October 9, 2008
Mordetzky Mastering indy wrestling
By JASON CLEVETT - SLAM! Wrestling
In the late 1980s, you were either a fan of Hulk Hogan or The Ultimate Warrior. As a diehard "little warrior" Chris Mordetzky was influenced enough to dream of one day being a wrestler himself. He succeeded, as Chris Masters in the WWE. You would think the chance to work a show with his childhood hero would be a dream come true.
"Man if you wanted to turn this into a shoot, I will shoot on the Warrior for you. He is from this day forward the Ultimate Asshole." Mordetzky told SLAM! Wrestling.
The Ultimate Warriorís much heralded return to the ring took place in Barcelona, Spain on June 25, 2008 for Nu-Wrestling Evolution, and Mordetzky was there.
"The guy is 50 years old and he expected the red carpet rolled out for him in NWE. We were doing a three-week tour of Spain and they brought him in to create a buzz for the product. He had one match to do with Orlando Jordan for our big show in Barcelona. They rented him a house and flew out his wife and daughters and all I was hearing about from the guys higher up was his bitching and saying, 'I am the Ultimate Warrior, you should be promoting this more,' and doing everything he possibly could to be a dick and make it hard for those of us who were working every day busting our asses."
Warrior had initially made a non-wrestling appearance in April for the company, which lead to the match. It was an entirely different Warrior that appeared then.
"The first time he came out he had a meeting, gave this nice speech about how he felt it was his responsibility to give back. Two months later he was bitching about stuff, comes to the show, doesnít say hi to anybody, goes straight to the locker room, gets in his Warrior gear and goes out and works a 16-minute match that was 20 minutes too long."
The match has been universally panned by fans at the event as well as those who ordered the match on pay per view on the internet.
"The guy trained for this match like it was a bodybuilding show. He hadnít wrestled legitimately in about 15 years, because let's be honest that WCW run doesnít even count. He gave Orlando a hiptoss and a backdrop and then blew up in two minutes; there was nothing that Orlando could do. He stunk the whole joint out. We were backstage and it was unlike any atmosphere I have ever felt. We asked Juventud Guerrera what they were chanting in Spanish and it was things like boring and bullsh--. Whatever he thinks his value is, he is completely delusional. It is safe to say the Ultimate Warrior is an asshole, the best way to describe him is ugh."
Aside from that experience, Mordetzky speaks highly of NWE, which has seen him travel throughout Europe with other former WWE stars such as Heidenriech, Romeo of the Hearthrobs, and Rikishi. The promotion regularly draws over 10,000 fans and has had a lot of success.
"They are really trying to make that a new territory and it is quite impressive actually, I really feel they are onto something there."
Mordetzky is best known as "The Masterpiece" Chris Masters, the name given to him by the WWE during his run there from 2005 to 2007. He signed with the company very young, and as a result had some issues throughout his tenure. He was released last November after failing a wellness test.
"I had a lot of stuff thrown at me, they signed me at 19 or 20 years old, I spent a year in Louisville and then next thing I know I was on live TV and living my dream with all of this money thrown at me. I was still immature. It was a little touch and go with me. I think they thought I could have a good match but wasnít consistent; sometimes I wasnít and I will be the first to admit it. A lot of that was just my issues and very humbling for me the whole experience. I have a lot of maturing to do and that is kind of what I am doing now," he said.
"I wanted to take a couple of years off after what happened with WWE. That is the place to be and I would want to be there. Wrestling is my passion and after I got released I weighed out my options and started wrestling on the indies, which I never did before, and found that love for it again. I am 25 years old so time is definitely in my favor. I want to take some time off from WWE and get my head straight and get back there."
While there, Mordetzky was given a 1980s move as a finisher. Through repeated "Masterlock Challenges" they managed to get a fan reaction to the full Nelson.
"It is about putting the marketing behind it. The Masterlock was basic and old school, but at that point in time what they wanted to do with the company was take it a few steps back because they felt they had pushed the bar so far they needed to retrain the fans. Talent was dropping left and right with injuries. The Masterlock was one of the first things they did, and put the machine behind it like we did. Believe me, I questioned it myself. To his credit it was Triple H who said to keep rolling with it and it would get over. I donít know if you want to call it over or not, but it generates a reaction. It is a pretty cool thing to have a full Nelson renamed into the Masterlock."
He hopes to make a return to the company someday.
"This is a good time for me, I am still working, wrestling, and love it. But I want to go back to WWE for that reason, to really fulfill what I felt my destiny was. Even if I donít go back, I got to work some of the people I respected most in this industry -- Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Undertaker, Hunter. Those are the cream of the crop. I never got to work Hogan but that is asking for a bit much, I guess."
On the independent scene, he is growing as a person, and a wrestler, while enjoying gaining the experience he never had prior to going to WWE.
"My game has stepped up since I left the WWE. I wasnít there long enough to really get burnt out on the schedule like some other guys. I definitely feel I am getting better, and getting the chance to work babyface too, which is really rewarding because I am starting to think that is my niche as far as timing and everything. A lot of people think the 'Masterpiece' character has to be a heel and think I am crazy. Being in WWE means people give you a warm reception on indy shows and I am running with that and working as a babyface as it comes more natural."
"The benefit is the freedom. With WWE, not that it is a bad thing, but it is signing your life away. The freedom to book myself and still be in demand and make a living, I am enjoying at this point in time. I donít want to wrestle on the independent scene forever, I donít think that is realistic. But the experience I had with WWE, it is a good time for me to reflect and still be able to work and make a living. The only challenge with any of this is that you donít really know if you have a consistent paycheque coming in. But I have been lucky in being busy."
He has also enjoyed the opportunity to work in new places and companies.
"Iíve worked for Harley Raceís promotion, and in Japan and to Puerto Rico. It sounds funny but I tell people this is a good time for me. I went straight to the system, whether someone thinks I was ready for WWE or not. I was signed, went to OVW and went straight to TV. I worked for it for a long time but when it happened, it happened very quick. I have never worked indies, or toured these places outside of the WWE. So it is getting cultured in professional wrestling. Imagine what I can learn just from being around all of the styles I am going to be around. I was just in Mexico a month ago and worked my first six-man tag elimination tag match which was absolutely nuts. La Parka is like the John Cena of Mexico. It was insane hearing that audience."
Every year WWE does a housecleaning of sorts and a number of talents find themselves without a job. Does Mordetzky have any advice -- as someone who is having success on the independent scene -- to those who are released?
"I donít know if I am the most qualified person to give advice, but I have done very well since I left. I was not going to let it knock me down and out. I thought about doing other things but I knew I had established a name in wrestling and should pursue it. I made contacts through guys that I knew within the business and I went online and did as many interviews as I could to plug my MySpace and e-mail whether it be for questions or bookings."
He also spends a great deal of time working on charitable opportunities.
"I am involved with the Big Brothers program. When you are given a gift to impact kids like wrestlers do, these kids look at wrestlers like we are larger than life. WWE gave me the exposure and I wanted to utilize that in a positive way. I also address schools, introducing kids to working out. This is stuff on the side I am doing for my own personal fulfillment and kind of giving back."
In speaking with Chris Mordetzky, it is evident that he is very happy with his life. At only 25 years old, he still has a lot of living -- and wrestling -- left to do.
"It is good it worked out this way. How hard is it for an indy worker without the exposure or name from WWE to make a living? If I was to do it again, I would not want to do anything different because I created a name for myself in WWE, they invested a lot of time and with their help I developed the character. That has helped me still be able to work. There are no hard feelings towards WWE. When the time feels right I would definitely love to look into going back there. But I am able to make a living because of my run in WWE, and it is hard to be an indy wrestler otherwise. I have no regrets. If you look at my career as a book, we are at Chapter 6. Who knows what Chapter 7 will be, WWE, TNA or not wrestling at all? I think it will be wrestling, I kind of lost my love for it at certain times, and regrettably when I was with WWE, but I know in my heart I love it. I still have that love inside me."
Jason Clevett is pretty creepy around this time of year.