Billie Kay

Billie Kay

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Billie Kay
Billie Kay Axxess 2018.jpg

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Kay in April 2018
Birth name Jessica McKay[1]
Born (1989-06-23) 23 June 1989 (age 29)[2]
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia[3]
Residence Orlando, Florida, United States[4]
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Billie Kay[5]
Jessie[6]
Jessie McKay[2]
Billed height 5 ft 8 in (173 cm)[7]
Billed weight 132 lb (60 kg)[8][9]
Billed from Sydney, Australia[5][8][9]
Trained by Madison Eagles[2]
Debut 23 June 2007[9]

Jessica McKay (born 23 June 1989) is an Australian professional wrestler. She is signed to WWE under the ring name Billie Kay and performs on the SmackDown brand.

In June 2007, Kay made her professional wrestling debut at Pro Wrestling Alliance (PWA),[4] and she debuted one-year later for the Pro Wrestling Women’s Alliance promotion, where she became a two-time PWWA Champion.

She later started competing on the independent circuit for multiple promotions in the United States for several years, most notably and commonly for Shimmer Women Athletes.[10][11]

Early life[edit]

McKay began watching wrestling at the age of 10 along with her brother, and started her professional wrestling career first attending to the Australian promotion based in Sydney, Pro Wrestling Alliance.[4] Prior to becoming a wrestler, McKay excelled in basketball.[5] She attended the same high school (Westfields Sports) as fellow wrestler Peyton Royce.[4]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Pro Wrestling Alliance Australia (2007–2015)[edit]

McKay was trained by Madison Eagles.[2] She debuted on 23 June 2007, on her eighteenth birthday, at PWA Australia with a win over Eagles and Aurora, wrestling under her birth name as Jessie McKay.[4][12]

On 2 August 2008, McKay defeated defending champion Kellie Skater to win the PWWA Championship for the first time.[13][14] She had one successful title defence on 8 November against Tenille Tayla.[13] On 22 November, she lost her title to Penni Lane.[13] After Lane vacated her title due to injury, McKay won the PWWA Championship for the second time in a four-way match against Kellie Skater, Sway. and Shazza McKenzie on 14 September 2009.[13] McKay had two successful title defenses against KC Cassidy and Madison Eagles in March and May 2010, but lost the title to Eagles on 11 June 2010.[13]

In September 2011, McKay failed to win a three-way match for the Shimmer Championship also featuring champion Madison Eagles and Nicole Matthews.[13][15] In August 2012, in a match to crown the interim PWWA Champion, she was defeated by Evie.[13]

Shimmer Women Athletes (2008–2015)[edit]

McKay began wrestling for the American all-female promotion Shimmer Women Athletes in October 2008, making her debut at Volume 21 along with Madison Eagles as the Pink Ladies,[16][17] participating in a tag team gauntlet match to determine the inaugural Shimmer Tag Team Champions, but were the first team eliminated.[16][18] McKay made her singles debut in Shimmer with a loss to Kellie Skater at Volume 24.[11][19][20]

At Volume 33 in September 2010, McKay defeated Nicole Matthews,[21][22] after losing to Matthews earlier that year in April at Volume 30.[23][24] She followed up with an upset victory over Ayako Hamada and Sara Del Rey in a three-way match by pinning former Shimmer Champion Del Rey at Volume 34.[15][21][25] As a result, later in September 2010, McKay was granted a title match against her trainer and former tag partner, Shimmer Champion Madison Eagles at Volume 35, but failed to win.[21][26][27]

After her failed title challenge, McKay continued her feud with Nicole Matthews. At Volume 36, she teamed up with Tenille, challenging The Canadian NINJAs (Matthews and Portia Perez) for the Shimmer Tag Team Championship, but were defeated.[20][21] However, she gained a victory over the Canadian NINJAs at Volume 38 while teaming with Serena.[20][28] McKay concluded her feud with Matthews with a loss in a two-out-of-three falls match at Volume 39 in March 2011.[20][28]

In March 2012, victories over Mia Yim at Volume 45 and former Shimmer Champion MsChif at Volume 46 led to McKay receiving another shot at the Shimmer Championship,[15][29] but lost to defending champion Cheerleader Melissa at Volume 47.[30][31] At Volume 53 in April 2013, McKay was defeated by Madison Eagles in Eagles’ return match.[32][33] At Volume 57, Kay defeated Mercedes Martinez.[34][35]

Other promotions (2008–2015)[edit]

Other than wrestling for Shimmer, McKay has also wrestled for other American promotions, including Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW) and Ring of Honor (ROH) in 2008,[36][37] and Chikara in 2011.[38] She also wrestled for the Canadian promotion NCW Femmes Fatales in 2012.[39] McKay debuted for the American promotion Shine Wrestling at Shine 9 in April 2014, with a victory in a six-person tag team match, teaming with Kellie Skater and Shazza McKenzie to defeat Nikki Roxx, Santana and Mia Yim.[40]

WWE[edit]

NXT (2015–2018)[edit]

Kay prior to a match at WrestleMania 32 Axxess in April 2016

McKay received a tryout with WWE during their tour of Australia in August 2014.[4] On 13 April 2015, WWE announced McKay as part of a new class of NXT trainees.[1] McKay made her televised in-ring debut on the 10 June episode of NXT, where she competed in a losing effort against Becky Lynch under the ring name Jessie.[6] On 7 August, she was given the new ring name Billie Kay.[41] After competing in most of her matches at NXT as a face,[42][43] Kay competed on her first match as a heel on the 21 October episode of NXT, losing to Asuka.[44] Through the end of 2015, Kay started being managed by fellow wrestler, Sylvester Lefort, during multiple NXT live events,[45][46] however it did not last for long after Lefort was released from his contract in February 2016.[47]

On the 13 January 2016 episode of NXT, Kay competed in a number one contender’s battle royal for Bayley‘s NXT Women’s Championship, which was won by Carmella.[48] Kay made her first appearance on the main roster on the 30 June episode of SmackDown, where she worked as a jobber losing to Dana Brooke.[49] Kay finally made her return to NXT television on 27 July, where she achieved her first live victory in the company by defeating Santana Garrett.[50] After asking NXT’s general manager William Regal for a match at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II on the 17 August episode of NXT, she was granted one against the debutant Ember Moon.[51] At the event on 20 August, Kay was defeated by Moon.[52] Following a brief hiatus, Kay returned on the 21 September episode of NXT, where she defeated Aliyah.[53]

In October, Kay started an alliance with Peyton Royce, later dubbed The Iconic Duo,[54] and later entered a feud with Liv Morgan with the duo attacking and defeating Morgan in singles matches.[55][56][57] This ultimately led to a six–women tag team match at NXT TakeOver: Toronto, which was taped and aired for the 23 November episode of NXT, in which Aliyah, Ember Moon and Morgan defeated Kay, Royce and their partner Daria Berenato.[58][59] In the end of December, Kay and Royce were placed in a brief feud with the NXT Women’s Champion Asuka after the latter stated there is no competition for her.[60][61][62][63] This resulted in a fatal–four-way match, which also involved Nikki Cross, at the NXT TakeOver: San Antonio event on 28 January 2017, in which both Kay and Royce failed to capture the Women’s Championship.[64]

SmackDown (2018–present)[edit]

The IIconics debuted on SmackDown by interrupting Charlotte Flair

Kay and Royce, now dubbed The IIconics debuted on the 10 April 2018 episode of SmackDown Live attacking then SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair, whilst she was cutting a promo about her match at WrestleMania 34.[65] Week later, Kay lost to Flair.[66] In their first match together as part of the main roster, Kay and Royce racked up their first victory against Asuka and Becky Lynch.[67] Throughout the summer, Kay continued to compete in various matches but would be on the losing end.[68][69][70][71] In August, Kay and Royce started their first feud on the main roster, with Naomi, and the two were able to defeat her in singles matches.[72][73] Eventually, Naomi started teaming with Asuka which led to the announcement of a tag team match between the two teams at the WWE Super Show-Down in which the The IIconics won.

Other media[edit]

Kay made her WWE video game debut as a playable character in WWE 2K18 and WWE 2K19.[74]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

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LISA MARIE VARON AKA LADY VICTORIA

Lisa Marie Varon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Lisa Marie Varon
Lisa Marie Varon by Gage Skidmore.jpg

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Varon in 2017
Birth name Lisa Marie Sole
Born (1971-02-10) February 10, 1971 (age 47)[1]
San Bernardino, California, U.S.[2]
Residence San Diego, California, U.S.[3]
Spouse(s)
Lee Varon
(m. 1994; div. 2015)
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Head Bitch in Charge[4]
Queen “Tara” Victoria[4]
Tara[4]
Victoria[4]
Lisa Marie Varon
Billed height 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)
Billed weight 155 lb (70 kg)[5]
Billed from Chicago, Illinois
Los Angeles, California
Louisville, Kentucky
Trained by Ultimate Pro Wrestling
Memphis Championship Wrestling
Ohio Valley Wrestling
Dave Finlay[6]
Debut 2000[1]

Lisa Marie Varon[2] (née Sole; born February 10, 1971) is an American professional wrestler, fitness competitor, and bodybuilder best known for her time as a WWE Diva under the ring name Victoria and her time spent as an Impact Wrestling Knockout under the ring name Tara. Varon held both companies woman’s championships on several different occasions.

Varon began competing in fitness competitions and won ESPN2‘s Fitness America Series in 1997.[7][8] In 1999, she placed second at a fitness event in New York City to earn her International Federation of BodyBuilders (IFBB) Professional Fitness Card.[1][5][8]

Through a chance meeting, Varon met World Wrestling Federation (WWF) performer Chyna, who encouraged her to become a professional wrestler.[1][5][7] She trained in the WWF’s developmental territories for three years before being moved to the main roster to compete full-time under the ring name Victoria.[7] Her first television appearance came at WrestleMania 2000, where she portrayed one of The Godfather’shos“. She debuted in June 2002, and four months later she was pushed to win the WWE Women’s Championship, a title she would go on to hold twice in her wrestling career. After leaving WWE in 2009, Varon debuted in TNA later that year as Tara. In TNA, she became a five-time TNA Knockouts Champion, making her a seven-time Women’s Champion overall.[4] She was also a one-time TNA Knockouts Tag Team Champion, with Brooke Tessmacher, collectively known as TnT.

Early life[edit]

Varon was born in San Bernardino, California, to a Puerto Rican father (who is a Vietnam veteran) and a Korean-born Turkish mother who worked as a singer in Japan.[9][10] She grew up with three older brothers, all of whom became amateur wrestlers, with her oldest brother, Bobby, winning a gold medal at the 1983 Pan American Games.[1][2][11] Varon attended Eisenhower High School in Rialto, California. During high school, she was active in cheerleading, a sport in which she competed since the sixth grade.[1][2]

During her senior year in high school, she was nationally recognized by the National Cheerleading Association, earning an All-American award and being chosen to cheer at half-time of the NFL 1989 Pro Bowl, alongside 70 other women.[2][11][12] She participated in track and field events in the ninth grade.[1] After graduating, she studied biology at the University of California, Los Angeles and medicine at Loma Linda University, with the intent on becoming a physician.[5][7][11] She worked as a human tissue coordinator at the Inland Eye and Tissue Bank in Redlands, California, where she was involved in the process of organ donation.[5][2][6][7][11]

Bodybuilding and fitness career[edit]

While working at the eye and tissue bank, Varon became a personal trainer and taught aerobics. While training at a gym, she was offered an opportunity to compete in a bodybuilding competition, a contest she won as a middleweight.[5][7] She competed in fitness competitions, such as ESPN2‘s Fitness America Series in 1997 and 1998, winning the former, and the Miss Galaxy Competition in 1998, where she met and befriended Torrie Wilson.[1][7] After Wilson moved to Los Angeles, California and signed with the professional wrestling promotion World Championship Wrestling (WCW), she invited Varon to one of the shows. While backstage, an agent asked her to appear in a segment with Scott Hall.[1][7][11] Through Wilson, Varon unsuccessfully attempted to obtain a contract with WCW.[1] She later moved to Los Angeles to find work in televised news fitness segments.[1] In 1999, she earned her International Federation of BodyBuilders (IFBB) Professional Fitness Card after placing second at the National Physique Committee (NPC) Team Universe show in New York City.[1][5][2][8][11] It was during her time working in fitness competitions that Varon also first met Trish Stratus.[5]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment[edit]

Training and debut (2000–2001)[edit]

After moving to Los Angeles, Varon worked as a trainer at the gym Crunch Fitness, where she met World Wrestling Federation wrestler Chyna, who complimented Varon on her appearance and encouraged her to become a wrestler.[1][5][7] Varon would then put together a biography package and sent it to the WWF.[1][5][11] She heard from Kevin Kelly two days later, who invited her to an interview in a month’s time. With no previous wrestling experience, she looked up professional wrestling schools, and eventually began training at Ultimate Pro Wrestling (UPW) in Southern California in June 2000.[1][5][13] She wrestled under the ring name Head Bitch In Charge (HBIC), and appeared in a cheerleading outfit, with a snooty gimmick, similar to WCW Nitro Girl Miss Hancock.[1][13][14] She impressed WWF talent scout Bruce Prichard during her first UPW show.[1][11]

Varon made her on-screen debut in the WWF portraying one of The Godfather’shos“. She was referred to as the “head ho”, and led the “Save the Hos” campaign.[2][15] On the August 7 episode of Raw, Varon took a bump by being powerbombed through a table by The Godfather’s next persona, The Goodfather.[1][2][13] After this, she was given the name Victoria.[2][13] She was removed from television in November, and sent to WWF’s then-developmental territory Memphis Championship Wrestling (MCW) for extensive training.[2][11][13] Victoria briefly acted as the commissioner for MCW, and was involved in storyline feuds with Stacy Carter and Ivory.[11][13] She also managed Steve Bradley before MCW closed in 2001.[1] Varon later relocated to Louisville, Kentucky to train in Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), using the ring name Queen Victoria.[1][2][7][13] She was placed as the manager of the tag team the Basham Brothers, and managed one of the team members, Doug Basham, to win the OVW Heavyweight Championship on July 25, 2001.[13]

Women’s Championship reigns (2002–2004)[edit]

Varon returned to the renamed World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) as Victoria on the July 7, 2002 episode of Sunday Night Heat, in an angle with Trish Stratus, who Victoria claimed had betrayed her when they worked together as fitness models.[13][16] The storyline had her character become a demented, sadistic villain, as she and Stratus feuded for months.[13][17] Her first pay-per-view match came at No Mercy, where she was defeated by Stratus. The following month at Survivor Series, Victoria defeated Stratus in a hardcore match, to win the WWE Women’s Championship for the first time.[18][19] Victoria would go on to successfully retain her championship against Stacy Keibler, with the debut of her finishing move, the Widows Peak. The following night on Raw, Victoria was attacked in the ring by Stratus. Steven Richards came to her aid, establishing an on-screen relationship between Victoria and Richards.[13][20][21]

Victoria continued to feud with Trish Stratus into 2003, competing against her in successful title defenses and mixed tag team matches, during which Victoria teamed with Richards.[13] At WrestleMania XIX, Victoria dropped the Women’s Championship back to Stratus during a Triple Threat match that also involved Jazz.[22][23] Throughout the rest of the year, Victoria was involved in matches against other Divas, such as participating in a Fatal Four-Way match for the Women’s Championship at Judgment Day, and defeating Lita in the first women’s steel cage match in WWE history on November 24.[24][25] Victoria also defeated Ivory in a number one contender’s match for the Women’s Championship on the last episode of Sunday Night Heat of 2003. After the match, Women’s Champion Molly Holly struck Victoria in the head with the title belt.[26]

The next week on Raw, Victoria became a fan favorite for the first time in her WWE career, when she attacked Holly after the two women were placed in a team, along with Miss Jackie, for a six-woman tag team match. During her face run, she abandoned her sadistic and unstable personality, and began wearing hippie shorts and performed a gyrating moonsault. On January 5, 2004, Victoria was set for a title match with Molly Holly, however she was attacked by Test before the match.[17][27][28]

The angle with Molly Holly continued into the next year, with Victoria defeating Holly in tag team matches.[29][30] On February 23, 2004, Victoria defeated Holly, Lita and Jazz in a fatal four–way elimination match, to win her second Women’s Championship.[31] After defeating Holly in a tag team match the next week, Victoria was challenged by Holly to a rematch for the title at WrestleMania XX, which later became a hair vs title match.[32][33] At the pay-per-view, Victoria won the match, and shaved Holly’s head bald.[33][34] She held the Women’s Championship until June 13, when she dropped the title to the villainous Trish Stratus during a Fatal Four-Way match at Bad Blood, that also included Lita and Gail Kim, and was unsuccessful in regaining it in a rematch a week later.[34][35][36] After defeating Molly Holly at Vengeance to become the number one contender,[37] Victoria lost to Stratus at Unforgiven for the championship.[38][39] Prior to Unforgiven, several of Victoria’s matches were interrupted by a mysterious person in drag, who was later revealed to be Steven Richards, with whom she was previously allied.[39] After the match with Stratus, the storyline culminated when Richards challenged Stratus’ ally Tyson Tomko to a match, which Richards lost.[40]

Vince’s Devils (2005–2006)[edit]

Victoria during a WWE house show in 2006

On the May 30, 2005 episode of Raw, Victoria participated in a swimsuit contest, losing to Christy Hemme. Following the loss, the storyline had Victoria become a villainess by attacking the other contestants, as well as host Jerry Lawler, claiming that she had enough of the attention Hemme was receiving.[17][41] The two engaged in a short feud which culminated in a match at Vengeance, which Victoria won.[42] During her heel run, Victoria adopted the gimmick of a bully-like enforcer, when she was placed in an angle alongside Torrie Wilson and Candice Michelle (collectively known as the Ladies in Pink, and later Vince’s Devils) on August 29, portraying the role of the group’s enforcer, as the three women joined forces against the 2005 Diva Search winner Ashley Massaro.[43] Massaro was assisted in the storyline feud by Trish Stratus, and at Unforgiven, Victoria and Wilson were defeated by Stratus and Massaro.[44] The angle continued into WWE Homecoming, where the Ladies in Pink lost a Handicap Bra and Panties match to Stratus and Massaro. The three of them competed in the first ever Bra and Panties gauntlet match, where Ashley was declared the winner by last eliminating Victoria. At the 2006 Royal Rumble, they appeared flirting with Vince McMahon.

On the March 6, 2006 episode of Raw, Victoria and Candice turned on Wilson during Candice’s Playboy cover unveiling, starting an angle between the former teammates.[45] A scheduled match was set to take place at WWE Saturday Night’s Main Event on the March 18 episode with Victoria and Candice against Wilson and Stratus. As part of the storyline, however, on the episode of Raw prior to the event, Wilson was found unconscious, with the implication being that Victoria and Candice had attacked her.[46][47] The match eventually took place on March 27, with Victoria and Candice being defeated.[48] The alliance of Victoria and Candice fell apart during a tag team match on July 17, in which Victoria and Mickie James were defeated by Wilson and Trish Stratus, with Candice as the special guest referee.[49]

SmackDown and departure (2007–2009)[edit]

Victoria was given a push on November 27, after she won a number one contender’s battle royal.[50] Varon gained notoriety from the match when it was reported that her kick to Candice Michelle‘s face had resulted in a legitimate broken nose that required surgery.[51][52] Following the victory, the angle had her carry a checklist to the ring which contained the names of other Divas.[53] Each week, she checked a name off the list after defeating them in matches.[54] She also defeated WWE Women’s Champion Mickie James in a non-title match.[55] Victoria lost the championship match against James at New Year’s Revolution, and a rematch on January 15, 2007.[56][57]

On June 17, Victoria was moved to the SmackDown brand as part of the WWE Supplemental Draft.[58] Victoria became involved in an on-screen relationship with Kenny Dykstra,[59] and the duo was placed in feuds against Torrie Wilson and Jimmy Wang Yang,[60][61] as well as Michelle McCool and Chuck Palumbo.[62] While on a tour of Europe with WWE in December 2007, Varon claimed to have legitimately broken McCool’s nose.[63]

Victoria alongside Natalya during an SmackDown house show in 2008

Victoria later allied herself with the debuting Natalya in April. At the Backlash pay-per-view on April 28, Victoria teamed up with Natalya, Beth Phoenix, Jillian Hall, Layla and Melina to defeat Mickie James, Maria Kanellis, Ashley, Michelle McCool, Cherry and Kelly Kelly.[4] On the May 2 episode of SmackDown!, Victoria and Natalya defeated McCool and Cherry.[64] In October, Victoria lost to the debuting Brie Bella, when Brie disappeared under the ring during the match, emerged appearing refreshed, and won. On the September 26 episode of SmackDown, Victoria and Natalya lost to Maria and Brie.[4] On the October 31 episode of SmackDown, Victoria teamed up with Natalya and Maryse in losing effort to Michelle McCool, Maria and Brie.[4] On the November 7 episode of SmackDown!, Victoria was accompanied by Natalya, where she was once again defeated by Brie. After the match, it was revealed that Brie had been switching places under the ring with her twin sister, Nikki Bella, and the twins proceeded to attack Victoria and Natalya.[4] On the November 21 episode of SmackDown, Victoria teamed up with Natalya in losing effort to The Bella Twins (Nikki and Brie).[4] On the November 28 episode of SmackDown, Victoria teamed up with Natalya and Maryse to defeat the Bella Twins and Michelle McCool.[4] Following a loss in a singles match to a McCool which aired on the January 16, 2009 episode of SmackDown, Victoria announced that she would be retiring from WWE. She then thanked the fans, and gave farewell to staff at ringside.[4]

After leaving WWE, Varon began training for a career in mixed martial arts, and practiced Jiu Jitsu.[65][66] She returned to WWE for one night only in April 2009, when she was part of the 25 Divas battle royal at WrestleMania XXV, outlasting the five other former WWE Divas. She eliminated Maria, but was eliminated by The Bella Twins.

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling[edit]

Debut and Knockouts Champion (2009–2010)[edit]

Varon signing autographs at the Chicago Comic Con in August 2009

On May 24, 2009, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) confirmed that Varon had signed a contract with the company.[67] She debuted on the May 28, 2009 episode of TNA Impact!, under the ring name Tara, later revealed to be short for “Tarantula“. She made her intentions known by attacking The Beautiful People (Angelina Love, Velvet Sky, and Madison Rayne) after Love’s match with Sojournor Bolt, establishing herself as a fan favorite. On the June 11 episode of Impact!, Tara won her debut match against Madison Rayne. On the July 1 episode of Impact!, Tara began bringing her pet tarantula, named Poison, with her to the ring. After winning a tag team match against The Beautiful People, she put the spider on the unconscious body of Velvet Sky. On the July 9 episode of Impact!, after Tara threatened to put her spider on Sky once again, Angelina Love agreed to put her TNA Knockouts Championship on the line, which Tara ultimately won,[68] only to lose the title back to Love two weeks later at Victory Road.[69]

On the September 24 episode of Impact!, Tara teamed with the new Knockouts Champion ODB to challenge Sarita and Taylor Wilde for the TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championship, but they lost after Awesome Kong interrupted and distracted her during the bout.[70] During the following two weeks of Impact!, Tara and Kong both received one-on-one Knockouts Championship matches from ODB, but both of them ended up losing after the other interfered in the match.[71][72] At Bound for Glory, ODB defeated both Tara and Kong in a three-way match to retain the title.[73] During the match, Tara was confronted by mixed martial artist Kim Couture to set up an MMA fight between the two, which, however, never came to fruition.[74][75] At Turning Point, Tara defeated Kong in a Six Sides of Steel match.[76] On November 26, Tara won a ten-woman battle royal to earn a shot at the Knockouts Championship at Final Resolution.[77] At the event, she defeated ODB to win the Knockouts Championship for the second time.[78] On the January 4, 2010 episode of Impact!, Tara lost the title back to ODB.[79] Two weeks later at Genesis, Tara defeated ODB in a two out of three falls match to regain the title, making her a three-time champion.[80]

On the February 18, 2010 episode of Impact!, Tara defeated Daffney by disqualification, after she hit Tara with a toolbox.[81] At Destination X, Tara successfully defended her title against Daffney, who stole Poison the tarantula from her after the match.[82] On the March 29 episode of Impact!, Tara retained her title against Daffney for a second time, this time in the first ever women’s First Blood match in TNA.[83] On the April 5 episode of Impact!, Tara was one of the four winners in an eight-Knockout Lockbox match. The box she opened contained her pet tarantula, Poison. At the same time, however, Tara lost the Knockouts Championship to Angelina Love.[84] After losing the title, Tara began turning villainous due to her friction with Love heading into their match against The Beautiful People (Madison Rayne and Velvet Sky). At Lockdown, Tara cemented her heel turn by attacking Love after losing a tag team steel cage match against Rayne and Sky.[85]

Alliance with Madison Rayne (2010–2011)[edit]

On April 28, 2010, Varon announced on her MySpace blog that she would be leaving TNA the following month, after refusing to re-sign with the company, due to not receiving a pay increase.[86] On the May 3 episode of Impact!, Tara challenged Madison Rayne to a match at Sacrifice, where she would put her career on the line against Rayne’s Knockouts Championship.[87] At Sacrifice on May 16, Tara failed to win the match, and as a result her TNA career came to an end.[88] After her TNA career came to a halt, she continued to discuss a new contract with Dixie Carter.[89]

Tara upon her return to TNA while wearing a motorcycle helmet in 2010

She returned to the company on July 11 at Victory Road as a villainess, disguising herself by wearing a motorcycle helmet and attacking Angelina Love during her match for the Knockouts Championship.[90][91] In the following weeks, she aligned herself with Madison Rayne against Love and Velvet Sky.[92][93] Tara was ultimately unmasked on the September 2 episode of Impact!, when she and Rayne defeated Love and Sky in a tag team match, after hitting Sky with the motorcycle helmet.[94] On the September 30 episode of Impact!, Rayne signed a waiver to allow Tara to return to in-ring competition.[95] At Bound for Glory, Tara defeated Angelina Love, Velvet Sky, and Madison Rayne in a Four Corners match to win the Knockout Championship for the fourth time, much to the dismay of Rayne, who thought Tara’s intention was to help her regain the title.[96] On the following episode of Impact!, Tara laid down for Rayne and allowed her to pin her to regain the Knockouts Championship, giving Tara the shortest reign in the title’s history. The following week, Tara attacked Mickie James after her victory over Sarita.[97][98] At Turning Point, Tara wrestled James to a double disqualification, after James pushed the referee, and they began brawling.[99] On the December 2 Impact!, Tara attacked James while she was singing her single “Hardcore Country”, which later led to James attacking her.[100][101] At Final Resolution, Tara defeated James in a Falls Count Anywhere match, following interference from Madison Rayne.[102] On the following episode of Impact!, James defeated Tara in a steel cage match.[103] During the match, Tara legitimately tore a ligament in her elbow, but the injury did not require surgery.[104][105] On the December 16 episode of Impact!, Tara and Rayne defeated James and Ms. Tessmacher to advance the finals of a tournament for the vacant TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championship.[106] The following week, they were defeated in the finals by Angelina Love and Winter.[107]

In 2011, Madison Rayne would start a rivalry with Mickie James over the Knockouts Championship, and would successfully defend the title against her at Genesis and Against All Odds, after Tara interfered in both matches.[108][109] During the feud, Tara began claiming that Rayne had gone too far in her brutality towards Mickie James, but was forced to follow her orders due to being under exclusive contract with her, and not TNA.[110] After Rayne lost the Knockouts Championship to James at Lockdown, James agreed to give her a rematch on the condition that if she is unable to regain the title, Tara would be released from her contract with Rayne.[111][112] On May 15 at Sacrifice, Tara became a fan favorite after knocking out Rayne during her match with James, costing her the Knockouts Championship and guaranteeing herself a release from her contract with Rayne.[113]

TnT and relationship with Jesse (2011–2013)[edit]

Tara and Madison Rayne had their first match against each other since the break–up of their partnership on the May 19 episode of Impact Wrestling, where Tara teamed with Mickie James and Ms. Tessmacher against Rayne, Sarita and Rosita. Tara won the match for her team by pinning Rosita, after Rayne, who avoided her former partner throughout the match, sacrificed her in order to get away from the ring.[114] Tara and Rayne faced each other again on the July 14 episode of Impact Wrestling, where Tara was victorious after distracting Rayne with her tarantula.[115] On the July 21 episode of Impact Wrestling, Tara and Ms. Tessmacher, later named TnT, defeated Mexican America (Rosita and Sarita) to win the TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championship.[116][117] Tessmacher and Tara made their first title defense on August 7 at Hardcore Justice, defeating Mexican America in a rematch.[118] On the September 29 episode of Impact Wrestling, Tara was defeated by her former partner Madison Rayne in a match to determine the third and final challenger for the TNA Knockouts Championship at Bound for Glory.[119] On the November 3 episode of Impact Wrestling, Tara and Tessmacher lost the Knockouts Tag Team Championship to Gail Kim and Madison Rayne.[120] On the January 26, 2012 episode of Impact Wrestling, Tara defeated Mickie James and Velvet Sky in a three-way match to earn a match for the Knockouts Championship.[121] On February 12 at Against All Odds, Tara was unsuccessful in her title challenge against Gail Kim.[122]

On the August 23 episode of Impact Wrestling, Tara defeated the new Knockouts Champion and TnT partner Miss Tessmacher in a non-title match, and was subsequently named number one contender for her title.[123][124] On September 9 at the No Surrender, Tara challenged Tessmacher for the Knockouts Championship, but failed to capture the title.[125] On the following episode of Impact Wrestling, Tara congratulated Tessmacher on her victory, only to attack Tessmacher shortly afterwards, turning Tara into a villainess and effectively disbanding TnT.[126] On the September 27 episode of Impact Wrestling, Tara defeated ODB in a number one contender’s match to earn another shot at Miss Tessmacher’s Knockouts Championship.[127] On October 14 at Bound for Glory, Tara defeated Tessmacher to win the TNA Knockouts Championship for a record-tying fifth time. Afterwards, Tara introduced her “Hollywood boyfriend”, the debuting Jesse.[128] Tara made her first successful title defense on the October 25 episode of Impact Wrestling, defeating Tessmacher in a rematch following interference from Jesse.[129] On November 11 at Turning Point, Tara and Jesse were defeated by ODB and Eric Young.[130] On December 9 at Final Resolution, Tara successfully defended her Knockouts Championship against Mickie James after a distraction from Jesse.[131] On the December 20 episode of Impact Wrestling, Tara defeated James again to retain her title.[132] Tara went on to have another successful title defense on the January 25, 2013, episode of Impact Wrestling, defeating Velvet Sky.[133] On the February 21 episode of Impact Wrestling taped in London, England, Tara lost the championship to Sky in a fatal four–way elimination match, also involving Gail Kim and Miss Tessmacher, ending her reign at 104 days.[134] Tara received her rematch on the February 28 episode of Impact Wrestling, but was again defeated by Sky.[135] The following months, Tara would make increasingly fewer appearances, and would be rarely used competing in matches.[136][137][138] On the July 14 episode of TNA Xplosion, Tara would wrestler her final match in TNA losing to ODB. Two days later on July 16, Tara was released from her TNA contract.[139][140]

Varon later stated in an interview that she was close to leaving TNA prior to her release, and that she would never return to TNA.[141] She also stated that her tenure in TNA was great, but different from WWE and made her “appreciate WWE a lot”.[142]

Independent circuit (2011–present)[edit]

Tara took part of Family Wrestling Entertainment‘s FWE: Fallout pay-per-view on November 15, 2011, defeating Madison Rayne with Christy Hemme as the special guest referee. Tara returned to the promotion on February 25, 2012, taking part of a tournament to determinate the inaugural FWE Women’s Champion at FWE: No Limits, losing to Maria Kanellis. Tara then helped Maria defeat Winter to win the championship alongside her partner Ms. Tessmacher.[143] On November 9, 2013, Varon debuted at House of Hardcore 3, where she and Stevie Richards were defeated by Carlito and Rosita.

On June 19, 2015, Varon returned to the independent circuit at Maryland Championship Wrestling‘s Ladies Night event, serving as the special guest referee for the MCW Women’s Championship main event match between Mickie James and Amber Rodriguez, which also featured Melina as the outside enforcer. Varon attacked Melina during the match, after Melina turned heel and attacked James, who went on to capture the title.[144]

On September 2, 2016, Victoria made her debut for Chikara, when she entered the 2016 King of Trios tournament as part of Team Original Divas Revolution, alongside Jazz and Mickie James. They defeated Team Shimmer (Candice LeRae, Crazy Mary Dobson and Solo Darling) in their first round match.[145] The following day, Team Original Divas Revolution was eliminated from the tournament by The Warriors Three (Oleg the Usurper, Princess KimberLee and ThunderFrog).[146]

On December 2, 2017, Varon appeared at House of Hardcore 36 as Candice Michelle’s opponent in Candice’s retirement match. Varon turned heel and attacked Candice after feigning an injury, only to be defeated by Candice with a DDT.[147]

Ring of Honor (2013)[edit]

Varon debuted for Ring of Honor on October 26, 2013, under her real name. She made an FAQ before Glory by Honor XII. At the event, she attacked Maria Kanellis with a Widow’s Peak.[148]

Professional wrestling style and persona[edit]

Varon uses the Widows Peak as finisher, a move she adapted from Roderick Strong.[149]

Business ventures[edit]

Varon owned a restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky named Fat Tony’s Pizzeria, but sold it in May 2007.[150] In May 2008, she and her husband opened a custom car shop, Black Widow Customs, in Louisville.[151][152] The shop was destroyed on December 16, 2010, in a fire, which the authorities deemed suspicious.[153] This occurred the day after a local TV show’s “Consumer Watch” segment. Antwane Glenn, a football player at the University of Kentucky, wanted a refund after claiming his car was left un-drivable following Black Widow Customs’ work on it. He contacted WHAS11 and the story was profiled on the show.[154]

In March 2013, Varon opened a wrestling themed restaurant in Chicago, Illinois named The Squared Circle.[155][156] In January 2015, Varon announced that she would be moving back to California, leaving the restaurant under her husband and a friend. Despite this, Varon continues to make regular visits to the restaurant.[157]

Other media[edit]

Varon has made guest appearances on television shows V.I.P. and Nikki, as well as participated in two fitness competitions for the Univision program Sábado Gigante.[2][12] In November 2010, she was a contestant on an all-TNA week of Family Feud, teaming with Angelina Love, Christy Hemme, Lacey Von Erich and Velvet Sky against Jay Lethal, Matt Morgan, Mick Foley, Mr. Anderson and Rob Van Dam.[158] On November 10, 2012, Varon, along with several other TNA employees, were featured in an episode of MTV‘s Made.[159]

Personal life[edit]

Varon was married to Lee Varon from 1994 to 2015.[160][161][162]

Varon has a tattoo of a heart on her ankle, which she got in high school and hid from her parents.[163] She is a fan of motorcycles and owns a Suzuki Hayabusa.[6][150]

In an interview for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Varon was quoted as saying she was legitimately jealous of the 2004 WWE Diva Search winner Christy Hemme. She retracted the statement on her website, claiming the reporter had misquoted her when she mentioned that she was jealous of Hemme’s paycheck, as it was a lot higher than what Varon received in her rookie year.[164]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Victoria is a two-time WWE Women’s Champion

Tara is a five-time TNA Knockout’s champion

Cheerleading[edit]

  • National Cheerleading Association
    • NCA All-American Award

Fitness and figure competition[edit]

  • Debbie Kruck Fitness Classic
    • 1st (Tall Class; 1999)[8]
  • ESPN2 Fitness America Series
    • 1st place (1997)[8]
    • 2nd place (1998)[8]
  • Lifequest Triple Crown
    • Top 20 (1997)[8]
  • National Physique Committee
    • NPC Inland Empire – 1st (MW; 1995)[8]
    • NPC Team Universe – 2nd (Tall Class; 1999)[8]
  • Women’s Tri-Fitness
    • Ironwoman Tri-Fitness – 4th (1998)[8]
    • Tri-Fitness Hall of Fame (2012)[165]

Professional wrestling[edit]

Luchas de Apuestas record[edit]

Winner (wager) Loser (wager) Location Event Date Notes
Victoria (championship) Molly Holly (hair) New York City, New York WrestleMania XX March 14, 2004 [33]
Madison Rayne (championship) Tara (career) Orlando, Florida Sacrifice May 16, 2010 [88]

Eve Torres

Eve Torres

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Eve Torres
A close-up of a woman with dark brown hair and green eyes. She is wearing a khaki-colored vest, sunglasses on top of her head, and large gold hoop earrings.

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Image result for EVE TORRES
Torres in December 2008
Birth name Eve Marie Torres
Born (1984-08-21) August 21, 1984 (age 33)[1]
Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Residence Los Angeles, California, United States[2]
Spouse(s) Rener Gracie (m. 2014)
Children 1
Family Gracie
Phil Torres (brother)
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Eve[3]
Eve Torres[4]
Billed height 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)[5]
Billed weight 131 lb (59 kg)[5]
Billed from Denver, Colorado[6]
Los Angeles, California[3]
Trained by Dave Finlay
Florida Championship Wrestling[7]
Debut May 2007[5]
Retired 2013[2]

Eve Torres Gracie[8] (born Eve Marie Torres on August 21, 1984) is an American dancer, model, and actress, and former professional wrestler. She is best known for her work with WWE as Eve Torres or simply Eve.

Torres began her career as a model and dancer. She danced for The Southern California Summer Pro League and went on to become a member of the National Basketball Association‘s Los Angeles Clippers Spirit Dance Team for the 2006–2007 season. She also appeared on several television shows, including Show Me The Money, Sunset Tan, and Deal or No Deal.

In 2007 she entered the 2007 Diva Search and won, earning a contract with WWE. Torres first appeared on WWE programming as a backstage interviewer in 2008 and became a full-time wrestler and Manager in 2009. She won the WWE Divas Championship in April 2010. She held the championship on a further two occasions, becoming the first person to win it three times. Following her retirement from professional wrestling in 2013, Torres focused on her role as an instructor for the Gracie Women Empowered self-defense program and continued to act, with roles in Skiptrace and Supergirl.

Early life[edit]

Torres was born in Boston, Massachusetts, but grew up in Denver, Colorado.[9][5] She has “a Latina background” as she is of Nicaraguan descent, as well as German and Swedish.[10][11] She has one younger brother, Phil, who is a television presenter.[12][13]

Torres attended the University of Southern California (USC) on a full tuition scholarship.[5] During college, she was one of the founding members of the Omega Phi Beta sorority chapter on her campus and held the vice-president position for several years.[14] While in Omega Phi Beta, Torres was awarded for Academic Excellence at the Order of Omega Greek Awards.[15] She graduated with honors and a Grade Point Average above 3.5 in May 2006, with a degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering.[5][14]

Dancing and modeling career[edit]

While attending USC, Torres appeared in commercials and music videos.[14] Torres was the co-captain of the USC Fly Girls dance squad and created much of their choreography.[5][16] She also danced for The Southern California Summer Pro League, the only summer league for National Basketball Association (NBA) players, in Long Beach, California.[14][16] After graduating from college, she began dancing and modeling full-time.[5] After reaching the tryout finals in previous years, Torres became a member of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers Spirit Dance Team for the 2006–07 season.[5][14][16] She also appeared on the game show Show Me The Money.[5]

World Wrestling Entertainment/WWE[edit]

Diva Search (2007)[edit]

In May 2007, Torres entered World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)’s Diva Search.[5][17] She was chosen by WWE officials as one of the eight finalists from a group of 50 women.[5] On October 29, 2007, in Philadelphia, live on Raw, she was crowned the 2007 WWE Diva Search winner, defeating finalist Brooke Gilbertsen and becoming a WWE Diva.[17][18] Following her win, she began training for her wrestling debut in WWE’s developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW).[5]

SmackDown (2008–2009)[edit]

Videos promoting Eve’s debut on SmackDown began airing on January 11, 2008.[19] The promo aired for three weeks before Eve made her official debut on the February 1, 2008 episode of SmackDown interviewing former World Heavyweight Champion Batista.[20] During early 2008, Eve participated in a contest to determine the top Diva on SmackDown, participating in a bikini contest, an obstacle course, and an arm wrestling competition before being eliminated.[21][22][23][24] Eve appeared at WrestleMania XXIV as a Lumberjill in the BunnyMania match between Maria and Ashley against Beth Phoenix and Melina.[7] Eve spent the rest of the year competing in similar contests, including a dance-off and a bikini contest, before participating in the Halloween Costume Contest on October 26 at the Cyber Sunday pay-per-view, where she was dressed as Raphael from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.[25][26] On the 800th episode of Raw on November 3, 2008, Eve made her televised in-ring debut in a 16-Diva tag team match, which her team lost although she was never tagged in.[27]

Her first main storyline began in early 2009, when she began a scripted feud with Michelle McCool after McCool attacked her.[5][28] On the February 6 episode of SmackDown, Eve made her singles match debut in a losing effort against McCool via submission.[29] Their feud continued for the next few months, with them competing against each other in singles and tag team matches.[7][30] Eve then moved into a feud with Layla in mid-2009.[5] After the pair competed in dance and arm wrestling competitions, Eve defeated Layla on the May 29 episode of SmackDown in a wrestling match.[31][32][33] On the June 18 episode of Superstars, Eve pinned Layla once again. After the match, they both shook hands.[34]

Around the same as her scripted rivalry with Layla, Eve became associated with Cryme Tyme (Shad and JTG), appearing in several backstage segments with them.[7][35] She also began accompanying them to the ring as their manager during their storyline rivalry with The Hart Dynasty (David Hart Smith, Tyson Kidd, and Natalya).[36] Eve and Cryme Tyme participated in multiple six-person mixed tag team matches against The Hart Dynasty, and Eve also faced Natalya in singles matches and tag team matches involving other Divas.[37][38][39] Her final match on SmackDown was on October 9, when she was defeated in a singles match by McCool.[40]

Divas Champion (2009–2011)[edit]

Torres after winning the WWE Divas Championship for the second time at the 2011 Royal Rumble

On October 12, 2009, Eve was traded to the Raw brand.[5] On the November 2 episode of Raw, she competed in her first match after being traded: a battle royal which was won by Alicia Fox.[41] She then entered into a storyline romance with Chris Masters in December 2009, becoming his valet.[42][43] In January 2010, the WWE Divas Championship was vacated and a tournament was set up to determine the new champion. Eve made it to the semi-finals, before being defeated by the eventual winner, Maryse.[44][45] At WrestleMania XXVI Eve was on the losing team in a 10-Diva tag team match, but the following night on Raw, she pinned Maryse in a rematch to earn the victory for her team.[46][47]

On the April 5 episode of Raw, Eve won a “Dress to Impress” battle royal to become the number one contender to the WWE Divas Championship, and the following week on Raw, she defeated Maryse to win the championship for the first time.[48][49][50] She successfully defended the championship against Maryse at the Over the Limit pay-per-view in May.[51] At the Fatal 4-Way pay-per-view in June, Eve lost the championship in a fatal four-way match, when Alicia Fox pinned Maryse to win the championship.[52] On the July 5 episode of Raw, Eve invoked her rematch clause against Fox but was unsuccessful after Fox feigned an ankle injury.[53] As a result, she received another rematch at the Money in the Bank pay per-view, but lost again to Fox.[54][55] In mid-2010 she began acting as the valet for R-Truth.

At the Royal Rumble on January 30, 2011, the Raw General Manager added Eve to a two-on-one handicap match for the Divas Championship, turning it into a fatal four-way match. Eve pinned Layla to win the match and become a two-time Divas Champion.[56][57] She retained the championship against Natalya in a Lumberjill match on the February 14 episode of Raw, and against Nikki Bella on the March 7 episode.[58][59] She held the championship until the April 11 episode of Raw, when she lost it to Brie Bella.[60]

Eve then formed an alliance with Kelly Kelly, and after Kelly won the Divas Championship in June, Eve accompanied her to the ring during her matches.[61][62] Eve and Kelly began feuding with The Divas of Doom (Beth Phoenix and Natalya), and after Phoenix won the Divas Championship from Kelly, Eve defeated Natalya to earn a title match against Phoenix.[63] She faced Phoenix at the Vengeance pay-per-view, but was unsuccessful.[64] On the October 31 episode of Raw, Eve won a battle royal to become the number one contender to the Divas Championship.[65] She received her championship match at the Survivor Series pay-per-view, but lost a Lumberjill match to Phoenix.[66] She later described the match as her favorite.[67]

Authority figure (2011–2013)[edit]

Eve moved into a storyline with Zack Ryder in December 2011, and the pair won a mixed tag team match against Natalya and Tyson Kidd on the December 26 episode of Raw.[68] On the January 9, 2012, episode of Raw, Eve agreed to a date with Ryder beginning a storyline relationship.[69] Eve quickly became involved in the storyline between Ryder, his ally John Cena, and Kane, who began targeting Ryder. After injuring Ryder, he turned his attention to Eve, and tried to attack her until he was stopped by Cena. On the February 6 episode of Raw, Eve suffered a legimiately broken nose when Beth Phoenix clotheslined her during a match. The following week, Cena saved Eve from being kidnapped by Kane, and Eve kissed him in thanks. On the February 20 episode of Raw, Eve began turning into a villainous character after she confessed backstage to The Bella Twins that she had never liked Zack Ryder and had disingenuously used him for publicity and planned to take advantage of Cena the same way. Cena overheard her revelation and scorned her as she begged for forgiveness.[70] Eve justified her actions by stating that she had no problem using men to achieve her goals and that she was “a woman in a man’s world.”[71] She wrestled her first match as a villain on the March 2 episode of Smackdown, defeating Natalya.[72] Ryder returned on the March 5 episoder of Raw, confronting Eve over her recent actions, but she managed to seduce him into forgiving her.[73] At WrestleMania XXVIII, Eve and Beth Phoenix lost to Kelly Kelly and Extra corrspondent Maria Menounos in a tag team match. Later that night, she accompanied Ryder to the ring for the Team Johnny vs. Team Teddy matchup where she distracted Ryder, costing him and Team Teddy the match.[74]

Torres (left) with Beth Phoenix at the Wrestlemania XXVIII pay-per-view in April 2012

As a result, John Laurinaitis appointed her the Executive Administrator of Raw and SmackDown.[75] As her first order of business as Executive Administrator, on the April 30 episode of Raw, Eve fired the Bella Twins.[76] Despite her new authority figure role, she continued to participate in matches throughout mid-2012.[77][78][79] On the August 10 episode of SmackDown, Eve asked SmackDown General Manager Booker T if she could be his assistant, but Kaitlyn was given the job instead. Eve threatened Booker T that she would tell the Board of Directors about his discriminatory hiring practices and was given a match against Kaitlyn the following week. Eve won the match and the job.[80]

In August, she began a storyline where she appeared friendly and nice, diminishing her villain characteristics.[81] As part of this apparent personality change, she shook hands with her rival Kaitlyn following a match and teamed with her and Layla on the September 10 episode of Raw.[82] At the Night of Champions pay-per-view, Kaitlyn was attacked and injured by a masked figure; as a result, Eve replaced Kaitlyn in a match against Divas Champion Layla, which she won.[83] Her victory made her the first woman to hold the Divas Championship on three occasions. After Kaitlyn revealed her attacker was blonde, Eve accused Beth Phoenix, and attacked her on the September 24 episode of Raw.[84] The following week, Eve suspended Phoenix, pending an investigation into Kaitlyn’s attack. It was later revealed that Kaitlyn was attacked by Aksana, on Eve’s orders. On the October 8 episode of Raw, Eve defeated Kaitlyn via submission to retain the Divas Championship, and following the match, she attempted to re-injure Kaitlyn, but was stopped by Layla.[85] The following week, she defeated Layla to retain the championship.[86] The three-way feud led to a match at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view, where Eve retained the Divas Championship against Layla and Kaitlyn in a triple threat match.[87] Eve continued to feud with the duo, facing them in tag team matches with multiple partners and defeating Kaitlyn at Survivor Series to retain the championship.[88][89][90] At Tables, Ladders & Chairs, Eve stopped Kaitlyn from winning a number one contender’s match, and defeated winner Naomi to retain the title.[91] Kaitlyn won a non-title match against Eve, and won the subsequent title match by disqualification on December 18, however Eve retained the championship.[92][93] The rematch occurred on the January 7, 2013, episode of Raw, in which Eve successfully defended the championship after losing by countout.[94] The following week, on the special “20th Anniversary” episode of Raw, Eve lost the Divas Championship to Kaitlyn.[95] She quit immediately following the loss in storyline.[96] In reality, Torres had asked for her release in December 2012 to plan her upcoming wedding and focus on her role as an instructor for the Gracie Women Empowered Self-defense program.[2][97]

Ambassador (2013–present)[edit]

On December 9, 2013, Torres made her return to WWE, presenting the Slammy Award for Diva of the Year to The Bella Twins.[98] Since April 2014, she has served as an ambassador for WWE.[99] Torres appeared on the June 19, 2017, episode of Table for 3 on WWE Network alongside Maryse and Kelly Kelly.[100]

Other media[edit]

Torres with The Miz at an autograph signing in 2010

In August 2008, Torres, along with fellow WWE Divas Maria and Candice Michelle, appeared on an episode of Sunset Tan.[101] On October 2, 2008, Torres and Maria appeared on a special episode of Magic’s Biggest Secrets Finally Revealed.[102] Torres appeared on the November 3, 2009 episode of Deal or No Deal with Maria and Dolph Ziggler.[5][103] On July 1, 2012, Torres, Kelly, and Michelle McCool appeared on Extreme Weight Loss.[104] In 2012, she was part of NBC‘s celebrity reality competition series called Stars Earn Stripes; she won the competition on September 3, earning over $100,000 for her charity, the United Service Organizations. On September 7, 2012, Torres appeared on G4‘s Attack of the Show for an interview.

Torres, along with Maryse and Michelle McCool, appeared in the January 2009 issue of Muscle & Fitness magazine.[105]

On April 30, 2012, it was announced that Torres would be featured in the WWE Studios and Kare Production Project “Les reines du ring” (English: Queens of the Ring), alongside fellow wrestlers The Miz and CM Punk.[106] In mid-2013, Torres filmed a role for the film The Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power, which was released in 2015.[107] She later earned a role in Matador as Reyna Flores, a journalist reporting on the leading character’s career.[108] The show was cancelled after a single season.[109] In 2016, Torres appeared in the film Skiptrace as a Russian assassin.[110] The same year, she appeared in an episode of the Supergirl television series as Maxima.[111]

Personal life[edit]

Torres is trained in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and holds a purple belt from the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy based in Torrance, California.[5][112] Torres also participates in kickboxing.[17] She is a spokeswoman and head instructor for the Gracie Women Empowered self-defense program.[2] Torres was the first female instructor for the academy.[2]

Torres met Rener Gracie when she attended the Gracie Academy for training.[2] They married in April 2014.[2][113] She gave birth to her first child, a son, in September 2015.[114] In March 2018, Torres and Gracie revealed her second pregnancy via Gracie’s YouTube channel.[115]

Torres and her sister-in-law Sage operate an event rental company named “inJOY The Party”.[2]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2013 Queens of the Ring Herself
2015 The Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power Chancara [107]
2016 Skiptrace Dasha [110]

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2005 Show Me The Money Herself [5]
2007 The Best Damn Sports Show Period
2008 Sunset Tan [101]
Magic’s Biggest Secrets Finally Revealed [102]
2009 Deal or No Deal [103]
2012 Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition Special edition of “Diva’s Boot Camp” [104]
Stars Earn Stripes Competed for the “USO” charity; Winner
Attack of the Show
The Soup [116]
2014 Matador Reyna Flores [108]
2016 Supergirl Maxima Episode: “Myriad” [111]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

A dark-haired woman standing on the turnbuckle of a wrestling ring, with one foot on the red ring ropes. She is wearing an orange crop top with dark shorts and dark-coloured wrestling boots. Her right hand is holding a wrestling championship in the air.

Torres as the WWE Divas Champion in February 2011

NOELLE FOLLEY

Noelle Foley was born on December 15, 1993 as Noelle Margaret Foley. She is an actress, known for WWE Raw (1993), Holy Foley! (2016) and Marks: It’s Still Real to Me.

Born:

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Actress (3 credits)
 2016 Holy Foley! (TV Series)
Foley, Noelle
 2014-2015 WWE Raw (TV Series)
Elf / No-Elf

WWE Slammy Awards 2015 (2015) … No-Elf
Slammy Awards (2014) … Elf
Episode #23.13 (2014) … Elf
 1997 WWF Shotgun Saturday Night (TV Series)
Little Girl in Crowd

Episode #1.13 (1997) … Little Girl in Crowd (uncredited)
Hide Hide Show Show Self (6 credits)
  Marks: It’s Still Real to Me (Documentary) (announced)
Herself
 2017 Wrestling with Wregret (TV Series)
Herself

The Diva Search (2017) … Herself
 2017 WWE Hall of Fame (TV Special)
Herself
 2015 NXT Takeover: Unstoppable (TV Special)
Herself (uncredited)
 2015 Mick Foley: Cheap Pops (TV Movie)
Herself
 1999 Beyond the Mat (Documentary)
Herself (uncredited)

ANGELA FONG

Angela Fong was born on February 3, 1985 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She is known for her work on War (2007), WWE NXT (2010) and WWE Smackdown! (1999).
Image result for ANGELA FONG WRESTLING GIFS

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Actress (16 credits)
 2014-2017 Lucha Underground (TV Series)
Black Lotus

Ultima Lucha Tres – Part IV (2017) … Black Lotus
Breaker of Bones (2016) … Black Lotus
Aztec Warfare III (2016) … Black Lotus
Brothers in Broken Arms (2016) … Black Lotus
 2014 Black Tiger: Hunter Hunted (Short)
Jennifer / Black Tiger
 2013 Castle (TV Series)
Candice’s Friend

Death Gone Crazy (2013) … Candice’s Friend (uncredited)
 2012 Widow Detective (TV Movie)
Dancer
 2012 Guys Choice Awards 2012 (TV Special)
Secret Service’s Girl
 2012 Who Wants to Date a Comedian? (TV Series)

Nestor Rodriguez (2012)
 2010 WWE Raw (TV Series)
Savannah

Episode #18.26 (2010) … Savannah
Episode #18.25 (2010) … Savannah
Episode #18.24 (2010) … Savannah
3-Hour Viewer’s Choice Raw (2010) … Savannah
Episode #18.22 (2010) … Savannah
 2010 WWE NXT (TV Series)
Savannah

Episode #1.15 (2010) … Savannah
Episode #1.14 (2010) … Savannah
Episode #1.13 (2010) … Savannah
Episode #1.12 (2010) … Savannah
Episode #1.11 (2010) … Savannah
 2010 WWE Smackdown! (TV Series)
Savannah

Episode #11.32 (2010) … Savannah
 2009-2010 E.C.W. (TV Series)
Savannah

ECW: The Final Episode (2010) … Savannah
Episode dated 9 February 2010 (2010) … Savannah
Episode dated 2 February 2010 (2010) … Savannah
Episode dated 26 January 2010 (2010) … Savannah
Episode dated 19 January 2010 (2010) … Savannah
 2009 Ratko: The Dictator’s Son
Sorority Girl #3
 2007 War
Kabuki Dancer
 2006 Masters of Horror (TV Series)
Dancer

Pelts (2006) … Dancer (uncredited)
 2006 John Tucker Must Die
Cheerleader (uncredited)
 2005 Chasing Christmas (TV Movie)
Dancer

Angela Fong

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Angela Fong
Birth name Angela Carolyn Fong
Born (1985-02-03) February 3, 1985 (age 33)[1]
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Residence Tampa, Florida, United States[1]
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Angela Fong[1]
Black Lotus
Miss Angela[1]
Savannah[1]
Billed height 5 ft 5 in (165 cm)[1]
Billed weight 120 lb (54 kg)[1]
Billed from Hong Kong, China[1]
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada[1]
Trained by Florida Championship Wrestling[1]
Debut 2008

Angela Carolyn Fong (born February 3, 1985)[1] is a Canadian professional wrestler, model, ring announcer, cheerleader for the CFL’s BC Lions and actress best known for her time at World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), known by her former ring name as Savannah who served as a ring announcer and backstage interviewer of WWE ECW and the official ring announcer for season one of NXT.

As of 2014, Fong is currently working for Lucha Underground,[2] where she works as Black Lotus.

Professional wrestling career[edit]

World Wrestling Entertainment[edit]

Diva Search and Ohio Valley Wrestling (2007–2008)[edit]

Angela tried out for the 2007 Diva Search, but she didn’t become one of the finalists. In February 2008, WWE signed Angela to a developmental deal and was shown briefly on OVW with Shawn Spears.

Florida Championship Wrestling (2008–2010)[edit]

Fong debuted on FCW in early 2008.[1] She initially started as a valet for The Puerto Rican Nightmares (Eddie Colón and Eric Perez) where they feuded with Nick Nemeth, Brad Allen and Taryn Terrell. The Puerto Rican Nightmares broke up and Angela started to wrestle more.

On the February 5 episode of FCW Television tapings, Angela defeated Alicia Fox in the finals to become the first ever Queen of FCW.[1] Fong and Rosa Mendes established a feud when Mendes tried to steal the crown from Angela.[1] On April 19, 2009 edition of FCW Television, Rosa Mendes challenged Angela for the Queen of FCW Crown only to be attacked by Doctor X, so she won by DQ.[1] After defending the crown for seven months, Fong was defeated by Mia Mancini.

During her time on ECW/NXT Fong still would make appearances in FCW including competing in a tournament for the new FCW Divas Championship, but lost to Naomi Night in the second round.

ECW (2009–2010)[edit]

On September 15, 2009, Fong debuted as “Savannah” on ECW as a backstage interviewer. Fong spent most of her time as the ECW backstage interviewer, until ECW ring announcer Lauren Mayhew departed from the WWE which Fong took over the role as the ring announcer of the show. She was also a lumberjill during Michelle McCool and Melina match on the October 2, 2009 episode of SmackDown!, namely during the 10th anniversary of SmackDown.

NXT (2010)[edit]

After the ECW brand was closed down on February 16, 2010 and was replaced with NXT, she joined the WWE NXT broadcast team as the official ring announcer for the first season of WWE NXT. On June 23, 2010, Fong was released from her WWE contract.

Independent circuit (2010–2013)[edit]

As of July 10, 2010, Fong has since started selling signed memorabilia on eBay.[3] She also revealed via her Twitter account on September 22, 2010, that she would become an MMA dancer for the organization, Xtreme Fighting Championships, dancing in the XFC Cage Dolls.[4] Fong began wrestling in the independent circuit, under her real name and competed in her Post-WWE match in the organization, Ground Breaking Pro Wrestling on September 26, 2010, when she defeated Randi West to win the vacant GBPW Ladies Championship and became its first champion.[1][5] On May 4, 2013, Fong defeated Miyako Matsumoto in a match for Ice Ribbon.[1][6]

Lucha Underground (2014–present)[edit]

In 2014, it was confirmed that Angela Fong would return to the wrestling scene appearing for the new Lucha Underground wrestling series.[2] She made her official television appearance during the November 26th, 2014 episode where she was seen briefly watching the match between Son of Havoc and Mascarita Sagrada. Since then, she has since appeared in many matches over the weeks spectating over different competitors in the Lucha Underground roster. Her role was revealed at the ending of the 28th January, 2015 episode where she approached Lucha Underground owner Dario Cueto claiming to be looking for a man named ‘Matanza‘. It was also revealed on the 4th February episode that she goes by the alias of Black Lotus.

On the June 3 episode, Cueto imprisoned Black Lotus for trying to kill his brother. Lotus was captured by Chavo Guerrero and the Crew, as Guerrero betrayed Lotus to Cueto in exchange for protection from Mexican enemies.[7] At part one of Lucha Underground’s Ultima Lucha, Cueto admitted to Black Lotus that “the Monster” Matanza is his brother, forced by their father to partake in underground fighting. He claimed that it was El Dragon Azteca who had killed Lotus’ parents while framing Matanza for the deed. Despite Azteca trying to save Lotus,[8] Lotus attacked and seemingly killed Azteca on part two of Ultima Lucha on August 5, 2015, also the first-season finale. Cueto then freed Lotus, claiming that Azteca’s death had endangered them and they needed to leave. Cueto and Lotus fled along with Matanza, while the show closed with the Temple being abandoned.[9][10]

Throughout Season 2, Lotus would act as the bodyguard to Dario Cuerto both during their absence from the temple, and later when they resurfaced there. On the Season 2 Finale at Ultima Lucha Dos, she competed in her first televised match against El Dragon Azteca Jr. where the match went to a no contest due to Pentagón Dark breaking her arm. On November 16 episode of Lucha Underground during the Aztec Warfare III she returned to the temple along with The Black Lotus Triad members Hitokiri, Doku and Yurei and all four attacked Pentagón Dark, allowing Johnny Mundo to eliminate him, thus costing him the match.

Other media[edit]

Since 2005, Fong has been pursuing an acting career in television shows and movies. Fong appeared as a contestant on Let’s Make a Deal, where she won a purse and a $500 gift card. On June 7, 2012, Fong appeared as one of the girls looking for a date on Take Me Out, where she appeared on every episode during the season.

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Renee Young

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Renee Young

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Renee Young
Renee Young at WM31 Axxess.jpg

Young in March 2015
Birth name Renee Jane Paquette[1]
Born (1985-09-19) September 19, 1985 (age 32)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Residence Las Vegas, Nevada,
United States[2]
Spouse(s) Dean Ambrose (m. 2017)[3][4]
Website www.prettyfunnyblonde.com
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Renee Young
Billed height 5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
Billed from Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Debut March 29, 2013

Renee Jane Paquette[5] born September 19, 1985) is a Canadian sports broadcaster and occasional actress. She is currently an on-air personality with WWE, appearing for both the Raw and SmackDown brands under the ring name Renee Young, where she performs interviewing and commentating duties. She is a former sportscaster for The Score.[6]

Early life[edit]

Paquette was born in Toronto, Ontario.[7] She was a child model. After high school, she applied to several colleges and began training in improvisational comedy.[8] At the age of 19, she relocated to Los Angeles, California to pursue a career as a comedic actress, but later moved back to Toronto and auditioned for films, music videos, and commercials.[8]

Professional career[edit]

The Score Television Network (2009–2012)[edit]

Paquette began working for The Score Television Network in the later months of 2009 on the program called Right After Wrestling, later to be renamed Aftermath,[9] where she presented alongside Arda Ocal, Mauro Ranallo and former WWE referee Jimmy Korderas.

WWE (2012–present)[edit]

“I always wanted to be an actor. Acting is really where everything started for me. As soon as I got out of high school, I went to The Second City and trained in improv comedy. I always wanted to be more of a comedic actress. That was the path I wanted to take. I fled to Los Angeles at 19 without having worked a day of my life as a performer. I came back to Toronto and auditioned for different films, music videos, and commercials… being in Canada, I got stuck not getting lead role auditions, so I switched gears and got into hosting. I just needed a camera and myself to do that.”
— Young in January 2014.[8]

Paquette signed with the American professional wrestling promotion WWE in October 2012,[10] where she chose the ring name Renee Young (a nod to Neil Young),[11] and made her on-screen debut on the 29 March 2013 episode of SmackDown, interviewing Randy Orton, Big Show, and Sheamus.[12] Young had previously performed interviews exclusively for WWE Active since February 2013,[13] and had also presented the 2012 Survivor Series pre-show alongside Scott Stanford.[14] Young debuted on the January 23 episode of NXT as a backstage interviewer.[15]

Young began co-hosting the World Tour segments, which was a segment detailing the city they were filming in, showcasing various tourist attractions, before later being promoted as a third main presenter on the JBL and Cole Show, which was shown on YouTube and WWE.com, until its cancellation in June 2015.[16] It received a Slammy Award for Favorite Web Show of the Year.[17] She also presents WWE Vintage Collection alongside Hall of Famer Mean Gene Okerlund.

In September 2013, Young made her commentary debut on NXT.[18] She began performing color commentary during NXT Divas‘ matches, before later becoming a full-time color commentator on NXT for several months.[8] From July 3, 2014 to January 9, 2015, Young served as a color commentator on WWE Superstars, alongside Tom Phillips, which made her WWE’s first full-time female announcer in more than a decade.[19][20] In April 2015, Young began hosting her own show titled Unfiltered with Renee Young, in which she interviews fellow WWE employees, which airs on the WWE Network.[21] In June, Young served as the co-host of the sixth season of Tough Enough, alongside Chris Jericho.[22]

Young confronting the WWE Intercontinental Champion The Miz in December 2016.

On the December 20, 2016 episode of SmackDown, Young interviewed Intercontinental Champion The Miz following his successful title defense against Apollo Crews. After Young asked Miz about his “obsession” with Dean Ambrose, Miz sarcastically responded by revealing Young and Ambrose’s real-life relationship, prompting her to slap Miz.[23] On December 27, Young was confronted by The Miz’s real-life wife, Maryse, backstage on SmackDown.[24] Maryse slapped Young the following week in retaliation. She also seemed unhappy with Samoa Joe’s comments on the 1 January 2018 episode of Raw when he said that Ambrose became a stay-at-home husband after he injured Ambrose in storyline.[25]

Other media[edit]

Before joining The Score, Paquette worked for BiteTV, where she presented a show about extreme sports and music called Rippin’ It-N-Lippin’ It during 2008 and 2009.[8] She appeared in a commercial for Oxy, and had a part in a Tom Green music video.[8] Prior to this, she had a cameo in the music video for Kelly Clarkson‘s 2005 song “Behind These Hazel Eyes“.[8] She also appeared in a national Noxzema commercial, and did a photoshoot for Toro Magazine.[26] In 2016, it was announced that Paquette would be appearing as a main cast member for the sixth season of Total Divas.[27] She had previously appeared in several episodes on a recurring basis.

Personal life[edit]

On being a wrestling fan, Paquette said: “I attended a few events and WrestleMania VI. My dad is a concert promoter, and he’d get me into the events. I remember being backstage and meeting Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, Chyna, and Trish Stratus as a kid, so it’s really funny to me that I ended up here. I went on a different path than wanting to become a WWE Superstar.”[8]

Since 2013, Paquette has been dating wrestler Jonathan Good, better known by his ring name Dean Ambrose.[28][29] On April 12, 2017, Paquette announced on Twitter that she and Good are now married.[3][30] Official marriage records show they were married on April 9, 2017.[1]

Filmography[edit]

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2007 The Smart Woman Survival Guide Cute Intern Episode: “Go Big or Go Home”
2010 Gotta Grudge? Herself 8 episodes
2011–2012 Gillette Drafted Judge, mentor
2013,
2015–2017
Total Divas Guest (season 1 & 7)
Recurring (season 4–5)
Main cast (season 6): 34 episodes
2013 WWE: The Top 25 Rivalries in Wrestling History Host
2014 WWE Countdown Episode: “Coolest Catchphrases”
2014–present WWE Music Power 10 Voice-over host
2014–present WWE Quick Hits Host
2015–2017 Unfiltered with Renee Young Host
2015 WWE Tough Enough Co-host
2016–present WWE Talking Smack Host
2016–present WWE Raw Talk Host
2017 Total Bellas 3 episodes

Web[edit]

Year Title Role
2013–2015 The JBL and Renee Show Herself
2013–2015 After Total Divas Herself

Awards and accomplishments[edit]

A TRIBUTE TO THE GREAT BRUNO SAMMARTINO

Bruno Sammartino

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

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Bruno Sammartino
BrunoSeasonParade.jpg

Bruno Sammartino at Celebrate the Season Parade in Pittsburgh, 2005
Birth name Bruno Leopoldo Francesco Sammartino[1]
Born (1935-10-06)October 6, 1935
Pizzoferrato, Kingdom of Italy
Died April 18, 2018(2018-04-18) (aged 82)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Spouse(s) Carol Sammartino (m. 1959)
Children 3; including David Sammartino
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Bruno Sammartino
Billed height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)[2]
Billed weight 265 lb (120 kg)[2][3]
Billed from Abruzzo, Italy[4]
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Trained by Ace Freeman
Rex Peery[2]
Debut 1959
Retired 1987

Bruno Laopardo Franceso Sammartino[1] (October 6, 1935 – April 18, 2018) was an Italian professional wrestler, best known for his work with the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF, later World Wrestling Federation, WWF), now known as WWE. There, he held the WWWF World Heavyweight Championship (WWWF Heavyweight Championship during his second reign) for over 11 years (4,040 days) across two reigns, the first of which is the longest single reign in the promotion’s history at 2,803 days. Dubbed “The Living Legend”,[5] Sammartino is widely regarded as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time.[6]

Sammartino’s wrestling style was less mat-oriented than was typical of wrestlers from his era. His brawling, power moves and personal charisma helped him become the most popular American wrestler in the 1960s and 1970s.

Early life[edit]

Born in Pizzoferrato, Abruzzo, Italy on October 6, 1935,[2] Sammartino was the youngest of seven brothers and sisters. Four older siblings died during his time in Italy. During his childhood, Sammartino’s family hid from German soldiers in a mountain called Valla Rocca, during the latter stages of World War II.[7] During this time, Sammartino’s mother, Emilia, would sneak into their German-occupied town for food and supplies.[7] In 1950, he moved to the United States and settled in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where his father had already lived for several years.[7]

When Sammartino first came to the United States, he spoke no English and was sickly from his experiences of surviving during the war years.[7] This made him an easy target for bullies in school. Sammartino wanted to build himself up physically and became devoted to weight training. Sammartino’s devotion to weightlifting nearly resulted in a berth on the 1956 U.S. Olympic team. He was edged out by Paul Anderson – who outweighed Sammartino by 70 pounds. In the early years of Sammartino’s career, he was measured at 5’10” and weighed around 280 pounds.

Sammartino set a world record in the bench press with a lift of 565 pounds in 1959. Sammartino completed this lift while not wearing any elbow or wrist wraps. When he brought the bar down, he did not bounce it off his chest, but set it there for two seconds before attempting the press.[3] Sammartino also competed in bodybuilding and won “Mr. Allegheny” in the late 1950s.

His high school, Schenley High School, did not have a wrestling program, but he worked out with the University of Pittsburgh wrestling team under storied coach Rex Peery.[2] Sammartino became known for performing strongman stunts in the Pittsburgh area, and sportscaster Bob Prince put him on his television show. It was there that he was spotted by local wrestling promoter Rudy Miller, who recruited Sammartino for professional wrestling.[2] Miller knew that Sammartino could easily be marketed as an ethnic strongman, and that he would appeal to Italian immigrants who supported wrestling.

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Studio Wrestling (1959–1974)[edit]

Sammartino made his professional debut in Pittsburgh on December 17, 1959, pinning Dmitri Grabowski in 19 seconds.[3] On December 23, he defeated Miguel Torres for the local Spectator Sports promotion in Pittsburgh. He soon became extremely popular, appearing frequently on the local TV wrestling program, Studio Wrestling.

In 1966, Sammartino bought the Pittsburgh-based Spectator Sports promotion which promoted in the Tri-State area of Western Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. The promotion was a stopping point for national stars such as Gorilla Monsoon, The Crusher, Bill Watts, George Steele, and Bobo Brazil, as well as featuring local talent like Johnny De Fazio, Tony “The Battman” Marino, and an early Sammartino protege John L. Sullivan (who later gained fame as Johnny Valiant). The Pittsburgh promotion was truly independent, ran its own storylines and had its own tag team champions – despite the use of Northeast’s based promotion World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF, currently WWE) talent. Before the Civic Arena was built, Spectator Sports held their big Pittsburgh shows at Forbes Field – the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Capitol Wrestling Corporation (1960–1961)[edit]

Sammartino’s first match in Madison Square Garden in New York City was on January 2, 1960[1] against Bull Curry (who was substituting for Killer Kowalski). In order to give him a push, Toots Mondt paired him with the iconic Antonino Rocca in tag team matches. Working with Rocca helped somewhat, but Sammartino remained no more than an upper mid-carder at best for the next few years.

On February 18, 1961, Sammartino faced Chick Garibaldi in an afternoon match at the Sunnyside Gardens in New York. During the match, Sammartino bodyslammed Garibaldi and immediately noticed his opponent’s eyes roll up inside his head. By the time the ref checked on the fallen wrestler, he was dead in the ring. It was later determined that Garibaldi had died from a heart attack. In the movie Legends Never Die, Sammartino stated that it took him many years to get over that incident.

Various promotions (1961–1963)[edit]

Bruno Sammartino and Mario Trevi

After tiring of low payoffs and broken promises, Sammartino left Vince McMahon Sr.‘s Capitol Wrestling Corporation to join a rival New York promoter and former McMahon Sr. partner Kola Kwariani. Kwariani’s hold on New York soon weakened because of low attendance and athletic commission pressure to curb violence. In an effort to increase attendance, Kwariani had Sammartino wrestle his tag team partner Antonino Rocca twice during this time. Sammartino was then told by Rudy Miller to jump back to McMahon.

Sammartino found himself with even fewer dates and payoffs than the first time he wrestled for McMahon. He gave notice to McMahon that he was going to San Francisco, and its large Italian population, to wrestle for promoter Roy Shire. Very soon after arriving, Sammartino was informed by the local athletic commission that he was suspended. Unable to find work across the country (because every state athletic commission honors suspensions given by other state athletic commissions), Sammartino headed back to Pittsburgh to work as a laborer. Sammartino found out that his suspension was due to his skipping a match he was booked for in Baltimore. He was also booked to wrestle in Chicago that same night. In his autobiography, Sammartino states that he believed McMahon set him up, by double-booking him and not informing him of his match in Baltimore, as a way of punishment for working for Kwariani.[8]

On the advice of wrestler Yukon Eric, Sammartino contacted Toronto promoter Frank Tunney hoping to take advantage of Toronto’s large Italian population. Despite McMahon trying to blackball him there as well, Tunney decided to take a chance. Sammartino made his Toronto debut in March 1962 and very quickly, with the help of self-promotion in local newspapers and radio programs, became an attraction. His ability to speak Italian also ingratiated himself with that immigrant population. With Canadian legend Whipper Billy Watson, Sammartino won his first professional wrestling championship in September 1962, the local version of the International Tag Team Championship. Soon, he was in demand by other promoters in different Canadian territories.

During his tenure in Toronto, Sammartino wrestled and beat then National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) World Heavyweight Champion Buddy Rogers for the title. However, Rogers was unable to continue after being accidentally butted in the groin while attempting a leap frog, and Sammartino refused to accept the title under the circumstances.

Sammartino also wrestled NWA World Heavyweight Champion Lou Thesz twice in Canada. One match ended in a draw and the other with Thesz scoring a fluke pin after a collision, despite Sammartino controlling the 20 minute match from the beginning. Like Thesz’s win over Buddy Rogers, this match was booked by NWA kingpin Sam Muchnick as a preliminary to the forming of the WWWF, to ensure the dominance of the senior organization and its championship.[9] Thesz recounted the matches as nothing special.

Meanwhile, McMahon Sr. was having a tough time drawing fans with newly created World Wide Wrestling Federation World Heavyweight Champion Buddy Rogers in New York. Promoter Willie Gilzenberg appeared on Washington D.C. TV; referred to a non-title match in Canada; and “returned” the championship belt to Buddy Rogers (which thus created the WWWF World Heavyweight Championship belt). It was also mentioned that Rogers lost to Thesz in a one fall bout; NWA rules specified that the title could only change hands in a two-out-of-three-falls match. Thus, Rogers had not legitimately lost the title.

Eventually, promoters Toots Mondt and McMahon Sr. cleared up Sammartino’s suspension by paying his $500 fine. After many weeks of phone calls with McMahon trying to lure Sammartino back, Sammartino demanded a title match with Rogers.

World Wide Wrestling Federation/World Wrestling Federation[edit]

First World Heavyweight Championship reign (1963–1971)[edit]

Sammartino won the WWWF World Heavyweight Championship on May 17, 1963, defeating “Nature Boy” Buddy Rogers in 48 seconds.[10] After the bell rang, Bruno rushed Rogers, shoved him into the turnbuckles and put Rogers up in a backbreaker. Bruno claims he never heard Rogers give up but heard the ref telling him to put Rogers down. The ref then raised Bruno’s hand to a thunderous uproar of approval from the crowd. Rogers claimed until his dying day that he had suffered a heart attack a week before the match and was dragged out of a hospital to have the match. Sammartino has said (and other wrestlers on the card verify) that all wrestlers were examined and passed by the State Athletic Commission doctor that night as was customary in those days. Sammartino has also pointed out that if Rogers was sick, he never took time off from his schedule after he lost the belt. Others have pointed out that Rogers worked mainly in short tag team matches until his first retirement one year later (he would later return for two brief comebacks, and much later as a manager).[11]

Sammartino and Rogers did face each other two months later at Madison Square Garden in a tag team match, with Rogers and Handsome Johnny Barend defeating Sammartino and Bobo Brazil by 2 falls to 1. Sammartino did not trust Rogers and the two did not work together very much during the match. Rogers pinned Sammartino for the third and deciding fall.

Rogers retired prior to their scheduled title rematch on October 4, 1963, in Jersey City, New Jersey’s Roosevelt Stadium. Sammartino instead that night had his first match against new No. 1 contender, Gorilla Monsoon (Monsoon won by disqualification). Sammartino kept this title for seven years, eight months, and one day.

Sammartino headlined cards that filled both the third and current Madison Square Gardens on a monthly basis. He battled the top bad guys of his time, including Killer Kowalski,[2] Giant Baba, Gene Kiniski,[2] Dr. Bill Miller,[2] Dr. Jerry Graham, Bull Ramos, Hans Mortier, Waldo Von Erich, The Crusher, Johnny Valentine, The Sheik, Freddie Blassie, Curtis Iaukea, Tarzan Tyler, Bill Watts, Gorilla Monsoon, Professor Toru Tanaka, “Handsome” Johnny Barend, Spiros Arion, Oscar “Crusher” Verdu, Ernie “The Big Cat” Ladd, John Tolos, The Kentucky Butcher, and George “The Animal” Steele.

On January 18, 1971, Sammartino lost the championship at Madison Square Garden to Ivan Koloff.[12] After the pin, Koloff slowly walked across the ring while the ref raised his hand three times, and the announcer came into the ring with the championship belt; however, fearful of a riot, he did not present it to Koloff. Koloff left the ring while Sammartino stayed inside to keep the crowd’s attention off Koloff. As Sammartino left the ring, people started crying. Three weeks later, Pedro Morales beat Koloff to win the title, and Sammartino congratulated the new champion as he was announced.

Meanwhile, on January 14, 1972, Sammartino returned to Los Angeles for the first time in five years to participate in a 22-man battle royal, which included competitors such as Rocky Johnson, Mil Máscaras, John Tolos, Haystacks Calhoun, and Ripper Collins. The final two men left in the ring were Collins and Sammartino. After brawling for about five minutes, they noticed that they were the only ones left. After Sammartino bodyslammed Collins several times, he then applied the bearhug. Collins submitted and Sammartino was the $11,000 winner of the third annual Olympic battle royal. This battle royal marked the first time that The Wrestler, an “Apter Mag”, had fans vote on “Match of the Year“, which it won.

Later in 1972, Sammartino was asked back by McMahon Sr. to regain the title. After refusing McMahon’s initial offer, Sammartino was offered a percentage of all the gates when he wrestled and a decreased work schedule that only included major arenas. Soon after, Sammartino and then champion Pedro Morales teamed up for a series of tag team matches. In a televised match, Professor Tanaka blinded both men with salt and they were maneuvered into fighting each other. When their eyes cleared, they kept fighting each other. Two weeks later, all syndicated wrestling shows in the WWWF showed a clip of Sammartino and Morales signing a contract for a title match at Shea Stadium. When McMahon gestured for them to shake hands, both wordlessly turned and walked away. On September 1, 1972, Sammartino and Morales wrestled to a 65-minute draw at Shea Stadium in New York.[13]

Second World Heavyweight Championship reign (1973–1977)[edit]

Sammartino signing an autograph in August 1974 for bodybuilder Kathy Segal, who later won the Ms. International

Eventually, on December 10, 1973, Sammartino regained the WWWF Heavyweight Championship by defeating Stan Stasiak, who had won the title from Pedro Morales nine days earlier in Philadelphia. In his second reign, Bruno defeated contenders such as John Tolos, Bruiser Brody, Spiros Arion, Ken Patera, Bugsy McGraw, Freddie Blassie, Baron von Raschke, Waldo Von Erich, Ivan Koloff, Superstar Billy Graham, Don Leo Jonathan, Angelo Mosca, Ernie “The Cat” Ladd, George Steele. Big Bob Duncum, and Nikolai Volkoff. He also encountered old foes Killer Kowalski and George “The Animal” Steele. His second title run lasted three years, four months, and twenty days. On November 5, 1975, Sammartino was also a guest on Tomorrow with Tom Snyder.

During this time, on April 26, 1976, Sammartino suffered a legitimate neck fracture in a match against Stan Hansen at Madison Square Garden, when Hansen improperly executed a body slam and dropped Sammartino on his head. He managed to wrestle for an additional 15 minutes and did the planned finish of a stoppage due to blood. After two months, Sammartino returned and faced Hansen in a rematch on June 25, 1976 at Shea Stadium, which was on the closed circuit TV undercard of the Ali vs. Antonio Inoki match for WWWF cities. The match was rated 1976 “Match of the Year” by a number of wrestling magazines. Subsequently, after a chance to recover and train, Sammartino scored decisive steel cage match wins over Hansen around the WWWF circuit.

In early 1977, after suffering the broken neck and many other ailments, Sammartino informed McMahon Sr. that he was done with his second title reign, which ended in Baltimore on April 30, 1977, when he was defeated by Superstar Billy Graham.[14] In a controversial ending, Graham had both feet braced on the ropes (which is illegal in professional wrestling) while successfully pinning Sammartino.

Later career and initial retirement (1978–1981)[edit]

Despite a very long series of rematches against Graham, Sammartino was unable to regain the title. His final attempt was in Philadelphia, just a few days before Graham was scheduled to lose the title to Bob Backlund. The Philly match was the only documented instance of Sammartino losing a steel cage match, as he lost by accidentally knocking a bloody and battered Graham through the cage door.

After his second reign ended, Sammartino leisurely toured the U.S. and the world. He wrestled then NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race to a one-hour draw in St. Louis. He also wrestled and defeated Blackjack Mulligan, Lord Alfred Hayes, Dick Murdoch, Kenji Shibuya, and “Crippler” Ray Stevens. Also during this time, Sammartino began serving as color commentator for the WWF’s syndicated programs, WWF Championship Wrestling and WWF All-Star Wrestling.

On January 22, 1980, his former student Larry Zbyszko turned on him at the World Wrestling Federation‘s Championship Wrestling show. Sammartino, shocked and hurt by Zbyszko’s betrayal, vowed to make Zbyszko pay dearly. Their feud culminated on August 9, 1980, in front of 36,295 fans at Shea Stadium.[15] As the main event of 1980’s Showdown at Shea, Sammartino defeated Zbyszko inside a steel cage.[15] In his autobiography, Hulk Hogan claimed that his match with André the Giant was the real reason for the huge draw at Shea Stadium; however, the feud between Sammartino and Zbyszko sold out everywhere in the build-up to the show. In contrast, Hogan and André headlined exactly one card in White Plains, New York before they wrestled at Shea, and they drew a paltry 1,200 in a building that held 3,500.[16]

Sammartino retired from North American wrestling full-time in 1981, in a match that opened the Meadowlands Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Sammartino pinned George “The Animal” Steele in his match. Sammartino then finished up his full-time career by touring Japan.

Return to WWF (1984–1988)[edit]

It was during this time Sammartino found out through Angelo Savoldi, a recently fired office employee of Capitol Wrestling Corporation, that he had been cheated by Vince McMahon Sr. on the promised gate percentages for his entire second title run. Sammartino filed suit against McMahon and his Capitol Wrestling Corporation.[17] The suit was eventually settled out of court by McMahon’s son, Vince McMahon after his father had died. Part of the settlement included Sammartino returning to do color commentary on WWF television in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars for what amounted to nineteen days of work.

At the inaugural WrestleMania at a sold out Madison Square Garden in 1985, Sammartino was in his son David‘s corner for his match against Brutus Beefcake. The match ended in a double-disqualification after the Sammartinos began brawling with Beefcake and his manager Johnny Valiant. He returned to in ring action soon after with his son, as they wrestled against Beefcake and Valiant at Madison Square Garden. The Sammartinos also teamed against “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan in various arenas. Despite being in his early-50’s, Sammartino frequently proved to be in much better physical shape than his opponents, often leaving them “blown up” by the middle of the match.

Sammartino’s highest-profile feud during this run was with “Macho Man” Randy Savage. An irate Sammartino attacked Savage during a TV interview, after Savage bragged about injuring Ricky Steamboat, by driving the timekeeper’s bell into Steamboat’s throat during a televised match. Sammartino defeated Savage in a lumberjack match for the WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship via disqualification at the Boston Garden.[18] This allowed Savage to keep the championship belt, as titles cannot change hands via countout or disqualification. He was often teamed with Tito Santana and his old enemy George “The Animal” Steele (who was a fan favorite at this point in his career) to wrestle Savage and “Adorable” Adrian Adonis. The climax of their feud came was a victory for Sammartino and Santana in a steel cage match in Madison Square Garden.

Sammartino also engaged in a feud with “Rowdy” Roddy Piper after Piper insulted his heritage on a segment of Piper’s Pit at Madison Square Garden. Sammartino faced Piper in both singles and tag team matches. Sammartino teamed with Paul Orndorff in his matches against Piper, while Piper would tag with his “bodyguard”, Ace “Cowboy” Bob Orton. Sammartino would eventually get the upper hand in the feud, by defeating Piper in a steel cage match at the Boston Garden.

In 1986, Sammartino competed in a 20-man battle royal at WrestleMania 2 at the Rosemont Horizon in Chicago. The battle royal featured not only professional wrestlers, but also professional football players, and Sammartino was eliminated by Killer Kowalski protege Big John Studd. Later on in 1987, Sammartino teamed up with Jake “The Snake” Roberts and Santana in a six-man elimination tag team match against The Hart Foundation and then Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion The Honky Tonk Man. Sammartino was the sole survivor of the match pinning the Honky Tonk Man for the win.

Sammartino’s final WWF match saw him teaming up with Hulk Hogan to defeat King Kong Bundy and One Man Gang. Sammartino continued doing commentary on Superstars of Wrestling until March 1988.

Post-WWF career (1988–2013)[edit]

After leaving the WWF, Sammartino was an outspoken critic of the path McMahon has taken professional wrestling, particularly in the use of steroids, other illicit drugs and borderline obscene wrestling angles. In the last stage of his career, he refused to travel with the younger wrestlers for fear of being stopped in a vehicle containing drugs. McMahon provided wrestler-turned-road-agent Chief Jay Strongbow as a travel partner. He appeared in the media in opposition to the WWE on such shows as The Phil Donahue Show, Geraldo and CNN.

Sammartino began doing commentary for Herb Abrams’ upstart Universal Wrestling Federation (UWF) as it attempted to go national and compete with the WWF, the NWA, and World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW).

On October 28, 1989, Sammartino made a special appearance at the NWA pay-per-view event Halloween Havoc, where he was the special guest referee in a “Thunderdome” cage match which featured Ric Flair and Sting taking on Terry Funk and The Great Muta. Sammartino ended up exchanging blows with Muta at the end of the match and ran him off. Sammartino also worked several World Championship Wrestling (WCW) events in a minor analysis role in the early 1990s, as well as a brief run doing color commentary with Jim Ross on Saturday Night in 1992.

In 2006, he signed an independent deal with Jakks Pacific to produce an action figure, which is part of the WWE Classic Superstars line, Series 10.[19]

On March 25, 2010, Sammartino was honored at the 74th annual Dapper Dan Dinner, a popular awards and charity fundraising event in Pittsburgh, with a lifetime achievement award, for which fellow former Studio Wrestling personalities Bill Cardille, “Jumping” Johnny De Fazio, Dominic DeNucci, Frank Durso, and referee Andy “Kid” DePaul were all present.[20]

On October 8, 2011 Sammartino briefly returned to the professional wrestling scene as a special guest when he joined a wrestling show held in his honor by Adriatic Wrestling League, an Italian pro-wrestling promotion.

WWE Hall of Famer (2013–2018)[edit]

Sammartino with Triple H at WrestleMania Axxess in April 2014, unveiling a statue created in Sammartino’s image and honor

In 2013, Sammartino accepted an invitation for induction into the WWE Hall of Fame, after having declined several times in prior years. He finally accepted the offer to join because he was satisfied with the way the company had addressed his concerns about the direction of the business.[21] The ceremony took place at Madison Square Garden on April 6, 2013, and Sammartino was inducted by Arnold Schwarzenegger.[22]

Sammartino appeared on the October 7, 2013, episode of Raw and received a birthday greeting in his hometown of Pittsburgh.[23] On March 28, 2015, Sammartino inducted Larry Zbyszko into the WWE Hall of Fame.[24]

Backstage incidents[edit]

In the late 1960s, Sammartino was involved in a fight with former Pennsylvania Athletic Commissioner Joe Cimino. Cimino was new to his post and intervened in a match finish involving Sammartino, who took a shot at Cimino in the ring and the argument continued backstage. Sammartino ended up in a screaming match with Cimino on Pittsburgh’s local Studio Wrestling program, and Cimino suspended him for a month. Sam Muchnick mentioned the incident in his book, Wrestling Babylon.[25]

In his autobiography, The Cowboy and the Cross: The Bill Watts Story: Rebellion, Wrestling and Redemption,[26] Bill Watts told of witnessing a backstage incident between Sammartino and Gorilla Monsoon. Watts wrote that Monsoon “soon found himself in deep water” when messing with Sammartino, and he did not go into further detail on the incident out of respect for Monsoon.

On July 26, 2004, Sammartino and Ric Flair were involved in the “Who snubbed who?” non-confrontation at the Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh. Flair had denigrated Sammartino’s wrestling ability in his book To Be the Man.[27] Flair said Sammartino refused to shake his hand at the event, while Sammartino said Flair saw him coming down the hall, turned, and rushed away.

Other media[edit]

Sammartino is included in two DVDs summarizing his career and life: Bruno Returns to Italy With Bruno Sammartino (2006) and Bruno Sammartino: Behind the Championship Belt (2006). Both were only released in Pittsburgh. Sammartino is honored on the Madison Square Garden walk of fame.

On March 24, 2007, Sammartino received the Key to the City in Franklin, Pennsylvania as part of IWC’s Night of Legends 3. On April 6, 2013, he received the Key to the City in Jersey City, New Jersey. May 17, 2013 was declared “Bruno Sammartino Day” in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. In 2013, Sammartino appeared as one of the Board of Governors in the nationally televised 69th Annual Columbus Day Parade. Later on in the event, Sammartino arm wrestled Grand Marshal Joseph Perella in a losing effort.

Sammartino appeared in the WWE 2K14 video game as a downloadable character.[28]

Personal life[edit]

Sammartino has been married to his wife Carol since 1959 and they have three sons, David, and fraternal twins, Danny and Darryl. They are also grandparents of four grandchildren. He and his wife have lived in Ross Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh since 1965.[7] In 1998, he said he had been estranged from David since retiring from wrestling against David’s wishes for a tag team.[29]

Sammartino died on April 18, 2018 at the age of 82.

In wrestling[edit]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Sammartino was inducted into the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum in 2002

Sammartino was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013

Sammartino received a WWE Bronze Statue in 2014

Liv Morgan

Liv Morgan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Liv Morgan
Liv Morgan NXT.jpg

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Morgan in April 2017
Birth name Gionna Jene Daddio
Born (1994-06-08) June 8, 1994 (age 23)
Paramus, New Jersey,
United States
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Gionna Daddio[1]
Liv Morgan[2]
Marley[3]
Billed height 5 ft 3 in (1.60 m)[4]
Billed weight 110 lb (50 kg)[5]
Billed from Elmwood Park, New Jersey[4]
Trained by WWE Performance Center[6]
Debut June 25, 2015[5]

Gionna Jene Daddio (born June 8, 1994)[5] is an American professional wrestler currently signed to WWE, where she performs on the Raw brand under the ring name Liv Morgan 1/3 of the Riot Squad stable.

Early life[edit]

Daddio was born in Paramus, New Jersey.[5] She grew up in Elmwood Park, New Jersey and attended Henry P. Becton Regional High School in East Rutherford,NJ. She has four older brothers and a sister, and following the death of her father, Daddio’s mother was a single parent raising six children.[7] Daddio is a longtime fan of professional wrestling, and would participate in backyard wrestling with her siblings.[7] Daddio described the matches as core to start her foray into wrestling, saying:

“I would literally take pedigrees and powerbombs like it was my job. I always pretended to be Lita. All the Divas were so glamorous and girly, and I was such a tomboy and didn’t have nice clothes. When I saw Lita come out in baggy pants and sneakers, wrestling the boys, I thought she was the coolest thing ever. I related to her.”[7]

Daddio is a former competitive cheerleader,[4] and she previously worked and modeled for the restaurant chain Hooters.[6][8]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

WWE[edit]

NXT (2014–2017)[edit]

In 2014, after being discovered at the Joe DeFranco’s gym in Wyckoff, New Jersey,[7] Daddio signed a contract with WWE, assigning her to their developmental territory, NXT in October 2014.[6] She made her first televised appearance at the NXT TakeOver: Rival event on February 11, 2015, as a planted fan, who jumped on Tyler Breeze during his ring entrance.[9] She later appeared at NXT TakeOver: Unstoppable on May 20, again as part of Breeze’s entrance.[10] In October 2015, she briefly worked under the ring name Marley,[3] debuting on the November 4 episode of NXT, where she worked as a jobber losing to Eva Marie.[11]

On the December 2, 2015 episode of NXT, Daddio made her return under the new moniker Liv Morgan, losing to Emma.[2] On the January 13, 2016 episode of NXT, Morgan competed in a battle royal to determine the number one contender to Bayley‘s NXT Women’s Championship, which was won by Carmella.[12] On the August 17, 2016 episode of NXT, she competed in a six-woman tag team match, along with Carmella, and Nikki Glencross, in which they defeated Daria Berenato, Mandy Rose and Alexa Bliss.[13]

On the August 31 episode of NXT, Morgan picked up her first televised singles win, defeating Aliyah.[14] On the September 14 episode of NXT, Morgan defeated Rachel Fazio in singles competition via submission, and would issue a challenge to the NXT Women’s Champion Asuka.[15] The following week, however, Morgan was submitted by Asuka in under a minute, and would afterwards begin a rivalry with Billie Kay and Peyton Royce, with both women confronting her following her match, leading to match between Morgan and Kay two weeks later, with Kay picking up the victory after interference by Royce.[16] On the October 26 episode of NXT, she interrupted a match between Kay and Aliyah by attacking Royce, causing a distraction that allowed Aliyah to defeat Kay.[17] Morgan went on to compete against Royce on the November 16 episode of NXT, which ended in a disqualification after Kay interfered in the match, attacking Morgan and Aliyah until Ember Moon made the save.[18] The three would face off in a six-person tag team match against Kay, Royce, and Daria Berenato on the November 23 episode of NXT, with Morgan’s team coming out victorious.[19] On the May 3, 2017 episode of NXT, Morgan competed in a number one contender’s battle royal, where she eliminated Sarah Bridges, before being eliminated by Nikki Cross.

After a four month hiatus, on the September 27 episode of NXT, Morgan defeated Vanessa Borne by pinfall. On October 11 episode of NXT, Morgan competed in a Triple Threat match against Cross and Royce, in which Morgan failed to enter a fatal four-way match for the NXT Women’s Championship at NXT TakeOver: WarGames.

Riott Squad (2017–present)[edit]

On the November 21, 2017 episode of SmackDown, Morgan made her main roster debut along with Ruby Riott and Sarah Logan as heels, attacking both Becky Lynch and Naomi. On the same night, they interrupted a match between SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair and Natalya, then proceeded to attack both of them.[20] The following week on SmackDown, The Riott Squad made their in-ring main roster debut, defeating Charlotte Flair, Natalya and Naomi in a six-woman tag team match, with Riott pinning Flair. On the first SmackDown of 2018, all the members of The Riott Squad confirmed themselves for the 2018 Royal Rumble.[21] On the January 16th episode of SmackDown, The Riott Squad defeated the team of Charlotte Flair , Becky Lynch and Naomi with Liv Morgan picking up the win for her team by pinning Naomi. The following week, she was defeated by Naomi in a singles match. At the Royal Rumble 2018 event, Liv entered at Number 11 before she was eliminated by Michelle McCool. During the 2018 Superstar Shake-Up, the Riott Squad was drafted to Raw and caused the match between Bayley and Sasha Banks to end in a no-contest.

In wrestling[edit]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Charlotte Flair

Charlotte Flair

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Charlotte Flair
Charlotte WrestleMania Axxess 31 (cropped).jpg

Flair in March 2015
Birth name Ashley Elizabeth Fliehr [1]
Born (1986-04-05) April 5, 1986 (age 32)[2]
Charlotte, North Carolina, United States[2]
Residence Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S.
Alma mater North Carolina State University[2]
Spouse(s) Riki Johnson (m. 2010; div. 2011)
Thomas Lattimer (m. 2013; div. 2015)
Parent(s) Ric Flair
Elizabeth Harrell
Relatives David Flair (half-brother)[3]
Reid Flair (brother)[4]
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Ashley Flair[3][5]
Charlotte[6]
Charlotte Flair[7]
Billed height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)[7]
Billed weight 144 lb (65 kg)
Billed from The Queen City[7]
Trained by Lodi[8]
Sara Del Rey[9]
Debut July 3, 2013[10]

Ashley Elizabeth Fliehr[11][12] (born April 5, 1986) is an American professional wrestler, author, and actress currently signed to WWE, where she performs on the SmackDown brand under the ring name Charlotte Flair and is the current and longest-reigning SmackDown Women’s Champion in her first reign.[7] A second generation professional wrestler, she is the daughter of two time Hall of Famer Ric Flair.[7][3][4]

As a teenager, Flair appeared alongside her father in World Championship Wrestling. In 2012, she began training with WWE, debuting in its developmental brand NXT in 2013.[10] In 2014, she won the NXT Women’s Championship[13] and was named “Rookie of the Year” by Pro Wrestling Illustrated.[14]

Flair was promoted to WWE’s main roster in 2015, quickly winning the WWE Divas Championship. In 2016, she was crowned the inaugural WWE (Raw) Women’s Champion.[15][16] Her match against Sasha Banks at Hell in a Cell in October 2016 was the first match featuring women to headline a WWE pay-per-view event.[17] Together in 2016, they also main evented Raw in a singles match in October and November 2016, the first for a women’s match since 2004,[18][19] and became the first women to win the PWI award for “Feud of the Year“.[20] They also set the new record for a WWE women’s match at Roadblock: End of the Line in December 2016 at over 34 minutes.[21] Pro Wrestling Illustrated named Flair both “Woman of the Year” and the world’s top female professional wrestler for 2016.[22] Flair is an overall six-time champion since making her main roster debut, and is the only wrestler to have held the three currently active WWE women’s titles, the NXT Women’s, Raw Women’s, and SmackDown Women’s championships, as well as the retired Divas Championship.[23]

Early life[edit]

Flair was born in Charlotte, North Carolina to Ric Flair and his then-wife Elizabeth.[24] She has an older half-sister, Megan, and an older half-brother, David, while her younger brother Reid died in March 2013.[4] Flair holds two NCHSAA 4 A-State championships for volleyball during her time at Providence High School, including being a team captain and player of the year from 2004–2005.[25] She attended Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, playing volleyball in the 2005 and 2006 seasons,[26] before transferring to North Carolina State University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in public relations in Spring 2008, while also being a certified personal trainer prior to becoming a wrestler.[2]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

World Championship Wrestling (2000)[edit]

Flair made her first appearances in professional wrestling at the age of 13, appearing with her father in World Championship Wrestling (WCW) as “Ashley Flair” during his feud with Vince Russo and her half-brother David. On the May 15, 2000 episode of Monday Nitro, Flair appeared in a vignette in which Russo, David and Daffney invaded the Flair family home until being confronted by Flair, her mother Beth, and her brother Reid.[27] At The Great American Bash on June 11, 2000, Flair was at ringside for a retirement match between Ric and David. After Russo attempted to interfere in the match on David’s behalf, she and her brother Reid attacked him and handcuffed him, enabling their father to go on to defeat David.[3] On the following evening’s episode of Monday Nitro, David and Russo faced Ric in a handicap match with the Flair family once again at ringside. Flair attempted to interfere on her father’s behalf, but was restrained by R&B Security, Russo’s henchmen, allowing David and Russo to defeat Ric and partially shave his head.[5]

WWE[edit]

NXT (2012–2015)[edit]

On May 17, 2012, Flair signed a developmental contract with WWE. She trained under Lodi in North Carolina before joining NXT, the WWE developmental territory, in Tampa, Florida.[8][28] Her trainers in NXT included Sara Del Rey.[9] Fliehr adopted the ring name Charlotte, and had her first televised singles match on the July 17, 2013 episode of NXT, where she defeated Bayley.[10]

In late 2013, Charlotte formed a tag team with Bayley, and the two defeated Aksana and Alicia Fox on the September 4 episode of NXT.[29] On the October 10 episode of NXT, Bayley accompanied Charlotte to a match against Santana Garrett, which she won, and during the match, “The BFFs (Beautiful, Fierce Females” (Sasha Banks and Summer Rae) came to the ring and attempted to convince Bayley to join them, to Charlotte’s annoyance.[30] However, on the November 13 episode of NXT, Charlotte attacked Bayley and joined the BFFs, establishing herself as a villainess in the process.[31][32]

Flair in April 2014

After a two-month absence due to a legit injury, Charlotte returned on the January 8, 2014, episode of NXT, and began accompanying Rae and Banks to their matches.[33][34][35] In February, Charlotte confronted and challenged NXT Women’s Champion Paige during an interview with Renee Young.[36][37] Following Rae’s elevation to WWE’s main roster, Charlotte and Banks went on to feud with Bayley, who formed an alliance with Natalya, who defeated Charlotte by disqualification after Banks interfered on the March 27 episode of NXT.[38] On April 6, at WrestleMania 30, she appeared alongside Sasha Banks and Alexa Bliss in Triple H’s entrance in his match against Daniel Bryan. The feud between Charlotte and Paige ended on the April 24 episode of NXT, when Charlotte and Banks defeated Emma and Paige, with Charlotte scoring the pinfall over Paige.[39]

In early May, Charlotte competed in the tournament for the vacant NXT Women’s Championship, defeating Emma in the first round, Alexa Bliss in the semi–finals,[40] and Natalya in the final at NXT TakeOver on May 29, to win the NXT Women’s Championship for the first time.[41] After a four-month absence from the show, Summer Rae returned on the June 6 episode of NXT, distracting Bayley and allowing Charlotte to defeat her, after which the BFFs attempted to attack Bayley, only to be chased away by Emma and the returning Paige.[42] The altercation prompted a six-woman tag team match on the June 12 episode of NXT, which the BFFs lost after Bayley pinned Charlotte.[43] On the July 3 episode of NXT, Charlotte got a measure of retribution over Bayley in a tag team match, where she and Banks defeated Bayley and Becky Lynch, only for Charlotte to leave Banks after the match to get attacked by Bayley, with Banks officially disbanding the BFFs in a backstage segment later that night.[44]

Flair wrestling Sasha Banks during a live event in March 2015

On the July 24 episode of NXT, Charlotte successfully defended the women’s championship against Summer Rae.[45] Charlotte then went on to defeat Bayley on at NXT TakeOver: Fatal 4-Way on September 11 to retain the championship, after which she stopped Banks from attacking Bayley afterwards,[46] and after defeating Bayley in a rematch on October 2 episode of NXT, she raised Bayley’s arm before they shared a hug and shook hands, thus turning Charlotte back into a fan favorite character.[47] Following this, Charlotte and Bayley feuded with Banks and her partner Becky Lynch throughout the following several weeks.[48] Charlotte made her first appearance on WWE’s main roster on the Slammy Awards special episode of Raw on December 8, where she lost to Natalya in a non-title match.[49] Charlotte retained the NXT Women’s Championship against Banks at NXT TakeOver: R Evolution on December 11,[50] and in rematches that took place on the December 25[51] and the January 21, 2015 episodes of NXT, respectively.[52] At NXT TakeOver: Rival on February 11, Charlotte dropped the championship to Banks in a fatal four-way match that also involved Bayley and Becky Lynch, ending her reign at 258 days.[53] She failed to regain the championship in a rematch against Banks that took place on the March 4 episode of NXT.[54]

At NXT TakeOver: Unstoppable on May 20, Charlotte teamed up with Bayley to defeat Emma and Dana Brooke.[55] After defeating Emma and Brooke again on the July 8 episode of NXT, this time teaming with her rival Sasha Banks, Charlotte challenged Banks to an NXT Women’s Championship match, which Banks accepted.[56] They had their championship match the following week on the July 15 episode of NXT, in which Banks retained the championship, and afterwards the two shared a hug and Banks raised Charlotte’s hand as a sign of respect.[57]

Women’s Revolution (2015–2016)[edit]

On the July 13 episode of Raw, Stephanie McMahon called for a “revolution” in the Divas division, subsequently introducing Charlotte, Becky Lynch, and Sasha Banks as members of the main roster. Charlotte and Lynch allied with Paige, who was engaged in a feud with Team Bella (Alicia Fox and The Bella Twins), while Banks allied with Tamina and Naomi, starting a rivalry between the three teams.[58] The trio of Charlotte, Lynch, and Paige was dubbed Team PCB after the first name initials of each wrestler.[59] On July 19 at Battleground, Charlotte defeated Banks and Brie Bella in a triple threat match in her WWE pay-per-view debut.[60][61][62] The three teams would ultimately face off at SummerSlam in a three team elimination match, which Charlotte’s team won after Lynch pinned Brie Bella.[63] On the August 31 episode of Raw, Charlotte overcame fellow Team PCB members’ records in the first ever Divas Beat the Clock challenge, and was named the new number one contender to Nikki Bella‘s Divas Championship.[64] Her title match against Nikki Bella, initially advertised for Night of Champions,[65] took place on the September 14 episode of Raw, so Charlotte could stop Bella from surpassing AJ Lee‘s record and becoming the longest-reigning Divas Champion.[66] Charlotte won the match by disqualification after she pinned Brie due to the twins switching places, causing Nikki to retain her title.[67] On September 20 at Night of Champions, Charlotte defeated Nikki in a rematch to win the Divas Championship for the first time.[68] During Charlotte’s celebration the following night on Raw, Paige cut a worked shoot promo and turned on her Charlotte and Lynch, berating them and the Divas division.[69] Throughout October, Paige appeared to have reconciled with Lynch and Charlotte.[70][71] Paige cemented her departure from the team by attacking both Charlotte and Lynch the night after Charlotte successfully retained her championship against Nikki at Hell in a Cell.[72][73] Charlotte successfully defended her title against Paige on three different occasions, at Survivor Series on November 22,[74][75][76][77][78] in a rematch the following night on Raw,[79] and at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs on December 13.[80]

On the November 30 episode of Raw, Charlotte began displaying villainous traits after defeating Lynch by feigning a leg injury, followed by a distraction provided by her father.[81] Throughout December, the relationship between Charlotte and Lynch continued to strain,[82][83][84][85][86] and after losing to her on the January 4, 2016 episode Raw, Charlotte attacked Lynch and solidified her villainous turn in the process.[87][88] Charlotte successfully retained the Divas Championship against Lynch with help from her father three days later on SmackDown,[89] and at the Royal Rumble on January 24.[90] On the February 1 episode of Raw, Charlotte lost to Brie Bella in a non-title match.[91] The two later competed in title match at Fastlane on February 21, where Charlotte successfully retained the title.[92] She also retained the title against Natalya at Roadblock on March 12.[93] On March 3, Charlotte caused a number one contender’s match between Lynch and Banks to end in a no contest after Charlotte attacked both competitors.[94] As a result, a triple threat match between Charlotte, Banks and Lynch for the Divas Championship was scheduled for WrestleMania 32.[95][96] At the event on April 3, it was announced that the three women would compete for the new WWE Women’s Championship, which replaced the Divas Championship.[97] Later that night, Charlotte defeated Banks and Lynch to become the inaugural champion in her WrestleMania debut.[98][99]

Raw Women’s Champion (2016–2017)[edit]

Flair with the then-WWE Women’s Championship the night after WrestleMania at Raw in April 2016

Following WrestleMania 32, Charlotte began a feud with Natalya, successfully defending the title against her on the April 11 episode of Raw.[100][101] Due the disqualification ending, a rematch took place at Payback on May 1,[102] where she defeated Natalya after referee Charles Robinson ended the match as Charlotte held Natalya in the Sharpshooter, even though Natalya had not submitted, making reference to the infamous “shoot screwjob” the Montreal Screwjob.[103] After the match, both Natalya and Bret Hart, who was in Natalya’s corner, applied the Sharpshooter on Charlotte and Ric Flair.[104] At Extreme Rules on May 22, Charlotte retained her title against Natalya in a submission match after a distraction provided by Dana Brooke dressed as Flair.[105] The following night on Raw, Charlotte turned on her father by claiming she no longer needed him, further aligning herself with Brooke.[106] At Money in the Bank on June 19, Charlotte and Brooke defeated Natalya and Lynch in a tag team match.[107] On the June 20 episode of Raw, Charlotte retained her title over Paige with help of Brooke, with the two attacking Paige after the match, which ended with Banks making the save.[108] This led to a tag team match the following week, where Banks and Paige scored the victory.[109] On July 24 at Battleground,[110] Charlotte and Brooke were defeated by Banks and the debuting Bayley.[111]

After being drafted to the Raw brand as part of the 2016 WWE draft on July 19,[112][113] Charlotte made her first appearance for the brand on the July 25 episode of Raw, where she lost the WWE Women’s Championship to Sasha Banks, ending her reign at 113 days.[114] On August 21 at SummerSlam, Charlotte competed against Banks in a rematch for the title, in which Flair was victorious, thus becoming a two-time champion.[115][116] At Clash of Champions on September 25, Charlotte retained the title – which had been renamed Raw Women’s Championship after the creation of the SmackDown Women’s Championship[16][117] – in a triple threat match against Banks and Bayley.[118] However, Charlotte dropped the title to Banks once again in the main event of the October 3 episode of Raw.[119] Around this time, Charlotte began going by the ring name Charlotte Flair.[120] At Hell in a Cell on October 30, Flair regained the title from Banks in the first women’s Hell in a Cell match to become a three-time champion.[17] This was also the first time a women’s match was the last match on a WWE pay-per-view.[121] The following night on Raw, Flair was revealed as captain of Team Raw for Survivor Series on November 20, where Team Raw defeated Team SmackDown with Flair and Bayley being the survivors for Team Raw.[122] On the November 28 episode of Raw, Flair competed against Banks in a Falls Count Anywhere match, where Banks defeated Flair for the title, after which Ric Flair came out and celebrated with Banks.[123] A 30-minute Iron Man match between the two was scheduled for Roadblock: End of the Line on December 18,[124] which resulted in a 2–2 draw, but Flair defeated Banks 3–2 in sudden death overtime, becoming a record four-time Raw Women’s Champion as well as ending their long-time feud since it was stipulated that Banks could not invoke her rematch clause.[125][126]

At Royal Rumble on January 29, 2017, Flair successfully retained the title over Bayley in singles competition.[127][128] On the February 13 episode of Raw, Flair dropped the title to Bayley in the main event.[129] She later failed to regain the title in a rematch against Bayley at Fastlane on March 5,[130] marking her first pay-per-view singles match loss after 16 singles victories.[131][132][133] At WrestleMania 33 on April 2, Flair competed in a four-way elimination match against Bayley, Banks and Nia Jax, where Bayley retained the title.[134] On the April 10 episode of Raw, Flair was defeated by Jax in her final match for the brand.[135]

SmackDown Women’s Champion (2017–present)[edit]

On April 11, Flair made her debut on SmackDown Live after she was traded to the SmackDown brand as part of the Superstar Shake-up.[136] The following week on SmackDown Live, after defeating Naomi in a non-title match[137] she was granted a match for the SmackDown Women’s Championship, which ended in a no contest after an interference by Natalya, Carmella and Tamina.[138] This match made Flair the first woman in WWE history to compete in the main events of Raw, SmackDown Live and a pay-per-view.[139] On the May 2 episode of SmackDown Live, Flair began to transition into a fan favorite after she was attacked backstage by Carmella, Natalya and Tamina, later unsuccessfully competing against the former two alongside Naomi in a tag team match.[140] Flair cemented her change of character on May 21 at Backlash, where she teamed with Naomi and Becky Lynch in a losing effort against Natalya, Tamina and Carmella.[141] On June 18 at Money in the Bank, Flair competed in the inaugural women’s Money in the Bank ladder match, which was won by Carmella, due to outside interference by James Ellsworth.[142] On July 23 at Battleground, Flair competed in a five–way elimination match to determine the number one contender for the SmackDown Women’s Championship, in which she was pinned by Natalya, who won the match as a result.[143]

After an almost two–month hiatus due to her father’s legitimate health condition, Flair returned on the September 19 episode SmackDown Live, thanking the WWE Universe for her family’s support and later that night in the main event defeating Lynch, Naomi and Tamina in a fatal four-way match to become the number one contender to the SmackDown Women’s Championship on October 8 at Hell in a Cell,[144] where she defeated Natalya by disqualification and thus did not win the title.[145] However, Flair received her rematch and defeated Natalya to win the championship in her hometown on the November 14 episode of SmackDown Live, becoming the first ever wrestler to win the Divas, NXT, Raw and SmackDown Women’s titles.[146] With the win, Flair replaced Natalya in the interbrand champion vs. champion match against Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss on November 19 at Survivor Series which Flair won.[147] At Clash of Champions, Flair retained her championship against Natalya in a lumberjack match. At Fastlane, Charlotte retained the SmackDown Women’s Championship against Ruby Riott. After the match, inaugural women’s Royal Rumble winner Asuka came to confront her and pointed towards the WrestleMania sign, confirming their match at WrestleMania 34 for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. At the event, Flair would submit Asuka to retain her championship, thus ending Asuka’s undefeated streak at 914 days. After the match, Flair was endorsed by Asuka.

Other media[edit]

Flair appeared in the January 2016 issue of Muscle & Fitness.[148]

Flair appeared in two games, her video game debut as a playable character in WWE 2K17, and WWE 2K18.[149]

On July 5, 2017, Charlotte announced that she would be in Psych: The Movie as Heather Rockrear.[150]

In September 2017, Charlotte published Second Nature: The Legacy of Ric Flair and the Rise of Charlotte, which she co-wrote with her father and Brian Shields, author of the WWE Encyclopedia.

Flair ranked 29th out of 50 in the 2017 Sports Illustrated fittest woman athletes of the year.[151]

Personal life[edit]

Flair was arrested on September 5, 2008 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina for assaulting a police officer after a fight involving Flair, her then-boyfriend, and her father. She pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and was sentenced to 45 days in jail, which was suspended to supervised probation and a $200 fine.[152]

She married Riki Johnson in May 2010 and they divorced in 2011.[153][154] In Second Nature, a joint biography of her and her father released in late 2017, she revealed that she left Johnson after having been the victim of multiple domestic assaults.[155] In 2013, Flair was married a second time to Thomas Latimer, better known by his ring name Bram.[156][unreliable source?] Their divorce was finalized on October 29, 2015, in the state of Florida.[157]

Flair has multiple tattoos, including two hearts above her waistline, a heart on her left wrist, a quote from the Bible on the left side of her torso, that reads “guard your heart above all else, for it will determine the course of your life”, a cross on the right side of her torso, and a quote on her right forearm, reading “a little patience…”, from the Guns N’ Roses song “Patience“. The latter two are tributes to her late brother, Reid Flair.[158]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2017 Psych: The Movie Heather Rockrear Television Movie

In wrestling[edit]

Charlotte being accompanied by her father at WrestleMania 32

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Flair is a seven-time champion in WWE, holding the Divas Championship once (left), the Raw Women’s Championship four times (right), and the SmackDown Women’s Championship once

1 Charlotte Flair’s first reign was when the championship was called the WWE Women’s Championship.[188] As a result of the 2016 brand extension draft, which happened during her first reign, the title became exclusive to Raw.[113] It was renamed to Raw Women’s Championship during her second reign after SmackDown created the SmackDown Women’s Championship.[16]

A TRIBUTE TO…Johnny Valiant

Image result for johnny valiant GIFS

Image result for johnny valiant GIFS

Johnny Valiant

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Johnny Valiant
Birth name Thomas Sullivan
Born (1946-11-25)November 25, 1946[1]
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.[1]
Died April 4, 2018(2018-04-04) (aged 71)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.[2]
Residence Queens, New York[1]
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Johnny Valiant[1]
Luscious Johnny V[1]
John L. Sullivan[1]
Billed height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)[1]
Billed weight 245 lb (111 kg)[1]
Billed from New York, New York[1]
Trained by Al Costello[1]
Debut 1967[1]

John L. Sullivan (born Thomas Sullivan;[1] November 25, 1946 – April 4, 2018) was an American professional wrestler and manager, better known by his ring name, Johnny Valiant. He competed in the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF), which became the World Wrestling Federation during his time with the promotion. He won the World Tag Team Championship two times. The first run (which lasted over a year) was with his first and most famous storyline brother Jimmy Valiant over Tony Garea and Dean Ho on May 8, 1974; his second title run was with his second storyline brother Jerry Valiant over Tony Garea and Larry Zbyszko on March 6, 1979.[3][4]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Sullivan grew up in Pittsburgh’s North Hills suburb, not far from wrestling champion Bruno Sammartino. After asking for advice on how to become a professional wrestler, Sullivan became close friends with Sammartino and began his career in the Detroit territory wrestling, refereeing and working the ring crew for the wrestling villain and promoter, The Sheik. Kangaroo Al Costello trained Sullivan in the mat wars and soon he began traveling the twenty-five regional territories throughout the U.S, Puerto Rico and Canada.[5] From 1969 through 1973, he enjoyed a protracted stint in the WWWF as a mid-card babyface, losing to top-tier heels like Killer Kowalski and Toru Tanaka, but repeatedly holding the Mikel Scicluna to a draw, and regularly defeating low-carders like Angelo Savoldi and Johnny Rodz. On one of his visits to Ontario working for Dave McKigney, Sullivan met Jimmy Valiant. Jimmy took a shine to the young, enthusiastic Sullivan and shortly thereafter, brought him to the World Wrestling Association, where Dick the Bruiser teamed up Sullivan with Jimmy Valiant as the Valiant Brothers.[5] A victory for the WWA tag team titles over Dick the Bruiser and Bruno Sammartino put the name of the Valiant Brothers on the marquee and the Valiants proceeded to have a five-year run.[5][6]

Managerial career[edit]

After he retired from active competition, Valiant went on to a successful career as a manager. He managed Hulk Hogan as a face in the AWA in the early 1980s and soon moved back to the WWF to manage Brutus Beefcake. The pair appeared at the inaugural WrestleMania I event with Beefcake battling David Sammartino (seconded by his father Bruno Sammartino) to a double disqualification after Valiant slammed David on the floor before being attacked by Bruno who threw him into the ring where all four continued the fight. Valiant and Beefcake were also regulars on other WWF television shows including the weekly syndicated WWF Championship Wrestling.

Soon after in May 1985, Valiant and fellow heel manager Jimmy Hart put together The Dream Team with Beefcake teaming with then Intercontinental Champion Greg Valentine. After initially feuding with Tito Santana (who reclaimed the IC title from Valentine in July) and the Junkyard Dog, The Dream Team began to challenge The U.S. Express (Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo) for the WWF World Tag Team championship after Valentine had lost the IC title to Santana in July. On August 24, 1985 at The Spectrum in Philadelphia, Valiant led the Dream Team to the Tag Team championship,[5] when they defeated The U.S. Express after Beefcake rubbed Johnny V’s lit cigar in Windham’s eyes.[3] The Dream Team held on to the title for eight months, facing challenges from teams such as the U.S. Express and The Killer Bees (Jim Brunzell and B. Brian Blair) before losing it to the British Bulldogs (Dynamite Kid and Davey Boy Smith) in the Chicago segment of WrestleMania 2. The Dream Team chased the Bulldogs for the next few months but were unsuccessful in regaining the championship belts.

Johnny V added Dino Bravo to his stable in early 1987. At WrestleMania III in front of 93,173 at the Pontiac Silverdome, Valiant, Valentine and Bravo abandoned Beefcake in the ring after the Dream Team had defeated The Rougeau Brothers (Jacques and Raymond) and The New Dream Team of Valentine and Bravo was born.[7] Not as successful as the first incarnation, this Dream Team had a lengthy feud with the scorned Beefcake, now nicknamed “The Barber”, who cut Johnny V’s hair on an episode of Superstars of Wrestling when an overly confident Luscious had given the New Dream Team the night off.[7] The New Dream Team initially feuded with The Islanders (Haku and Tama) as well as continuing the feud with the Rougeaus. The Dream Team also had a couple of unsuccessful Tag Team Championship matches against then-champions The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart). These matches were unusual for the time as both teams were heels with The Hart Foundation managed by Jimmy Hart.

Also in this stint in the WWF, Johnny V was known to do commentary on matches from time to time (filling in on Wrestling Challenge for fellow heel manager/commentator Bobby “The Brain” Heenan when he had to leave the broadcast booth to manage one of his wrestlers) and introduced the team of Demolition (Ax and Smash before the original Smash (Moondog Rex) was replaced by Barry Darsow due to fans recognizing him as one of The Moondogs). After a few months, Demolition was managed by Mr. Fuji.

One of Valiant’s last appearances as a manager in the WWF was at the 1987 Survivor Series. After this show, Valiant was phased out as manager of the New Dream Team and was then relegated to the role of a wrestler once again, as a jobber to the stars.[8] Valiant left the WWF in March 1988, just before WrestleMania IV, and then returned to the AWA as a manager and led the Destruction Crew (Wayne Bloom and Mike Enos) to the AWA World Tag Team Championship in 1989 (defeating Greg Gagne and Paul Diamond in a tournament final).[4]

After wrestling[edit]

Sullivan went by the moniker of Johnny Valiant as an actor and comedian. He appeared on multiple episodes of The Sopranos and Law & Order.[4] He also had several feature films on his resume. His one-man show “An Evening with Johnny Valiant” garnered critical praise from “Time Out New York,” “The Village Voice” and WBAI Pacifica Radio.[4] He was remarried in 2004 and lived in Queens, New York City.[4]

A documentary and sequel featuring Johnny Valiant, Jimmy Valiant, and indy wrestlers Sky Hosoya and Larry Brisco called “The Absolute Truth About Pro Wrestling (Parts 1 and 2)” was released in 2008.

Death[edit]

Sullivan was struck and killed by a pickup truck in Ross Township, a northern suburb of Pittsburgh, on April 4, 2018. Police are treating it as an accident.[2] Police told local news Sullivan was not in a crosswalk, and the driver of the vehicle remained on the scene.[9]

In wrestling[edit]

  • Wrestlers managed

Championships and accomplishments[edit]