View to a kilt
Rory McAllister remembers the exact moment he decided to become a professional wrestler. The burly Scotsman had been freezing his arse off working as a car electrician in Glasgow.
"I was so pissed about working in the rain and snow. I hated it," says Rory, who also remembers arriving home that night to watch Raw, and being greeted by his girlfriend and a buddy. He told them how despondent he was and how determined he was to quit. When his buddy asked how he planned to make a living, Rory blurted out the first thing that came to mind.
"I'm going to become a wrestler," he recalls telling them. "They both laughed at me."
But the Scotsman was unwavering. A short time later, he sold most of his possessions and flew to Nova Scotia, where his cousin Robbie lived.
"Funny thing is that I had just started training when Rory came over," notes Robbie.
"Robbie was huge into wrestling growing up, and I asked him, ‘Do you want to be the first real Scottish tag team?'" says Rory. "And Robbie said, ‘Hell, yeah!'"
Thus The Highlanders were born. After eight months of intensive training in Canada, the McAllisters hit the road. They drove to regional matches in a 1994 "sun-bleached pink" Ford Escort, from Ontario down through America's Rust Belt, up through Massachusetts and back to Canada.
"We slept in the car, ate in the car and wrestled for $20 a night—just enough to buy gas to get to the next town," Rory says with a chuckle. "We'd be on the road for months making absolutely nothing, lying in the car with four jackets on, freezing and talking about how one day we were gonna be the World Champions."
While struggling to make ends meet, the McAllisters met a promoter in Boston who saw potential. The two traveled to Beantown once a month to compete in local shows. It's a commute the cousins look back on with fondness.
"Those matches fed me," says Rory. "I was starving, down to 150 pounds."
Before long, the McAllisters' persistence paid off, and the WWE came calling.
"The day we got jobs with WWE was the happiest day of my life," says Rory with a grin.
Though The Highlanders are now members of the premier sports-entertainment company in the world, their struggle is far from over. The cousins argue that while they're grateful for the opportunities they've been granted, they still feel like a couple of kilt-clad Rodney Dangerfields.
"We come here and people say we dress funny, look funny, sound funny," snarls Robbie. "Where's the respect?"
"We've given up everything to be here," Rory explains. "Robbie gave up his family. And me, I've seen my mother five days in eight-and-a-half years."
Despite the perceived lack of respect, the McAllisters feel their time has come, that they've earned the right to contend for the World Tag Team Championship. And should the opportunity present itself, the Scotsmen vow to do whatever it takes to capture the gold.
"You want to fight dirty, we'll fight dirtier," says Rory. "The Scots were one of the original warrior cultures on this planet. We were eatin' the hearts of our enemies for 900 years before America even bloody existed."
While the pair maintain that they're indeed angry about being overlooked, they insist they haven't given up on the dream they spoke about long ago as they lie in that tiny, freezing automobile staving off the cold.
"If we get the [World Tag Team Championship] belts, that's great, that's the goal," says Rory. "But you know what we want first? We want some damn respect!"