On May 12th, 2001, during a taping of WWF Metal, Perry Saturn made a questionable decision with wrestler Mike Bell that forever changed his career for the worse.
“Oh, right on his noggin! My goodness. Perry Saturn took one maneuver from Mike Bell, and that was all it took to set him off!”
– WWF Commentator
What Led to the Fight Between Perry Saturn and Mike Bell?
As one-half of The Eliminators with the high-flying John Kronus, they had an intimidating and aggressive style that got over with the demanding ECW fans. Paul Heyman thought so highly of them that he built his whole tag team division around The Eliminators. They engaged in memorable feuds against The Pitbulls, Gangstas (New Jack and Mustafa Saed), and Dudley Boys.
In WWE, Saturn, alongside Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero, and Chris Benoit, formed The Radicalz. With a more brawling style due to a previous knee injury, Saturn became a two-time Hardcore Champion and one-time European Champion.
Although Saturn never got above the upper mid-card in the major promotions, he wasn’t exactly a slouch. Fans respected his in-ring abilities, and many believe that he got overshadowed by less talented performers. But during one of the then-WWF’s B-shows called Metal, Perry Saturn made a questionable decision that placed him at a turning point that changed his career for the worse.
The Mike Bell Incident
Accompanied to the ring by Terri Runnels, Perry Saturn was about to take on Mike Bell, an enhancement talent hired on a match-to-match basis who also worked briefly for ECW in its dying days.
The match should have been a quick win showcasing the abilities of Perry Saturn, but Mike Bell threw Saturn in an awkward-looking hip toss and accidentally botched an arm drag that landed Saturn on his head.
Saturn lost his cool and began "laying the lumber" on a hapless Mike Bell.
Several "receipts" rained down upon Mike Bell’s face. Saturn then launched a stunned Bell through the ropes, and because of the momentum, he landed headfirst onto the floor. Fortunately, there was protective padding on the ground, or else probably Bell likely wouldn’t have gotten up. But Saturn wasn’t nearly finished.
He then lifted Bell as if setting him up for an inverted atomic drop but instead threw him full force onto the hard unprotected steel stairs outside of the ring where Bell landed precariously with the back of his head.
Saturn could have and perhaps should have just "gone home" and pinned Bell inside the ring. But no, he was not through.
Perry propped Bell upside down against the turnbuckles and jumped back outside the ring to wrench Bell’s neck backward as if trying to snap off his spine and head. He probably could have had it not been for Terri Runnels. We can’t tell by the camera angle if she tells Saturn something or if her presence alone was enough to curtail Saturn’s bloodlust temporarily.
Perry Saturn, who seemed to be having a riot at Mike Bell’s expense, then performed a solidly executed brainbuster on Bell inside the ring.
Inexplicably, when Saturn finally went for the pin, giving Bell a chance to end the slaughter, Bell kicked out at two.
After all the punishment he took, why didn’t he just lay down? Pride?
The match thankfully ended after a perfectly placed superkick, followed by a slight variation of a fisherman’s suplex.
To add insult to injury, Terri Runnels kicked Bell repeatedly as he gingerly rolled out of the ring.
Watch Perry Saturn punish Mike Bell:
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin, whose career took a scary turn after a botched Owen Hart tombstone piledriver that severely injured his neck, had the following to say on the incident that took place in the ring between Perry Saturn and Mike Bell.
"When a guy messes up, the best thing to do is be patient. Try to settle him down, grab a hold, and say, ‘Hey brother, you okay?’ Then continue, or go home. But go home in a business-like fashion."
Austin continued, "Nobody’s out there in the squared circle trying to hurt the other guy. It’s a cooperation thing. But, f***-ups do happen. But when they do, remain calm. It does not give you the liberty to trash the f*** out of ‘em."
Perry Saturn got an almost immediate gimmick change after this incident with Mike Bell.
After various kayfabe hits to the head against the APA and Raven, Saturn became fascinated with a mop named “Moppy.” Some say this was in punishment over the Mike Bell incident.
Although this gimmick got over with the fans and Perry Saturn remained in wrestling, working for different promotions, he never again reached the success he enjoyed before the shoot with Bell.
Moppy eventually got thrown into a wood-chipper and remained as one of wrestling’s most ridiculous storylines.
In recent years, Perry Saturn has had problems with addiction and homelessness. There have been several attempts to help him out, and the fans have usually come through.
Mike Bell sadly passed away on December 14th, 2008, due to a heart attack. He was the brother of Chris Bell, Director of the 2008 documentary Bigger, Faster, Stronger, Faster, about performance-enhancing drugs and steroid abuse. The 2015 follow-up documentary, Prescription Thugs, explores his brother Mike Bell’s death by prescription drugs.
Want more? Here are more times things turned real in the ring!:
- Andre the Giant and Akira Maeda | How Their Fight Turned REAL in Japan
- Blue Meanie and His Real-Life Fight with JBL
- Earthquake John Tenta and Kōji Kitao – When Things Turned Real!