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The Spirit Squad

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The Spirit Squad
Nick Nemeth, Michael Brendli, and Ken Doane during a tag team match.jpg
Nicky, Mikey, and Kenny in the ring in 2006.
Tag team
Members Kenny
Name(s) The Spirit Squad
The Squad
Heights Kenny:
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–present
Promotions Beyond
Blitzkrieg Pro
Kamikaze Pro

The Spirit Squad is a professional wrestling tag team and formerly a stable that consisted of Kenny, Johnny, Mitch, Nicky and Mikey. 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 has been continually signed since their breakup, wrestling under the name Dolph Ziggler. Right now, Kenny and Mikey wrestle on the independent circuit.


World Wrestling Entertainment[edit]


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.[1] 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.[2] 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.[3] In subsequent weeks, the team was hired by several wrestlers to perform cheers for them.[4]

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.[5][6]

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.[7][8] 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.[9] During the night, after drawing "spirit straws", they placed Kenny into a title match with WWE Champion John Cena.[9] 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.[9] This led to Styles confronting color commentator Jerry Lawler and eventually quitting the show in a worked shoot promo.[9] Kenny lost the match after special referee Triple H, who was conspiring with the Squad, walked out on the match.[9]

Three weeks later, on Raw, Vince McMahon signed another handicap match pitting the Spirit Squad against Shawn Michaels.[10][11] 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.[11] 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.[11]

The Spirit Squad wrestling against D-Generation X in a handicap match at a house show.

Triple H and Shawn Michaels revived D-Generation X (DX) and as a team began a feud with the Spirit Squad.[12][13][14] DX played various sophomoric pranks on the Squad and the McMahons (Vince and his son Shane),[12][14][15] including DX dumping green slime onto the group and embarrassing the team afterwards, by defeating them,[12] and dumping feces on the Spirit Squad and the McMahons.[14] 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.[16][17]

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.[15][18][19] They eventually defeated The Highlanders to retain the titles at the Unforgiven pay-per-view.[20]

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.[21][22][23] After Johnny and Mikey lost to the debuting Cryme Tyme on October 16,[24] Kenny started yelling at the other members of the Spirit Squad in the ring and walked off shouting "I'm tired of losing".[24] Tensions further escalated the following week, when the Spirit Squad lost to Cryme Tyme for the second consecutive week.[25] After the defeat, Kenny attacked Mikey, then announced he would defeat Flair, since no other member of the group could do it.[25] 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.[25] 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.[25] At Cyber Sunday the fans chose Piper and he and Flair defeated Kenny and Mikey to win the title.[26] 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. At Survivor Series, The Squad (with Mitch) went on to face the legends consisting of captain Ric Flair, Sgt. Slaughter, Dusty Rhodes, and Ron Simmons (with Arn Anderson) in a losing effort.

Breakup and aftermath[edit]

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.[27] 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.[27]

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.[28] 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,[29] Johnny in the beginning of 2008,[30][31] Mikey on June 13, 2008,[32] and Kenny on November 10, 2008.[33] In September 2008, Nicky began wrestling as Dolph Ziggler for WWE and is still under contract.[34] Ziggler has gone on to have success as a singles wrestler, having won the Intercontinental, United States, and World Heavyweight Championships.[35][36][37]

Independent circuit[edit]

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.[38][39]

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.[40] 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).[41]

Kenny and Mikey made their New York Wrestling Connection debut at NYWC Firestorm 3 by defeating The Hounds Of Hatred for the NYWC Tag Team titles.[42] Kenny and Mikey returned to the promotion on November 26, 2016 at NYWC Draw The Line 2016 where they were defeated by The Hounds Of Hatred in a rematch for the NYWC Tag Team titles.[43]

On February 26, 2017, Kenny and Mikey defeated the UK Hooligans and 2 mates Pissing Around to win the Preston City Wrestling's Tag Team championship.

Return to WWE[edit]

In 2016, Kenny and Mikey returned to WWE on the October 4 episode of SmackDown and attacked former Spirit Squad member Dolph Ziggler, formerly Nicky, under the order of the Intercontinental Champion The Miz and Maryse, but both were fought off by Ziggler. On October 9, at No Mercy, they tried to distract Ziggler in a title vs career match against Miz under Maryse's command, but were banned from the ringside along with her. Ziggler defeated Miz, ending Miz's reign at 188 days.[44] The two appeared again on the October 11 episode of SmackDown and wrestled Ziggler in a Handicap match in a losing effort, afterward the two and Miz tried to attack Ziggler after the match only for him to be saved by Heath Slater and Rhyno. On the October 18 episode of Smackdown Kenny and Mikey teamed up with the Miz to face Dolph Ziggler, Heath Slater and Rhyno in a six-man tag team match which the Spirit Squad and Miz won. The next week, Kenny and Mikey were awarded a match against Heath Slater and Rhyno for their WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship but were defeated. They would continue to wrestle as a tag team until mid-November before returning to the independent circuit.

Ring of Honor[edit]

On April 8, 2017, Kenny and Mikey answered The Young Bucks' open challenge for the Ring of Honor (ROH) World Tag Team Championship, losing the subsequent title match.[45]

In wrestling[edit]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]


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  49. ^

External links[edit]