Monday, April 16, 2007

WCW: Ron Simmons

Another one of my wrestling heroes.....
Ron Simmons.

Ron Simmons (born May 15, 1958) is an American semi-retired professional wrestler and retired American football player. He was the first African American to win the World Heavyweight Championship, and was thus the first officially recognized African American World Champion. (Bobo Brazil, who won the NWA Championship in 1962, was not officially recognized for his win.)

Simmons was a Florida State University All-American football player, and played for the Cleveland Browns in the National Football League and the Ottawa Rough Riders in the Canadian Football League. He became a professional wrestler in 1986, and went on to wrestle in World Championship Wrestling under his real name and in the World Wrestling Federation under both his real name and the ring names Faarooq Asad and Faarooq. He is currently under contract with the WWE and does PR work. He also appears in backstage segments on RAW, known recently for his catchphrase, "DAMN!".

Born in Perry, Georgia, Simmons attended Warner Robins High School, where he played American football as a defensive linemen. In 1976, he was named lineman of the year, and first team All-State by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Simmons was an All-American football player at Florida State University under coach Bobby Bowden (who Simmons described as "a second father"), spending four years as a defensive nose guard. In 1988, Simmons 's jersey (number 50) was retired by Florida State University, the third time a number has been retired in FSU history. In addition, Simmons was inducted into the Orange Bowl Hall of Fame for his accomplishments while playing at Florida State University.

He later had a brief career in the National Football League, selected as pick 160 in 1981. He played for the Cleveland Browns, and the USFL's Tampa Bay Bandits in 1984 and the Memphis Showboats in 1985, but it was in Tampa where he was a teammate of future professional wrester Lex Luger and Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman Nate Newton.

Simmons returned to prominence several years after the end of his football career when he was recruited by Japanese professional wrestler Hiro Matsuda. Simmons trained under Matsuda and debuted in October 1986.

Ron Simmons teamed up with Butch Reed to form Doom. Doom defeated The Steiner Brothers for the NWA World Tag Team Championship, and would be recognized along with Reed as the first (Black) holders of the WCW World Tag Team Championship in January 1991.

On August 2, 1992, a scheduled title match between Sting and WCW World Heavyweight Champion Big Van Vader was cancelled after Jake Roberts injured Sting. WCW President Bill Watts responded by holding a raffle to determine the number one contender. Simmons won the raffle, and went on to defeat Vader with a powerslam to win the Championship. By defeating Vader, Simmons became the first ever African American WCW World Heavyweight Champion.

Simmons held the title for nearly five months, during which time he consolidated his reputation as a stiff wrestler. His reign ended on December 30, 1992 when Vader defeated him to regain the title.

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