Ron Simmons (May 15, 1958) is a retired American professional wrestler and retired American football player. He was the first African American to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship, and was thus the first officially recognized African American World Champion. (Bobo Brazil, who won the NWA Championship in 1962, was not officially recognized for his win.)
Simmons was a Florida State University All-American football player, and played for the Cleveland Browns in the National Football League and the Ottawa Rough Riders in the Canadian Football League. He became a professional wrestler in 1986, and went on to wrestle in World Championship Wrestling under his real name and in the World Wrestling Federation under both his real name and the ring names Faarooq Asad and Faarooq. He was most recently in WWE, where he appeared in backstage segments and did public relations work. He was released on January 13, 2009.
Professional wrestling career
Simmons returned to prominence several years after the end of his football career when he was recruited by Japanese professional wrestler Hiro Matsuda. Simmons trained under Matsuda and debuted in October 1986.
National Wrestling Alliance / World Championship Wrestling (1989-1994)
Simmons teamed up with Butch Reed to form Doom. In the beginning, the members of Doom were masked and only known as Doom #1 and Doom #2, managed by Woman. In their pay-per-view debut at Halloween Havoc 1989, Doom defeated The Steiner Brothers. In the "Iron Team Tournament" at Starrcade 1989, Doom finished fourth, losing all three of their matches. With new manager Teddy Long, they rebounded and defeated The Steiner Brothers for the NWA World Tag Team Championship at Capital Combat in 1990.
They held the title for nine months, defeating teams like The Rock 'n' Roll Express and feuding with The Four Horsemen. Among their most memorable encounters during their title reign was a street fight against Horsemen Arn Anderson and Barry Windham at Starrcade 1990 which ended in a no-contest when Windham pinned Simmons while Reed simultaneously pinned Anderson. Doom were recognized as the first holders of the WCW World Tag Team Championship in January 1991, finally losing the titles to The Freebirds at WrestleWar in February 1991. Subsequently, Doom broke up, with Simmons turning face and feuding with Reed, defeating him in a cage match at the very first SuperBrawl. Simmons defeated midcarders including Oz and The Diamond Studd, then unsuccessfully challenged Lex Luger for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship at Halloween Havoc 1991, losing the best-of-three-falls match one fall to two. Simmons spent the first half of 1992 feuding with Cactus Jack, whom he defeated via pinfall at SuperBrawl II.
On August 2, 1992, a scheduled title match between Sting and WCW World Heavyweight Champion Big Van Vader was canceled after Jake Roberts (kayfabe) injured Sting. WCW President Bill Watts responded by holding a raffle to determine the number one contender. Simmons won the raffle and defeated Vader with a powerslam to win the championship. By defeating Vader, Simmons became the first recognized African American WCW World Heavyweight Champion.
Simmons held the title for five months. He continued to feud with Cactus Jack, with Jack bringing in The Barbarian to challenge Simmons at Halloween Havoc 1992. At Starrcade 1992, Simmons was scheduled to wrestle Rick Rude, but due to Rude being injured he faced "Dr. Death" Steve Williams instead, wrestling to a double countout that was changed to a disqualification win for Simmons when Williams attacked him after the match. His title reign ended two days later on December 30, 1992, when Vader defeated him to regain the title. Afterwards, Simmons was relegated to mid-card status, eventually becoming a bitter heel who felt like the fans abandoned him after he lost the championship. Simmons unsuccessfully challenged Dustin Rhodes for the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship and Paul Orndorff for the WCW World Television Championship during his last months with WCW.
Extreme Championship Wrestling (1994-1995)
Simmons appeared in Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) from late 1994 to early 1995. During that time he unsuccessfully challenged ECW World Champion Shane Douglas at November to Remember 1994 and had matches with Mikey Whipwreck and 911.
World Wrestling Federation / Entertainment (1996-2010)
Simmons joined the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and made his debut on the July 22, 1996, episode of Raw. His first gimmick was that of 'Faarooq Asaad', a gladiator who wore a black and blue gladiator outfit with a misshaped helmet and was managed by Sunny. Simmons started his first feud with Ahmed Johnson before shortening his ring name to 'Faarooq'.
Nation of Domination (1996-1998)
As Faarooq, Simmons dropped his gladiator gimmick and with his new manager, Clarence Mason, formed a stable known as the Nation of Domination. The Nation of Domination was loosely based on the Nation of Islam and the Black Panther Party, although the members of the stable were not exclusively African American. They mostly feuded with Ahmed Johnson, who Faarooq was combating before. Faarooq's ongoing "war" with Johnson included matches at the Royal Rumble in 1997, where Ahmed won by disqualification, and another at Wrestlemania 13 where Ahmed recruited the Legion of Doom to take on the entire Nation in the infamous Chicago Street Fight, which was won by Johnson and the Road Warriors. The group stayed together until Faarooq became angry with them for costing him the World title. After Simmons threw Crush and Savio Vega out of the Nation, Crush and Vega formed their own rival factions, known respectively as the Disciples of Apocalypse and Los Boricuas, and Faarooq recruited more African American members for the Nation. The three stables feuded with one another throughout 1997. In early 1998, Simmons's leadership of the Nation of Domination was usurped by The Rock, and he spent several months feuding with his former stablemates.
The Acolytes / The A.P.A. (1998-2004)
After being dumped from the Nation, Simmons teamed briefly with 2 Cold Scorpio. In late 1998, Simmons began teaming with Bradshaw as Hell's Henchmen. They were managed by The Jackyl until he left the WWF, at which point they were repackaged as members of The Undertaker's Ministry of Darkness and were renamed the "Acolytes", as they acted like acolytes to the Undertaker. The Acolytes recruited Phineas I. Godwinn and Mabel to the Ministry by kidnapping and brainwashing them (renaming them Mideon and Viscera, respectively), and feuded with the Undertaker's rivals, such as D-Generation X and The Brood, the latter of which later joined the Ministry as well.
After the Undertaker suffered an injury in late 1999, the Ministry of Darkness disbanded. Simmons and Bradshaw continued to team with one another, and eventually adopted the gimmick of two brawlers who enjoyed drinking beer and smoking cigars, becoming faces in the process. After Bradshaw began hiring out the services of the Acolytes as mercenaries and bodyguards, the tag team was renamed the Acolytes Protection Agency (APA). Around this time, Simmons would start saying his trademark "DAMN!" catchphrase, though it wouldn't be emphasized as much as it would be later on.
The APA teamed together until 2002, when Simmons was drafted to the SmackDown! brand of World Wrestling Entertainment. Around this time, Simmons changed his ring name to his real name by choice, due to the terrorist group Al-Qaeda having a training camp called All-Faarooq. Simmons had a brief heel run when he teamed with Reverend D-Von until he retired in December 2002, but in June 2003 he returned to WWE with Bradshaw and the APA reunited. One memorable moment during this short return was a joke shared by the two during which they claimed that the Basham Brothers' then-valet Shaniqua was actually Shelton Benjamin in drag.
In his last WWE storyline, he was fired by former SmackDown! General Manager Paul Heyman after he disrespected Heyman (due to the WrestleMania XX issue between Heyman and Stone Cold Steve Austin during that night). It was assumed the APA would be fired, but it turned out to only be Faarooq. Simmons retired from his in-ring career, kayfabe accusing Bradshaw of not being a faithful friend. He had decided to retire quietly in this manner due to injury and age. During that event, Heyman told Bradshaw that it was time for him to break out on his own again. Bradshaw then debuted a Wall Street businessman gimmick with the name John "Bradshaw" Layfield, and went on to win the WWE Championship.
Occasional appearances and Retirement (2006-2010)
In 2006, during a rebroadcast of the 1981 Orange Bowl on Sun Sports, Simmons stated that since that time he has retired from wrestling action, but would like to continue or even improve his role with WWE. Starting on October 23, 2006, he began making short cameos on Raw under his given name to say his catchphrase of "Damn!", often in awe of or shock at odd happenings. On the November 20, 2006, edition of Raw, Simmons was chosen by Ric Flair to replace the injured Roddy Piper at the Survivor Series to take on the Spirit Squad. He was the first to be eliminated, via countout. He was seen in the ring with Chris Masters in the Masterlock Challenge on the January 15, 2007 edition of Raw, a confrontation which ended prematurely after interference from Super Crazy. Although Simmons technically broke the masterlock, it was not officially recognized because of Crazy's interference. On the July 27, 2007, edition of SmackDown!, Simmons was named the best man for Theodore Long and Kristal's kayfabe wedding.
Simmons also engaged in a feud against Santino Marella. On September 10, 2007, on Raw, Simmons was attacked by Marella. This was the first time that Simmons has been attacked by someone on screen for years. On the September 24, 2007, edition of Raw, Simmons made a return to the ring and defeated Santino Marella by countout after Marella left the ring and walked out. A week later, Simmons said "Damn!" one more time after throwing Steve-O out of a nearby door.
Simmons occasionally competed on WWE Heat, taking on unknown wrestlers from the town in which the show is being taped. At the end of each match, Simmons holds onto a microphone, pulling it toward and away from his mouth while the crowd cheers then eventually will say "Damn!". On December 3, 2007, Simmons and Bradshaw were hired by Hornswoggle to help him in a no disqualification handicap match against Jonathan Coachman and Carlito in which they helped him win. Simmons appeared on Raw's 800th episode on November 3, 2008 appearing on the entrance ramp and saying his signature phrase 'Damn!' while many superstars were dancing in the ring. He also returned during the Slammy Awards 2008 with Mickie James to give The Great Khali the DAMN Moment of that year's Slammy Awards.
Simmons was released from WWE on January 13, 2009 due to budget cuts.
Simmons showed up on the November 15, 2010 episode of "Old School" Raw backstage using his catchphase "Damn".
- Finishing Moves
- Signature Moves
- With Bradshaw
- Finishing Moves
- Aided powerbomb
- Signature Moves
- Back suplex/ Neckbreaker slam combination
- Double spinebuster
- "The All American"
- "The Powerhouse"
Championships and accomplishments