Gangrel (wrestler)

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Gangrel
David Gangrel Heath.jpg
Gangrel in February 2009.
Birth name David William Heath
Born (1969-02-16) February 16, 1969 (age 45)
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States
Resides Burbank, California, United States
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Blackheart Apocalypse[1]
The Blackheart[1]
The Black Phantom[1]
Crazy Dave[1]
David Heath[1]
The Druid[1]
El Vampiro[1]
Gangrel[1]
Lestat The Vampire[1]
The Master[2]
The Warlock[1]
Vampire Warrior[1]
Billed height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Billed weight 250 lb (110 kg)
Billed from Santa Cruz, California
"The other side of darkness"
Trained by Boris Malenko
Debut 1988

David William Heath (born February 16, 1969) is an American professional wrestler. He is best known for his appearances in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) from 1998 to 2001 and intermittently throughout the mid-2000s under the ring name Gangrel.

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Early career (1988–94)[edit]

Heath was trained by Boris Malenko in Florida. When his training was complete, he began performing in various independent promotions in the Florida area. In the Independent Professional Wrestling (IPW) promotion he won the IPW Tag Team Championship, before moving to Stampede Wrestling, where he formed a tag team with Tom Nash known as "The Blackhearts", with Heath and Nash competing under masks as "Destruction" and "Apocalypse" respectively. They won the Stampede International Tag Team Championship as a team.

In the early nineties, the Blackhearts were paired with Nash's wife Luna, wrestling in Joel Goodhart's Tri-State Wrestling, in Herb Abrams' Universal Wrestling Federation, and finally Giant Baba's All-Japan, where the team split up. During that time, the marriage between Nash and Luna broke up and Heath and Luna became romantically involved. They eventually married on Halloween 1994. The World Wrestling Federation (WWF), where Luna worked at the time, even broadcast a segment of Luna's "Wedding to a Vampire".

After the demise of the Blackhearts, Heath and Luna developed the Vampire Warrior gimmick, inspired by the movie The Lost Boys, under which, he wrestled in various promotions, including the Memphis-based United States Wrestling Association. Under this moniker, he won the USWA Southern Championship and the Pro Wrestling Illustrated Rookie of the Year award in 1993.

World Wrestling Federation (1994–95)[edit]

In 1994-1995, Heath portrayed "The Black Phantom" in the WWF, wrestling several mid-carders, including the 1-2-3 Kid.

Extreme Championship Wrestling (1995)[edit]

In 1995, Heath appeared in Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) for a short period, feuding with Tommy Dreamer over Dreamer's affiliation with Heath's real-life wife Luna.

World Championship Wrestling (1998)[edit]

In early 1998, Heath made an appearance with World Championship Wrestling on WCW Worldwide, teaming with Michael Nova in a losing effort against the Faces of Fear.

World Wrestling Federation (1998–2001)[edit]

Heath played a gothic, vampiric character called Gangrel, who spat blood before matches.

In 1998, Heath was hired by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) due to the support of then writers Bruce Prichard and Vince Russo, who believed in the merit of a vampire gimmick. Heath was given the name Gangrel, which was derived from a vampire clan from the role-playing game Vampire: The Masquerade. The gimmick involved an entrance which saw him rising from a ring of fire on stage, followed by a slow walk to the ring set to a sinister instrumental music theme. He also carried a goblet of "blood" with him and, during his entrance, would stop on the ring steps, take a drink, and spit it into the air. This was supposed to imply him drinking the blood of his many former victims as a practicing vampire.

Gangrel made his TV debut on the August 16, 1998 episode of Sunday Night Heat, and was victorious in his in-ring debut against Scott Taylor. He would go on to be undefeated for several months into his WWF career.

He then formed a gothic faction, called The Brood, with Edge and Christian. The Brood became known for their "blood baths", which involved the lights going out for a moment, and when they came back on, the targeted wrestler being covered in blood. The three temporarily joined up with The Undertaker and his Ministry of Darkness faction.

Gangrel got one of his first title shots at the 1999 Royal Rumble. He challenged D-Generation X member X-Pac for his WWF European Championship in a losing effort. He competed in the Royal Rumble match later that night and again the following year.

After splitting from the Ministry, The Brood began a feud with the Hardy Boyz and their manager Michael Hayes. During the feud, Gangrel suddenly turned on Edge and Christian and aligned himself with Matt and Jeff Hardy. He called the group The New Brood. Terri Runnels also began to show interest in the Hardy Boyz, however, and they eventually would win Terri's services as a manager, thus dumping Gangrel as a manager. Gangrel became a singles wrestler following the breakup of The New Brood; he was mainly used as a mid carder. In 2000, he brought in his real-life wife Luna Vachon as his manager until she was fired. Gangrel continued working for the WWF until he was released in 2001, reportedly for weight problems.

Independent circuit (2001–present)[edit]

Gangrel in the ring in 2009

Heath and Luna wrestled many tours all over the world. The pair did a lot of wrestling with the United Kingdom based All Star Promotions.

Living on the California coast, Heath (as Vampire Warrior) wrestled for North American Wrestling (NAW) and (as Gangrel) for All Star Promotions in the United Kingdom.

As Vampire Warrior, he wrestled in the main event of the ICWA's Show Revolution 5, losing to Joe Legend in a Casket match for the NWA: ICWA France Heavyweight Championship.

In 2009, he was involved with the Hulkamania Australian Tour event in Melbourne, Australia. Teaming up with Black Pearl, he lost to The Nasty Boys in an Australian Street Fight.

Gangrel is currently wrestling for independent promotions Wrestling Fan Xperience (WFX) and Vendetta Pro Wrestling.

Gangrel is also a part of the Territory League promotion, where he is a member of the Los Angeles Templars.

On January 23, 2010 Gangrel was inducted into the Legends Pro Wrestling "Hall of Fame" by Jack Blaze in Wheeling, WV at their annual "LPW Over The Edge" event.

Gangrel is the current All Star Wrestling Heavyweight Champion in British Columbia, Canada.

He is currently wrestling in Territory League with several former WWE Stars, like Solofa Fatu.

It was announced on October 27, 2012 that Gangrel would be appearing for Niagara Falls, Ontario based promotion Busted Knuckle Pro Wrestling on December 8 for their Holiday Havoc event. He is scheduled to wrestle local star "EZE" Eric Cairnie at the event.

On May 11 & 12, 2013 Gangrel participated in California based Alpha Omega Wrestling's two day "Pride of the Ring II" supercard in Indio California. He was defeated in a 4 man elimination match the first day and lost an AOW Heavyweight Championship match to Eric Watts of "Tough Enough" fame on the second.

On May 18, Gangrel made his debut for Chikara, managing The Day Walkers (Alexandre Barnabus Castle and Mathias Cage) to the second round of the 2013 Tag World Grand Prix.[3]

In August of 2013, Gangrel toured Saskatchewan, Canada with High Impact Wrestling Canada as part of the "Blood Wars" Tour, making stops in La Loche, Ile a la Crosse, Moose Jaw, and Regina.

On June 6, 2014 at House of Hardcore 4 Gangrel teamed with Joe Caldo and Hurricane Helms to defeat Vik Dalishus, Bill Carr, and Cerebus in a Six-man tag team match.

On June 7, 2014 at House of Hardcore 5 Gangrel teamed with Cerebus and Fungus to defeat Vik Dalishus, Dan Barry and Bill Carr in a Six-man tag team match.

On June 14, 2014 at House of Hardcore 6 Gangrel teamed with Matt Striker to face Rikishi & X-Pac in a losing effort.

In 2013 and 2014 Gangrel has appeared on a regular basis for the West Coast Wrestling Connection based in Portland and Salem, Oregon. [4]

Return to World Wrestling Entertainment (2004, 2005, 2006–07)[edit]

Heath made a couple appearances for WWE in 2004, returning as a hired goon of John "Bradshaw" Layfield during a feud with The Undertaker (both Bradshaw and Gangrel were former Ministry members), but nothing came of it.

In 2005, Heath was given another WWE contract and appeared in Ohio Valley Wrestling, the primary developmental territory of WWE. He was again released, however, before anything came of it.

In 2006, Heath was re-signed as a potential for WWE's newest brand, ECW, to appear in a vampire stable with Kevin Thorn and Ariel. WWE held off from reintroducing him to the main roster due to his ongoing weight problems.

At the September 21 Deep South Wrestling (DSW) event, he made an appearance and wrestled Tommy Suede. He continued to wrestle in DSW while he waited to be called up to one of the main rosters. On January 18, 2007, Gangrel was released from WWE.

On the 15th Anniversary WWE Raw special on December 10, 2007, Gangrel participated in a 15-man battle royal, but was eliminated by Al Snow following a rear naked choke.

Personal life[edit]

Heath has two children, David Jr and Donovan, and has been married twice, first to fellow wrestler Luna Vachon,[5] (during which he was stepfather to Luna's sons, Joshua and Van from her previous marriage to Tom Nash),[6] and then to Kiara Dillon on June 13, 2008.[7]

In wrestling[edit]

Gangrel performing the Impaler DDT
Gangrel performing a trapping suplex

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

  • APW Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Billy Blade[10]
  • All Star Wrestling
  • ASW Trans-Canada Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[11]
  • Atlantic Wrestling Council[12]
  • AWC Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
  • European Wrestling Promotion
  • EWP World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[13]
  • EWP Ironman Title Hardcore Knockout Tournament (2003)
  • International Pro Wrestling Association
  • Legends Pro Wrestling
  • Inducted into the LPW Hall of Fame (1/23/10)
  • Maximum Pro Wrestling
  • MXPW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
  • Pro Wrestling Revolution
  • PWR Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
  • TWA Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Blackheart Destruction

References[edit]

External links[edit]