WWE's Spirit Squad lives in infamy. Several promising talents lumped into one questionable gimmick, and ten years later, only one name has survived -- Dolph Ziggler. Upon the breakup of the group, Kenny Dykstra appeared poised to be in that position, however.
Dykstra, still only 30 years old, was the youngster of the Spirit Squad, and looked to have a wealth of potential, despite being just 20 at the time. When speaking to Pancakes and Powerslams recently, Dykstra, real name Ken Doane revealed that the WWE had their eyes on him much, earlier -- as far back as him being 16 years old. Kenny actually got a call to be one of the Undertaker's Druids at WrestleMania XX.
"I got a phone call, and my mom said somebody called from Stamford. So I looked, and it was Dr. Tom [Prichard] on the voicemail. I called back, and he was like, 'Kenn Doane. I got one of your videotapes. Next week we'll be in Philadelphia and Tuesday we're going to be in Baltimore. Where are you gonna be?' I said, 'I'll probably be at school, honestly.' He's like, 'How old are ya?' I said 'I'm 16 and a half.' He said, 'Are you good at math?' I said 'yeah.' He said, 'Subtract two on your date of birth, that way you're 18 now.' I said, 'alright, I'll be there!' So I get to Philadelphia, and they said, 'you're doing the White Boy Challenge with Rodney Mack', and I said 'okay! Cool!' The next night I think I wrestled Ultimo Dragon, and then I drove back Tuesday night and went back to school for Wednesday," said Dykstra.
According to Kenny, nobody there was able to know his age outside of Prichard. Things got complicated when he was offered a developmental deal by John Laurinaitis.
"The only one who knew was Dr. Tom. It was WrestleMania XX, I was a druid in Madison Square Garden. After the show, John Laurinaitis was like, 'Hey. Would you be willing to move to Louisville?' I was like yeah, sure! 'Can you go there next week?' [said Laurinaitis]. I was like, I need to finish school. He was like, 'What do you mean finish school? What are you going to school for? How old are you?' I said I just turned 18. He said, 'You JUST turned 18?' I said yeah. 'You've been working for me for two years, what do you mean you just turned 18?!' I said, well I'm legal now. I graduate in June, how about I move there after I graduate. He said 'Well. I'll think about it. I don't know if I want to hire you.' I said, you just wanted to hire me right now! He's like, 'We'll talk about it.' So then he never said much about it. He just called me halfway through May, I was still in school, and sent me a contract. So I actually got my contract at the end of May, before I even graduated. I graduated June 4th, and then June 7th I moved to Louisville," said Doane.
The Spirit Squad was born just a couple of years later. Comprised of Doane, prospect Johnny Jeter, Tough Enough's Nick Mitchell, eventual ROH Talent Mike Mondo and current star Dolph Ziggler, the team had a lengthy tag team title reign. Ziggler is now getting a shot at the WWE Title at Summerslam, but Kenny thinks it's long overdue.
"I wish it happened a lot sooner. "I think he has the most talent out of everybody there, and I wish that they would utilize him more often. Sometimes he's there to put guys over," said Doane. "They kind of balance between midcard and somewhat main event. It's just like pick or choose, which one is it gonna be? And the crowd knows he has the capability of it. He has the talent to do whatever they ask him to do. When I was working with him, he was always willing to learn."