Mike Bucci

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Mike Bucci
Bucci as Simon Dean in 2006
Birth name Michael Bucci
Born (1972-06-05) June 5, 1972 (age 45)[1]
Toms River, New Jersey[2]
Residence Louisville, Kentucky[1]
Alma mater Ocean County College
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Hollywood Nova[3]
Super Nova[1][1]
Mike Bucci[2]
Simon Dean[1]
Bob Star
Nova Frehley
Billed height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m) [1]
Billed weight 214 lb (97 kg)[1]
Billed from Clearwater, Florida (as Simon Dean)
Silicon Valley (as Nova)
Toms River, New Jersey
Trained by Mike Sharpe[1]
Debut 1992[1]

Michael Bucci[2] (born June 5, 1972)[1] is an American semi-retired professional wrestler. Bucci is probably best known for his appearances in Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) as Nova, Super Nova, and "Hollywood" Nova and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) as Simon Dean.

Professional wrestling career[edit]

After graduating in 1990 from Toms River High School East in Toms River, New Jersey, he attended nearby Ocean County College for a few semesters. There, he met a friend who informed him of a wrestling school in nearby Brick Township, New Jersey, run by "Iron" Mike Sharpe. Bucci trained at the school and officially went pro in 1992.

Bucci's first taste of superstar exposure came between 1992 and 1994 when WWF Chairman Vince McMahon used talent from various promotions as jobbers to various up and coming superstars on WWF programming.[1]

During his time spent in Mike Sharpe's wrestling school and World Wide Wrestling Alliance, Bucci debuted the name of Super Nova and the gimmick of a Golden Age of Comic Books-era superhero, having his hair in a mullet and wearing a sparkly blue cape and star-shaped makeup over his right eye. He was characterized by his technical wrestling style.

Super Nova sparked the interest of Raven as Raven was looking to add to Raven's Nest Extreme Championship Wrestling and asked Bucci to appear at the ECW Arena in South Philadelphia.

Extreme Championship Wrestling (1996–2001)[edit]

Bucci as "Hollywood" Nova.

Bucci debuted in ECW as Super Nova in a match against El Puerto Ricano, being attacked by The Eliminators when he was going to pin Ricano after a superkick. Nova continued wrestling as a jobber, losing against established wrestlers before being paired with Raven, Stevie Richards, and The Blue Meanie in The Flock. His first big exposure to the crowd was as a parody of KISS where the wrestlers came out to KISS's hit "Rock and Roll All Nite" and did the bump and strut with air guitars. Although it was intended to garner heat with the crowd, it was an immediate hit. Later a quote was stated to have been said by Bubba Ray Dudley in the Rise and Fall of ECW book, "that was great; the crowd really loved it. The only thing better than that would be ... a parody of the nWo."

Bucci, along with Richards, asked permission from both Raven and Paul Heyman to parody the New World Order (nWo); it was granted, and Bucci was given credit with the creation of The Blue World Order (bWo) logo. Bucci would parody Hollywood Hogan, after a dispute between Raven and Richards, where Richards said "if he's Hogan, fans will think he's the leader of The Flock", Raven then said "Fuck it ... he's Hogan" (and was originally introduced by Stevie as "Hollywood" Bob Star). Richards became "Big Stevie Cool" (a takeoff on Kevin Nash's nickname of "Big Daddy Cool"), and Meanie was "Da Blue Guy", a takeoff on Scott Hall, "The Bad Guy". Many other members were added and removed between 1996 and 1998 before the team split in the latter.

In 1998, he, along with many other ECW talent, competed at Jersey All Pro Wrestling's first anniversary show.

Nova was known for having a unique and creative move set and was called by Joey Styles "the most imitated man in wrestling" and the "innovator of offense" by Jeremy Borash due to the fact that almost all his moves were adopted by other wrestlers in the business.

Both during and after the closure of The Flock and Blue World Order, Super Nova and Blue Meanie continued teaming up. They started a feud with the much larger stable Full Blooded Italians, nonetheless trading victories through the cards. One of the highest points of the feud was at the Wrestlepalooza event, in which Nova and Meanie defeated the Full Blooded Italians and danced to their entrance theme "Y.M.C.A." by The Village People afterwards. They also briefly feuded with Danny Doring and Roadkill, defeating them in November to Remember 1998.

After Meanie left the company, Bucci changed his gimmick, shortening his name to simply Nova and adopting a more serious personality. He would start wearing wrestling attires based in the suits of comic book characters like The Flash, Green Lantern and Venom. He formed a tag team with Chris Chetti, as well as a briefer one with Kid Kash. In late 2000 through early 2001, Nova and Chetti broke up as a team and started a heated rivalry, with Nova beating his former partner in a match where the loser was fired.[1]

Nova's last televised appearance in ECW was at their last pay-per view, Guilty as Charged.[1] At the second to last ECW event in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, he was named as Danny Doring's substitute tag team partner (filling in for Amish Roadkill) to help defend the World Tag Team Championship against Hot Commodity; Doring and Nova successfully defended the titles.

Independent circuit and overseas (2001–2002)[edit]

When ECW went out of business, Bucci, as Nova, became more active on the indy scene until 2003. Nova wrestled in various promotions such as California's Ultimate Pro Wrestling, and New Jersey's Phoenix Championship Wrestling, the latter of which was founded by his brother Don Bucci. During this time, he formed a successful tag team with Frankie Kazarian known as Evolution (not to be confused with the World Wrestling Entertainment stable of the same name).[1] In most of the promotions they competed for, they were successful in becoming tag team champions. He also briefly wrestled in the short-lived Australia-based World Wrestling All-Stars, where he feuded with A.J. Styles amongst other cruiserweights for the promotion's International Cruiserweight Championship, which he was unable to win before the company folded. In late 2001, he also worked a number of shows in England. In April 2002, Bucci received a phone call from the then-World Wrestling Federation to partake in a developmental program at Ohio Valley Wrestling.

World Wrestling Entertainment[edit]

Ohio Valley Wrestling (2002–2004)[edit]

In April 2002, Nova, in his OVW debut, beat The Prototype (who would later wrestle in WWE as John Cena) and became the promotion's Heavyweight Champion.[1] He held the title for half a year before losing the title to The Damaja.[1] In June 2004 Bucci was named the assistant booker of OVW.[1] It was around this time that he was called up to start competing in SmackDown! dark matches and on Velocity.[1] He then began to try out a fitness-expert gimmick.[1]

Raw (2004–2005)[edit]

In his debut for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), Bucci portrayed the gimmick of a physical-fitness guru named Simon Dean.[1] The name was inspired by Dean Malenko's real name, Dean Simon.[4] Introductory promos showed him "selling" his "Simon System", a supposed program of diet, exercise, and supplementation. The promos parodied fitness infomercials, as Simon routinely insulted his supposed customers. The promos went so far as to provide an actual telephone number to call and order the Simon System; however, unlike virtually all infomercials, the number was not toll-free. People who called the number would hear a WWE promo.[1]

During this gimmick, he acted as the sponsor of Raw, occasionally wrestling after first insulting the fitness of the crowd and the area in which they were located. After making only a minor impact on Raw, he formed a tag team with Maven who supposedly was a user of the "Simon System".[1] With still only a minor impact made, Bucci was traded to the SmackDown brand on June 30, 2005.[1]

SmackDown (2005–2006)[edit]

During a WWE produced ECW pay-per-view, One Night Stand, Bucci returned as Hollywood Nova with Da Blue Guy and Big Stevie Cool as the bWo.[1] During the event, Joey Styles made a reference to his "Simon Dean" character. After Bucci was hit with two chairs, Styles said, "That's more painful than having to be Simon Dean on national TV".[1]

When Bucci moved to SmackDown as part of the draft lottery, he joined the other members of the bWo and appeared as "Hollywood" Nova for his first appearance on the show.[1] His next appearance for the brand was wrestling on its sister show, Velocity, as Simon Dean. The general belief was that the bWo appearance was going to be a one off, meaning Bucci would keep to his "health sponsor" gimmick. It was announced, however, that the bWo would participate in a 6-man tag match at The Great American Bash against The Mexicools (Juventud, Psicosis, and Super Crazy). The announcement of this match occurred on the same edition of SmackDown! that Bucci's Simon Dean character had a match with Booker T.[1] At the Great American Bash, the bWo lost to the Mexicools in the six-man tag team match.[1] The appearance of the bWo soon faded as The Blue Meanie wasn't staying with the company and Richards began returning to his previous heel gimmick while Bucci continued with the Simon Dean persona.

In late August, the Simon Dean character began coming to the ring on the Dean Machine (a Segway PT type machine). He would also force feed "Simon System" products to jobbers who wouldn't accept his offer to try them after defeating them in squash matches. The Simon Dean character had his first major WWE pay-per-view appearance at No Mercy, in a loss against Bobby Lashley.[1] After the match, Lashley forced Dean to eat 20 double cheeseburgers, causing him to vomit backstage.[1] Dean had been noted on his later appearances as the "Head of SmackDown!'s welcoming committee", a position in which he was used as a jobber to debuting wrestlers.

During the January 6, 2006 episode of SmackDown!, Dean came to the ring and challenged any tag team. Paul London and Brian Kendrick answered the challenge, only to be brutally attacked by Gymini (Jake and Jesse), two alleged users of The Simon System.[1] Dean entered the 2006 Royal Rumble match as the 3rd entrant but was eliminated quickly by match-starters Triple H and Rey Mysterio. Dean began managing Gymini, but the team soon faded off television after Jesse suffered an injury in May 2006 and Dean went back to jobbing to other superstars.[1]

Retirement, talent development manager, and departure (2006–2007)[edit]

Bucci's retirement as an in-ring performer was seemingly precipitated by an incident on a WWE European Tour with Roddy Piper; the locker room felt that Bucci had been disrespectful to Piper, and soaked his belongings in the shower. At this point Bucci was offered and took a job as a talent development manager in OVW.[5]

On August 31, 2007 Bucci parted ways with WWE.[6]

Post-retirement (2007–2009)[edit]

After retiring Bucci began working as a licensed mortgage broker throughout the United States.[1] He has claimed he may and then said he will definitely do some shows on the independent circuit next year, but is now focusing on real estate and his family as heard in a November 2008 interview.[7]

Return to the independent circuit (2009–present)[edit]

On April 18, 2009, Bucci, as Hollywood Nova, along with many other ECW alumni appeared at One Pro Wrestling's "To The Extreme" weekend event, where he teamed with the Blue Meanie for his first in-ring performances in nearly 3 years, a match, where they unsuccessfully challenged Project Ego (Kris Travis and Martin Kirby) for the 1PW Tag Team Championship.[1][8][9] Bucci has since wrestled for both 1PW and International Wrestling Cartel.[10]

On June 27, 2009, Bucci, again as Hollywood Nova appeared with many other former ECW talent at the Francine Fournier run benefit show entitled Legends of The Arena. The event took place at the original ECW Arena in South Philadelphia. As a benefit for deceased members of Francine's family a portion of the ticket sales went to The American Cancer Society. He accompanied the Blue Meanie to the ring where they as the Blue World Order defeated the team of Little Guido and Big Sal the Full Blooded Italians. [11][12]

On August 8, 2010, Bucci took part in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling's ECW reunion show, Hardcore Justice, where he, as Hollywood Nova, accompanied Stevie Richards to the ring and later attacked Tommy Dreamer during his match with Raven.[13]

Bucci appeared in the "On the Spot Title Shot" Battle Royal for Pro Wrestling Syndicate in March 2015 where he reunited with BWO stablemates Stevie Richards and the Blue Meanie. The three also appeared at Pro Wrestling Syndicate's Supercard show on June 6, 2015 as part of Mick Foley's 50th Birthday Celebration.

On September 4, 2015, Hollywood Nova, Big Stevie Cool and Da Blue Guy reunited as the Blue World Order for Chikara's 2015 King of Trios tournament. They were eliminated from the tournament in their first round match by the Devastation Corporation (Blaster McMassive, Flex Rumblecrunch and Max Smashmaster).[3] During the third night of the tournament, Bucci worked a tag team match under his Simon Dean gimmick.[14]

In wrestling[edit]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Personal life[edit]

He is the twin brother of Phoenix Championship Wrestling promoter and founder Don "Donnie B." Bucci.[1]

His original career choice was to be a math teacher, as confirmed in his RF Video shoot interview. He managed a Wendy's in Toms River to make money to pay for gas for his trips to work with ECW in the mid-1990s, as confirmed in his RF Video shoot interview and The Rise and Fall of ECW.


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