Welcome to the next edition of The Official’s View with Wes Adams exclusively on PWMania.com. Thank you so much for the positive messages and feedback! Feel free to send more questions, comments, or feedback in the comments below or to wesadams1[@]hotmail.com, Twitter, or add me on Facebook!
I strongly considered several topics for this next column, my thoughts on Money in the Bank, Raw, Impact, a little of this or that from the indy scene. I try to keep up with everything the best I can, but sometimes, I just can’t. Running your own independent can take time from you that you didn’t even know you had (let alone working a *gasp* REAL JOB in between) and the next thing you know, one day has turned into ten days, and we all have those things we were supposed to do, people we were supposed to call/text, and you feel rotten about it. We all have regrets and timing issues in our lives, sometimes the two combine and turn something small into something big. This edition is about a regret I have, and can never be fixed.
One of the headlines on many of wrestling websites this week detailed the very tragic story of Brian McGhee, who wrestled under a WWE developmental deal from 2010-2012 as DT Porter. McGhee stands accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend in a Tampa, FL apartment complex parking lot. I have never met McGhee, as he came into WWE a good bit after I did, so I am not familiar with his time there or anything that happened. But apparently, he was NOT happy with his time in FCW, as evident by his “Cry for Help” Tweet that was sent out sometime last year, which touched base on a problem with an unnamed trainer, a drinking problem, and very bad thoughts that crossed his mind. He deleted the tweet, and claimed his account was hacked, but I remember reading that on several wrestling news sited when it originally happened. We can’t say for sure whether or not anything was done about the tweet from the inside, but there sure should have been. I remember feeling bad for him at the time, and thinking how awful it must be to in a position of hating the dream job that he had probably wanted since he was a kid.
During my brief time with WWE, I can never recall a time where I ever hated it, wished that I wasn’t there, or just flat out wanted to quit. It’s unimaginable to me, and even more unimaginable to let a feeling like that out via social media, where it can never be taken back. He says his account was hacked, and he’s the only one that knows if that was the truth or not. He was released eventually, and I’m not sure if he was still working independents or not before the murder happened. But if he was doing Indies before, he obviously loved the business. I never worked with him so I can’t say how much. And I know firsthand how losing that job hurts someone who truly loves the business. It’s not just a matter of those checks not coming every Monday after that 90 day period; it’s a matter of being in that ring, on that road, and paying your bills and feeding your family via the greatest form of entertainment in the world. It’s a matter of not seeing your boys and your girls that you trained with every day for months (or years) on end. If you read my previous column, then you understand my passion for the business, and the rich history it possesses.
For me, it meant not being able to train and learn from Dr. Tom Prichard and Steve Keirn every day (not to mention Dusty Rhodes, Steve Williams, Billy Kidman, Brad Armstrong, and the huge assortment of legends that came to assist with training). And I know I’m not the only one that felt that way. The situation with Brian McGhee made me think of a friend from my time from WWE developmental that I felt I should touch on. “The Bad Seed” Shawn Osborne (McGrath) was in WWE developmental from 2006 to 2008. He was a well-travelled young veteran, as he had wrestled in former WWE developmental territory Heartland Wrestling Association, and spent time in all three WWE developementals of the 2005-2012 time period: Deep South Wrestling, Ohio Valley Wrestling, and Florida Championship Wrestling. He was one of the first people I met when I first reported to Deep South and along with Tyson Kidd, Natalya, and Robert “Egotistico Fantastico” Anthony, one of the people I rented a giant Penske moving truck with when we all had to abruptly move from McDonough, GA to Tampa, FL.
Shawn and Johnny “Fandango” Curtis took me to my first Red Sox game after being a fan for 27 years (and of course he ridiculed me when they lost). Shawn was exactly what his gimmick was, “The Bad Seed” and if he didn’t like something, he surely was going to tell you about it. His blind gimmick “The Blind Seed” from Ohio Valley Wrestling was hilarious, and his heavy metal loving “Bad Seed” gimmick down to the denim jacket and skull cap would have been a pushed gimmick in the mid 90’s. Shawn was a solid worker. He was someone that could have worked with anybody, which is a great trait to have. He reminded me a lot of and Arn Anderson or Tully Blanchard type, where he could have been a great tag team wrestler.
Unfortunately tag teams weren’t a priority at that point in time (and continue not to be). In my opinion, he definitely had the promo skills to compete and be entertaining. I’m not sure why he was never at least given a run of house shows, or called up for anything. Did the office ever fully see what he could contribute? Again, I don’t know, and that wasn’t my department. Anybody that ever heard Shawn call somebody “butt-head” in that voice of his will never forget it.
I’ll never forget only a few weeks after I started in Deep South, Dr. Tom announcing that he would be training us to work hour long iron man matches within a few weeks. I don’t know the details, but apparently Shawn told Dr. Tom that he was ready to go now, and next thing I know, Doc and “Bad Seed” are having an iron man match at training! I was still in worker mode, not yet adjusted to reffing totally, and several times during the match Doc yelling at me “Count Referee!” or other instructions because I got so caught up in the actual match itself, and was watching, instead of participating. I remember being on an airplane when I found out Shawn got released (on the same day as Robert) and spent the flight thinking about how I would have booked them both if I were writing TV. I felt that both had the potential to contribute, and now, wouldn’t get a chance, at least for the time being.
The very last time I saw Shawn was in the Total Fitness gym on Hillsborough Ave, about a month after his release. I actually remember thinking he sounded more upbeat than I had ever heard him before, as he told me about some of the indies he was going to be working and some of his plans.
A few months later after my release, he actually called me, and in the good old “Bad Seed” promo voice-nearly a spot on Biff Tannen impression-told me how much he thought what happened to me sucked. I really appreciated that. His two best friends down there Sinn “Kizarny” Bodhi and Mike “Titan” Jarvi (another two guys I wish I could have booked) and he put together a traveling freak show called The Dynamite Death Monkiez and toured nightclubs and concerts performing hardcore wrestling spots and stunts, and generally being the funny, entertaining guys they all were. I cracked up at Shawn reprising the “Blind Seed” and all of their antics. I loved it so much I reached out to several nightclubs in the Mississippi area to try to get them booked locally, but unfortunately no bites. They continued their Death Monkiez tour for a while, I believe until Sinn got married and relocated to Las Vegas.
I remember the very last time I talked to Shawn. It was during the summer of 2010, and I was in Wal-Mart grocery shopping. I can’t remember if I called him or he called me, but we talked for about an hour about the business, old stories, and our releases. He expressed his desire for WWE to implement a counseling program for guys who need psychological help before something bad happened. We talked about the Chris Benoit tragedy and how maybe something like that could possibly help another person before anything bad like that happened again. I told Shawn that I was in the early planning stages, but was thinking about a Tampa vacation, since I hadn’t been there in two years, and I was anxious for a visit.
My wife and I went to Tampa for 2 days in September 2010. I went down and visited FCW again trying to nose around and seeing what I could possibly to do to get my name back on the radar. I had a whole lot of places to go, people to visit, and old stomping grounds to stomp again in only 2 days. And we squeezed a LOT in 2 days. But I didn’t get a chance to visit Shawn. For as much fun as I had seeing a lot of my old friends, I was equally as sad because I didn’t get to see Shawn, Titan, Chris Gray or Tommy Taylor, Steve Chamberland, Joe Gomez, and several others that I had hoped to see.
Earlier in this column, I said we all have timing issues and regrets. About four months later, in January 2011, 34 year old Shawn McGrath took his own life. Someone’s son, brother, and many people’s friend had suffered enough pain from so many things that had happened to him that he couldn’t take anymore. He sent out a letter that detailed his thought process behind his decision. It was painfully obvious that it wasn’t a rash decision and that there was nothing anybody could do to talk him out of it. I’ll always regret not visiting Shawn on that trip. I’m not going to get all philosophical on the merits and aftermaths of suicide, but I hope I’ll get to see him again one day. Could a psychological intervention program have helped him? Or Chris Benoit? Or Brian McGhee? Or anybody else that needs help reconstructing their life after losing a dream job? Who knows? I sure don’t. All I know is that WWE has several great programs and there are many people there always willing to lend help if you ask for it. But can any company in the world be capable of having a program that can help a person with problems that nobody knows they have?
Thanks for reading.