Where Are They Now?: Mideon

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July 31, 2013

“Two nights a week, I had a place to stay because of the bus,” Knight told WWEClassics.com. “Then, one night a week, I would wait outside this hotel in Memphis until six in the morning, because if you checked in at six, you had the room for the entire day and that night. I literally lived in the parking lot for an entire night before I had a place to stay.”

Many would pack up and head home before slumming it in a Memphis parking lot, but Knight stuck to his guns while living out his dream.

“It sounds terrible, but it wasn’t. It was great,” he said.

After leaving Memphis, Knight bounced around between Florida, Japan and Puerto Rico before a huge opportunity presented itself. His stepfather, a former wrestler himself, had some contacts in WCW’s front offices. That and Knight’s prior work with Dusty Rhodes, now a producer with WCW, earned him a tryout with the Atlanta-based company in 1992.

“I wrestled Joey Maggs and had a really good match,” Knight said. “Dusty got up from the back and came all the way around the arena to see me and gave me a job right there.”

That night, he was paired up with Mark Canterbury, who would be his tag team partner for the better part of the next six years. In WCW, they were Tex Slazenger (Knight) and Shanghai Pierce (Canterbury), a pair of ornery Texas outlaws straight out of a John Wayne movie.

Watch Tex & Shanghai in action

Though they never held the WCW Tag Team Titles, Tex and Shanghai tangled with many of the company’s top stars. Knight easily recalled battles with Sting, Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Rick Rude and Ricky Steamboat. But it was car rides with legends like Anderson, Barry Windham and Harley Race that he credits with educating him on the business.

“There was no GPS or movies on your phone or anything like that,” Knight explained. “You just sat in the car and talked. We got to learn so much about what to do and what not to do from those rides.”

By 1994, Canterbury was hired by WWE to portray the evil hog farmer Henry Godwinn. Knight traveled to Puerto Rico and Japan before heading back to Memphis. He lived with Road Dogg and wrestled in The River City for nearly a year before he got a call that changed his life.

“At a TV taping in Memphis, Jerry Lawler came into the locker room and pulled me aside,” Knight told WWEClassics.com. “He said WWE wanted to bring me up as Henry Godwinn’s cousin, be the dumb hillbilly. The next day, I was on a plane to California.”

Watch Phineas' debut on Raw

Knight took on the persona of Phineas Godwinn, Henry’s simple, fun-loving cousin. With Hillbilly Jim in their corner, The Godwinns square-danced their way into the hearts of WWE fans. Knight even took part in a little romantic story, where Sunny used her feminine wiles to try taking advantage of Phineas.

“It was the perfect storm, working with two of my favorite people in the world, Chris Candido and Tom Prichard,” Knight said of the Superstars behind Skip and Zip. “Sunny was great at what she did. The night I got to slop her was a huge highlight. Plus, our first WrestleMania against The Bodydonnas was awesome.”

Eventually, the Godwinn personas ran their course, leaving Knight and Canterbury looking for something fresh to do in WWE. Knight found inspiration on the silver screen, from Chow-Yun Fat’s 1998 action flick, “The Replacement Killers.”  The character of an assassin-for-hire in a sharp suit inspired the look for Southern Justice. Knight and Canterbury hired themselves out as bodyguards for Tennessee Lee and Jeff Jarrett.

“I was always told to evolve yourself and try something different,” Knight said.

Southern Justice and other awesome tag teams you might have forgotten

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