It’s that time again everyone, so welcome back to How It Started vs How It Ended! With the most special event in sports-entertainment coming up, I thought I would do something special this week, so here is HIS vs HIE: One & Done.
One of the stars of the WCW Cruiserweight division made his WWE debut on the June 26th, 2003 episode of Smackdown. Ultimo Dragon took on Shannon Moore, and earned his first victory in WWE, via a wicked DDT. Ultimo took to the ring again two weeks later, during a tournament to decide a new United States Champion, in a match against Eddie Guerrero on Smackdown. In the closing moments of the match, Ultimo Dragon attempted a springboard moonsault, but Eddie caught him, and rolled him up to become the eventual winner of the tournament. Ultimo Dragon quickly rebounded with a win over Jamie Noble during the following week’s Smackdown, before competing on Velocity and Heat for a short time. Ultimo Dragon made another Smackdown appearance at the October 9th edition of the show, competing for the Cruiserweight Championship, in a loss to Tajiri. Ultimo turned heel after the match, and competed in a Number One Contenders bout against Rey Mysterio, during the October 30th episode of Smackdown. The match came to an end when Cruiserweight Champion Tajiri interfered, and allowed Ultimo Dragon to score the victory. Ultimo never cashed in on his opportunity, and would be left off of Smackdown and Pay Per View cards for the rest of 2003. The return of the Dragon happened during “The Road to Wrestlemania 20”, at the March 4th Smackdown taping. Ultimo Dragon switched back to more of a fan friendly approach, and teamed with Rey Mysterio & Billy Kidman to pick up a victory over Tajiri, Akio, & Sakoda. Ultimo’s team defeated the same trio the next week, and all of the Cruiserweight’s moved on to Wrestlemania 20, where ten superstars competed in the Cruiserweight Open. Unfortunately for Ultimo Dragon, most people only remember that he slipped twice during his entrance on “The Grandest Stage of Them All”, and lost the match. Following Wrestlemania, Ultimo Dragon dropped Velocity matches to Nunzio, and Chavo Guerrero, before asking for his release from the company on April 22nd, 2004.
Tough Enough contestant Daniel Puder made his WWE debut during the November 4th, 2004 Smackdown taping. The former professional MMA fighter appeared during a segment of Tough Enough, which featured Kurt Angle. Puder and Angle squared off in a shoot-style matchup, and Daniel applied a Kimura Lock during the contest. The submission hold nearly forced Angle to tap out, and Kurt, along with the referee involved, pulled off a fast count to make sure the Olympic Gold Medalist didn’t lose. Puder’s shoulders clearly weren’t down during the pin, and his WWE career began with controversy. Daniel moved on to the 2004 Armageddon event, where he competed against Mike Mizanin, in a Dixie Dog Fight, and picked his first win. The success continued into the next week, when Puder became the fourth ever winner of Tough Enough, and he moved into 2005. Puder would be left off of Smackdown for weeks after that, and made his return to WWE television, in the Royal Rumble match. Puder entered the rumble at the 3 spot, failing to eliminate anyone, and receiving a brutal beat down from Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit. Hardcore Holly entered the match next, and propped Puder in the corner, so he could deliver thunderous chops to his chest. A chop competition broke out, and the three veterans completely brutalized the rookie’s chest, before Holly hit a low blow, followed by an Alabama slam. Holly tossed Puder out of the ring, and Daniel never appeared on WWE TV again. The Tough Enough winner moved on to OVW, where his contract came to an end in September of 2005.
Former WCW Cruiserweight division star Juventud Guerrera made his WWE debut on June 18th, 2005. Competing under the ring name Juventud, “The Juice” kicked off his WWE run with a win on Smackdown, after he defeated Funaki. During the next weeks episode of the show, Juventud hit the ring on a riding lawn mower, with his new partners Super Crazy & Psicosis on the back of it. The group attacked Chavo Guerrero and Paul London in the middle of their match, and Juventud cut a promo after the beat down. Juventud told the WWE Universe that they “aren’t Mexicans, we’re Mexicool’s”, and the group were off to the races. “The Juice” became the clear leader of the group, and led the trio to attack random wrestlers for weeks after their debut. At the July 24th Great American Bash event, The Mexicools defeated The Blue World Order. After picking up their first win on Pay Per View, the group went back to random attacks, and cutting promos, before being moved down to Velocity. On the October 4th edition of the show, The Mexicools took on Paul London, Brian Kendrick, Scotty 2 Hotty, and Funaki, in a Battle Royal. Juventud picked up the win, and earned the opportunity to face Cruiserweight Champion Nunzio at No Mercy. “The Juice” picked up the victory at the event, and earned himself his first WWE Cruiserweight Championship, though it was technically his fourth reign with the title. Juventud dropped the strap back to Nunzio during a live event that happened in Italy, after a 37 day reign as Champion. Juventud regained the Cruiserweight Championship from Nunzio during the next weeks Smackdown, and moved on to defend the title against Kid Kash 26 days later. Kash and “The Juice” faced off at the event, where Juventud dropped the title for the final time. Juventud lost a rematch to Kash at the January 6th, 2006 Smackdown taping, and would be granted his release from WWE on the very same day.
ECW Legend Sabu made his WWE debut at the June 11th, 2006 ECW One Night Stand event. Sabu took on Rey Mysterio for the World Heavyweight Championship, and started things off with a bang, or maybe more of a crash. In the closing moments of the match, both men stood on the announce desk, and Sabu hit a devastating DDT on Rey that drove both men through the table. The force of the DDT made such an impact that referees had to call the match, meaning Rey retained the gold. Sabu moved on to Vengeance after his first WWE match, where he took on John Cena in an Extreme Rules Lumberjack match. Sabu tapped out to the STF at the end of the contest, and ran into a few real life issues after that, which led to a brief suspension. Sabu shuffled down the card for a few weeks, before taking on Kurt Angle in a Number One Contenders match to the ECW World Championship, during the August 8th edition of ECW. In the closing moments of the match, Rob Van Dam interfered, leading to a ladder match between the ECW originals, during the August 15th episode of the show. Sabu climbed the ladder, and earned himself a chance at the title, but failed to win the Championship from The Big Show at Summerslam. Sabu went on to be scheduled for another ECW World Championship opportunity at December To Dismember, but he would be replaced by Hardcore Holly, shortly before the event. Sabu went into 2007, and made his WWE Royal Rumble debut as only he could, being eliminated from the match by Kane, via the chokeslam through a table at ringside. Sabu went on to be a part of the ECW Originals(Sabu, RVD, Tommy Dreamer, & The Sandman) and took on the New Breed(Marcus Cor Von, Elijah Burke, Kevin Thorn & Matt Striker) at Wrestlemania 23. The ECW Originals overcame the New Breed, earning Sabu a victory in his only Wrestlemania appearance. Sabu moved into his final days with the company, and competed in a Fatal 4 Way Extreme Rules match against his ECW Original stablemates, during the May 1st episode of ECW. The absolutely insane match came to an end with RVD standing tall, and Sabu never competed on WWE television again. He would be future endeavored on May 16th, 2007.
Sorry the video quality is so poor for Juventud and Puder! You will be hard pressed to find any footage of The Mexicools, or Daniel Puder on the WWE Youtube page.
That’s all for this weeks special edition of HIS vs HIE! Join me right here next week for an all new edition of the column, and before I forget, happy Wrestlemania week everyone!!