|This article needs additional citations for verification. (July 2007)|
July 10, 1966|
|Died||February 16, 2006
Peachtree City, Georgia
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Johnny Grunge
|Billed height||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Billed weight||263 lb (119 kg)|
|Billed from||Compton, California|
Michael Lynn Durham (July 10, 1966 – February 16, 2006) was an American professional wrestler, better known by his ring name, Johnny Grunge. He was best known for the tag team he formed with Rocco Rock known as The Public Enemy.
In 1993 in Woodbridge, New Jersey, Grunge formed a tag team in the UWF with Rocco Rock known as The Public Enemy. This was not the first time they had met though as The Public Enemy faced one another in Austria circa 1991, with Grunge (using the name "Johnny Rotten") losing to Rock (using the name "Cheetah").
In 1993, The Public Enemy joined Eastern Championship Wrestling, a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based promotion soon to be renamed Extreme Championship Wrestling. Between March 6, 1994 and October 28, 1995, The Public Enemy held the ECW Tag Team Championship on four occasions. While in ECW, they were involved in two infamous incidents - the first when the ECW audience hurled folding chairs into the ring until The Public Enemy (both "unconscious") were submerged, and the second when the ECW audience invaded the ring to celebrate with The Public Enemy, with the ring collapsing as a result of the additional weight. They were known for their hardcore wrestling style and usage of tables, a gimmick that was later adopted by the Dudley Boyz.
In 1996, The Public Enemy joined the Atlanta, Georgia based World Championship Wrestling promotion. They debuted on January 15, 1996, defeating The American Males. On September 23, 1996 in Birmingham, Alabama, The Public Enemy defeated Harlem Heat to win the WCW World Tag Team Championship. Harlem Heat regained the titles on October 1, 1996 in Canton, Ohio. The Public Enemy left WCW in 1999, and briefly wrestled for ECW before joining the World Wrestling Federation. Both men made their debut on the February 22, 1999 episode of Raw is War, but were released from the WWF two months later. On July 18 at Bash at the Beach 1999, The Public Enemy returned to WCW and took part in the "Junkyard Invitational". They then returned to the independent circuit, making appearances with the X Wrestling Federation as The South Philly Posse, where they were managed by Jasmin St. Claire.
In the early 2000s, Public Enemy performed for the short-lived i-Generation Superstars of Wrestling among other independent promotions. The team won various independent tag team titles.
Following the death of Rocco Rock in 2002, Grunge teamed with his "brother" Joey Grunge as The New Public Enemy throughout August 2003. He also made appearances with Pro-Pain Pro Wrestling (3PW), and participated in a memorial segment for deceased ECW wrestlers at Hardcore Homecoming on June 10, 2005.
Personal life and death
Grunge was a neighbor of Chris Benoit and regularly helped Benoit cope with Eddie Guerrero's death in November 2005. He was preparing for a comeback of sorts in 2006. Jason Ray, a wrestler for Big Japan Wrestling and Grunge's cousin, had helped book him for the upcoming Spring 2006 BJW tour. Grunge died at the age of 39 on February 16, 2006 in his residence in Peachtree City, Georgia as a result of sleep apnea complications. He is survived by his widow, Penney, and two sons.
Johnny Grunge is referenced in the Weezer song "El Scorcho." The line "watchin' Grunge legdrop New Jack through a press table" was derived from a caption for a photograph of Grunge fighting wrestler New Jack that was published in Pro Wrestling Illustrated.
Championships and accomplishments
- Eastern Championship Wrestling / Extreme Championship Wrestling
- International World Class Championship Wrestling
- Main Event Championship Wrestling
- MECW Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Rocco Rock
- National Wrestling Alliance
- New England Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame
- Class of 2010
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI ranked him #465 of the 500 best singles wrestlers of the "PWI Years" in 2003
- Superstars of Wrestling
- SOW Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Rocco Rock
- Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling
- TCW Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Rocco Rock
- Ultra Championship Wrestling
- UCW Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Jason Ray
- Universal Wrestling Alliance
- UWA Tag Team Championship (1 time, first) - with Rocco Rock
- Other titles
- IPW Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Rocco Rock
- MCW Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Rocco Rock
- Brady, Hicks. "2006: The year in wrestling". PWI Presents: 2007 Wrestling Almanak and book of facts (Kappa Publications). p. 18. 2007 Edition.
- "Johnny Grunge profile". OWOW. Retrieved 2009-08-14.
- Loverro, Thom (2006). The Rise and Fall of ECW. Pocket Books. pp. 28–29. ISBN 978-1-4165-1058-1.
- Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
- Lake Charles American Press (February 23, 2006) Obituaries, page A2
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