BEHIND THE PYRO: NATHAN JONES
In many ways, pro wrestling is like home economics. Only through the right combination of ingredients can one
achieve the soufflé known as "over." Take D-Von Dudley, for instance. ECW's Dudleys were unapologetically ripped off from
the Hanson brothers in the Paul Newman comedy classic "Slapshot." Then D-Von burst on the scene as not only a Dudley, but
also as a volatile Bible-quoting sociopath, a direct swipe from Samuel L. Jackson's character in "Pulp Fiction."
So in the case of D-Von, we had a wrestling gimmick who owed his existence to not one, but TWO different
movie characters. True, today's "Dudley Boyz" who have been the WWWFE's most reliable tag team for the past five years bear
little resemblance to the tie-dyed, taped-glasses-clad inbreds of yesteryear. But hey, you can reinvent yourself all you want
once you've got your foot in the door (see: Undertaker, The). The toughest part of being a pro wrestler is getting noticed
to begin with. Well, that and the whole "death before you turn 40" thing.
Now just imagine. What if fans were introduced to wrestler who had the understated Australian
charm of Outback Jack, while also possessing the hardcore street cred of Nailz? There was such a man. Grab some cookies, pyromaniacs,
because tonight we go deep into "The Hole" in order to milk the amazing story of Nathan Jones. BEHIND THE PYRO.
Nathan Jones was in jail. I don't know why or for how long. Look, if a man has paid his
debt to society, let him get on with life. BTP has never been about taking the time and effort to research why some scumbag
went to the pokey. The fact alone that he was in jail should be enough for you. It was for wrestling promoters. Well, there
was one other thing.
God-given genetics and protein bars will only do so much for you. In order to achieve
the look that Vince wants, you've gotta do steroids. Lots of steroids. Sometimes backne and shrunken testicles just aren't
enough. You've gotta WANT IT. And want it, Nathan did. The guy did so much steroids he actually fucking LACTATED. I swear
on the Bible and Molly's cleavage that I'm not making this up. Milk came out of the man's nipples. This kind of steroid abuse
gave pause to even other legendary roid-ragers.
"He fucking LACTATED?!" gawked Road Warrior Hawk, months before his death brought on
by years of his own steroid abuse. But at least Hawk never fucking LACTATED.
The first time U.S. fans were subjected to Nate was during the ill-fated Australia-based
"World Wrestling All-Stars." In many ways, the WWAS was doomed from the start, because the initials alone let smartasses like
me crack jokes like "Hey, remember when Konnan WWAS a star? Remember when Road Dogg's merchandise WWAS selling?" You get the
point. And they got Nathan Jones, whom they nicknamed "The Front Row," presumably because arenas had to comp out the full
front row to make it seem like people showed up to watch this big green oaf wrestle.
The first WWAS show featured a "seven deadly sins" tournament to crown the inaugural
WWAS Hvt Champion. In an attempt to get Nate over with his home-country fans, they gave him Australian talk show host Rove
??? as a manager. In an attempt to prevent Nate from ever getting over with his home-country fans, they inexplicably jobbed
out Nate in the first round of the tourney to Jeff Jarrett in a "guitar-on-a-pole" match. Jarrett, by the way, went on to
win the whole shebang despite the fact that his father didn't own this promotion. Yes, mysteries abounded on this night.
WWAS was a venture by concert promoter Andrew McManus. McManus' understanding of the
wrestling business is rivaled only by that of my dog, Sugar. Back in 2002, the WWWFE ran a stupid angle where Christian was
depressed because he was going through a losing streak. This culminated with the CLB "quitting" on WWWFE TV. This was part
of a storyline where "Positively Page" DDP would help Christian find his smile again. When McManus watched the episode of
Smackdown where Christian "quit," McManus immediately tried to sign Christian for the next WWA tour. (This part really happened.)
Even the fact that the "Front Row" eventually did get a brief run with the WWA Hvt Title
wasn't enough to keep Nate home on the farm. No, Nathan Jones and his crazy eyes were WWE-bound. Strange vignettes began airing
on Smackdown, touting Nathan's arrival. They consisted of Nate making strange faces while rats raced around a jail cell (not
Missy Hyatt and Tammy Sytch, mind you, but actual rodents).
In an homage to the infamous Shockmaster debut, Nathan's big WWE debut saw him do a run-in,
throw some kicks.and clumsily land right on his rump. Not the best first impression to make on his new fans. As weeks rolled
on, we found that Undertaker had agreed to train Nate upon his WWE arrival. UT may be the Lord Of Darkness, but dammit, he's
always willing to help a brother out. For those of you playing along at home, by the way, apparently Smackdown General Manager
Stephanie McMahon gave a contract to an ex-con who didn't know how to wrestle. (Don't blame me this time. That was actually
the WWE's own idiotic storyline.)
Vince had such faith in Nath that Nathan & UT vs. Big Show & A-Train was booked
for WM19. Nate got a WM payoff while lesser men such as Scott Steiner, Tajiri, Jamie Noble, Christian, Jeff Hardy, Hurricane,
Sean O'Haire, and Rikishi were left off the PPV altogether. (In hindsight, maybe Christian SHOULD have signed with McManus
after all.) Savvy politician that he was, Nathan knew full well that he couldn't have the "Worst Wrestlemania match" or even
the "Worst Wrestlemania match involving The Undertaker" if he tried. The FTD bouquet Nathan sent to Giant Gonzalez was said
to be lovely.
Life on the road can be as hard as life in the clink. Knowing both full well, Nathan
became something of a locker room cut-up, always one to enjoy a good laugh. Unfortunately, airport security didn't appreciate
Nate jokingly telling them that he was about to board a plane with "a bomb in me shoe." No stranger to cavity searches, Nate
was delayed to say the least. (This part really happened, too. Well, the "bomb" joke did. I'm just guessing about the cavity
search. If anyone knows for sure, please keep it to your damn self.)
Unsubstantiated rumors I started in chat rooms had it that the marketing bonanza to trumpet
Nathan's return would start with one of those kick-ass "Desire" videos, wherein clips of a wrestler's greatest moments were
montaged over the Creed ballad "My Sacrifice." Shots of Nathan saying his prayers and taking his vitamins were to open the
vignette, leading to the dramatic shot where his nipples exploded with 2% homogenized once the big guitar came in. Alas, this
Nathan eventually resurfaced in the fall of 2003, alongside fellow lummoxes Matt Morgan,
A-Train, and Big Show on Brock Lesnar's Survivor Series team. For those of you playing along at home, this was Nathan's official
heel turn. WWE writers felt that actually doing a full-fledged "heel turn angle" would be so shocking to Nathaniacs worldwide,
it might literally blow fans' minds. So rather than risking having the brain matter of fans splattering all over their TV
screens, WWE writers felt it was better not to do an official heel turn angle at all. Oh yeah, and Nate's sensei, the babyface
Undertaker, was so shocked and appalled by this turn of events, he couldn't even be bothered to comment on it at all. (This
part really happened, too.)
Being a prominent part of the single worst team in Survivor Series history (and remember,
one year saw Zeus and The Warlord ON THE SAME DAMN TEAM) finally scared Nate straight. Ironically, Nathan became something
of a locker room "policeman" in the SD locker room. Guys like Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit used to strut around like peacocks
just because they were always having good matches, and thus, showing up the rest of the company. Nate Me Mate fixed all that.
Once each of "Five-Star Club" had a TV match with NJ, they were exposed as what they really are; Guys who couldn't have a
good match with Nathan Jones. That taught all those uppity "workrate" freaks.
After Survivor Series, the wheels were in motion to start the build for Nate Me Mate's
match at Wrestlemania XX; the biggest Wrestlemania of them all. WMXX was all about celebrating the past while looking to the
future. To wit, Nathan was scheduled to be matched up against former WWWFE wrestler, current WWWFE employee, and future WWWFE
Hall-Of-Famer, Hillbilly Jim.
The match was to be a natural "full circle" for both wrestlers. Remember, like Nathan, Hillbilly Jim also was brought in back
in the 80s with the storyline of getting a contract despite not knowing how to wrestle. And like Nathan, Hillbilly was trained
by the oldest guy in the locker room at the time; Hulk Hogan. The build to Jones vs. Jim would have been simple, but effective.
Hillbilly was to be the one man whom Nathan feared (you know, just like every Jake "The Snake" Roberts angle ever). Hillbilly
would return to Smackdown a-rootin' and a-tootin', chasing Nathan all over the place with a bucket and a stool. Naturally,
Nate would ultimately get his receipt with a big win over big Jim on the big stage.
After the Hillbilly win, rumors abounded that the WWE marketing machine was going to
get behind Nathan Jones so completely, you'd think that Nate was back in the prison shower. To truly follow in Hillbilly's
footsteps, Nathan would start bringing in his "relatives" to the WWE. Cousin Junior Jones (whose specialty was stealing cars
and illegally downloading MP3s), would make an immediate impact in the Cruiserweight division. Uncle Ozzy Jones (Aryan guy
with a sheep fetish) would be a big stiff who would exist solely to get the crap beat out of him by The Undertaker in one
of those Undertaker matches Vince makes us sit through because he hates us. John Heidenreich is still sick about not getting
this role and taking it out on everyone he "works" with. Nate's Mates would be running that show like it was their own personal
cellblock. Ah, what could have been. But it was never meant to be.
If you thought "The Front Row" was bad, you have no idea. WWE creative decided to saddle Nate with the single worst nickname
for a wrestler since "Mr. Ass." And so it came to pass that Michael Cole began calling Nate "The Colossus Of Boggo Road."
I think Boggo Road is a road in Australia. We were supposed to get that? Not only is that not catchy, but it follows a little-known
curse in wrestling circles: Wrestlers nicknamed after members of the X-Men NEVER get over.
"Iceman" Dean Malenko = Never really pushed by the WWWFE, once did a job to Lita on TV, now a road agent or something similarly
Dan "The Beast" Severn = Best known for being referred to as "Freddie Mercury" by a drunken
Tank Abbott on UFC PPV. 'Nuff said.
Nitro Girl "Storm" = Repackaged as "Paisley," valet to one of the most boring wrestlers
ever, The Artist. Currently working weekends at "Cheetahs."
"Angel" Of Death = True, he was never any good to begin with, but the curse sealed his
fate. Remember, he was a Black Scorpion in 1990.
(So far, the only wrestler to escape the X-Curse is "Wolverine" Chris Benoit, but give
it time. Have faith in the WWE's innate ability to fuck up even the easiest guys to push.)
Realizing that the writing was on the wall for his WWE career, Nate Me Mate up and quit
during an international tour, returning home to Australia, which ironically enough, was a penal colony to begin with. Smackdown
hasn't been the same since Jones went home. Locker room morale went into a perennial state of solitary confinement. Michael
Cole and Tazz now bicker incessantly. Charlie "Bacardi" Haas is slowly turning gay in protest. Lesnar quit altogether. Angle's
neck took its one remaining vertebrae and went home. Big Show beat up a car in frustration and hasn't been seen since. Rikishi
cried so hard, he required surgery in both eyes. Benoit, Yoshihiro Tajiri, and Shelton "Cola" Benjamin all jumped to Raw,
knowing full well that HHH stalks that locker room like the large political brontosaurus he is.
Got milk? The WWE doesn't. Not anymore.
So where is he now? Australia, dumbass. Weren't you paying attention? They say the candle
that burns twice as bright burns half as long. I say pay your damn power bill, deadbeat. But nevertheless, Nathan Jones was
around just long enough to put the lockdown on the imaginations of WWE fans across the world. Whether you're a fully tattooed
Nathaniac or lactose-intolerant, you can't deny that in a business owned and operated by con men, it took an ex-con to teach
us what the true meaning of a good wrestler really was.
I still can't believe he fucking lactated...