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Enforcer is a term for one of two situations. An enforcer is either a bodyguard/powerhouse for a wrestler/faction, or can be a reference to a person who acts as a guest ringside referee during a match.
A Powerhouse/Enforcer can either be a bodyguard character or a manager portrayed by a wrestler. This wrestler, often a "hoss" (a larger, less charismatic wrestler) will accompany a heel wrestler and become his/her bodyguard, accompanying them to the ring and helping them to win their matches, this is usually done so that the larger wrestler can get over with the crowd by sharing the heel wrestler's charisma.
A wrestler can also be the enforcer for an entire stable, often serving as the biggest and strongest man in the group (if not the entire promotion). A wrestler in this case is often utilized to "protect" the leader of the faction, and is often relegated to tag team matches to help him get over with the fans.
Examples of Powerhouse Enforcers
Perhaps the best-known enforcer in pro wrestling history is Arn Anderson. During his career, he acted as the enforcer of the legendary National Wrestling Alliance (NWA)/World Championship Wrestling (WCW) heel stable, the Four Horsemen. He has became so well known as one that he earned the nickname "the Enforcer."
Other wrestlers that have recently held the enforcer role (and who they associated with) include:
- Tyson Tomko for Christian and Trish Stratus
- Lance Hoyt for Kid Kash
- Mr. Hughes for Chris Jericho
- Batista originally for Brother Devon and later for Evolution
- Vito for Nunzio
- Andre the Giant for The Heenan Family
- Viscera for The Corporation and for The Ministry of Darkness.
- Big Dick Dudley for The Dudley Boyz
- Stevie Ray for the nWo
- Scott Steiner for Jeff Jarrett
- Reese for Raven's Flock
- Disco Inferno for The Mamalukes
- Ezekiel Jackson for The Brian Kendrick
- Chyna for D-Generation X
The term Ringside Enforcer or Special Enforcer in wrestling is a reference to a wrestler or celebrity who acts as special outside referee during a match. This can be done either to ensure that there are no unfair avantages in the match (usually the case when another wrestler is the enforcer), or it can be done to create a cross-promotional effort (involving a celebrity).
Examples of Ringside Enforcers
- At WrestleMania XIV boxing legend Mike Tyson acted as the special enforcer in the Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels match in the main event for the WWF Championship.
- Chuck Norris served as a guest referee at the World Wrestling Federation's 1994 Survivor Series for the casket match between The Undertaker and Yokozuna.
- At the WWF's 1998 UK pay-per-view Capital Carnage, wrestler The Big Bossman and soccer hard-man Vinnie Jones both acted as special enforcer for the Fatal Four way main event between Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Undertaker, Mankind and Kane.
- In a Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) pay per view event in 2003, Sting served as a special ringside enforcer for a #1 Contender's match between Raven, Abyss, Ron Killings and AJ Styles. Sting had to leave the match at one point to chase off Jeff Jarrett (the reigning champ), who attempted to interfere with the match.
- In a Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) pay-per-view Bound For Glory, Kurt Angle was a special guest enforcer for the match between Sting and Jeff Jarrett for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.