The Warlord (wrestler)

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The Warlord
The Warlord 2016.jpg
Birth nameTerry Scott Szopinski[1][2]
Born (1962-03-28) March 28, 1962 (age 56)[1][2]
Pompano Beach, Florida, USA[1][2]
ResidencePompano Beach, Florida, USA
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Super Assassin #2[1][2]
The Warlord[3]
Billed height6 ft 5 in (196 cm)[3]
Billed weight323 lb (147 kg)[3]
Billed from"Parts unknown"[3]
Trained byEddie Sharkey[2]
Debut1986[2]

Terry Scott Szopinski[1][2] (born March 28, 1962) is an American professional wrestler. He is best known by his ring name The Warlord and for his tenures in National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) and the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) as one half of The Powers of Pain alongside The Barbarian.[3][4]

His first national exposure was in the NWA territory Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP), where Powers of Pain held the World Six-Man Tag Team Championship until they departed the company in 1988 and joined WWF, where they competed in the tag team division until the team was quietly split in 1990. Warlord then competed as a singles wrestler until departing in 1992, and had a small stint in World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in 1996, where he briefly reunited with The Barbarian as The Super Assassins.

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Jim Crockett Promotions (1986-1988)[edit]

In 1986 while working out at a gym in Minnesota, Szopinski met its owner Joe Laurinaitis, better known as the professional wrestler Road Warrior Animal.[4] After coming up with possible ring names with Sharkey and Animal, Szopinski adopted the "Warlord" as his ring name and sent some photos of his work to Dusty Rhodes.[4] Soon afterwards, Rhodes hired him and he began wrestling for the National Wrestling Alliance's Jim Crockett Promotions later that year. After a brief stint in JCP, the territory's owner Jim Crockett, Jr. sent him to the Kansas City-based Central States Wrestling territory for more training. While there, he teamed with Karl Kovac and won the territory's tag team championship on June 8, 1987 in a tournament.[1] However, he and Kovac were soon stripped of the title when Kovac was fired and Szopinski travelled to Japan for more training.[1]

In late 1987, Szopinski returned to Jim Crockett Promotions under his Warlord name and began teaming with Ivan Koloff with Paul Jones as their manager. In 1988, he then formed a permanent tag team with the Barbarian known as "The Powers of Pain", the heel counterparts to the Road Warriors, while retaining Jones as their manager.[1][5]

While continuing to team with Koloff, The Powers of Pain feuded heavily with The Road Warriors, and defeated them and Dusty Rhodes for the World Six-Man Tag Team Championship.[4] To continue the feud, JCP management wanted them to do some scaffold matches against the Warriors, but this was met with opposition from Szopinski and Vailahi over fears of injury.[4] As a result, they both left JCP and joined the World Wrestling Federation, vacating the six-man tag team title in the process.[4][6]

World Wrestling Federation (1988-1992)[edit]

Upon their arrival in the WWF, the Powers were faces, initially managed by Tito Santana,[7][8] and feuded with World Tag Team Champions Demolition (Ax and Smash),[4] who had defeated Strike Force (Santana and Rick Martel) for the title and then injured Martel (kayfabe). The Powers were introduced as mercenaries to help Martel and Santana gain revenge on Demolition for both the title loss and the injury to Martel. They were soon after managed by the Baron.[5]

At Survivor Series, the Powers' team defeated Demolition's team in a tag team elimination match, with the Powers being the sole survivors of their team.[5][9] Near the end of the match, Demolition's manager Mr. Fuji double-crossed them and after they beat him up and left, the Powers came to his aid, gaining Fuji as their manager in the process, in return for which his interference helped the Powers eliminate the last remaining opponents, the Conquistadors.[4][5] Afterwards, the Powers and Fuji celebrated until Demolition returned and drove them from the ring. As a result, the Powers became villains while Demolition became fan favorites.[5] In 1989, Szopinski entered the Royal Rumble as the twenty-first entrant, but lasted only two seconds before being eliminated by Hulk Hogan, a record which stood for twenty years before being broken by Santino Marella at the 2009 Royal Rumble. At WrestleMania V, The Powers of Pain teamed with Fuji in a losing effort to Demolition in a match for the World Tag Team Championship.[5]

In March 1990, The Powers of Pain split, with Fuji selling Barbarian's contract to Bobby "The Brain" Heenan while selling Warlord's contract to Slick.[5] After the team's split, Warlord received an attire change, where he abandoned his Road Warrior-like reverse mohawk and face paint in favor of a shaved head and a silver metallic Cyborg-style Phantom of the Opera-like half-mask and black armor. He also brought a metal staff topped with a W with him to his matches, and used it as a weapon on occasion. He began a feud with the British Bulldog leading to a match at WrestleMania VII. He was granted a chance at the world title against Hulk Hogan on February 8, 1991, in which he was defeated. He then began a long-running series of matches with the Texas Tornado, which rarely had either man winning. However he did manage to score a singles victory over a high profile wrestler in Jake Roberts on August 23, 1991. On April 17, 1992, Szopinski lost to Virgil in his final match for the WWF.[10]

Independent circuit (1992-1995)[edit]

After leaving the WWF for the independent circuit, Szopinski traveled to the CWA and lost to CWA Champion Rambo in the CWA Catch Cup 1992 on August 22, 1992 in Germany. [11] He wrestled two additional times in the fall, losing to Rambo in a rematch and then falling to new champion Buffalo Peterson.

In April 1993 Szopinski traveled to another German promotion, World Wrestling Superstars and had considerable success as he dominated Butch Reed in multiple encounters. Throughout the year he appeared in multiple other promotions, including Herb Abrahm's UWF, the WWC, ECW, and WAR. In 1994 Szopinski narrowed his focused to the IWF and WAR, participating in lengthy tours with both companies. On August 26th, 1994 he teamed with Bob Backlund and Scott Putski to defeat Gedo, Hiromichi Fuyuki & Jado and win the WAR Six Man Tag Team Championship in an event held in Yokohama, Japan. They would lose the titles days later in a rematch on September 1st.[12]

On September 23, 1994 the Powers of Pain reunited for the first time in over two years to compete for the vacant UWF Tag-Team Championship at UWF Blackjack Brawl. They were defeated by The Killer Bees. Szopinski and Vailahi continued their renewed partnership in 1995, traveling to the NWC where they faced the team Aerial Assault (Bob Bradley and a young Rob Van Dam.

World Championship Wrestling (1995-1996)[edit]

On October 11th, 1995 they made their return to World Championship Wrestling. They were now dubbed the Super Assassins, wrestled under masks, and were managed by Colonel Rob Parker. The Super Assassins were defeated by The Nasty Boys in their first match. Both wrestlers participated in the three ring battle royal in the main event of WCW World War 3 on November 26th. On December 16th they earned their first victory, defeating The State Patrol on WCW Worldwide. [13]Their last match was on the January 1st, 1996 edition of Monday Nitro where they fell to Lex Luger and Sting, after which the team was disbanded. [14]

Injury and retirement (1996-2003)[edit]

The Warlord was forced to retire from wrestling due to suffering neck injuries in a car accident involving a Pizza Hut delivery van in 1996.[1][2][4]

After attempting a comeback in 2001, Szopinski was sidelined yet again after suffering severe leg damage in a motorcycle accident.[4] During his recovery, he retired from wrestling and began training as a security guard and started providing his services for Relief Group International, an auto relief group.[4] He soon extended his services into bodyguarding, and worked alongside celebrities such as 50 Cent, Thomas Jones and Kimbo Slice, who nicknamed Szopinski the "Wall".[4]

Return to wrestling (2003-present)[edit]

On January 10, 2003, Szopinski made his first wrestling-related appearance in years as he acted as a special guest referee for Hardkore Championship Wrestling in a match between Christian York and Reckless Youth, which Youth won.[1] On January 25, he made his official in-ring return under his Warlord name and character as he defeated Joe Gomez.[1]

After wrestling regularly throughout the rest of 2003 and 2004, Warlord wrestled at the first WrestleReunion on January 29, 2005, where he competed in a battle royal for the IWA Heavyweight Championship. However, he was eliminated by Greg "The Hammer" Valentine, who would go on to win the match and the title.[1]

On April 29, 2006, he defeated Chaz to win the Maximum Xtreme Pro Wrestling Heavyweight Championship, his first singles title.[1]

In August 2012, Chikara announced that the Warlord would be making his debut for the promotion in the following month's 2012 King of Trios tournament, where he will reunite with the Barbarian and Meng as the "Faces of Pain".[15] On September 14, the team was eliminated from the tournament in the first round by Team ROH (Mike Bennett, Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson).[16][17] Two days later, on the final day of the tournament, the Barbarian and the Warlord took part in a tag team gauntlet match, from which they eliminated their old WWF rivals, Demolition, before being eliminated themselves by the 1-2-3 Kid and Marty Jannetty.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Szopinski met Chris Jericho early in Jericho's career, and helped him out with food issues while they traveled together overseas and in Japan.[4] Dave Batista cites Szopinski as his all-time favorite wrestler.[4]

In July 2016, Szopinski 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 is litigated by attorney Konstantine Kyros, who has been involved in a number of other lawsuits against WWE.[18]

In other media[edit]

The Warlord is the second enemy in the 1991 computer game, WWF WrestleMania.

The Lapsed Fan Wrestling Podcast has labeled The Warlord "the first coming of Stone Cold Steve Austin" due to his resemblance to popular wrestler Steve Austin. He is also considered the patron saint of the "TLF Solar System" and the leader of the New Warl-Order.

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "OWOW profile".
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Cagematch profile".
  3. ^ a b c d e f "The Warlord". WWE.com. WWE. Retrieved May 4, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Vermillion, James (April 14, 2010). "Where Are They Now? The Warlord". WWE.com. WWE. Retrieved May 4, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "the Powers of Pain's OWOW profile".
  6. ^ "NWA World Six-Man Tag Team Championship history".
  7. ^ Warlord and Barbarian - Demolition's Nightmare - Pro Wrestling Illustrated November 1988
  8. ^ PWI Poll - The Powers Of Pain - Pro Wrestling Illustrated December 1988
  9. ^ "Survivor Series (1988) results".
  10. ^ "Cagematch match listings".
  11. ^ https://www.cagematch.net/?id=2&nr=1480&page=4&s=100
  12. ^ https://www.cagematch.net/?id=2&nr=1480&page=4&s=0
  13. ^ http://www.thehistoryofwwe.com/wcw95.htm
  14. ^ http://www.thehistoryofwwe.com/wcw96.htm
  15. ^ "Chikara". Archived from the original on 2012-08-26.
  16. ^ a b "Past results". Chikara. Archived from the original on October 17, 2013. Retrieved September 14, 2012.
  17. ^ Namako, Jason (September 15, 2012). "9/14 Chikara "King of Trios: Night 1" Results: Easton, PA". WrestleView. Archived from the original on March 21, 2013. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
  18. ^ "WWE sued in wrestler class action lawsuit featuring Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka, Paul 'Mr Wonderful' Orndorff". FoxSports.com. Fox Entertainment Group (21st Century Fox). July 18, 2015. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  19. ^ http://www.cagematch.net/?id=5&nr=1694
  20. ^ "NWA Central States Tag Team Championship history".
  21. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 6, 2013. Retrieved June 14, 2010.
  22. ^ "Awards".
  23. ^ a b c Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  24. ^ "WAR World Six-Man Tag Team Championship history".

External links[edit]