Former WWE Tag Team Champion Ken “Kenny Dykstra” Doane was the recent guest of the Pancakes and Powerslams Show.
Doane, who is still only 30, made a name for himself beginning in 2006 at 19 years old as a member of the Spirit Squad faction. This group gained so much heat and were so antagonizing to the fans that they became tag team champions not far from their debut. Doane explained that before this successful run on the main roster, he started wrestling in the WWE underage as an opponent in Rodney Mack’s infamous “White Boy Challenge,” as well as being a druid at WrestleMania XX in MSG.
“I got a phone call, and my mom said somebody called from Stamford. So I looked, and it was Dr. Tom [Prichard] on the voicemail. I called back, and he was like, ‘Kenn Doane. I got one of your video tapes. Next week we’ll be in Philadelphia and Tuesday we’re going to be in Baltimore. Were are you gonna be?’ I said, I’ll probably be at school, honestly.
He’s like, ‘How old are ya?’ I said I’m 16 and a half. He said, ‘Are you good at math?’ I said yeah. He said, ‘Subtract two on your date of birth, that way you’re 18 now.’ I said alright, I’ll be there! So I get to Philadelphia, and they said, you’re doing the White Boy Challenge with Rodney Mack, and I said okay! Cool! The next night I think I wrestled Ultimo Dragon, and then I drove back Tuesday night and went back to school for Wednesday.”
Doane stated that his principal allowed him to take days out of school to commit to wrestling dates as long as he kept an A-B average. So, at Raw, he would be doing high school homework. “The only one who knew was Dr. Tom,” said Doane. “It was WrestleMania XX, I was a druid in Madison Square Garden. After the show, John Laurinaitis was like, ‘Hey. Would you be willing to move to Louisville?’ I was like yeah, sure! ‘Can you go there next week?’ [said Laurinaitis]. I was like, I need to finish school. He was like, ‘What do you mean finish school? What are you going to school for? How old are you?’ I said I just turned 18. He said, ‘You JUST turned 18?’ I said yeah. ‘You’ve been working for me for two years, what do you mean you just turned 18?!’ I said, well I’m legal now. I graduate in June, how about I move there after I graduate. He said ‘Well. I’ll think about it. I don’t know if I want to hire you.’ I said, you just wanted to hire me right now! He’s like, ‘We’ll talk about it.’ So then he never said much about it. He just called me halfway through May, I was still in school, and sent me a contract. So I actually got my contract at the end of May, before I even graduated. I graduated June 4th, and then June 7th I moved to Louisville.”
This opportunity allowed him to be placed in one of the most memorable factions in WWE history, the Spirit Squad. Regarding his ascension to the top of the tag team rankings, Doane was humbled to work directly with the McMahons right from the beginning of his main roster debut. “The Spirit Squad thing came about when I was on the road and there was no set direction or anything. So I was doing house shows for like a month, two months. And then we were in Cincinnati and they called up a bunch of the other guys [from OVW]. It was me, Nick (Dolph Ziggler), [Nick] Mitchell, Elijah Burke they called up, and they called up Johnny Jeter. They were like, you’re gonna have a meeting with Vince. So we were in there with Vince, and Taz was in the back, and Vince was like I want to have five male cheerleaders. Taz looked at us like what’d he just say? I didn’t really care, but I thought it was a joke at first, so I was like okay, sure. Then, he was like, ‘Yeah. That’s it. Get outta here.’ And we were like, okay? Is he being serious? He wants us to be male cheerleaders? I went back to Massachusetts for the holiday, and I found these green Adidas basketball jump suits, and they had five of them. So we really picked out our own outfits and everything. [Then] we started doing vignettes.”
The gimmick was all set, but one person backed out of it. “I guess Elijah Burke called them and said he couldn’t do the gimmick. He said, I can’t do it. I just won’t be able to do it, I wouldn’t be able to pull it off, and I’ll hold everybody down. Which, granted, they say in the world of wrestling to never say you can’t do something, but in all honesty, if he really thought he couldn’t do it, then that’s good that he was honest because it could have held us down. It could have held him down in the end. You never know what direction it could have went.”
Doane’s former partner, Dolph Ziggler is now the number one contender for the WWE World Championship against Dean Ambrose at SummerSlam. Doane had great things to say about Ziggler’s work ethic, and that he deserves the spot that he is currently in. “I wish it happened a lot sooner,” Doane exclaimed. I think he has the most talent out of everybody there, and I wish that they would utilize him more often. Sometimes he’s there to put guys over. They kind of balance between midcard and somewhat main event. It’s just like pick or choose, which one is it gonna be? And the crowd knows he has the capability of it. He has the talent to do whatever they ask him to do. When I was working with him, he was always willing to learn.”