Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Albany Daily News. Posted by Ryan Frost
Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Ryan Frost
The Pit Crew Tag Team
Currently Known For:
Monster Truck Driver
1998 - 1999
August 13, 1967
The Pit Crew Tag Team
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In terms of career paths, Chad Fortune has had one of the most interesting ones that’s ever been seen. Fortune had been a solid high school football player, and was recruited by the University of Louisville to play tight end. While there, Fortune wasn’t an All-American, but certainly had a good career. He didn’t get drafted by the NFL in 1990, but would stick around professional football.
Fortune didn’t play in any regular season games in the NFL, but made the roster for the Colts, Dolphins, Eagles, Redskins, Cowboys and Bears. Knowing that he wouldn’t last for too long in the NFL, Fortune then set his sights on professional wrestling. After a couple of years of training, Fortune teamed up with Erik Watts, who was also on the Louisville football team. They were simply known as Travis and Troy, and the duo became Tekno Team 2000.
In 1995, Tekno Team 2000 made their debut, and their clothing resembled just about everything that 1990s fashion had to offer. The look was supposed to represent cyberculture heading into the new millennium, but the team wouldn’t even get to see Y2K. The team faded in and out of obscurity, even getting sent down from the WWF to the United States Wrestling Association, and only put up a couple of memorable matches.
Not being able to achieve the success that he wanted with WWF, Fortune then turned his attention to their main competitor: WCW. Fortune started to wrestle under his real name, and was going solo in his matches at first. In 1997, Fortune would eventually team up with Dale Torborg to create a tag team known as The Pit Crew. One of his shining moments came in a match against Goldberg when he was the first to take down the undefeated wrestler. However, the match wasn’t televised, and didn’t count towards Goldberg’s win-loss count.
Fortune had stuck around WCW for a couple of years, but would only make a couple of appearances on television, most of which ended in losses. In late 1999, WCW purged a lot of their talent, which included Fortune. Thankfully for him, there was a backup plan in place, and Fortune has held a great career ever since.
After SFX Entertainment signed a deal with WCW to create monster trucks that were decorated with the promotion’s livery, Fortune became the perfect fit to drive one of them thanks to his background and interest in monster trucks. Fortune maintained a professional wrestling type gimmick when starting in monster trucks, as he was in the nWo truck, as well as the WCW Nitro truck.
Fortune hadn’t been a permanent figure in any of the trucks that he was driving, and was searching for an identity. Then, noted WCW fan Karl Malone (Hall of Fame basketball player) hitched a ride with Fortune in the Nitro truck. Malone saw potential growth in Monster Trucks, and decided to purchase one for the circuit that he named Power Forward. Of course, the man he selected to drive the truck was Fortune.
It ended up being beneficial for both, as Fortune excelled in the Power Forward truck, improving quickly. He also spent time in the Superman truck, which was a fan favorite. Ever since then, Fortune has been driving on the Monster Jam series, and has continued to drive different trucks that have included Wolverine and Soldier Fortune trucks.
The Valparaiso, Indiana native has been enjoying his time with Monster Jam, and is more famous as a truck driver than he ever was as a professional football player or wrestler. He says that his favorite part about the series is being able to meet the fans, and told those that look up to him to “Follow your dreams and never, never, never give up,” no matter what career path you want to take.
Fortune knows that there’s a little bit of luck involved with getting into the careers that he’s had. “I had this unique job where this opportunity just sort of fell into my lap. I guess I consider myself a bit of an extreme guy, so I don’t turn anything down and I give anything a try. So when I went to North Carolina to test, I kind of fell in love with it.”
He also says that he wouldn’t be able to just pick up Monster Truck driving if he didn’t have his previous careers, first. “Things just have a way of working out. Football is such an aggressive sport with a lot of athleticism, then going into WCW there’s a lot of entertainment. So you learn the skills of interviewing and really letting your character come out,” Fortune said. “Now with the monster truck, I get the best of both worlds. The competition of racing is very physical hitting these jumps on school buses and freestyle ramps. And with Superman, I’m basically playing a character that can kind of relate with the kids and have a great time with it. I get to stand up on the truck and pose and it’s really kind of funny how my life has transitioned and now I get to be Superman.”
If you want to see Fortune in person these days, Monster Jam is always on tour in just about every state. They also make their way overseas sometimes, giving international fans a chance to see the behemoths in action. As for whether or not he misses wrestling, Fortune says that life after the ring is better than it’s ever been, but he wouldn’t trade the experience for the world.