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Hometown heel

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Outgunned: In her battles with Bowden, Ms. Texas displayed a heart the size of Texas. And tits to match.

It’s only seconds after I offer Ms. Texas (Jackie Moore, a.k.a. Jacqueline in WWE) the use of “my daddy’s credit cards” if she would join my stable of heels on live Memphis television, and the phone at the Memphis Fire Station on East Parkway is already ringing off the hook. My poor father answers the firehouse phone, knowing that one of his friends is on the other line to give him a hard time about his only son’s would-be wrestling career.

After Ms. Texas rebuffs this enticing offer, I proceed to dangle cash in front of the future WWE Ladies Champion, offering all the money I have in my wallet — probably around $40 (my wrestling payoff from the night before)— if she’ll agree to my terms. I punctuate the offer by stuffing the dollar bills down her bra, which was already filled to capacity (unlike the Mid-South Coliseum at that point): “No woman ever turns me down — personally or professionally.”

Seconds later, we’re brawling on the studio floor, as my dad wonders what exactly he did to deserve a son like this and why the hell I didn’t use an assumed name.

Meanwhile, the phone at the apartment of my then-girlfriend, Kristi, rings incessantly, waking her up the second consecutive Saturday morning. Kristi’s mother had been infuriated a week earlier, when I told the viewing audience that I wouldn’t hesitate to hit Ms. Texas because “I smack my girlfriend around when she gets out of line.” Almost reacting like a mark (fan) would, her mom was calling this week to gleefully inform her daughter that I was getting my ass kicked by a woman on TV: “I guess maybe he got out of line. Hahahahaha!” And much like the previous week, Kristi’s efforts to again explain that I was merely playing a character fell on deaf ears. Her mom: “Yeah, he’s playing a character named Scott Bowden. And his character is getting his ass kicked. Hahahaha.”

It wasn’t always easy being a heel in your hometown.

Oh, sure there were the occasional perks. Kristi and I were headed to a Nine Inch Nails concert when I was pulled over by a police cruiser a few miles from the arena. In my haste to make the 7:30 p.m. show, I ran a red light. Trouble was, we’d also been drinking since about 4 o’clock. As the cop makes his way toward my car, Kristi imparts this wise advice: “Now don’t you talk much, or we’re screwed.” I shrugged, knowingly: “Hey, what am I, an idiot? I can handle it.” Right. When the officer asks if I am aware of why he’s pulling me over, I answer: “Of course. Because I wan dat wed wight.” (Elmer Fudd could have answered more clearly.) Annoyed, the officer asks for my driver’s license. As he heads back to the cruiser, Kristi mocks me: “‘Hey, what am I, an idiot? What am I, an idiot?’ Yes! Yes you are! Wan the wed wight!?” Before reaching his car, the officer stops in his tracks. He returns to my “candy-apple-red Mitsubishi Eclipse sports car” (a frequent on-air reference by that Scott Bowden character). Instead of arresting me, he apologizes: “Man, I’m sorry, Scott. I didn’t realize that was you until I saw your name on your license.”

Lawler takes a powder: Bowden did not endear himself to his hometown fans by tossing a bag of medicated powder into the eyes of their Citizen King.

Apparently, Scott Bowden was above the law. And we weren’t even in Germantown (my uh, character’s adopted hometown). Not only did I not receive a ticket, but the officer also followed us to the arena to ensure I wasn’t pulled over again. Me: “So … who’s the idiot now?” Kristi: “Oh, it’s still you.” Could have been worse. Could have been an idiot with a DUI. (Redundant, perhaps.)

My friends used to promote my D-list-celebrity status—and quite loudly. A group of us were attending a Memphis Mad Dogs (one of the city’s many DOA pro sports franchises) CFL football game, when my buddy Todd Yoder announced my arrival: “Look everybody, it’s wrestling manager Scott Bowden!” A group of fans looked over, confirmed that it was me and erupted with the Florida State Seminoles’ war chant and tomahawk chops: “Ohhh, ohhhh, ohhh….ohhh, ohhh, ohhh!” I’m sure my Uncle Bobby Bowden, head football coach of the ‘Noles, would have been touched. Never was that FSU chant more evident than following a pull-apart brawl I had with Randy Hales, after he failed to suspend Lawler after the King tossed a fireball at my prized FSU Starter jacket. (See video below.)

And autographs. I signed my share, believe it or not. But usually only at places like liquor stores and the Mid-South Fair. I was trying to pick up a girl at a nightclub called Six-One-Six, when another girl approached me excitedly with a napkin and a pen, asking for my signature. I obliged. The first girl stormed off after asking me, “Did you just give that girl your phone number?!” One kid at the fair approached me for my signature, and I obliged. He walked a few yards, turned back at me and ripped it up. “You suck,” he informed me as he ran off. Good thing too. ‘Cause I would wrung his neck, the little bastard.

“You suck.” Years before Kurt Angle would make that phrase famous, I had it hurled my way many times, usually along with a beer or a crumpled-up wrestling program. (Rasslin’ fans aren’t all that original.) My then 7-year-old nephew was in attendance one night at the state-of-the-art Big One Expo Center when another young fan in his section bellowed, “Bowden, you suck!” My nephew, Jake Casey, turned around and set him straight: “My uncle does not suck!” So there.

Oddly enough, my heel stint in wrestling management didn’t result in more lucrative opportunities elsewhere. (Of course, with those $40 payoffs I was receiving, an assistant-manager position at Taco Bell would have been a more a lucrative opportunity.) A year after earning my BA in journalism from The University of Memphis in 1994, I had a job interview in the public-relations department at the Memphis Zoo. I thought I was a Cole Haan shoe-in until my prospective employer told me: “You know, this position requires you to represent the zoo: interviews with the media, coordinating on-site activities, etc. I’m concerned that your image in town is less than impeccable.” Me: “No, no. See, that’s a character I play on TV. Nothing more.” I wasn’t hired. And I’ll bet I was the only job candidate with a personal reference from Jerry “The King” Lawler.

I did land a job, however, with Parts Plus Headquarters in Memphis, writing the automotive-parts company’s national magazine and press releases. (My hiring was a huge testament to my writing abilities since I knew absolutely nothing about cars.) Part of my responsibilities included conducting public-relations events at NASCAR tracks nationwide, including the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. When I arrived home one Monday afternoon after a race weekend in Alabama, I ran into my apartment to quickly change clothes for that evening’s matches at the Mid-South Coliseum. My roommate, Greg Fowler, looked at me with much amusement: “Bowden, you just got back from working Talladega. Now you’re going to manage a professional wrestler. You’re certainly living a semi-charmed-redneck kind of life.”

I certainly have, my friend. I certainly have.

  1. Old School Sammy
    May 6th, 2009 at 04:02 | #1

    You actually ADMIT to owning a Red Mitsubishi Eclipse?? That is the ULTIMATE chick car! Not chick MAGNET, but the official car of high haired females the nation over! Did your girlfriend drive it for you, so you could complete the total emasculation? HAHAHA!

  2. admin
    May 6th, 2009 at 04:37 | #2

    No, I didn”t own a Red Mitsubishi Eclipse. I owned a “CANDY Apple Red Mitsubishi Eclipse Sports Car.” Much more masculine.

  3. Kristi
    May 6th, 2009 at 22:06 | #3

    That “CANDY” apple red Mitsubishi car protected us from some overly aggresive (brick throwing) fans one night!

  4. Cousar
    May 7th, 2009 at 06:41 | #4

    Uh, oh, Kristi”s here. You might have to tone down the stories.

  5. Old School Sammy
    May 7th, 2009 at 07:57 | #5

    A Candy Apple Red Mitsubishi Eclipse Sports car is as masculine as Adrian Street–LOL.

  6. admin
    May 7th, 2009 at 08:20 | #6

    Uh…I was joking, Old School. Get in the game, Old boy. (And, for the record, I happened to know that Ms. Linda loved that car.)

    Incidentally, I (or rather, my CHARACTER…ahem…) bragged about owning the Eclipse on Memphis TV and referred to it as a “sports car” because it WASN””T a sexy sports car. And no, it really wasn””t CANDY apple red either, but it sure sounded ridiculous, hence why I described it as such. A rich, spoiled kid should have a much nicer car than that.

  7. May 8th, 2009 at 05:04 | #7

    Dude, just classic. The part about the matching Jeff Jarrett shirts…simply priceless!

  8. Kristi
    May 11th, 2009 at 22:39 | #8

    Kristi is omnipresent. Bowden would never tone down his stories.

  9. Cousar
    May 12th, 2009 at 00:01 | #9

    Ha! Hi, Kristi, how are you? We used to work together.

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