The Master and the Ruler of the World. The Millennium Man. Sometimes called Justice, sometimes called Vicious, but, without a doubt possibly the most apt name he ever competed under was indeed Sycho Sid. We all know about the Arn Anderson scissors incident in WCW (If you don't look it up). As always though we're going back before he hit the mainstream television screens.
Sid's a native of Arkansas. At the age of 26 or possibly 27 he had a chance meeting with Randy Savage, and his brother Lanny, Sid looked into embarking on a wrestling career. It didn't take him long to find a trainer as he soon got to work with Tojo Yanamoto.
It would be the CWA where Sid got his start in the business. Early onto his career he bumped into a manager named Downtown Bruno (Harvey Whippleman) and the two exchanged numbers on Sid's actually on his debut night, this would not be their only meeting though. Bruno described Sid,
'He looked like a statue of a Greek God sculpted by Michaelangelo. That's not an exaggeration. He was the biggest, most muscular, most impressive-looking guy I had ever seen in my life.'
That meeting took place in the early summer of 1987. Just with his sheer size he was making waves in the Memphis, Tennessee based territory. Although, to start with he was only part-time and kept his day job as a construction worker. By the end of the year though Sid would have a real gimmick to go with his size.
It wasn't a new character, it wasn't something that had never been done before. But, Sid made the gimmick into his own was hugely popular under the mask. The mask of the Lord Humongous character. A crazed, mad, monster, behind a hockey mask resembling something from a horror movie, was just a perfect fit for Sid Eudy.
Downtown Bruno was actually the man who got the job for Sid as the Lord. When asked by Robert Fuller of the CCW if he knew anyone who would fit the part, he thought Sid. Sid finished up in the CWA, Bruno picked up Sid and the two moved down Birmingham, Alabama, to start the territory together. Bruno as the manager.
On meeting Sid's family when he picked him up Bruno remembers, 'I found him to be a normal guy with a nice family.' Then the roller coaster of a ride that it was being Sid's manager and traveling partner started...
'The more Sid drank, the odder he acted. As we sat there with the door cracked open for ventilation (there was no air conditioner, of course), a guy walked past our door several times. He was just going about his business (getting ice, getting cokes from the machine, getting his belongings out of his car, and so forth), but Sid didn't see it that way. "Let me tell you something, Bruno." Sid whispered, in a voice much like the one he would use years later on TV as Sycho Sid. "That mother fu**er sees that Lincoln with those Mississippi tags out there and is figuring out a way to steal it! The next time he walks by, you'd better open up that door and tell him to stay the fu** away from your car!"
"But, Sid..." I tried to interrupt and explain that I didn't think the guy was up to anything wrong, but Sid cut me off mid-sentence. "This is Alabama, boy. You're not in Memphis anymore,' he snarled. "If you don't tell him off the next time he walks past our room, you'll have to deal with me! Understand?"
The only thing running through my mind at that point was, "What the fu** have I gotten myself into with this guy?"
Much to my dismay, the guy came walking toward our room. Sid pulled out a knife with a blade almost as long as a rule and said, "You'd better go straighten out the guy or you'll find out just how sharp my knife blade is."
This guy didn't look like he was up to anything! He had a brown paper sack in his hand, which I supposed had a 6-pack or something in it, and was innocently walking towards his room. As I nervously walked towards the open doorway, Sid suddenly jumped up, shoved me out the door, and yelled at the guy in a loud voice. "Hey, this guy here says get the fu** away from his car." He slammed and locked the door behind me and left me standing on the sidewalk. I felt as out of place as a pork chop at a Jewish wedding. The guy looked at me like I was an idiot, and I really couldn't blame him. When he started to approach me, I really started to worry. There I was - 125 pounds, half drunk, standing defenseless in my underwear, locked out of my room, and standing frozen to the spot, while a fairly big guy is possibly going to accost me.
Unknown to me, Sid was watching the drama taking place outside the window. When the guy was about three feet away from me, Sid yanked open the door said, "Hey Bruno! Quit bothering that poor guy." He grabbed me by the arm, pulled me back into the room, and slammed the door. I'll bet the guy ad no idea what had just happened. I barely did. What I id know was that I had a massive, brute, with a possible mental problem, on my hands. I wasn't sure if I was ready for whatever lay ahead, but I hoped the shenanigans were over for the night.'
And that was on their first night together. It really wasn't the end of Sid's weird practical jokes either...
'Sid turned out the light and the room became dark and silent. Just as I began drifting off to sleep, I heard something go click. I wondered where it was coming from. I remained still for a few seconds, the I heard it again. Click. Then the noise began in earnest. Click...click...click...click.
I pushed the sheets aside, got out of bed, and walked across the room to turn on the lamp. What I saw next was something I will never be able to forget. My incredibly large roommate was sitting on the side of his bed, opening and closing his incredibly large knife, over and over again, and grinning at me like the Joker in the Batman movie. "Wh...what...what are you doing that for?" I nervously asked him.
"Just don't worry about it," answered Sid. "Turn out the light and go to sleep."
I did exactly what he said, except for the sleep part.
I was really scared, but I tried my best to go to sleep. After five minutes went by, I began to relax.
It started again.
As I got up to turn on the lamp again, Sid told me to lay back down and leave the light off. I was really shaken, but I did as he said. "Go to sleep," Sid whispered.
After five seconds passed, with a touch of insanity in his voice, he whispered, "Sleep forever!" and dove onto my bed, laughing hysterically. I screamed jumped off the other side of the bed, and turned on the lamp. Sid was hyperventilating on my bed. I thought, "This guy is going to kill me." Panic stricken, I grabbed my clothes and my keys, went outside, and slept the rest of the night on the back seat of my Lincoln...with the doors locked.'
In what was possibly an even more unusual turn of events, Sid woke Bruno up in the morning and explained he just wanted to break the ice with him. Either way, their first night together did more than enough to begin Bruno wondering about Sid's mental health.
Together in the ring though, they were golden. With Bruno's excellent heat drawing promo's (Bruno's forgotten talents on the microphone are a story for another day) and Sid's simple, yet totally brutal style mixed perfectly. It always helped Bruno was such a small guy too, really emphasizing the sheer magnitude of Sid's size when standing next to each other.
Sid rose to the top echelon in the CCW, although he never really competed in a feud over the major belt, he didn't need to. He was green, still learning the ropes and he was a draw in himself, so the bonus of getting to do battle over their secondary championship was more than enough.
He worked with veterans such as Danny Davis while there as they could help guide him in the ring. Even as a youngster (In business terms) though, Sid was not scared to stand up for himself or what he believed was right. Wendell Cooley found this out the hard way following a dispute over the finish behind the scenes...
'I guess Wendell thought Sid had acquiesced to his demands because he started to lock up with Sid as if nothing had happened. That was a big mistake. Sid grabbed Wendell in a shooting full nelson and clamped down, pushing down on the top of Wendell's head and forcing his chin into his chest. That action, of course, cut off Wendell's oxygen and knocked him unconscious.'
Sometimes it is claimed Sid created the modern version of the powerbomb during this time as Lord Humongous. While the powerbomb had existed since the 1950's in various forms, it's arguable who was the first to make a real show out of the move. With a lot of certainty I feel safe in saying it was before Sid though. With that said though he sure knew how to deliver the move in a realistic manner...
'Many of the Alabama jobbers didn't remain jobbers after working with Sid. They quit the business. That's how devastating the new move [The powerbomb] was.'
After almost a year with Sid, Bruno had to move on he couldn't deal with anymore of his antics. He recalls that Sid was a nice guy, and they got on together, but he's twisted, sadistic sense of humor just got too much for him at times. A few years later it would actually be Sid who got Bruno his job with the WWF. Here is another story from Bruno though as to the kind of joke Sid liked to play:
'Sid and I really bonded, and we became quite close, even though a few more incidents came to pass, such as the time we stopped on the side of the road near Opp, Alabama, to bleed our lizards. It was about eleven o'clock at night and it was pitch black. Finishing before me, Sid jumped into the car and took off, leaving me all alone, pissing in the dark. I had no idea what could have been going through Sid's mind. I only hoped he wasn't getting even for the incidents, imagined or otherwise, that had taken place during the previous months. Above the sounds of the crickets chirping and my footsteps crunching on the Alabama gravel, I heard a car engine racing and wheels screeching. My heart raced with fear because I couldn't see the car. When the card came to within 50 yards of where I stood, a set of high beams lit the darkness and headed straight towards the shoulder of the road where I was standing. Panicking, I dove over the steep embankment. I rolled, slid, tumbled, and bounced for what seemed like an eternity, until I finally slid to a stop at the bottom of the gulley in a muddy ditch. I cursed Sid for leaving me alone putting me in that awful predicament. What kind of a sadistic, no-good, evil bastard would run somebody off the road and into a ditch? The next sound I heard was Sid's high-pitched, maniacal laugh. I now knew that the sadistic, no-good, evil bastard was my traveling partner. I should have known that it was Sid, but in the terror of the moment, I hadn't been thinking rationally.
I stood up and carefully started to slog my way up the muddy hillside. My nice, white suit with blue pinstripes, which cost over $90 at the Sears Outlet store, was a torn-up, tattered, ripped, muddy, strained mess, as was most of my body, I might add. When I stumbled and slid back down the hill, Sid became more hysterical with laughter. When I finally reached the top, I shook my head and started to get back in the monster's car. He immediately quit laughing and said, "No way! You're not getting in my car all muddy like that." I was beside myself. It was his fault that I was muddy! He finally told me that he was joking and let me get into the car. I knew better than to raise hell about anything he did to me, so I just sat in silence.'
With Bruno gone. It was time for Sid to move on also. The CWA was the place of choice for Sid to go and he continued there as Lord Humongous. Back in the territory where he started his career Sid moved up to main event status entering into a feud against Memphis legend, Jerry 'The King' Lawler. Not really remembered as classic matches, but it was a good feud for the area.
By now it was 1989 and Sid was too Japan's NJPW as part of the Big Fight Series. There he wrestled under the name of the Vicious Warrior. Sid's hard hitting style went down well and was even granted a match against Antonio Inoki toward the end of his tour in March.
It was back to America and a new name was in order, Sid Vicious. He returned briefly to the CWA before taking a quick trip down to the Dallas, Texas based WCCW and then it was to the WCW in June of 1989. We all know the story from there.
I think it is completely safe to say, whether Sid is or was a few sandwiches short of a picnic or not, he definitely did have a dark side. There are many more stories in Bruno's book which consist of threatening and/or violent behavior such as the time Sid threatened to throw him off of a road into a fast flowing river down below. Yet, Bruno considered him a friend.
It's commented by many guys how Sid is a very intimidating and intense guy to meet. He had a very strict and disciplined workout schedule and took business very seriously in a no-nonsense manner even before he got to the major companies. No matter what anyone says about him though, he was one impressive specimen in the territory system, one that stuck in your memory and caught the eye of the two big companies very quickly. No-one is likely to forget Sid any time soon if they saw him on TV or at a show. From the sounds of it, those who rode with him and got to know him are even more unlikely to ever forget him.
By Jimmy Wheeler
As unique content strictly for the Professional Wrestling Historical Society
Quotes from Wrestling with the Truth by Bruno Lauer.
Quotes from Wrestling with the Truth by Bruno Lauer.