The following is an excerpt from our long-form feature on Kevin Fertig, also known as Kevin Thorn and Mordecai. Check out the full story at this link, and our interview above.
After having his planned tag team with Tyson Tomko shut down by Vince McMahon, Kevin Fertig pitched his new character, Mordecai.
Fertig had performed under the name "Seven" on the independent circuit before, as well as wrestling under his birth name. Max Cherry and Vengeance were a couple of others, but Vince McMahon wanted something else, and didn't want a tag team.
Fertig had to brainstorm. What he delivered would live in infamy.
"At the time, “Okay, I have this character named Malachi,” which was Mordecai and basically I just went right into it. Vince is sitting there, he’ll look down and then look up over his glasses and like literally—I was told a long time ago not to not stare the bull down and I’m trying as hard looking in the devil’s eyes in a way. Like, “I’m not gonna look away. I’m gonna stare this motherfucker down.” So, it was back and forth, back and forth and literally it was insane ‘cause then that transpired into Mordecai right there,"
Mordecai had to be different. Different gear, different hair, tons of gimmicks. After being a little intimidated by his meeting with Vince McMahon, he'd appealed to his boss' attractions and successfully pitched a character. It was time to put everything in play.
Religious undertones, different visuals, movie inspirations, but most importantly... approval from a very controlling boss.
"He loved it," Fertig said of Vince. "The next day I was in Boston, I think, and I got put in the pre-tape room with Brooklyn Brawler for a while. he’s like, “They just want you to do promos of how you think this will be done.” I come from a Southern Baptist background, my dad was a deacon and all this stuff, but he was also a devout Catholic before then. He became Baptist, don’t ask. But anyway, the religion thing I did some good Baptist fire and brimstone messages, and that’s what it is, but it needs some of that Catholic weirdo… All the little ritual stuff goes along with it. That’s what I envisioned Mordecai, but I’m still to this day even as large as I am, I don’t like going to cornfields because Children of the Corn and Malachi."
But Malachi needed to be a little more than what we saw. You often hear about wrestling personalities being the person turned up to 11, but this couldn't be Kevin Fertig turned up to 11, or much of any sane human. Malachi turned up to 11 seemed like a fit, though.
"To me it was Malachi, it this really religious weirdo-ness to it, kinda of séance-y in a way. That’s how I envisioned the Mordecai thing. So, I ended up going and doing, the promo was “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil ‘cause my rod and staff,” and got into a little bit of wrestling instead of straight Bible verse, but I did it highs and lows, and I still remember they went and got Vince. Vince comes in, “Play it back.” All of a sudden he walks, he leaves. Then the next thing I know, the next day the video, I forget where we were at. But, it was SmackDown the next day. ‘Taker was there. They had come out of, basically, production meeting, catering was right next door. So all of a sudden I’m looking up, seeing Taker walk out. He’s talking to Vince and almost like lasers me. You can just tell [he was thinking] “You did good, kid.” Whatever this was good. ‘Cause I pitched that idea of white and black, but really in this case the white was the evil and Taker’s the good guy. It would’ve done something," said Fertig, with a smile.