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I’m not The Taskmaster

May 9, 2010

This is not me

My first day on the job at WWE was August 31, 1998 — the day after SummerSlam. Within minutes of walking in the door, Bill Banks (then with WWE Magazine and, currently with TNA Wrestling) jokingly said to me, “nice to meet you, Taskmaster.”

I let out a nervous giggle and went along my way. I didn’t really think too much of it. Then, as Human Resources continued to give me the grand tour, the “Taskmaster” references started coming at me faster than a 1-2-3 Kid leg drop. To be honest, I thought it was pretty cool at first. But by day’s end, all four floors of Titan Tower had bombarded me with the silly moniker and I was starting to despise my parents for slapping me with the dreaded name.

Luckily for me, my new co-workers could easily recognize that I was not the demonic professional wrestler from Boston. Nope, I was just a 170-pound kid looking to make a name for himself at Others, however, didn’t have the same luxury as my co-workers. As a employee, much of my early responsibilities included calling Superstars for interviews, which meant they couldn’t see me, which also meant I oftentimes found myself in very awkward conversations. Here’s a brief look at how all my interviews started back then. I’ll use The Blue Meanie as an example (he was my first interview):

Me: Hi, is Blue Meanie in please? (Yes, I asked for the Blue Meanie. We were always instructed to use the Superstars’ ring name, unless told otherwise by the Superstar).

Meanie: This is Meanie.

Me: Hi, Meanie. This is Kevin Sullivan from I was wondering if you had a few minutes to talk about WrestleMania XV.

Meanie: Oh man, Kevin Sullivan? I didn’t know you worked at

Me: Yeah, I’ve been here for a few months (sometimes I would do that … mess with them, knowing full well that they meant the other Kevin Sullivan).

Meanie: That’s cool, man. Are you gonna wrestle too?

Me: Oh, you talking about the Taskmaster. No, I’m not him. I’m a writer with the web site.

Meanie: Oh, ok. Umm … what are we gonna talk about? WrestleMania?

From there, the interviews would usually go fairly lousy. I think it was because the Superstars usually felt pretty embarrassed after making such a mistake.

Fast forward 12 years and I’m still being his with the Taskmaster references, despite making what I believe to be quite a name for myself over the course of my career. In addition to being Director of Content Development at, I also penned four WWE books, including the New York Times best selling WWE Encyclopedia. But I guess it doesn’t matter how many copies of that thing we sold, I’ll always be the Taskmaster.

Most recently, I was hit with another barrage of Taskmaster jokes. They came while writing my latest book, which focuses on the long and storied history of the WWE Championship. I really wanted to include quotes and memories from as many past champions as I possibly could, which meant I spent a lot of time on the phone, which, again, meant I had to sit through the Taskmaster routine again. To the guys on the other end of the phone, it’s funny. To them, it’s a new gag. To me, though, it’s life.

Luckily, I was able to get past the initial awkwardness rather quickly. These guys were all ex-WWE Champions. They know the drill, and they are all very busy. The last thing they want to do is go on and on about the Taskmaster. But I did get it a few times, most notably by The Iron Sheik. Nice guy, but he’s just missing a few screws. I’m pretty sure he still thinks I was the ex-wrestler. I’m also pretty sure he thought our interview was a live interview radio. At the end, he signed off with (in his signature Sheik yelling voice) “I just want to say thank you to all my fans, and thank you to Mr. Howard Stern, the No. 1 radio man in the world.”

I certainly wasn’t going to correct him. Maybe if I was the Taskmaster.


From → WWE

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