Following the release of Mordecai in 2005, the man behind the white robes, Kevin Fertig was quickly picked back up by the WWE as one of their homegrown superstars for the revamped ECW brand. Now, by no stretch of the imagination was WWE’s ECW anything in comparison to Paul Heyman’s original Extreme Championship Wrestling that revolutionized hardcore wrestling in the 1990s. It was, however, a third-brand showcasing some of the company’s younger talent that, despite low viewership and sometimes poor match quality, garnered a fanbase of its own.
Photo credit: WWE
As mentioned previously in this list, ECW appeared on The Sci Fi Network, birthing the infamous “ECW Zombie.” Why not have a vampire on the same show then? It only made sense. Kevin Thorn started appearing in vignettes in June 2006 alongside a woman named Ariel. Thorn was a far cry in these vignettes from his previous gimmick, this time with long black hair, black makeup, fangs and a sleeveless red and black robe. If you invert the colours on Mordecai, you essentially have Kevin Thorn. In these promotional vignettes, he would spit blood and reveal suggestive teeth marks on Ariel’s neck and chest while she read tarot cards. It was very Hot Topic.
Thorn made his in-ring debut in the summer of 2006, feuding with a couple ECW originals, namely Balls Mahoney and Little Guido until winter of that same year. The infamous “December to Dismember” pay-per-view (which drew the lowest buy-rate for any pay-per-view in WWE’s history) saw Kevin Thorn and Ariel vs. Mike Knox and Kelly Kelly. The match is famous, not for the in-ring action, but for the fans only visibly caring when Ariel’s skirt “accidentally” rode up a little too high about 50 times. This match only existed to essentially further the storyline relationship troubles Knox and Kelly were going through and didn’t do much to advance Thorn’s career or marketability to fans.
In 2007, Thorn joined “The New Breed,” a stable consisting of Matt Striker, Elijah Burke and Marcus Cor Von. The stable and subsequent storylines had promise, as the literal new breed of ECW wrestlers feuded with ECW originals such as Tommy Dreamer, Sabu and Rob Van Dam. Thorn was the muscle of the group, and character wise, shone as a legitimately creepy character in comparison to his stablemates. After the feud between the old school and new school ECW culminated at Wrestlemania 23, Thorn began a short feud with CM Punk. After losing the feud, he left The New Breed.
Ariel was released from the company just a month after Wrestlemania, and quickly Thorn was heavily pushed on WWE’s third brand in an attempt to salvage his career. He went on a winning streak, defeating ECW originals in oftentimes vicious fashion that played into his sadistic, vampiric ways, alongside an entrance and exit that included red lights, tons of smoke and gothic rave music. This winning streak was short-lived however, and Thorn would soon be brought back to WWE's developmental territory, Florida Championship Wrestling, where he significantly improved his in-ring abilities. WWE noticed the change and he was set to feud with The Undertaker in 2008. The fucking Undertaker. Unfortunately, a hip injury and eventual surgery derailed the plans, and in 2009, Kevin Fertig was released from the company one final time. Since his WWE release, he’s made sporadic appearances in independent promotions, particularly Frontier Elite Wrestling where, for a short while, he held their Heavyweight Championship.
Despite both of Fertig’s WWE gimmicks being rather outlandish and generally forgotten about, watching his matches as Kevin Thorn is always a fun reminder of how silly wrestling can be. Why would a vampire be wrestling on WWE’s ECW, you may ask? You should be asking, “why not?” Though not particularly “good” or “scary,” we can look back at the character nearly 20 years later, smile and remember to not take this crazy medium we love so seriously.