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Amarico Sebastiano Constantino (October 1, 1961), better known as Rico Constantino or Rico, is an American professional wrestler and manager of Italian origin. He worked for World Wrestling Entertainment from 2002 - 2004.

Early life

Costantino entered Northwestern Military and Naval Academy. He graduated near the top of his class and at one point considered enrollment at West Point. While Rico attended Northwestern Military and Naval Academy in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, the movie Damien: Omen II was filmed at his school. Rico was cast as a military cadet extra in the film and also had some speaking lines. Costantino returned to Las Vegas and settled into a career as a paramedic. This led to enrollment in the police academy. Costantino was also on the SWAT team at one point, paving the way for his next career as a bodyguard.

Television career

Costantino was a contestant on American Gladiators. He was challenged by Gemini to find out if "he had what it took" to be a contestant for the show. He would go on to defeat Gemini in what was considered the Gladiator's best event, The Joust, and was one of few contenders to not only beat Gemini but never lose to him, winning once and fighting to a draw twice in their three bouts. Costantino went on to defeat all the other contestants and Gladiators to become the champion for the first half of the 1990–1991 season. In the Grand Championship, Rico came up just short, losing to Craig Branham by 7 points (3 1/2 seconds) in the Eliminator.

Costantino next appeared on the European game show Capture Ft. Boyard, with a win over his former Gladiator nemesis Craig Branham. On the show, he was the only competitor to capture the needed key in the bungee jump challenge on an upswing.

Power Team

A chance encounter led Costantino to being recruited by The Power Team. A two-week tryout lasted almost two years as Costantino traveled the world impressing young people with feats of strength. At one point while with the Power Team, he was ordained as a minister to allow him to counsel kids. His work with children includes the Special Olympics and other children's charities.

Professional wrestling career

World Wrestling Federation / Entertainment

Training (1999–2002)

Costantino began to train with the Empire Wrestling Federation for a career in the wrestling business. Costantino was discovered by World Wrestling Federation (WWF) officials Terry Taylor and Dr. Tom Prichard. After only 12 matches, Costantino signed a developmental deal with the WWF. Costantino was sent to Ohio Valley Wrestling for further training, before being sent up to work for WWF.

SmackDown! and Raw (2002–2003)

He debuted in WWF on the March 21, 2002 episode of SmackDown! as the stylist of Billy and Chuck (the heel gimmicks of Billy Gunn and Chuck Palumbo), establishing himself as a villain. Rico portrayed a homosexual stylist as his gimmick. On the May 9 episode of SmackDown!, Rico wrestled his first match in WWF, where he teamed with Billy and Chuck to defeat Al Snow, Maven and Rikishi. At Judgment Day, Rico was forced to team with Rikishi to defeat his clients, Billy and Chuck for the World Tag Team Championship. On the June 6 episode of SmackDown!, Rico turned on Rikishi by helping Billy and Chuck in pinning Rikishi for the tag titles.

On the September 12, 2002 episode of SmackDown!, Rico moved over to Raw brand and became the manager of 3-Minute Warning (then-heel, Rosey and Jamal). He ended up turning on 3-Minute Warning after they lost a match to the Dudley Boyz. However both he and 3-Minute Warning all remained heels during that time. After turning on 3-Minute Warning, Rico scored an upset victory over another heel, Ric Flair.

Brand switches and departure (2003–2004)

Rico would soon return to Raw in 2003 with Miss Jackie appearing as his manager. Then, on the March 22, 2004 edition of Raw, Rico got drafted to SmackDown! and became a fan favorite due to fan reaction to his over-the-top exótico style gimmick, teaming up with an initially reluctant partner, Charlie Haas, (with whom he held the WWE Tag Team Championship) and had a valet, Miss Jackie. He retained the essence of the masculinity gimmick he shared with Gunn and Palumbo while taking it to new levels, much in the vein of Adrian Street. Rico was unexpectedly released by WWE on November 7, 2004.

Independent circuit and retirement

After his release, he went to All-Japan Pro Wrestling, where he and Bull Buchanan defeated Mitsuya Nagai and Masayuki Naruse on the first event of the "Excite Series" in Tokyo, Japan to win the All Asia Tag Team Championship. In May 2005, Rico announced that he would be returning to a career in law enforcement. Costantino officially retired from professional wrestling in July 2005, causing him and Buchanan to vacate the All Asia Tag Team Titles.

Return to wrestling (2012–Present)

Rico came out of retirement for a Future Stars of Wrestling TV taping in Las Vegas on November 17, 2012 where he teamed up with Beast to defeat the team of Gregory Sharpe and Clutch. This was his first match in 7 years for the FSW promotions "High Octane" show which airs Saturday nights at 2am on the CW Las Vegas. He is listed among the FSW Roster and "has decided to make a full time commitment to return to the ring."

Law enforcement career

In August 2005, Rico completed his law enforcement training in Boulder City, Nevada at top of his class. As of 2006, Rico is a Sergeant Inspector for the Nevada Taxi Cab Authority.

Wrestling facts

  • Finishing and signature moves
    • Rico Kick (Spinning Roundhouse Kick)
    • Sideburn Stunner (Hangman's Neckbreaker)
    • Rico Driver (Sit-out Side Powerslam, sometimes preceded by an inverted facelock)
    • High Hard One (Moonsault)
    • Two or three roundhouse Kicks, followed by a springboard enzugiri towards a Cornered Opponent)
    • Hi-Yo! (Riding the opponent like a horse while simultaneously spanking them)
  • Nicknames
    • "The Model"
  • Tag teams and stables
  • Managers
  • Wrestlers managed
  • Wrestlers trained

Championships and accomplishments

See also

External links

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