Atlas in 2008
|Birth name||Anthony White|
April 23, 1954 |
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Tony Atlas
|Billed height||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Billed weight||250 lb (110 kg)|
|Trained by||Larry Sharpe|
|Debut||July 10, 1974|
Anthony White (born April 23, 1954) better known by his ring name Tony Atlas is an American bodybuilder, powerlifter, and professional wrestler who has held multiple titles and championships in each sport. He is also known by his bodybuilding title, "Mr. USA" (a distinction he earned three times), the nom de guerre the "Black Superman", as well as an alter ego named Saba Simba. He returned as an on screen manager for WWE, appearing on its now-defunct ECW brand. He re-signed with WWE in a Legends deal in mid-2012.
Professional wrestling career
Atlas started wrestling in 1974 for the National Wrestling Alliance World Wide/Mid Atlantic area. His debut, on July 10, was a tag team match with Bob Bruggers against Art Neilson and The Blue Scorpion. The match finished with Atlas winning the fall for his team with a sleeper hold on the Blue Scorpion.
Throughout his career he worked for World Championship Wrestling (WCW), the NWA's Jim Crockett Promotions, the World Wrestling Council (WWC), World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW), the American Wrestling Association (AWA), and the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). Among his regular partners were Tommy Rich (as "TNT"), Dick Murdoch, and Rocky Johnson. He was also the very first man to press slam and pin Hulk Hogan though Hogan's foot was on the rope and the referee didn't see it.
During his time with the NWA, Atlas captured the NWA Georgia Tag Team Title with Tommy Rich. He later teamed with Mr. Wrestling II, Thunderbolt Patterson, Kevin Sullivan, and Rocky Johnson. In the WWF, Tony teamed with Rocky Johnson to defeat The Wild Samoans to win the WWF World tag team title, becoming the first Afro-American team to hold the belts. After losing the titles to Adrian Adonis and Dick Murdoch, Johnson soon departed. WWF management was prepared to offer Atlas a run as the company's Intercontinental champion, but a burgeoning drug problem led to Atlas missing dates and becoming unreliable both inside and outside the ring. Atlas was thus shunted to the mid card in the WWF in short lived tag teams with Ivan Putski, Lanny Poffo and George Wells. He was also used as a jobber to the stars, putting over newly arriving talent like King Kong Bundy and Harley Race, as well as a series of matches with other muscle bound strongmen such as Hercules and "The Worlds Strongest Man" Ted Arcidi.
In 1987, Tony left for the Texas based World Class Championship Wrestling where he adopted the moniker of "The Black Superman". He had almost instant success when he teamed with Skip Young to win the World Class Texas Tag Team Title. Atlas left the company in 1988.
On July 16, 1988, Atlas was appearing at a WWC event in Bayamón (a city near San Juan), Puerto Rico, where he was witness to the fatal assault on wrestler Bruiser Brody. José Huertas González a.k.a. the Invader, a fellow wrestler and booker, asked Brody to go into the shower to discuss business. Brody entered the shower stall and a few minutes later a scuffle ensued, followed by two groans, loud enough for the entire locker room to hear. Atlas ran to the shower and saw Brody bent over and holding his stomach. Atlas then looked up at González and saw him holding the knife. When the paramedics arrived, Atlas carried Brody downstairs to the waiting ambulance, as, due to Brody's enormous stature, paramedics were unable to lift him. González, who always maintained his innocence, was initially charged with first-degree murder but was later reduced and tried for involuntary homicide.
Atlas then moved on to the Northeast independent area in late 1988. He joined International Championship Wrestling (owned and operated by Mario Savoldi) where he turned heel and under the management of The Duke (not Pete Doherty) won the ICW Heavyweight title from Joe Savoldi. Atlas lost the belt to Vic Steamboat in Middletown, NY. But after a few months, he regained the belt from Steamboat. That match became infamous because of the number of times it was shown on the IWCCW syndicated show.
In late 1990 following a battle with drug addiction, a rejuvenated Atlas returned to the WWF, reinvented as Saba Simba and was a competitor in the 1991 Royal Rumble. On December 13, 2010, Tony appeared on Right After Wrestling and credited the Saba Simba character with saving his life as he was homeless and living on a park bench before getting a phone call from Vince McMahon. He played a warrior of a Ugandan tribe, but the gimmick was unpopular at best, and racist at worst. He left and returned to IWCCW shortly thereafter and then in 1992 he left IWCCW and went to WCW, and in 1994 for the American Wrestling Federation (AWF). He briefly showed back up in the WWF around Wrestlemania 13 being spotted in the crowd and cheering for Rocky Maivia (Dwayne Johnson, AKA: "The Rock").
Atlas was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006.
Return to WWE (2008–2014)
Atlas appeared on the July 8, 2008, airing of ECW where Theodore Long appointed him the special guest ring announcer for the main event featuring Tommy Dreamer with then-babyface, Colin Delaney in his corner against then-heel, Mark Henry. Atlas attacked Delaney, which in turn distracted Dreamer, allowing Henry to gain the victory. Atlas then announced Henry the winner of the bout, although the official result was a double countout. This is also the first time since his brief stint in WCW in 1992 that Atlas has worked as a heel. Atlas also accompanied Henry to the ring at The Great American Bash. Atlas helped Mark Henry retain his title at SummerSlam, attacking Matt Hardy once a win by Hardy appeared to be imminent. Henry was also able to retain his ECW Championship on the August 19, 2008 episode of ECW due to an outside interference from Atlas. At Unforgiven, Atlas was there to support Henry in retaining his Championship in the ECW Championship Scramble, although Henry lost the title to Hardy after Hardy got the last fall. On December 9 edition of ECW, Atlas wrestled in a WWE ring for the first time in 17 years (along with Mark Henry) in a tag team match, where they defeated Finlay and Hornswoggle. Tony also wrestled Evan Bourne on the June 9, 2009 episode of ECW in a losing effort. Henry was then traded to the Raw brand on June 29, resulting in Atlas no longer managing him.
On September 1, 2009, Atlas re-appeared as the announcer for "The Abraham Washington Show" segment. He would portray Abraham's sidekick and laugh at his jokes with a forced, uproarious laugh and would also be the butt of some of Washington's jokes and abuse. Most of the guests would side with Tony and stick up for him. One time after Atlas tried to bring up with past with Barretta and Croft, the two verbally attacked Atlas, with Washington stepping in saying "You don't abuse Tony Atlas! That's MY job!" After ECW ended, he and Washington became free agents.
Atlas was released from his WWE contract on April 30, 2010. However, he made a brief appearance on the Old School Raw episode on November 15, 2010. On December 12, 2011, he made a brief appearance to co-present the Slammy Award for "Trending Superstar of the Year." On April 10, 2012, Atlas made an appearance on WWE Smackdown: Blast from the Past.
"ATLAS: Too Much, Too Soon" Crowbar Press
White is currently married to a woman named Monika. He has one child, Nikki, who resides in Alabama with former wife, Joyce
Championships and accomplishments
- Americas Wrestling Federation
- AWF North American Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Georgia Championship Wrestling
- New England Pro Wrestling
- NEPW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- New England Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame
- Class of 2009
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- Universal Superstars of America
- World Class Wrestling Association
- WWWA Intercontinental Championship (2 times)
- World Wrestling Council
- World Wrestling Federation / World Wrestling Entertainment
1This promotion is not to be confused with the NWA Tri–State promotion founded by Leroy McGuirk in the 1950s. This promotion would eventually be taken over by Bill Watts in 1979 and renamed Mid-South Wrestling Association. The promotion would eventually be renamed Universal Wrestling Federation.
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