T.I.D. aims to be Notorious
By DARREN YOURK -- For SLAM! Wrestling
Media salesman by day, bad man by night
Notorious T.I.D. at a Ring'n'Ears show in Toronto.
Notorious T.I.D. is perched on a balcony 15 feet above a screaming crowd
with his arms stretched out and a sick smile on his bloodied face. On the
ground below, "Bloody" Bill Skullion lays draped over a table, beaten
senseless. The two friends have spent the last 25 minutes hitting
each other with road signs, steel chairs, trashcans and anything else they
managed to get their hands on. T.I.D. surveys the crowd and slowly nods his
head as the cheers grow louder. Suddenly he's airborne and lands a split
second later with such violent force that the table splinters in half and he
bounces up off of Skullion's body as the crowd roars. This is what a guy
with a 9 to 5 office job does for fun on weekends.
Chris Tidwell may be the only professional wrestler who is telling the truth
when he says he hails from Las Vegas, Nevada. Hearing the story of his life
thus far makes it hard to believe that he is only 30 years old. He is one of
those rare people who has had the opportunity to go everywhere and try just
about everything, but he feels his biggest accomplishments are still ahead
of him in the world of pro wrestling.
Monday to Friday Tidwell works the phones putting deals together for
AvailableMedia.com, a Toronto company that sells national advertising for
everything from movie theaters to bars and television networks. On a couple
of weekends a month he becomes Notorious T.I.D. ('Til I Die), a top star for
the Hardcore Wrestling Federation, an independently owned and run wrestling
promotion that holds their shows in small venues throughout southern
"In a way my job is kind of related to the world of wrestling," Tidwell
said. "The most important thing in the wrestling business is knowing how to
promote yourself as a product and I'm on the line every day working on ideas
and possible promotions with some pretty big companies. There is a definite
creative element in both things and I think I'm learning a lot that ends up
helping my wrestling."
The man who would grow up to pierce his eyebrow, cover his arms in tattoos
and give profanity-laced tirades to draw the ire of rowdy wrestling fans, was
born into an American traveling ministry that spent time moving all over the
west coast and Midwest states. Although the majority of his childhood years
were spent in Salem and Spokane, Tidwell says he will always call Vegas
"That's where most of my family still lives and I have so many good memories
because there was always something cool going on," he said. "I'm really busy
with work and wrestling, but I still make a point of getting back there
whenever I can."
A drummer since the age of 10, Tidwell finished high school and was offered
a full music scholarship to play percussion at the University of Southern
California. At the same time he was playing in the punk band "AA" who got
offered a record deal on a small label.
"I thought about going to school for a bit, but I really wanted to tour and
take a shot at being a rock star," he said. "It came down to four years of
reading textbooks or playing music for a living. The band jumped in a van
and spent six and a half months on the road playing before it all fell
apart. It ends up that we had too much attitude and not near enough
When he wasn't making music Tidwell was watching wrestlers like The Road
Warriors, Magnum TA and Nikita Koloff in the American Wrestling Alliance.
"I grew up watching the AWA shows that came out of the Vegas area," Tidwell
said. "I remember having great seats to a show one night and right in front
of me Jimmy Snuka takes this massive DDT from Colonel DeBeers on the
concrete and the place just went nuts. That's when I knew I wanted
to wrestle for a living."
Tidwell makes no excuses for his years between the band broke up and his
subsequent move to Toronto. After a number of run-ins with the law, he knew
he had to make a change in his life. In 1988 he packed his bags and headed
"My mom had remarried after my dad died and moved up here," he said. "She
loved it here and always wanted me to come up. It got to the point where I
decided the best way to stay out of trouble was to leave the situation all
together. I guess sometimes in life you have to make an adult decision. Man
I hate that."
Upon his arrival in Toronto the 6'4", 270-pound Tidwell found work as a
nightclub bouncer and personal security for former CTV talk show host
Camilla Scott. He was also taking extensive training in a number of
different styles of martial arts and co-hosting the first ever online
broadcast wrestling show.
"We started doing the SLAM wrestling show on the Internet at a station
called Virtually Canadian," Tidwell said. "In the beginning my partner
Donnie Abreu talked wrestling and I did a lot of stuff on ultimate fighting.
We pulled in great ratings and it eventually grew into Live Audio Wrestling,
which is on Saturday night's on the FAN590 now. I eventually got let go from
the show, which ended up being okay because it gave me time to work on my
wrestling dream. I'm still proud of starting that show up."
Tidwell began his wrestling training in Burlington in the RWA promotion.
His first match ever was a battle royal in front of a small crowd in
Burlington. "I remember climbing through the ropes and being so happy that I
finally was exactly where I wanted to be." he said. "Then I got nervous
thinking about how much this was going to hurt. I took my first cane shot
A bloody Notorious T.I.D. comes off the ropes onto Magnus.
T.I.D. will be appearing on the April 28 HWF show at the The London Ice House in London, Ontario. He will be in the 15-Man Royal Rumble with the winner
getting a shot at Magnus later in the night for the HWF Heavyweight Title.
After leaving RWA due to the lack of effort the promoter was putting in to
getting the promotion and its wrestlers noticed, he moved on to train under
Waldo Von Erich in the ICW promotion out of Cambridge. He was fired
from the company for being too much of a '90s wrestler instead of a '70s
ring technician. He would later meet HWF owner and promoter Mark Anderson and eventually landed a spot on the HWF roster.
The mention of weapons in a wrestling match brings a smile to Tidwell's
face. In his brief career he has worked hard to master the dangerous art of
the no holds barred hardcore match. It gets so brutal that his mom refuses
to watch him wrestle anymore. The rules are simple: There are no rules. You
can pin your opponent anywhere in the building and use any weapon you like
to beat on your opponent. The Notorious T.I.D. is known for his barbwire
"Well I've always felt there isn't near enough good comedy in wrestling,"
Tidwell said. "Nobody wants to see two sweaty men roll around in their
underwear. I've used everything from an oar to a Nintendo in my matches and
the people love it. One night I happened to get my hands on a toilet plunger
and decided to use it. I knocked my opponent down then put the suction cup
end over his face and started plunging and the crowd went crazy. It was one
of those rare moments of brilliance where a gimmick is born."
Jeff Marek, an executive producer during the early days of the SLAM
wrestling show and current co-host of The LAW, says Tidwell is delivering
the kind of performance that is necessary to make a name for yourself on the
independent scene and maybe catch the eye of the big wrestling companies.
"Obviously this isn't the World Wrestling Federation where you have hours of TV
exposure every week to develop characters and storylines," he said. "Good
comedy and hardcore wrestling is where it's at on the indy scene because it
is that quick fix that gets the crowd going. I've seen T.I.D. wrestle at least
12 times and he's absolutely fearless out there. He works really hard and is
dedicated to putting on a show. That's what people who go to the shows love
The HWF superstars come from all walks of life with one common bond:
Wrestling is in their blood. For between $50 and $100 a night, guys that
have families and steady day jobs put their bodies on the line in bars and
small clubs. While the WWF and WCW wrestling programs usually start with the
talent showing up to huge arenas in stretch limos, most of the guys got to a recent HWF card at the Palace bar in Guelph via carpool. The basement
floor of the bar acts as the backstage area where the boys catch up on old
times and plan for tonight's matches.
"Obviously none of us are in this for the money," said Germain Wilson, a
freelance camera operator who wrestles under the moniker J.Q. Publik. "I
guess there is a certain level of masochism involved because you hurt for
days after a match. We put our health and day job on the line because love
being in front of crowds and performing. I can't get wrestling out of my
While Wilson considers himself more of a fan favourite and technical
wrestler, he sees why the crowds love Tidwell's matches.
"He hits people with stuff and the crowd loves it," he said. "As long as
hardcore wrestling is cool T.I.D. will be too."
About 400 fans have packed the Palace to watch the action. From the opening
bell the crowd is into the action, often raising their plastic beer cups
towards the ceiling and chanting "We want blood, we want blood!"
Men who during the week are nurses, jail guards and personal trainers, walk
to the ring under names like Magnus, Tommy Twilight and Custom Made Man. At
the intermission it is announced that tonight's main event will be a
hardcore death match between Bloody Bill Skullion and Notorious T.I.D.
The two combatants sit backstage by a pool table talking about doing a big
spot to end their match and getting taped up. Tidwell's spiked hair and
goatee have been dyed bright orange and Skullion is busy digging through a
garbage bag with what appears to be the handle of a baseball bat sticking
out of it.
"I'm always nervous before I go out there," Tidwell admits just before show
time. "But the best wrestlers are the guys who are in the zone as soon as
they step in the ring. It is a completely different world out there and you
have to be alert and ready to go right away."
As promised Tidwell and Skullion deliver the biggest moment of the night
with the balcony jump. Skullion remains motionless on top of a pile of
kindling while T.I.D. stumbles back towards the ring to raise his arms in
victory and sneer at an appreciative crowd. He has supplied the violence
they were waiting for and they can now go home happy.
Back in the dressing room Skullion and Tidwell are both fine and promise to
go for a beer before Wednesday night when they'll be working the door
together at a downtown Toronto bar. Wrestling is an art form, and even in a
hardcore match the most important thing is taking care of your opponent's
body so you can both walk out of the building under your own power at the
end of the night. After cleaning most of the blood off his forehead, Tidwell
looks over and matter-of-factly asks "So whatcha think?"
If making it big in the business was based solely on hard work and love of
the sport, Chris Tidwell would be wrestling on TV every Monday night. For
the time being he will continue to chase his dream by being a media salesman by day, and on a
couple of nights a month, the baddest man in the HWF.
"You just have to believe in yourself and keep sending tapes of your stuff
to the bigger companies with the hope that they will notice you," he said.
"I'd wrestle anywhere, anytime because I love it that much. You have to stay
out there and work your ass off for years if you're going to make it. I'm
willing to do it because I want success that bad."