Former WCW World Heavyweight Champion, Ron Simmons, has lifted the blue helmet on his WWF introduction and time as armour clad gladiator, Faarooq Asad.
Following a brief stint in Extreme Championship Wrestling after his departure from WCW, the former member of Doom decided to chance his arm at a career in the then cartoon character based World Wrestling Federation.
However, any hopes that he would be packaged as the NFL powerhouse that had defeated Vader for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship were squashed when the talent was presented with the now infamous shiny blue helmet and a persona that completely fit with what the company had been doing.
Among gimmicks such as plumber TL Hopper, ice hockey player The Goon, trashman Duke ‘The Dumpster’ Droese and man-bull Mantaur, Simmons was introduced to a brand new audience as Sunny’s latest client, Faarooq Asad. Clad in blue and black armour, the star was said to be a gladiator and quickly targeted Ahmed Johnson in a feud which lasted over a year.
Quickly asserting his dominance, Asad attacked the then WWF Intercontinental Champion and was said to have injured him so severely that Johnson suffered kidney damage in the assault. The segment was storyline ruse in order that the company could write Ahmed out of the company so he could deal with legitimate kidney grievances.
Now, Ron Simmons has sat down with WWE Untold to discuss the gimmick and how it came about through former WCW colleague and Freebird, Michael P.S Hayes:
“Michael Hayes has started working with Vince and guess what? He told Vince that, ‘Hey, man. Let’s give this guy a chance,’ you know? ‘Give him an opportunity,’ you know? I had several things in my mind, I’ve been a brawler, a football player, you know, and so all that kind of went out the door when Vince introduced this character to me of what he had in mind.
He says ‘I see you as Faarooq.’ Who the hell is ‘Faarooq’? What is a ‘Faarooq’? I’m speechless at this point and then to top everything off, there’s this leather blue helmet. If it was made out of metal like a real Roman soldier or something. I’d be okay with that. Shiny armour—it’s leather, man! I’m like, ‘Oh, God how do I get out of this?’ I can’t, right?”
However, despite not liking the idea and looking for an immediate way out the character, Simmons went along with the gimmick which fortunately didn’t last very long:
“When you’re thrown with challenges like this, this is what makes you better. So I took that character and I said to myself, ‘I’m gonna make the most out of it. I’m gonna make this work.’ [Faarooq] morphed on over into other avenues. He went into The Nation. I’m extremely proud of myself for being a man, taking the character on, not bitching and griping about it.”
As stated by the man himself, Faarooq quickly dropped the attire and last name when he formed The Nation of Domination. When the group expelled him in favour of appointing Rocky Maivia as their leader, the character formed a short-lived duo with 2-Cold Scorpio before turning to the dark side for leadership.
Shedding his doublet, Simmons painted mystic symbols on his chest and joined Bradshaw in The Ministry of Darkness where the pair were christened, The Acolytes. Though the pair left the gothic behind them, they would re-emerge as the popular APA, drinking beer and kicking butts for whoever had the right price.
Credit for the interview: WWE Untold
h/t for the transcription: WrestleZone