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Elijah Burke (born May 24, 1978) is an Americanmarker professional wrestler, currently signed to Total Nonstop Action Wrestling under the name of "The Pope" D'Angelo Dinero; a gimmick in which he portrays a Harlemmarker street preacher. He is also known for wrestling for World Wrestling Entertainment, on its ECW brand.


Law enforcement and boxing career

Burke is a former officer for the Jacksonville Sheriff's Officemarker in Floridamarker who would become an amateur boxer in Jacksonville's Club 5 and Club Plush where he claims to have had a 98-1 win/loss record. According to his profile, Burke has a record of 103-1 with 102 knockouts in his amateur career. Both of these records are unsubstantiated. Still, according to WWE, the only loss he sustained was a disqualification, after he knocked his opponent out and refused to back down to his corner. Before each of his matches he writes the phrase "4-Up" on his wrist tape, and in an interview with WWE Magazine, Burke stated that this came from the phrase "I'm going to give you five upside your head," used by comedians such as Redd Foxx. However, when you punch somebody, it's more accurately four upside the head.

World Wrestling Entertainment (2004–2008)

After signing with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), he was sent to their developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW). There, he won the OVW Heavyweight Championship on December 8, 2004, by defeating Chad Toland. On April 14 Burke lost the Championship to Matt Morgan. Burke was offered a spot in the Spirit Squad by the WWE Creative Team, but turned it down, forcing him to stay in Ohio Valley Wrestling on a longer stint before moving to SmackDown! with Sylvester Terkay.

SmackDown! (2006)

Burke would be brought up to the main roster of SmackDown! on July 28, 2006 working a mixed martial arts cornerman gimmick with the also debuting former MMA fighter Sylvester Terkay. His first WWE match saw him defeating Scott Wright and he would also break Vito's four month winning streak while on SmackDown!, albeit with Terkay's assistance.

ECW (2006–2008)

On November 7, 2006, Burke and Terkay debuted on the ECW brand by cutting a backstage promo. The following week, Burke replaced Tazz, who had knee surgery, as color commentator alongside play-by-play announcer Joey Styles. Two weeks later, Burke returned to the ring; he and Terkay lost to The Hardys. At the ECW brand's December to Dismember pay-per-view, Burke and Terkay defeated the Full Blooded Italians. The pair were later dubbed The Knock-Out/Tap-Out Connection, in reference to Burke's amateur boxing career and Terkay's Mixed Martial Arts background.

On January 18, 2007, Terkay was released from WWE. Following this, Burke usually wrestled in singles matches, and appeared in a segment where WWE owner Vince McMahon showed disdain for members of the original ECW and called Burke to the ring, naming him "The Future of ECW". Burke was then attacked by Tommy Dreamer, Rob Van Dam, Sabu, and The Sandman, who would later form the ECW Originals stable. Burke then became the official leader of the "New Breed", a group of new ECW stars including Matt Striker, Marcus Cor Von and Kevin Thorn, who proceeded to feud with the ECW Originals. At WrestleMania 23, the New Breed faced off against the ECW Originals but were ultimately defeated.

After several weeks of trying to recruit fellow roster mate and new ECW superstar CM Punk, Burke and the New Breed were successful on April 10. Just two weeks later, however, CM Punk betrayed the New Breed, attacking Burke after a match. The next week, Kevin Thorn quit the New Breed due to lack of interference in his match with CM Punk. The same night, Matt Striker and Marcus Cor Von were defeated by the Major Brothers, a debuting tag team. After being pinned, Burke screamed at Striker creating tension between the two. The New Breed would then feud with the ECW Originals, CM Punk and the Major Brothers at the same time. At Judgment Day, Burke was defeated by CM Punk. Then, at One Night Stand, Burke, Marcus Cor Von and Matt Striker were defeated by Tommy Dreamer, The Sandman and CM Punk in a tables match. On June 19, 2007, Burke lost to Chris Benoit (which would be Benoit's last match before his death) in a match that would decide who would face either CM Punk or Marcus Cor Von for the vacant ECW World Championship at Vengeance: Night of Champions. Burke lost to Punk in a best two out of three falls match, which would see the winner becoming the number one contender to Johnny Nitro's ECW Championship. On July 10, Burke rebounded with a decisive victory over Balls Mahoney. He was then named the number one contender for the ECW Championship and went on to face CM Punk at the Unforgiven pay-per-view where he was beaten after Punk cleanly pinned him.

Two days later on ECW, an elimination chase was set up by ECW General Manager Armando Estrada. This challenge was to determine the number one contender to CM Punk's ECW Championship in order to compete for the title at No Mercy 2007. Estrada pitted four of the best wrestlers that ECW would offer (Burke, Kevin Thorn, Tommy Dreamer and Stevie Richards) in a fatal four way that night, which was won by Elijah Burke. It also meant the loser of the match, Stevie Richards, was out of the chase to No Mercy. The following week, Burke eliminated former New Breed teammate Kevin Thorn from the competition after Tommy Dreamer nailed Thorn with a Dreamer DDT. The next week, Burke was eliminated from the tournament by Dreamer.

Towards the end of 2007 Burke had a short feud with then-World Heavyweight Champion Batista after Batista claimed his upcoming match with Burke was the last thing on his mind; thus disrespecting Burke, leading to two singles matches against Batista with Burke on the losing end of both matches.

On the November 20 edition of ECW, Burke introduced and formed an alliance with the newest member of the ECW roster, Shelton Benjamin, who jumped over from the Raw brand. Burke was then taken off television for several months but he later reappeared by participating in the 2008 Royal Rumble, entering as the 28th entrant but was eliminated by Triple H after having Mick Foley pushed into him, after which both Foley and Burke were eliminated.

He later participated in a 24-man battle royal at WrestleMania XXIV to determine who would face ECW Champion Chavo Guerrero. However, Burke was eliminated early in the match (shortly after he himself eliminated Stevie Richards) by Kane.

Burke then reappeared again in a tag team match on SmackDown where he and Shelton Benjamin faced Kofi Kingston and then-United States Champion Matt Hardy in a losing effort. Burke faced Hardy the following week in what would be his final televised match, but was unsuccessful. Burke later resurfaced once again in 2008 with a new "Black Pope" gimmick defeating Stevie Richards, Kung Fu Naki and Jamie Noble in dark matches.

On November 10, 2008, Burke was released from his WWE contract after being absent from television since May 2008.

Independent circuit (2008–2009)

On November 16, 2008, One Pro Wrestling based in Englandmarker announced that Burke would be appearing on their "Friday the 13th" show in February 2009, but was canceled. Burke appeared at the World Wrestling Council show, "LockOut" on December 13, losing a hardcore three-way dance match, also involving Steve Corino, to Sabu. Burke appeared at the Blue Collar Wrestling Alliance (BCWA) show "Superslam 7" in Detroit, Michiganmarker on April 12, 2009, winning in a singles match against local indy wrestler "The Reason" Black Velvet.

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2009)

On May 27, 2009, Burke wrestled Shawn Spears in a tryout dark match for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) at their TNA Impact! television tapings, in a match which he won. On July 29, the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported that Burke had signed a contract with TNA. On the August 6 edition of Impact! a vignette was aired that announced that Burke would be debuting under the ring name D'Angelo Dinero at Hard Justice. Burke made his debut as a villain on August 16 in the Steel Asylum match, which was won by Daniels. On August 20, 2009, he made his Impact! debut and defeated Consequences Creed before he was attacked by Suicide, who had lost the Steel Asylum match because of Dinero's interference. On the September 17 edition of Impact!, Dinero defeated Suicide. At No Surrender, Dinero defeated Suicide once again, this time in a Falls Count Anywhere match. The following week on Impact! Suicide finally defeated Dinero, by pinning him in a street fight. Burke was slated to take part in the Ultimate X match at Bound for Glory, but ended up missing the event due to a "family emergency". Dinero returned on the November 12 edition of Impact!, aligning himself with Matt Morgan and Hernandez against Team 3D and Rhino, which turned him into a fan favorite as a result.

Three days later, on November 15, 2009, Dixie Carter announced on her Twitter account that Burke had signed a new long term deal with the company.

At Turning Point Rhino and Team 3D defeated Dinero, Morgan and Hernandez. On the following Impact! Rhino and Team 3D won the rematch as well, when Jesse Neal turned heel and joined them.

Other media

Burke was a guest on Sci Fi Channel's Ghost Hunters, on the October 31, 2007 Halloween live special episode. He would become the second pro wrestler to appear on Ghost Hunters, with the first being CM Punk.

Burke spoke his criticisms of the WWE, mainly the WWE Diva Search competition, and that caused his push in the WWE to end. He also had a journal on called the Elijah Experience, where he discussed the happenings on ECW on Sci-Fi.

In wrestling

  • Signature moves

    • Outer Limitz Elbow (Turnbuckle handstand transitioned into a low–angle diving elbow drop to an opponent lying underneath the bottom turnbuckle)

Championships and accomplishments



External links

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