In an era where big men were quite common, the wrestler known as Sid Vicious, Sid Justice, and Sycho Sid managed to stand out. Immense in stature, he also has the personality to match! This is the surprising story of his life and career.
In a podcast appearance on the now inactive Prime Time With Sean Mooney podcast, Sid staked many bold claims, along with insightful behind-the-curtain details on his life in the business and those he shared a locker room with.
In the Mind of Wrestling’s Sid Vicious
Sid Vicious reigned supreme in the main event scene for the majority of his wrestling career. To have as much success as he did, one would think that it must take a lot of passion and desire to drive him to such great heights, and that would be correct.
The twist is, the passion and desire weren’t directed at professional wrestling itself; it was simply all about money for Sid. That’s what drove him. He didn’t have the love for the business like so many around him did; it really was all about making money for him, he tells host Sean Mooney.
Life Before Wrestling
Before discussing details about his wrestling career, Sid Vicious talks about his life before wrestling.
“I was brought up here in Arkansas,” Sid explains. “I was working on a farm and was actually a farmer. This is back in the day when farming was really good. I was studying to become a pilot. I was gonna be a crop duster at this farm I worked for, the people had like over 100,000 acres, they were a big, big farm.”
Sid was hugely into sports and talked about his sporting background.
“Memphis had started a franchise, the USFL football league, we all remember that. And there was a team here in Memphis called the Memphis Showboats. Well, I had tried out for that, got cut on the very last cut, and I was considering going to a scholarship offer to Arkansas State to try to get a couple of years of experience under my belt because I hadn’t played football since high school.”
It wasn’t only football that Sid revered in the sporting world.
“I played it all, baseball, basketball, football. That’s something, you know, when I look back on it, I really was a really good baseball player, a pretty good football player too, you know, I was a running back on offensive and defensive end on the defense. If I would’ve grown into myself at those two sports, I could have really excelled in them.”
Sid was gifted with huge size, and he put in the hard work on top of that to add a muscular frame, but it wasn’t always that way growing up.
Sean Mooney asks the question, “Were you a late bloomer?”
“The thing is, and this generally happens to all tall people, both my children too and I told my oldest son this, he’s a really great athlete, I said, ‘Frank, you’re gonna be a late bloomer just like I was.’ And I’ll never forget, I was that skinny kid that couldn’t jump and then just got to a point where I just all of a sudden started dominating in everything! You know, I could dunk, I could outrun anybody, and it wasn’t that I was that big at the time, it’s just I was starting to put on some muscle,” Sid says.
Sid continues, “And I tell kids this all the time that have a tough time with sports… It’s not any fun until you’re winning, and once I started winning and dominating, it became a lot of fun. And baseball, of course, was my number one sport, and I’m not kidding, I literally would cry if it got rained out; it affected me that bad. We didn’t have many rainouts, but if we did, it really affected me.”
Getting a Start in Wrestling
For someone who didn’t have a passion for the professional wrestling industry, he sure did have a lot of passion for other sports. Pro wrestling was just something that never even crossed his mind, though, with a bit of help, he was introduced to the concept of becoming a professional wrestler by bumping into some big names in the wrestling industry inside a gym back in Memphis.
“I was in the gym where I met Randy Savage, who was working the Memphis territory at the time. All the guys were in there, Hillbilly Jim, whose name then was Harley Davidson, Lanny Poffo was there.
“The whole Memphis territory worked out pretty much at the same gym I worked out at, and so they started saying, ‘Man, you ever thought about professional wrestling?’ I said, ‘Man, to be honest with you, I haven’t seen professional wrestling since I was in like the fourth grade.’
“I remember the match. It was Jackie Fargo. He was bleeding so bad, and I was really in tears because I thought the guy was hurt. So I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll try this.’
“My wife was pregnant, and it sounded like I could get into that, making money a little bit faster, and that’s exactly how it happened. I don’t have the story like a lot of guys do. I never had the love for the business; it was really just to make money,” Sid admitted.
Sid spent the first couple of years finding his feet in the business in Continental Championship Wrestling, New Japan Pro Wrestling, and a brief time in World Class Championship Wrestling before being signed by WCW in 1989. Only half a year into his WCW career, Sid knew he was destined for greatness.
“After the first six months in WCW, I knew that I was going to be where I was today. I don’t know what you know about me, but I don’t know as many people in this business that stayed on top as long as I did.”
At this point in the interview, Sid is very comfortable flexing his muscles in a figurative sense (probably literally, too) as he tells Sean Mooney how he truly feels about himself.
“This is the deal. I don’t have to pat myself on the back to you or anybody. I’m the hardest worker that I’ve ever met in my life, and anybody that’s ever traveled with me like Bob Holly, Billy Gunn, or any of these guys that worked out with me or traveled the road, no one ever worked harder than me.”
Sid continues, “I was through with my first workout and back to my second breakfast when everybody else was just getting up, and I was going to my second workout, and that’s how I was as a kid too. I thrived to be the best, and I did everything it took to do that.
“It’s in my genes. My father was an overachiever. He was a pilot; he’s the one who taught me to fly. I think everyone in my family was overachievers. That just runs in my family.”
And Sid isn’t just referring to how hard of a worker he was during his career. He had a very strong opinion about the present version of himself also.
“I get up at 3:30 in the morning; this is no joke. Everybody knows that. I’m in the gym at quarter to five, I’m home, and I’m at work at quarter to seven on my tractor, you know, nobody’s ahead of me ever, and I can say that honestly.”
Sid Vicious on his Contract Dispute with WCW and WWF
There are not many people in this world more comfortable in their own skin than Sid Vicious. With that said, it would take A LOT to make him regret any decision he’s ever made, but Sean Mooney’s podcast continued to deliver the goods as Sid explains his one and only regret during his career, which had to do with a WCW/WWF contract dispute.
Sid had the choice to sign a contract with WWF or WCW in 1991. Dusty Rhodes was coming in to be the booker for WCW at the time, and he wanted Sid to be a big-time attraction and asked Sid to get a new deal signed with WCW before receiving a main event push that would catapult him to stardom.
Dusty said, “We’re gonna do this, we’re gonna do that, you’re going to be everything, Sid. Now you go and sign a contract, so I know you’re going to be here.”
Sid explains, “Now, at the time, I’m only making $250,000 a year, but that’s good money. Nobody else is making that kind of money there except for a handful of people. We came to an agreement, and they offered me $500,000.”
During the negotiations, Sid notes that WCW was open to him calling Vince McMahon. He fancied himself to take Hulk Hogan’s spot in the company, so the opportunity to call Vince McMahon was a good one to him. Sid rang WWF Headquarters and got ahold of Vince. Sid was on a plane and met with him all in the same afternoon.
“[Vince] sits down and says, ‘Well, Sid, we don’t give guaranteed money, but here’s the magic wand. You tell me what you want,’ and I said, ‘I want Hogan’s spot,'” Sid remembers Vince responding with, “It’s yours.”
“I wondered what kind of money are we were talking about, and he talked about merchandising and what WrestleMania would bring and things like that. He said what WrestleMania would bring is the same that I would make in a year at WCW. He suggested that, but he didn’t say for sure.”
At first, Sid decided to go with the guaranteed money that WCW offered, but, regretfully, he was swayed by Vince’s last pitch, which got him to change his mind. This ended up being his only regret.
“By the time I got home, WCW had gotten wind of this somehow, and now they’ve offered me $750,000, guaranteed,” Sid said. “So I thought, ‘Fuck Vince McMahon, I’m signing that thing tomorrow morning.’ So, this is probably the biggest mistake of my life. I’m leaving, the phone rings, and it’s Vince McMahon.
“He said, ‘Are you going to sign that [WCW] contract?’ and I said, ‘Yes, I am. I didn’t call because I didn’t want to put you in the middle and play that middle game. I didn’t think it was fair.
“Mr. McMahon, this is more money than I can ever dream of, and I’m going to sign the deal.’
“He says, ‘Sid. You’re never going to get this opportunity again.’ So, I made my mind up to fucking take that chance [and joined the then-WWF instead]. And it was a big mistake. I never made that kind of money in WWF.
“I made $150,000 for WrestleMania. I made good money, though I don’t think I made $750,000. Still, it was a big mistake when I look back on it. It was the only real mistake I made in the business.”
Taking Hulk Hogan’s spot were some big shoes to fill. WWF thought it would be best to do a passing of the torch style segment. Sid wanted out of WWF following this. Sid detailed what this segment was.
“This was their version of Hogan passing the torch — he did the posedown with me, which is the stupidest fucking thing I’ve ever heard in my fucking life! And if you think that’s a big deal, you’re as stupid as the rest of them. I was pissed from that moment on, and I didn’t wanna be there anymore.”
“I don’t even remember my first WrestleMania.”
Sid ended up leaving following WrestleMania 8 in 1992, a decision Vince McMahon wasn’t pleased about.
Many wrestlers dream of headlining a WrestleMania, something Sid not only achieved at WrestleMania 8 but once again at WrestleMania 13. To Sid, this meant very little to him. He revealed a shocking fact that really truly displays his lack of passion for the business.
“This is the deal, and I’m not exaggerating. I don’t even remember my first WrestleMania,” Sid Vicious revealed.
“I didn’t realize it was WrestleMania. I’m not kidding ya. I didn’t look at a booking sheet. I didn’t care who I was working with; it was a business to me. I didn’t care if I won or lost; I just wanted to get paid. Someone said, ‘Didn’t you know you were main eventing WrestleMania?’ and I said, ‘No, was I?'”
Sid went back to WCW for a second stint following his WWF departure in 1992 and only lasted a handful of months before an infamous incident took place with Arn Anderson on a drunken night in England, which led to his release.
Vince, who did not like Sid on a personal level, still saw him as an asset to the company and welcomed him back in 1995. Sid spent most of the year with the company until a serious neck injury left him sidelined, resulting in him leaving the company again. Sid was not as dominant in his ’95 reign with the company, a year that Sid refers to as a time he spent on the whipping post.
Wrestling full time was not something Sid ever envisioned upon leaving WWF after his neck injury. Whilst Sid was recovering from the neck issue and working a new job as an advertising representative up in Fresno, California.
He was still being paid by WWF thanks to an agreement he came up with upon returning to the company in early ’95, and with a bit of luck. He tells host Sean Mooney that WCW was conducted more like a business and that WWF was a mess when it came to payments.
“At one time in the WWF, people didn’t get paid for a month at a time,” Sid had to say.
“You might not get a check for three, four, five weeks at WWF at the time. I told JJ Dillon, and they knew that I was serious. I said, ‘This is the deal. If I don’t get at least a thousand dollars a week, I’m not coming back on the road.’ So they did that.
“When I took my time off for my neck thing, payroll forgot. Someone didn’t tell payroll to stop paying me, so for a year, they were sending me a thousand dollars a week! Now I got a job, you know, making about the same, so I was living a really good lifestyle.”
Sid got home one Saturday evening, and his housekeeper told him a guy named Vince McMahon called a large number of times. The thoughts running through Sid’s mind were that Vince had found out about the whole money situation and wanted the money back!
“So I get home that Saturday, and my housekeeper says, ‘Man, some guy called Vince McMahon’s called at least fifty times today.’ I went, ‘Oh my god…’ thinking he wants his money back! I really thought that! I said [to the housekeeper], ‘Whatever it is, don’t answer the phone!'”
Sid continued, “So this is before caller ID, right, so I’m talking to somebody, and the phone beeps, and I’m thinking, ya know, I don’t know what I was fucking thinking, so I hit it, and it’s Vince. He goes, ‘Sid! Vince!’ I went, ‘Oh shit…’
“‘Yeah, Vince, how’s it going, buddy?’
“He goes, ‘Well listen, uh, I got a problem, I had to fire The Warrior again, and I need someone to take his place.'”
The conversation continued as such:
Sid Vicious: “Vince, I haven’t been on TV in a year! Can’t you think of someone else?”
Vince McMahon: “No, Sid, I need star power here.”
Sid Vicious: “I was on the whipping post before that, surely you got somebody that has more star power than me.”
Vince McMahon: “No, I need you!”
To Sid’s relief, Vince didn’t want the money back. Vince had no idea about it, but returning to wrestling was an iffy idea for Sid and his boss in Fresno.
“The company that I was working for said to me, ‘You’re not going back to wrestling full time?’ I said, ‘No way! No way!’ So my boss in Fresno comes and rides with me to be sure that I’m not. I said, ‘No sir, I’m not going anywhere, I’m just doing this to help them out for a couple of shows.'”
Vince had other ideas. Vince really wanted Sid Vicious to return full time. Sid was strongly against it unless Vince would cater to certain conditions Sid had in mind. In trying to get Sid to return on a full-time basis, Sid talked Vince McMahon into creating history.
“So now Vince talks me into doing their pay-per-view [In Your House 9: International Incident] in Vancouver. It was me, Davey Boy and Ahmed Johnson against- Somebody [actually was Sid, Shawn Michaels and Ahmed Johnson against Vader, Owen Hart and Davey Boy]… anyway, this is how it went. They pulled me into Vince’s office. Vince says, ‘Hey man, I need you to come back full time,’ and I said, ‘Vince, I’m not coming back full time.’
“Vince said, ‘how come?’
“I told him the truth. He didn’t know he was paying me the thousand dollars, but I said, ‘I thank you for the thousand dollars, but I’ve got a really great job, my family’s really happy, you do not give guaranteed money, you don’t like me, I’m gonna say the wrong thing to you which I always do, and you’re gonna put me in a dress, and I’m not going to be able to make any money, but now if you give me guaranteed money, I can wear a dress every night and be happy with it.’
The conversation continued:
Vince McMahon: “Are you holding me up?”
Sid Vicious: “No, I’m not holding you up. I’m just telling you what I need to come back.”
Vince McMahon: “Well, let’s do this. We’ll give you a guarantee, but we’ll pay you night-to-night, and at the end of that year, whatever we don’t pay you, we’ll make up.”
Sid Vicious: “No, that’s not a guarantee. I’m not interested.”
As Sid started to walk out, Vince stopped him.
“Hold on, hold on, we’ll do it.” Vince gave in.
Sid reveals he made history then and there.
“I was the first one ever to get guaranteed money, and I was the most hated! So if that doesn’t definitely define me as one of the greatest talents in this business because when Vince hates you, he hates you, right? He hates me, without a doubt, because I left him after WrestleMania 8, so for him to come back to me and give me guaranteed money has to say that I’m one of the most powerful people in this business at that moment.”
Sid Vicious would go on to further his accolades, once again becoming a dominant asset to the company, adding two WWF Championship reigns to his credentials and another headliner at WrestleMania, this time against The Undertaker.
A few months after WrestleMania 13 in 1997, a neck injury reoccurred, requiring surgery, and that was the end of his time with WWF for good. He began his third and final stint with WCW in June of 1999, staying with them until they folded. Sid put the death of WCW down to WWF versus WCW booking issues.
“WCW pretended that WWF was coming in and taking over. First, it started with Alundra Blayze. Then it went to Lex Luger, and then it went to Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. When you do that, it’s really simple. I saw it happen first-hand in Memphis at Smoky Mountain when they did that in-house feud.
“Both territories shut down after that. Because what happens, it’s simple, when you bring one territory into another existing territory, it turns everybody in that territory to a babyface because, as a fan, as a Memphis fan, you wanna see the Memphis people win. So when both territories go back to their existing territories, you’re left with nothing but babyfaces, and the business in those days were drawing money because of the heels. When WCW got done with that run, Vince was able to withstand that, and that’s what killed WCW.”
He sure did have one hell of a career for someone with very little passion for the business.
These stories may also interest you:
- The Infamous Sid Vicious Squeegee Incident
- SID VICIOUS and ARN ANDERSON and their Crazy, Brutal Scissor Fight
- Paul Orndorff and Vader | The Messy Fight That Led to WCW Departure
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