Ronald "Ron" Simmons (born May 15, 1958) is a retired American professional wrestler and football player. He performed for World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) under his real name, and in the World Wrestling Federation / World Wrestling Entertainment (WWF/E) under both his real name and the ring names Faarooq Asaad (sometimes spelled Asad) and Faarooq (sometimes spelled Farooq). He is signed with WWE, working in their Legends program.
In WCW, Simmons was a one-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion; as the first African American to win the title, he is recognized by WWE as the first black world heavyweight champion in professional wrestling history. He was also a one-time WCW World Tag Team Champion with Butch Reed and a one-time WCW United States Tag Team Champion with Big Josh. In ECW, Simmons headlined the 1994 edition of the company's premier annual pay-per-view event, November to Remember, in a match for the ECW World Heavyweight Championship. In the WWF, he was a three-time WWF Tag Team Champion with Bradshaw as one half of the Acolytes Protection Agency. Former leader of stable The Nation of Domination, Simmons also competed for the company's singles championships on pay-per-view and television, headlining the 1997 King of the Ring event against The Undertaker for the WWF Championship. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2012.
Prior to becoming a professional wrestler, Simmons was an American college and pro football player who was a defensive tackle in the National Football League (NFL), Canadian Football League (CFL) and United States Football League (USFL) for four seasons during the 1980s. He played college football for Florida State University, and was recognized as an All-American. He played professionally for the NFL's Cleveland Browns, the CFL's Ottawa Rough Riders and the USFL's Tampa Bay Bandits.
Born in Perry, Georgia, Simmons attended Warner Robins High School, where he played football as a tight end and linebacker. In 1976, he was named lineman of the year, and first team All-State by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. While at Florida State, Simmons entered a plea of no contest in circuit court and was given a one-year probation for his part in the buying of stolen goods from a local store.
Ron Simmons was considered one of Florida State's "greatest recruiting victories" when he signed out of high school. Simmons played four years (1977-1980) as a defensive nose guard at FSU under coach Bobby Bowden (whom Simmons described as "a second father"), earning Consensus All-America honors in 1979 and 1980. The Seminoles were 39–8 during Simmons's years at the school, finishing in the Associated Press Top 20 three times ('77,'79 and '80), and earning back-to-back Orange Bowl trips after Simmons's junior and senior seasons.
In 1979 Simmons finished ninth in the Heisman voting behind the winner, Charles White of USC. In 1988, Simmons's jersey (number 50) was retired by FSU, the third time a number has been retired in school history. Simmons was inducted into the Orange Bowl Hall of Fame for his accomplishments while playing at Florida State. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008.
He later had a brief career in the National Football League (NFL), selected in the sixth round of the 1981 NFL Draft. He played for the Cleveland Browns in 1981 and 1982, and the USFL's Tampa Bay Bandits from 1983 to 1985, and it was in Tampa where he was a teammate of future professional wrestler Lex Luger.
Professional wrestling career
Jim Crockett Promotions / World Championship Wrestling (1987–1994)
Simmons joined Jim Crockett Promotions in 1987, appearing on the first show of the Great American Bash tour when he defeated The Tahitian Prince in Lakeland, Florida on July 1. Simmons wrestled only preliminary level competition that summer, but on August 7 he scored the biggest victory of his career when he defeated Ivan Koloff in St Louis. Five days later on a house show in Los Angeles Simmons defeated a young Rodney Anoa'i (Yokozuna). On September 5, the rookie defeated The Barbarian in Baltimore. On the October 24th episode of Power Pro Wrestling he became involved in his first televised angle when he was attacked by Tiger Conway Jr. and Shaska Whatley in an interview.
He remained undefeated in singles actions until finally losing to Ivan Koloff on a house show at the Omni in Atlanta in February 14, 1988. Simmons was dominant through the first half of the year against lower level competition on house shows, including Whatley and The Terminator. Simmons teamed with Steve Williams at the 3rd Annual Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Cup in Greenville, South Carolina on April 22, 1988. They were defeated in the opening round by Mike Rotundo and Kevin Sullivan when Simmons was hit with a foreign object. In December he finally entered the first sustained losing streak of his career as he dropped multiple house show matches to Mike Rotundo.
Soon after, in early 1989, Simmons turned heel by breaking the rules during what was supposed to be a face vs. face match against Junkyard Dog. Simmons won the match when the referee, Ron's future manager Teddy Long made a fast count (Long was fired (kayfabe) as referee by Jim Herd immediately following this match). Simmons later 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. Doom’s misfortune continued as Woman soon dropped the team to manage the The Four Horsemen. Then on February 6, 1990 Doom hit rock bottom when they were defeated by Rick and Scott Steiner and as a result of the stipulation were forced to unmask.
With new manager 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 World Heavyweight Championship at Halloween Havoc, 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 at a house show in Baltimore, Maryland, 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 snap scoop powerslam to win the championship. By defeating Vader, Simmons became the first recognized African American WCW World Heavyweight Champion and the second African American wrestler to win a World Heavyweight title.
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. At Starrcade, 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 United States Heavyweight Championship and Paul Orndorff for the World Television Championship during his last months with WCW. His final match was a win over Scott Armstrong on the September 10th, 1994 edition of WCW Worldwide.
Extreme Championship Wrestling (1994–1995)
Simmons appeared in Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) from late 1994 to early 1995. During that time he unsuccessfully challenged World Heavyweight Champion Shane Douglas at November to Remember and had matches with Mikey Whipwreck and 911.
World Wrestling Federation / Entertainment
After ECW, 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 Asad, 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. The feud was started when Faarooq attacked Ahmed during a tag team match where Johnson was teaming with Shawn Michaels against the Smoking Gunns. As Ahmed was outside the ring, Faarooq appeared and assaulted him, as a result of the injuries Ahmed suffered he was forced to forfeit the Intercontinental title. The title was put up for grabs in a tournament where Faarooq lost in the final to Marc Mero.
Nation of Domination (1996–1998)
As Faarooq, Simmons dropped his gladiator gimmick and parted ways with Sunny. He added a new manager, Clarence Mason, and 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, whom Faarooq had been feuding with previously. Faarooq's ongoing "war" with Johnson included matches at the Royal Rumble in 1997, where Johnson won by disqualification. The two came together in the Rumble again later that night when Faarooq's fellow nation member Crush drew number 1 and Johnson drew number 2. Ahmed eliminated himself when he saw Faarooq in the aisleway and chased after him. Later in the same match Faarooq was eliminated when Johnson returned and attacked him with a 2 by 4.
At WrestleMania 13 Johnson recruited the Legion of Doom to take on the entire Nation in a Chicago Street Fight, which was won by Johnson and the Legion of Doom. The group stayed together until Faarooq became angry with them for costing him the WWF Championship in a match with the Undertaker at the 1997 King of the Ring. 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 the Summer of 1997 Faarooq again lost a tournament final for the Intercontinental title, this time to Owen Hart after Stone Cold Steve Austin interfered, ironically the tournament was set up after Austin forfeited the title due to an injury inflicted by Hart, Austin wanted Hart to win so he could again beat him for the title.
In early 1998, signs of dissension in the Nation began to show as the Rock began arguing with Faarooq on a regular basis about who was going to pay for the rental car, hotel room and high priced meals. The Rock felt he should be the leader as he was now Intercontinental Champion and therefore, Faarooq should be his servant. In the Royal Rumble match, all five Nation members were in the ring at the same time and frequently brawled with each other, Faarooq even eliminating his fellow Nation members D'lo Brown and Mark Henry; he was one of the final three along with the Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin. Faarooq wanted the Rock to help him eliminate Austin but the Rock did not offer help and then proceeded to eliminate Faarooq.
The following month at the No Way Out pay per view all five Nation members (Kama, Rock, D'lo Brown, Mark Henry and Faarooq) lost a 10-man tag to Ken Shamrock, Ahmed Johnson, Chainz, Skull and 8 ball. Faarooq was clearly annoyed with the Rock in a pre-match interview and after the match (Rock submitted to an ankle lock by Shamrock) they almost came to blows. The following pay per view was Wrestlemania 14 where the Nation sent two teams into a tag team battle royal, Faarooq teamed with Kama while D'lo teamed with Mark Henry; neither team won. Later in the evening the Rock was defending his Intercontinental title against Ken Shamrock with the stipulation was that if Rock was disqualified he lost the title, with all Nation members except Faarooq at ringside. Shamrock won the match when the Rock submitted to the ankle lock leading Kama, Brown and Henry to enter the ring. Shamrock however disposed of them despite the numerical advantage and repeatedly locked the Rock in the ankle lock. Faarooq ran down to the ring but seeing the Rock in agony he decided against helping him and walked off, with the crowd cheering his decision. The Rock did however retain his title as the match decision was reversed due to Shamrock refusing to break the hold.
Simmons's leadership of the Nation of Domination was usurped by The Rock the following night on RAW and Faarooq was kicked out of the Nation. He spent the next several months feuding with his former stablemates over beer money.
The Acolytes / The APA (1998–2004)
After being dumped from the Nation, Simmons feuded with the Rock but failed to win the Intercontinental title. Simmons then teamed briefly with 2 Cold Scorpio. In late 1998, Simmons began teaming with Bradshaw as The Acolytes, a violent tag team sporting occult symbolism on their tights and chests. They were managed by The Jackyl until he left the WWF, at which point they were reintroduced as members of the Ministry of Darkness led by 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.
During this time the Acolytes had two short reigns as tag team champions; they defeated the team of Kane and X-Pac but lost the title to the Hardy Boyz. At the Fully Loaded pay-per-view in 1999, they won the title back in a no disqualification handicap match against the Hardyz and Michael Hayes. Their second reign ended when they lost the title to Kane and X-Pac.
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. 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. The team won their third tag team title by defeating the Dudley Boyz in June 2001 but lost the titles the following month to Diamond Dallas Page and Chris Kanyon when Test interfered.
The APA teamed together until 2002, when Simmons was drafted to the SmackDown! brand. 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 left television in December 2002, but in June 2003 he returned to WWE with Bradshaw and the APA reunited.
In his last WWE storyline, he was fired by former SmackDown! General Manager Paul Heyman after the APA lost another match for the Tag Team Championship. It was assumed the APA would be fired, but it turned out to only be Faarooq. Simmons retired from his in-ring career, accusing Bradshaw of not being a faithful friend in storyline. In reality, Simmons, who had been planning to retire due to his health and age and become a backstage agent for the company, was let go the day this angle aired on SmackDown.
Sporadic appearances and Hall of Famer (2006–present)
In 2006, during a rebroadcast of the 1981 Orange Bowl on Sun Sports, Simmons stated that since his retirement from professional wrestling, he would like to continue or even improve his role within 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.
On the January 15, 2007 episode of Raw, he was seen in the ring with Chris Masters in the "Master Lock Challenge", which ended prematurely after interference from Super Crazy. Although Simmons technically broke the Master Lock, 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 wedding.
Simmons also engaged in a feud against Santino Marella. On September 10, 2007, on Raw, Simmons was attacked by Marella. 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 jobbers from the town in which the show is being taped. At the end of each match, Simmons held a microphone, pulling it toward and away from his mouth while the crowd cheered him until he eventually said "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, which they won.
Simmons appeared on Raw's 800th episode on November 3, 2008, appearing on the entrance ramp and said "Damn" while many superstars were dancing in the ring. He also returned during the 2008 Slammy Awards 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 backstage on the November 15, 2010 episode of WWE Old School Raw and said "Damn". Simmons appeared once again on the May 2, 2011, episode of Raw in a backstage segment for The Rock's birthday celebration and said "Damn" again.
In 2012, it was announced that Simmons would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Simmons was also credited in the tribute as being the first African American world heavyweight champion in WCW. Simmons was acknowledged as a memorable character in WWE's "Attitude Era". He was formally inducted on March 31 by his APA partner John "Bradshaw" Layfield. He ended his Hall of Fame speech with his signature "Damn" once again. Simmons and Layfield reunited as the Acolytes Protection Agency (APA) on the 1000th episode of Raw, providing their signature protection and back-up for Lita during her match with Heath Slater. After Layfield hit Slater with the Clothesline from Hell, Simmons again held a microphone, pulling it toward and away from his mouth while the crowd cheered him until he eventually said "Damn".
At the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view, Simmons appeared during the segment with Theodore Long, Eve, Zack Ryder and Santino Marella. Ryder and Marella were dressed as a Witch and Lady Gaga respectively. Simmons showed up while Marella was singing "Born This Way" and said "Damn" to him. Simmons appeared again on the Slammy awards on Monday Night Raw with Kane, Daniel Bryan and Ric Flair as they were saying "yes", "no", and "woo" respectively. Simmons then came and, after a long pause, eventually said "Damn".
Simmons showed up on the January 28, 2013, episode of Raw watching a dance off between Brodus Clay and Tensai and reacted to this by saying "Damn". Simmons showed up again almost a year later on the January 6, 2014 Old School Raw in a backstage segment with DDP and Booker T.
Also during 2014, Simmons has made several appearances for Maryland Championship Wrestling's "Autumn Armageddon" tour. Simmons appeared at WrestleMania 30 during a segment between Jim Duggan, Ted DiBiase, Ricky Steamboat and Sgt. Slaughter whom were playing with a WWE Slam City play set.
He also made an appearance on the January 19, 2015 episode of Raw. After the Ascension (Konnor and Viktor) interrupted a "Raw Reunion" segment involving the nWo Wolfpac (Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and Sean Waltman) and the New Age Outlaws (Billy Gunn and Road Dogg), John "Bradshaw" Layfield brought out Simmons to reunite the APA, helping the other legends attack the Ascension.
He later made an appearance at WrestleMania 31, in a backstage segment while Daniel Bryan's WWE Intercontinental Championship win was celebrated by Maria Menounos, Pat Patterson, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, Ric Flair, and Bret Hart, where he showed and yelled "Damn" after a long pause.
- Finishing moves
- Dominator (Inverted front powerslam) – WWF/E
- Seminole Slam (Spinning side slam) – NWA/WCW
- Snap scoop powerslam – NWA/WCW; used as a signature move in WWF/E
- Thrust spinebuster
- Signature moves
- Belly to back suplex
- Double powerbomb
- Forearm club
- Headbutt drop
- Running leaping shoulder block
- Snap suplex
- Theodore Long
- Dusty Rhodes
- Clarence Mason
- The Jackyl
- "The All-American"
- Entrance themes
- "Don't Step to Ron" by S. Tatum, J. Papa, M. Williams, and M. Seitz (NWA/WCW)
- "Power" by Jim Johnston (WWF; used while a part of the Nation of Domination)
- "Protection" by Jim Johnston (WWF/E; used while teaming with Bradshaw)
- ^ "Ron Simmons". www.genickbruch.com. Retrieved November 15, 2013.
- Shawn Armstrong. Wrestling Moves and Smashes Pocket Encyclopedia. Lulu.com. pp. 142–. ISBN 978-0-557-13462-5.
- ^ "WCW Wrestle War 1991 – February 24, 1991". www.ddtdigest.com. Retrieved November 15, 2013.
- ^ "Ron Simmons: Entourage". www.cagematch.net. Retrieved November 15, 2013.
- "Ron Simmons: Themes". cagematch.net. Retrieved November 16, 2013.
- "WWE: Protection (The APA) - Single".
Championships and accomplishments
- Championship Wrestling from Florida
- NWA Florida Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Memphis Championship Wrestling
- MCW Southern Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Bradshaw
- Ohio Valley Wrestling
- OVW Southern Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Bradshaw
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI Most Inspirational Wrestler of the Year (1992)
- Ranked #20 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 1992
- Ranked #108 of the top 500 singles wrestlers of the "PWI Years" in 2003
- Ranked #91 of the top 100 tag teams of the "PWI Years" with Butch Reed in 2003
- World Championship Wrestling
- WCW World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- WCW World Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Butch Reed
- WCW United States Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Big Josh
- World Wrestling Federation/WWE
- WWF Tag Team Championship (3 times) – with Bradshaw
- WWE Hall of Fame (Class of 2012)
- "Championship Wrestling From Florida (NWA): NWA Florida/North Florida Heavyweight Title History". www.solie.org. Retrieved June 15, 2008.
- Westcott, Brian. "MCW – Memphis Championship Wrestling: MCW Southern Tag Team Title History". www.solie.org. Retrieved November 16, 2013.
- "NWA – National Wrestling Alliance NWA: Ohio Valley Wrestling Southern Tag Team Title History". Solie.org. Retrieved June 15, 2008.
- "Pro Wrestling Illustrated Award Winners Inspirational Wrestler of the Year". Wrestling Information Archive. Retrieved November 17, 2013.
- "2003 Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Top 500 Wrestlers of the PWI Years". www.willywrestlefest.fr (French). Retrieved November 17, 2013.
- "2003 Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Top 100 Tag Teams of the PWI Years". www.willywrestlefest.fr (French). Retrieved November 17, 2013.
- "WCW World Championship – Ron Simmons (August 2, 1992 – December 30, 1992)". www.wwe.com. Retrieved June 15, 2008.
- "WCW World Tag Team Championship history". www.wrestling-titles.com. Retrieved June 15, 2008.
- "WCW United States Tag Team Championship history". www.solie.org. Retrieved June 15, 2008.
- "World Tag Team Championship – The Acolytes (May 31, 1999 – June 29, 1999)". www.wwe.com. Retrieved November 17, 2013.
- "World Tag Team Championship – The Acolytes (July 25, 1999 – August 9, 1999)". www.wwe.com. Retrieved November 17, 2013.
- "World Tag Team Championship – The APA (July 9, 2001 – August 9, 2001)". www.wwe.com. Retrieved November 17, 2013.