Arn Anderson recently explained why he thinks fellow WWE Hall of Famer Ron Simmons is an athlete which only comes around every 20 years during a recent edition of his podcast, The Arn Show.
Anderson heaped some exceptional praise on Simmons, a former WCW World Heavyweight Champion, who also wrestled in WWE as Farooq as part of The Nation of Domination and The Acolytes with Bradshaw.
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ARN ANDERSON EXPLAINS WHY RON SIMMONS WAS A SPECIAL TALENT
Anderson is a legend in the truest sense of the word. He is a WWE Hall of Famer and an original member of the Four Horsemen which got him into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Anderson has seen a lot in the wrestling business, so when he says someone was or is something special it’s important to take notice. That is exactly what he did on a recent episode of his podcast, Arn. During his podcast, he discussed Ron Simmons, who Anderson calls a “special athlete.” He stated the following:
“Ron Simmons has got about 10 Hall of Fame rings from different, different, you name it. Sometimes when he’s in a goofy mood, he’ll have about six rings on there signing and the thing is though, he earned every one of them. He’s, he’s a special athlete that comes along just every, every 20 years, maybe, that can just, is just so exceptional in every facet of what he does … He’s a class ‘A’ gentleman. You know, I’ve gotten to be pretty good friends with Ron over the years and he’s just, he’s just a special athlete.”H/T To Wrestling Inc. For Transcription
FROM PRO ATHLETE TO PRO WRESTLER
Ron Simmons is a household name to a lot of people, but not necessarily by the Simmons name. Where most people first became aware of him, myself included, is from his time in WWE where he went by Faarooq Asaad or just Faarooq.
Simmons is a football player turned pro wrestler. He played for the Cleveland Browns during the 1981 and ‘82 seasons. In 1986 he joined Jim Crockett Promotions which would eventually turn into WCW. His career started to take off when he teamed up with another scary wrestler named Butch Reed and the pair formed Doom.
SIMMONS MAKING HISTORY
In 1992, Ron Simmons did something no one had ever done before. He took on Big Van Vader who was the WCW World Heavyweight Champion and beat him to capture the title. With this win, he is recognized as the first African American to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship and the second to ever win a world title in pro wrestling. This is undoubtedly the peak of his career.
In 1996, Simmons came out of semi-retirement to join the WWE. He debuted on Monday Night Raw under the new name of Faarooq Asad. His new gimmick saw him wearing a blue gladiator outfit and was not received well, but he was managed by Sunny which helped a lot.
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The gladiator gimmick was quickly abandoned and he moved on to lead a Black Panther-inspired faction called the Nation of Domination. While this might have started out as his ticket to a WWF Title reign, it didn’t work out that way. One of the NOD members was a young wrestler named Rocky Maivia who would later go by The Rock.
After the NOD dissolved, Simmons joined a tag team with JBL then known as Bradshaw. Their group was known as The Acolytes and were vaguely occult with weird symbols on their chests. They eventually became a comedic team as they ran a protection/bodyguard company called the Acolyte Protection Agency or the APA.
While in the APA, Simmons saw a lot of TV time and even though he was clearly the better wrestler of the APA he was never able to achieve a WWF/WWE Championship. However, the team did become multiple-time WWE Tag Team Champions. However, in 2012, Simmons’ contributions to wrestling were honored when he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2012 that year.
Simmons was a pioneer for African American wrestlers and without his contribution to pro wrestling, we may not get to see stars like Bobby Lashley, Big E, Keith Lee, Powerhouse Hobbs, and many others active today.
Have you seen Simmons’ match from his days in Doom? What did you think of him in WCW? Are the WWF and WCW versions vastly different? Do you think Ron Simmons should have won a WWF/WWE Championship? Do you think wrestling would be what it is today without Simmons’ contribution? Let us know who from the modern era you would have loved to see Simmons wrestle in his prime.
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Sources: Arn, Wrestling Inc.