Eddie Gilbert vs Jeff Gaylord
Date: 1990/1991 (exact date unknown)
Location: Sportatorium in Dallas, TX
Source: Armpit readers James Beard, Robert Solari, WrestlingClassics.com
The incident between hardcore legend Eddie Gilbert and Jeff Gaylord reads like a plot from a TV movie, and to this day there are still unanswered questions regarding it all.
The scene played out late at night after a show at the Sportatorium earlier in the evening run by the Global Wrestling Federation. The year was either 1990 or 1991. Gilbert, who passed away from a drug overdose in 1994, was the booker at the time. He was in the office after most everyone had gone home, discussing that night’s show and planning next week’s show. With him in the room were his brother Doug Gilbert, James Beard, and Bruce Prichard. Prichard (the former Brother Love) had recently been fired from the WWF, and was a pretty high up executive within the WWF both then and years later when he returned to the company.
The version we were told came directly from Beard himself, so it’s a first-hand account from an eye witness. As the four men were discussing the shows, Jeff Gaylord showed up and wanted to talk to Eddie. Beard doesn’t recall the exact words, but Gaylord wanted to know why Eddie hadn’t been booking him. Eddie said, “We can talk about it,” and then left the room to talk with him in private.
It was only a few seconds after they left when everyone heard “banging and thumping.” Doug was the first to rush out of the room, with Prichard and Beard following him. When they found Eddie, he was on the floor, holding his head.
It didn’t take long for Doug to figure out what happened, and he grabbed either a bottle or can (Beard at first didn’t remember which, but later said it was a can) that was still partly full and hit Gaylord in the head with it. Gaylord ran from the building in pain and didn’t come back.
Once Eddie gathered his bearings, he told the others that Gaylord had sucker punched him in the side of the head and he didn’t have time to react. A couples years later, Eddie did a “shoot” interview on a tape called “Looking for Mr. Gilbert” and talked about the incident. This was before shoot interviews were commonplace, and some have called it the first ever interview of its kind. Eddie claimed in the interview that he was later told Gaylord was paid off by promoter Gordon Scozzari to put a hurting on him for a sum of $1,000.
Eddie had apparently either no-showed or didn’t agree to work for Scozzari, which he believed was the cause for the heat in the first place. Eddie joked that he wished he knew that ahead of time, as he would’ve split the money with Gaylord and they could’ve worked an angle out of it.
For years, that was the accepted story. What isn’t as well publicized is that Scozzari spoke out about this incident over a decade later, and proclaimed his innocence.
Scozzari was the promoter for the short-lived AWF promotion. He posted in the WrestlingClassics.com message board that much of what had been written about him was false, including his age (he was not a teenager at the time, despite what some newsletters reported), his financing (it didn’t come from an inheritance, but rather profits from selling stock), and his involvement in the Gaylord assault on Eddie Gilbert.
Scozzari claimed he did use Gaylord in the AWF, but that he and Savio Vega (who worked with Scozzari) fired him in Puerto Rice because he showed up for work stoned on marijuana and had a bad match with missed spots. Scozzari claimed they told Gaylord he’d never work for him again, and also called him a “disgruntled loser” in the post. Scozzari claimed the reason his name was involved is that Gaylord was wearing an AWF t-shirt at the time of the assault.
He said the real reason for the heat is that Eddie stopped booking Gaylord after Gaylord showed up several hours late to four consecutive shows in a row that Global had run.
We have no reason to not believe Scozzari, but Gaylord to our knowledge has not confirmed either story publicly. Beard did say that it appeared Gaylord was there to attack Eddie quickly and then leave as soon as possible. He also said he believes Gaylord had more motive for his actions than just not being booked. If Gaylord were paid to attack Eddie and leave, he certainly appeared to behave as such. On the other hand, if he made a trip to Dallas with the sole purpose of hurting Eddie and wasn’t paid off, his actions may have been similar. Either way, it seemed like a planned attack and not something that resulted from an argument.
If Scozzari did pay him off, obviously he would not admit that in a public forum. He did seem credible in his posts, but others like Bruce Mitchell did question Scozzari’s credibility because Scozzari had sent letters to the Pro Wrestling Torch several years prior that Mitchell claimed contradicted what he was posting.
But Scozzari did have answers for Mitchell’s claims that appeared believable, and Mitchell didn’t respond to Scozzari’s answers.
We’re also not clear who told Eddie about the supposed payoff, and if that was known, it may answer some questions. We’ve not personally heard the “Looking for Mr. Gilbert” interview.
Gaylord would be the best person to set the record straight, but again that depends on his own credibility, and if it’s true he was using marijuana at the time, that may cloud his memories of the incident. As stated above, we’re not aware of any statements Gaylord has made in recent years about the incident. Eddie isn’t here anymore to defend himself, so at this point we have to go on Scozzari’s word before any valid accusations can be made against him.