Saturday, December 1, 2007

WWE Superstar Ron Simmons

Ron Simmons may be a man of few words, but his actions as a sports-entertainment pioneer speak volumes.

WWE Superstar Ron Simmons Among his many accomplishments, Simmons held the World Tag Team Championship three times with JBL as the APA, the WCW World Tag Team Championship with Butch Reed as Doom and WCW United States Tag Team Championship (with Big Josh). But his greatest achievement came on August 2, 1992, when Simmons became the first officially recognized African-American singles World Champion, defeating Big Van Vader for the WCW World Championship. Like “Sailor” Art Thomas, Bobo Brazil, Tony Atlas and Rocky Johnson before him, Simmons broke down barriers and became forever etched in history of sports-entertainment that night.

Simmons’ storied career began in his native Perry, Ga., where he excelled on the football field. A defensive nose guard, he earned All-American honors playing at Florida State University, where he played under the legendary Bobby Bowden. His No. 50 jersey was retired by Florida State University, and he was ultimately inducted into the Orange Bowl Hall of Fame for his accomplishments at FSU.

Despite his distinguished college football career, Simmons’ professional career on the gridiron was short-lived as he played briefly for the Cleveland Browns in the NFL and then the Tampa Bay Bandits in the United States Football League. Like many other gridiron stars, he sought the challenge of the squared circle. Trained by Hiro Matsuda, he made his professional debut in 1986, ultimately evolving from up-and-coming NWA standout to tag team and World Champion in WCW. In NWA, Simmons also met SmackDown General Manager Theodore Long, and the two have been close friends ever since.

WWE Superstar Ron SimmonsAfter a brief stint at ECW, Simmons joined WWE in 1996 under the name Faarooq, and had longstanding, legendary rivalry with Ahmed Johnson. He formed the Nation of Domination and helped mentor members such as D’Lo Brown, The Rock and the World’s Strongest Man, Mark Henry early in their careers. After a falling out with The Rock, Faarooq was booted from the Nation. He eventually teamed with JBL as the APA under Undertaker’s Ministry of Darkness, and the two went on drink beer, smoke cigars and raise a lot of hell, winning the World Tag Team Championship three times between 1999 and 2001.

In recent years, our fans have grown to love Simmons as a quiet, but keen observer. He doesn’t say much, but he packs a wallop with an ever-ready “Damn!” whenever something shocking happens in a WWE locker room or in the ring. One thing is certain: there are not enough words to express Simmons’ place in sports-entertainment history. And that’s the damn truth.

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