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Billy Gunn was born Monty Sopp on November 1, 1963, in Orlando, Florida.
Career Before Wrestling
While many wrestlers who have cowboy characters were only portraying a character, Billy Gunn came to the character a bit more honestly. A professional Bull Rider in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association, he rode professionally in the 1980s before leaving that career to pursue professional wrestling.
Billy Gunn began his career in 1985, largely working on the independent circuit. Though most of his work was in smaller territories, he did have a brief stint in WCW before he made his mark elsewhere.
While he may have started wrestling in the 1980s, he’s perhaps best known for his career in the 1990s. Trained by Jerry Grey, his career took off after signing to the WWE in 1993. It was there that he’d take the name Billy Gunn as part of the Smoking Gunns and begin an incredibly storied tag-team wrestling career. In fact, Gunn would be a three-time tag team title holder by 1996. Even if his career had stopped with the Smoking Gunns, he would have gone down as one of the few tag-team wrestlers to hold the title multiple times.
For most, though, Gunn’s legacy wouldn’t be cemented until he left the Smoking Gunns. After a brief run as “Rockabilly”, he’d team up with the then “Real Double J” Jesse James to form a new team – the New Age Outlaws. It would be as part of the New Age Outlaws that Gunn would take on the name “Badd Ass” Billy Gunn and eventually become one of the members of the incredibly popular Degeneration X. During this run he would not only get a few more Tag Team Title reigns, but he’d also hold the Intercontinental Title and the Hardcore Title.
After the New Age Outlaws, Gunn continued to work as both a singles wrestler and as part of the duo of “Billy and Chuck”. Though these runs wouldn’t bring him quite as many titles as when he was a member of the New Age Outlaws, he would still be a featured performer on some of the WWE’s biggest shows.
Billy Gunn has also had a very successful career outside of the WWE. As a wrestler in TNA, he was part of groups like Planet Jarrett, The James Gang, and the Voodoo Kin Mafia, and the Beautiful People. He’d be a participant in some of the company’s most memorable storylines and matches over his years in the promotion despite not holding gold there. It would also be in TNA that he’d begin to be known as much for his experience backstage as an agent as he would be for being in front of the camera. After leaving TNA, though, he’d go back to being a successful wrestler and even have another run in the WWE.
All in all, Billy Gunn has left a legacy as one of the greatest tag team wrestlers of all time. He held the WWF/E tag title belts a total of 11 times in his career, putting him in second place for all-time tag titles won in the company. His role in the Attitude Era also places him squarely in the middle of some of the most beloved matches and segments of all time.
Given the length of his career and the number of characters that he has portrayed, it should come as no real surprise that Gunn has had a number of different signature moves. These include, but are not limited to:
– The Fame-asser/Famouser (a legdrop bulldog)
– Gunnslinger (swing side slam)
– Shake, Rattle, and Roll (punches)
– One and Only (Cobra Clutch Slam)
– Elevated DDT
Gunn is also known for using a fairly large variety of different types of slams and suplexes. His repertoire has largely consisted of power moves, though he has been known to adapt some of his signature moves to be used from the top rope.
Billy Gunn has had a few appearances in other forms of media, though many of them are still wrestling related. He has, for example, been featured in many of the WWF/E video games that were released both during and after his tenure with the company.
In addition to his video game roles, he has appeared on both the big and small screens. His largest film role was in the 2012 film Double Fury as Wincott. He also portrayed the character Xavier “The Avenger” Prescott in a 2000 episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
Billy Gunn has been married twice and has two children, one of whom is also a professional wrestler. He also attended Sam Houston State University.
Booker T is a retired professional wrestler that had an immensely successful career in WCW, TNA and the WWE. While he has not been featured in a match since 2012, Booker T is still heavily involved in the business as a commentator and promoter. He is widely considered to be one of the best performers of all-time.
Life Before Wrestling
Booker T was born in March 1965. He grew up with his seven siblings in the small town of Plain Dealing, Louisiana. Both of his parents tragically died before he was a teenager. Booker T lived with his older sister and brother in Houston in the final years of his adolescence. His natural athletic ability allowed him to become a star player on his high school football and basketball teams.
After graduating from high school, Booker T started working at a local fast food restaurant. Since this was not a lucrative career option, he transitioned to a job at a storage facility. He continued to work at the storage facility until discovering a new wrestling school in the area in 1989. Booker T and his brother Stevie Ray joined the wrestling school after getting financial help from Booker’s boss. After eight weeks of training with Scott Casey and Ivan Putski, Booker T performed in his first live event as a character called G.I Bro.
Career in WCW
After successful careers as an independent wrestler in Texas, Booker T and Stevie made their debut in World Championship Wrestling in 1993 as the tag team Harlem Heat. The brothers won the WCW Tag Team Titles a total of 10 times. Harlem Heat was disbanded in 1997 as both brothers attempted to build their careers as singles wrestlers.
Booker T instantly found success on his own. He won the WCW TV Title when he defeated Disco Inferno in December 1997. Booker T continued to rise up the ranks in WCW. He eventually won the WCW Heavyweight Title at Bash on the Beach 2000 with a win over Jeff Jarrett. Booker T had 21 separate title reigns during his career in WCW, which makes him the most successful wrestler in the history of the company.
WWE Career Highlights
WCW went out of business in March 2001, so Booker T made the transition to the WWE. His main event status in WCW did not initially translate to success in the WWE. After spending a few years in the tag team division, Booker T finally got his shot at the World Heavyweight Title at WrestleMania XIX. He lost the match to Triple H.
Booker T eventually became Heavyweight Champion by beating Rey Mysterio at The Great American Bash in 2006. His reign as champion lasted 126 days before losing to Batista at Survivor Series. Booker T left the WWE less than a year later, but he would briefly return in 2012. His last match was at WrestleMania XXVIII in a 12-man tag match.
While he only held the top championship one time during his WWE career, Booker T held 11 other titles during his time with the company. Booker T is currently one of only 19 wrestlers to win all four of the top titles in the WWE. His amazing career was honored with an induction into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013.
Signature Wrestling Moves
Every professional wrestler uses signature moves to put away their opponents, and Booker T was no different. He primarily used two finishing moves during his career. The Book End was a one-armed suplex. He also regularly used an axe kick to the neck of a bending opponent to win matches. Booker T is also famously known for his celebratory spin that he dubbed The Spinaroonie. This celebration was often done after landing the axe kick or winning a match.
TV and Film Appearances
Booker T made had his first appearance as an actor when he played himself in the film “Ready to Rumble.” He has also appeared on the television programs “Charmed,” “The Weakest Link” and “Family Feud.” He currently hosts a weekly sports radio talk show every Saturday night in Houston. Booker T also makes occasional appearances on WWE television as a guest commentator.
Booker T has been married to his wife Sharmell since 2005. Sharmell briefly spent time as Booker’s manager near the end of his wrestling career. The couple has two children together, Kendrick and Kennedy. The kids were born as twins in 2010. He also has a son named Brandon with an ex-girlfriend.
Booker T and Stevie Ray opened a wrestling school called Reality of Wrestling. The company opened in 2005 and is still going strong today. The top students get to perform for a live crowd roughly once a month. Booker T has announced plans to run for mayor of Houston during the 2019 election.
Bruce Prichard Brought his Love for Professional Wrestling as Brother Love. He was born in El Paso, Texas in the early 1960s. Bruce Prichard developed a love for professional wrestling as a young boy growing up in the Houston area. He parlayed that love into a career that has now spanned nearly four decades. Here is how Bruce Prichard became one of WWE’s most loved personalities, Brother Love.
Early on an Entrepreneur
Prichard started to develop his love for professional wrestling when he was 10 years old. Paul Boesch gave him his first actual job in wrestling. Boesch was an icon in the Houston wrestling circles as a promoter and announcer. Prichard parlayed his work selling posters to becoming a ring announcer and part-time referee by the time he was 12.
His connections led Prichard to live opportunities as a ring announcer for Universal Wrestling Federation features. As the UWF morphed into the World Wrestling Federation during the 1980s, Prichard took advantage of a chance to do color commentary for WWF events televised from Houston.
The Beginning of Brother Love
Prichard began to spread his charismatic personality across the televised world of the WWF. During a period when he worked live programs alongside wrestling legends like Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, the idea for Brother Love became a reality. He used actual real-life events to build the foundation for the personality of his own character.
Love was white-suited, bigger-than-life animated preacher-type, who proclaimed the word of love as opposed to any religious doctrine. While Prichard’s portrayal was based on the controversy surrounding TV evangelicals of his time, Brother Love was staged purely for the entertainment of professional wrestling fans.
Animosity Against the Evangelical
Much of the controversy surrounding Prichard’s Brother Love portrayal had nothing to do with his character. While Brother Love was a totally fictional evangelical type preacher, the downfall of many real-life evangelicals cast a dark shadow over the characterization of Brother Love.
Brother Love’s time in the WWF pulpit spanned roughly three seasons. It was a segment shot in May 1991 that was reportedly the reason Prichard was released from his contract. Brother Love was beaten senseless by the Ultimate Warrior in an airing titled “I Can See!”
In truth, the contractual release was due to personal problems in Prichard’s life at the time. It had nothing to do with the animosity against his portrayal of an egotistical evangelical preacher.
The Years Without Love
During his three year highlight as the televised evangelical personality Brother Love, Prichard took over managerial duties for ironically, The Undertaker. A couple of months before being released from his contract by the WWF, he handed over management to Paul Bearer.
Brother Love was not heard from during this brief period away from the WWF. However, not long after his departure from the WWF, Prichard returned to wrestling under his own name. As Bruce Prichard, he worked in a limited managerial role and as a ringside interviewer in the Global Wrestling Federation out of Dallas, Texas.
The Return of Brother Love
While Prichard re-entered the WWE spotlight late in 1992, it would be three more years before his portrayal of the southern-accented preacher would reappear. Prichard made appearances as The Wizard and others as a character called Reo Rodgers. Rodgers was a satirical reference to the famous Dusty Rhodes.
In November 1995, during a live segment of Monday Night Raw, the beloved bombastic preacher returned to professional wrestling. No one that evening would appreciate the historical significance Brother Love’s reemergence would mean to the world wrestling stage.
Love introduced the world to the ringmaster who would become Stone Cold Steve Austin. Over the next decade, Brother Love would make periodic surprise appearances on the WWE scene. Some appearances, even involved Love taking an unexpected beating at center ring.
By the end of 2008, Prichard’s 22 year run with the WWE came to an end. Once Vince McMahon’s right-hand-man, Prichard was released from his WWE contract by McMahon’s daughter in December 2008.
Another Chapter for Prichard
During the years since his final days with the WWE, Prichard has remained embroiled in the world of professional wrestling. His knowledge and experience made him a perfect backstage influence and producer for the Total Nonstop Action Wrestling venture between 2010 and 2013.
He took time off between his last commitment in 2013 and a brief return to TNA Impact Wrestling in 2017. A year ago in January 2018, Prichard brought his Brother Love character back to life in a one-time feature appearance on WWE Raw 25 year anniversary.
Prichard has taken his talents into a new spectrum. After his time as the Senior Vice President of Programming and Talent Relations for the wildly popular Impact Wrestling, Prichard as senior producer for Major League Wrestling in Florida.
Prichard currently partners with Conrad Thompson to produce his own podcast. Wrestling fans are drawn to Prichard’s magnetic personality. Something to Wrestle With Bruce Prichard, is an audio podcast that gives wrestling fans an in depth analysis of wrestling topics and events from the eyes of a former WWE executive.
The show will frequently revisit some of the most memorable events in the world of professional wrestling. Like his newest enterprise in wrestling. Prichard has always fostered an endearing love for the sport. As he ventures into his fourth decade in professional wrestling, Bruce Prichard continues to portray his genuine love for the sport that has made him famous.
WWE Superstar Xavier Woods
Xavier Woods is highly educated, wildly talented and insanely creative. As one-third of the trio The New Day on World Wrestling Entertainment’s Smackdown Live, Woods has quickly become one of my favorite WWE performers.
Who Is Xavier Woods?
Austin Watson, who you might know as Xavier Woods, was born on September 4, 1986, in Columbus, Georgia. When he picked up the trombone in 6th grade, there was no way he could imagine that one day he’d be hosting Wrestlemania with a trombone named Francesca in hand. Joining his high school cheer squad was more in line with his future career. With no wrestling team at his school, Woods realized he’d learn tumbling as a cheerleader. It was also a great opportunity to learn how to work the crowd.
Just days after graduating high school, Woods embarked on his quest to become a professional wrestler, but he didn’t let his ambitions stop him from attending college. While attending Furman University – where he later earned a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy – Woods wrestled part-time with Ultimate Christian Wrestling, then the World Wrestling Council. He took on the stage name Austin Creed, loosely based on Apollo Creed from the Rocky movies. His next step was NWA Anarchy, where he was part of the tag team Awesome Attraction and was named NWA’s most popular wrestler of 2006. He also became the first DSW Heavyweight Champion after Deep South Wrestling left the WWE in 2007.
TNA, New Japan and Joining the WWE
In 2007, Woods joined Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, evolving from Austin Creed to Rasheed Lucius “Consequences” Creed. It was in TNA that Woods first met Ron Killings, known then as The Truth, and the pair became Truth and Consequences. Also during his time in TNA, Woods joined forces with future WWE stars Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, and Jay Lethal, as well as other younger wrestlers, to form The Frontline. Woods would eventually become World Tag Team Champions of TNA with Jay Lethal as the team Lethal Consequences.
Woods left TNA in 2010 and joined New Japan Pro Wrestling for a short stint. That led to his first developmental contract with the WWE, as part of Florida Championship Wrestling. It was then that Woods took on his current name, Xavier – from an X-Men character – and Woods – a nod to the nickname Tiger, given to him by a TNA referee. He found early success with tag team partner Wes Brisco, but that was followed by a mostly unsuccessful attempt at a singles career. In 2012, FCW became NXT and Woods made his television debut, hitting the ring with the persona of a lover of 90s pop culture, which required little acting on Woods’ part.
2013 saw Woods reunited with Killings, now known as R-Truth, on WWE Raw. But his biggest career move came in 2014 when Woods approached his current partners Big E and Kofi Kingston to suggest a partnership, The New Day. Although their gimmick flailed in the beginning, these real-life friends knew they had something special and kept working on the WWE fandom. The New Day debuted on Smackdown in November 2014. The trio was known for trash talking the crowd and opponents, and Woods often interfered during matches.
In 2016, The New Day was drafted to WWE Raw during a restructuring of the WWE Universe, and it was there that they became the longest running WWE Tag Team Champions (an astounding 483 days!) and the first WWE Raw Tag Team Champions. Another restructuring in 2017 brought Woods and his partners back to Smackdown, where they now preach the Power of Positivity.
Although Woods, who stands 5 foot 11 inches and weighs 205 pounds, has held many titles, the majority of his success has come in Tag Team Matches. His signature moves, the Honor Roll, Lost in the Woods, and Midnight Hour, have led to the following achievements in the ring:
- 2 time Raw Tag Team Champion
- held Tag Team Title for a record 483 days
- 3 time Smackdown Tag Team Champion
- TNA World Tag Team Champion
- NWA Most Popular Wrestler of 2006
- First Ever DSW Heavyweight Champion
- Florida Tag Team Champion
Woods, along with Big E and Kofi Kingston, also hosted Wrestlemania 33.
Woods’ Life Away From Wrestling
While Woods is currently working on his Ph.D. from Capella University, he holds a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and a Master’s degree in Psychology. He is married to Jess Watson and the couple has a son, born in 2017.
You’ve likely seen Woods outside of the ring:
- Woods and his The New Day partners have their own cereal – Booty-O’s – and a book, The Book of Booty: Shake It, Love It, Never Be It
- Woods played the trombone and tambourine in the music video of “What is Love” covered by Postmodern Jukebox
- As Austin Creed, he voices the character Vincent Mensah on the PlayStation 4 game 2064: Read Only Memories
- Woods appears with other NXT stars on ESPN’s E:60 Behind The Curtain
- You can be Xavier Woods on the video game WWE 2K15, 2K16, 2K17, 2K18 and 2K19. Woods also appears in the game Super Bomberman R
Or perhaps you’ve come across Woods’ YouTube Channel, UpUpDownDown, his project devoted to his love of gaming. Although he uses his former name Austin Creed, you’ll see Woods and fellow WWE Superstars playing video games together. His channel is the most subscribed to celebrity YouTube channel, with close to 2 million subscribers. Further proof of his love of video games is the tattoo on his left arm, inspired by the Legend of Zelda.
Whether you’ve followed Xavier Woods for a while or just learning about this charismatic performer, you’ll find that he’s as entertaining as they come. And he’s showing no signs of slowing down!
Wendel Clarke is a Canadian professional Ice hockey player. During his hockey career from 1985 until 2000, Clarke played for The Toronto Maple Leafs, The Quebec Nordiques, The New York Islanders, The Tampa Bay Lightning, The Detroit Red Wings and the Chicago blackhawks. Clarke was initially drafted by The Toronto Maple Leafs in 1985. In his career, Clarke totaled 564 points in 793 games.
Virgil is an unforgettable talent in American professional wrestling. Virgil was best regarded as the Million Dollar Man’s security guard/assistant. After betraying Ted Dibiase, The Million Dollar Man, he defeated him and hoisted the Million Dollar Championship Belt.
Originally walking into the ring with a pretty boy persona, Tommy Dreamer was relentlessly heckled by the Extreme Championship Wrestling fans. Dreamer soon toughened up and the clean cut jolly boy became a tough hardcore icon of the ECW.
Tito Santana was always and is still a fan favorite in the wrestling world. Santana is such an incredible wrestler that in 2004 he was inducted into the Hall of fame.
Tiny Lister is an American professional wrestler and actor. Lister has had a successful professional career in which he was pinned against the mighty Hulk Hogan. Tiny Lister has also had a successful acting career featuring in movies such as “Friday” and more.