Thursday, May 5, 2011

Old School Profile - Ron Simmons

In the first edition of old school profiles I figured I would kick it off with the stellar career of Ron Simmons. Some of you younger fans may know of him as Farooq of the Nation of Domination or one half of the APA. Even younger fans will think of him as that guy who pops up backstage at WWE shows and hits you a loud "DAMN". Ron is and was much more than the character that you may know today.

The Football Career
When he signed out of Warner Robins High School in Georgia, he was one of Florida State's greatest recruiting victories. Midway through his freshman season, Coach Bowden said, "Simmons is turning the program around." He became a 2 time Consensus All American in 1979 and 1980. In 1980 Simmons was a Lombardi Award finalist, captain of the Seminoles and finished 8th in Heisman voting. He became the 3rd player in FSU history to have his number retired by Florida State University. After a short career in professional football where he played for the Cleveland Browns in 1981, and the USFL's Tampa Bay Bandits in 1984 and 1985, but it was in Tampa where he was a teammate of future professional wrestler Lex Luger and Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman Nate Newton.

Wrestling In NWA/WCW
After his football career ended Ron was recruited by Japanese professional wrestler Hiro Matsuda. Simmons trained under Matsuda and debuted in October 1986. Matsuda also is responsible for training a guy named Hulk Hogan.
Simmons teamed up with Butch Reed to form Doom. In the beginning, the members of Doom were masked and only known as Doom #1 and Doom #2, managed by Woman(Nancy Beniot). They later became managed by Teddy Long. Together they had a very successful run and captured the NWA/WCW Tag Team Titles. They feuded with such classic teams as The Steiners, The Freebirds and The Horsemen (Arn Anderson and Barry Windham). After their break up there was a brief feud between Simmons and Reed.
On August 2, 1992, a scheduled title match between Sting and WCW World Heavyweight Champion Big Van Vader was canceled after Jake Roberts injured Sting. WCW President Cowboy Bill Watts responded by holding a raffle to determine the number 1 contender.

Simmons won the raffle and defeated Vader to win the championship. By defeating Vader, Simmons became the first recognized African American WCW World Heavyweight Champion. He was the 1st of only 2 African American Champions ever in WCW with Booker T being the other.

WWF/E Career

After brief stint in WCW, Simmons went on the WWF/E in 1996. He started with the gimmick of of 'Faarooq Asaad', a gladiator who wore a black and blue gladiator outfit with a misshaped helmet and was managed by Sunny. Simmons started his first feud with Ahmed Johnson before shortening his ring name to 'Faarooq'.
Ron soon dropped the gladiator gimmick and started a faction known as the Nation of Domination. The Nation of Domination was loosely based on the Nation of Islam and the Black Panther Party, although the members of the stable were not exclusively black performers. They feuded with Ahmed Johnson and DOA. The group helped a new young star get over that you now know as The Rock. After his run with the Nation which ended with him being kicked out of the group by The Rock. Simmons later formed a partnership with Bradshaw and were known as the Acolytes. They were apart of The Undertaker's Ministry of Darkness.

After separating from the Ministry, the Acolytes went on to tag team success by winning the WWE Tag Team titles 3 times. They also later changed their name to the APA(Acolyte Protection Agency). They were hired by other wrestlers to protect them and watch their backs. In 2006 Simmons became a semi retired wrestler who still makes spot appearances from time to time on WWE programming.

Career Accomplishments
World Championship Wrestling
WCW United States Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Big Josh
WCW World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
WCW World Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Butch Reed

Championship Wrestling from Florida
NWA Florida Heavyweight Championship (1 time)

World Wrestling Federation
WWF Tag Team Championship (3 times) - with Bradshaw

Memphis Championship Wrestling
MCW Southern Tag Team Championship (1 time)- with Bradshaw

Ohio Valley Wrestling
OVW Southern Tag Team Championship (1 time)- with Bradshaw

Pro Wrestling Illustrated
PWI Most Inspirational Wrestler of the Year (1992)
PWI ranked him #20 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 1992
PWI ranked him #91 of the 100 best tag teams of the PWI Years with
Butch Reed in 2003.
PWI ranked him #108 of the top 500 singles wrestlers of the "PWI Years"
in 2003

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