American Dragon in the Pacific Cup, I didn't want fans leaving going 'Scotty Mac shouldn't have won that.' It was important to me to put out strong performances against them because I never want to have beating someone being questioned. When I was working guys like Kozina and Adam Firestorm and Daniels in my first six months, a lot of people I think may have had a problem with that. Some people in the business questioned putting me over guys with so much respect, but I don't think it was ever questioned by the fans. I kept up and was able to convincingly beat these guys."
A few months ago he had another big opportunity when he wrestled a singles match and a triple-threat match with former WWF star The Honky Tonk Man. He lost the first match but pinned Ladies Choice in the second.
"It was an experience working him, he was very helpful and I learned a lot. I remember getting into the ring and I was in one corner and he was in the opposite one and I was marking out to myself. It was a feeling of personal accomplishment standing across the ring from 'The greatest Intercontinental champion of all time.'"
ECCW is an affiliate of the National Wrestling Alliance, and thus has connections with other members of the organization, including TNA, to bring in talent as they have in the past. Mac would love the chance to test himself and learn from more of the great talent that is on the indy circuit today.
"I have looked up to Jeff Jarrett for a long time and would love to wrestle him. I'd heard we were trying to bring him in, but he is a pretty busy guy so it hasn't happened yet. I keep hoping. He is the sort of worker I want to be, who can work a variety of styles and work with anyone. He, Shawn Michaels and Owen Hart were big influences on me. A.J. Styles would also be a treat to work with."
Mac also listed a surprising choice.
"I'd love to wrestle Ed Leslie," he said seriously. "To wrestle Brutus 'The Barber' Beefcake would be awesome. I'd even let him cut my hair. Any of the vets that are still working the circuit I would love to work just for the learning experience. However I feel so lucky to have just worked with the talent I have so far."
During Scott's early days in the promotion, ECCW was one of the top touring companies in North America, doing over 200 shows a year. They were able to bring in some major names such as former ECW stars Sabu, Steve Corino and Tommy Dreamer. He shared some anecdotes about his experiences.
"I was a part of 'The Prettyboys Club' with Chance Beckett and Rockford at that point in time, and we were lower-card players when we had Steve Corino in. Chance and Rockford would make comments at him, but when the time came to back it up I was thrown to the wolves and took the 'Old School Expulsion.' That was a big mark out moment for me, I had only been wrestling a few months at the time. With my shiny pants and spiky blonde hair, Corino took to calling me 'Mini Double-J,'" It was a big thrill to take the move. "At the time with how new I was it really was a big deal to be on shows with them. I didn't wrestle any of them, but to even be involved in an angle with someone like Corino that I had watched on TV was huge to me."
Scott also had an interesting experience with Tommy Dreamer, who worked in ECCW shortly before his WWE debut. Dreamer stole his pants.
"We were on a show in Everett, Washington. Rockford, who is my big brother in this business, wore a pair of yellow flesh gear pants. Since we were in a stable together I was wearing silver flesh gear. Tommy Dreamer seemed to like my pants and asked me about them. So I gave him the website address and such. I thought 'He has his own gear and gimmick so it's not like he is going to wear them for wrestling.' A few months later I was watching RAW and there he was wearing a black pair of flesh gear! My phone immediately started ringing from other workers making fun of me because Dreamer had my pants. Tommy ended up getting a blue pair that Steven Richards wore as well." Dreamer has been reminded of his treachery twice since that moment. "I have some fans who know that story. At Wrestlemania Fan Axxess in Seattle, and outside of an arena, a girl asked Tommy 'Why did you steal Scotty's pants?'"
A few months later Scotty headed to the ring to face Juggernaut. who had had faced Dreamer in ECCW and talked with him regularly. As Scott got into the ring, Juggernaut, a notorious ribber, was on his cell phone and said he was talking to Dreamer about the pants. In reality he was talking to Dr. Luther, another wrestler with an infamous sense of humor. Scotty feels lucky that he hasn't been a victim of the pair very often.
"They have always been pretty good to me. They both liked me so they haven't been too bad. Juggernaut stretched me once in the van in front of everyone. Doc has ribbed me a couple of times as well. You always wonder is going on in his head because he has evil ideas."
Scott is thankful for the opportunities that ECCW has given him.
"They have been great to me, and given me every opportunity that they can to shine, not just within the company but in other places as well. Michelle Starr and Dave Republic both have a lot of contacts within the business that have allowed me the chance to work in places like Matrats in Calgary or Portland Wrestling."
The week spent in Calgary preparing for a Matrats show that involved Eric Bischoff, Joey Styles and Don Callis was one of the highlights of Scotty's career.
"That week was a dream for any guy who grew up as a Canadian wrestling fan. I have so much respect for the Hart Family and to have so much interaction with them was incredible. I got to go up to the house and be in the Dungeon and talk to Stu. I have a picture with Stu from that week, which is something I will cherish forever. It was a full week of nothing but wrestling. It was a blast, every guy there was a pleasure to be around. There was so much young talent and it is a shame that it didn't go farther."
He teamed with Dave Swift to beat Apocalypse and Evan G Orion. Since that time Apocalypse and Swift have both embarked on tours with New Japan. Scott couldn't be happier for their success.
"Both of them deserve it and they amazed me when I worked with them. They had some of that Calgary 'Excellence of Execution,' they hit the moves really crisp and were easy to work with. They were the utmost professionals and great guys out of the ring. In a short amount of time they have done a lot."
Although he wasn't trained by the Hart Family, meeting Stu Hart was a highlight in his career and his death in October 2003 had a profound effect on him.
"You could see it coming, I had heard people say after Helen passed away that Stu probably wouldn't be around much longer. It was still hard to hear that day that he had passed away, so I made sure I took a moment to appreciate him and the fact that I got to meet him. The way that wrestling fans look at him is as a father figure, especially to Canadian wrestling fans and wrestlers."
Scotty has also done work for the Cyberfights promotion. Cyberfights.com sells videos and streaming internet footage of wrestling from a warehouse and is aimed mainly at a gay fan base. They tape in Vancouver about twice a year, and with no crowd to interact with or motivate them it can be physically draining.
"It is difficult to wrestle like that. We tape for about three days, and by the end of the third day it is hard to get out of bed, nevermind get into the ring and wrestle another match. You don't have the people to get the adrenaline going or interact with. It is very different, and it hurts a bit more."
Despite the different target market, Mac says that nothing really changes in terms of how the wrestlers compete.
"There is nothing that I do different in those matches. We play it up and talk to the camera rather then people. It may be catered to a gay audience, but take a look at the workers there. For example Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian have both worked for them. The selection of workers is based on looks, but the talent is there too."
Scotty has also worked one show for Tim Flowers' All Star Pro Wrestling on Vancouver Island, but for the most part stays in ECCW. "I stay loyal to ECCW because they have been so good to me. Loyalty is important to me, respect for the people who have provided me with these opportunities."
One such opportunity was his second reign as ECCW champ in 2003. He lost the title to veteran Vance Nevada in a bloody steel cage match on September 16th. A number of wrestlers tried to interfere and Scotty fought them off. He ascended the cage and prepared to end the match in the same manner as he won his first title, with a legdrop from the top of the cage. Instead Disco Fury ran in and tossed him from the cage crashing to the mat below, allowing Nevada to escape the cage and claim the belt. Scott was very proud of the match and considers him to be a major influence.
"He has been such a great influence on wrestling here. He has a lot of knowledge to offer the guys that haven't been around as long as him. He is great to work with we have great chemistry together. I was really proud of that match that night, there was a feeling in the building and it translated to the match." Vance retired in 1999 due to cumulative injuries and illness, and his comeback is a source of inspiration for many young wrestlers like Scotty. "It is hard to go out there and wrestle, it takes a toll physically and mentally. For him to be able to overcome an illness like that and do this well, I have so much respect for that."
Scotty considered it a big honor recently when he was voted by the Ring Around the Northwest Newsletter as 2003's Wrestler of the Year. Having done so much on the West Coast, in the future the 25-year-old has the same goal as many independent wrestlers, to get into the WWE. In 2004 he is hoping to branch out more and make a name for himself in other promotions throughout North America.
"I would like to do a lot more traveling and get booked in other places, to get the chance to work the top indy guys in North America and get my name out there and be on that list. I would love to be a guy that when the WWE comes to town and needs dark matches or enhancement talent, to get a shot at doing that. I think at some point the WWE is very possible. If I didn't think there was a chance that I could get there then it would be difficult to continue to doing this. But I'll be in this business as long as I can be because I love it."
Jason Clevett lives in Calgary and has written a number of stories for SLAM! Wrestling. You can e-mail him at email@example.com.