Hello again wrestling fans, and welcome back to a special two-part edition of How It Started vs How It Ended. During part one of the column, readers revisted the short WWE careers of DDP, Kenzo Suzuki, and Vance Archer. This edition of HIS vs HIE will focus on other WWE Superstars from the past, including one of the most contreverial characters in WWE history. Check it out!
After competing on the first season of Tough Enough, where he lasted until the final 3, Christopher Nowinski made his WWE Raw debut, during the 2002 episode of the show. The Harvard University alumnus made his way down the ramp sporting his college letterman’s jacket, and claimed that he was better than the WWE Universe, due to his status as a Harvard grad. The promo instantly cemented Nowinski as a heel, who reiterated his villainous status later in the night, aiding William Regal in a win over Bradshaw. The assist kicked off a rivalry between Bradshaw and Nowinski, who easily prevailed over Spike Dudley the next week. Nowinski teamed with Regal on the June 24th episode of Raw, and walked out of a match against Spike Dudley and Bradshaw as a winner. The feud between Bradshaw and Nowinski ended with a mixed tag team match, where Nowinski teamed with Jackie Gayda, and lost to the team of Trish Stratus and Bradshaw. Nowinski briefly competed in the Hardcore Division after the match, and also in two more mixed tag matches, alongside Molly Holly. The Harvard graduate returned to singles actual throughout the next few weeks, and claimed victories over Tommy Dreamer, Jeff Hardy, and Booker T, before entering a feud with his former Tough Enough coach, Al Snow. Nowinski also began to have issues with the winner of Tough Enough, Maven, as 2002 came to a close.
When the calendar changed to 2003, Nowinski formed a short alliance with WWE veteran D’Lo Brown. Maven began being assisted by Test during the same time, leading to a tag team match between all four men, at the January 13, 2003 edition of Raw. Maven and Test defeated Nowinski and Brown in the duo’s contest, and Nowinski lost another partner after the match. In the months that followed, Nowinski lost a battle with The Hurricane, won a match via DQ against Jeff Hardy, and dropped a contest with Scott Steiner. On the May 26th episode of Raw, Nowinski joined Thuggin and Buggin Enterprises, alongside Rodney Mack, Jazz, and Theodore Long. The groups three men teamed together at Insurrextion, where they lost to all three of The Dudley Boyz. Nowinski and Mack continued their feud with Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley, and faced off with the legendary duo once again, at the June 15th Bad Blood Pay Per View. Mack and Nowinski defeated The Dudley Boyz during the show. Christopher Nowinski wrestled for the final time on the June 23rd episode of Raw, dropping a match to Maven, and retiring from professional wrestling, due to concussion issues.
Back in 2004, WWE searched their developmental territory, OVW, in an effort to find someone who could be an Arab-American character on Raw. After weeks of anti-American vignettes aired on Raw, WWE Legend Mick Foley cut an extremely pro-American promo in the ring, during the December 13th, 2004 episode of Raw. Muhammad Hassan entered the arena with his manager Daivari during the promo, and proceeded to verbally destroy America, as well as Foley. After the debut, Hassan and Daivari cut prejudiced fueled promos for weeks, and claimed that Americans stereotyped him, after the 9/11 attacks. The promos usually finished by praising Allah, which would quickly be shut down, after drawing tons of heat behind the scenes from actual Muslim-American’s. Hassan hit the ring for a political debate in early 2005, where he came face-to-face with Jerry “The King” Lawler. Both men failed to settle their differences in the debate, leading to Hassan’s in-ring debut, at the 2005 New Year’s Revolution event. Hassan defeated Jerry “The King” Lawler at the show, and kicked off a solid win streak. Muhammed picked up victories over The Hurricane, and Val Venis, qualifying for the Royal Rumble as a result of his victory over Venis. Hassan entered the Royal Rumble at the #13 spot, stopping everyone in the ring in their tracks. Every person in the ring turned their attention to Hassan, and collectively tossed him over the top rope, to the delight of the entire arena. Hassan rebounded by scoring a singles victory over Sgt. Slaughter the next night on Raw, and followed up by defeating Chris Jericho. Hassan suffered a singles loss for the first time on the February 28th edition of Raw, after kicking Chris Benoit in the groin, and causing the referee to call for the bell. Hassan failed to seal a spot on the Wresltemania 21 card during the weeks that followed, but that didn’t stop the anti-American from making an appearance at the show. While the lovable Eugene spoke to the audience, Hassan and Daivari entered the arena, making more claims of prejudice, before beating Eugene down. While Hassan locked in the Camel Clutch on Eugene, the sounds of “Real American” blasted throughout the arena. Hassan and Daivari initially kept Hogan down, but he Hulked up, and tossed them both out of the ring. Since Hogan didn’t return in a full-time role, Hassan entered a feud with Shawn Michaels, which lead to a tag team match at Backlash. Muhammad teamed with Daivari, who took the pin in the battle with Hogan and Michaels, leading to Hassan attacking Daivari the next night on Raw.
Hassan and Daivari patched things up after the beat down, and Hassan moved on to face off with more of the WWE’s top babyfaces. Muhammad squared off with Batista for the World Heavyweight Championship, grappled against Shelton Benjamin for the Intercontinental Championship, and went to war with John Cena for the WWE Championship, losing each match by disqualification. Hassan even met up with Stone Cold Steve Austin on the June 13th episode of Raw, and received a Stone Cold Stunner from the legend. The following week, Hassan would get absolutely squashed by Cena, bringing an end to his “unpinned” streak. At the 2005 WWE draft on Smackdown, Hassan and Daivari received word they’d been drafted to the blue brand, where Muhammad entered a rivalry with The Undertaker. Three days after London bombings shook the UK, General Manager Theodore Long announced a No. 1 Contender's match, pitting Hassan against The Undertaker, at The Great American Bash. Long also set up a match between Daivari and The Undertaker for later in the night, leading to one of the most controversial moments in WWE history. After ‘Taker rocked Daivari’s world, Hassan began praying, and five masked men made their way down the ramp, who were armed with clubs and piano wire. All of the masked men beat ‘Taker senseless, before collectively lifting Daivari above their heads, and carrying him away martyr style. The moment sparked outrage among television executives, putting an end to the character, or at least in their book. Hassan would be beaten from pillar to post at The Great American Bash, where The Undertaker sent the Anti-American packing with a Last Ride through the stage. Hassan received his release from WWE on September 21, 2005 and announced his retirement from professional wrestling shortly afterwards.
Marcus Cor Von
After making an Impact as “The Alpha Male” of TNA, Marcus Cor Von signed with the WWE, in late 2006. Cor Von debuted on the January 16th, 2007 edition of ECW, where he picked a win over an enhancement talent. Marcus defeated another jobber in the followings episode of ECW, before becoming a part of the New Breed. Cor Von joined forces with Elijah Burke, Matt Striker, Kevin Thorn, and Ariel, in an effort to make their mark on ECW. Cor Von dominated Balls Mahoney in his first match as a member of the New Breed, putting Mahoney away with the Pounce. Marcus teamed with Kevin Thorn on February 13th, scoring a victory over ECW Originals The Sandman and Tommy Dreamer. Cor Von hit the ring for trios action two weeks later, in a match where Cor Von, Burke, and Thorn defeated RVD, Tommy Dreamer, and The Sandman, making a major statement to the ECW Originals in the process. Sabu and Matt Striker joined the action the following week, where all 8 men competed in an Extreme Battle Royal. Cor Von was supposed to be eliminated by Sabu and RVD, but they botched the double team maneuver, and Marcus pretty much tossed himself out. After Tommy Dreamer won the Battle Royal, Cor Von and Thorn answered back with a win over Van Dam and Sabu, leading to an 8-Man Tag Team match at Wrestlemania 23. Marcus and the New Breed took on the ECW Originals at “the show of shows”, where RVD pinned Matt Striker for the victory. Both teams would face off again at first ECW that followed Wrestlemania, this time in a classic Extreme Rules Tag Team match. While Cor Von handled RVD on the outside of the ring, Elijah Burke sent Sabu through a table, and the New Breed stood tall to close the show. The epic rivalry came to a close during the April 24th ECW show, where both teams settled their differences in an elimination match. Cor Von eliminated Sabu with the Pounce, before turning his attention to Tommy Dreamer, and getting disqualified for beating Dreamer up to bad. Van Dam eventually won the match for the ECW Originals, officially bringing a close to one of the highlights of the ECW experiment.
After the initial New Breed versus ECW Originals feud came to a close, the story added in CM Punk, in exchange for Sabu, and Kevin Thorn. Cor Von hit the ring for a battle with Punk on the May 8th episode of ECW, where Marcus defeated the “chick magnet” with the Pounce. Marcus teamed with Elijah Burke two weeks later, and lost via disqualification to RVD and Punk, after “The Alpha Male” illegally entered the match to many times, and caused the referee to call for the bell. The New Breed moved on to Backlash, where they lost to CM Punk, RVD, and Tommy Dreamer, in a Six-Man Tag Team Tables match. “The Alpha Male” and Burke turned things around with a win over the Major Brothers following Backlash, but the New Breed stable pretty much ran its course by this point. Marcus and Burke dropped a match to CM Punk and Chris Benoit the following week, after the referee awkwardly disqualified Cor Von for illegally entering the match past the count of five. “The Alpha Male” lost his final match with WWE to CM Punk a week later, putting a disappointing WWE run to a bitter end. Marcus received his release from WWE on September 19th, 2007, and decided to hang up his boots soon thereafter.
Instead of the usual first, and final match, take a look at a moment from each former WWE Superstar’s stint with the company:
Marcus Cor Von