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Norman Smiley

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Norman Anthony Smiley (February 28, 1965) is an English/American retired professional wrestler. He is best known for his appearances with the American professional wrestling promotion World Championship Wrestling from 1997 to 2001. He is currently working for WWE as a trainer for WWE NXT. Championships held by Smiley over the course of his career include the CMLL World Heavyweight Championship and the WCW Hardcore Championship.

Early life

Smiley was born in Northampton, England in the United Kingdom. In the early 1970s, his parents divorced and Smiley and his mother emigrated to Miami, Florida in the United States. Smiley attended Miami Beach Senior High School, where he took part in amateur wrestling and powerlifting. He graduated in 1984.

Professional wrestling career

Early career (1985-1997)

Norman Smiley trained under Boris Malenko and Dean Malenko before making his debut in 1985 on the Floridian independent circuit. He was originally known as "Black Magic", then as the hated "Lord Henry Norman". Smiley wrestled in the Japanese shoot-style group UWF International (UWFi) in 1988 and 1989. In 1990 Smiley competed at the World Championship Wrestling Starrcade 1990 event teaming with Chris Adams against the team of Konnan and Rey Misterio, Sr.

Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (1991-1995)

In 1991, he began wrestling for Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre in Mexico as "Black Magic", winning the CMLL World Heavyweight Championship and holding it until losing to Silver King in 1994.

Extreme Championship Wrestling (1995-1996)

In 1995 and 1996, he briefly competed in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based Extreme Championship Wrestling promotion.

World Championship Wrestling (1997-2001)

Smiley joined World Championship Wrestling in 1997, wrestling primarily on WCW Saturday Night. After being removed from television, he returned several months later with a new gimmick. His new character saw him add the "Big Wiggle" to his repertoire of moves; prior to this, his signature taunt was a mimed bow-and-arrow motion, informally dubbed "The Sacajaweah". After knocking an opponent down, Smiley would perform a dance that he called the "Big Wiggle". He later added the "Smiley Spank", which saw him double an opponent over, straddle him, and perform a slapping motion with his hands.

During his tenure in WCW, Smiley often teamed with Chris Adams. The duo had previously teamed together as the British participants in the 1990 NWA Pat O'Connor tag team tournament, and were close friends.

A heel turn began in a backstage interview on an episode of WCW Saturday Night when he told fans that he was European and that, as such, his name should be pronounced phonetically as "Nor-MAHN Smi-LAY." He would insult the fans who mispronounced his name at establishments such as Waffle House and Piggly Wiggly. He then feuded with Chavo Guerrero, Jr., on one occasion destroying Guerrero's hobby horse mascot, Pepè, by feeding it into a wood chipper on the January 11, 1999 episode of WCW Monday Nitro. Despite Smiley's attempts to be a heel, fans seemed to enjoy his "big wiggle" and comedy antics, effectively turning him face.

In 1999, Smiley entered the hardcore division. Smiley's character was nicknamed "Screamin' " Norman Smiley due to his fear of being hit by weapons. Smiley would also come to the ring wearing the jersey of a local professional sports team, along with padding and a football helmet to cushion blows. This comedic gimmick caused Smiley's popularity to soar, and he eventually became the first WCW Hardcore Champion by defeating Brian Knobs in a tournament final. During his two reigns, Smiley was a reluctant champion, even attempting to purposely lose matches (although he invariably retained the title inadvertently, much to his chagrin). Smiley is the twice-longest WCW Hardcore Championship titleholder, at 51 and 42 days, respectively.

Smiley feuded with Brian Knobs, Meng and Terry Funk during his tenures as WCW Hardcore Champion, recruiting Chris Jericho's former associate Ralphus to be his manager. With the assistance of Ralphus, he stole a backyard wrestling championship from a group of children during a vignette.

Smiley remained in WCW until the company was sold to the World Wrestling Federation in March 2001. He was not hired by the WWF following the sale.

Independent circuit (2001-2007)

Smiley wrestled for the short-lived X Wrestling Federation and the World Wrestling All-Stars before returning to the independent circuit.

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2002, 2006-2007)

He wrestled briefly for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling in 2002 and then had several tryout matches with WWE in 2003 and 2004. In February 2006, he was backstage during the TNA pay-per-view Against All Odds 2006, and he wrestled in an eight-man opening match on an episode of TNA Impact! shortly thereafter, doing the Big Wiggle on Jeff Jarrett. At TNA Destination X 2006 on March 12, 2006, Smiley and Shark Boy lost to David Young and Elix Skipper. Smiley and Shark Boy upset Homicide and Machete of the LAX on the March 18 edition of Impact! Smiley was inactive for several weeks following an attack at the hands of Scott Steiner, but returned on the June 29, 2006 episode of Impact!, losing to Monty Brown. On the February 16, 2007 edition of Impact! Smiley made his return, teaming with Shark Boy in a loss to LAX.

World Wrestling Entertainment/WWE (2007-present)

Norman Smiley has now relocated to Tampa to work as a trainer for WWE's development territory, Florida Championship Wrestling. In early 2010, he started making on-camera appearances as the lieutenant general manager of FCW but since August 2010, he's been known on FCW TV as the liaison for the FCW president, Steve Keirn. Since then Smiley has continued to train for the WWE developmental territories, currently working with the NXT roster.

Personal life

Norman Smiley is close personal friends with fellow professional wrestler and former WCW alumni Vampiro. He is the godfather of Vampiro's daughter Dasha.

In wrestling

  • Signature moves
    • Big Wiggle (From behind a bent forward opponent, Smiley licks his hands, rubs his chest, and makes a slapping motion on the hips of the opponent)
    • Smiley Slam (Twisting delayed scoop slam)
  • Nicknames
    • "Screamin' Norman"

Championships and accomplishments

  • FSCW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
  • FOW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
  • GWA Global Television Championship (1 time)
  • IPWA Southern Championship (1 time)
  • IPWA Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Joe DeFuria
  • MXPW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
  • PWI ranked him # 375 of the 500 best singles wrestlers of the PWI Years in 2003

External links

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