In my upcoming book, “Been There, Done That,” I have a looong section called “THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY OF PRO WRESTLING AND MIXED MARTIAL ARTS.” It might surprise you who I’ve written about as GOOD, and as BAD, and…anyways, here is one small excerpt, this one on David Abbott, aka “TANK!” (along w/an illustation of Tank and I that appeared in “Pro Wrestling Illustrated” Magazine).
Tank Abbott is considered by many, to be one of the biggest, uneducated, ill-mannered cretins in the world of Pro Wrestling and Mixed Martial Arts. But that’s only because people don’t know him. His heart or his mind. Tank has an elephant tattooed on one of his calves. Because, as he’ll tell you, he doesn’t forget. Anything. Not necessarily those who have done him wrong.
Although true enough, he DOESN’T forget that. But really, he forgets NOTHING. Because, believe it or not, and you should believe it, Tank is a brilliant human being. No matter how many Stolis he’s put down –and he can put ‘em away, because I’ve put ‘em down with him—he has a mind like a steel trap. And, he’s a good man. I represented Tank on a four fight jag… his “revenge” fight against Wes “Cabbage” Coreirra at Rumble on the Rock in Hawaii; versus Paul Buentello at Strike Force; Gary Turner in London for Cage Rage; and versus Yoshida for PRIDE in Japan. I was with him for all except for the PRIDE/Japan deal. I got him $110,000 for that one. Tank is funny about his money. He is the ONLY guy I’ve ever dealt with who will not let me touch his cash. It goes to HIM first. And then, he pays me. Sometimes, he’ll even try to “negotitate” my rate a bit. But, he’s always upfront about it, and there’s NEVER any room left for interpretation.
And although, at five foot four and one hundred and forty pounds, while I’ve stood up to the toughest bastards on Earth, there’s SOMETHING about Tank that make me always defer to him.Dave (yeah, Tank has a real name), was pretty happy about the 110k at PRIDE, so in the commission negotiation, he “gave” me ten percent. And off to Japan he went. The day after he returns, he calls me. “Well, they say I’ll have the wire in a few days. I’ll call you.” Now, we’re talking about eleven thousand dollars here. Even though I was rollin’ in the dough at the time, that’s still A LOT of money. But Tank being Tank, I don’t worry about it. Too much. And lo and behold, he calls me back the VERY NEXT DAY. “You won’t believe this, but I already got the wire. I wanna get your money to you.” I was in really good financial shape at the time; nonetheless, I say I’ll head thirty miles North to him, in Huntington Beach. I figure an hour or so round trip is worth the eleven grand. “Nah,” Tank says, “don’t worry about it. Me and the crew are heading towards San Diego and goin’ right by you. I’ll drop it off.” So, not only do I have the legendary Tank Abbott calling me several days earlier than expected telling me he has money for me, he’s also GOING TO DELIVER ELEVEN THOUSAND DOLLARS TO MY DOORSTEP. “I’ll be there in an hour,” Tank says. Three hours later, and…no Tank. So I call him. “Aww shit. We started drinking in the car, I completely forgot, and we went right by you. We’re at the San Diego Wild Animal Park. I have the cash on me. Why don’t you come meet me here?” Like I said, at this point in my life, I’m in very good shape financially. But, eleven grand, in cash, is…well, eleven grand in cash. “Sure Dave, sounds good. But, if you’re hammered, how do I know that after I get in my car and drive over an hour to get there, and won’ be too drunk to answer your phone?” Legitimate question, I think. “C’mon Rick. I’ll answer the phone.” I jump into my car and head South. When I pull into the parking lot of the Animal Park, I ring up Tank. Eddie, one of his cronies, answers the phone on the first ring. “Meet me at the front gate!” he says, and disconnects the call. “Arrogant little fuck” I’m thinking. So, I park and walk to the front gate. Eddie is standing out front, and gives me a awkward, drunken hug. “Here,” he says, “Dave bought this for you.” And he hands me an admission ticket to the Wild Animal Park. Eddie leads me to a pavilion, where Tank and the rest of the crew are seated. They all have these enormous, hard plastic cups before them, each covered by a rubberized version of a different wild animal’s head. Tank’s of course, is an elephant’s. In front of his entire crew… “Yo Rick, you want your eleven grand!?!?” He’s HAMMERED. “Well, yeah. Please.” And Tank slams down in front of me what must be a twenty ounce cup. “Then, drink this.” I take a sip. For those who have drunk with Tank, I know that he’s set me up to drink what he drinks. Vodka with a splash of Cranberry. In this case, we’re talking about like nineteen and one half ounces of Vodka, with a half ounce of cranberry. “Dave, really?” “Yeah, really. If you want your money, then drink the fuckin’ drink.” So, I do. I’m not a big fan of vodka in the first place. Especially not practically straight, pretty warm, and out of a plastic cup. It takes me a while, and everyone good-naturedly bullshits one another in the meantime. Profanties fly and disgusted moms drag their little ones by very quickly. I let Tank know I’ve finished. He checks to make sure I’ve done the job. Satisfied, he stands up and slams eleven thousand down on the table in front of me. My pocket is bulging. And, I’m beyond woozy. “Fuck Dave,” how the hell am I ‘sposed to drive back to San Clemente now?” He laughs. “Hell, that’s why I bought you a fuckin’ ticket.”And it’s not lost on me that my cup is the only other with an elephant’s head on top.