Before the stars of wrestling hit it big, they're learning the ropes to varying degrees of success. Some you've seen well before you even realized, as they claw their way to a big break. Whether it be extra work, or getting crushed on cable TV, everyone has a different path. Now, they'll tell you about it.
These are Enhancement Stories
Beer City Bruiser is a loyal mainstay of Ring of Honor, but if you're a longtime fan of WWE, you may have seen him without even knowing it.
Bruiser wrestled multiple times on WWE TV over the course of a couple of years as Dinn T. Moore, which did everything to help him getting his first couple of spots. Both of which involved Simon Dean, WWE's resident fitness instructor.
"My first time there, my first time ever doing extra work for WWE, was actually for the Simon Dean debut on RAW," Bruiser told Fightful. "I remember it happening because [Ken Anderson, Mr. Anderson] and I were on a show and he was looking for someone, because Tommy Dreamer reached out. He needed to get a guy that was over 300 pounds for that spot and Ken kinda looked at me and went “Oh my God, you’re perfect!” So, showing up, alls it was supposed to be was Simon calls you into the ring, makes fun of you and then beats you up."
It was supposed to be a simple attack spot for Bruiser. He did enough to impress two influential names to land himself a speaking role on the show.
"Before the show, Ken and I were in the ring, we’re rolling around, Jim Ross and Paul Heyman were actually watching while it was happening," said Bruiser. "They were like “Wow, this kid can do stuff.” So, they pulled me aside and they said “Can you cut a promo?” I said “Yeah, sure,” so they had me do a promo. The script kept revising from me just being a plant in the crowd; to me being a plant jumping the rail; to me being a plant jumping the rail and actually talking to him; to actually giving him a bump and throwing stuff around, and then going into the move. It was really cool how that all came about because they were able to see that “Hey, this guy can do something.” Because they did so well with that, every time they were in, I told them if I can drive there, I’ll go. Tommy Dreamer was in charge of the extras and stuff, so he’d call me up, “You wanna go do this?” I’d be like, “Yeah, sure.”
Even though he impressed Heyman and Ross, that isn't what kept Bruiser booked on WWE TV. He appeared on episodes of Heat in tag team affairs with Worlds Greatest Tag Team and The Highlanders due to his previous work with a foe.
"Then when (Dreamer) left, the funny thing is, Simon Dean took over. So, he would give me the matches and stuff like that." BCB said. "With Gymini, if you remember, Simon Dean was their manager. So I’d pull him aside, “Hey, man. What do you think? What do I need to do?” I’m still that way. In Ring of Honor I get done with a match, as long as I’ve been in the business I always say you should be learning something. So I always come back and I’ll walk right up to Bully Ray and I’ll ask him, Joey Mercury’s there with us. Friday Night, I’ll sit down with Jay Lethal and just pick his brain for hours on end. That’s how you become a better wrestler—is you ask guys who have either done more than you or been higher than you or been in the business longer than you. Pick their brains, let them give their advice, and then it’s up to you whether you take it or leave it."
Bruiser is a student of the game, having studied and learned from the late Harley Race. Another legend was given a lot of credit by BCB for helping him improve during his brief experiences there.
"Every time that I’d get done it would be great because Michael Hayes was the agent," Bruiser said. "It was funny, Michael Hayes actually really liked me a lot. He said that I reminded him of Terry Gordy. So, he was the agent for the majority of that stuff. So when I come back, I would just pull him aside and go “Alright, what do I need to work on?” he’d just be an open book and he’d tell me exactly, “Well, this doesn’t hurt your feelings?” I said, “Look, if you told me everything good I did I’d never get any better. I want to know what I need to work on. I want to know what I need to do so next week when I’m on a show I know exactly what I to work on.” I want to be a better wrestler and Michael Hayes has done it all."
For years, no sign of the Bruiser was seen on WWE TV. Enhancement matches went the way of the dodo for quite a while. Extra work, however, was his ticket back. His ticket back gained access to one of the more unique appearances. You could say WWE "let him in."
"They brought me in when Bray Wyatt was doing the feud with Roman Reigns and I was actually the fake Bray Wyatt that Roman had jumped a couple of times, because I have the same build as Bray. What was funny was, that happened in July and I’d already been talking to Ring of Honor about contracts and after that aired is when Ring of Honor pulled the trigger and offered me my contract. I was like “Oh, cool!”
Even though Bruiser was bound for ROH, WWE kept in tough with him. In 2018, Bruiser was revealed as having been in talks with WWE as his Ring of Honor deal was coming due. To this day, he says they maintain a positive relationship.
"They said, “Hey, we’re happy with you, we’re gonna keep the lines of communication open” and then when they reached out to me to find out if I was able to negotiate. I says, “Yeah, maybe we’ll negotiate but only under certain terms,” they were like “Okay, we really like you and want to talk to you.” So, I think me doing all those good showings as an extra and just being a good worker and then creating the buzz about myself in Ring of Honor and on indies and stuff that I was doing, the door was always open. Me saying no and going to Ring of Honor, they get it. It’s business. I went to Ring of Honor, I’m happy with Ring of Honor, and they understood that," Bruiser closed.
Check out past editions of Enhancement Stories!