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Michael "Mike" Bucci (born June 5, 1972) is an Americanmarker retired professional wrestler. Bucci is probably best known for his appearances in Extreme Championship Wrestling as Nova, Super Nova and "Hollywood" Nova and World Wrestling Entertainment as Simon Dean.

Career

After graduating in 1990 from Toms River High School Eastmarker in Toms River, New Jerseymarker, he attended nearby Ocean County Collegemarker for a few semesters. There, he met a friend who informed him of a wrestling school in nearby Brick Township, New Jerseymarker, run by "Iron" Mike Sharpe. Bucci trained at the school and officially went pro in 1992.

Bucci's first taste of superstar exposure came between 1992 and 1994, when WWF Chairman Vince McMahon used talent from various promotions as jobber to various up and coming superstars on WWF programming.

During his time spent in Mike Sharpe's wrestling school, Bucci wrestled as a superhero with a mullet; his attire included a star over his right eye and a sparkly blue cape. Bucci sparked the interest of Raven, as Raven was looking to put together a new stable known as The Flock in Extreme Championship Wrestling and asked Bucci to appear at the ECW Arena in South Philadelphia.

Extreme Championship Wrestling (1996–2001)

Bucci as "Hollywood" Nova
Upon his arrival in ECW, Bucci was immediately paired with Raven, Stevie Richards, and The Blue Meanie in the Flock. His first exposure to the crowd was as a parody of KISS where the wrestlers came out to KISS's hit "Rock and Roll All Nite" and did the bump and strut with air guitars. Although it was intended to garner heat with the crowd, it was an immediate hit. Later a quote was stated to have been said by Bubba Ray Dudley in the Rise and Fall of ECW book, "that was great; the crowd really loved it. The only thing better than that would be ... a parody of the nWo."

blue World order

Bucci, along with Richards, asked permission from both Raven and Paul Heyman to parody the New World Order (nWo); it was granted, and Bucci was given credit with the creation of the Blue World Order (bWo) logo. Bucci would parody Hollywood Hogan, after a dispute between Raven and Richards, where Richards said "if he's Hogan, fans will think he's the leader of The Flock", Raven then said, "Fuck it ... he's Hogan", (and was originally introduced by Stevie as "Hollywood" Bob Star). Richards became "Big Stevie Cool" (a takeoff on Kevin Nash's nickname of "Big Daddy Cool"), and Meanie was "Da Blue Guy", a takeoff on Scott Hall, "Da Bad Guy". Many other members were added and removed between 1996 and 1998, before the team split in the latter.

In 1998, he, along with many other ECW talent, competed at Jersey All Pro Wrestling's first anniversary show.

Nova was known for having a unique and creative move set, and was called by Joey Styles "the most imitated man in wrestling" and the "innovator of offense" by Jeremy Borash due to the fact that almost all his moves were copied by other wrestlers in the business.

In late 2000 through early 2001, he started a heated rivalry with his former tag partner Chris Chetti, who he beat in a match where the loser was fired. His last televised appearance in ECW was at their last pay-per view, Guilty as Charged. At the second to last ECW event in Poplar Bluff, Missourimarker, he was named as Danny Doring's substitute tag team partner (to fill in for Amish Roadkill) to help defend the World Tag Team Championship against Hot Commodity, with Doring and Nova successfully defending the titles.

Independent circuit and overseas (2001–2002)

When ECW went out of business, Bucci, as Nova, became more active on the indy scene until 2003. Nova wrestled in various promotions such as Californiamarker's Ultimate Pro Wrestling, and New Jerseymarker's Phoenix Championship Wrestling, the latter of which was founded by his brother Don Bucci. During this time, he formed a successful tag team with Frankie Kazarian known as Evolution (not to be confused with the World Wrestling Entertainment stable of the same name). In most of the promotions they competed for, they were successful in becoming tag team champions. He also briefly wrestled in the short-lived Australia-based World Wrestling All-Stars, where he feuded with A.J. Styles amongst other cruiserweights for the promotion's International Cruiserweight Championship, which he was unable to win before the company folded. In late 2001, he also worked a number of shows in England. In April 2002, Bucci received a phone call from the then-World Wrestling Federation to partake in a developmental program at Ohio Valley Wrestling.

World Wrestling Entertainment (2002–2007)

Ohio Valley Wrestling

In May 2002, Nova beat Prototype and became the promotion's Heavyweight Champion. He held the title for half a year before losing the title to Damaja. It was around this time that he was called up to start competing in SmackDown! dark matches and on Velocity. He then began to try out a Richard Simmons-like fitness expert type gimmick.

Raw

In his debut for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), Bucci portrayed the gimmick of a physical-fitness guru, very similar to Ben Stiller's character Tony Perkis in the movie Heavyweights, named Simon Dean. The name was inspired by Dean Malenko's real name, Dean Simon. Introductory promos showed him "selling" his "Simon System," a supposed program of diet, exercise, and supplementation. The promos parodied fitness infomercials, as Simon routinely insulted his supposed customers. The promos went so far as to provide an actual telephone number to call and order the Simon System; however, unlike virtually all infomercials, the number was not toll-free. People who called the number wound up hearing a WWE promo.

During this gimmick, he acted as the sponsor of Raw, occasionally wrestling after first insulting the fitness of the crowd and the area in which they were located. After not making much of an impact on Raw, he formed a tag team with fellow heel wrestler Maven who supposedly was a user of the "Simon System". Again, not much of an impact was made, as Bucci was traded to SmackDown! on June 30, 2005 and Maven was released the next month.

SmackDown!

During a WWE produced ECW pay-per-view, One Night Stand, Bucci returned as Hollywood Nova with Da Blue Guy and Big Stevie Cool as the bWo. During the event, Joey Styles made a reference to his "Simon Dean" character. After Bucci was hit with two chairs, Styles said, "That's more painful than having to be Simon Dean on national TV".

When Bucci moved to SmackDown! as part of the draft lottery, he joined the other members of the bWo and appeared as "Hollywood" Nova for his first appearance on the show. His next appearance for the brand was wrestling on its sister show, Velocity, as Simon Dean. The general belief was that the bWo appearance was going to be a one off, meaning Bucci would keep to his "health sponsor" gimmick. It was announced, however, that the bWo would participate in a 6-man tag match at The Great American Bash against The Mexicools (Juventud, Psicosis, and Super Crazy). The announcement of this match occurred on the same edition of SmackDown! that Bucci's Simon Dean character had a match with Booker T. At the Great American Bash, the bWo lost to the Mexicools in the six-man tag team match. The appearance of the bWo soon faded as The Blue Meanie wasn't staying with the company and Richards began returning to his previous heel gimmick while Bucci continued with the Simon Dean persona.

In late August, the Simon Dean character began coming to the ring on the Dean Machine (a Segway PT type machine). He would also force feed "Simon System" products to jobbers who wouldn't accept his offer to try them after defeating them in squash matches. The Simon Dean character had his first major WWE pay-per-view appearance at No Mercy, in a loss against Bobby Lashley. After the match, Dean ate 20 double cheeseburgers which caused him to vomit backstage. Dean had been noted on his later appearances as the "Head of SmackDown!'s welcoming committee", a position in which he was used as a jobber to debuting wrestlers.

During the January 6, 2006 episode of SmackDown!, Dean came to the ring and challenged any tag team. Paul London and Brian Kendrick answered the challenge, only to be brutally attacked by The Gymini (Jake and Jesse), two alleged users of The Simon System. Dean began managing the team, but the team soon faded off television after Jesse suffered an injury in May 2006 and Dean went back to jobbing to other superstars.

Retirement, talent development manager and departure

Bucci left the ring on his own accord in August 2006 and took over the running of the developmental program for WWE, thereby retiring from the ring in the process. He tried the best he could to make it work, even helping sign the likes of Santino Marella, Nattie Neidhart, and Ted DiBiase, Jr. among others. He soon grew tired of the "politics" of the "business", and also hated that he had to move his wife to Cambridge, Connecticutmarker from their home in Kentuckymarker.

On August 31, 2007, Bucci was released from his World Wrestling Entertainment contract after his name was mentioned in an ongoing investigation, citing the WWE's Wellness Policy. The 13 others on that list were suspended for 1 month, and none were released, a list including the likes of Oscar Gutierrez, known professionally as Rey Mysterio, Jr..

Post–wrestling

Bucci now works as a licensed mortgage broker throughout the United States. Although he has received offers to wrestle in various places,he had yet to do so, stating his disgust for the business, but still has love for his fans. He has claimed he may and then said he will definitely do some shows on the independent circuit next year, but is now focusing on real estate and his family as heard in a November 2008 interview. In April 2009, he along with many other ECW alumni had appeared at One Pro Wrestling's "To The Extreme" weekend event, where he teamed with the Blue Meanie for his first in-ring performances in nearly 3 years.

In wrestling











Championships and accomplishments

  • American Wrestling Council
    • AWC Heavyweight Championship (1 time)




  • Carolina Wrestling Syndicate


  • Great Lakes Wrestling
    • GLW World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)




  • New England Wrestling
    • NEW Light Heavyweight Championship (1 time)


  • New Jack City Wrestling
    • NJCW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
    • NJCW Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Rico Casanova






  • Premier Wrestling Federation / Pennsylvania Wrestling Federation
    • PWF Heavyweight Championship (1 time)




  • Steel City Wrestling
    • SCW Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with The Blue Meanie




Personal life

Bucci is married to a woman named Melissa.

He is the twin brother of Phoenix Championship Wrestling promoter and founder Don "Donnie B." Bucci.

His original career choice was to be a math teacher, as confirmed in his RF Video shoot interview. He managed a Wendy's in Toms River to make money to pay for gas for his trips to work with ECW in the mid-90s, as confirmed in his RF Video shoot interview and The Rise and Fall of ECW.

References

  1. Davis, Alex. Wrestling with a new career The Courier-Journal November 30, 2008


External links




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