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The Warlord

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Terry Scott Szopinski (March 28, 1962) is an American professional wrestler. He is best known by his ring name The Warlord and for his tenures in Jim Crockett Promotions and the World Wrestling Federation as one half of the Powers of Pain alongside The Barbarian.

Professional wrestling career

National Wrestling Alliance / Jim Crockett Promotions

In 1986 while working out at a gym in Minnesota, Szopinski met its owner Joe Laurinaitis, better known as the professional wrestler Road Warrior Animal. After coming up with possible ring names with Sharkey and Animal, Szopinski adopted The Warlord as his ring name and sent some photos of his work to Dusty Rhodes. Soon afterwards, Rhodes hired him and he began wrestling for the National Wrestling Alliance's Jim Crockett Promotions later that year. After a brief stint in JCP, the territory's owner Jim Crockett, Jr. sent him to the Kansas City-based Central States Wrestling territory for more training. While there, he teamed with Karl Kovac and won the territory's Tag Team Championship on June 8, 1987 in a tournament. However, he and Kovac were soon stripped of the title when Kovac was fired and Szopinski travelled to Japan for more training.

Powers of Pain

In late 1987, Szopinski returned to Jim Crockett Promotions under his Warlord name and began teaming with Ivan Koloff with Paul Jones as their manager. In 1988, he then formed a permanent tag team with The Barbarian known as the Powers of Pain, the villainous counterparts to the Road Warriors, while retaining Jones as their manager.

While continuing to team Koloff, the Powers of Pain feuded heavily with the Road Warriors, and defeated them and Dusty Rhodes for the World Six-Man Tag Team Championship. To continue the feud, JCP management wanted them to do some scaffold matches against the Warriors, but this was met with opposition from Szopinski and Vailahi over fears of injury. As a result, they both left JCP and joined the World Wrestling Federation, vacating the Six–Man Tag Team title in the process.

World Wrestling Federation

Upon their arrival in the WWF, the Powers were faces, initially managed by Tito Santana, and feuded with WWF World Tag Team Champions Demolition (Ax and Smash), who had defeated Strike Force (Santana and Rick Martel) for the title and then injured Martel (kayfabe). The Powers were introduced as mercenaries to help Martel and Santana gain revenge on Demolition for both the title loss and the injury to Martel. They were soon after managed by The Baron.

At Survivor Series, the Powers' team defeated Demolition's team in tag team elimination match, with the Powers being the sole survivors of their team. After the match, Demolition's manager Mr. Fuji double-crossed them and after they beat him up and left, the Powers came to his aid, gaining Fuji as their manager in the process, in return for which his interference helped the Powers eliminate the last remaining opponents, the Conquistadors. Afterwards, the Powers and Fuji celebrated until Demolition returned and drove them from the ring. As a result, the Powers became villains while Demolition became fan favorites. At WrestleMania V, the Powers of Pain teamed with Fuji in a losing effort to Demolition in a match for the World Tag Team Championship.

In early 1990, the Powers of Pain split, with Fuji selling Barbarian's contract to Bobby "The Brain" Heenan while selling Warlord's contract to Slick. After the team's split, Warlord received an attire change, where he abandoned his Road Warrior-like reverse mohawk and face paint and instead shaved his head and began wearing a metal cyborg-style Phantom of the Opera half-face mask and black armor to the ring. He also brought a metal staff topped with a "W" with him to his matches, and used it as a weapon on occasion. In an effort to enhance his gimmick as an omnipotent monster heel, the Warlord appeared on a late 1991 episode of WWF Prime Time Wrestling to display his stupendous physical strength; he attempted to bench press 500 lbs for 20 reps but could only manage 19.

Post–WWF and hiatus

After leaving the WWF in 1992 for the independent circuit, Szopinski wrestled two matches in World Championship Wrestling in 1996, one of which was a tag team match where he and Vailahi reunited as the masked Super Assassins. However, he was forced to retire from wrestling due to suffering neck injuries in a car accident involving a Pizza Hut delivery van in 1996.

After attempting a comeback in 2001, Szopinski was sidelined yet again after suffering severe leg damage in a motorcycle accident.

Return to wrestling

On January 10, 2003, Szopinski made his first wrestling-related appearance in years as he acted as a special guest referee for Hardkore Championship Wrestling in a match between Christian York and Reckless Youth, which Youth won. On January 25, he made his official in-ring return under his Warlord name and character as he defeated Joe Gomez.

After wrestling regularly throughout the rest of 2003 and 2004, Warlord wrestled at the first WrestleReunion on January 29, 2005, where he competed in a battle royal for the IWA Heavyweight Championship. However, he was eliminated by Greg "The Hammer" Valentine, who would go on to win the match and the title.

On April 29, 2006, he defeated Chaz to win the Maximum Xtreme Pro Wrestling Heavyweight Championship, his first singles title.

In August 2012, Chikara announced that The Barbarian would be making his debut for the promotion in the following month's 2012 King of Trios tournament, where he will reunite with The Barbarian and Meng as The Faces of Pain. On September 14, the team was eliminated from the tournament in the first round by Team ROH (Mike Bennett, Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson). Two days later, on the final day of the tournament, The Barbarian and The Warlord took part in a tag team gauntlet match, from which they eliminated their old WWF rivals, Demolition, before being eliminated themselves by 1-2-3 Kid and Marty Jannetty.

Security and bodyguarding

During his retirement, Szopinski began training as a security guard and started providing his services for Relief Group International, an auto relief group. He soon extended his services into bodyguarding, and worked alongside celebrities such as 50 Cent, Thomas Jones and Kimbo Slice, the latter of whom nicknamed Szopinski "The Wall".

Personal life

Szopinski met Chris Jericho early in Jericho's career, and helped him out with food issues while they travelved together overseas and in Japan. Dave Batista cites Szopinski as his all-time favorite wrestler.

Wrestling facts

  • Finishing and signature moves
  • Full Nelson
  • Power Slam
  • Tag teams and stables
  • Managers
  • Wrestlers trained

Championships and accomplishments

  • Maximum Xtreme Pro Wrestling
    • MXPW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
  • Pro Wrestling Illustrated
    • PWI ranked him #296 of the 500 best singles wrestlers during the "PWI Years" in 2003
    • PWI ranked him #97 of the best tag teams during the "PWI Years" with The Barbarian

See also

External links

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