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Peter Gruner (born May 11, 1974) is an Americanmarker professional wrestler, better known by his ring name Billy Kidman. Kidman is best known for his work with World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and the World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment (WWF/E) throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s.

He joined World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and ultimately gained fame as a key member of several strong wrestling factions. In addition to being a member of Raven's Flock, he also was a member of the Filthy Animals and later New Blood. As a member of these factions, Gruner participated in memorable rivalries with top WCW names, including Hulk Hogan, Jeff Jarrett, and Rey Mysterio. Kidman wrestled for WCW for many years and won tag team gold with partner and real life friend Mysterio. After leaving the group, he won the WCW Cruiserweight Championship three times. Gruner also met his former wife Torrie Wilson while the two were working in WCW.

Upon WCW's purchase by World Wrestling Federation (WWF), Kidman became a member of the WCW/ECW Alliance faction, and later a successful champion in WWE's Cruiserweight and Tag Team divisions. He now works on the independent circuit.

Career

Early career

Gruner was trained by the one half of the Wild Samoans, Afa Anoa'i and wrestled his first match on September 11, 1994 in the independent circuit as "Kid Flash". He formed a tag team with Ace Darling known as "Shooting Stars" and they would win the ECWA Tag Team Championship and USWA World Tag Team Championship.

World Championship Wrestling (1996–2001)

Gruner first started wrestling as Billy Kidman for WCW in late 1996, spending over a year as a cruiserweight jobber with no gimmick. Finally, he was added to Raven's Flock in 1997 as a disheveled street junkie with a gimmick of a heroin addict , constantly scratching his arms, and named his shooting star press maneuver the "Seven Year Itch" to further tie in with the gimmick. Kidman found little personal success with the group and aided Perry Saturn in defeating Raven in a match, thus disbanding the group.

Kidman shed his grungy attire and began performing as a babyface, eventually pinning Juventud Guerrera to win his first Cruiserweight Championship. Guerrera won the belt back a few weeks later, but Kidman regained it at World War 3. Kidman eventually lost the title on an episode of WCW Monday Nitro to Rey Mysterio, Jr. They had a rematch at Spring Stampede, where Mysterio was victorious.

Following this, Mysterio asked Kidman to be his tag team partner in a match for the World Tag Team Championship. Kidman at first declined, as a previous attempt at a tag team between the two did not reach any level of success. The two, however, faced Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko for the titles and succeeded with unwanted aid from Raven and Saturn. The three teams feuded for several weeks, which ended in a three way tag team match for the titles. Chris Kanyon's interference led to the victory for Raven and Saturn. Kidman spent the next several months in assorted feuds. He won the Cruiserweight Championship one more time from Prince Iaukea at a house show, but lost it back to Iaukea 24 hours later. Kidman also defeated Psicosis in a hair vs. mask match, and came close to defeating Jeff Jarrett for the United States Heavyweight Championship. He then entered a short feud with Vampiro.

During this time, Kidman was a part of the WCW face faction, the Filthy Animals, with Mysterio, Konnan, and Eddie Guerrero. Guerrero left the group when he left WCW, and Kidman left the group when they became a heel faction. He later rejoined them when they were faces once more in the last few months of WCW.

Following his first departure from the Filthy Animals, Kidman joined Vince Russo's New Blood faction, taking another heel turn. His gimmick was a young hotshot not wanting to be held back by wrestlers beyond their prime. This led to his biggest feud to date with Hulk Hogan. After the New Blood split up, Kidman became a face once more by entering a feud with Shane Douglas for the affection of his on-screen girlfriend, Torrie Wilson. During the feud, Wilson turned on Kidman. Kidman was legitimaely injured in a match at New Blood Rising in August 2000, when in a strap match, Douglas hung Kidman from the neck using the strap, and was forced to take several weeks for to recover.

Following the Douglas feud, Kidman began teaming with Mysterio again. They entered the Cruiserweight Tag Team Championship tournament, but lost in the finals to Elix Skipper and Kid Romeo. On the final episode of Nitro, Kidman and Mysterio won the titles from Skipper and Romeo. That night, the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) purchased WCW and Kidman's contract was picked up by the WWF.

World Wrestling Federation / Entertainment (2001–2005)

When the WWF purchased WCW, the contract of Gruner (who was still wrestling as Billy Kidman) was one of twenty-five contracts involved in the purchase. When The Invasion storyline commenced, Gruner appeared on WWF television as a tweener for the WCW Alliance faction. In July 2001, Gruner won the Cruiserweight Championship from Gregory Helms in the first televised WCW match on SmackDown!. Kidman was sidelined with an injury during the Invasion angle and thus did not have as big of an impact as other WCW superstars.

Kidman turned face after the WCW/ECW Alliance broke up. He was drafted to SmackDown! as part of the brand extension, and in his return match he defeated Tajiri to win his first Cruiserweight Championship under the WWE brand. Tajiri reclaimed the title at Backlash. He went on to capture the Cruiserweight Championship for the seventh time (making him the record holder for most Cruiserweight Titles at the time), by defeating Jamie Noble at Survivor Series. Kidman lost the title three months later to Matt Hardy at No Way Out. He spent the next few years as a star attraction in the cruiserweight division, relying solely on his in-ring work and no real gimmick. Later, Kidman was placed with a new tag team partner, Paul London. The team went on to win the WWE Tag Team Championship from The Dudley Boyz on July 8, 2004. Proving the win was not an upset, they went on to win a rematch for the titles.

Kidman in 2008
The championship run of this face team came to an abrupt end after Kidman turned his back on London. The heel turn played off of a legitimate injury which occurred on an August 24, 2004 taping of SmackDown!, when Gruner's Shooting Star Press had unintentionally caused Chavo Guerrero to suffer a concussion and be taken to the hospital. The next week, Kidman was on the top rope ready to hit the Shooting Star Press, but hesitated, climbed down the turnbuckles, and slowly walked backstage overwhelmed with guilt after injuring Guerrero. London was left alone to defend the titles against Kenzo Suzuki and Rene Dupree, and was brutally defeated. London and Kidman fought at No Mercy 2004, where Kidman injured London with a shooting star press, while London was strapped to a stretcher. This completed Kidman's heel turn, blaming the fans for wanting him to be more brutal with his in-ring style. Kidman and Guerrero ended their feud upon Chavo's return, the latter being victorious in the final match. Kidman then competed against London over the Cruisweight title in the coming months. At the start of 2005, Kidman suffered a broken orbital bone, which sidelined him for three months.

Gruner was released from his WWE contract on July 6, 2005. It was rumored that the reason behind his release was the lack of crowd reaction and unintentional injuries he caused, but Gruner later stated in an interview with the UKmarker newspaper The Sun that it was because he argued with management over their decision to stop booking wrestlers on first class flights overseas. Recently, he has become a trainer for developmental talent in World Wrestling Entertainment's official territory Florida Championship Wrestling, making appearances as a wrestler but as of yet has not rejoined WWE in an official wrestling role.

Post–WWE (2005–present)

During his first tour of the UK since leaving WWE, Kidman would make a few appearances in independent British promotions. Other than his notable Frontier Wrestling Alliance 3-way match with Jody Fleisch and Jonny Storm, Kidman would also wrestle British wrestling legend Robbie Brookside in a losing effort during a British rules match to determine the first Real Quality Wrestling Heavyweight Champion.

In 2007, Gruner made his International Wrestling Association debut in a match for the IWA World Heavyweight Championship against Ray Gonzalez, which he lost. Gruner also took part in the East Coast Australian "International Assault II" Tour from June 1-3, 2007 wrestling Australian superstars TNT and Mark Hilton, and pinned Bryan Danielson to win the WSW World Heavyweight Championship on the 3rd night in Newcastle.

On July 8, 2007, Kidman teamed up with Sean "X-Pac" Waltman as part of a triple threat match in McAllen, Texasmarker to crown the new NWA World Tag Team Champions. The title was previously vacated by Team 3D after TNA Wrestling officially pulled out of the National Wrestling Alliance. They would lose the match to Karl Anderson and Joey Ryan. He has since signed with the Australasian Wrestling Federation.

He is currently a trainer for Florida Championship Wrestling, the official training ground for World Wrestling Entertainment.

Personal life

Gruner grew up in Allentown, Pennsylvaniamarker in the Lehigh Valley region, where he graduated from Parkland High Schoolmarker. Gruner was a banker before he started training to be a professional wrestler, and is good friends with Chris Kanyon, who he met at the Wild Samoan training centre in Pennsylvania. Gruner is the cousin of fellow professional wrestler, Mikey Batts.

After being together for four years, Gruner married former WWE Diva, Torrie Wilson on July 11, 2003. They lived together in Tampa, Floridamarker when not traveling. The couple divorced in 2007.

In wrestling

  • Finishing moves




  • Signature moves








  • Entrance themes
    • "Rock the World – Production theme (WCW)
    • "Destroyer" – Production theme
    • "Mortal Wound" – Production theme (WWE)
    • "Extreme Impact" – Production theme
    • "You Can Run" – Jim Johnston


Championships and accomplishments

*ECWA Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Ace Darling
*ECWA Hall of Fame (Class of 2004)


*PWI ranked him #92 of the 500 best singles wrestlers of the year in PWI 500 in 2004


  • Revolution Xtreme Wrestling
*RXW World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)


  • Trans–World Wrestling Federation
*TWWF Cruiserweight Championship (1 time)


*USWA World Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Ace Darling


*WCW Cruiserweight Championship (3 times)
*WCW Cruiserweight Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Rey Mysterio, Jr.
*WCW World Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Rey Mysterio, Jr. (1) and Konnan (1)


  • World Series Wrestling
*WSW World Heavyweight Championship (1 time, current)


*WWE Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Paul London
*WWF/E Cruiserweight Championship (4 times)


*Worst Feud of the Year (2000) vs. Hulk Hogan


References

External links




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