The Kingston Whig-Standard has published an excellent, in-depth profile of current WWE producer and former tag team champion TJ “Tyson Kidd” Wilson. Jan Murphy talks to Wilson about everything from his upbringing & training to his present day role putting together matches.
The entire piece is worth your time, but seeing as the end of his in-ring career is something which continues to come up - including Samoa Joe recently being asked about the move that led to a near fatal injury and TJ’s retirement - that’s one of the stories which stood out:
“The night of injury, it was just one of those days where the show was being changed — up to the last minute — but the show was being changed and the next thing I know it’s me against Joe in a dark match.
I’d never worked Joe before. I’d of course seen him. I’m a student of the game, I’ve seen everybody. But I’d never physically worked him. When we landed on the Muscle Buster, I saw the whitest light I’ve ever seen. I thought it was a concussion for a second. I remember thinking, ‘Man, I did this whole match, completely on the fly, I pulled it off and then I get rocked at the end.’
I have a picture and I think my hands are in the wrong position compared to other ones I’ve seen. I wasn’t able to run through it with him.
I drop, bang, and at first I saw this light and I was like, ‘Ah, man.’ And then my whole body went limp. It felt like it weighed a million pounds. I was completely paralyzed. I was paralyzed from the neck down.
We hit, however long it takes him to pin me 1, 2, 3, give it a beat and then I could move my fingers and toes. It was probably five or six seconds. But time stands still. I knew because I was being pinned, but in terms of sense of time, it was out the window. If it had just happened and I’m just laying there, I would have had no clue, but since I was being pinned, I know it was only a matter of several seconds.”
Wilson goes over the injury with Murphy, how close he came to total paralysis or even death after the ligament supporting a vertebrae in his neck ruptured & caused a disc to hit his spinal cord, nd his struggles adjusting to life after the only job he’d ever known was no longer part of his life.
In discussing his transition to his current role with WWE, they also talked about the man TJ was working with when the injury occurred, Samoa Joe:
“There’s an unwritten protocol when you hurt somebody. And when I say you hurt somebody, obviously it’s not on purpose, but it still happens. I know I’ve rocked guys before where I checked on them after to make sure everything’s cool.
Joe did come to the hospital that night. We spoke that night. We would text throughout the time I was hurt, but I only saw him face to face when I got hurt and when I did see him that night, things were still up in the air with the severity of my injury. He was definitely remorseful and I think we all are when we hurt somebody and when somebody gets hurt under our watch. Stuff happens. We perform at such a high level so many days a week that things are going to happen. We just have to do the best we can to take care of each other and to let a person know that we’re there for them when they do get hurt.
My first day back as a producer after two years, once I was out of meetings, he was the first guy who I Terminator-style sought out and found. And we had a very good talk and we’re friends. We get along great.”
Regarding the difficulty he had adjusting to life without wrestling, Wilson says it got better when he “finally stopped being super stubborn” and resumed talking to WWE. It wasn’t long after that that Vince McMahon came to him with a proposal.
“That [a producer role] was his [Vince’s] idea. He thought I’d be good at it or I could get good at it.
[McMahon] said to me, ‘You’ll be like me.’
I didn’t know if I’d be good at it and I didn’t know what all it entailed. I didn’t know if I would get any real fulfillment out of it. But right off the bat, maybe two weeks in, I was a part of a battle royal and I had an idea that Tye Dillinger would be one of the last three guys. I thought his ’10’ stuff was getting over and I thought it would be good and he could have a good showing. I’ve been given those same things where maybe you’re not being super featured but they throw you a little something and then see what happens out of it. The audience was completely with [Dillinger].
When he came back, he was happy and I felt that fulfillment, which now I’ve felt a million times over. I love my job. I’ve been doing this now almost a year and a half and I haven’t taken a week off yet. I see that a lot, and then of course I’ll see negative comments. The truth is in the middle somewhere.”
Now, he’s not only convinced it’s the right role for him, but Wilson thinks that despite his success as a wrestler, he might be more remembered as a great producer:
“I think I did well for myself. In ’06 when I got signed, there weren’t many guys under 200 pounds who got signed and I think I outdid anything I was ever expected to do. I was told many, many times I would never make it, but I knew I wasn’t giving up and I knew I was just going to keep working and keep working and keep working. I definitely appreciate the comments. I don’t know if it breaks my heart to say it or not, but I feel like my legacy might be more behind the scenes than it ever was in the ring.
That feels kind of funny for me to say because I spent so much time in the ring and trying to perfect every movement that I ever did. But I think when it’s all said and done, my legacy might be more behind the scenes than in the ring. I’m so proud of everything I did in the ring. Not every match was a home run, but if you go back and watch my in-ring stuff and watch my career, I’m very proud of it. I think bell to bell, in-ring work, I’d put it up against a lot of people’s work.
But at the same time, I think I’ve hit something that’s working for me backstage and working for me with the talent. I think my legacy is being built now and I think it is going to overshadow what I did in the ring.”
As you can probably tell from these quotes, The Whig-Standard piece is (a) long and (b) excellent. Check it out in full here.