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Darren Drozdov

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Darren Drozdov, (April 7, 1969) is an essayist, former NFL player and retired professional wrestler who competed in the World Wrestling Federation in 1998 and 1999 under the ring names Puke and Droz.

Drozdov is currently quadriplegic due to a neck injury sustained from a failed wrestling maneuver. He was featured in the documentary Beyond the Mat in 1999; his hiring interview with Vince McMahon was a key scene of the film.

Darren as a 6' 3", 245 lbs quarterback in high school, threw a 72-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Lou Rothman to win the last game of the 1985 regular season to finish the season with a perfect 10-0 record. Drozdov set an Atlantic County record in Track and Field in the shotput event. He was All-State in Football at Oakcrest High School in South Jersey. After a stint at Fork Union Military Academy, he attended University of Maryland and was a defensive tackle for the Terps. He culminated his collegiate career by graduating with a B.S. in Criminal justice.

Before his wrestling career, Drozdov was a professional football player for a few seasons with the NFL's New York Jets and Denver Broncos. He gained some notoriety (and the nickname "Puke") when he vomited on TV during a Monday Night Football game. A 1993 Sports Illustrated article stated that he had vomited at nearly every game that season and would reportedly see a psychiatrist for a "chronic vomiting" problem. Apparently, many in the football industry found his antics bizarre and appalling. This "off-the-wall" attitude was given a spot in the World Wrestling Federation.

Professional wrestling career

Following a short stint in Extreme Championship Wrestling during 1997-1998, Drozdov made his WWF debut in 1998. Drozdov claimed the natural ability to regurgitate on command, and WWF management decided to use this as his gimmick. In Beyond the Mat, Drozdov's meeting with Vince McMahon is shown, with McMahon requesting Drozdov to vomit in a trashcan in his office while egging him on with bombastic commentary.

He was first featured in dark matches and on WWF Shotgun Saturday Night. He debuted on the May 25, 1998 episode of Raw is War as an associate of the tag team, the Legion of Doom. Dubbed Puke, he was the unofficial third member of the group.

In late 1998, Drozdov competed in the WWF Brawl For All tournament, making it to the semifinals before losing to Bradshaw.

He was involved in a confrontation involving L.O.D. member Hawk's alcoholism. In this confrontation, Hawk was seen by his partner Animal as unfit to wrestle and Drozdov was tapped to take Hawk's place in the tag team. The situation ended with accusations that Drozdov had been the "enabler" of Hawk's problems and had dosed the L.O.D. member to take his place in the team. During this segment, Hawk infamously was shown to have fallen off the TitanTron.

After Drozdov's stint with the L.O.D., efforts were made to rebrand his persona including one involving a series of skits called "Droz's World" where he would tell stories about his life as a professional wrestler. He started to come into his own after turning heel. He started to build a stable of wrestlers who shared his bizarre lifestyle. He added Prince Albert to his faction as his personal "body piercing artist" and Vic Grimes was brought in briefly as Key, allegedly to be Drozdov's dealer.

Injury

Drozdov's active wrestling career ended suddenly when he suffered a severe neck injury during a match with D'Lo Brown during a WWF SmackDown! taping on October 5, 1999 at the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island. Drozdov, in an interview, states he was wearing a loose shirt during the match. When Brown went for his signature running powerbomb, he wasn't able to gain a proper grip on Droz while Droz wasn't able to execute a proper jump to aid in the lifting of the powerbomb. As a result, the move was botched. Drozdov landed on his head, and fractured two disks in his neck. He was immediately rushed to Nassau County Medical Center where he underwent hours of surgery to reduce and stabilize the pressure on his injured neck. Even with intensive medical care, his injury left him a quadriplegic.

Fellow wrestler Mick Foley recounts in his 2001 book Foley Is Good: And the Real World Is Faker than Wrestling, that he was at the hospital with D'Lo Brown after the match. Brown was extremely upset at what had happened. Foley tells how Drozdov (on a stretcher) told Brown not to blame himself and that it was an accident. Brown was also so upset about the incident, that he deeply considered retiring from wrestling all together.

Post-injury

Drozdov remains employed by the company, and began contributing articles and essays for website and magazine content. He also became a recurring guest on the WWE Byte This! internet show, commenting on his opinions regarding talents or upcoming matches.

Currently, before every WWE pay-per-view (PPV), Droz writes an article with his predictions for the matches.

In one internet rant, the Ultimate Warrior was responding to an invite by WWE to appear on 'Byte This!' following the release of the controversial DVD The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior; in response to the invite, Warrior infamously referred to Drozdov as "the cripple".

Droz also made an appearance on The Life and Death of the Road Warriors DVD in 2005, discussing his run with the group in 1998. In September 2007, Drozdov was named honorary captain for a Maryland Terrapins football game against Villanova University.

Personal life

Darren married fellow WWE employee Julie Youngberg in 1999, only days after his accident. He later stated that the one thing he would like to do would be to walk Julie down the aisle. Youngberg and Drozdov divorced in late 2005.

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