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George Gray

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George Gray (February 12, 1960) is an American Professional wrestler best known as for his time in the World Wrestlnig Federation under the ring names of One Man Gang and Akeem The African Dream. He is also remembered for his time in World Championship Wrestling, and the Universal Wrestling Federation.

Career history

Gray started his career at the age of 17 in the Kentucky/Tennessee independent promotions (most notably International Championship Wrestling, a Louisville, Kentucky-based promotion run by Angelo Poffo) under the name Crusher Broomfield. One of Broomfield's major angles was that his contract was owned by ICW Champion "Macho Man" Randy Savage, and Savage's nemesis (coincidentally at this time nicknamed "One Man Gang") Ron Garvin defeated Savage in a match to set Broomfield free. He later worked for the National Wrestling Alliance and World Championship Wrestling as One Man Gang, billed as being from Chicago's Halsted Street on the South Side. He was managed by Kevin Sullivan and Theodore Long,Gentleman Jim Holiday, and Sir Oliver Humperdink. He was a member of Sullivan's Dungeon of Doom in World Championship Wrestling and had a brief run as United States Champion in 1995.

In the regional territories, he was a member of Skandor Akbar's "Devastation Inc." as well as working with Gary Hart in World Class Championship Wrestling. It was as a protégé of Akbar's in the Mid-South territory where Gray would get the name that would stick with him the rest of his career. Making his debut in the territory by interfering in matches and assaulting the babyface, Mid-South announcer Jim Ross would say about the then-unnamed assailant "He's a one-man gang!". The Gang would work on-and-off in Mid-South in between tours of Florida, Japan, and Texas. He worked in Texas All Star wrestling where he feuded with Big Bubba(Fred Ottman).

It was on his last tour for Mid-South when the promotion renamed itself the Universal Wrestling Federation, with Gang one of its top heels, most notably feuding at the main-event level with UWF top babyface Hacksaw Jim Duggan. In late 1986, Gang won the UWF Heavyweight Championship in an angle where the champion Terry Gordy was injured earlier in the evening by a revenge-minded "Dr. Death" Steve Williams. Gang, scheduled to face Gordy later on the card, was awarded the belt via forfeit. He would hold that title for 6 months, mostly facing Duggan, Williams, and Ted DiBiase.

In May 1987, Gang began receiving inquiries from the World Wrestling Federation about coming up to wrestle for them. He promptly agreed to terms, but returned to the UWF in order to drop the title to Big Bubba Rogers, who was there from his normal place in the NWA due to the recent sale of the UWF to Jim Crockett.

World Wrestling Federation

Gray made his debut in the WWF on May 12, 1987, being managed by Slick, in a match against Jesse Cortez. He spent much of his early WWF run defeating enhancement talent ("jobbers") in extremely short matches in order to build him up, most notably in a match where he Gourdbustered his opponent after the bell and then did the same to the referee, thus being (kayfabe) fined $10,000 for his actions. While the Gang often defeated jobbers and other lower card wrestlers with ease, he would often be on the end of defeat when main eventing against bigger stars such as Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage, although Gang was a major part of the angle regarding "Superstar" Billy Graham being forced into retirement. One Man Gang participated in the first ever Survivor Series pay-per-view as a member of André the Giant's team, fighting a team led by Hulk Hogan. In 1988, Gang entered the first Royal Rumble at number 19 out of 20 participants, and was one of the last two men left in the ring, before being eliminated by Jim Duggan. One Man Gang participated in the World Title Tournament at WrestleMania IV, defeating Bam Bam Bigelow by count-out in the opening round. He drew a bye in the quarterfinals before being disqualified in the semifinals against Randy Savage after Gang hit Savage with his manager's cane. Following his loss at WrestleMania, Gang was placed lower "on the card," feuding with Bam Bam Bigelow, Koko B. Ware, and Don Muraco.

Transforming into Akeem

In September 1988, One Man Gang's manager, Slick, announced that Gang was actually African, and planned to re-embrace his roots. An episode of WWF Superstars, which aired on September 24, 1988, featured a vignette with Gene Okerlund on-location in "deepest darkest part of Africa", where he found One Man Gang transforming himself into his new persona. Slick announced from that point on, Gang would be referred to by his new name, Akeem, the African Dream. This vignette received some criticism, as the Caucasian "Akeem" delivered a promo in which he spoke with an extremely stereotypical black accent and mockingly danced while an African ritual took place in the background. Ironically, this vignette was featured by WWE's website in February 2008 during its Black History Month celebration.

The Twin Towers

Akeem and the Big Boss Man captained a team that featured Ted DiBiase, the Red Rooster, and Haku to battle the Mega Powers' team at Survivor Series 1988. During the match Akeem along with team-mate Big Bossman handcuffed Hulk Hogan to the ring post and were later disqualified.

The two formed a team called the Twin Towers. Though the Twin Towers never held the WWF Tag Team Titles, they were strongly involved in the storyline which would eventually cause Randy Savage to turn heel and challenge Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania V. In the Royal Rumble, Randy Savage was accidentally eliminated by teammate Hulk Hogan, allowing both Akeem and Bossman to double team Hogan and eliminate him. The Main Event show broadcast live on NBC on February 3, 1989 featured Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage vs. The Twin Towers. During the match, Savage's valet Elizabeth was injured after Savage was thrown through the ropes and knocked her to the ground. This led Hulk Hogan to abandon his partner and carry Elizabeth back to the locker room for medical help. Although Hogan later returned to the match to help Savage defeat Akeem and Bossman, Hogan's actions with Elizabeth caused Savage to attack him backstage, setting up the headline match for WrestleMania. The Twin Towers went on to face The Rockers at WrestleMania V and defeated them when Akeem pinned Shawn Michaels with a 747 Splash after a powerbomb from the Big Bossman.

Post-Twin Tower period

In early 1990, Big Bossman became upset with Slick always trying to take the credit for him (as well as refusing to be part of a payoff from Ted DiBiase), and turned on both his manager and his partner Akeem. He defeated Akeem at WrestleMania VI. Although Akeem remained in the WWF until October 1990, his loss to The Bossman at WrestleMania was his last high profile match in the company.

World Championship Wrestling

In early 1991, Gray resumed the One Man Gang gimmick in World Championship Wrestling and feuded with El Gigante (Jorge González). He and manager Kevin Sullivan shaved Gigante's head in a post-match sneak attack. He lost a Loser Leaves WCW match to Gigante and left WCW afterwards, but returned in 1995. He became a member of Sullivan's "Dungeon of Doom" and lasted only a few months, but did hold the WCW United States Championship one time. He defeated Kensuke Sasaki for the title and dropped it to Konnan on his way out.

During his time in WCW in 1992, Gray appeared in the movie Stay Tuned.

After WCW

One Man Gang wrestled in a dark match against Flash Flanagan prior to the February 3, 1998 RAW Is WAR taping. However, he was not hired. Also in 1998 One Man Gang briefly joined Extreme Championship Wrestling, including appearing at their flagship event, November to Remember. Gray made another appearance in the WWF in 2001 for the gimmick battle royal at WrestleMania X-Seven, again donning the One Man Gang costume.

Currently

At this time, the Gang has lost a lot of weight and plans on losing even more following a heart attack in 2000. He currently works as a prison guard at the Louisiana State Penitentiary. Although Grey is no longer performing on a regular basis, he occasionally makes appearances on the independent wrestling circuit.

Wrestling facts

  • Finishing and signature moves
  • 747 Splash
  • Gordbuster
  • Tag teams and stables
  • Managers
  • Wrestlers trained

Championships and accomplishments

See also

External links

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