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 profession is something that has been come up – like Samoa Joe lately being asked about the move that led to a near fatal injury and TJ’s retirement – that is one of those stories that stood out:
“The night of injury, it was merely one of those days where the series was being shifted — up to the last minute — but the show was being changed and the next thing I know it’s me from Joe in a dark game.
I had never worked Joe. I’d of course seen him. I’m a student of the game, I have seen everybody. But I’d never 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 game, completely on the fly, I pulled it off and then I get rocked at the end.’
I have an image and I think my hands are in the wrong position compared to other ones I have seen. I was not 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 totally 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 hands and toes. It was probably five or six seconds. But time stands still. I understood because I was being pinned, but concerning sense of time, it was out the window. If it had just happened and I’m just laying there, I’d have had no clue, but since I was being pinned, I understand it was just 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 the vertebrae in his neck ruptured & caused a disk to hit his spinal cord, and his struggles to adjust to life after the only job he had ever known was no more part of his life.
In discussing his transition into his current role with WWE, they also talked about the man TJ was working with if the injury occurred, Samoa Joe:
“There’s an unwritten protocol when you hurt someone. And when I say you hurt somebody, obviously it is not on purpose, but it still occurs. I know I have rocked men before where I checked on them after to make sure everything’s cool.
Joe did come to the hospital that night. We spoke that evening. We’d text throughout the time I was hurt, but I just saw him face to face when I got hurt and when I did see him that night, things were up in the atmosphere with the severity of my injury. He was remorseful and I believe we are when we hurt somebody and when somebody gets hurt under our opinion. Stuff happens. We perform at such a level so many days a week that things are going to happen. We just need to do the best we can to take care of one another and to let a person know that we’re there for them when they do get hurt.
My first day back as a producer once I was out of meetings, he was the man who I discovered and sought out. And we had a talk and we are friends. We get along great.”
Regarding the difficulty he had adjusted 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 Vince McMahon came with a proposal to him.
“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 will be like me.’
I didn’t know if I would be good at it and I didn’t know what all it entailed. I didn’t know if I’d find any real fulfillment out of it. But right off the bat a couple of weeks in, I was part of a battle royal and I had a notion that Tye Dillinger would be among the three guys. I thought that his’10’ stuff was getting over and I thought it would be useful and he would have a good showing. I have been given those things they throw you a little something and then see what happens out of it although where you’re not being featured. The audience was completely with [Dillinger].
When he came back, he was happy and I felt that satisfaction. I like my job. I’ve been doing this a half and now almost a year and I have not taken a week off yet. I see a lot, and then of course I will see comments that are negative. The truth is in the middle somewhere.”
Now, Wilson believes that despite his success as a wrestler, he might be more remembered as a producer, although he is not convinced it is the right role for him:
“I believe I did well for myself. In there were men and I think I outdid anything. I had been told many, many times but I knew I knew I was going to keep working and keep working and keep working and I wasn’t giving up. I appreciate the remarks. I don’t know not or if it breaks my heart to say it, but I feel like my heritage might be more than it ever was in the ring.
That feels kind of funny for me to say because I spent so much time and trying to perfect every movement that I ever did. However, I think when it is all said and done, my legacy might be more than in the ring. I am so proud. Not every match was a home run, but if you see my in-ring stuff and go back and watch my career, I’m very proud of it. I think bell to bell, in-ring work, I’d put it up.
But at exactly the exact same time, I think I’ve hit on something that’s working for me working and backstage for me with all the talent. I think my heritage is being constructed now and I think it’s going to overshadow what I did in the ring.”