In honor of Black History Month, today we’re going to take a look back at some of the most successful African-American performers to compete in the original Extreme Championship Wrestling.
2 Cold Scorpio
We’re going to start off with one of ECW’s most-memorable performers, 2 Cold Scorpio. After competing in World Championship Wrestling, where he, along with tag team partner Marcus Bagwell, captured the WCW World Tag Team Championship, Scorpio arrived in ECW in 1994. He would go on to hold the ECW World Television Championship on four occasions and the ECW Tag Team Championship once with The Sandman.
During his initial run in ECW, he feuded with performers such as Taz, Shane Douglas, Sabu, and Mikey Whipwreck. Scorpio would leave ECW to perform for the World Wrestling Federation in 1996. As part of a talent exchange, he returned to ECW for a short stint in 1998.
As one half of the Dudley Boys/Team 3D, arguably one of the most-dominant tag teams of all time, D-Von Dudley, along with his tag team partner, Buh Buh Ray captured the ECW World Tag Team Championship an unprecedented, 8 times.
D-Von was originally trained by Johnny Rodz and began his professional wrestling career in 1992 performing for several Northeast independent promotions. D-Von made his ECW debut on April 13, 1996 at Massacre on Queens Blvd. Shortly after D-Von’s debut in ECW, Buh Buh Ray turned heel, aligning himself with D-Von. They would go on to have memorable feuds with many of ECW’s top tag teams, including The Gangstas. The Dudley Boys would defeat The Eliminators at Hostile City Showdown on December 20, 1996 to capture their first ECW Tag Team Championship. For the next 3 years The Dudley Boys would become ECW’s most-dominant tag team, often inciting near-riots as they challenged fans to step into the ring with them at live events. D-Von and Buh Buh Ray would leave ECW in 1999 when they were signed to World Wrestling Federation contracts.
JT Smith began his professional wrestling career in 1990, competing for Joel Goodhart’s Tri-State Wrestling Alliance where he feuded with The Sandman among others. In early 1991, Smith defeated Buddy Landell to capture the TWA Heavyweight Championship.
JT Smith, one of the original ECW performers, won a battle royal in 1993 to become the first (and only) ECW Maryland Heavyweight Champion. On March 6, 1994 Smith defeated The Tazmaniac to win the ECW Television Title.
Smith is best remembered for the time he spent as a member of the group known as The FBI or “Full Blooded Italians”. Smith began believing he was Italian after landing on his head during a match. Originally befriending “Big” Val Puccio, he would later go on to to form the comedic group with Little Guido, Tracy Smothers, and Tommy Rich. Along with Little Guido, Smith would capture the ECW Tag Team Championship.
Bounty hunter turned professional wrestler, New Jack along with his tag team partner Mustafa were brought into ECW in 1995 after a controversial, run in Smokey Mountain Wrestling. New Jack and Mustafa captured the ECW Tag Team Championship twice before Mustafa was fired in 1997. New Jack would go on to team with John Kronus, forming the tag team known as “The Gangstanators”, capturing the Tag Team Championship for a third time.
New Jack gained a reputation for being one of ECW’s most-violent competitors, as he would drag a garbage can full of weapons which he would use during the match.
In March of 2000, at the “Living Dangerously” Pay-Per View, New Jack fell from a scaffold in the arena, during a match with Vic Grimes. He would suffer mild brain damage and was temporary being blinded in his right eye as result of the fall.
After a memorable run in World Championship Wrestling, where he captured the WCW World Heavyweight Championship, Ron Simmons briefly competed in ECW in late 1994 and ealy 1995. Simmons unsuccessfully challenged Shane Douglas for the ECW World Heavyweight Championship at the 1994 November to Remember.
Other memorable African-American ECW performers include Mr. Hughes, Red Dog, Mustafa Saed, Jazz, Kamala II, Chilly Willy, and The Headhunters. If you have any others you’d like to add please mention them in the comments.