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  Nov. 2, 1999



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From ref to manager to promoter: Jeffrey Scott has done it all


By JOHN M. MILNER -- For SLAM! Wrestling

Jeffrey Scott
Jeffrey Scott Kavanaugh has done it all in the world of professional wrestling, from being in the ring as a wrestler and a referee, to being at ringside as a manager, to promoting his own shows. "You name it, I've done it," says the Windsor-born Kavanaugh, better known in the ring as simply Jeffrey Scott.

As with many in the wrestling business, his love for the mat game started early. "Ever since I was a young kid around four of five years old, I used to watch wrestling, and I always loved it. No matter what my friends and family said, I always stuck with it," Kavanaugh remembers. "It was 1993, I was in OAC in high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do for a future and I saw Border City Wrestling was running a show in LaSalle (Ontario), so I went down and checked it out, met with (BCW promoter) Chuck Fader and Scott D'Amore and the rest is history."

Kavanaugh's entry into the wrestling world, started almost by accident. "I was security for Border City Wrestling for three years. All the while, I was training to be a wrestler. I messed up my back and couldn't really wrestle full-time so I got offered a job one day. I was at a show in Detroit and they needed a referee. I gave it a shot, put on a referee's shirt, put on some black pants, gave it a shot. I liked it, I did that for two years, and after that, I went into other things, I did a couple of matches, I managed, I even ran my own shows."

"After that first show in Detroit, I was up in Toronto visiting some family and I got a call from a promoter in Detroit. They said they needed a ref to play the role of a heel referee, who could also take some bumps. Scott (D'Amore) got a hold of me and the next day I drove down to Detroit. I had a show there. We did a heel ref gimmick where at the end of the night, I got beat up by three separate wrestlers, and from there, I guess I kinda gained my respect from the wrestlers in the locker room, and that's when they welcomed me into their family basically."

Kavanaugh describes the training one must go through as "quite difficult", adding that "it's a lot more complicated than people think. People think you just go in there and count one, two, three. You speak with the wrestlers ahead of time, know of any big spots that are going to happen, any ref bumps. Basically I go over the match with them, and as it goes along, if I see something that I think could be beneficial, I'll tell them. I give them their cues. You're also in there to make the counts. In some cases, if a fan comes in the ring, you're there to take them out. It's a lot of things, and the training for that is very difficult. Basically what you have to do is while the guys work out, you have to go in there and "play referee". And where everyone is calling things out loud, you're in their soaking it in, trying to get a feel for the psychology, trying to get a feel for all that kind of stuff, so when it actually comes down to the match, you can be ready for it."

Kavanaugh names an October 1998 match between Scott D'Amore and Al Snow for the Can-Am Heavyweight Wrestling title as his favourite match that he's refereed. "Al Snow swung Head. D'Amore ducked, and Head hit me in the head, and knocked me out."

"Also, I liked refereeing matches with the Suicide Blondes, who are now known as Edge and Christian, when they wrestled in Detroit. I was always a big fan of their matches, as well as [ECW's] Rhino. It seems like the decent wrestlers around here are the ones that have made it, and those are the people that I most liked refereeing."

Kavanaugh also tried his hands at promoting in Windsor in 1996. "There were more headaches than there were rewards, let me tell ya. I ran the Ontario Wrestling Alliance for only two shows. It took two shows for me to realize that I shouldn't be running shows. It's a lot of hard work and it's a lot of thankless work. Going out there and trying to sell advertising is one of the biggest pains as you can possibly imagine. You have to go there and try to talk people into giving you their money, knowing that they probably won't get any return on it. Then, once you get that set, you have to work with the (Ontario Athletic) Commission ... Then you have to book the wrestlers, and the building and the ring, and the chairs, and security and the refs, and the ring announcers. Then, once you get all that done, and your phone bills already three hundred dollars, then you get to the show. You gotta set up the ring, you gotta set up the chairs, you gotta organize the security, you gotta organize the wrestlers, you have to work out the matches. Then once the matches are going on, I had to referee, I had to make sure things were going straight in the back. I had to get food and drinks for the wrestlers in the back. And then once it's all said and done, when the money was all handed back out, I was more in debt. I lost more than I won."

"I put in, basically, forty hours a day, it felt like some days, for no benefit whatsoever. I don't know why I did it, I'm an idiot." Kavanaugh laments, with a laugh.

As well as refereeing, Kavanaugh, has also appeared at ringside as Scotty Labido, the Canadian Casanova, a heel manager. His first managing gig came with the heel stable, Thug Life, which included Edge, Christian, Joe E. Legend and Rhino, in the Michigan-based Insane Championship Wrestling. This came about after Thug Life's regular manager, "Handsome" Johnny Bradford had a falling out with the promoters. Kavanaugh, at the show to referee, was asked to fill in.

Kavanaugh's heel turn came in a match with Edge and Christian against Rick Matrix and Tex Monroe. "I showed my true colours, my red-white Canadian shirt underneath my referee shirt, screwed them (Matrix and Monroe) over and managed them (Thug Life) for three or four months. And then when Edge and Christian went to the WWF, I managed Otis Apollo, Bobby Clancy, the Canadian Destroyer, Chris Pillon, Professor Maxwell, Larry Destiny. And right now, actually, we have a little angle going in Michigan, called the CIA, Canadian Imperial Alliance, consisting of Larry Destiny, Tommy Wonder and Chris Vanity, which is going really well right now."

"Hopefully, this CIA gimmick goes well, I'm working on trying to get Larry Destiny some major work with a major company right now," Kavanaugh says about the future. "We're hoping that he makes it big. Also Scott D'Amore, he's also been an asset to me my entire career. He's kinda taken me under my wing, and basically, when he gets booked on shows, he asks if they need a referee and lets me help him out. We drive together, we hang out. I just like to help my friends get in there. Who knows? Maybe they'll return the favour. If not, I got something out of it. I got my friends a job."

When asked what his favourite part of wrestling, Kavanaugh says its "hanging out with the wrestlers. Travelling. Sometimes, it's hard on you when you have to travel far distances but I like hanging out with the boys, going out to dinner. Also, I like watching the shows. If I'm not refereeing all the matches, then I'll be out there (watching) the matches I'm not refereeing. I'll usually sit out there and watch it, because I'm a wrestling fan before anything else."

Of all the trades in wrestling that Kavanaugh has plied, he would most like to make it big as a manager, "even though they don't pay as well."

"Refereeing would be fine,' he says, "but with refereeing comes a lot of other duties. You don't get to hang out with the boys as much. I don't know, I'd just like a job actually. I like wrestling. If I could do it every day, I'd do it every day, but because of time and money, you can only take in as many bookings as you can, but as of right, I loved to get booked. I love to hang out with my friends."