Michael Bucci (June 5, 1972) is an American professional wrestler. He previously appeared on the WWE Raw and SmackDown! brands with a fitness instructor gimmick, under the ring name Simon Dean (a name inspired by the real name of former wrestler and former WWE Producer Dean Malenko). He previously performed as Nova or Super Nova in Extreme Championship Wrestling, Ultimate Pro Wrestling, Phoenix Championship Wrestling, World Wrestling All-Stars and Ohio Valley Wrestling.
After graduating in 1990 from Toms River High School East in Toms River, New Jersey, he attended nearby Ocean County College for a few semesters. There he met a friend and his friend informed him of a wrestling school in nearby Brick Township, New Jersey, run by "Iron" Mike Sharpe. Bucci trained at the school and officially went pro in 1992.
Bucci's first taste of superstar exposure came between 1992 and 1994, when WWF Chairman Vince McMahon used talent from various promotions as jobbers to various up and coming superstars on WWF programming.
During his time spent in Mike Sharpes wrestling school Bucci was wrestling as a superhero with a mullet, his attire included a star over his right eye and a sparkly blue cape. Bucci sparked the interest of Raven, at the time Raven was looking to put together a new stable known as The Flock in Extreme Championship Wrestling and asked Bucci to appear at the ECW Arena in South Philadelphia.
Extreme Championship Wrestling
Upon his arrival in ECW, Bucci was immediately paired with Raven, Stevie Richards and The Blue Meanie in the Flock. His first exposure to the crowd was as a member of KISS where they came out to Kiss's hit "Rock and Roll All Night" and did the bump and strut with air guitars. Although it was to be a garner for heat with the crowd, it was an immediate hit. Later a quote was stated to have been said by Bubba Ray Dudley in the "Rise and Fall of ECW" book, "that was great the crowd really loved it, the only thing better than that would be ... a parody of the nWo."
Bucci along with Stevie asked permission from both Raven and Paul Heyman to parody the nWo, it was granted, and Bucci was given credit with the creation of the bWo logo. Bucci would parody Hollywood Hogan, after a dispute between Raven and Richards, where Richards said "if he's Hogan fans'll think he's the leader of The Flock", Raven than said, "Fuck it ... he's Hogan", (and was originally introduced by Stevie as "Hollywood Bob Star"). While Richards became "Big Stevie Cool" (a takeoff on Kevin Nash's nickname of "Big Daddy Cool"), and Meanie was "Da Blue Guy", a takeoff on Scott Hall, "Da Bad Guy". Between 1996 and 1998 many other members were added and removed before the team broke up in 1998.
In 1998 he along with many other ECW talent competed at Jersey All Pro Wrestling's 1st anniversary show.
Bucci was known for having a unique and creative move set, and was called by Joey Styles "the most imitated man in wrestling" and the "inNOVAtor of Offense" by Jeremy Borash due to the fact that almost all his moves were copied by other wrestlers in the business.
In late 2000 through early 2001 he started a heated rivalry with his former tag partner Chris Chetti, who he won a loser is fired match against, his last televised appearance in ECW was at their last pay-per view as a company at the 2001 ECW Guilty as Charged. At the second to last ECW event in Poplar Bluff, MO, he was named as Danny Doring's tag team partner to help defend the ECW tag titles against Hot Commodity filling in for an injured Amish Roadkill, and won.
Independent circuit and Ohio Valley Wrestling
From the purchase of ECW by the WWF in 2001, Bucci wrestled in various promotions until 2003. Bucci wrestled in places such as California's Ultimate Pro Wrestling, and New Jersey's, Phoenix Championship Wrestling. During this time he formed a tag team with Frankie Kazarian known as Evolution. Through most of the promotions they competed for, they were successful in becoming tag team champions. He also briefly wrestled in Australia based World Wrestling All-Stars where he feuded with A.J. Styles amongst other "cruiserweights" for the WWA International Cruiserweight Championship, which he did not win. In late 2001, he even worked a number of shows in England. In April 2002 Bucci received a phone call by WWE (formerly WWF) to partake in a developmental program at Ohio Valley Wrestling.
In May 2002, Bucci, beat Prototype and became the OVW Heavyweight Champion, as Nova. He held the title for half a year before losing the title to Damaja. It was around this time he was called up to start competing in SmackDown! dark matches and on WWE Velocity. Also he was asked by WWE management, mainly Stephanie McMahon, to cut his hair because he supposedly looked too much like Triple H. He then began to try out a Richard Simmons-like fitness expert type gimmick.
World Wrestling Entertainment
In his debut for World Wrestling Entertainment, he portrayed the gimmick of a physical-fitness guru named Simon Dean in the vein of numerous infomercials. Introductory promos showed him "selling" his "Simon System," a supposed program of diet, exercise, and supplementation. The promos parodied fitness infomercials, as Simon routinely insulted his supposed customers. The promos went so far as to provide an actual telephone number to call and order the Simon System; however, unlike virtually all infomercials, the number was not toll-free. People who called the number wound up hearing a WWE promotional message.
During this gimmick he acted as the sponsor of WWE Raw, occasionally wrestling after first insulting the fitness of the crowd and the area in which they were located. After not making much of an impact on RAW in March, 2005 he formed a tag team with fellow heel wrestler Maven who supposedly was a user of the "Simon System". The team again didn't make much of an impact as Bucci was traded to SmackDown! on June 30, 2005 and Maven was released the next month.
During a WWE produced ECW PPV, One Night Stand 2005, Bucci returned as Hollywood Nova with Da Blue Guy and Big Stevie Cool as the bWo. During the event, Joey Styles made a reference to his "Simon Dean" character. After Bucci was hit with two chairs, Styles said, "That's more painful than having to be Simon Dean on national TV."
When Bucci moved to "SmackDown!" as part of the WWE Draft he joined the other members of the bWo, appearing as "Hollywood" Nova for his first appearance on the show. His next appearance for the brand was wrestling on its sister show, WWE Velocity as Simon Dean. The general belief was that the bWo appearance was going to be a one off, meaning Bucci would keep to his "health sponsor" gimmick, but it was next announced that the bWo would participate in a 6-man tag match at the Great American Bash against The Mexicools. The announcement of this match occurred on the same edition of SmackDown! that Bucci's Simon Dean character had a match with Booker T. At the 2005 Great American Bash, the bWo lost to the Mexicools (Juventud, Psicosis and Super Crazy) in the six-man tag team match. The appearance of the bWo soon faded. With no mention of The Blue Meanie staying with the company and Richards returning to his previous heel gimmick, Bucci continued with the Simon Dean persona.
In late August 2005 the Simon Dean character began coming to the ring on the Dean Machine (a Segway HT type machine) and force feeding "Simon System" products to jobbers who wouldn't accept his offer to try them after defeating them in squash matches. The Simon Dean character had his first major WWE pay-per-view appearance at WWE No Mercy, in a loss against Bobby Lashley. After the match Simon ate 20 double cheeseburgers which caused him to vomit backstage. Dean has been noted on his recent appearances as the "Head of Smackdown's welcoming committee", a position in which he was used as a jobber to debuting wrestlers.
During the January 6 episode of SmackDown!, Dean came to the ring and challenged any tag team. Paul London and Brian Kendrick answered the challenge, only to be brutally attacked by The Gymini (Jake and Jesse), two "users" of The Simon System. Dean began managing the team, but the team soon faded off television, after Jesse suffered an injury in May 2006 and Dean went back to jobbing to other superstars.
Bucci became assistant booker for Deep South Wrestling, LLC and moved closer to the area, where he worked on another gimmick to mask that of the Simon Dean character before becoming head of talent for WWE. Bucci was released from his WWE contract in 2007.
Bucci now works as a licensed mortgage broker throughout the United States. Although he has received offers to wrestle in various places, he had yet to do so, stating his inability to be entertaining in the ring in any way as an excuse, but still has love for his fans. He has claimed he may and then said he will definitely do some shows on the independent circuit next year, but is now focusing on real estate and his family as heard in a November 2008 interview. In April 2009, he along with many other ECW alumni had appeared at 1 Pro Wrestling's "To The Extreme" weekend event, where he teamed with the Blue Meanie for his first in-ring performances in nearly 3 years.
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling
It was reported that Bucci and The Blue Meanie had signed contracts with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling on February 10, 2010, with thoughts of reforming the Blue World Order in light of TNA's re-creating of the nWo as "The Band".
Finishing and signature moves
- As Nova / Super Nova
- Novacaine (Reverse STO)
- Kryptonite Krunch
- Spin Doctor (Rolling cutter)
- Deep Impact (Sitout double underhook facebuster)
- Nova Blast (Blockbuster)
- DDT ² - (Pronounced as DDT Squared) (Inverted DDT)
- Sledge-O-Matic (Powerbomb followed by an elbow drop to the groin)
- Elevator Drop (Torture rack powerbomb)
- Third Degree Burn (Two rolling piledrivers followed by a spinning sitout powerbomb)
- Kryptonite Dust (Top rope front flip stunner / cutter)
- Kryptonite Bomb (High angle senton bomb)
- As Simon Dean
- Simonizer (Arm trap inverted DDT)
- Curb Stomp (Standing reverse Indian deathlock surfboard with a head stomp)
- Push-up facebusters
- As "Hollywood" Nova
- With Chris Chetti
- Theme music
- "Superman Theme" by John Williams - Indy's - 1992-1997
- "Blue World Order Theme" by Swamp Candles - ECW - 1997-1998
- "Hit Me with Your Best Shot" by Pat Benatar - ECW/JAPW - 1998
- "Intergalactic" by The Beastie Boys - ECW - 1998-2000 / Indies 2001-2003
- "One Step Closer" by Linkin Park - ECW - Aug-Nov 2000
- "Metal Health" by Quiet Riot - ECW - Nov 2000 - Jan 2001
- "Rock Styled song" by Jim Johnston - OVW - 2003-2004
- "Simon Dean Theme" by Jim Johnston- WWE/OVW - 2004-2006
Championships and accomplishments
- 1-Time NWA Northeast Wrestling Light Heavyweight Champion
- Border City Wrestling
- 1-Time BCW Tag Team Champion (with Tommy Dreamer)
- 1-Time UPW Tag-Team Champion (with Kazarian)
- Steel City Wrestling
- 1-Time SCW Tag-Team Champion (with The Blue Meanie)
- Carolina Wrestling Syndicate
- 1-Time CWS Tag-Team Champion (with The Blue Meanie)
- American Wrestling Council
- 1-Time AWC Heavyweight Champion
- New England Wrestling
- 1-time NEW Light Heavyweight Champion
- New Jack City Wrestling
- 1-Time NJCW Heavyweight Champion
- 1-Time NJCW Tag Team Champion (with Rockin Rico Casanova)
- Premier Wrestling Federation
- 1-Time PWF Universal Champion
- PWI ranked him # 88 of the 500 best singles wrestlers in 2005
- He is the twin brother of Phoenix Championship Wrestling promoter and Founder Don "Donnie B" Bucci
- He made a cameo appearance as one of the drinkers in the date scene of Chyna & Mark Henry's love storyline from Raw 1998. He and two others were fought off out of the bar, when they taunted Chyna to dance.
- His original career choice was to be a math teacher, as confirmed in his RF Video shoot interview.
- He managed a Wendy's in Toms River, to make money to pay for gas for his trips to work with ECW in the mid 90's, as confirmed in his RF Video shoot interview, and The Rise and Fall of ECW book, and is also slightly hinted on in the bonus features of the 2005 No Mercy DVD, where he is ordering the burgers for his match against Lashley, and says, "don't make me come back there and show you how to make them...".