Karl Moffat makes a big impression.
At 6’4” and 260 pounds, barbwire tattoos snaking up his arms, Moffat has only a hair less of an imposing persona than his in-ring alter ego: Jason the Terrible.
Fans that have followed wrestling in its varying iterations know the name as it’s been bumped from Puerto Rico to Japan and played by a variety of wrestlers.
Moffat, however, is the original, an alumni of the Hart’s Stampede Wrestling and current driver for Arrow Trucking in Quesnel. Though a horrible accident during his heyday cut short his wrestling career, Moffat, or in this case Jason the Terrible, is climbing back in the ring this month, Oct. 20, in Edmonton for the return of the Legends.
“I’m looking forward to it. It will be a hard core match, most likely a barbwire match,” he said.
“The ring will be wrapped in barbwire and we’ll have fun throwing each other into it. And it will be real barbwire. I do not do fake gimmicks. That is one of the things Jason was known for.”
It will be a tag team match with fellow wrestler Katana against the tag team C-Block.
At 53 years old, and still ready to go, Moffat has more stories behind him than most have collected by the 50-year mark. With a new bout coming up, that may lead into other, sporadic matches, he has a few more stories in his future too.
In Calgary, where he moved to work on the oil rigs, he crashed the ring in a Stampede Wrestling match he was watching.
“My introduction to wrestling was a little different than most. Most buy their way in to be trained; I fought my way in. I was a young fan watching it from when I was two years old on the TV in Windsor, Ontario. Then I moved to Calgary and found out there was wrestling there. I never thought I could become a wrestler because it was in the states… I was about 20 years old, working on the oil rigs and extremely strong. I started going to the matches and one day I saw a fellow countryman, Robbie Stewart, (I am a Scotchman) getting beaten up in the ring by four guys and I hit the ring and proceeded to beat up the wrestlers. The match spilled out onto the floor and the next thing I know Stu Hart has got me by the belt at the back of the building and he’s yelling at me.”
After the brawl, Moffat was invited back to “The Dungeon,” the training basement of the Hart’s. A childhood love of wrestling kept him coming back to face hours of devastating holds and harsh workouts for two years, while many other wrestlers tried and gave up.
On his first trip to the dungeon, the Harts put Moffat through his paces, making him run for an hour, followed by hitting the heavy bag for an hour, which was followed by an hour of pumping iron, after which he was put in the ring where he was put through his paces.
It is this stamina that Moffat is known for and of which he is proud.
“It’s Jason; you take a beating and keep coming,” he said of the character he plays.
He said he saw many wanna-be wrestlers go into that dungeon and be put through such torture they would scream and never come back.
Moffat may have screamed when they ‘stretched’ (a euphemism he uses for being put in a painful hold) him, but he always came back.
Despite not being taught, just stretched and made to spar with the Harts, Moffat learned during his years in the dungeon. He paid attention and got the most out of what the Harts had there.
After two years of the pain Moffat got his chance to hit the ring.
His first real taste of wrestling was a stint in Hawaii, for which he never even got paid because the promoter died. And while other promoters wouldn’t go to such extreme lengths to avoid paying, it was his introduction to an underbelly of wrestling that turned his stomach.
It was after Hawaii things started to take off, though not so much in his hometown. His relationship with the Harts was a rough one and jobs with the Harts were on and off, so when the chance came to leave, Moffat jumped at it.
First he was off to Vancouver as Karl Moffat, then he went back east, before getting a full-time gig in Calgary with Stampede wrestling as a body guard for Athol Folly, where he found the nickname ‘Butch’ after Folly forgot his name while introducing him.
From there he continued to tour, this time farther east than before, all the way to the end of the east, in the land of the rising sun. In Japan he picked up another monicker: the Jackal.
He would continue touring extensively until the early end of his career, doing another tour of Japan, tours in Canada and the U.S. and in Puerto Rico, where he first wrestled in the guise of Jason.
“While I’m in Japan on my second tour I get a phone call from the booker in Puerto Rico, Rotten Ron Star. He asked me if I would ‘Do Jason?’ I asked him ‘What do you mean ‘Do Jason?’ He said, ‘The gimmick, Jason the Terrible. Could you do that gimmick.’ I said ‘I don’t know.’ He told me I’ll book you into Puerto Rico. You’ll fly from Japan to Puerto Rico and spend the winter here in Puerto Rico.’ That’s better than spending the winter in Calgary. So I rented a bunch of movies in Japan, but they’re in Japanese so I turn the volume down and watch the movies. I watch Jason and I think OK, I can do this. So I call my girlfriend in Vancouver and get her to get me a Jason mask. She ships it to Puerto Rico and when I got there I started doing Jason. Back then I was still wearing wrestling attire. The first tour went pretty good for a guy that was still pretty green and was doing this hard core gimmick,” he said.
“That’s basically the birth of Jason the terrible. Many have tried to do my gimmick while I’ve been gone. Often imitated but never duplicated.”
He was on his way up, with booking in Germany and a new deal to wrestle for WCW in the U.S. After inking the deal and flying back to Calgary, Hart convinced him to wrestle for him in Yellowknife. A combination of visiting his sister and brother-in-law, who lived in Yellowknife at the time, and some vestigial loyalty to the Harts convinced him to take the trip before heading south.
It was a fateful decision and on July 4, 1989, a date Moffat remembers well, he took the trip that would end his career.
Riding in a rented van, the crew of wrestlers, including Davey boy Smith and Chris Benoit among others, got into an accident. All the other fighters were wrestling a week after, a couple were wrestling the next day. Moffat, however, took a bad hit from an improperly stowed spare tire.
“The spare tire came forward shoving my leg under the seat in front of me, shattering my shinbone, tearing out my knee and busting my ankle,” he said.
“The Japanese boy in the seat in front of me bounced up in the air and when the van went sideways he went out the window I caught him by the pants and pulled. He landed on my neck breaking my back and my neck, paralyzing my legs and my left arm. Fortunately the neck break wasn’t that bad and it was able to mend itself. The leg was a different story. I grew a new shinbone.”
He spent six months in a cast, then, when he was told to do physical therapy they found that the bone had not mended. With only 5 per cent of the bone mass in his shin, he shin would bend in the middle. This resulted in major surgery, in which they put a steel rod in his shin, attaching bone fragments to it in hopes that it would grow back. While they were working on getting his shin to grow back, it became infected, with Moffat running a fever of 108 degrees Fahrenheit at his worst. This convinced the doctors they had to remove the leg, which they prepped the table for before coming back to find his fever had dropped to a manageable temperature.
“I have a God that loves me.”
But that was the end of Moffat’s wrestling career.
The fallout from the accident, combined with years of promoters lying and an undercurrent of rot, left Moffat with complex feelings regarding the wrestling world.
“As much as I miss the physicalness of wrestling I do not miss the ugliness,” he said.
After the accident Moffat fell into some bad years, before straightening himself out and finding God.
In 2006 he moved back to help his Father after his Dad had two hip surgeries. It’s a decision he has never regretted.
“I love my life here,” he said.
“I love Arrow trucking. They treat me like a king there.”
Now with a new career ahead of him in the trucking industry and a side gig of wrestling to indulge in, Karl says he’s happier than he’s ever been.