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.
In 2004, Kevin (Fertig) Thorn was about to get his break -- or so it seemed
That era was one of size over everything, and there was plenty of that to go around. Fertig was on the road with WWE for months working house shows and dark matches. By his side was the eventual Tyson Tomko, who had teamed with Kevin on occasion since 2001 well outside of WWE. They were getting dark match wins and were traveling all over North America with the Raw brand, working with Lance Storm and Val Venis.
Tomko and Fertig were also getting good reactions backstage, things were looking good for them.
"Feedback was pretty solid, always," Fertig said of the team. "Lance and Val were kind at that place where “Why are we having to deal with these young kids all the time?” Not really that we were that much younger than them, but they’d been around a lot longer and done a lot more stuff than us. Almost everybody was pretty positive. The biggest thing that we had going for is I’m 6’4 / 270, Travis is 6’5 / 280 and looks like he’d straight rip your head off. I think we always had a little more respect coming in than most because we were two guys that looked like you’d never want to mess with in a bar anyway. We kind of had that demeanor to us. Everything was for the most part pretty positive."
A successful, several month run on the road, they thought they would be brought up to television as a team.
"It was supposed to be (us as a team)," Fertig remembered. "We were doing great things in OVW as a tag, they brought us up. We were pretty much attached to the hip of Lance Storm and Val [Venis]. We were on the road almost six months up until the point of WrestleMania 20. [Literally that’s what I thought we were going to do].
What Fertig had been setting up for, wasn't what happened.
"Then that very next day is when Vince [McMahon] brought us in separately and was basically lie, “What do you want to do?” “Well, me and Tyson got a great tag going on—” “I don’t want a tag team wrestlers. I want stars. I need singles stars.”