Hello again wrestling fans, and welcome back to a special two-part edition of How It Started vs How It Ended. This edition of HIS vs HIE will focus on WWE Superstars from the past, who only wrestled in a WWE ring for a year, or less. Check it out!
In the summer of 2001, a series of weekly vignettes began airing, which featured someone stalking The Undertaker’s wife, Sara, with a video recorder in hand. Because of the vignettes, The Undertaker went home to protect his wife in storyline, and seemingly returned during the June 18th, 2001 episode of Raw. As Limp Bizkit blasted through the arena, a masked man hit the stage on The Undertaker’s motorcycle, and stepped into the ring with a purpose. The commentary team began referring to the man as the previously mentioned stalker, who revealed himself as former WCW World Heavyweight Champion Diamond Dallas Page. DDP admitted that he only wanted to get the attention of “the biggest dog in the yard”, and never actually planned to harm Sara, setting up a match with “The Deadman”. DDP stepped into the ring with ‘Taker at King of the Ring, where both men went to battle in an unsanctioned match. The Undertaker brutalized Page for stalking his wife, while Sara filmed the entire thing, until DDP exited the arena through the crowd. Page became a member of The Alliance faction shortly after the match, and took on The Undertaker once again, this time in a street fight. The match came to an end after a multi-person brawl broke out, resulting in a No contest. All of the Superstars involved in the brawl moved on to the Invasion Pay Per View, where DDP and his Alliance teammates defeated Team WWF. Page reunited with Chris Kanyon a few weeks later, and the pair eventually faced the APA for the WWF Tag Team Chanpionships. In the closing moments of the August 9th Smackdown collision, Page’s Alliance teammate, Test, jumped in the ring, while the referee dealt with the rest of the Alliance on the outside. Test hit Bradshaw with one of the titles, allowing Kanyon to pick up the win. Page and Dallas held the titles until Summerslam 2001, where they dropped the straps to Kane and The Undertaker, in a steel-cage match. The Undertaker’s wife Sara would get her own form of revenge during the following night’s episode of Raw, where she defeated Page, after loads of assistance from The Undertaker. Page suffered a legitimate injury during the match at Summerslam, and hit the sidelines for a few months, putting an end to the rivalry with The Undertaker. He would then return to lose his job, in storyline, when Team WCW fell in defeat to Team WWF at Survivor Series.
Page eventually returned as a babyface character in 2002, and won the European Championship, after defeating Christian on the January 31st episode of Smackdown. Page and Christian battled over the title down the road to WrestleMania 18, where DDP successfully defended his title, and scored his only win at “The Showcase of the Immortal’s”. Unfortunately for Page, he dropped the title to William Regal at the following weeks Smackdown taping, and found himself drafted over to the blue brand shortly after that. Page competed as on official member of the Smackdown roster for a short time, and hit the ring for a match against Hardcore Holly, during the April 18th episode of Smackdown. When both men locked horns in the ring, DDP suffered another legitimate injury, after a botched superplex. DDP announced his retirement soon after the match, and left WWE in June of 2002. Diamond Dallas Page is now a member of the WWE Hall of Fame.
Kenzo Suzuki made his WWE television debut on the June 10th, 2004 episode of Smackdown, alongside his valet, Hiroko. During the show, Suzuki took on WWE veteran Scotty 2 Hotty, and defeated the former Too Cool member with an STO. The following week, Kenzo grappled between the blue ropes again, where he quickly prevailed over Spike Dudley, after nailing the Rising Sun. Suzuki suffered his first defeat one week later, after Billy Gunn defeated him via disqualification, setting up his first pay per view match in the process. Gunn and Suzuki battled at The Great American Bash, where Kenzo picked up his first win at a big event, before moving on to other challengers. Suzuki moved on to the July 15th episode of Smackdown, where he teamed with Renee Dupree and Booker T, and picked up a win over John Cena in a handicapped elimination match. On the September 2, 2004 edition of Smackdown, Suzuki teamed with Booker and Dupree once again, and took a loss to John Cena, who partnered up with Rob Van Dam and Rey Mysterio. Suzuki and Dupree would quickly rebound the next week, and pick up the WWE Tag Team Championships, after taking the titles from Paul London and Brian Kendrick. Suzuki and Dupree held the titles for a two month reign, eventually losing the titles to Rob Van Dam and Rey Mysterio, during the December 9th edition of Smackdown.
Suzuki and Hiroko reignited their rivalry with John Cena when 2005 came around, and entered a feud with the U.S. Championship on the line. Kenzo challenged Cena for the title during the January 13th, 2005 episode of Smackdown, as well as the January 27th edition of the show, dropping both bouts in the process. Kenzo shuffled down the card after the bouts with Cena, and entered the 2005 Royal Rumble. Suzuki made his way down the ramp 6th, and would eventually be eliminated by his old rival, Rey Mysterio. Suzuki made his final appearance on Smackdown during the February 3rd edition of the program, dropping a match to Eddie Guerrero. Kenzo and Hiroko made one final appearance on the February 26th episode of Velocity, where Suzuki lost to Booker T. The Japanese duo received their release on July 6, 2005, after being drafted to the Raw brand, but never actually debuting on the show.
After competing in Florida Championship Wrestling as Lance Archer, Vance Archer made his first WWE television appearance, during the November 3rd, 2009 episode of ECW. The debut of Archer came as a part of WWE’s “Superstar initiative”, which was the company’s way of looking for new talent at the time. Vance walked down the ramp as a heel, and defeated a local-talent in a squash match, via the Dark Days. Archer picked up more wins over jobber's for the next three weeks, before taking on an ECW Original. Vance stepped into the ring with Tommy Dreamer, on the December 8th episode of ECW, and defeated Dreamer, putting the “Innovator of Violence” away with the Dark Days. Archer moved on to defeat Goldust, during the December 22nd episode of ECW, qualifying for a chance to compete in a battle royal, at the “ECW Homecoming” special. Vance entered 2010, as well as the battle royal he qualified for, with a chance to face Christian for the ECW Championship on the line. Archer failed to capitalize on his opportunity in the multi-man match, and would be tossed over the top rope by Shelton Benjamin. Shelton and Archer exchanged wins over the weeks that followed, until Benjamin defeated Vance in a No disqualification match, on the February 9th edition of ECW. The next week, ECW disbanded, leaving Archer without a home.
Vance Archer would move over to the Smackdown brand after the ECW experiment fizzled out, and picked up a tag team partner, in the form of Curt Hawkins. Archer’s new partner mentioned that the pair had been given a 30-day contract to “make an impact”, and they managed to do just that, defeating MVP and Christian. The duo became known as The Gatecrashers, but they never made much of an “Impact” after that. The team fell apart during the October 7th episode of Superstars, where Hawkins inadvertently aided Chris Masters in a victory over Archer. Vance assaulted Hawkins after the match, and went on to face Luke Gallows, at the following week’s Superstars taping. Archer went on to lose the match to Gallows, during the November 4th show, and would be future endeavored in November 19th, 2010.
Instead of the usual debut, and final match, take a look at a moment from each former WWE Superstar’s stint with the company:
Diamond Dallas Page
Part two of this special edition of the column will be posted on Sunday. Make sure to stop by Rajah.com during the later hours of the day, where you can catch up on the rest of this edition of How It Started vs How It Ended: One & Done!