In June 2011, CM Punk identified himself as a “Paul Heyman guy” – a phrase that has since spawned a WWE t-shirt. During his career, Heyman has wrestled various superstars who can all lay claim to having been a ‘Heyman guy (and gal). Today we look at some of the less well remembered, or known, superstars that performed under the tutelage of the former ECW owner.
The 6ft 8″ Alfred “Al” Poling debuted in ECW in the mid-nineties as the handler for Sabu before being renamed 911 and becoming the enforcer for the ECW version of Heyman’s Dangerous Alliance stable with Sabu and Tazmaniac.
As part of his persona, he would perform chokeslams on other performers with little provocation. He left ECW in 1996 over Heyman’s treatment of the promotion’s ring crew but returned in 1998 with a new manager, Judge Jeff Jones, who proclaimed 911 to be the true giant of professional wrestling. That same night he was defeated by 5 ft 7″ 150 pound Spike Dudley in less than a minute.
The late Keith A. Franke, better known to wrestling fans as “Adorable” Adrian Adonis, was a popular performer during the late 70s and early 80s. He was a multiple world tag team champion including a WWF reign with Dick Murdoch and an American Wrestling Association (AWA) one with Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura.
After leaving the WWF after a loss to ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper at WrestleMania III, Adonis returned to the AWA, where he was managed by Paul E. Dangerously during 1987. He maintained his “Adorable” Adrian Adonis gimmick, and feuded with Tommy Rich. He lost the final match of the AWA International Television Championship tournament to Greg Gagne in December 1987.
An ankle injury prevented Adonis from participating in a scheduled New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) tour the following year. In July of 1988, Adonis was killed when a minivan, with fellow wrestlers Victor “Pat Kelly” Arko, and Dave “Wildman” McKigney, was inadvertently driven into a lake.
Tommy Rich and Austin Idol
Rich and Idol were the first superstars to be managed by Paul Heyman in Continental Wrestling Association (CWA) in a heated feud with Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler.
The feud was really more like a war which later carried over into the American Wrestling Association. There the Original Midnight Express (Dennis Condrey and Randy Rose) took over from Idol and Rich, who had by then turned babyface.
Former NWA superstar Colonel DeBeers had been managed by Paul Heyman for a very short time in the American Wrestling Association. DeBeers’ interviews and persona were based on a pro-Apartheid mentality and he played on the fragile race relations and political climate of South Africa at the time.
During his time with the AWA, DeBeers had a notorious feud with Jimmy ‘Superfly’ Snuka with severe racial overtones with DeBeers refusing to face Snuka because he wasn’t white.
The Samoan Swat Team
In 1989 the Samoan Swat Team of Samu and Fatu were brought into Jim Crockett Promotions by Paul E. Dangerously. They were brought in as replacements for ‘The Original Midnight Express’ who had left the company. They also replaced the pair in their feud with The Midnight Express and at ‘Clash of the Champions VI: Ragin’ Cajun’ they pair defeated the pairing of Bobby Eaton and Stan Lane.
At the 1989 Great American Bash the Samoans teamed with Michael Hayes, Terry Gordy and Jimmy Garvin in a losing affair against the Road Warriors, the Midnight Express and Steve Williams in a War Games Match. Late in 1989, Dangerously was phased out and they were given “The Big Kahuna” Oliver Humperdink as their manager. Soon after, they were joined by The Samoan Savage – formerly The Tonga Kid/Tama in the WWF. They began wrestling as The New Wild Samoans until leaving the WCW in the summer of 1990. In 1992, Samu and Fatu joined the WWF and were known as The Headshrinkers.
‘Mean’ Mark Callous
After a brief run as a replacement for Sid Vicious in The Skyscrapers, Callous entered singles competition and took the guidance of Paul E. Dangerously. In July 1990, Callous wrestled against Lex Luger for the NWA United States Heavyweight Championship at The Great American Bash but was unsuccessful.
Callous gave his notice in August 1990 and last wrestled for WCW the following month. In November 1990, he debuted in the WWF as The Undertaker. The rest is, as they say, history.
After spells with the AWA – where she was known as Madusa Miceli – and All Japan Women’s Pro Wrestling, Miceli made her way to World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in 1991 and was known simply as Madusa. She was valet to former WWF Intercontinental Champion ‘Ravishing’ Rick Rude who was part of Paul E. Dangerously’s ‘Dangerous Alliance’ stable.
At Halloween Havoc 1992, she was kicked out of the stable by Dangerously and faced him at Clash of the Champions XXI in November in what was Dangerously’s last appearance on WCW TV.
The following year Miceli signed for the WWF, in its recently reinstated women’s division, wrestling as Alundra Blayze – owing to Vince McMahon not wanting her to wrestle under the name Madusa which she had trademarked. She is best known for throwing the WWF women’s title in a trash can on an episode of WCW Nitro at the height of the Monday Night Wars.