“I’m a f—in’ madman jack and don’t f—in’ forget it!”
And that my friend were the very first words that Sonny Meyers ever spoke to me on my first night with Al Tomko’s memorable All Star Wrestling at BCTV in Vancouver.
I didn’t know anything about any of the characters there in Vancouver. I had started in the wrestling business a few short months earlier. I had gotten a lucky break working on the AWA shows and they suggested that I go somewhere to get some seasoning. I ended up talking to Al and he booked me so off I went.
So there I was looking at this guy with his fists taped and his hair bleached telling me he was crazy. Okay I thought, he is a madman.
And a madman the amazing Sonny was. He was one of those people who come into your life that you were glad you knew. He never ceased to stop amazing me. And I would like to go on the record by saying that according to Sonny, in a dressing room one night, he declared I was about the only guy in the business he never had heat with. I don’t know what it was, but Sonny and I got along famously well.
If you ask anybody who ever worked out of Vancouver for a Sonny story, you’d better have a couple of hours clear because there were so many. I’ll try to do a highlight reel, but really you had to know Sonny to appreciate any of these.
- The setting is the infamous Del Hotel bar. Earlier at TV, Sonny asks if I want to have a drink with him on my first night. Sure I reply. As I sit and wait, I finally see him roll in. He is wearing a short-sleeved lumberjack shirt and strangely enough, his fists are still taped.Sonny strolls in and we get a beer. He tells me that he has heat with the office because he has been doing a lot of promotional appearances. He said that Al is pissed but as Sonny explained, “it’s not my f—in’ fault if his kids can’t get over in a bar.”I then ask him why he still has his fists tapped? “You never know what the f— is going to go down, Jack.” Well, nothing went down that night but he did win me over that night in a really strange sort of way.
- The setting is BCTV and Sonny is in the ring. He brought a girl with him who was sitting in the stands. During the match, Sonny keeps looking out in the stands and watching her. Apparently he spotted some guy staring at his girl. Near the end of the match, Sonny just got up in the middle of a headlock and hit the stands. He attacked the guy who was looking at his girl who had no idea why he was being attacked by an enraged Sonny Meyers.Meanwhile in the green room the boys exploded with laughter and Al came running. “Jesus,” he bellowed, “is that Sonny in the crowd?” Just then we could all hear Sonny yell out “bring your own f—in’ girl Jack!” The green room exploded again with laughter and Al almost fell over. No wonder it was hard for Al to get angles across.
- The setting is the dressing room at BCTV. Al hires a couple of good-looking guys as babyfaces. First night in the dressing room, Sonny walks up and says, “There are a lot of f—in’ queers in this business, Jack, and I’m f—in’ one of them.” With that he walked away and left those two guys with their heads spinning. They had no idea where to even begin with Sonny.
- The setting is a dressing room at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds. Sonny was trying to get booked to a territory and had sent his pictures. He called the promoter and asked him what he thought. The promoter said he never got them. Instead of offering to send another set, Sonny chimed in with, “Are you calling me a f—in’ liar, Jack?” Needless to say, Sonny didn’t get the gig.
Those are only the tip of the iceberg. Al Tomko must have fired Sonny so many times, one could never really count. He would be gone and then return. When we would ask him where he was he would say, “I was in f—in’ Tacoma Jack, making f—in’ donuts.” No idea if it was true but a great line anyway.
For all the craziness that constantly seemed to surround Sonny there was a reason that Al would continue to bring him back. And that reason was very simple. Sonny was one of the best workers in the business.
I used love the nights that I worked with Sonny. He could carry anybody and I honestly believe that he raised my game to a whole new level every night I worked him. He truly amazed me with his ability. He was as smooth as anybody who ever laced up books and he absolutely knew how to control a crowd and deliver a great match every night. He was an absolute dream and joy to wrestle.
Many a night they would tell us to go 20 minutes but Sonny had the crowd so wild you would run over by 10 or even 20 minutes. Al would come in and yell at us after but it was so worth it to be in front of people with Sonny.
I believe in life that we are all given gifts. It is no secret that Sonny had some demons that he fought during his life. But Sonny’s greatest gift was what he gave to fans on a nightly basis. Love him or hate him, he was a person who had the unique ability to positivity take people out of their current lives to suspend disbelief and buy into exactly what Sonny was selling them. They would travel to the magical world where the Madman Sonny Meyers directed the orchestra with a baton that only God could give him.
Rest in peace, madman. I look forward to seeing you down the road one day, Jack. Sonny, you brightened up my life on many a night and feel truly blessed to call you a friend.