Gettin' down with Scotty 2 Hotty
by Seth Mates
Posted as an Extra feature on wwf.com
Every kid's got dreams. Some play ball with their dad and dream of batting clean-up for the New York Yankees; others watch movies with dreams of one day seeing their name up in lights. And what kid hasn't dreamed of competing in the World Wrestling Federation, entertaining crowds from coast to coast?
Unfortunately, as most of us grow older, we let go of our dreams. Whether it be fear of failure, a sharp dose of reality, or whatever, most of us eventually let our dreams fall by the wayside.
Like everyone else, Scott Taylor had a dream. The youngster from Westbrook, Maine, dreamed of being a World Wrestling Federation Superstar, thrilling fans night in and night out. Only there was something different about Scott's dream, or rather, about Scott himself. The youngster never gave up, never said die, and never lost sight of the light at the end of the tunnel.
Today, Taylor is Scotty 2 Hotty - a World Wrestling Federation Superstar, and a living reminder that dreams do come true.
"This is all I've ever wanted to do," Taylor told WWF.com. "This is the pinnacle, the top. This is it."
Scott got to work on his dream at a young age. When he was just 15 years old, he wrote a letter to the World Wrestling Federation.
"At the time, I didn't know anything about the wrestling business. I still don't," Taylor laughed. "I was curious where they got the majority of their wrestlers from, what school. At that point, there were probably 10 wrestling schools in the country. I got a letter back saying they didn't take from any particular school, thanks and good luck."
Scott then picked up the phone and decided to go straight to the No. 1 man in the business.
"Right around the same time I wrote the letter, I remember calling the WWF offices and asking to talk to Vince McMahon," Taylor said. "I didn't get very far; I think I wound up talking to someone in merchandise. I don't even know what I would have said [if I had gotten through to Vince]."
Back in his high school days, Scott used to head to the matches at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland, Maine. Scott and his friends would get to the shows hours early, hoping to get a chance to interact with the superstars.
Soon, Scott became friendly with several members of the Federation crew, and even helped set up the ring when the company came to town. As a "thank you" for helping them set up, the Federation ring crew would occasionally allow Scott and his friends to climb into the ring.
On one particular occasion, an independent promoter was in the arena as Taylor and his friends messed around in the ring. That promoter was impressed by what he saw, and soon approached Scott and asked him to work a few shows - giving Taylor his start in the wrestling business.
"My first match was on Thanksgiving night, 1989," Taylor said. "First of all, it was Thanksgiving night, and second, it was against Survivor Series. So there were about 50 people there. There were two wrestling matches and five boxing matches. All the people there - except my family - were there to see the boxing, and didn't know anything about wrestling. We wrestled in an empty Armory that night."
Scott soon built a good reputation on the independent scene and began working on a regular basis - even though some of the shows weren't exactly top-notch.
"I ended up getting booked for this guy in New Bedford, Mass.," Taylor said. "They ran shows with guys my age - 17, 18. You wanna be a wrestler? So you got 20 guys and three pairs of wrestling boots. Two guys would go out and wrestle, and they would come back, undo their boots, and give them to the other guys. That's where I learned the business. From 1989 until about 1996, every weekend or every other weekend, we'd go down there for little to no money."
Taylor's hard work soon paid off when, in 1991, a veteran wrestler named Phil Apollo gave Taylor his big break. "I met him years before at an independent show," Taylor said. "One day, he calls me and says 'We want you to do a few enhancement matches with the WWF. They need another guy. Do you wanna go?' Gee - I'm working at Kentucky Fried Chicken and I'm a junior in high school - of course I'm gonna go! So I came up here in August 1991."
In the wrestling business, an "enhancement talent" was a guy who went to a television taping and was paid to make the established superstars "look good." But Taylor didn't care that his win-loss record would resemble that of the Los Angeles Clippers. He seized the opportunity and headed to a World Wrestling Federation television taping at the War Memorial in Rochester, N.Y.
"I always thought I was about the same size as Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty," Taylor said. "When I came walking in, the first people I saw were Jannetty and Michaels. At the time, they were probably about 235 pounds, and I was like 190. I thought we'd be the same size, and that blew that all to hell!"
In his first Federation match, Taylor teamed with fellow preliminary competitor Sonny Blayze against the Beverly Brothers. He still remembers the feeling in his gut as he prepared to head to the ring.
"I'm going out in front of 13,000 people, which at that time was pretty big, but by today's standards is kinda small," he said. "I was nervous as hell."
The match went off well, and Taylor soon became a regular at Federation television tapings. But because of Taylor's age, the tapings reeked havoc with his schedule.
"I worked Monday and Tuesday, and then Wednesday, I was back in high school," Taylor laughed. "For a few years there while I was still in school, it was pretty crazy. I didn't really tell a lot of people what I was doing, since I was scared about skipping school to do it. Everybody who did know, though, thought it was cool. A lot of people didn't believe it."
One of Scott's more memorable "enhancement matches" came in January 1996, when he wrestled "The Ringmaster" Steve Austin in one of Austin's first World Wrestling Federation bouts.
"The match was in Allentown, Pa.," Scott remembers. "They got about two feet of snow that night. Everything else in the town was closed - the only thing that was going on was the WWF. I had always been a 'Stunning' Steve Austin fan, in his World Class days and his WCW days, so it was cool to be able to work with him. Before the match, we didn't talk over anything. And then we went out there and he just beat the hell out of me. He beat me with the Million Dollar Dream - this is before the Stone Cold Stunner. Who would have known?"
Taylor says that one memory from the match stands out more than any other - the fact that the fans were chanting "boring!"
"You see these guys coming in now, and you hear 'boring' chants during their matches," Taylor said. "That's one thing I'll always remember - the 'boring' chant during that match with Steve Austin. It goes to show that you never know."
After years of paying his dues, Scott was finally ready to break through.
"I was on my way to work for ECW on Friday and Saturday to do some tryout matches for them," Taylor said. "I went down a day early and I talked with [Federation vice president of talent relations] Bruce Prichard. I said 'I've got this tryout with ECW,' and he said 'Well, call me next week.' I went down and had the tryouts - I worked with Tazz both nights - and ECW offered me a job. So I said, 'Well, Bruce Prichard wants me to call him - can I let you know next Wednesday?' I called Bruce the following week. I was working at an insurance company in Portland, Maine. He said, 'We're gonna be starting this light heavyweight division, and we'd like to offer you a job.' It didn't take me long to decide."
As 1997 wore on, the World Wrestling Federation did indeed start a light-heavyweight division, eventually putting together an eight-man tournament to crown the first-ever Light Heavyweight Champion. But there was just one problem - Scott's name was nowhere to be found in the tournament brackets!
"It was weird!" laughed Scott. "I was one of the only guys who had actually been on TV, and then I saw the brackets, and my name wasn't in them! Jerry Lynn was actually supposed to be in the tournament, but he had just signed with ECW, so they finally put me in."
Scott won his first-round match, but as he waited in the ring for his second-round opponent - current partner Brian "Grand Master Sexay" Christopher - he was instead met with another challenge!
"This was around the time when Kane first came into the World Wrestling Federation," Scott said. "I beat a guy named Eric Shelley in the first round of the tournament, and then I was supposed to face Brian Christopher in the second round. So I go out to the ring, and Kane came down and chokeslammed me! I was eliminated from the light heavyweight tournament by a 350-pounder!"
After being eliminated from the tournament, Scott was off television for a while. One day, he received a call from Prichard, who said that Federation officials were interested in teaming Taylor up with Christopher. The two former rivals teamed together for the first time at WrestleMania XIV, in the 15-team battle royal eventually won by the Legion of Doom.
Playing off of Christopher's "Too Sexy" moniker, Taylor was christened "Too Hot," and the team was dubbed "Too Much." The team soon took on an interesting creative direction.
"We weren't supposed to be gay - it was kinda like the 'Ambiguously Gay Duo' on 'Saturday Night Live,' where we would always end up in odd positions," Taylor said. "At the time, I hadn't done anything, and they came up with the idea of doing that. I was like, 'Are you screwing with me? Is this a joke?'"
The storyline was even supposed to culminate with the duo actually getting married at the St. Valentine's Day Massacre Pay-Per-View in February 1999!
"At the time they proposed the wedding thing, I was like, 'I'll do anything. It beats sitting at home.' Thankfully, they scrapped that idea," Taylor said.
Instead of having Taylor and Christopher get married, the Federation creative team instead decided to tweak the characters in the summer of 1999. Taylor became "Scotty 2 Hotty," and Christopher became "Grand Master Sexay" - "Too Cool" was born!
"The original Too Cool idea had us working as heels (bad guys), basically being obnoxious punks like you see at the mall, wearing the baggy clothes and everything," Taylor said. "I didn't even have the hair yet, just fake dredlocks."
The first Too Cool segment aired on an episode of Sunday Night HEAT, and received a huge response from fans. Unfortunately for the team, however, fate stepped in. The very next night at a Federation live event - coincidentally, at the Cumberland County Civic Center, where Taylor used to go to matches years earlier - Christopher injured his knee, and the new team was put on temporary hiatus.
Finally, the duo returned to action in late 1999 and regained the momentum they built with that one vignette months earlier. And just moments before Taylor and Christopher made their return as Too Cool, Taylor came up with an idea which would become a hallmark of his character.
"The night we came back, I was getting ready to go out, and I was trying to think what to do with my hair," he said. "I had been growing it out long, and it was up anyways, just to let it fall down over my visor. I looked in the mirror, and I said to Albert, 'What do you think if I just sprayed it straight up?' He said, 'Dude, that would be funny as hell.' So I went down to (a Federation hairdresser) and asked her to spray it up."
Another big part of the team's success is Taylor's "Worm," one of the most unique moves in sports entertainment.
"I was doing the Worm on house shows as a joke to make the guys laugh," Taylor said. "Then we came back with the Too Cool thing and all the dancing. At first it started where I would just slam the guy by the ropes, I'd hit the other side, stop and I'd do the Worm into a headbutt or the Worm into an elbowdrop. I was toying with it, trying to find something."
"The whole 'Whoo! Whoo! Whoo!' thing came about one time when I was sucking wind after I did the Worm, and I was all out of breath, and the people just started doing that with me! And then the hop came in. There wasn't always just four hops, the W-O-R-M it is now. I was doing the hops, and The King on commentary said, 'W-O-R-M.' I heard that afterwards, and after he said it a few times, the people started to get with it. A month later, everyone at the arena's doing 'W-O-R-M!'"
Too Cool soon became one of the hottest teams in the Federation - thanks also in large part to one of the largest asses in the world!
"We were wrestling the Mean Street Posse one night, and they were gonna get the best of us at the end, and Rikishi was gonna run down to save us, to kinda watch our back," Taylor said. "It was a weird combination to us at first. How's this gonna be? Then they told us to put together a dance! I am a horrible dancer anyway. I never dance. It makes my wife mad, because she likes to dance. I never dance with her when we go out, and now it's my biggest fear because I have to do it on national television!"
Although it was truly a weird combination at first, Too Cool and Rikishi soon became fan favorites, and the three superstars truly seemed to bring out the best in one another.
"The three of us together, it was magic," Taylor said. "It sucked when they split us up. Hopefully we'll get back together some day. Rikishi has been doing this a long time, though; he's been through a number of gimmicks here, and he deserves it, to be one of the top guys. I'm sure we'll have a chance to be there too."
In the spring of 2000, Christopher was again sidelined with a knee injury. Only this time, instead of sending Taylor home, Federation officials decided to test the ultra-popular Taylor's aptitude in the singles ranks.
The gamble paid off. On April 17, 2000, Taylor won his first-ever Federation title, defeating Dean Malenko on RAW IS WAR to become Light Heavyweight Champion.
"To win any title in the WWF - that's what you dream about," Taylor said. "I learned a lot working with Dean. Wrestlingwise, we had some great matches."
One of those great matches came at the Backlash Pay-Per-View in April 2000, as Taylor and Malenko waged a war which many fans considered one of the top matches of 2000. As great as the match was, however, Taylor says he still gets queasy every time he sees the bout.
"Some say that was one of the best matches of the year, but it makes me sick to my stomach to watch it back, because that's the night I almost broke my neck," Taylor said.
"It was the last move of the match. We were both on the top rope, and I was going to superplex him, but he DDTed me out of that position. It was scary as hell, let me tell you."
A few weeks later, Christopher returned to action, and on the May 29, 2000, episode of RAW, Too Cool defeated Edge & Christian to become Federation Tag Team Champions!
"To win the WWF Tag Titles means you're the best in the world," Taylor said. "It doesn't get any better than that. That's the top. It proved that if given the opportunity, we can be the best tag team here."
The team's goals have been put on temporary hiatus, however, as Scott is currently out of action, having sustained a "broken ankle" at the hands of Kurt Angle on RAW. But Scott is also nursing a more serious injury - a bulging disc between the C6 and C7 vertebrae in his back that has kept him out of action since Feb. 18.
"The Wednesday before (Feb. 14), I woke up in the middle of the night, about 3 a.m., and it felt like somebody had stabbed a knife into my back," Scotty said. "Sunday (Feb. 18) I felt pretty good so I worked a house show with Kaientai. That night it tightened right up. It was the worst pain I had in 11 years of wrestling."
Just as Scott fought and battled his way to the World Wrestling Federation, there is no doubt that he will battle his way back from his injury. And there is no doubt that he will continue to thrill audiences for years to come, whether it be as part of Too Cool, or out on his own.
Because that's the stuff that dreams are made of.