Despite being an NCAA Football Hall of Famer and former WCW World Heavyweight Champion, Ron Simmons‘ road to stardom in WWE wasn’t always paved with gold, but blue leather.
WWE Network released a new episode of WWE Untold, with the latest one featuring the formation of the APA. Not long before Faarooq and Bradshaw were handing out an ass-whoopin’ on WWE TV, Simmons was a former World Champion and a mainstay on WCW TV. Simmons, disenfranchised by WCW at that point, joined WWE back in July of 1996 and he explained that he was offered an opportunity, but he didn’t know it would also include wearing a now-infamous blue gladiator helmet.
“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,” Ron chuckled.
“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,” Simmons said, “I’d be okay with that. Shiny armor—it’s leather, man! I’m like, ‘Oh, God how do I get out of this?’ I can’t, right?”
Simmons went on to explain that despite not liking the prospects of his attire, he made the most of it and it ultimately led to better roles in the company, which included leading the Nation Of Domination and later, teaming with Bradshaw as the APA.
“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,” Simmons stated.
Simmons sure didn’t complain about it and despite the jokes about his ‘gladiator’ gear, we were later blessed with the beer drinking and cigar smoking presence of a man who can say “DAMN” better than anybody else.
(Transcription credit should go to @DominicDeAngelo of WrestleZone)