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THE GODFATHER Wrestling Icon, Local Celebrity and Strong Advocate for Medical Cannabis
egardless of when they were raised or when they first became interested in sports entertainment, any professional wrestling fans must admit the unconventional golden era status of the World Wrestling Federation/ Entertainment’s Attitude era and how it was unlike any other period of wrestling in both the WWE or any other wrestling promotion. Excluding the wackiest and sometimes the most controversial storylines that developed during the period of roughly 1997-2002 within the WWF and later the WWE for a moment, the sheer per capita of talent among wrestlers at this time would never be matched again in professional wrestling history. Mick Foley’s many personalities, Olympic gold medalist turned Intercontinental Champion Kurt Angle, Chyna, The Big Show, fellow University of North Texas alum Stone Cold Steve Austin and one of the best Canadians and hilarious heels to ever wrestle, Chris Jericho. Divas like Trish
Stratus, Lita and Sable. The emergence of many tag teams and groups that would become hall of fame contenders and even inductees in their own right also defined the Attitude era somewhat. Degeneration X, The Hardy Boys, The Brood, The Dudley Boyz, The APA, The Undertaker and his brother Kane, the latter of which went on to become mayor of Knox County, Tennessee. The rise in prominence of the Guerrerros and the legendary feud between Stone Cold and real-life WWE CEO Vince McMahon. It was an era of professional wrestling that was risque and adult-oriented in ways that would result in mountains of complaints to the FCC for the frequently over-the-top content over only a couple of years. The wacky and unexplainable antics of this era frequently also bled out of the squared circle and into other wrestling programs such as main competitor World Championship Wrestling’s programming and the Xtreme Football League- one of the most bizarrely unsuccessful attempts at combining wrestling with American football and creating a competitor to the National Football League in the process. When discussing the most memorable character of the Attitude era, it’s impossible to pick just one. Even if part of a tag team, each wrestler had an individual personality that stood apart from any other operating wrestler in the WWF. One such tag team with four different wrestlers who would carve out their own careers in professional wrestling was the Nation of Domination. Operating during the first few years of what would become the Attitude era, their members included wrestler D’Lo Brown
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who is now a commentator for Impact Wrestling and Ron “Farooq” Simmons. Simmons, who later became known for his “Damn!” catchphrase and was even a member of the aforementioned APA with current Fox Business Network commentator John “Bradshaw” Layfield, has the honor of being the first African American World Champion in professional wrestling history according to the WWE. The third member of the Nation of Domination was a wrestler who started under the name Rocky Maivia before shortening his name to The Rock. For those who don’t follow professional wrestling history, you may know this wrestler by his far more famous name, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The fourth member of the Nation of Domination was Kama Mustafa, a wrestler who would later go on to wrestle as a personality so memorable and outstanding that it earned the man portraying these characters, Charles Wright, a spot in the WWE Hall of Fame. A wrestler named The Godfather, arguably the most flashydressed wrestler even in the ring with the most colorful and vibrant outfits. A charismatic performer who was openly every characteristic of a pimp who would tell the crowd to “smoke a fatty with this pimp daddy”, “light that blunt up” and remind the crowd that pimping in fact isn’t easy while being accompanied by a large group of women. When a wrestling fan is asked about wrestlers that defined the hedonistic yet hardcore and outlandish Attitude era, they’ll almost certainly mention The Godfather.