There was a legendary wrestling bear back in the territory days. Its name was Victor. I read a book written by Rowdy Roddy Piper (In the Pit with Piper) where he mentioned wrestling it up in Canada. Roddy Piper, an otherwise fearless madman known for having unnecessarily long alley fights with Keith David, copped to being terrified by the bear; he realized the bear could’ve ended his life whenever it wanted to. For example, at one point Victor the Bear shoved Piper's whole head into his maw. Keep in mind, this was probably for 30 loonies up in Nova Scotia somewhere, presumably in the dead of winter because winter is year long in Canada.
A wrestling bear (Victor?) appears in Hardcore Holly's book The Hardcore Truth: The Bob Holly Story. Bob Holly says: “I figured, what’s the worst that could happen? The bear could kill me, I guess.” My friend Matt used to laugh hysterically at this rationalization. Getting killed IS, in fact, the worst thing that could happen to you; there is no fate worse. Luckily for the Attitude era, Bob Holly survived the wrestling bear and this pro-race-car-driver-turned-wrestler gimmick.
I read another book, this one by Bret Hart (Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Professional Wrestling) where he mentioned that as a kid Terrible Ted the Battling Bear would stay at his childhood home. Bret's dad was the legendary promoter for Stampede Wrestling, Stu Hart. Stu would hire the bear for a run in his territory, and it wasn't uncommon for the talent to stay at the Hart family's palatial estate. The invite was extended to every man or, in this case, beast. In the book, Bret recalls a time when Terrible Ted the Battling Bear licked ice cream off of young Bret's feet. This was one of the more normal episodes in young Bret's life; keep in mind this is coming from a man whose dad's favorite hobby was to invite grown men over in order to torture them with wrestling moves in his basement dungeon.
Maybe tales of legendary wrestling bears were on Virgil’s mind when opined, nearly in conjunction with his crocodile suggestion from before, we should have another animal join our live show.
“You should get a deer too,” Virgil said as he was hitting a taxidermied deer head with his drumsticks.
We had outfitted the deer to be our bass player. We called him Buck, since he was one. Pretty nice deer mount. In fact, my wife and I had written that particular head mount into the closing documents when we had bought the house. “We will only buy this house if Buck comes with it!” we screamed at our real estate agent. The sellers were more than happy to let us have the deer head. They had no use for it but they didn't want to see it thrown away. I come from the woods of Northern Wisconsin, where every house has a wall of death featuring as many trophy deer heads as the head of the household has had the skill and luck of amassing. To this end, my mom's wall of death is staggering. During deer season, people bungie-cord deer carcasses to their trucks and drive slowly through town, hoping someone strikes up a conversation about the deer's antlers. It's the biggest week of the year. I'm just trying to underscore this is all a really big deal where I come from. The deer mount in my basement serves as a nice reminder about where I came from. And there Virgil was, hitting the antlers with drumsticks, a scene weird enough to warrant filming.
“You should get a real live deer and put it in a wrestling onesie,” Virgil said. “You gotta blow people’s minds!”
Elliot and I are travelling the countryside with our bass playing deer and our, presumably, drumming crocodile. We take over and play every juke joint, truck stop, and Chuck E. Cheese, blowing mark’s minds all over the great U S of A! Maybe we could train one of these beasts to drive our GMC Vandura or cook us gumbo? We're rock stars so of course we'd party with these animals and forget that they are, in fact, animals. Maybe we'd superglue wigs onto their heads. Maybe we'd let them stretch their little scaly and furry legs at some abandoned truck stop somewhere in the midwest. Maybe we'd just let them run wild while we pass out after a show and too many burritos. I mean, what’s the worst thing that could happen to us? Besides dying, of course.