Darren Young

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For other people named Darren Young, see Darren Young (disambiguation).
Not to be confused with Darin Young.
Darren Young
Darren Young April 2012.jpg
Young at the WWE SmackDown tapings on April 17, 2012
Birth name Frederick Douglas Rosser III
Born (1979-11-02) November 2, 1979 (age 34)
Union Township, New Jersey[1]
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Darren Young[1]
Fred Rossen[2]
Fred Rosser[1]
Fred Sampson[1]
Fred Sanford[1]
Frederick of Hollywood[2]
Officer Sampson[2]
Billed height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Billed weight 239 lb (108 kg)[3]
Billed from Miami, Florida[3]
Trained by Dennis Condrey[1]
Florida Championship Wrestling[1]
Debut 2002[4]

Frederick "Fred" Douglas Rosser III (born November 2, 1979), better known by his ring name Darren Young, is an American professional wrestler signed to WWE.[1] He is the first WWE performer to come out publicly as gay while active as a wrestler with the company. Prior to signing with WWE, Rosser competed in Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic independent promotions including Chaotic Wrestling,[5] East Coast Wrestling Association,[6] Independent Wrestling Federation and the National Wrestling Alliance.

Early life[edit]

Rosser was born in Union, New Jersey. He began watching professional wrestling during the mid-1980s and became interested in becoming a professional wrestler as a teenager, wrestling in several backyard wrestling federations. He attended Union High School in New Jersey, where he played American football, both offensively and defensively.[7] He attended Fairleigh Dickinson University where he played football for a year, before deciding to focus on his academic studies and professional wrestling.[7]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Training and independent circuit (2002-2004)[edit]

Rosser became interested in becoming a professional wrestler as a teenager, wrestling in several backyard wrestling federations. He researched a number of wrestling schools before deciding on Camp IWF in West Paterson, New Jersey. This was due in part to his employer, whose uncle was a friend of a local wrestler training there at the time, and helped him enroll in the wrestling school.[8]

Rosser made his professional debut in 2002 and spent several years on the independent circuit, including wrestling for the Independent Wrestling Federation and Chaotic Wrestling during his early career. On May 17, 2003, he won his first major title when he defeated the IWF Heavyweight Championship in Woodland Park, New Jersey and held it for over half a year until losing to Roman on January 17, 2004. It was at a house show in Chaotic Wrestling that he was first noticed by promoter Jim Kettner and invited to compete for the East Coast Wrestling Association where he made his debut in the summer of 2004. Shortly after entering the promotion, Rosser began feuding with Prince Nana over the ECWA Mid Atlantic Championship and eventually defeated him for the title[8] in Newark, Delaware on September 18, 2004. He lost the title to Nick Malakai less than two months later.

World Wrestling Entertainment / WWE[edit]

During 2005 and 2006, Rosser made several appearances for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) on its weekly programs Sunday Night Heat and Velocity as well as in dark matches on SmackDown and Raw.[9][10]

In May 2009, Rosser signed a WWE developmental contract and was sent to WWE's developmental territory, Florida Championship Wrestling, under the name Darren Young.[1][11] In FCW, Young was in a tag team called The South Beach Party Boys with Percy Watson. On February 16, 2010, it was announced that he would compete as part of the first season of WWE NXT, mentored by CM Punk.[12]

NXT and The Nexus (2010–2012)[edit]

See also: The Nexus
Young (far right) with the other members of The Nexus at SummerSlam.

On February 23, 2010, Young made his debut on WWE NXT with a character described as a "South Beach Party Boy", losing his debut match to David Otunga. His storyline had mentor CM Punk showing apathy towards him, claiming he had no idea why he's in NXT and did not want to train Young unless he accepted his Straight-edge lifestyle.[13] Despite this, Punk and his disciples, Luke Gallows and Serena, helped Young win his rematch against Otunga the following week.[14] Young was ranked eight in the first Pros' Poll. After the pros' poll, Young decided to join the Straight Edge Society in an attempt to improve, only to change his mind before getting his hair shaved off. CM Punk decided to forgive him for standing up to him when he defeated Luke Gallows with Young's own hair on the line. Because of this victory, CM Punk had then been interested in Young's potential, but in turn started feuding with a jealous Luke Gallows. On May 11 in the second Pros poll, Young was ranked fifth out of the six remaining contestants and narrowly escaped elimination.[15] The following week, however, Young was eliminated from the competition.[16]

The week following the Season 1 finale, Young, along with the other season one NXT rookies turned heel and interfered in the main event match on Raw between John Cena and Young's former Pro, CM Punk, and attacked both wrestlers, the announce team, and the ring announcer Justin Roberts, before they dismantled the ring area and surrounding equipment.[17] On the June 14 edition of Raw the rookies attacked General Manager Bret Hart, when he refused to give them contracts.[18] The following week on Raw, Vince McMahon fired Hart and announced that a new General Manager had been hired, one that had signed all seven season one NXT rookies to contracts.[19] The following week, the group was named The Nexus.[20] On the July 5 episode of Raw, The Nexus tried to attack John Cena as he confronted Wade Barrett during their "truce" with one another. The segment ended with The Nexus leaving without Young, when other Raw wrestlers arrived to aid Cena, and Young was assaulted by Cena to end the show. Due to Cena's actions, the new general manager pitted Cena in a 7 on 1 handicap match against The Nexus scheduled for the following week.[21] Young however did not participate in the handicap match due to injuries caused by Cena the previous week, though The Nexus was successful in winning the match.[22] He returned on July 18 at Money in the Bank with the rest of The Nexus, sporting a new haircut and costing Cena the WWE Championship against Sheamus. After the match, Cena attacked Young and fellow Nexus teammate, Michael Tarver.[23] The Nexus continued to feud with Cena and the Raw roster, resulting in a seven-on-seven elimination tag team match at SummerSlam. Young was the first person to be eliminated from the match, when he submitted to Daniel Bryan in under a minute, and The Nexus went on to lose the match.[24] On the next episode of Raw the members of The Nexus fought in individual matches against members of the victorious Team WWE with the stipulation that losing a match would have them exiled from the group. Young chose to face John Cena but failed to win, and was exiled and attacked as a result.[25]

Young returned on the September 6 episode of Raw, distracting Barrett and costing him a match against Randy Orton thus turned Young face.[26] On the October 4 episode of Raw, Young participated in a battle royal to determine the number one contender to the WWE Championship, but was eliminated by The Nexus.[27] Young had his first singles match since leaving The Nexus on the October 7 episode of Superstars, but lost to William Regal.[28] Young had his first win in singles competition on the October 14 airing of Superstars defeating Primo.[29] Young teamed up with Tatsu in a losing effort against The Usos in mid November on two occasions. Young got his first victory of 2011 when he teamed with Primo, Yoshi Tatsu and David Hart Smith to defeat Zack Ryder, William Regal and The Usos on the January 13 episode of Superstars.[30]

In March 2011, Young was selected as one of six former NXT contestants to return to the show in its fifth season, NXT Redemption. During this season, Young was mentored by Chavo Guerrero. In the season premiere, Young defeated Jacob Novak and won the first challenge to earn himself "redemption points".[31] On the April 12 episode of NXT, Young attacked Titus O'Neil after their match and tried to attack O'Neil's pro Hornswoggle, but was stopped by Guerrero.[32] He turned heel, when he attacked Hornswoggle, and later he and Guerrero faced O'Neil and different tag team partners on several occasions. On the April 19 edition of Redemption, Young faced Hornswoggle in single match. During their match, Chavo Guerrero gave Young a blindfold but In the end Hornswoggle wins after a Tadpole splash. On the May 3 edition of Redemption, Young lost to his Pros Chavo Guerrero with Hornswoggle as a special guest referee. On the May 10 edition of Redemption, Hornswoggle didn't appear on NXT and accused by Hornswoggle Rookie's Titus O'Neil. The following week, It was revealed Chavo Guerrero kidnapped Hornswoggle and hid Hornswoggle in the box. Then, Guerrero and Young was attack Hornswoggle in the ring until O'Neil made a save. The feud was settled when Titus O'Neil and Darren Young faced each other in a No Disqualitication Match on the May 24 episode of NXT Redemption. The match ended with Titus O'Neil a victor after Hornswoggle interfered in a match which O'Neil attack Guerrero and Young. Guerrero was later released from WWE, leaving Young on his own. In August he formed an alliance with Derrick Bateman and the duo teamed up against O'Neil and NXT host Matt Striker, but were defeated.[33] Young then moved into a feud with Striker, defeating him on two consecutive occasions.[34][35] After Young attacked Striker following a handshake, William Regal intervened, saving Striker.[36] Two weeks later, Young was defeated by Regal in a singles match. Young then formed an alliance with JTG and defeated Striker and O'Neil. After the match they were attacked by the Usos.[37]

Young was suspended for 30 days on October 5, 2011.[38] Following his suspension, Young returned on the November 16, 2011 episode of NXT and assaulted Titus O'Neil.[39] Young was then able to get the better of O'Neil twice in tag team matches.[40][41] The conclusion to Young's feud with O'Neil came when O'Neil defeated Young in a no disqualifications match.[42] O'Neil then turned heel and formed an alliance with Young. Young and O'Neil feuded with Percy Watson and Alex Riley in February 2012, defeating them twice.[43][44] In March, while he and O'Neil were feuding with the Usos, Young started chasing the affections of Tamina.[45]

Prime Time Players (2012–2014)[edit]

Main article: Prime Time Players

On the April 18 episode of NXT, Young and O'Neil were signed by John Laurinaitis to the SmackDown brand.[46] The team made their debut for the brand on the April 20 episode of SmackDown with a victory over The Usos. The team suffered their first team loss against the WWE Tag Team Champions Kofi Kingston and R-Truth on the May 18 edition of Smackdown.[47][48] At the No Way Out pay-per-view in June, minutes before Young and O'Neil teamed up Darren Young to defeat Justin Gabriel and Tyson Kidd, Primo and Epico, and The Usos in a four-way number one contender tag team match to earn a future shot at the WWE Tag Team Championship, after A.W. turned on his clients, Epico and Primo.[49] On the July 16 episode of Raw, Young and O'Neil unsuccessfully challenged Kofi Kingston and R-Truth for the WWE Tag Team Championship.[50] On the August 10 episode of SmackDown, they defeated Primo and Epico in a number one contenders match via disqualification when A.W. provoked Kingston and R-Truth, who were on commentary, into interfering in the match.[51] That same day, A. W. was released from his contract.[52] Prime Time Players received their title shots at SummerSlam, but were again defeated by Kingston and R-Truth.[53] On the September 7 edition of Smackdown, Prime Time Players defeated Primo and Epico and The Usos in a triple threat tag team match to earn another shot the Tag Team Championship.[54] However, on Raw three days later, Prime Time Players lost their title shot to the team of Daniel Bryan and Kane (soon to be known as Team Hell No).[55] At the Survivor Series pay-per-view, Young took part in a 10 man elimination tag team match, but was eliminated by Rey Mysterio.[56] Young also competed in the 2013 Royal Rumble entering at entrant 15 but was eliminated by Kofi Kingston.

On the August 19, 2013 edition of Raw, the Prime Time Players turned face in a winning effort against the Real Americans, Darren Young second face turn and Titus O'Neil first face turn. The face turn had been speculated about for some months, especially after Young's real-life coming out the previous week which received mainstream media coverage.[57] The team gained a push, challenging for the WWE Tag Team Championship, but lost a match to The Shield. The duo also sided with other face wrestlers from the active roster, only to get punished by COO Triple H for preventing Daniel Bryan from being critically injured by Randy Orton. The Prime Time Players were amongst the select few ordered to battle The Shield in separately sanctioned 3 on 1 handicap matches on the September 20 edition of SmackDown, as punishment for their intervention.

Singles competition (2014–present)[edit]

On the January 31, 2014 episode of SmackDown after Young was pinned in a tag team match against Ryback and Curtis Axel, Titus O'Neil attacked him, turned heel and officially disbanded the team. On SmackDown the same week, Darren attacked Titus to get redemption and for Titus calling Darren "Dead Weight".[58] Young picked up a victory over Damien Sandow on the February 14 edition of SmackDown, before being attacked by Titus O'Neil, which turned into a brawl and left O'Neil in tattered clothes. They went one on one at the 2014 Elimination Chamber, with the victor being O'Neil. However, Young defeated O'Neil in a rematch on Main Event. At Wrestlemania XXX Young was in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal where he was eliminated by the 3MB.

At a WWE Live Event on April 12, Darren Young was injured in a match against Fandango and on April 16, Darren underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee that would take him out of action for four to six months.

Personal life[edit]

Rosser has cited Shawn Michaels and Ricky Steamboat as his favorite wrestlers.[11] In an interview released on August 15, 2013, he publicly discussed being gay. While WWE wrestlers Chris Kanyon & Orlando Jordan both came out as either gay or (in Jordan's case) bisexual after either leaving the company or retiring, Young is the first wrestler ever to publically come out while still signed to a major promotion. WWE Hall of Famer and current WWE creative consultant Pat Patterson came out as gay in the late 1970's but his private life was never used for WWE storylines or made publicly to the fans, even though he played a flamboyant wrestler;[59] His coming out was met with a lot of positivity. WWE released a statement in support of Rosser for being open about his sexuality,[60] and various fellow wrestlers tweeted their support for him.[61] He also discussed his childhood stuttering issues.[62] Rosser has been in a relationship with his boyfriend, Nick, for two years.[63] Rosser is a sports fan and a fan of English League One team Leyton Orient F.C. and always visits when in the UK.[64]

Other media[edit]

Darren made his video game debut in WWE 2K14 and has been confirmed to be a playable character in the upcoming WWE 2K15.

In wrestling[edit]

  • Entrance themes
    • "We Are One" by 12 Stones (June 7, 2010 – August 16, 2010; Used while a part of The Nexus)
    • "One Two Three" by Holter Weerts (September 6, 2010 - February 1, 2012)
    • "Move (Get In)" by Woo Child[74] (February 1, 2012 – November 30, 2012; Used while teaming with Titus O'Neil and in singles competition)
    • "Making Moves" by Sugar Tongue Slim[75] (December 3, 2012–present; Used while teaming with Titus O'Neil and in singles matches)

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

  • Independent Wrestling Federation
    • IWF Heavyweight Championship (2 times)[80]
    • Commissioner's Cup Tag Team Tournament (2003) – with Hadrian[81]
    • Commissioner's Cup Tag Team Tournament (2004) – with Kevin Knight[81]
    • Commissioner's Cup Tag Team Tournament (2006) – with Franciz[81]
    • Tournament of Champions (2004)[81]
  • National Wrestling Superstars
    • NWS Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Bulldog Collare[1]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]