On October 10th, 2008, fans getting their Friday night fix of WWE SmackDown saw their points of reference shift from the squared circle to the sights and sounds of the carnival, replete with fun rides, happy people, and a bizarre character by the name of Kizarny. Five months later, he would be gone from the company. Here’s how it all went wrong.
Kizarny in WWE – Where Did It All Go Wrong?
“Weazelcome teazo theaze ceazarnival,” an eccentric, unfamiliar character spoke on October 10th, 2008’s episode of WWE Friday Night SmackDown. “Leazots eazof feazun. My name is Kizarny.”
With that short vignette, the WWE Universe was introduced to Nicholas Cvjetkovich, who was now going by the wrestling alias: Kizarny.
For fans who found themselves asking, “What the heck did that guy just say?” here is a quick primer on the magical language called Carny.
According to the good people at GoodMagic.com, “Carny,” also known as “Ciazarn,” is a special “cant” (linguistic term for a “private language”).
The purpose of a cant is to keep anyone outside the culture from knowing what is being said. A familiarity with ciazarn is used most often to distinguish those who are seasoned carnies from those who aren’t.
A little like Pig Latin, and closely related to “double dutch,” “izzle” and dozens of lesser-known variants, carnies insert an invariant infix, “eaz” (pronounced “ee-uz” or “eez” or “iz”) (an infix is like a prefix or a suffix but is inserted in the middle of a word after each consonant), to render regular language unintelligible to outsiders.
For example, to say “mark,” you would say “meazark.”
To say, “Can we take this hick?” it would come out (hard C), “Ceaz-an weaz-e teaz-ake theaz-is heaz-ick?”
Ciazarn eventually migrated into wrestling, hip hop, and other parts of modern culture.
Nicholas Cvjetkovich – The Man Behind the Gimmick
Nick, of Serbian descent, was initially trained by Canadian grappler Ron Hutchinson, although along the way received additional instruction from luminaries such as Dr. Tom Prichard, Al Snow, and Jake Roberts (who he became a close friend of).
Cvjetkovich made his professional wrestling debut in 2000, toiling for several years on the independent scene and appearing for Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling and WWE’s developmental Ohio Valley Wrestling.
Nick also worked for the WWE’s developmental Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) as Sinn Bowdee before making his WWE SmackDown debut.
Kizarny – Cryptic Vignettes Before WWE Arrival
The vignettes continued every Friday as Kizarny slowly became a regular part of the SmackDown program.
In the second week of vignettes, we were told: “Reazides, feazun, ceazotton ceazandy. Wheazat eazis neazot teazo leazike?”
Week 4 brought us Sweazord Sweazallowers, who were egged on by Kizarny, telling them, “Deazown theaze heazatch!”
Week 5 is my personal favorite, “Theaze Heazuman Bleazock Heazead.” Here we see what appears to be a kindly, elderly gentleman hammering a rather large nail into one of his nostrils. Kizarny is right by his side, encouraging Mr. Bleazock (or would it be Mr. Heazead?) with a big smile and a pantomimed version of hammering. Once the brad was comfortably nestled in Bleazock’s sneazout, Kizarny exclaims, “Beazet yeazou neazever seazeen theazat beazefeazore!”
During his final vignette, we were taken to the carnival at night. Here, Kizarny told us, “Geazet reazeady feazor theaze sheazow, Theazis eazis geazoing teazo beaze feazun!”
We then saw him stick his hand into a bear trap and eat some fire before concluding this masterful segment with “SmeazackDeazown eazis geazoing teazo geazet streazange!”
On January 2nd, 2009, Montel Vontavious Porter (MVP), mired deep into the throes of a long losing streak, grabbed a mic in the ring and stated, “Whoever it is that I’m gonna wrestle, just bring him out. Let’s just get this over with already.”
Moments later, the crowd popped to the sounds of the carnival and the long-awaited debut of Kizarny.
Hailed from Wizard Beach, at 236 pounds, Kizarny dances and prances his way to the ring, much to the delight of the fans in attendance. The SmackDown announcers, Jim Ross and Taz, attempted to present a brief bio, opining the sideshow skills of this quite odd fellow.
“I heard he was a sword swallower.”
“He hangs around with a lot of sword swallowers, I know that much. I don’t know if he swallows swords, but I know he’s a fireeater and a lot of his friends are bearded ladies. You got some of those in Norman, Oklahoma, don’t ya?”
“They moved to Texas.”
MVP stares at his opponent with a look of total bewilderment, which, if visualized, could appropriately be placed into the Urban Picture Dictionary under “WTF.”
The 6 minute and 28-second match ended when Kizarny reversed MVP’s Playmaker into a nice double-arm underhook DDT with a rollover into the pin, a move which he dubbed “Tallulah Belle.”
To the crowd’s delight, the surprise of the announce team, and the dismay of MVP, Kizarny was the victor.
Unfortunately, his match against MVP was to be his only one on SmackDown. He would be removed from television and released shortly thereafter. One can only wonder, wheazat heazappened?
Theories Behind Why He Was Released So Soon After His WWE Debut
As nothing is ever what it seems to be in the wonderful world of professional wrestling, let’s first hear from Bruce Prichard, the Executive Director of SmackDown at the time.
“Sinn Bodhi, Kizarny, was a friend of Edge’s. I’d known him through the independent scene for a while and always liked him.
He started talking about his days in the carnival, and that’s kind of where it stayed. Carnival, Carny. Let’s make him what everybody perceives.
I don’t think that Nick really got the chance to get that gimmick over. I think if he had a little bit longer, was able to have some matches, and tell some stories, I believe Kizarny could have had a little bit of a run. I really do.”
Kizarny, on the other hand, had this to add.
“I wanted it to be a lot more than it was. My time at WWE was fun; I wish it was more than it was. Vince was excited to have me on, I was excited to be there, and just through happenstance is about the easiest, simplified way to say it.
You kind of get slipped into the cracks, and the next thing you know, you’re out of a gig. You know, when I was there, I just tried to do what the promoter wanted, and that’s it. But, you know, sometimes things don’t pan out.
I get to a lot of shows across the world, let alone the country, let alone the continent, and I get a lot of ‘Why didn’t you do that on SmackDown?’
To that, I say that I pitched a lot of what I do on indie shows, but it sort of fell on deaf ears. So, I think, maybe I missed my window.
One of the guys that I helped, sort of, I sprinkled the water on his garden to get him to grow, is Bray Wyatt, and other people. I think a lot of people say, ‘Oh, you should have joined [The Wyatt] family.’
I’m like, ‘I helped sprinkle the water on that garden,’ you know.?
I don’t know, I think maybe if given a time machine, if I was to be there now, things might be different, but, who’s to know? I don’t have access to that technology.”
So, between Brother Love and the man from Wizard Beach, there’s not a lot of meazeat on the beazone.
Another possible theory is that Cvjetkovich was simply in the right place at the wrong time and fell victim to the periodic and dreaded WWE “budget cuts.”
The economy, in general, had been in the tank since late 2007 (The Great Recession), and WWE’s financial situation apparently dovetailed the rest of the country.
Per a report found on the WWE website (via WrestleView) dated May 7th, 2009, addressing their first-quarter performance, “Revenues totaled $107.8 million as compared to $162.6 million in the comparable prior year quarter. Operating income was $16.7 million as compared to $27.1 million in the prior year quarter. Net income was $10.3 million, or $0.14 per share, as compared to $19.5 million, or $0.27 per share, in the prior year quarter.”
Kizarny, despite a series of entertaining vignettes and a very successful debut, was “feazuture endeazeavored.”
Kizarny Opens Up About WWE Release
Sinn Bodhi was a recent guest on my Dan & Benny In the Ring podcast, where he offered some further insight into Kizarny. As it turns out, his debut as a babyface against a sympathetic, losing heel who was in the process of being turned may not have been the best way to get the character over.
“Vince was anxious to get me on TV,” Sinn bean, “and when he realized that another week had gone by where I wasn’t getting thrown on, he said, ‘Put him on somewhere!’ [What you saw] was the quickest thing the writers came up with.
“They jammed me in with MVP, who was a bad guy on a losing streak, creating sympathy for him and turning him babyface. So here I come, looking like a heel, moving like a heel, but I’m supposed to be a good guy.
“At that stage of the game, I was quite used to being a villain. Vince was dead set on me being a good guy, which was fine. It’s his company; he’s the boss, he’s signing the checks, no problem, sir. But the story was confusing.
“I think confusion was my only friend that day,” Sinn continued.
“Seeing it was the third hour of a four-hour double TV taping in Jersey at the Izod Center, which was predominantly a heel crowd, I think they wanted to enjoy the bad guy beating up the good guy. It was just very, very confusing.
“I basically squeaked out a 10-minute victory on a guy on a losing streak, where I needed to come in and beat the crap out of somebody in like two minutes. That’s what I needed to do. I should have come out and beat the crap out of Funaki or somebody like that, somebody lovable, somebody smaller than me, and just eat him up in a minute or two.”
Life After WWE
One of the main criticisms of the current WWE product is the lack of creativity, depth, and breadth of characters and storylines. In this author’s humble opinion, Kizarny is creativity personified.
But alas, there was life after WWE for Mr. Cvjetkovich. He has wrestled worldwide (as both Sinn Bodhi and Kizarny) in the years that have followed his release.
In 2011, he created Freakshow Wrestling, a Las Vegas-based promotion that features an amalgamation of magicians, rock bands, sideshow performers, and, of course, wrestlers.
In 2017, he founded Fantasy Slam, where folks of any age can fulfill their dreams of wrestling in the squared circle while in a safe and fun environment.
Additionally, Nick has worked as a trainer for Jake the Snake Roberts’ Snake Pit Pro (at the same venue), a school for advanced and aspiring pro wrestlers.
Kizarny even had a gig as a guest trainer at WWE’s Performance Center.
His marital resume includes a three-year run with Stacy “The Kat” Carter, the former bride of Jerry “The King” Lawler. Mr. and Mrs. Kizarny were wed on the beach in St. Petersburg, Florida, on August 2nd, 2010, with Edge acting as his best man. On that day, the bride was given away by none other than Jimmy “Mouth of the South” Hart.
Nick/Kizarny/Sinn has also been a tattoo artist at Precious Slut Tattoo Co. in Las Vegas and is the author of the Fred The Possessed Flower comic book series. He also co-authored (with his brother Steven) a comedy-horror novel entitled Between Chapters, which was self-published in 2000.
If that isn’t enough for you, the man is also a black belt (bleazack beazelt) in karate.
During Kizarny’s debut on SmackDown, he was called bizarre by Taz. Calling Nick Cvjetkovich bizarre is equivalent to saying Ward Cleaver was a great Dad. The ultimate compliment!
Though his stay in WWE was brief, he has continued to enrich us with his art in many forms.
If you want to hear Kizarny tell some great stories, hit play below:
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