Great-ing Gimmicks of the Past: The Nation of Domination
Ron Simmons had had a mixed career. In WCW he had been part of the feared tag team Doom, and had also gone on to become the first African-American world champion in that organization when he defeated Vader for the belt in 1992.
From there, Simmons had jumped ship to the WWF in 1996, and things went sharply downhill. He was put in a costume similar to a Roman gladiator and was paired with Sunny as Faarooq Asad.
By October, Faarooq had begun an on again/off again feud with Ahmed Johnson and had parted ways with Sunny. But things were about to change…
On the November 2, 1996 Livewire, Faarooq put in an appearance. But this was a different Faarooq. The Roman gear was gone, replaced by a black bodysuit. He also had a new manager – Clarence Mason. Faarooq spoke about the Nation of Domination and then got into a verbal scuffle over the phone with Ahmed.
Faarooq returned at the Survivor Series, where he was on a team with Vader and the “fake” Diesel and Razor Ramon as they took on Savio Vega, Yokozuna, Flash Funk (better known as 2 Cold Scorpio) and Jimmy Snuka. When he came out, Faarooq was not only accompanied by Mason, but now he had added two white rappers (tag team PG-13 – JC Ice (Jamie Dundee) and Wolfie D (TNA’s Slash from the Disciples of the New Church)) to his entourage. Neither team won the match as a brawl broke out and both teams were disqualified.
The next night on Raw, Ahmed Johnson was in the audience. The Nation came out for Faarooq’s match against Savio Vega. Faarooq gained control of the match when one of his rappers hit Vega with a 2×4, which prompted Ahmed to jump the rail and clear the ring. Afterward, Ahmed challenged Faarooq to a match.
On the December 8 Superstars, the Nation came out, now with Crush and a couple of bodyguards added. They simply put in an appearance during an Ahmed interview and then left.
The next week’s Superstars opened with Faarooq defeating Freddie Joe Floyd (AKA Tracy Smothers). Crush took on Savio Vega in the main event, which ended in a double countout.
That brought us to the In Your House: It’s Time pay-per-view. Ahmed was giving an interview when Faarooq appeared in the stands and talked about how he was starting his own race of people. Ahmed started a chant of “You’re going down” to reply.
On the 29th’s Superstars, the Nation was present as Faarooq defeated Alex Porteau. Also that weekend, the Nation attacked Ahmed Johnson as he was close to defeating Crush. The Godwinns and Goldust hit the ring to break it up, and the segment closed with Ahmed hitting his finisher (the Pearl River Plunge) on a Nation member on a car.
The next night’s Raw featured an interesting tag team – Steve Austin and Faarooq vs. Double J (Road Dogg) and Savio Vega. Double J went down quickly and was replaced by Bret Hart. Hart finally started to lock Faarooq in the Sharpshooter, and that brought out the Nation to put an end to this. That brought out a board-wielding Ahmed Johnson, who cleared the ring.
Shotgun Saturday Night had Faarooq taking on Savio Vega. Thanks to PG-13’s help, Faarooq racked up another victory.
On Raw, the Nation was supporting Crush, who was taking on the Undertaker. As Undertaker prepared to chokeslam Crush, the Nation hit the ring to save him. That brought Vader in to attack Undertaker, then Ahmed hit the ring and got beaten down for his trouble.
On Shotgun, Faarooq took on Double J and chalked up another easy win.
That brought us to the Royal Rumble, where Faarooq faced off against Ahmed Johnson. Throughout the entire match, Faarooq focused on the formerly-injured kidney area of Ahmed. Finally Ahmed had Faarooq set for the Pearl River Plunge, which was the cue for the Nation to attack. Ahmed fought them off, then put one of them through the French commentator’s table with the Pearl River Plunge.
The Rumble match itself started with an interesting pair – Crush was #1 and Ahmed was #2. Ahmed quickly tossed #3 (“fake” Razor) and then eliminated himself to go after Faarooq. Crush was joined by Phineous Godwinn and Steve Austin before he was eliminated.
The next night on Raw, Faarooq took on Bart Gunn. Again, Faarooq got the win with the help of PG-13.
On the next episode of Shotgun, Savio Vega was taking on the newcomer Rocky Maivia. Faarooq and Crush made their way down to the ring. Maivia was confused, but Vega gave Faarooq and Crush the Nation salute. Vega pitched Maivia, who went down hard and grabbed his knee. Vega won by countout (ending Maivia’s winning streak), and then Faarooq, Vega, and Crush attacked the rookie.
Crush later took on Sid. The match ended when Sid hit Crush with a chair, drawing a DQ.
The next Saturday night, Savio took on Double J, and scored another easy win.
On the following Raw, Savio took on Flash Funk. Savio won after Funk missed a moonsault.
Ahmed Johnson later talked about destroying the Nation, and started out to fight Crush. Undertaker stopped him and told him if he waited they would attack together.
Crush would face Goldust and win with the help of Savio.
The main event saw Ahmed and Undertaker teaming against Faarooq and Mankind. As the four men brawled, Savio and Crush made their way down to the ring. Ahmed chased the Nation off with his board, and that allowed Vader to run in and double-team Undertaker with Mankind. Undertaker finally got the advantage, threw Vader out of the ring, and Tombstoned Mankind on a chair for the win.
Shotgun opened with Faarooq and Crush teaming against Henry and Phineous Godwinn. The Nation got the easy win.
Later, Savio faced off against Aldo Montoya (better known as ECW’s Justin Credible). It didn’t take long for the match to turn into a six-man, with Savio, Faarooq, and Crush on one side and Aldo and the Godwinns on the other. Aldo finally hit Savio with a spin kick for the win.
Savio took on the Undertaker on Thursday night’s Raw. Needless to say, it didn’t take long for the rest of the Nation to get involved. Ahmed hit the ring and drove off the three main members with his board while Undertaker chokeslammed both members of PG-13 simultaneously.
That brought us to the In Your House: Final Four PPV. Faarooq, Crush, and Savio tagged against Flash Funk, Bart Gunn, and Goldust. Faarooq was able to pin Gunn after the referee lost control and the match turned into a brawl.
Raw the next night opened with Savio taking on Mark Mero. Mero was faring well, overcoming the interference of both Mero and PG-13 with Sable’s help. Mero was disqualified when Sable slid into the ring to escape the Nation. The Nation surrounded them until Ahmed showed up with his board and ran them off.
The main event on Shotgun was the British Bulldog vs. Crush – an interesting match as both men were associated with Clarence Mason. The Bulldog gained an advantage, and that was the cue for the Nation to make their way down to ringside. It didn’t take long for Owen Hart to get down there as well to even the odds. Crush got the win (with help from Savio holding Bulldog’s foot down) while Mason did nothing. Following the match, Bulldog fired Mason.
On Raw, after Sunny cheated to win an arm wrestling contest with Marlena, Savio came out. That prompted Goldust to attack and the fight was on. Miguel Perez hit the ring and helped Goldust clear the Nation.
In the main event we had Faarooq vs. the Undertaker. After a quick challenge from Faarooq to Ken Shamrock (who accepted as long as the rest of the Nation didn’t interfere), the match was on. The match completely broke down as the Nation finally swarmed the ring and began overpowering Undertaker. That brought the returning Legion of Doom out, and with their help Undertaker was able to fight off the Nation.
The next week on Raw, Ahmed accepted Faarooq’s challenge to a street fight, and also hinted that he’d have backup of his own.
The following Raw saw Ahmed defeating Roy Raymond easily, and then the Nation showed up. Ahmed went ahead and unveiled his partners for the Street Fight – the Legion of Doom.
The next Raw opened with the LOD taking on Savio Vega and Crush with Faarooq and Ahmed barred from ringside. As the match went on, we saw Ahmed watching in the back. He was promptly attacked by a nightstick-wielding Faarooq, who then headed to the ring and attacked the LOD. That brought Ahmed out with his board who helped the LOD fight off the Nation.
That brought us to Wrestlemania XIII, where the LOD and Ahmed Johnson took on Faarooq, Savio, and Crush in a street fight. Ahmed was able to pin Crush following a Doomsday Device, and that brought the rest of the Nation in. PG-13 was devastated by a double Doomsday Device.
Savio took on Ahmed the next night and we were informed that Faarooq had been sidelined with a separated shoulder. Ahmed was finally setting Savio up for the Pearl River Plunge when the Nation hit the ring and dragged him to safety. Ahmed issued a challenge – any member of the Nation vs. him in a loser leaves town match, and if he won the entire Nation would go.
Crush and Savio were in a tag team match the next week over two unidentified local talents and won easily.
The Nation was gone the next week, but returned on the April 14th Raw as Savio took on Rocky Maivia. Savio won with a roll-up, and then the Nation (with the returning Faarooq) hit the ring to beat up the rookie. Ahmed came out with a board and chased them off.
The main event saw Crush taking on Ahmed. Ahmed won, and then Faarooq told Ahmed if he could beat all three members of the Nation, then he would relinquish the group.
That brought us to In Your House: Taker’s Revenge. The night started with Rocky Maivia defending his Intercontinental title against Savio. Rocky had just gained the advantage when Crush punched him, costing Savio the match. Savio and Crush were about to come to blows when Faarooq hit the ring to calm things down and direct them to attack Rocky. That brought Ahmed and his board out to clear the ring. Ahmed then accepted the challenge.
Ahmed was wrestling the Sultan (better known today as Rikishi) the next night on Raw. The Nation showed up to allow Sultan to attack him from behind, which prompted Ahmed to grab his board and clear the ring.
On Shotgun, Crush and Savio wrestled another local tag team and won easily.
Faarooq had Crush putting on a show the next week on Raw. Crush easily defeated two men he sent down, and then the third hit the Pearl River Plunge before unmasking as Ahmed.
That brought us to In Your House: A Cold Day in Hell. Before the pay-per-view started, Faarooq tried to change the rules of the match and allow all three members of the Nation to attack Ahmed at the same time. Ahmed refused and the original gauntlet match was still set.
The match started off evenly as WWF President Gorilla Monsoon immediately ordered all other members of the Nation to the back except for the three in the match. Ahmed quickly put Crush and Savio away, but then faltered when he got to Faarooq, who won his fall.
The next night, the Nation was scheduled for a match against the Legion of Doom. They sent in PG-13, who were quickly obliterated and left lying in the ring.
Later in the night, Faarooq did an interview with Vince McMahon where it was revealed that he was the number one contender and would challenge Undertaker for the WWF title at King of the Ring.
Undertaker went on to face Savio Vega that night. The Nation quickly decimated Undertaker and then Faarooq posed with the title.
Afterward, Undertaker promised to unleash a demon to help him destroy Faarooq.
The next week, Crush was taking on Hunter Hearst Helmsley in the King of the Ring tournament. Hunter won after Savio accidentally kicked Crush. The two began arguing and Faarooq had to break it up again.
The following episode saw D-Lo Brown given a name. Brown had been a member of the Nation for quite a while, but had never stepped in the ring. Brown easily defeated Bob Holly as Faarooq joined the commentary team.
A week later Ahmed took on Faarooq with the rest of the Nation consigned to the back. The Nation slipped down to the ring and one of them tripped up Ahmed, which brought out Undertaker to obliterate the entire stable. Faarooq cleared out as well when Undertaker climbed into the ring. Ahmed complained about this turn of events and got chokeslammed for his trouble.
In the semi-main event, Mankind took on Savio in a tournament match. Crush tried to help but hit Savio instead, which started a brawl between them. A disgusted Faarooq let them go and just went to the back.
The Nation appeared one more time that night – they interfered in the Sid/Undertaker match and leveled both men.
That brought us to the King of the Ring. The night opened for the Nation with Crush taking on Goldust. Despite the distraction caused by the Nation approaching Marlena (Terri), Goldust was able to earn the victory.
Finally the main event hit, and it didn’t take long for Crush and Savio to make their presence felt. They eventually started bickering and Faarooq tried to break it up – which gave the Undertaker an opening. Undertaker won, and then gave Faarooq three chokeslams at Paul Bearer’s order. Ahmed broke this up and got chokeslammed for it.
Raw the next night opened with Ahmed and the LOD taking on Crush, Savio, and Faarooq. The cracks were evident before the match even started as Savio only reluctantly gave the Nation salute. Faarooq found himself unable to tag out as Clarence Mason distracted Savio and Crush. Faarooq rolled out and the three got into an argument, then the LOD broke it up and Faarooq was pitched back in. Savio and Crush left, leaving Faarooq to be pinned.
Later in the night, Faarooq gave an interview and he was furious. He fired the entire Nation with the exception of D-Lo. He then fired Clarence Mason as well, and promised that a new Nation would appear on the June 16th Raw.
But that’s another story.
Looking back, the original Nation was an interesting idea that would serve as a prototype for the Nation’s next incarnation. Originally, the Nation was supposed to resemble the Black Muslims, especially with D-Lo and others always appearing in business suits and serving as bodyguards.
It was also exactly what Faarooq needed. After the inexplicable run as Faarooq Asad, he needed something to break him away from that and turn him into a serious threat again. This was it. Also, Crush and Savio were just spinning in place and this also gave them a purpose again.
Where are they now?
Faarooq (Ron Simmons) remained with the WWF and was evicted from the Nation in early 1998. Soon thereafter, he and Bradshaw became known as the Acolytes, part of the Undertaker’s Ministry of Darkness. In 2002, Simmons had retired from the ring, but returned in 2003 to reform the Acolyte Protection Agency with Bradshaw. In 2004 Faarooq was fired from the WWE, but the onscreen firing helped to transition Bradshaw from the beer drinking bar fighter he had been to the wealthy and arrogant JBL. Today Simmons still makes occasional promotional appearances for the WWE.
Crush went on to found the Disciples of Apocalypse with Skull, 8-Ball (Ron & Don Harris) and Chainz (Brian Lee) following the Nation’s disbanding. After the Montreal incident, Crush left the WWF and jumped to WCW under his real name of Brian Adams, where he soon joined the New World Order. He didn’t have much success with the nWo, nor with his next gimmick as the KISS Demon (which was given to Dale Torborg almost immediately). Adams found his greatest WCW success when he was paired with Bryan Clarke as Kronik. Kronik came into the WWF after the WCW buyout, but didn’t last long before they were released. Adams had a short-lived stint as a boxer before retiring due to injuries in 2002.
Savio Vega recruited Miguel Perez, Jose Estrada, and Jesus Castillo to form Los Boricuas after the Nation’s collapse. Vega retired from the ring in 2001 due to injuries sustained in the 1998 Brawl for All. Today he works with IWA Puerto Rico.
Clarence Mason vanished after the Nation firing. He would not reappear until 2000, when he was renamed J. Biggs and began managing Harlem Heat 2000 (Stevie Ray and Big T, who was ironically Ahmed Johnson). He was released later that year and has faded from view.
Next week I’ll be on vacation, so there won’t be a column. In two weeks, however, we’ll take a look at a mystery woman who seemed to focus on Marlena.