Koko B. Ware is one of professional wrestling’s most colorful characters. From an early singles career accompanied to the ring by Frankie the parrot, to his union with the late Owen Hart as High Energy, the ‘Birdman’ provided us with many childhood memories, even being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame amongst raised eyebrows.
Appearing on the Why it Ended podcast, Koko opened up about his career, his dissonant departure from WWF, why he was inducted in to the WWE Hall Fame, and his run-in with the Undertaker which nearly ended in disaster. The latter is where we begin, all the way back at the 1990 Survivor Series where the ‘Man from the Darkside’ made his momentous debut.
Speaking on the first time he battled Mark Calaway, Koko turned the focus of the interview to the Tombstone Piledriver he sustained in the multi-man clash and discussed how it was poorly executed:
“I love Mark to death, and I’m still proud of The Undertaker today. He really, really has [taken] his gimmick a long, long way. But Mark was, you know. I was the first one to take the tombstone, but he was a little excited because that was his first time doing it, and I almost kind of cracked my neck a little bit doing it. And I heard all kinds of little cracks and stuff like that.
But I knew Mark was trying to get over… I got dropped on my head, to be honest with you. Yes. But thank God for working out, it kind of helps you. Now, if I had a weak head or something like that, I probably would have broke my neck big time. I was the first one that he used it on. [We didn’t practice], he just said hey. They wanted him [to do it]. It was kind of like a piledriver, but he just had my head between his legs too far that you could see my head, and if he would have had my head between the fat part of his thighs, then it wouldn’t have hurt.”
Koko seemed niggled when talking about his elimination from the match in question. So much so, that it was a subject he couldn’t quite let go, mentioning that had he been told about the moment in question he could have sold it better. It was nearly three decades ago. Forgive and forget.