Meet Mr. Kennedy...Kennedy
"I've cut my teeth on this business, and now I'm ready to make an impact. I'm not going to be a nice guy, though. I've tried that in the past and I've found out that nice guys finish last, so thank god I'm an a**hole."
That's the message SmackDown! newcomer Ken Kennedy has for WWE fans and Superstars alike. Kennedy has looked impressive on Velocity already and just won his debut match on SmackDown! in impressive fashion against Funaki. Already on a roll, the SmackDown! Superstars will surely have to take notice.
Although he is new to the WWE scene, Kennedy certainly is not a newcomer to the world of sports entertainment. In fact, he has been on an 8-year mission trying to get to WWE.
"Making my debut on SmackDown! was a dream come true, and I've been working eight years to accomplish it," he said. "I spent years on the independent circuit driving up and down the highways and working a regular job at the same time. I'd work a 13 Ã‚Â½ hour shift, drive 15 hours to Nashville, get paid $40, drive 15 hours back and go to work again, but I never thought twice because I always had getting to WWE at the top of my mind."
Being on such a big stage, one might think Kennedy would be nervous, but the arrogant and cocky newcomer says that wasn't the case at all.
"I knew I was under the microscope, but I was confident I could go out there and perform," said Kennedy. "I had worked so hard to get to that point, and when I busted through the curtain I knew I was ready."
It would be a dream come true for many to hear their names announced at SmackDown!, but Ken Kennedy was not happy with Tony Chimmel's announcing job. Kennedy took matters into his own hands and demonstrated how he thought the job should be done and introduced not only his opponent, Funaki, but also himself.
"I didn't feel Tony Chimmel gave me the proper respect," said Kennedy, who referred to himself as Mr. Kennedy. "I don't know if he thinks that we're buddies or we're boys and he doesn't have to show me respect, but I know that if I walk up to Vince McMahon I don't call him Vince. I call him Mr. McMahon. There needs to be a level of respect. I don't know why Tony Chimmel thinks we're on a first name basis. Whenever he speaks into a microphone, I don't think he puts enough bass into it. He doesn't say it like he means it. In my opinion he has to learn how to put a little stank on it."
After the introductions were out of the way, Kennedy decided to let his actions, not his words, earn him the respect he demands. After a competitive match with SmackDown!'s No. 1 announcer, Kennedy was able to finish off Funaki when he staved off a Tornado DDT and turned it into a Regal Roll off the second rope.
Kennedy had matches on Velocity for the last couple of weeks, but he said he knew he was ready to take the next step.
"Like I said on Thursday, my arrival is probably the biggest announcement in SmackDown! history," he said. "I blew through my opponents on Velocity so it was only logical that I come to SmackDown! next. It was a no-brainer to move on to tougher competition."
And now that he's on SmackDown!, Kennedy says he's here to stay. Kennedy said he has been a WWE fan since he was a little kid, idolizing the likes of Junkyard Dog growing up. While in school, though, Kennedy admitted that he started goofing off and became a class clown of sorts. Upon hearing of their child's actions, Kennedy's parents punished him by not allowing him to watch wrestling anymore. It wasn't until 1997 that Kennedy started watching once again.
"I was at a friend's house on a Monday night. I had just broken up with my long-term girlfriend, and I needed something to keep my mind occupied so we were hanging out and playing some cards," he said. "I hadn't watched in so long that I had lost my taste for wrestling, so I protested, but my friend said he watched RAW every Monday so I had no choice. Then during the show, I heard the glass shatter, and all of a sudden this bald-headed, foul-mouthed bastard drove into the arena in a huge pick up truck with a smoking skull painted on the hood and a beer in his hand, yelling stuff at the camera men. I was instantly glued to the screen. I fell in love with wrestling all over again."
Kennedy became such a fan that he started having dreams of becoming a WWE Superstar himself. He said that he had always been involved in sports, weight lifting and that it would give him a good shot to excel in WWE. Kennedy was willing to do anything and go anywhere to achieve his dream. He finally got a call back from a wrestling school telling him he could come in for a tryout, but it would cost him $200. If they liked what they saw, he could continue in the program and his money would go towards the $1600 tuition. If they didn't like what he saw, well, he's be out of $200.
Just like he did on SmackDown!, Kennedy made a good impression, and he began undergoing training.
"When I stepped through those ropes, I knew I was home. A weird feeling just came over my body," he said.
Due to his regular job, he could only train a couple of times a week, but whenever he wasn't working at night, one of the trainers would watch old wrestling tapes with him until 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning, helping him get a better understanding of the business. It was eight months before he finally got his first match, but it's a moment Kennedy will never forget.
"At some wrestling schools, you get your first match after three days. But my trainers wanted me to get a good base before I got into the ring," he said. "I told everyone in my community about it. I ended up selling about 140 tickets. The show right before my debut drew about 100 people. My first show ever, at the Watering Hole in Green Bay, drew about 440 people. Everyone was rowdy and nuts, and I got the biggest pop of the night."
From there, Kennedy started sending tapes of his work to WWE hoping to get some criticisms so he knew what to work on. It was around this same time that Kennedy had an opportunity to meet former WWE Champion Brock Lesnar.
"I explained to him that I wanted to make a name for myself any way possible. After that he hooked me up with the guy who trained him, Brad Rheingans. I went and trained with him for six months and got into the best shape of my life."
It turns out that chance meeting with Lesnar and training with Rheingans was the break that Kennedy needed to propel him on to SmackDown! And now that he's here, he wants some respect and is willing to earn it one victory at a time.