February 29, 2012
The many stories of that 'f---in' madman' Sonny Meyers
By "DIRTY" DAN DENTON - For SLAM! Wrestling
"I'm a f---in' madman jack and don't f---in' forget it!"
And that my friend were the very first words that Sonny Meyers ever spoke to me on my first night with Al Tomko's memorable All Star Wrestling at BCTV in Vancouver.
I didn't know anything about any of the characters there in Vancouver. I had started in the wrestling business a few short months earlier. I had gotten a lucky break working on the AWA shows and they suggested that I go somewhere to get some seasoning. I ended up talking to Al and he booked me so off I went.
I didn't know much about the business at the time. I grew up a tough kid from a broken home so I had no worries about taking care of myself. The only advice I got heading out there was from Buddy Lane who told me to put any money I had in my boot when I wrestled so nobody would steal it from me.
So there I was looking at this guy with his fists taped and his hair bleached telling me he was crazy. Okay I thought, he is a madman.
And a madman the amazing Sonny was. He was one of those people who come into your life that you were glad you knew. He never ceased to stop amazing me. And I would like to go on the record by saying that according to Sonny, in a dressing room one night, he declared I was about the only guy in the business he never had heat with. I don't know what it was, but Sonny and I got along famously well.
If you ask anybody who ever worked out of Vancouver for a Sonny story, you'd better have a couple of hours clear because there were so many. I'll try to do a highlight real, but really you had to know Sonny to appreciate any of these.
Sonny strolls in and we get a beer. He tells me that he has heat with the office because he has been doing a lot of promotional appearances. He said that Al is pissed but as Sonny explained, "it's not my f---in' fault if his kids can't get over in a bar."
I then ask him why he still has his fists tapped? "You never know what the f--- is going to go down, Jack." Well, nothing went down that night but he did win me over that night in a really strange sort of way.
Meanwhile in the green room the boys exploded with laughter and Al came running. "Jesus," he bellowed, "is that Sonny in the crowd?" Just then we could all hear Sonny yell out "bring your own f---in' girl Jack!" The green room exploded again with laughter and Al almost fell over. No wonder it was hard for Al to get angles across.
Those are only the tip of the iceberg. Al Tomko must have fired Sonny so many times, one could never really count. He would be gone and then return. When we would ask him where he was he would say, "I was in f---in' Tacoma Jack, making f---in' donuts." No idea if it was true but a great line anyway.
I used love the nights that I worked with Sonny. He could carry anybody and I honestly believe that he raised my game to a whole new level every night I worked him. He truly amazed me with his ability. He was as smooth as anybody who ever laced up books and he absolutely knew how to control a crowd and deliver a great match every night. He was an absolute dream and joy to wrestle.
Many a night they would tell us to go 20 minutes but Sonny had the crowd so wild you would run over by 10 or even 20 minutes. Al would come in and yell at us after but it was so worth it to be in front of people with Sonny.
I believe in life that we are all given gifts. It is no secret that Sonny had some demons that he fought during his life. But Sonny's greatest gift was what he gave to fans on a nightly basis. Love him or hate him, he was a person who had the unique ability to positivity take people out of their current lives to suspend disbelief and buy into exactly what Sonny was selling them. They would travel to the magical world where the Madman Sonny Meyers directed the orchestra with a baton that only God could give him.
Rest in peace, madman. I look forward to seeing you down the road one day, Jack. Sonny, you brightened up my life on many a night and feel truly blessed to call you a friend.
"Dirty" Dan Denton broke into the wrestling business in 1985. In a previous guest column, he said goodbye to Little Tokyo. He currently works in the automotive industry. He owns carconsumer.com. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.