Legend of the Chicken Man
Did you go to WWE Live in Christchurch last week? What was your highlight of the show? While many would name the likes of Finn Balor, Dean Ambrose, Sasha Banks, Bray Wyatt, Roman Reigns or The Miz as their favourite personality there, amazingly, the most common answer when we asked fans wasn’t some in the ring, but rather someone in the AUDIENCE.
The Chicken Man.
Everyone who went to the show knows who I’m talking about. For those that didn’t, here’s what happened. During the Intercontinental title match between the Miz and challenger Jason Jordan, the Miztourage (Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel) were as usual, interfering with the contest, and the Miz kept repeatedly running out of the ring, frustrating Jordan’s attempts to gain some momentum. From the audience close to the ring, a man emerged from his seat. A big man. A loud man. The Chicken Man. And so, a legend was born.
He proceeded to loudly, continuously and mercilessly taunt the Miz and his stooges as “chicken shits.” He was animated, with arms flapping and exaggerated expressions on his face. While antics like this can sometimes cross the line at a show, this wasn’t case here. The crowd, which until that point had been receptive but arguably a bit reserved, instantly warmed up, getting behind the Chicken Man, laughing and joining in the taunts. The room was suddenly loud and energised. Boom.
The wrestlers in the ring reacted as well. Miz and the Miztourage took exception and argued back. R R-Truth even copied the Chicken Man’s taunts in the ring. What had previously been a fair but non-standout match had transformed into a boisterous, interactive event that was more fun it seemed for both the crowd and the wrestlers.
So, having seen all of this unfolding first-hand, both myself and Matt here at UCW decided we wanted to find the Chicken Man. Our motivations were simple. This guy was an epic fan who was so passionate and energised that he single-handedly enhanced the experience for an entire arena. We wish would could see more of that. We wanted talk with him and see if we could do something for him to show our appreciation for what he obviously brings to wrestling as a fan.
After putting out the call on Facebook for help finding him, the wrestling community came through and within a few days, I was able to identify the Chicken Man as Walter Martin-Pope from Rotorua. I reached out, and found that Walter, the loud, squawking fan, was a well-spoken, super nice guy who really, really loves wrestling.
UCW is very pleased to announce that we will be providing Walter with free tickets to our Sole Survivor and WrestleNation shows, and free meet-and-greets with Buff Bagwell (WCW, nWo) and Mick Foley. Why? Because sometimes the superstars are sitting in seats and not just in the ring. Walter is star and we would be honoured to have him at our shows and honoured to introduce him to a couple wrestling legends.
Walter was good enough share his thoughts and insights with me…so I give you The Chicken Man in his own squawks words.
What do you love about wrestling?
The entertainment, the excitement of the crowd, the way they put their bodies on the line. The art of it all. The different personalities. Being able to watch it evolve from what it was in the '80s, to what it is now, including the New Zealand wrestling scene and it's different organisations involved right here in li’l old Aotearoa, New Zealand.
Tell me about the chicken taunt at WWE Live.
The first thing I thought of when The Miz ran out of the ring was, “What a chicken shit!” Lol...I couldn't let him get away with it without him hearing what I thought! My wife and family think it's funny that I was just being my usual self and it's gained me so much attention! I got to play up to the crowd because wifee wasn't there to rein it in!
What was it like have the wrestlers reacting and engaging with you from the ring?
It was funny. Seeing him reacting and engaging in banter with me was awesome. It was cool that it was some of the well-known characters in WWE and that they were willing to engage and play along. I wanted to see how far I could push them, while my wingman was watching for security!
How long have you been going to wrestling shows?
I remember going as a kid with my grandmother to AWA at Claudelands Showgrounds in Hamilton. I would've been about 8 years old, so almost 30 years ago. I may have even gone to shows prior to that...both sides of my family were big fans of wrestling and I've grown up loving the sport.
How do you feel about meeting Mick Foley?
Yeah that's a dream come true! I've read most of his books and have his DVDs. That's a once in a lifetime opportunity for someone like me. Mick Foley aka Mankind aka Dude Love aka Cactus Jack is one of my idols. If I ranked my favourite all time wrestlers ever, he'd come in at number 4. The way he puts his body on the line every single time he's in the ring just blows my mind!
How important do you think audience participation is to live wrestling shows?
The crowd makes the wrestlers, the environment and the atmosphere. Without the crowd, there's no wrestling, and the wrestlers would have no reason to get in the ring and do what they do each and every time. In order for wrestling to be exciting and entertaining, the audience has to get involved in the hype, even if it's a simple chant or cheer. Audience participation builds momentum and hypes the wrestlers into being the best they can be. To get the most out of every event I attend, I try to hype the crowd each and every time, whether the professionals can hear me or not. “Chicken shit, chicken shit, chicken shit...”
Join The Chicken Man, Walter Martin-Pope at UCW Sole Survivor featuring Buff Bagwell (5 November) and UCW WrestleNation featuring Mick Foley and other stars still to be announced (10 February) at Cowles Stadium in Christchurch.
For more information, contact UCW Media Manager, Daniel Bohan at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us online.