When the WWF signed Ron Simmons, a college football standout and first African American WCW champion, it was perhaps inevitable that they’d saddle him with a rubbish gimmick. In this latest ‘Well That Didn’t Work‘ piece, we take a look at his run as Farooq Asaad.
The former WCW world champion Ron Simmons would end up having a nearly decade-long run with the WWE and was one of the more enduring and popular members of the company’s Attitude Era. Yet few, having seen how he debuted, would have realistically expected much from his run.
Despite Simmons’ successful football career and a run with the WCW that saw him reach the top of the mountain when he became the first recognized African American WCW World Heavyweight Champion and only the second African American wrestler to win a World Heavyweight title.
Admittedly, his final years in WCW yielded very little in the way of positives with Simmons finding himself drift down the card. From world champion to failing to capture secondary titles and then leaving and finding his way to the World Wrestling Federation, via a stint in Extreme Championship Wrestling.
And how did the WWF debut Simmons? As a gladiator. Yip…
Looking at the image above, is it really much of a surprise that it didn’t pan out for him? Nope. Me neither.
During this time, Farooq began feuding with Ahmed Johnson over the latter’s Intercontinental championship. In fact, it was injuries sustained at the hands of Farooq that caused Ahmed to drop the title. However, in the tournament to crown a new champion, Farooq fell at the final hurdle at the hands of Marc Mero.
It was then that, mercifully, the WWF quickly saw the error of their ways and the helmet and the managerial services of Sunny were ditched. He would form the Nation of Domination – loosely base on the Blank Panther Party and the Nation of Islam, although the stable’s members weren’t solely African-American. From there, he would then join with Bradshaw to form the Acolytes and have some of the funniest moments from the Attitude Era thanks, in no small part, to the Acolyte Protection Agency (APA) and their infamous card games and drinking.
In 2012, he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame – it’s difficult to imagine that happening had the gladiator gimmick remained in place.
You can read all previous ‘Well That Didn’t Work’ pieces here.