Many of the pro wrestlers we grew up watching spent countless hours in their cars going from venue to venue. Quite often these road trips featured alcoholic beverages, ribs (aka pranks), hilarious conversations and of course the often-mentioned baloney blowouts. In his autobiography, One Last Ride: The Tale of Cowboy Scott Casey, Casey, with Nicholas Masci, utilizes a conversational tone to take readers through a road trip of sorts through his pro wrestling days. Please note: for this ride, readers will have to provide their own baloney sandwiches and beer!
“I went around the world nine times,” remarked the 73-year-old Casey, who resides in Junction City, Arkansas, in a phone interview with SlamWrestling.net. “And I just thought, I don’t know how many more years I’ve got left. I don’t know how many more minutes I’ve got left and I wanted to express my thoughts on wrestling. And that’s what I did!”
The origins of the book came about after Casey, who was born Stephen Phillip McConnell but changed his name legally in 1976 in tribute to two of his childhood friends who naturally were named Scott and Casey, suffered a heart attack and required quadruple bypass surgery. For the last six years Masci, who promotes under the name Captain’s Corner, has arranged for approximately 200 pro wrestling figures to attend conventions and signings. With the outbreak of COVID-19, he has kept up with the signings by hosting them online via his Facebook page. Casey ended up having his heart attack a few weeks after he and Masci had worked together at a convention for the first time. The two decided it was the perfect time to collaborate on a book.
“Scott was very open to it (doing the book),” expressed the 36-year-old Masci, who resides in Bristol, Connecticut. “Scott doesn’t have any children. He’s got a few ex-wives, but doesn’t have any children. So, I feel like as we were talking, Scott realized that no one is going to be able to tell his story like he would. In this business, a lot of great stuff, if it’s not passed on, it’s lost forever. We don’t have the same kind of record keepers that every other sport has, which is a shame.”
After nearly a year-long process of interviews, research and writing, the book, which is out now and self-published, was released in 2019. Masci humorously shared that the book was originally going to be called, Time is a Diminishing Asset, after a phrase Casey often loves to use. Masci shared the idea with Dutch Mantell when the two worked together at a signing. According to Masci, Mantell, in his trademark bluntness, immediately said that their idea was “the shits” and quipped, “Nick that is the worst title of a book, I’ve ever heard. You think wrestling fans know what assets are?” Needless to say, Masci took his advice and changed the book’s title.
The book encapsulates Casey’s 22-year career as a pro wrestler, beginning with his early days training and learning the ropes in the Funk family territory (Casey was born in Dallas). His first match was against Dick Murdoch. Casey says in the book that Murdoch was supposed to “hardway” him, meaning “cut or swell up the eye.” Murdoch was unsuccessful and promoter Dory Funk Sr. wasn’t impressed. Wrote Casey: “Dory Sr. screams, ‘This is what I want,’ to Dickie, and then he proceeds to punch me in the eye. He knocked me on my ass but boy, did my eye balloon up right away.”
From there readers are taken along to Casey’s mat days in locales including Tampa, Australia, North and South Carolina, Virginia, Japan, Memphis, Kansas City and an almost three-year stint in the World Wrestling Federation. As the miles on this life journey accumulate, some of Casey’s peers including Les Thatcher, Dusty Wolfe, Dr. Tom Prichard, Eddy Mansfield and the late “Killer” Tim Brooks contribute their perspectives to this literary road trip. And while some of these quotes don’t always enhance the story, readers will find the majority of them are entertaining additions to Casey’s tale. And for those readers who are surprised to see Casey be so complimentary to aforementioned and frequent opponent, Mansfield, after the former wrestler infamously participated in a 20/20 expose on pro wrestling and garnered some incredible heat from his peers over it, Casey says he is proud to call Mansfield his friend.
“You can’t kill wrestling,” pointed out Casey. “It’s like I’ve said many times, you can try. You can expose it until hell freezes over. And you can’t kill it! Eddy and I made a lot of money even after he did it (appeared on 20/20). I didn’t care! Hell, I knew we were still gonna wrestle. And I knew we were still gonna make money at it. I love him to death. He’s a hell of a performer. Somebody once said that jealously is a terrible thing. And they (their peers) may be jealous of him because he probably made some good money doing that or whatever!”
Slam reached out to Mansfield who has fond memories of Casey inside and outside the squared circle. (Both Casey and Mansfield were quick to reminisce to this reader about their hair vs. hair bout in San Antonio. For the record: Casey was the victor.) “Scott was probably one of the most underrated guys in the world when it comes to pro wrestling,” declared Mansfield. “But we showed the whole world that we could draw big money and we drew big money in the state of Texas!”
Mansfield continued, “Scott is probably one of the greatest guys you’ll ever have the privilege of meeting. And he’s one of my best friends in life, as well as a guy by the name of Terry Funk. Probably Terry Funk and Scott Casey are two of my best friends. We all kind of stuck together and we’ve been through the ups and downs of life and the ups and downs of the road.” Mansfield then jokingly pointed out that because of the heat derived from his feud with Casey, he was allegedly stabbed seven times by fans in attendance before he even got to the ring. But in what can only be described as true friendship, Mansfield still feels “they don’t come any finer than that guy (Casey) in and out of the ring!”
Casey also provides frank and fun tidbits via his “Cowboy Takes” throughout the book on the various figures in pro wrestling he encountered. For example, according to Casey, Dick Slater “was an unusually quiet man that you did NOT want to piss off” and Tim Woods was “a bit crazy, but a nice guy,” who also apparently had a lead foot; as Casey recalled, “Tim was the only man I know that could leave someplace late and still get to his destination early!” As for trivia about Casey himself, this reader was surprised to learn that Casey was actually a certified cosmetologist who often cut the hair of his peers including the late Andre the Giant, his only world title win was in San Antonio in 1983 against Adrian Adonis, he appeared in one movie called Blood Circus with the late Ox Baker that was never released, and claims that legendary country music singer, Willie Nelson, once asked Casey for HIS autograph!
On his WWF days, Casey shared in the book: “The WWF was the land of the monsters, but I was in the best shape of my career. I had some good size on me at the time. I was up to about 250 lbs. on the sauce (steroids), which was very big for my 5’10 frame. The problem was up here, there were 20 guys that had the same build as me but were 6’2 or taller!” While Casey did get to appear in a traditional Survivor Series match in 1988 (where he proudly boasted that he made $5,000 for about three minutes of ring time), he regrets that he never had the opportunity to show the company what he was capable of. He also claimed he never even had to do one promo during his time there. Casey was let go from the WWF and decided it was time to hang up his wrestling boots.
“Just like I told Vince (McMahon), ‘I can accept failure, but when given a chance to fail,’” observed Casey. “‘You never gave me the chance!’ And he goes, ‘Well, Scott, we really didn’t know that much (about you).’ I thought, ‘It’s funny because I was known all over the world at that time!’ Anyway, I was not figured in. And like I always used to tell people, ‘I was just one of the girls in the show up there.’ It was hard on my ego. It was hard on my abilities. But you know, it’s just the way it went. And there were a lot of guys up there that I had wrestled all over the country and they even said, ‘Sorry you had to put me over.’”
Added Masci, “After (Casey) left Vince, he had a hard few weeks after that. And I feel like he never got the closure. And I feel like in some ways, you know we called the book One Last Ride, this is kind of Scott’s closure.”
Casey would have a brief foray back into the world of wrestling as a trainer at Ivan Putski’s wrestling school in Houston. “Ivan told me about these two big guys that he wanted me to help train,” shared Casey in the book. “He said I wouldn’t believe what they looked like. Well he was right because I walk in and see these two giants!” Those two giants: Booker T and Stevie Ray, better known as the tag team, Harlem Heat.
“When I finally got them in the ring, I taught them timing, expressions, how to take bumps, and of course the cold hard facts about the wrestling business,” recalled Casey in the book. “I did not lie to them at all, I told them the truth. I told them about the names that some of the boys might call them behind their backs because of jealousy and how tired they’d be after spending weeks and months on the roads and how they would miss their families while away. I told them everything I could about the politics of wrestling, and they appreciated that honesty I gave them. These guys had talent before they even KNEW they had talent, so I didn’t even need to do as much training as you might think. They were picking up things in a day or two that took me MONTHS to figure out.”
Casey’s book is not flashy, could use a more thorough editing and the writing can be jumpy at times. But the book also has some color photos (unfortunately the photos tend to vary in size throughout the book) which is impressive considering the book is self-published. (Casey contributed several photos from his personal collection.) And instead of bombarding readers with gross and salacious stories which so many pro wrestling books rely on, Casey and Masci have chosen to showcase some good old-fashioned hilarity instead. A great example is when Casey discusses the time he let the late Dusty Rhodes pierce his ear after a night of revelry.
“Dusty goes ‘Brother,’ he had this kind of lisp when he talked,” shared Casey doing his best impression of Rhodes. “He said, ‘I think you’d look much better with that pierced ear.’ And I went, ‘OK.’ And we’re about half drunk and he had like a, it wasn’t gold, maybe a brass star. He took it and stuck it in his mouth, which right there I should have just said, ‘Wait a minute’ because all the disease and everything else in the world is in your mouth. And I got home and I went to sleep and at about I don’t know one or two in the morning, I woke up and my ear was just Oh my God! It was swollen up and hurt like crazy! And I jerked the earring out and got all this kind of junk coming out. And that was my experience with pierced ears!”
Masci is the first to admit that he and Casey didn’t set out to write a literary classic along the lines of War and Peace. Casey was adamant in wanting his book to be a wrestling book and nothing else. I’ll admit this reader wanted a little more of the personal details of Casey’s life, but I have to give him credit for the portions of the book where he was open and vulnerable especially about his and the industry’s steroid dependence. You also have to respect a guy who doesn’t want to get any of his peers in trouble just to sell more books.
“Scott didn’t want to throw any of the boys under the bus,” revealed Masci. “And he also didn’t want to talk about his personal life. He’s had a few ex-wives. He made it clear from the beginning: this is going to be a wrestling book! He was going to tell wrestling stories, which is fine by me because as a wrestling fan, I feel like that’s what the wrestling fans want to read about: the wrestling career, the funny road stories, what it was like in the territories and memories of the people. And we stuck to that!”
But at the same time Casey warned with a laugh, “I just want them (the readers) to have a good time with it (the book). If you’re opposed to cursing or awkward situations with women, don’t read it! Because I was young and I was crazy! And I had a lot of fun! And I enjoyed the women! And I just I want them to take away just some entertainment and hopefully they’ll find it fun and exciting I guess you’d say, to hear what I had to say and how I lived my life for those 22 years!”