It was the punch that reverberated throughout the pro wrestling world and spawned the term “steelhorsing.”
Tommy Taylor, who has been wrestling for more than 10 years, wasn’t happy with the way the lesser experienced Steelhorse Vachon conducted himself in the ring during their match at a recent Vintage Wrestling event at the Salvation Army Gym in Sanford, Fla.
As a result, Taylor allegedly veered off the plan for the match and gave him a shot to the eye. The former WWE developmental star says he saw Vachon’s “lack of respect to the business, to the company and to himself” even from their first meeting.
“It definitely didn’t go unnoticed from the get-go,” Taylor said. “He came in and didn’t shake anybody’s hands. The way he conducted himself even when we were going over some of the main parts of the match, it kind of upset me a little bit because he didn’t show me respect.
“He had only been doing this a few years. I’ve been doing this a little bit longer. My main goal of the whole match was to make him look really good. It was to make him look like a monster, and I was kind of upset that he wasn’t really paying me that much respect.
“So when it came down to the actual match, he was almost taking liberties with me. He wasn’t taking care of my body and doing things that potentially could have hurt me or seriously injured me, if not ended my career. At that point, I had to put him in his place and give him a wakeup call. I gave him a ‘receipt’, which is what we call it in the wrestling business. Immediately after that, I went straight back to doing the match and being a professional and putting a good match on. We got through the match, and I thought that was it. I thought the issue was squashed, and maybe we would talk about it in the back, but no.”
This is not uncommon in such a rough-and-tough business. There have been many instances in wrestling history where a veteran has been stiff with their greener opponent to teach a lesson, see what they’re made of or give them a wakeup call to get their head in the game. So the punch or kick or slam is harder (stiff) on purpose, sending a message to the opponent.
“It happens in matches, especially when you are working with guys who have been in the business for only a few years,” Taylor said. “It happens. I’ve been on both ends of it. I haven’t always been the guy to teach them the way to take it on the chin. When you come in the business you learn to ask questions, pick the brain of the person who came before you. It’s a learning experience.”
The punch really wasn’t unprecedented, but what followed was. Vachon allegedly called the police on Taylor.
Vachon, who is not related to the famous Vachon family, could not be reached for comment.
• Legit police report
However, according to the initial police report obtained from the Sanford Police Department, the officer who responded talked to those who witnessed the incident and obtained sworn statements. This included someone who was filming the match, who said the striking in the eye was not part of the event.
Names were blacked out of the police report, as the incident was still being investigated. The report says when (blank) entered the dressing room, he heard several wrestlers discussing how (blank) admitted to striking (blank) on purpose.