In 2004, Kevin Fertig was given the opportunity of a lifetime. He got called up to the WWE from OVW and after pitching his idea for a character, Mordecai, he was quickly set to be a main event act for the Smackdown brand.
The character was a religious zealot who was determined to get rid of all the evil in people. To eliminate sin. This was established through the all white attire. Not only did he wear all white in-ring but he also spent $3,000 so he could purchase white clothing to wear outside of the ring, as well. Talk about complete dedication to a character.
Shortly after WrestleMania XX, vignettes promoting the debut of Mordecai were aired on Smackdown. The vignettes led to his first appearance at Judgment Day 2004 where he easily defeated Scotty 2 Hotty. Everything was seemingly in line for Mordecai to slowly be presented as a challenger to The Undertaker, which was the plan all along.
However, the man playing Mordecai made a huge mistake that derailed his career.
Fertig was involved in a bar fight that sent a young man to the hospital where he nearly bled out after a head butt. Fertig has commented on this saying that it was likely because of how drunk the guy was that they couldn’t stop the bleeding. As a result of the incident and a lawsuit, Fertig was taken off television and sent back to OVW. By the end of 2005, Fertig was released. Following his release, Fertig would have to pay a six figure settlement to the man he injured. Fertig recently commented that upon his return to WWE in 2006 he used his PPV payouts to pay off the debt he owed.
I remember at the time being very interested in the Mordecai character. I’ve always enjoyed darker characters because they tend to standout a lot more, at least to me. For a long time I had never known the reason for the sudden disappearance of the character. It’s really unfortunate that a bad decision cost Fertig so much career success.
Luckily, Fertig got rehired in 2006 to be part of the WWE’s version of ECW where he was Kevin Thorn. The show aired on ECW Sci-Fi and the network wanted characters that fit in with their channel, which was horror/science fiction mix. That would explain the Zombie character, too. While the character was a little cartoony for the time, Fertig played the vampire character very well and remained a reliable character for the first two years of the ECW run. In 2008, Fertig was sent back to developmental and was released in 2009.
I hadn’t heard about him for almost a decade until I saw him advertise for an Absolute Intense Wrestling (AIW) show recently where he portrayed the Mordecai character. He’s been working with Tommy Dreamer’s House of Hardcore (HOH) recently as well.
Recently, I listened to his interview with Colt Cabana on the Art of Wrestling podcast and Fertig came across like a really down to earth, nice person. He learned from his mistake and tried to make the best of it. He’s still following his dream of being a wrestler while also being a parent. That seems like a successful life, I’d say.
What are your memories on the Mordecai character or Kevin Thorn? Did you see him as a main event act at any point? Leave your thoughts below!
Thanks for reading.