WWE Hall of Famer Ron Simmons has revealed the original name that he and Butch Reed turned down for their WCW tag team, saying that they both thought it was a “bit too race”.
Ron Simmons was only a few years into his career when he was teamed with the veteran Butch Reed in WCW in 1989. The now-masked duo was named ‘Doom’ and initially managed by ‘Woman’, Nancy Benoit. However, only a few months after their debut, Woman dropped the team in favour of The Four Horsemen.
Following this, they unmasked and Teddy Long took on managerial duties for the team. The two went on to successfully capture the NWA Tag Team Championships from the Steiner Brothers and ran roughshod over the division for several months, defeating the likes of The Rock ‘N’ Roll Express and The Southern Boys, and feuded with The Four Horsemen where the matches ended in double count-outs and double pins.
They were eventually defeated for the titles by The Fabulous Freebirds. In the weeks that followed cracks began to appear between the two and at Starrcade 1991, they brawled against each other after losing what would be their final match as a team to Bam Bam Bigelow and Vader. The two feuded for some time, and Simmons came out on top when they finally collided in a Steel Cage at that year’s SuperBrawl.
Speaking to JBL and Gerald Brisco on the aptly named “Stories with Brisco and Bradshaw”, Ron Simmons revealed that WCW initially wanted to name the team “Ebony Express”. However, both he and Reed immediately disagreed with the idea as they didn’t want to “start trying to play this race thing”.
“Well, I’m not really sure Butch was on board with it to begin with. I think that he still wanted to go on and do his singles thing a little more at that point. I can see where he would still have his reservations about doing that, right, because he’s thinking ‘You haven’t been into this long and you might still be a little green.’ So when they first came and proposed it to me, of course naturally you’re on board with it because it’s Butch Reed and he’s had some level of success in this business and this is a great opportunity for me.”
“Right out the gate, they wanted to make it a little bit too race. They wanted to name us Ebony Express. That was something that Butch and I vehemently said ‘No. We don’t want to go out there and start trying to play this race thing. If we’re going to do this thing, we want to come out there, be true characters that are just good at what we do. So, that was one thing that had to get corrected to start out with because when it came along those lines you had to continue on those lines of playing the racist thing and which, in this business, hey, if you’re going to break those barriers you got to start somewhere. We felt that wasn’t good for both of us at that time. So I’m really glad we did that. So then secondly, we had to come up with what we were going to be named. The Road Warriors were already Legion of Doom, so we were going to be working with them so then they just decided they would just call us Doom.”
The former WCW World Champion went on to explain that he was “thrilled” to team with Reed, and praised hi, for helping enhance his tag team skills.
“At that point, that’s how it came together from that point there and then naturally, get together with Butch, it was a big thrill for me. Like I said before, sometimes he and I didn’t see eye to eye. We had our ups and downs, believe me, on the road because Butch was his own man and the best quality about him was you always knew where he stood. That’s what I love the most about him. He was very helpful when it came to enhancing me when it came to tag team skills. So I learned a lot from Butch during that time we were together.”
Ron Simmons remained in WCW until 1994, and during his time in the company captured their World Championship and also saw further tag team success, this time with Big Josh, with the two winning the United States Tag Team Championships.
H/T to Fightful for the above transcription.