Smoke & Pyrotechnics

Smoke & Pyrotechnics
By The Big Gooch [ sperrazzae@comcast.net ]

Dinner With a Thriller
By: The Big Gooch

To all the smarks, fans & mid-card jobbers, I extend a sincere apology for the gap in installments and graciously welcome you back to a (long overdue) new edition of Smoke & Pyrotechnics! To my dismay, I had an unfortunate string of misfortune fall upon me as I had to make a trip to the Hospital before the holidays and watch as doctors tried to decide if my appendix was going to burst or not. Two x-rays, two visits, and a hand full of pain-killers later, I was cleared to go back to day-to-day activities. Getting back into routine was a slow process, but I am now back and I am hoping for the big "Post-Injury Push!" But how does one pick up after so many weeks out of the game? How can an interest be sparked to pick up the momentum that was seemingly dropped? Well, to win back all of the "Smoke & Pyrotechni-holics" I figured I would come out of the gate strong and share an exclusive interview with a former WCW tag team champion, and current WWE Tag Team up-and-comer.Mark Jindrak!

So there I sat on a frigid December evening, eating my dinner when my cell phone rings. The deep voice on the other end asked if it was a good time to talk, and I did not know what to say. Assuming at first, that it was a tele-marketer from my wireless service, I was just about to dust the call and go back to my Philly Cheese Steak, when the voice in question said, "Can you hang on a minute? I got Randy Orton calling in on the other line." This, as you could imagine, cleared the ignorant fog from my brain as it was clear who was on the line. For over a month, Mark Jindrak and I went back and forth (via e-mail) about a possible interview. We agreed that he could just call me when he is free in the up-and-coming weeks and I gave him my number. But now, here he was on the other end of the phone looking to address his Rajah Fan Base. As the cheese steak (that was my main focus of interest just 5 seconds before) sat on the kitchen table and progressively got colder, I sat at my desk talking with one of the most memorable performers during the final stand of WCW and one of the most promising stars on WWE's Raw Brand.

Here is a recap of what Mark had to say!

Mark, Thank you for taking time to talk to all of the Rajah Fans!

No Problem!

You got started in this business in 1998, correct?

Uh, yup. At the Power Plant in Atlanta, Georgia.

You were originally a Basketball Player. What made you make the jump into Pro Wrestling?

Well, when I was a kid I watched wrestling pretty avidly. You know, Jake "The Snake," Hulkster, Tito Santana..you know? It got to a point where my parents actually banned me from watching wrestling because me and my brother would try and wrestle each other and wind up hurting each other. I got away from it for a while, but in College I went down to Orlando, Florida and saw WCW being taped at Universal Studios and wound up meeting almost all the wrestlers there. I went backstage and wound up talking to "Macho Man" Randy Savage and learned about the Power Plant, and from that point I wanted to go down there and see what it was all about.

So then, after two years of training you made your debut on Nitro?

Yeah..my birthday, actually. June 26th of 2000 on Monday Nitro.

You met Sean O'Haire in the Power Plant as well, and were brought up with him as a tag team, right?

Oh yeah.we were working as a tag team in the Power Plant and then the both of us were called up to work Nitro.

From that point came the "Natural Born Thrillers" storyline where you and Sean got to work with Chuck Palumbo, Sean Stasiak, and many others.Are there any highlights from those days that you particularly think about, fondly?

Well, all those Guys.we all became the best of friends. So it was cool that we were all experiencing all of that together. One highlight is when me and Sean won the Tag Team Titles, but truthfully I wish I knew then, what I knew now about this business.

Did you find that by working with stars like Rey Mysterio, Billy Kidman and Juventud Guerrera, it made you raise the bar for the kind of stunts you and Sean pulled?

Well, our whole thing was that we were big guys that could do extreme style moves. I had done the hurricanrana on more than one occasion and Sean did his swanton bomb, but we honestly believed that we had to do that kind of stuff to get over, and I have come to find that it is the little things that get you over..not necessarily the high spots.

Talking about WWE, yourself and quite a few original members of "The Natural Born Thrillers" were picked up when WCW was bought out. The last time we saw you, up until recently, was the "Invasion" storyline, though. Tell me a little about what happened there?

In my mind we all got put into a position we could not handle. We started in this business with a huge push. We were given a ball and we had to run with it. Coming to WWE taught me and the rest of us that we still had a-lot more to learn. Going from a-lot of television time to no television time was hard, but in OVW, I got a better understanding of this business. I would have been brought back up sooner, but I was also nursing a couple of injuries, as well. But OVW made me a good worker, in my mind. It was humbling but I began to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I feel like I belong here, (in WWE) now.

With having Chuck, Sean O'Haire, Stasiak, Johnny Stamboli and yourself all under the WWE banner at one point, was there ever talk about bringing the "Natural Born Thrillers" to WWE T.V.?

If they thought of it, I don't know but if it did come up it was scrapped quickly because I never heard about it.

Why Raw instead of Smackdown to make your re-debut, so to speak?

Well, when I was coming back from my injury I started working Raw brand exclusive house shows, and I became partial to it. I wanted to be part of Raw. I always liked "The Live Show" so it was a natural choice for me.

So now you are working with Garrison Cade and in the midst of a pretty decent push. Share a-little of what 2004 may have in store for you.

Well, obviously we want some gold. I am no stranger to tag team gold and it is definitely a goal of ours. Right now, we are focusing on getting as much television time as possible. Garrison and I were a Tag Team in OVW, and I have come to find him technically sound, where I still like to take the occasional high spot so I think the two contrasting styles will work well for the fans. We won against the Dudleyz in a non-title match, we were part of the "Evolution's Goldberg Bounty" storyline, and the ball is rolling.

Differences with WWE versus WCW.

In WWE, I see the big picture now. In WCW they were flying by the seat of their pants booking from night to night. Everything in WWE happens for a reason and it is the little things that count, here.

Amongst the internet fans, there was a buzz that you were supposed to be the fourth member of Evolution..(Not Batista.) Any truth to that?

Umm..well, yeah. I was supposed to be the fourth member. What had happened was that the creative team built up "Who's the fourth member gonna be?" to the point where the fans were expecting Chris Jericho or something. People were beginning to expect a bigger name. I was pulled from the story because the feeling was that I would have been shoved down the fans throats with that. Rumors began to fly that I was pulled because management was unhappy with my house show matches, but that was not the case at all. Everyone was very pleased with my performances. As a matter of fact, Vince pulled me into his office after a Raw show at Madison Square Garden to tell me I was pulled off the Evolution storyline, himself. He said, "Mark, I think you have it, but I don't want to bring you in the wrong way. Although this is a great story arc to start off with, I think that it would be in your best interests if we brought you in as a baby-face." That was pretty much it. Usually, in this business, no gives you an explanation when stuff like that happens, so for Vince to take time out and explain it all to me, was very nice and it said something about how my performances are looked at.

Well, Mark, I want to thank you for taking time out of your night to talk with me. Anything you want to say to the fans of RajahWWF before you go?

Thanks for everything and I hope I have the opportunity to entertain you all in the up and coming years.

Mark Jindrak and his partner can be seen on Spike TV's edition of WWE Sunday Night Heat & WWE Raw as well as many of the Raw Brand House Shows.

Interestingly enough, half way through the interview, Randy Orton called back in on Mark's phone and Mark said, "Oh, it's Orton..He can wait. I am on an interview for Rajah." (That, in itself, was cool.) It certainly was enough for me to go back to my ice cold cheese steak and finish it off with a smile on my face. The bad news? My dinner officially sucked that night. The good news? Randy Orton went right to voice mail so Jindrak could finish his interview for all of my readers!

Well that is it. Once again, I apologize for the gap of time in between installments. You can go back to expecting Smoke & Pyrotechnics updated every two weeks, again, with more interesting points, rare interviews and independent shows & stars in the spot-light.

As always, if you liked what you read, hated it or just want to share your thoughts on the landing of (not one) but two Mars Probes, then feel free to shoot me an e-mail. Your thoughts, good or bad, will be addressed in the next column. I would like to personally take this time to thank my partner in crime, MaryAnne, for helping me get back on track, not just with my unfortunate run to the local Memorial Hospital but with my new job, as well. Also, to all the boys in the most dastardly stable of all time, The Turn, thanks for being there.

Tune in next time for the "State Of The Squared Circle Address" as we analyze where wrestling has gone in the last year and where it may be going.

Until then, that is all I got..Peace!

Email me at: thebiggooch@rajah.com


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