Being on television is something that has become second nature to David Webber. After all, he made his debut at the age of six shooting a hot dog commercial alongside his brother. Since then, he has done other commercials but now people see him in a totally different production.
That same youngster who kept his mouth open wide for a day, pretending to eat hot dogs for the camera is now the self described “Ivy League, rich, little punk snot kid” better known to wrestling fans as manager Mortimer Plumtree with NWA: Total Nonstop Action.
Even when attending elementary school, Webber had dreamed about working in front of a camera. However, he always thought it would be for the movies rather than entertaining wrestling fans. Now, he even has a college degree in theater and arts but he likes the way his career is heading.
“I always planned on becoming a professional actor in movies and it kind of conveniently worked out this way. I would like to get into ‘normal’ acting some day but I’m having the time of my life.”
So how does someone wanting to be an actor get into professional wrestling? Simple – he became addicted at an early age like most other fans.
“Back in junior high I’d sit at the table with these guys who would always talk about wrestling. I always thought it was a bunch of blonde-haired guys screaming at each other. Well, I turned in one day and I was hooked. So, ever since the age of 12, I wanted to be the next ‘Mad Dog’ Buzz Sawyer.”
He proceeded to join the school wrestling team where he got his lunch handed to him every week. But as he got older, he continued to pursue his interest in professional wrestling. He didn’t have to look far either. Right there in Minneapolis, Minnesota was Verne Gagne’s AWA promotion.
It wasn’t easy to get in with the company and he quickly learned that perseverance was a necessary trait in the wrestling business, especially when trying to break in. “I had tried for years to get into the AWA. I had been around them a lot, taking pictures from ringside while in high school. I was just trying to find a way in, even then taking an 8 x 10 and a resume to Verne Gagne’s office.”
But nothing happened. He continued his efforts through college, contacting everyone with the promotion that he could think of. Ken Patera, Brad Rheingans, Adnan Al-Kassie – but no one would train him. Then one day his perseverance paid off on, of all places, a bus.
“It so happened that I was working in downtown Minneapolis and on the same bus I rode home every night was Mick Karch. I was aware that he had worked for Verne and had his own show. I knew he was a big trivia buff and one day I walked up and started talking trivia with him.”
Karch advised him to put together a videotape with some promos on it which Webber was more than happy to do. He then turned in his project to Karch and from that tape, he got a position with the AWA. And in June of 1994, his wrestling career finally began.
While he had dreamed of becoming the next Buzz Sawyer, he had come to realize that he would like to follow a different path if he did get into wresting.
“In college, I made up my mind that I didn’t want to be a wrestler just because I didn’t want to commit to that kind of lifestyle. The constant training, the diet. I didn’t want to do that to my body. I thought I’d be a good wrestler but an even better manager. I just felt it was my niche and what I wanted to shoot for.”
Now he knew what he wanted to do but he was missing something – a name. After some thinking, Webber came up with the name Mortimer Fisk. But the veteran Karch noted that his last name needed to be two syllables to make it effective. He then pulled out the name Plumtree from a character in the old Laurel and Hardy movies.
And so, Mortimer Plumtree was born, evolving into a “little punk snot kid” character which actually suited him well.
“I was the kid that everyone beat up,” Webber recalls. “I was the one that always got beat up and never fought back. So, the whole Mortimer Plumtree is a shoot.”
He immediately launched into a career as a wrestling manager, working for the AWA. Once the promotion folded, he worked for various independent promotions in the Minnesota area, mostly with promoter Eddie Sharkey.
Plumtree had his sights higher though, hoping to land a job with either the World Wrestling Federation or World Championship Wrestling. So in the fall of 1997 he decided to send out promo packages of himself to both companies which received mixed results.
Jim Cornette informed him that while he liked Plumtree’s work, the WWF was weeding out male managers, including himself. Meanwhile, Terry Taylor, who was then working with WCW, was also interested in the manager’s work and invited him to a show at the Target Center in Minneapolis. Taylor asked him to bring him gear and would try to get Eric Bischoff to take a look at him.
Plumtree did exactly that and jumped at the opportunity. The only problem was that Taylor never informed Bischoff that the manager would be backstage hoping for a look and was immediately escorted out in unceremonious fashion. “I still have the skid marks on my rear end from getting kicked out and bouncing around the street like Wile E. Coyote!”
Several years later, Taylor once again contacted him about a possible position. However, it never came to be. It was only a few weeks later that WCW was bought out by the WWF. The timing was just wrong.
Now, the timing was right with the start of the NWA – TNA promotion and Plumtree was hired. He finally has the opportunity to perform for a larger audience, becoming the manager for the team of Richard and Rod Johnson.
“This has been the time of my life. Honestly, this has been a dream come true. The Jarretts have been incredibly nice to me. Jeremy (Borash) and everybody have been phenomenal to me and I couldn’t be happier.”
Not only is Webber performing in front of the camera but is also helping out with the production itself as a pre-tape agent, something he has also been interested in since he was a youngster.
“When I was a kid, I was the biggest KISS fan and Alice Cooper fan in the world. My grandpa used to run a lighting business out in California and he would send me articles about how they would put together the KISS stage shows. While I was trying to get into WCW, I was of the mindset that if I get in there, I would learn the TV production as well. I think it’s incredibly fascinating how that all comes together.”
Now, Webber has found the best of both worlds both as a performer and helping out with the technical aspects. More than that, he has finally found a home for Mortimer Plumtree in NWA – TNA.
“My wife and I talk about it all the time because I say I feel like I’m suffocating in life. I haven’t been able to do what I wanted to do. For the first time, I’m totally giddy and happy about everything.”