Thursday, June 17, 2021

Remembering Ken Steel: Sandy Scott and Bob Caudle Reunite at NICW Event in 2007

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Back in 2007, Jim Nelson (aka Boris Zhukov) introduced me to a nice fellow named Kenny Pack, who ran a small independent promotion in Floyd, VA called NICW (National Independent Championship Wrestling). Kenny wrestled as "The Machine" Ken Steel, both for his own group and for Mike Weddle's indy out of Rocky Mount, VA.

I received the sad news last week that Kenny Pack had passed away. He was only 53 years old.

Kenny Pack
aka, "The Machine" Ken Steel

Back in the mid-2000s, Kenny took an old vacant retail store in Floyd and created a wrestling venue that was designed to look just like the old TV studios where wrestling once took place back in the 1970s. Complete with the big blue studio curtains, and hanging flags from various countries, walking into the NICW Arena was like taking a step back in time.

Jim had called me and told me about Ken's group and how badly Ken wanted to have Bob Caudle come and make an appearance there. They knew I kept in touch with Bob and his wife Jackie, and asked could I make the contact for them. I was happy to do so and Bob and Jackie made the trip up to Floyd from Raleigh, NC for the Saturday night NICW show. 

Bob was impressed with the studio-like setting and even did a little commentary for the video production of the event. He said it really had been a nice surprise.

But the biggest surprise for Bob was yet to come. He wasn't the only Mid-Atlantic Wrestling royalty in attendance that night. Sandy Scott was also in the house, unbeknownst to Bob and Jackie. Sandy, who lived in Roanoke VA, made the trip down to Floyd with Mike Weddle (local wrestling legend Eclipso.) He wanted to surprise Bob. The two had not seen each other since their days when both worked for Jim Cornette in Smokey Mountain Wrestling some 15 years earlier. And of course, they had a long history working together for Jim Crockett Promotions going all the way back to the 1960s.

Sandy Scott and Bob Caudle greet each other in 2007
in Floyd VA for Kenny Pack's NICW

When Sandy came out to see Bob before the doors had opened for the show, Bob's eyes lit up and a huge smile came across his face. The two hugged like long lost brothers, and spent a good half-hour reminiscing and catching up on each other's lives before it was time for the wrestling show to start. 

Bob and Jackie had a ball that night, not only enjoying the reunion with Sandy, but Bob got a chance to catch up with Jim Nelson (that's Pvt. Jim Nelson to Mid-Atlantic fans from the early 80s), and Jackie Caudle got a huge kick out of the antics of manager Douglas J. Wentworth, III, and the two became friends afterwards. To this day Jackie will still ask me about "Wentworth." Ken made all of that possible that night.

Seeing Bob and Sandy together again was very special and I've always appreciated Ken inviting me up to his show and treating me with such hospitality, allowing me to see the special reunion between Bob and Sandy up close.    

The online obituary for Ken read, in part:

We all know he never met a stranger. He was the life of the party; always cutting up with his quick wit filling every room with laughter. We will all hold a special place in our hearts for him.

Ken was indeed a nice fellow and will be missed by his family, friends, and the southwest Virginia wrestling community. 

I called Bob to let him know of Ken's passing. He remembered that night fondly and said he would always be grateful to Ken for the chance to reunite with Sandy Scott that night in Floyd.

Rest in Peace, Ken Steel.

Mid-Atlantic Wrestling legends Sandy Scott and Bob Caudle
Floyd VA, May 19, 2007