Welcome to the return edition of the Phat Daily Column. Yes, I took a few days off... why? Well, for Thursday's column, I just sat there and as I was typing the introduction, I just felt like I couldn't whip one up for that day. I've had two of the roughest mid-terms this past Tuesday, and it's burned the hell out of me. Plus, the material to BS about on Thursday is very weak without WCW. Thursday was WCW day, and without the many problems and shitty Thunder to discuss, that day is quite rough to produce.

For Friday, I just had too much to do. I'm home for the weekend, so I had a few things to take care off, which made my internet access very limited to just checking my personal e-mail (not the Mr. Tito email) and quickly making changes for my online fantasy baseball team, which probably has the worst pitching line up in fantasy sports history. I didn't have an hour set aside to whip one up, and what was even worse, I didn't watch Smackdown yet at the time. No Smackdown would have made for a bad, bad column, at least in my mind.

On Saturday, I had the opportunity to play rollerhockey for the first time in a long time, and plus for the fact that I didn't have a history topic to do and also since I left my wrestling resources at school, I took that day off as well. A lovely 3 day vacation. I'm also going through a little burn out, thanks to some tough-ass mid terms and another big test this Monday. I just love school.

So..... my bad for the days off, but understand that I'm human and not a piece of meat. On to the PDC.

The Unlikely Duo

Bradshaw and Farooq.... Years ago, nobody even thought that two wrestlers of their nature would pair up. And when they did, early critics scoffed at the WWF's idea of teaming two under-utilized wrestlers, together. But it was a great choice, even if the WWF shoved them together due to lack of ideas.

Farooq, before the WWF, was a wrestler with some history in World Championship Wrestling as his real name, Ron Simmons. He started out as a so-so wrestler within the federation, impressing nobody whatsoever with his weak wrestling ability. It was the truth, too, for he was just coming off several attempts at making it in pro football, and he was still learning the ring. After trying to push him every which way but loose, WCW threw a mask on Simmons and teamed him with veteran Butch Reed to form the tough team of Doom.

They were tough, too, or at least they looked tough. With the masks, they had this certain mystique about them that made them a rough team for everyone to contend with. Doom dominated the tag circuit, until they lost their masks. After revealing themselves, Doom began to lose more often, and eventually, the great team was broken up. Farooq or Ron Simmons would now pursue the singles ranks, where he got an immediate push by Cowboy Bill Watts, who was running WCW back in 1992. Watts pushed Simmons as the next big face wrestler, and even gave him the WCW World Title! However, nobody was cheering the new WCW champ, and Simmons was eventually ousted from WCW for whatever reason.

Simmons would then step away from the wrestling business, occasionally wrestling some indy shows (ECW once? Not sure on that). The WWF, hot in a war with WCW, wanted to grab any former WCW talent they could, so they gave Ron Simmons a call. Ron Simmons was a shell of his former self, for he gained a couple pounds being away from the business. He also went through a bad gimmick of debuting as a Gladiator wrestler named Farooq Asad, with strange headgear and tights. The only thing going for Farooq was his impressive finishing move, which he'd later call the Dominator. Farooq went right after Ahmed Johnson, who he'd feud with over a long period of time.

Farooq would then assemble a group of African American individuals, like Clarence Mason and D'Lo Brown, among others, to form the Nation of Domination, which was supposed to be a rip off of WCW's NWO, although they weren't a ratings grabber like the NWO. Farooq was the leader, and the group dragged through the mud until they hired a certain Rocky Miavia to join the group. Rock became larger than the Nation, and made some comical angles with Farooq about taking over leadership of the Nation. Farooq was eventually ousted from the Nation, and then he faced some reality.

Bret Hart was "screwed" at Survivor Series 1997 when Vince McMahon called for the bell to purposely change the finish for the Hitman vs. Shawn Michaels match. Farooq, and other wrestlers like Mick Foley, saw this as a slap in the face, for Simmons had a respect for Bret Hart. Farooq's sitting out made his return a living hell, for the WWF depushed him bigtime. There was uncertainty to Farooq's future, until the Acolytes were formed.

Bradshaw, on the other hand, had a different route. In his early WWF days, Bradshaw came in as Justin "Hawk" Bradshaw, who was just a big cowboy like wrestler. He donned the usual cowboy get-up, with the boots, cow bell, and the rope. The gimmick didn't help him much, although some feuds with Savio Vega could be accounted for that. The Hawk didn't do much, until the WWF got an idea to form a new tag team. Barry Windham, a long time veteran of the wrestling business, was struggling with his Stalker gimmick, as anybody with such a shitty gimmick would too. Since Bradshaw was already a cowboy, and since Barry Windham was the son of Blackjack Mulligan (note: Bradshaw might be related to the former Blackjacks as well, but I'm not sure?), the WWF decided to make the NEW Blackjacks.

The NEW Blackjacks had the look and potential to be a big team in the WWF, but a ball was unfortunately dropped. The WWF decided to have Windham turn on Bradshaw and join the funny NWA stable forming. Bradshaw and Windham would feud, although it didn't last too long. Bradshaw needed something to do, obviously.

Both Farooq and Bradshaw were seen as possible cuts after their final attempts in 1998, so the WWF figured "why not team them up?" The WWF had the Jackal, who is better known now as Cyrus, as the manager, and after the Truth Commission failed, he claimed to have formed the super team of Farooq and Bradshaw. They were mainly a Sunday Night Heat act, and they were turning heads with their brutal style of tag team wrestling! It was quite impressive to see two wrestlers, thought to be finished in the WWF, work great as a team.

Eventually, the Jackal was out of the WWF for problems backstage, and the Acolytes would become cornerstones for a new stable forming. The Ministry of Darkness, led by the Undertaker, needed members and Farooq and Bradshaw fit perfectly. Their evil look, including strange paint on their chest, made the group a force to reckon with, unlike the terrible Viscera or Mideon. The Acolytes dominated the rest of the tag team scene, too. They began to gain a reputation with fans as a team you would easily put money on to win, and a team you'd be shocked if they lost. The funny thing about the Acolytes is that nobody thought of them as failing wrestlers in the WWF before the formation of the team.

Eventually, the Ministry fizzled, and Farooq and Bradshaw went out on their own. They would then start some odd backstage segments, which had them playing cards with various WWF superstars. It gave the Acolytes a comedic edge that the "sports entertainment" world enjoyed, and then the WWF came up with the idea of making the Acolytes hired bodyguards for other wrestlers or personalities. Thus, the Acolyte Protection Agency was formed. With that new gimmick, they could virtually fight anybody they wanted with someone paying Farooq or Bradshaw off.

But the point is, the Acolytes are STILL around today, and they are STILL a successful tag team in the WWF. Back in 1998, when they were formed, nobody expected either man to survive in the WWF. The teaming of Farooq and Bradshaw was probably their last chances at having incomes as WWF wrestlers, and both of them came through.

So what now with the Acolytes? Well, after years of punishment from football and from professional wrestling, Farooq has very bad knees. He's had various surgeries on them, but to no improvement to keep his wrestling career going for a longer period of time. I've heard various rumors that they may need replaced, but I don't know. However, the knees are bad, and retirement is coming soon for Farooq, unfortunately. That's probably why you keep hearing rumors of a "singles push" for Bradshaw, because the WWF knows the end is near for Farooq. It's easily the reason why Bradshaw wins the majority of the Acolyte matches.

All in all, the Acolytes should get a mention as one of the toughest and roughest tag teams in wrestling history, especially since both wrestlers defeated adversity to gain that honor. Other teams came out of no where by developing as a team, whereas the Acolytes were just shoved together, and luckily clicked as a team. It will be quite the shame when the APA finally ends their reign of terror in the WWF.

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@That's all for today's returning edition of the PDC. I'll most likely return tomorrow with a Heat review and/or a RAW preview for tomorrow. I know you don't want to miss that. See you tomorrow!

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