The Sandman (wrestler)
|Birth name||James Fullington|
June 16, 1963 |
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||The Sandman
|Billed height||6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)|
|Billed weight||244 lb (111 kg)|
|Billed from||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania|
|Trained by||Larry Winters
Tri-State Wrestling Academy
James "Jim" Fullington (born June 16, 1963) better known by his ring name The Sandman, is an American professional wrestler, best known for his career with Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), where he developed into a "Hardcore Icon". Fullington has been an eight-time world heavyweight champion, having held the ECW World Heavyweight Championship 5 times, the XPW World Heavyweight Championship once, the IWC World Heavyweight Championship once, and the UWF Universal Heavyweight Championship once. He also had stints in World Championship Wrestling, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, and World Wrestling Entertainment.
- 1 Professional wrestling career
- 1.1 Tri-State Wrestling
- 1.2 Eastern / Extreme Championship Wrestling (1992–1999)
- 1.3 World Championship Wrestling (1999)
- 1.4 Return to ECW (1999–2001)
- 1.5 Xtreme Pro Wrestling and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2001–2003)
- 1.6 World Wrestling Entertainment (2005–2007)
- 1.7 Independent circuit (2007–2012)
- 1.8 Return to TNA (2010)
- 2 Personal life
- 3 In other media
- 4 The Lou Albano Incident
- 5 In wrestling
- 6 Championships and accomplishments
- 7 Footnotes
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Professional wrestling career
Fullington got his start in professional wrestling in the Philadelphia-based Tri-State Wrestling Alliance under the ring name Mr. Sandman, managed by his then real-life wife Peaches. He also performed in Memphis in 1991–1992.
Eastern / Extreme Championship Wrestling (1992–1999)
Surfer and pimp (1992–1994)
In April 1992 he arrived in Eastern Championship Wrestling (later renamed Extreme Championship Wrestling) as a crowd favorite. He won his first ECW Championship from Don Muraco on November 16, 1992, but lost it back to Muraco on April 3, 1993. In the end of 1993 he changed his ring-name to the Sandman.
In 1994, Sandman changed his gimmick after ECW owner Tod Gordon suggested that he channel his own personality into his character, creating an edgier gimmick. He began a feud with his former tag team partner Tommy Cairo, after The Sandman, was temporarily blinded following a match and inadvertently struck Peaches. When The Sandman regained his sight and saw Cairo assisting Peaches to her feet, he attacked Cairo. The Sandman subsequently became estranged from his wife (claiming "life's a bitch, and then you marry one") and adopted a new manager, Woman. In keeping with The Sandman's character, Woman would open his beers and light his cigarettes prior to matches. She began carrying a Singapore cane with which she would strike The Sandman's opponents.
After Cairo insinuated that he was sleeping with Peaches, The Sandman stated that Cairo owed him "$25 a romp" and began demanding that Cairo "pay your bills". Following the highly publicized caning of Michael P. Fay in Singapore on May 5, 1994, Sandman adopted another defining attribute of his new gimmick as he began wielding a kendo stick, referred to as a Singapore cane, taking delight in caning other wrestlers such as rookie Tommy Dreamer or his "estranged" wife. Sandman and Woman faced Cairo and Lori in a mixed Singapore Caning match on May 14, 1994. After Cairo and Lori defeated their opponents, Lori caned Sandman's crotch until Woman threw salt in her eyes, enabling Sandman to regroup and use his cane on both Lori and Cairo.
In late 1994, The Sandman was once again (kayfabe) blinded after a lit cigarette was pushed into his eye during an "I Quit" match with Tommy Dreamer. Woman blamed Sandman for the injury and abandoned him. The Sandman subsequently claimed that he would have to retire as a result, with Dreamer responding by dedicating the remainder of his career to The Sandman. Cairo began mocking The Sandman, which led to Dreamer heavily beating him during a match at November to Remember. At Sandman's retirement ceremony during the same event, an attempted reconciliation with Lori was interrupted by Woman, who caned Lori and threatened Sandman. As Dreamer came to the rescue, Sandman revealed that he was not in fact blinded and attacked Dreamer. The Sandman later revealed that his blinding had been an elaborate ruse concocted to trick Dreamer into hurting Cairo on his behalf.
World Heavyweight Champion (1995)
Sandman challenged Shane Douglas for the ECW Championship in April 1995, but was attacked by his own valet, Woman, who helped Shane Douglas retain the title. In a rematch at Hostile City Showdown on April 15, 1995, Sandman faced Douglas (who had Woman in his corner) in a rematch. During the course of the match, Woman turned on the now overconfident Douglas, helping Sandman become the ECW Champion. It was revealed that the entire sequence of events was a double-cross planned all along by Woman to aid Sandman while psychologically destroying Douglas in the process. Douglas attempted to regain the championship in the following months, but left for the World Wrestling Federation before he was able. Sandman's first title defenses after winning the ECW Championship were against Cactus Jack, with the latter never getting the upper hand due to interference by Woman, rival Terry Funk, 'stickler' referee Bill Alfonso, and Douglas, who was bitter over losing his title.
Sandman's feud with Cactus Jack lasted throughout 1995 and culminated in a series of matches involving barbed wire. In a Texas Death match in February 1995, Sandman was hit with a heavy metal frying pan, giving Fullington a legitimate concussion. Throughout the remainder of the match, Fullington was visibly disoriented and forgot the scripted ending of the match; several times Cactus Jack hit Sandman with his signature double underhook DDT and again and again Sandman instinctively kicked out. This went on for about a minute before Cactus Jack delivered a legit maneuver, hoping it would keep Sandman down. The referee also had to resort to making the ten-count (as per the match's rules) at nearly double his original speed.
On October 25, Sandman lost the title to Mikey Whipwreck in a ladder match. Three days later, Sandman teamed up with then Television Champion 2 Cold Scorpio to win the ECW Tag Team Championship from The Public Enemy. On December 9, Sandman regained his World Heavyweight title by defeating Whipwreck and Steve Austin in a 3-Way Dance. At the end of the month, 2 Cold Scorpio lost both the Television and Tag Team Championships to Whipwreck in a singles match on December 29, while Sandman became embroiled in his feud with Raven.
Feud with Raven (1995-1999)
Sandman spent the time period from December 1995 through May 1997 engaged in a feud with Raven, becoming a fan favorite in the storyline. On January 27, 1996, Sandman lost the World Heavyweight Championship to Raven and the two would subsequently trade the title back and forth. Sandman joined forces with Raven's nemesis Tommy Dreamer and on October 5, 1996, regained the title by pinning Stevie Richards in an Ultimate Jeopardy tag team match pitting Sandman and Dreamer against Brian Lee and Richards, who replaced Raven when he no-showed the event.
During the feud, Raven allied himself to the returned Lori Fullington and brainwashed her and Sandman's real-life son into joining his cult-like following, turning him against his father. Raven psychologically attacked Sandman by having his son deny his relationship with his father, telling Tyler that his parents' divorce was Sandman's fault, and making him perform Raven's trademark taunt "The Raven's Crucifix" and other mannerisms. On October 26, 1996, during one match, Tyler interfered to help his father. Afterward, the two embraced, but Raven came from behind with a Singapore Cane and smacked his enemy by piledriving Sandman through the table. Stevie Richards and the The Blue Meanie came out with a giant wooden cross and crucified him. On December 7 at Holiday Hell, Sandman again lost the title to Raven in a barbed wire match.
In 1996, the team of Sandman and Tommy Dreamer became more permanent as the duo feuded with anti-ECW team of Sabu and Rob Van Dam, as well as the Dudley Boyz. At World Wrestling Federation (WWF)'s 1996 In Your House: Mind Games, Sandman, Tommy Dreamer, Paul Heyman and a number of other ECW stars caused a storyline disturbance at ringside during a Caribbean Strap match between Savio Vega and Justin "Hawk" Bradshaw. The disturbance resulted in Sandman whacking Vega over the head with his signature Singapore cane and spitting beer in his face. This event marked the start of the on-air working relationship between Vince McMahon's WWF and Paul Heyman's ECW and eventually led to ECW appearing on the February 24, 1997 WWF program Raw.
At the ECW premier PPV Barely Legal, Sandman wrestled a three-way dance with Terry Funk and Stevie Richards, for a shot at the ECW title later that night, but fell short of the title. Later in the year, Sandman feuded with Sabu. Although he was too injured to compete at Hardcore Heaven 1997, his interference in the main event led to Sabu's elimination, costing Sabu the title. Over the next few months, they competed in tables matches, ladder matches and dueling cane matches before effectively ending their feud at Living Dangerously 1998. Over the spring and summer of 1998, Sandman teamed up with Dreamer and Spike Dudley to feud with the Dudley Boyz, finally securing a victory in a six-man match at Heat Wave 1998.
World Championship Wrestling (1999)
In 1999, Fullington joined World Championship Wrestling (WCW). He first appeared in vignettes promoting Raven as a spoiled rich kid and Fullington as his preppy neighbor. The original plan to debut under this gimmick were scrapped. He later debuted under his longtime nickname, Hak (the Sandman name was trademarked) when he called out Bam Bam Bigelow and challenged him to a Hardcore match on Monday Nitro. In a typically strange booking move by WCW he was defeated by Bigelow and was not named on screen during the entire segment. In his short time there, Hak was mostly involved in angles featuring fellow ECW alumni Raven, Bigelow and Raven's storyline sister Chastity, with whom he developed an on-screen relationship after she turned on Raven. His presence also helped to bolster WCW's fledgling hardcore division. WCW started promoting hardcore wrestling within their product through utilizing wrestlers like Hak and Bam Bam Bigelow.
Return to ECW (1999–2001)
After leaving WCW in late 1999, Fullington, as The Sandman, returned to ECW and remained with the company until its demise in January 2001. He began a feud with Rhino in 2000, losing to him at Hardcore Heaven, Heat Wave, and other shows. On January 7, 2001 at ECW's last pay-per-view, Guilty as Charged, the Sandman won his fifth World Heavyweight Championship in a Tables, Ladders, Chairs, and Canes three-way dance with the champion Steve Corino and Justin Credible. After The Sandman won, however, the World Television Champion Rhino came out to the ring and challenged him to an impromptu title match. The Sandman accepted the challenge and after a 60-second match, Rhino defeated The Sandman to become the new World Heavyweight Champion, unifying ECW's two singles titles.
Xtreme Pro Wrestling and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2001–2003)
After the closure of ECW The Sandman wrestled for Xtreme Pro Wrestling (XPW) for a time. In February 2002, at the event Free Fall, he won the XPW King of the Deathmatch Championship from Supreme, turning heel and aligning himself with heel faction 'The E'. On a number of occasions Sandman was accompanied to the ring by former World Championship Wrestling (WCW) valet Tylene Buck. At XPW's 'Cold Day in Hell' reunion show, Sandman defeated Pogo the Clown, the wrestler he last feuded with before the company went out of business. While at XPW Sandman also wrestled within the fledgling Pro-Pain Pro Wrestling promotion. His most notable match was a 3-way dance with Sabu and New Jack. It is featured as a "bonus match" on the 3PW DVD Blood, Brawls and Broads.
In late 2002 and early 2003, The Sandman had a tenure in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), joining former-ECW wrestlers Justin Credible and Raven, along with New Jack and Perry Saturn in a stable known as "Team Extreme" and later "Extreme Revolution". He also competed in the Hard 10 Tournament, where he partly feuded with Sonny Siaki before winning the overall event.
World Wrestling Entertainment (2005–2007)
ECW brand (2005–2007)
In 2005, Sandman participated in the ECW reunion show Hardcore Homecoming against longtime rival Raven. Two nights later he appeared at the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) produced ECW One Night Stand pay-per-view event, another ECW reunion show, teaming with Tommy Dreamer to face The Dudley Boyz. The match would see Sandman and Dreamer lose to the Dudleys after Dreamer was powerbombed through a flaming table. In 2006, prior to the June 11 One Night Stand, The Sandman made a number of promotional appearances on WWE programming, first appearing, along with a number of other ECW stars, on Raw attacking John Cena then, two nights later, on the WWE vs. ECW Head to Head special taking part in a battle royal, in which it can be argued that he was the last ECW original eliminated. At One Night Stand, when Eugene made his way to the ring to read a poem expressing his love of ECW, The Sandman came out with his Singapore Cane and caned Eugene to the back.
On June 13, 2006 WWE officially relaunched ECW as a brand equal to Raw and SmackDown! with its own show on the Sci Fi Channel. In the new ECW, The Sandman was used for the first few weeks as a character who would emerge from the crowd when a non-ECW style character was annoying the audience. Once the character had a few minutes to talk Sandman appeared and destroyed the character with his cane, often ending the "match" with his signature White Russian Legsweep. This gimmick escalated when Sandman confronted regular ECW fixture Mike Knox while he was attempting to stop his exhibitionist girlfriend, Kelly Kelly, in the middle of her weekly "exposé" strip show. The Sandman began a feud with Knox over this and eventually began teaming up with fellow ECW original Tommy Dreamer to take on Knox and Test in a feud that many felt symbolized the original vision of ECW (Sandman and Dreamer) versus the "new" vision of ECW (Knox and Test). At the same time Sandman was feuding with Test and Knox, a debuting Matt Striker began to rub him the wrong way and he started a secondary feud with him.
Subsequently, the Sandman has made several short appearances, mostly coming out through the crowd and caning someone whenever some injustice was done. After being briefly included in a feud with Elijah Burke, he became part of the ECW Originals stable and joined their feud with the New Breed. On April 1, 2007 at WrestleMania 23 he teamed with RVD, Sabu, and Dreamer to defeat Marcus Cor Von, Burke, Striker, and Kevin Thorn. On May 16, Sabu was released by WWE and soon after Rob Van Dam left to take a sabbatical from wrestling, leaving Sandman and Dreamer alone to feud with the New Breed. Sandman and Dreamer would team up with CM Punk on multiple occasions, who was also feuding with the New Breed. On the June 4 episode of ECW, Sandman, Dreamer, and Balls Mahoney faced Bobby Lashley in a 3 on 1 Hardcore Handicap match, in which they were defeated.
Raw and Departure (2007)
On June 17, 2007, Sandman was drafted to the Raw brand via the WWE Supplemental Draft. On the June 18 edition of Raw, Sandman debuted, going after Carlito with his Singapore cane. On the July 2 edition of Raw, Sandman had his first match on Raw, facing Carlito. Carlito won the match due to a disqualification when Sandman struck him with his cane after Carlito tried to use it on him. This started a feud between the two. Sandman did a similar thing next week when he lost to William Regal by disqualification, after hitting Regal and Carlito with his cane. The next week, Sandman faced Carlito again, this time winning when Regal attacked him. The Sandman was saved when Jim Duggan (who had a confrontation with Regal earlier that night) came down to the ring. At The Great American Bash he lost to Carlito in a Singapore Cane on a Pole match. The Sandman lost in a battle royal to determine the new General Manager of Raw where he was the last one eliminated by Regal who had faked an injury and was not in the match until Sandman was the only superstar in the ring; Regal then won after he snuck up on The Sandman and hit him in the back of the head with his boot. His last match was on the September 10 edition of Raw against Santino Marella which he won by disqualification. Fullington appeared to injure his ankle during a missed spot in this match and was released from his WWE contract on September 12, 2007.
Independent circuit (2007–2012)
The Sandman appeared at IWA Mid-South's Ian Rotten Retirement Show in Plainfield, Indiana on December 7, 2007 in a losing effort to Drake Younger. The next night, in Elizabeth, Pennsylvania at the International Wrestling Cartel's A Call To Arms 4: Controlled Chaos, Sandman defeated Dennis Gregory in a steel cage match to capture the IWC Heavyweight Championship. The next night after that, he competed at the debut show for Firestorm Pro Wrestling, Destroy Erase Improve, in a match against Samoa Joe which he lost. On January 3, 2008, at the All Entertainment Action Wrestling event Crucifix Bombardment 2008 Sandman defeated 'The Raging Rhino' Hans Wilkshire in a Hardcore Match to win the vacant AEAW American Heavyweight Championship and the AEAW Hardcore Wrestling Championship. On April 19, 2008, he appeared on 1PW's supershow, 'Know Your Enemy 2008', in a losing effort to Damned Nation in an 8-man tag team match, where he teamed up with El Ligero and Bubblegum (Hubba Bubba Lucha) and Iceman. The Sandman then took part in a No Limit Wrestling special, in which he participated in a tag team match,in which he and his partner, Joe E. Legend, defeated Test and Chris Masters after a cane from Sandman allowed Legend to make the pin.
In October 2008, Sandman announced through a bulletin posted by his official MySpace account that he would be retiring from pro wrestling in the coming weeks. The bulletin stated that Sandman has a two-month-old child and a girlfriend to take care of, so he feels it is time to leave the wrestling business after a 20 plus year career. The bulletin also noted that he would still be accepting bookings over the next few weeks and that his official retirement date would be announced soon.
The Sandman appeared at the Armageddon convention in Auckland, New Zealand, wrestling for Impact Pro Wrestling between October 25–27, 2008. He defeated Joseph Kinkade in his first match and The Machine in his second match, both with the White Russian Legsweep. He then teamed up with IPW New Zealand Heavyweight Championship holder "The Deal" Dal Knox in a tag match against Kinkade and The Machine, which saw Knox take the win with a Knox Out on Kinkade.
Sandman appeared at the Lonestar Bar & Grill in Temple, Texas on July 13, 2009 wrestling for New School Federation. He was in a Tag Team match with the at the time NSF champion Ryan Genesis against the tag team of The Fringe Connection (Myke Fyre and Caribbean Tiger) in a NO-DQ match. Genesis scored the pinfall with the help of Sandman armed with a Singapore cane.
Fullington made appearances with the Shane Douglas promotion Extreme Rising. Fullington's appearances mainly centered around him doing entrances to his theme music and performing "saves" for other wrestlers by caning their opponents.
Return to TNA (2010)
Fullington returned to TNA on July 27, 2010, at the tapings of the August 5 edition of TNA Impact!, in order to take part in the August 8 ECW reunion show, Hardcore Justice. At the event on August 8, Sandman assaulted former rival P.J. Polaco (Justin Credible) after his match with Stevie Richards. On the following edition of Impact!, the ECW alumni, known collectively as EV 2.0, were assaulted by A.J. Styles, Kazarian, Robert Roode, James Storm, Douglas Williams and Matt Morgan of Ric Flair's Fourtune stable, who thought they didn't deserve to be in TNA. The following week TNA president Dixie Carter gave each member of EV 2.0 TNA contracts in order for them to settle their score with Fourtune. Sandman no-showed an Impact! taping on August 23 and has made no more appearances for the company since.
Fullington was married to Lori Fullington, with whom he has three children: Kelly (born 1987), Tyler(born 1989) and Austin Oliver (born 1998). Tyler would be featured in ECW's Sandman versus Raven storyline and debuted as a wrestler himself in August 2008, wrestling as "Twisted Sand".
In other media
The Lou Albano Incident
On July 20, 2008, at a party for Lou Albano, Fullington began fighting a Yonkers, New York restaurant's employee when they called the police. Upon the police's arrival, he turned on them and started throwing glasses their way, injuring two of them. He was at first denied bail on July 23, due to two previous convictions for burglary in 1983. His bail was later set at US$10,000. The judge also issued a restraining order, barring Fullington from contacting the owner of the restaurant where the incident had occurred and Fullington was ordered to stay away from the restaurant. Fullington was fined $1,000, had to pay another $200 in court costs and was given a one-year conditional discharge. Fullington was also facing criminal mischief and assault charges, which were dropped in return for the guilty plea.
- Finishing moves
- Black Russian Legsweep (Russian legsweep with a steel pipe or a sledgehammer across the opponent's throat)
- DDT, usually onto a chair or barbed wire
- Rolling Rock (Senton bomb, usually onto an opponent placed over a ladder or a table)
- White Russian Legsweep (Russian legsweep with a kendo stick across the opponent's throat)
- Signature moves
- "Ambassador of Extreme"
- "Hardcore Icon"
- "Extreme Icon"
- "ECW Original"
- "King of Extreme"
- Entrance themes
Championships and accomplishments
- All Entertainment Action Wrestling
- AEAW American Heavyweight Championship (2 times, current)
- AEAW Hardcore Wrestling Championship (1 time, current)
- Eastern Championship Wrestling / Extreme Championship Wrestling
- Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling
- Future of Wrestling
- International Wrestling Cartel
- IWC World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- Stars and Stripes Championship Wrestling
- SSCW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Total Nonstop Action Wrestling
- USA Pro Wrestling
- USA Pro United States Championship (1 time)
- Universal Wrestling Federation
- UWF Universal Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Westside Xtreme Wrestling
- WXW Hardcore Championship (1 time)
- Xtreme Pro Wrestling
1Sandman's first reign occurred while the promotion was an NWA affiliate named Eastern Championship Wrestling, and was prior to the promotion becoming Extreme Championship Wrestling and the title being declared a world title by ECW. Sandman held the title an additional four times after these events.
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