The Spirit Squad
|The Spirit Squad|
Nicky, Mikey, and Kenny in the ring in 2006.
|Name(s)||The Spirit Squad|
6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)
|Varies, depending on the combination|
|Debut||January 23, 2006|
|Years active||2006, 2009, 2014|
The Spirit Squad was a professional wrestling stable that consisted of Kenny, Johnny, Mitch, Nicky, and Mikey. They are best known for their time in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW). The team's ring personas were those of an all-male cheerleading squad.
Before forming the group, all members competed in OVW, WWE's developmental territory, where they were once opponents. In January 2006, the Spirit Squad made their television debut on the Raw brand. Three months later, the team won the World Tag Team Championship and, by "executive decision", were all collectively recognized as champions and internally decided which two defended the championship at any given time. Their reign marked the first time five wrestlers had been simultaneously recognized as World Tag Team Champions.
After losing the tag team championship in November 2006, the team disbanded, with Kenny the only member to appear on WWE television regularly. Nicky, Mikey and Johnny returned to OVW, where Mikey and Nicky formed a tag team, and Mitch was released from his WWE contract in May 2007. Today, only Nicky still remains under a WWE contract, where he performs under the name "Dolph Ziggler". Other members occasionally reunite on the independent circuit.
The idea for the Spirit Squad came directly from World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) chairman Vince McMahon. Originally, the group was scheduled to be made up of four wrestlers from WWE's developmental territory Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW); Ken Doane, Nick Mitchell, Nick Nemeth and Elijah Burke. Burke, however, turned down McMahon's offer to join the Spirit Squad, feeling that he could not perform the acrobatics required from members of the group, and chose to remain in OVW. Burke was replaced in the Spirit Squad by Johnny Jeter and Mike Mondo. The five members were given new ring names Kenny, Johnny, Mitch, Nicky and Mikey. The group made their first appearances in WWE at house shows and in dark matches. On January 23, 2006, they had their television debut, when they appeared on Raw and helped Jonathan Coachman win a Royal Rumble qualifying match against Jerry "The King" Lawler by performing cheers for Coachman and distracting Lawler. In subsequent weeks, the team was hired by several wrestlers to perform cheers for them.
They eventually became a part of the on-going scripted feud between Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels. The villainous McMahon ordered the Squad to perform disrespectful cheers about Michaels, attack him on numerous occasions, and face him in multiple handicap matches.
While involved in the Michaels-McMahon feud, they also continued wrestling in the tag team division, and on the April 3, 2006 episode of Raw, won the World Tag Team Championship when Kenny and Mikey – with outside help from the other three Squad members – defeated Big Show and Kane. After winning the championship, an "executive edict" was declared stating that all five members were recognized as the champions, with any two members allowed to defend the championship at once under the Freebird Rule.
On May 1, the night after the Backlash pay-per-view, the five members of the Spirit Squad were jointly named "Co-General Managers" of Raw. During the night, after drawing "spirit straws", they placed Kenny into a title match with WWE Champion John Cena. Before the match they ordered play-by-play analyst Joey Styles in their office to instruct him on how to call Kenny's upcoming win (which never did come to pass), instructing him to do it "with spirit" or they would force him to call all of the following Raw episodes while wearing a female cheerleading uniform. This led to Styles confronting color commentator Jerry Lawler and eventually quitting the show in a worked shoot promo. Kenny lost the match after special referee Triple H, who was conspiring with the Squad, walked out on the match.
Three weeks later, on Raw, Vince McMahon signed another handicap match pitting the Spirit Squad against Shawn Michaels. The match never started, however, because the Spirit Squad attacked Michaels, ripping apart his ring attire and, in storyline, shattering his knee with a steel chair. McMahon then called Triple H to the ring to attack Michaels with a sledgehammer, however, Kenny snatched the sledgehammer away, disrespecting Triple H, which led to him attacking the group.
Triple H and Shawn Michaels revived D-Generation X (DX) and as a team began a feud with the Spirit Squad. DX played various sophomoric pranks on the Squad and the McMahons (Vince and his son Shane), including DX dumping green slime onto the group and embarrassing the team afterwards, by defeating them, and dumping feces on the Spirit Squad and the McMahons. DX defeated the Spirit Squad in handicap tag matches at Vengeance, and scoring a clean sweep in an elimination handicap match at Saturday Night's Main Event.
At the same time as their feud with DX and their alignment with McMahon, the team also wrestled other teams in Raw's tag team division over their World Tag Team Championship. The Squad successfully defended the championship against the teams of Jim Duggan and Eugene, Charlie Haas and Viscera, and Snitsky and Val Venis before entering a lengthy feud with The Highlanders. They eventually defeated The Highlanders to retain the titles at the Unforgiven pay-per-view.
At the end of September and beginning of October the Squad as a whole began a losing streak, with separate members losing singles matches to Ric Flair on consecutive episodes of Raw. After Johnny and Mikey lost to the debuting Cryme Tyme on October 16, Kenny started yelling at the other members of the Spirit Squad in the ring and walked off shouting "I'm tired of losing". Tensions further escalated the following week, when the Spirit Squad lost to Cryme Tyme for the second consecutive week. After the defeat, Kenny attacked Mikey, then announced he would defeat Flair, since no other member of the group could do it. Later in the night he was successful, with help from the rest of the Squad, despite Flair bringing a number of fellow "Legends" (Dusty Rhodes, Sgt. Slaughter, and "Rowdy" Roddy Piper) to the ring with him to even the odds. It was then decided that Flair and one of those legends, of the fans choosing, would wrestle the Squad at Cyber Sunday for the World Tag Team Championship. At Cyber Sunday the fans chose Piper and he and Flair defeated Kenny and Mikey to win the title. At the time of their loss the team had held the title for 216 days, the longest since the team of Owen Hart and The British Bulldog held it for 241 days in 1996 and 1997.
Breakup and aftermath
The group disbanded on the November 27 episode of Raw, when they were defeated in a five-on-three handicap match by DX and Flair. In a backstage segment later that night, DX placed all members into a crate stamped "OVW, Louisville, Kentucky", a reference to the developmental territory from which the Spirit Squad had come.
After the breakup, Kenny emerged as the only member to remain on WWE television, gaining the last name "Dykstra" and continuing the feud with Flair that led to the Spirit Squad's break up. At Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), Nicky and Mikey were repackaged as a tag team, called The Frat Pack. Johnny also returned to OVW after the breakup of the Spirit Squad, save for an appearance during a battle royal on an episode of Raw. Mitch was released from WWE on May 18, 2007, Johnny in the beginning of 2008, Mikey on June 13, 2008, and Kenny on November 10, 2008. In September 2008, Nicky began wrestling as Dolph Ziggler for WWE and is still under contract. Ziggler has gone on to have success as a singles wrestler, having won the Intercontinental, United States, and World Heavyweight Championships.
On September 26, 2009, Kenny and Mitch reunited as the Spirit Squad in the National Wrestling Alliance's New Jersey territory in a match against Fire Power (Danny Inferno and Jim Powers) for the vacant NWA New Jersey Tag Team Championship but lost the match. On August 21, 2014, the Chikara promotion announced that Johnny, Kenny, and Mikey would be reuniting as the Spirit Squad for the 2014 King of Trios tournament. After a win over Sinn Bodhi and the Odditorium (Qefka the Quiet and Sir Oliver Grimsly) on September 19, the Spirit Squad was eliminated from the tournament in the second round on September 20 by the Golden Trio (Dasher Hatfield, Icarus and Mark Angelosetti).
- Finishing moves
- Signature moves
Championships and accomplishments
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- "Ready to Rumble". World Wrestling Entertainment. January 23, 2006. Retrieved December 26, 2007.
- "Wasted opportunity?". World Wrestling Entertainment. January 30, 2006. Retrieved January 16, 2008.
Mickie brought out the Spirit Squad to give Trish a cheer.
- ""Big Time" Pedigree". World Wrestling Entertainment. February 20, 2006. Retrieved January 16, 2008.
- "Sneak Attack". World Wrestling Entertainment. March 13, 2006. Retrieved January 16, 2008.
- "The Champ bows down to the "King of Kings"". World Wrestling Entertainment. April 3, 2006. Retrieved January 5, 2008.
- "Spirit Squad". World Wrestling Entertainment. April 3, 2006. Retrieved January 5, 2008.
- Williams III, Ed (May 1, 2006). "Chaos in Columbus". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved December 30, 2007.
- Golden, Hunter (May 22, 2006). "Raw Results 5-22-06: Las Vegas, NV (Triple H Turns, ECW, and more!)". WrestleView. Retrieved January 6, 2010.
- Dee, Louie (May 22, 2006). "Apology Accepted?". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved January 16, 2008.
- Dee, Louie (June 19, 2006). "DX breaks it down". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved January 16, 2008.
- Golden, Hunter (June 26, 2006). "Raw Results - 6/26/06 - Fayetteville, NC (RVD vs. Cena — WWE Title)". WrestleView. Retrieved January 6, 2010.
- Dee, Louie (June 26, 2006). "It happens". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved January 16, 2008.
- Golden, Hunter (July 3, 2006). "Raw Results - 7/3/06 - Philadelphia, PA (New WWE Champion, More)". WrestleView. Retrieved January 6, 2010.
- Plummer, Dale; Tylwalk, Nick (June 21, 2006). "DX returns with a Vengeance". Slam! Sports. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved January 6, 2010.
- Zeigler, Zack (July 15, 2006). "DX dismantles the Spirit Squad". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved January 16, 2008.
- Golden, Hunter (July 24, 2006). "Raw Results - 7/24/06 - Cleveland, OH (Hogan & Randy Orton, more)". WrestleView. Retrieved January 6, 2010.
- Golden, Hunter (July 31, 2006). "Raw Results - 7/31/06 - East Rutherford, NJ (HBK vs. Umaga, more)". WrestleView. Retrieved January 6, 2010.
- Martin, Adam (September 17, 2006). "Unforgiven (Raw) PPV Results - 9/17 - Toronto, Ontario (Edge/Cena)". WrestleView. Retrieved January 6, 2010.
- Zeigler, Zack (September 18, 2006). "Winning the war". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved January 21, 2008.
- Zeigler, Zack (September 25, 2006). "SmackDown beatdown". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved January 21, 2008.
- Zeigler, Zack (October 9, 2006). "Cyber Sunday Blockbuster". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved January 21, 2008.
- Zeigler, Zack (October 16, 2006). "Let the voting begin". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved January 1, 2008.
- Zeigler, Zack (October 23, 2006). "On the same page?". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved February 1, 2008.
- Elliott, Brian (November 6, 2006). "K-Fed costs Cena at Cyber Sunday". Slam! Sports. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved January 6, 2010.
- Plummer, Dale (November 28, 2006). "Raw: The return of the Hardys". Slam! Sports. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved January 6, 2010.
- "Kenny Dykstra Profile". World Wrestling Entertainment. Archived from the original on January 10, 2008. Retrieved February 1, 2008.
- "Ariel, Scotty 2 Hotty & Nick Mitchell released". World Wrestling Entertainment. May 18, 2007. Retrieved March 29, 2010.
- "Johnny Jeter Profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved March 29, 2010.
- Adams, Scott (June 23, 2008). "WWE reveal Johnny Jeter was "quietly released from the company months ago"". KocoSports. Retrieved March 29, 2010.
- "Mike Mondo released". World Wrestling Entertainment. June 13, 2008. Retrieved March 29, 2010.
- "Kenny Dykstra, Elijah Burke and Lena Yada released". World Wrestling Entertainment. November 10, 2009. Retrieved March 29, 2010.
- Martin, Adam (September 16, 2008). "Dark match from Raw in Memphis, identity of wrestler, The Condemned". WrestleView. Retrieved January 21, 2010.
- "History of the Intercontinental Championship: Dolph Ziggler". World Wrestling Entertainment. August 6, 2010. Retrieved August 16, 2010.
- "History of the United States Championship: Dolph Ziggler". WWE. June 19, 2011. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
- "History of the World Heavyweight Championship: Dolph Ziggler". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved February 20, 2011.
- "NWA Roll Call of Champions for the State of New Jersey". National Wrestling Alliance. Retrieved January 8, 2010.
- "Dennis Coralluzo Tribute Show This Saturday!". NWA: New Jersey. Retrieved January 8, 2010.
- Caldwell, James (August 21, 2014). "Chikara news: Former WWE faction officially announced for King of Trios tournament". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
- Namako, Jason (2014-09-20). "9/19-9/21 Chikara Results: Easton, PA (King of Trios weekend)". Wrestleview. Retrieved 2014-09-21.
- Elliott, Brian (May 1, 2006). "Heaven can't help Backlash". Slam! Sports. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved January 8, 2010.
- Martin, Adam (June 25, 2006). "Vengeance (Raw) PPV Results - 6/25/06 - Charlotte, NC (DX, more)". WrestleView. Retrieved January 6, 2010.
Mickey hit HBK with a big bulldog over the top rope after springboarding off the mini-trampoline setup on the outside.
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