In the year 2018, high-flying aerial offense or top rope maneuvers seem to have lost their aura. The days of a 450 splash being innovative are long gone. A generation of new performers were influenced growing up watching stars like Billy Kidman, Rey Mysterio, Juventud Guerrera and a plethora of others taking to the skies during the Monday Night Wars, but years before that, there was one man that was breaking the mold in the early 90’s here in America. While men like Owen Hart were giving us glimpses in the late 80’s as The Blue Blazer, there was one guy that seemingly had no fear when it came to taking to the air. It seemed he had nerves of ice. Perhaps, he turned a “cold” shoulder to the typical styles of the time. You could even say, “2 Cold”. That man was 2 Cold Scorpio.
Born in Denver, Colorado on October 25th, 1965, Charles Scaggs broke into the wrestling business in 1985, an era that was dominated by larger than life builds and characters who didn’t have to do much in the ring to get themselves over. He adopted the name 2 Cold Scorpio and performed for various independent entities before making his way to New Japan Pro Wrestling and training at the famous NJPW Dojo following a recommendation from one of the biggest American stars to ever step foot in ‘The Land Of The Rising Sun’, the late, great Big Van Vader. This is where Scorpio really found himself as an in-ring performer, where you didn’t need to have “24-inch pythons” to be successful, eventually working his way into Europe and Mexico as well.
In the early 1990’s, a shift in the size of wrestlers was just formulating with World Championship Wrestling really leading the charge. Competitors such as ‘Flyin’ Brian Pillman were becoming very popular with fans and the company would open a working relationship with NJPW. At Clash Of The Champions XXI, Scorpio finally was seen by a much larger audience, making his WCW debut as Ron Simmons’ mystery partner and awing spectators young and old with acrobatics that had never really been seen on such a large stage. While Pillman could perform some springboard maneuvers that were rarely seen in the States, nobody could do what Scorpio pulled off with his Scorpio Splash (450 Splash) and the even more impressive Tumbleweed, a corkscrew somersault leg drop. Speaking for myself only as a youngster, my jaw would drop.
2 Cold Scorpio would quickly grow what you could call an “underground” following, always impressing even though he never made it past a mid-card status. He did however earn some gold after pairing up with a young Marcus Alexander Bagwell to win the WCW World Tag Team Championships. For reasons unknown (which can often be said about any decisions made by WCW), Scorpio was released in 1994. It wouldn’t take long for his talents to be recognized by other organizations, quickly jumping on-board with a company that was very quickly growing in popularity, Extreme Championship Wrestling.
The ECW crowd is widely-known for its love of blood and guts, but it’s often forgotten that their rabid fans greatly appreciated straight-up good wrestling and technical skills. People often forget that future industry Superstars Chris Jericho, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Rey Mysterio and Psicosis all made names for themselves after being brought in by Paul Heyman. This is where Scorpio earned his biggest successes as a 4-time ECW World Television Champion (a title that was highly respected, unlike what was becoming of WCW’s formerly prestigious TV Championship), in addition to a Tag Team Title reign with ECW icon, The Sandman. His feuds with Sabu, Taz and Shane Douglas will live forever in the minds of die-hard ECW fans. I’d highly recommend checking them out on the WWE Network.
In 1996, 2 Cold Scorpio got his chance with the “big leagues” after signing with the WWF, undergoing a complete character change and taking on the name Flash Funk. Sporting a zoot-suit and flanked by his dancers The Funkettes, it was a gimmick that really fit his flashy style and tendency for busting the occasional move in the ring. The wrestling industry was in the midst of a complete overhaul however and despite impressing crowds with his pension for popping flashbulbs by defying gravity, the gimmick and weakness on the microphone made his run fairly forgettable. It was very hard to get behind Flash Funk with Superstars like The Undertaker, Mankind, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart and of course, ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin leading the charge for the company. He would eventually drop the character and simply be called Scorpio, but the quintessential damage had been done and although he still was earning television time after starting to team-up with fellow ECW alum Terry Funk, the writing was on the wall. After requesting some time away in 1999 to deal with personal issues, the WWF instead decided to cut ties altogether and ultimately released him.
Since then, 2 Cold Scorpio has continued his ring work, making sporadic appearances for ECW before their demise in 2001 and then continuing to work on the independent scene to this day, even at the age of 52. Admittedly, it’s very likely that what we saw from Scorpio was not even the best of him, as he’s been very open about his time in ECW and the WWF being a stage when he struggled with hard drug use. A recipe for disaster if you’re looking to become a top star in the business, but unfortunately not uncommon in eras past.
The next time you see Ricochet squash an opponent with a 630 Splash, Lince Dorado execute a Shooting Star Press or even current WWE Champion AJ Styles hit his springboard 450 Splash, maybe you will remember the name 2 Cold Scorpio. I highly recommend firing up the WWE Network and checking out his work, then remembering that everything you see today had to start somewhere. While he may be mostly forgotten or even unknown by younger fans, I pride myself on being a bit of a wrestling historian and will always remember the men who helped to usher in gravity-defying moves. You can call him “Funky” or even a “Flash” in the pan, but you cannot discount the innovations of one 2 Cold Scorpio.