MOUNT VERNON — When the Dixie Land Bike Slam takes center stage at the Fredericktown Flea Market on Saturday, attendees will have the opportunity to see one of the stars of the World Championship Wrestling and the New World Order live in person. Marcus “Buff” Bagwell will headline the professional wrestling portion of the event on Saturday night, putting on a show.
Bagwell is best known for his 10-year career in the WCW, and his part of nWo. He didn’t always plan to be a professional wrestler, however.
“I started out as a massage therapist,” said Bagwell. “I went to the Atlanta School of Massage, and I was practicing being a massage therapist. I also thought about going into sports management — I had always wanted to do something with sports — but that didn’t work out. I met Missy (Hyatt, a professional wrestler of World Championship Wrestling fame) and she lived in my apartments. She told me how much money there was to be made in it. Really, she was the one who gave me my break. I went to the WCW school, and Steve Lawler trained me. That’s what got me going.”
After getting his break and working his way up, Bagwell emerged as a force to be reckoned with in the WCW. In his career, he has won 12 titles, including the WCW World Tag Team Championship five times. In 1991, he was named the WCW Rookie of the Year.
“My biggest thing that I am proud of is the amount of tag team titles I have won with different partners,” said Bagwell. “I’ve won five titles with five different partners, which I think is a record. I’ve never heard of anyone else doing that. I’ve won five legit World Tag Team Championships with five different people, including 2 Cold Scorpio, The Patriot, The American Males (with Scott Riggs) and Shane Douglas. I won the title twice with the Patriot.”
When the WCW was purchased by the World Wrestling Federation in 2001, Bagwell made the move to the WWF. His stay in the WWF was short, however, as he was released just over four months later. The often controversial wrestler rebounded on the independent circuit, and has continued to prosper.
“Financially, it is very different because I am on my own,” Bagwell said. “I could have made more money (staying with the WWE), but now I have zero commitment to an organization. There is no guarantee that I will have a job tomorrow; I don’t have a contract, but it is worth it. It is much better. I wrestle who I want to wrestle. For me, it is the exact same thing, just in smaller towns. I get to connect with my fans a lot more. I really like being in touch with the fans. I used to wrestle in front of 100,000 people, but only get to meet five or six of them. Now, I’m in front of 500 to 1,000 people and I get to meet everybody. I get so much more out of it.”
While Saturday’s event may not attract thousands of people, Bagwell is happy to take part because of the work put forth. He plans on making it a good show for the fans in attendance.
“This promoter is one of the top three or four that I work with, and he really cares,” Bagwell said. “Because he cares, you are going to see a lot of action. It is a family-oriented pro wrestling show, which is hard to find nowadays. There will be some great wrestling. There are always some big names and we will put on a great show.”