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Tony Atlas

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Anthony White (April 23, 1954) better known by his ring name "Tony Atlas" is an American bodybuilder, powerlifter, and professional wrestler who has held multiple titles and championships in each sport. He is also known by his bodybuilding title, "Mr. USA" (a distinction he earned three times), the nom de guerre the "Black Superman", as well as an alter ego named Saba Simba. He returned as an on screen manager for World Wrestling Entertainment, recently appearing on its now-defunct ECW brand.

Career

1970s–1990s

Atlas started wrestling in 1975 for the National Wrestling Alliance World Wide/Mid Atlantic area. His debut, on July 10, was a tag team match with Bob Bruggers against Art Neilson and The Blue Scorpion. The match finished with Atlas winning the fall for his team with a sleeper hold on the Blue Scorpion.

Throughout his career he worked for World Championship Wrestling (WCW), the NWA's Jim Crockett Promotions, the World Wrestling Council (WWC), World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW), the American Wrestling Association (AWA), and the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). Among his regular partners were Tommy Rich (as "TNT"), Dick Murdoch, and Rocky Johnson. He was also the very first man to press slam and pin Hulk Hogan though Hogan's foot was on the rope and the referee didn't see it.

During his time with the NWA, Atlas captured the NWA Georgia Tag Team Title with Tommy Rich. He later teamed with Mr. Wrestling II, Thunderbolt Patterson, Kevin Sullivan, and Rocky Johnson. In the WWF, Tony teamed with Rocky Johnson to defeat the Wild Samoans to win the WWF World tag team title, becoming the first Afro-American team to hold the belts. After losing the titles to Adrian Adonis and Dick Murdoch, Johnson soon departed. WWF management was prepared to offer Atlas a run as the company's Intercontinental champion, but a burgeoning drug problem led to Atlas missing dates and becoming unreliable both inside and outside the ring. Atlas was thus shunted to the mid card in the WWF in short lived tag teams with Ivan Putski, Lanny Poffo and George Wells. He was also used as a jobber to the stars, putting over newly arriving talent like King Kong Bundy and Harley Race.

In 1987, Tony left for the Texas based World Class Championship Wrestling where he adopted the moniker of "The Black Superman". He had almost instant success when he teamed with Skip Young to win the World Class Texas Tag Team Title. Atlas left the company in 1988.

Atlas then moved on to the Northeast independent area in late 1988. He joined International Championship Wrestling (owned and operated by Mario Savoldi) where he turned heel and under the management of The Duke (not Pete Doherty) won the ICW Heavyweight title from Joe Savoldi. Atlas lost the belt to Vic Steamboat in Middletown, NY. But after a few months, he regained the belt from Steamboat. That match became infamous because of the number of times it was shown on the IWCCW syndicated show.

In late 1990, after a winning a battle with drug addiction a rejuvenated Atlas returned to the WWF, reinvented as Saba Simba and was a competitor in the 1991 Royal Rumble. On December 13, 2010, Tony appeared on Right After Wrestling and credited the Saba Simba character with saving his life as he was homeless and living on a park bench before getting a phone call from Vince McMahon. He played a warrior of a Ugandan tribe, but the gimmick was unpopular at best, and considered racist at worst. He left for WCW shortly thereafter. In 1992, he wrestled in WCW, and in 1994 for the American Wrestling Federation (AWF). He briefly showed back up in the WWF around Wrestlemania 13 being spotted in the crowd and cheering for Rocky Mavia.

While working for the World Wrestling Council in Puerto Rico, Atlas witnessed the murder of Bruiser Brody by another wrestler, Jose Gonzalez (Invader #1). Atlas was never called back to testify.

He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006

Return to WWE (2008–2010)

Atlas appeared on the July 8, 2008, airing of ECW where Theodore Long appointed him the special guest ring announcer for the main event featuring Tommy Dreamer with then-babyface, Colin Delaney in his corner against then-heel, Mark Henry. Atlas attacked Delaney, which in turn distracted Dreamer, allowing Henry to gain the victory. Atlas then announced Henry the winner of the bout, although the official result was a double countout. This is also the first time since his brief stint in WCW in 1992 that Atlas has worked as a heel. Atlas also accompanied Henry to the ring at The Great American Bash. Atlas helped Mark Henry retain his title at SummerSlam, attacking Matt Hardy once a win by Hardy appeared to be imminent. Henry was also able to retain his ECW Championship on the August 19, 2008 episode of ECW due to an outside interference from Atlas. At Unforgiven, Atlas was there to support Henry in retaining his Championship in the ECW Championship Scramble, although Henry lost the title to Hardy after Hardy got the last fall. On December 9 edition of ECW, Atlas wrestled in a WWE ring for the first time in 17 years (along with Mark Henry) in a tag team match, where they defeated Finlay and Hornswoggle. Tony also wrestled Evan Bourne on the June 9, 2009 episode of ECW in a losing effort. Henry was then traded to the Raw brand on June 29, resulting in Atlas no longer managing him.

On September 1, 2009, Atlas re-appeared as the announcer for "The Abraham Washington Show" segment. He would portray Abraham's sidekick and laugh at his jokes with a forced, uproarious laugh and would also be the butt of some of Washington's jokes and abuse. After ECW ended, he and Washington became free agents.

Atlas was released from his WWE contract on April 30, 2010. However, he appeared again on the November 15 Old School RAW special before David Hart Smith and Tyson Kidd's match against Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel.

Personal life

White has been married four times. His fourth and current wife Monika found him sleeping in a park in Philadelphia and invited him to stay at her house until he got back on his feet. They have been married for twenty years.

In wrestling

Championships and accomplishments

  • Americas Wrestling Federation
    • AWF North American Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
  • NWA Tri-State1
    • NWA West Virginia/Ohio Heavyweight Championship (1 time)

1This promotion is not to be confused with the NWA Tri–State promotion founded by Leroy McGuirk in the 1950s. This promotion would eventually be taken over by Bill Watts in 1979 and renamed Mid-South Wrestling Association. The promotion would eventually be renamed Universal Wrestling Federation.

See also

External links

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