The Wrestling With Johners Podcast recently conducted an interview with former WWE star/coach Scott Garland (Scotty 2 Hotty), where Garland spoke in-depth about his early days in the industry, how he was a regular enhancement talent for WWE, and how young talents have different ways of getting exposure. Highlights from chat can be found below.
How he got his start in the industry:
“After I had my first match, I had two matches locally, just outside of Portland, Maine, where I grew up. Then I met a guy, Robbie Ellis, he was kind of a local legend around Maine. He was on the first couple shows I did, and then he got me and my friend, who I started with in my mom’s garage, booked for this small independent company down in Massachusetts. We would go down there just south of Boston pretty much every weekend and work at least one show, sometimes five or six shows. He might do some fair shows where they do two or three shows a day. At the time, I was a kid. I was younger than my son is now when I was doing this. I was 16, 17 years old, and at the time, we were making, if we were lucky, ten dollars a day down there. It’s like ah, this sucks, we’re not making any money. But looking back, it was such great experience and great reps and being able to do it over and over and over, and fine-tune our craft. We were really lucky to have that.”
On being an enhancement talent for WWE for years:
“I worked for him for years, and then I met a guy named Phil Apollo. He had been working as an extra for WWF, and I didn’t even give him my number. I told him I worked at a KFC. I was working at a KFC as a cook, so maybe a month or two went by after meeting him, and I was at work, and I got a phone call. It was Phil Apollo, he said I’ve been trying to track you down. I’ve been calling all of the KFCs around Portland, and I’ve been working as an extra for WWF, and they’ve asked me to bring another guy. Would you be interested? I said of course, you know, that’s my goal. I was about 17, like I said, when I got that call. It was August 19 of 1991, I had my first match, I was an enhancement guy. I was still in high school, just barely an adult, and I would skip school to go get beat up by the best in the world. At the time, you’re thinking, am I doing the right thing? I’m just a body out here getting beat up, and you have people who have been around for a while telling you, oh, you can’t do that. You’re gonna kill yourself off. Looking back, dude, I was sitting in school one day, and the next day, I’m in the ring with Hogan and Undertaker and Sid and Mr. Perfect and Bret Hart. How can that be wrong? I’m in the ring with Mr. Perfect and Shawn Michaels and the Beverly Brothers and The Berzerker and Owen Hart. Like dude, at 18, 19, 20 years old, what great experience. It kind of sucks now because the guys don’t really get that opportunity to do that and get out there because they don’t really use enhancement guys the way that they used to.”
How young wrestlers cannot get that type of exposure anymore:
“Oh it’s crazy, right? You can’t get that kind of experience anywhere now. To be so young and inexperienced, to be working with these guys who are some of the best in the world. The list you rattled off, Yokozuna I think is one of the best big men ever. Bam Bam Bigelow, one of the best big men, not just for the time, we’re talking about in the history of what we do. It’s gonna be hard to find a better big guy than Yokozuna. Again, Rick Martel, Mr. Perfect. We’re talking about the best in the history of what we do. Owen Hart. It’s crazy to think that I was the age I was and I was in the ring with these guys. Not only in the ring with them but hanging around with them. I’m hanging out with Owen Hart. I’m hanging out with a Hart. I’m driving down the road with Owen Hart as a teenage kid. You just can’t pay for that kind of experience.”
(H/T and transcribed by Fightful)