The women’s pet, Fred Ward’s regret
The late Eddie Gilbert used to love telling the story of how Austin Idol won a battle royal in Columbus, Ga., in 1980…and later cashed the $5,000 check presented to him in the ring by promoter Fred Ward. (Think Memphis promoter Jerry Jarrett would have actually signed a battle royal gimmick check? And if he did, do you think the elder Double J would have forgotten to retrieve the check once they were back in the dressing room? Not on your life….especially if the winner was from Las Vegas.) I would have loved to have seen the look on Ward’s face when he realized his mistake. Back in the days of kayfabe, Ward likely would have wrestled with the decision to go to the police; after all; Idol did win the check in the ring, at least in the eyes of the fans.
I have heard the tale repeated numerous times over the years but wasn’t sure if I ever quite believed it…until now. According to Idol’s recent shoot interview with highpots.com, the legend is true. (Although, I’m not exactly sure I follow the Universal Heartthrob’s take on the Robin Hood mythos.) I’ve heard the shoot is fantastic, thanks to Idol’s excellent memory and frankness. Hope the Idol’s upcoming book is just as compelling.
Sure, Jerry Lawler could be clever when booking battle royals. (On a few occasions, he struck deals with local car dealerships, offering them free on-air promotion in exchange for a great deal or a short-term lease-type arrangement on a new vehicle…which the King promptly “won” in the battle royal.) But nothing holds a candle to the Idol story. Classic.