Axl Rotten

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Axl Rotten
Axl Rotten.jpg
Birth name Brian Knighton
Born (1971-04-21) April 21, 1971 (age 43)
Baltimore, Maryland
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Axl Rotten
Axel Rotten
Billed height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Billed weight 285 lb (129 kg)
Billed from Hostile City
Newcastle upon Tyne
Trained by Jim Leon
Joey Maggs
Debut 1986

Brian Knighton (born April 21, 1971) is an American professional wrestler better known by his ring name, Axl Rotten.

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Early years[edit]

After watching a professional wrestling match on television, Knighton decided to become a wrestler. He trained under professional wrestler Jim Leon in a boxing gym in his hometown of Baltimore, receiving supplementary training from future World Championship Wrestling (WCW) wrestler Joey Maggs. Knighton debuted in 1986 and adopted the ring name "Axl Rotten". He won his first championship teaming with Leon to win the tag team titles in Frank Cain's Star Cavalcade Wrestling during the summer of 1988. He also succeeded Leon as the promotion's heavyweight champion when, shortly after Leon's murder, he won the vacant title from The Psycho in Thomasville, Georgia on November 30, 1988.[1]

In the early 1990s, Rotten trained Ian Rotten, who formed a tag team with Axl, masquerading as his brother. The duo, known as the Bad Breed, wrestled primarily in the Mid-Eastern Wrestling Federation. Rotten later opened his own professional wrestling promotion in Maryland called "Universal Independent Wrestling". The promotion featured wrestlers such as the Bad Breed, Bam Bam Bigelow and Scotty The Body, and had a television series that aired on Saturday nights on the local ABC channel. The promotion closed in the mid-1990s.

In 1991, Rotten had a short stint with World Championship Wrestling, where he feuded with wrestler/rapper PN News. After leaving WCW, Axl and his trainee Ian Rotten had a run with the Global Wrestling Federation in Texas, being featured on their daily ESPN show. While in GWF, Axl succeeded in winning both the GWF Commonwealth title and the GWF Tag Team Championship, with Ian Rotten.

Extreme Championship Wrestling (1993-1999)[edit]

In 1993, the Bad Breed were hired by Paul Heyman, the then-booker of the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) promotion. They competed in the ECW tag team division until November to Remember in 1994, when they lost a tag team match to The Pit Bulls with the stipulation that the losing team would be forced to separate. Both Rotten brothers blamed one another for the loss, and playing off real-life ill feelings, went on to a rivalry between the two that PWI named feud of the year in 1995.. The former partners wrestled their first match against one another in ECW at Double Tables on February 4, 1995, with Ian pinning Axl. They faced one another in a variety of hardcore matches over the subsequent seventeen months, fighting in "hair versus hair" matches and "barbed wire baseball bat, barbed wire chair" matches. Their feud finally ended at Hardcore Heaven 1995 on July 1, 1995 when Axl defeated Ian in a "Taipei Death match" (a match that saw each man coat their taped fists with shards of broken glass) which turned out to be one of ECW's bloodier matches. The Bad Breed eventually reconciled and teamed together once again in early 1996.

Rotten competed in the ECW heavyweight division as a singles wrestler throughout the remainder of 1996. In 1997, he formed a tag team with Balls Mahoney known as The Hardcore Chair Swingin' Freaks and teamed up with Spike Dudley and New Jack to take on their main rivals, the Dudley Boyz. Mahoney and Rotten teamed together until 1999, occasionally wrestling one another. Rotten eventually left ECW in 1999, and appeared with Xtreme Pro Wrestling and the Japanese Frontier Martial Arts Wrestling promotion. Rotten then wrestled on the independent circuit throughout the early 2000s.

World Wrestling Entertainment (2005-2006)[edit]

Rotten in 2009

On the June 6, 2005 episode of Raw, Rotten debuted in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), storming the ring with several other ECW alumni. Rotten went on to appear at the two ECW reunion shows taking place that month. At Hardcore Homecoming on June 10, 2005, the Bad Breed reunited, participating in a wild brawl with The Gangstanators although this was not announced as an official match due to Bad Breed sticking to a stipulation never to team again after losing a feud to the Pit Bulls. At ECW One Night Stand on June 12, 2005, Rotten, Mahoney and Kid Kash attacked the Blue World Order after they interfered in the main event tag team match. Following the events, Rotten and Mahoney wrestled several dark matches for WWE, but were not signed to contracts. At the second Hardcore Homecoming event on November 4, 2005, Axl defeated Ian Rotten in another "Taipei Death match".

Axl Rotten was listed as an ECW wrestler on the official website, however events put his future within the new ECW Brand in jeopardy. Rotten failed to show for the June 5 edition of Raw in an angle involving several other ECW wrestlers. WWE management was not happy with Rotten no showing at Raw. Furthermore, it was confirmed that Rotten was not backstage at the WWE vs. ECW Head to Head special that aired on USA Network on June 7. Rotten also did appear at the ECW One Night Stand pay-per-view event that was held on June 12, 2005. He was then removed from the roster on the website. Rotten was released before he could even compete in the new ECW. After the release, he made a few appearances in Independent Wrestling Association Mid-South in tag team matches.

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2010)[edit]

On July 29, 2010, it was confirmed that Rotten would take part in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling's ECW reunion show Hardcore Justice on August 8.[2] At the event Rotten and Balls Mahoney, billed as Kahoneys, were defeated by Team 3D in a South Philadelphia Street Fight.[3] After the match Mahoney vented his frustrations on Rotten, proclaiming that he would never again team with him.[4] However, on October 23, 2010, Rotten and Mahoney reunited at a Jersey All Pro Wrestling event, where they unsuccessfully challenged JAPW Tag Team Champions The Heavy Hitters (Monsta Mack & Havok) in a 3-Way Dance also involving Sami Callihan & Chris Dickinson.[5]

Television and film career[edit]

Rotten appeared in an uncredited, non-speaking role on the first episode of the show Homicide: Life on the Street, entitled "Gone for Goode," seen being questioned in "The Box" while Lieutenant Al Giardello gives Det. Tim Bayliss his introductory tour of the Homicide Unit.

In wrestling[edit]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

  • Allied Powers Wrestling Federation
    • APWF Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[1]
  • Eastern Wrestling Alliance
    • EWA Hardcore Championship (1 time)
  • Mid-America Wrestling
    • MAW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
  • Star Cavalcade Wrestling
    • SCW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[1]
    • SCW Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Ricky Lawless[1]
  • Universal Independent Wrestling
    • UIW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[1]
  • Other titles
    • AAWA Heavyweight Championship (1 time)


  1. ^ a b c d e Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4. 
  2. ^ "New Names For HardCORE Justice". Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. 2010-07-29. Archived from the original on 26 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-30. 
  3. ^ Caldwell, James (2010-08-08). "Caldwell's TNA Hardcore Justice PPV results 8/8: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of ECW-themed PPV headlined by RVD vs. Sabu". Pro Wrestling Torch. Archived from the original on 16 August 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-08. 
  4. ^ Martin, Adam (2010-08-24). "Balls Mahoney not very happy with Axl Rotten". WrestleView. Retrieved 2010-08-24. 
  5. ^ Martin, Adam (2010-10-24). "Indy News #2: JAPW with Lawler, WSU news/notes". WrestleView. Archived from the original on 1 November 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-25. 
  6. ^ "Independent Wrestling Association Mid-South Heavyweight Title". Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  7. ^ Maryland Championship Wrestling (2009). "Axl Rotten". 2009 Inductee. Retrieved October 5, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Pro Wrestling Illustrated Top 500 - 1996". Wrestling Information Archive. Retrieved 2009-08-03. 

External links[edit]