I started bouncing at 17 years old at a franchise place called O’Toole’s in my hometown of Orangeville. Of course it was highly illegal for me to be doing that, but even at that age I was about 6’4” and 220, so because they were short on bouncers, I got the job.
The thing with Orangeville was that, even though it was just a small town of about 15000 people, it was surrounded by a bunch of farming communities whose farm boys would come into town with their shit-kickers on when they wanted to drink. And when the drinking started, all the different rivalries from all the different towns would flare up.
The bouncing crew included friends of mine named Doug Childs and Kelly McGoogan, as well as the legendary Burt the Hurt. Burt was a guy I knew from the wrestling business, since we were both training to be wrestlers at Sully’s Gym in Toronto. In his day job he was a schoolteacher, but he was also legally blind so how he got a license, I have no idea. That dude was INSANE — he would only answer if you called him by his full name of “Burt the Hurt”, and he spoke about himself in the third person way before The Rock ever did. I liked to call him “The Innovator of Eccentricity” because he always talked as if he was cutting a wrestling promo, even when there were no cameras around and he didn’t think anybody was listening. Burt was also strong as a bull — squat, deadlift, pick up cars, whatever. Total freak — and batshit crazy.
Our crew was actually well-hired, because with me being from town and every other guy being from one of the neighbouring towns, any time things got out of hand, the odds were good that at least one of us would know at least one of the guys in the fight and have a chance at talking them down.
So one night we were all at work, and it was one of those times where the place was filled with these big, athletic farm guys who play hockey, and the air was thick with testosterone and you could just tell that something was gonna happen. Adding to the potential for disaster was that Jay The Dick [Jay Reso aka “Christian”, Copeland’s tag team partner and best friend] was also in the club, because there was really nowhere else to hang out in Orangeville.
I can’t even remember what started it all. I just remember looking at the back corner and seeing fists start flying back there, and then suddenly it was like a tsunami of fists rolling toward us as more and more people got involved. By the time the wave crashed into us, there were at least thirty people fighting, which meant we could absolutely forget about stopping it. We just had to pick off guys one at a time, try to control it.
The first guy I grabbed started swinging at me, so I rammed him up against a support pillar to get a good hold of him, and then began dragging him out. But a buddy of his came up from behind me and grabbed me in a chokehold! So now I’m not only fending off the choke, but the guy I had against the pillar is now loose and he’s getting ready to dial me in.
We were all standing beside this kind of wooden barrier that ran around the dance floor, maybe four feet high and eighteen inches thick, and just as I’m thinking I’m finished, out of nowhere I see The Dick running along the top of it. So I pushed backward and slammed the guy behind me into a wall, which got me loose just as The Dick launched himself into the air. A moment later — BOOM! — he hit the guy in front of me with a picture-perfect cross body block to the back! I swear, you’ve never seen a better one in any wrestling ring than the one that The Dick pulled off that night — slammed the guy face-first right into the ground!
To the best of my knowledge, that was the first-ever successful cross body block to be pulled off in a street fight — and don’t even talk to me about that weak shit that [Chris] Jericho tried in Calgary, because it totally doesn’t count if you don’t connect!
Thankfully, the fight didn’t last much longer and we all came out of it more or less unscathed. If you don’t count having to listen to The Dick brag about himself for weeks afterward, that is.
If I fail to remember O’Toole’s for any other reason, I will always remember it for the night that they featured a male strip show. I was freaking out that I had to work that night, because I’d barely been to a female strip club at that point, so I had no idea what the deal was gonna be.
The strippers arrived shortly after my shift started, and because it was the nineties, they were all mulletted out like crazy — not that I can say anything about it since I was rockin’ the same thing, plus my uniform was cowboy boots, jeans, and a white denim shirt, so I wasn’t setting a very high fashion precedent.
After the show began, I stayed on the front door and tried to look into the club as little as possible. But it was still my job to scan the room from time to time, and every time I did, it was like, “Whoa, shit, there’s a dick”. I hadn’t realized that these guys were actually gonna get their shit right in the girls’ faces and just shake it! I don’t know if that was legal or not, but I can tell you it was sure goin’ on.
Eventually I had to use the staff washroom, which was a tiny, single-user deal at the back. As I made my way back there I tried to keep my eyes to the floor, but it was like walking through dick land-mines the whole way! When I finally got to the back I let out a huge sigh of relief, but that only lasted a couple of seconds before I opened the unlocked bathroom door and found one of the peelers standing there wearing nothing but a cock ring! Porn magazine in one hand, junk in the other, and going to TOWN on himself trying to get his shit hard!
At a young and impressionable 17 years old, I didn’t want to know about cock-rings — what they were, what they were for, the whole process of getting ‘em on, I didn’t wanna know any of that. And I especially didn’t want to be enlightened by a guy who was only too eager to explain it all while whacking his meat!
So yeah… I witnessed that. And even with all the years that passed and all the concussions I’ve suffered since then, I’ve still never found a way to un-know it.