Slick (wrestling)

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Slick in the late 1980s
Birth nameKenneth Wayne Johnson
Born (1957-12-08) December 8, 1957 (age 63)
Fort Worth, Texas
ResidenceLouisville, Kentucky [1]
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Reverend Slick[2]
Billed height6 ft 4 in (193 cm)[3]
Billed weight180 lb (82 kg)[3]
Billed fromFort Worth, Texas
Trained byTexas All-Star Wrestling

Kenneth Wayne Johnson (born December 8, 1957) is an American retired professional wrestling manager, better known by his ring name, Slick. He is best known for his appearances with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He is the son of professional wrestler Rufus R. Jones.[4]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Early career[edit]

At the start of his career, Johnson did a stint in Texas All-Star Wrestling, managing Madd Maxx and Lord Humongous. He left TASW for Kansas City's Central States Wrestling to become "The Doctor of Style", Slick, characterized by his smooth attitude, confident speech, and dancing as he accompanied his wrestlers to the ring; among the wrestlers he managed in Central States were Art Crews, Timothy Flowers, Bobby Jaggers, "Bulldog" Bob Brown, and Butch Reed. Slick and his stable feuded with Kansas City mainstay Rufus R. Jones and other fan favorites before he and Reed were forced out of the territory after dropping a "Loser Leaves Town" match to Bruiser Brody.

World Wrestling Federation[edit]

Slick debuted in the WWF alongside Reed in August 1986.[5] Soon after, he purchased a "half interest" in "Classy" Freddie Blassie's heel stable. The aging Blassie was experiencing declining health, and was being slowly phased out of storylines. Slick eventually took over all managerial duties from Blassie, initially managing Nikolai Volkoff and The Iron Sheik.[3] During this time, Slick also (Kayfabe) sold the contract of Hercules (another wrestler of Blassie's former stable) to fellow heel manager Bobby "The Brain" Heenan for a "pile of money".

Slick's biggest success as a manager came when he took Akeem (previously known as the One Man Gang) and the Big Boss Man, the Twin Towers, to main event matches against Hulk Hogan and WWF Champion "Macho Man" Randy Savage, The Mega Powers. The theme song "Jive Soul Bro" (written by David Wolff, Vernie "Butch" Taylor, and Jeff Batter) was the subject of a music video featuring him. The song is actually an obscure cover. It was originally recorded by an equally obscure hip-hop artist named Captain Chameleon as "Jive Ol' Fo". Slick would also manage The Bolsheviks (Volkoff and Boris Zhukov), Rick Martel, Power and Glory (Hercules and Paul Roma), and The Warlord.[6] While Slick's billed height was only 5'11, he was actually 6'4. In later shoot interviews, Slick mentioned that he was often as tall as (or, in the case of Power and Glory, taller than) the wrestlers he managed, which created some back stage tension as both managers and referees were generally smaller so as to make the wrestlers seem bigger and more imposing to the public.

In November 1991, Slick went on an extended leave of absence after being powerslammed by Davey Boy Smith.[7] He returned a month later as the face "Reverend Slick", denouncing his shady past and striving to become a better man. This gimmick was a take on his real life, as Johnson was a born-again Christian. He sometimes appeared on WWF programming to give a "sermon" that was usually a simple, uplifting message. Then later in November 1991, he joined the crew on Prime Time Wrestling as a regular full-time panelist, providing commentary and insight on storylines and matches until the show ended in 1993, as well as the co-host of WWF Wrestling Spotlight with Gene Okerlund. After Prime Time ended, his main storyline under this gimmick was to take Kamala from the hands of Harvey Wippleman and Kim Chee to convince him that he was not just a Ugandan monster who deserved constant berating, but a man, and he tried to instill Kamala with self-respect (including a memorable segment where Slick and Kamala went bowling).

Post-wrestling career[edit]

After retiring from wrestling, Johnson graduated from Campbellsville University. He received a bachelor's and master's degree[6] and is now an ordained minister in Louisville, Kentucky.[1] On April 1, 2007, Johnson, reprising his role as Slick, appeared at WrestleMania 23, dancing with various WWE wrestlers and legends.[2] Johnson also made several appearances for IHWE, an independent promotion in Fort Worth, Texas in 2009. Johnson was inducted into the IHWE Hall of Fame on October 30, 2009. Johnson also appeared in June 2010 at the promotion's Supercard.

Johnson reprised the Slick character on the "Old School" edition of WWE Raw on November 15, 2010, joining legends the Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff in the ring. In 2012, Johnson appeared for TX Stampede Wrestling where he received a lifetime achievement award.[8] On July 23, 2012, Johnson made a special appearance on Raw 1000. He served as the reverend presiding over the wedding that involved Daniel Bryan and AJ Lee. On April 2, 2016, Johnson appeared as Slick to induct Big Boss Man into that year's class of the WWE Hall of Fame.

In July 2016, Johnson was named part of a class action lawsuit filed against WWE which alleged that wrestlers incurred traumatic brain injuries during their tenure and that the company concealed the risks of injury. The suit was litigated by attorney Konstantine Kyros, who has been involved in a number of other lawsuits against WWE.[9] The lawsuit was dismissed by US District Judge Vanessa Lynne Bryant in September 2018.[10] In September 2019, when asked on a podcast if he has any regrets of being apart of the lawsuit he stated, " of course not." In September 2020, an appeal for the lawsuit dismissed by a federal appeals court.[11]

Awards and accomplishments[edit]


  1. ^ a b Corsey, Gil (December 7, 2014). "Louisville pastor discusses history-making career as a pro wrestling manager". WDRB. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d "Slick's WWE alumni profile". WWE. Retrieved July 19, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c Shields, Brian (2006). Main Event: WWE in the Raging 80s. Pocket Books. pp. 132–133. ISBN 978-1-4165-3257-6.
  4. ^ "Rufus Was the King of Wrestling (article from Charleston Post and Courier)". November 27, 1993.
  5. ^ WWF All Star Wrestling: August 16, 1986
  6. ^ a b Hoffman, Brett (April 18, 2007). "Catching up with Slick". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved March 22, 2011.
  7. ^ "WWF @ Ft. Wayne, IN - Allen County War Memorial - October 21, 1991". The History of WWE.
  8. ^ " - IndyWarZ.COM is for sale (Indy War Z)". Retrieved December 19, 2019. Cite uses generic title (help)
  9. ^ "WWE sued in wrestler class action lawsuit featuring Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka, Paul 'Mr Wonderful' Orndorff". Fox Entertainment Group (21st Century Fox). July 18, 2015. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  10. ^ Robinson, Byron (September 22, 2018). "Piledriver: WWE uses 'Hell in a Cell' as springboard to future shows". Montgomery Advertiser. Retrieved May 17, 2019.
  11. ^ "Former WWE Wrestlers' Lawsuit Over Brain Damage Is Dismissed". US News. September 9, 2020. Retrieved January 1, 2021.

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