Wrestling: Kevin Sullivan

"I have hung from the Tree of Woe..."

Kevin Francis Sullivan (b. 1949) is a retired Professional Wrestler and booker from Boston, Massachusetts best known for his work in WCW during the 1980s and 1990s. He has wrestled for the WWWF, various National Wrestling Alliance territories, WCW, ECW, W*ING, FMW, Juggalo Championship Wrestling, SMW, New Japan Pro Wrestling and many independent promotions. He made his PPV debut in the Tower of Doom match teaming with Mike Rotunda, Ivan Koloff, Al Perez and the Russian Assassin in a losing effort against The Road Warriors, Jimmy and Ronnie Garvin and Dr. Death Steve Williams at NWA The Great American Bash 88. Among his in-ring achievements, he held the NWA ECW Tag Team Titles twice with the Tazmaniac and the WCW World Tag Team Titles with Cactus Jack.

As usual, the basics about his career can be found at That Other Wiki.

Not to be confused with Taskmaster.

"These tropes have hung from the Tree of Woe and seen the lady with the Third Eye":

  • Arch-Enemy: During his GCW and Florida days, "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes. During his WCW days, first Hulk Hogan himself and then Chris Benoit.
  • Ax-Crazy: As the Master, sent mysterious threats to Brian Lee in late 1992 SMW. Made his debut at the November 8 show which was held at, of all places, the Sand Lick Elementary School in Hayski, KY. He came to the ring in a hooded robe with Gregorian chants as entrance music. Right when the match was about to start, he threw a fireball at Lee and removed the robe. Sullivan pulled out a metal spike (with announcer Bob Caudle saying, "Well, he's criminally insane, anyway") and proceeded to repeatedly stab Lee with the spike, leaving him a bloody mess. Sullivan's associates, the Nightstalker (Bryan "Adam Bomb"/"Wrath" Clarke) and Malachi (Peter "The Mongolian Mauler" Flowers) joined in on the beating. Raised to Crosses the Line Twice by the fact that this show took place at an elementary school.
  • Badass Longrobe: Wore one at different points in his career.
  • Bald of Evil: Not by choice. Started as Blond Guys Are Evil.
  • Bash Brothers: With The Purple Haze ("Maniac" Mark Lewin), Abdullah the Butcher, the Tazmaniac (in W*ING, SMW, ECW, IWCCW) and Cactus Jack
  • Beard of Evil: The effect was often secondary to his face paint but rarely ever absent.
  • Big Bad: Of the Army of Darkness in the Florida territories, and of the Dungeon of Doom in mid 90s WCW.
  • Blood Knight: He and his "brother" Dave were supposed to team up against Tex Slazenger and Shanghai Pierce (Dennis Knight and Mark Canterbury, aka WWE's the Godwinns on the May 14 (taped April 20), 1994 WCW Saturday Night, but it was announced that Dave had been injured. So, Sullivan went in there alone and was able to fight off both guys, sending them both out to the floor. Then The Nasty Boys showed up and attacked him. They were able to successfully double team until Cactus Jack ran out and hit Sags with a chair, knocking him off the top, sending the Nasties away.
  • The Cameo: Refereed the Raven-Sandman Clockwork Orange House of Fun Match at NWA TNA #35, March 5, 2003.
  • Celebrity Endorsement: Listen to Caged Heat Radio or Kevin Sullivan will kick down your door, strap you down and turn your radio on full blast.
  • Charlie Brown from Outta Town: Lucifer, when he was suspended for a year in Florida in 1983. It ended when Dusty, doing his own version as the Midnight Rider, defeated and unmasked him.
  • Cluster Bleep Bomb: On the March 3, (taped February 22), 1990 episode of World Championship Wrestling, Sullivan's Slaughterhouse (Sullivan and "Mad Dog" Buzz Sawyer, w/Cactus Jack) lost a Squash via DQ. After the match, Jim Ross attempted to interview them, with Sullivan telling a bizarre story about Buzz's mother being a nomad out in the desert, with a she-wolf getting involved somehow, and some of his comments were replaced with crowd reactions.
  • Cult: His Army Of Darkness resembled a cult of personality more than an army.
  • Darker and Edgier
    • His heel work in Florida, and has said that the Dungeon of Doom was supposed to have been darker than it was.
    • Back in late 1992-early 1993 in Smokey Mountain Wrestling, he cut a promo against wrestling being aimed at kids. If Sullivan wasn't so hated by online fans, this would qualify as Hilarious in Hindsight since much of what Sullivan said in the promo sounds like the complaints of online fans about WWE's current "PG Era" today.
  • The Dreaded: Steve Corino, leader of SCUM, may have been the most evil man professional wrestling of his time, but he defaulted to Kevin Sullivan, the most evil man in professional wrestling of all time.
  • Diabolus Ex Nihilo: Sullivan and his army of Darkness jumping the Ring Warriors Grand Champion Bruce Santee after his defense against Steven Corino in 2013, without explanation(not at first anyway). Turns out it was exactly because people had thought they had become obsolete!
  • Dirty Coward: Often in Squash Matches during the Dungeon of Doom's run, he'd throw his victim to the floor and occupy the Easily Distracted Referee so that whichever DOD members (e.g., the Giant, Jacqueline) he brought with him could beat up the poor guy on the floor before throwing him back into the ring. Sometimes he'd get away with this multiple times in the same match.
  • Establishing Character Moment: His "Satanic" heel turn in Florida created the image that would carry him through much of his career.
  • Evil Minion: Snakemaster Abudadein
  • Evil Is Petty: Himself and The Giant shaving off Hulk Hogan's mustache.
  • Expy: The Undertaker (particularly his Ministry of Darkness run), Mick Foley, Raven, and, through Raven, CM Punk have all drawn on Sullivan.
  • Facial Markings: Came up with some rather distinctive combinations in Florida and in WCW.
  • Fat Bastard: For most of his career, Sullivan was noticeably paunchy.
  • Feather Boa Constrictor/Reptiles Are Abhorrent: During his Florida run, he sometimes wore snakes around himself while walking to the ring.
  • Finishing Move: The Tree of Woe (running knee with opponent upside down in the corner) followed by the Double Stomp on the Stomach
  • Five-Bad Band: The original lineup of the Dungeon Of Doom was this.
  • Garbage Wrestler: He actually had an amateur wrestling background before going pro, but found that he was at his best in wild brawls.
  • Groin Attack: Dropped a ring bell onto the crotch of Jimmy Jacobs
  • Hates Everyone Equally: During the Varsity Club's run, he cut a promo where he said, "We don't like ANYONE!"
  • Heel: He was this during much of his career and is best known in this role.
    • Card-Carrying Villain: Has said that he hated working face.
      • In Mick Foley's autobiography Have A Nice Day, when he is talking about how he didn't want to have to go heel against Kevin on his way out of WCW, he mentions a conversation he had with Rip Rogers, who called Sullivan "the least sympathetic character in the business."
    • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Prior to his BIG turn in Florida, had turned on Jerry "The King" Lawler in Memphis and had also gone heel in Georgia.
    • Evil Laugh: In various promos, including at the end of the one mentioned in Take That below.
    • Foreign Wrestling Heel: In the hardcore promotions FMW and W*ING in Japan.
  • Hollywood Satanism/Cult: His gimmick in Florida.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Started out as a prettyboy bodybuilder. That ended when he got bald and paunchy.
  • Large Ham: He put a lot of enthusiasm into the early Dungeon of Doom vignettes.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Evolve's Gabe Sapolsky called it karma when told about Jimmy Jacobs stealing a rail road spike from him, saying it made up for Sullivan stealing one of his jackets.
  • Lighter and Softer: While wrestling for Jim Crockett Promotions. Kevin Sullivan even said that he didn't do the Satanic gimmick when the NWA promoter brought him in after closing Florida because Crockett was a Baptist.
  • Living Legend: To paraphrase it, "Never stripped, lost, stolen or hidden. Kevin Sullivan, once, now and forever Florida Heavyweight Champion."
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: Described as being this in the Documentary Card Subject to Change.
  • Monochromatic Eyes: His eyes were rolling back into his head well before the Undertaker started doing it.
  • No Sell: Often in squashes, otherwise it would vary depending on who his opponent was at the time. For example, he no-sold some of Benoit's punches early on in their Falls Count Anywhere match at WCW The Great American Bash 96, though he did sell Benoit slamming the men's room stall door on his head, for obvious reasons.
  • Noodle Incident: Jim Cornette attempted to interview Sullivan's Slaughterhouse (himself/Buzz/Cactus) on "The Louisville Slugger" on the March 2 (taped February 22), 1990 episode of WCW Power Hour. Amidst Cactus's odd jokes and Buzz's ranting, yelling and insane laughter, Sullivan insisted, "In this country, you're supposed to be innocent until you're proven guilty. Buzz never was proven guilty," with Buzz saying, "I was guilty," and Sullivan tried to get him to stop talking. Cornette asked, "Of what?" and Sullivan said, "Doesn't matter of what." (For what happened next, see Cluster Bleep Bomb above.)
  • One Steve Limit: Held the NWA Gulf Coast (Alabama) Tag Team Title and the NWA (Gulf Coast) United States Tag Team Title as "Johnny West" because Eddie Sullivan (real name Ruben Huizar) was already established in the territory.
  • Parts Unknown: (As "The Taskmaster" of the Dungeon Of Doom): "The Iron Gates of Fate"
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Under 6', and had legitimate weightlifting credentials and could bulk up or cut down as needed for years.
    • He slammed Kamala during their match at W*ING Desire for Blood, April 5, 1992.
  • Power Stable
  • Political Correctness Gone Mad: What he argue Bruce Santee's efforts to "clean up" pro wrestling amounted to. (Santee though, was only "politically correct" by comparison)
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: On Caged Heat Radio's Reality Check, he said politically correctness was what was ruing pro wrestling, and to a lesser extent, the United States Of America, citing the fact that he was being interviewed by a "woman and a minority" in Amber Rodriguez.
  • Put on a Bus: Replaced as head booker for WCW by Kevin Nash in late 1998, leading to Nash booking himself to kill Goldberg's streak and to the eventual demise of the company some 2 years later.
    • The Bus Came Back: After Vince Russo's first run as booker in late 1999-early 2000 failed, was brought back with JJ Dillon to try to salvage his mess. Sent away again when Russo and Eric Bischoff were brought back in April 2000.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Inverted into The Gimmick Writes Real Life. Booked his then-wife Woman (Nancy Sullivan, later Nancy Benoit) as the manager/valet for the Four Horsemen, specifically Chris Benoit, in 1996 WCW, leading to her leaving Sullivan for real and marrying Benoit. This also qualifies for Be Careful What You Wish For/Hoist by His Own Petard/Nice Job Fixing It, Villain.
  • Real Song Theme Tune:
  • Red Baron: "The Boston Battler," "The Gamesmaster," "The Taskmaster," "The Prince of Darkness"
  • Ring Oldies: Started back in the early 1970s and can still be found making appearances on independent shows. In 2013m he unveiled the Florida Heavyweight Title belt he won in 1982, boasting it had never been taking from him and that it never would be.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Worked as a booker in Memphis, Florida and in WCW.
  • Sdrawkcab Alias: His big Heel turn in Florida centered in part around a mysterious check written out to Jake "The Snake" Roberts that had been signed by a "Nivek Navillus," making it possibly the most serious Don't Explain the Joke moment in wrestling history, and it became a hallmark of his booking style. See below.
  • Shout-Out: Has said that the Varsity Club were like The Three Stooges: Rick Steiner was Curly, Rotundo was Larrynote , he was Moe and "Dr. Death" Steve Williams was Curly Joe.
    • Received one in ECW in 1995. After Luna Vachon made her surprise ECW debut at the end of ECW Enter Sandman, May 13, 1995, aligning herself with Tommy Dreamer, Raven, Stevie Richards and Beulah McGillicutty cut a promo on a beach where Richards imitated the Purple Haze and talked about how Luna joining Sullivan's Army of Darkness "ruined Stevie Richards' childhood."
    • In OVW, the vignette where the Disciples of Synn summoned Leviathan (Batista) from the deep was a direct Homage to the Florida vignette where Sullivan Summoned the Purple Haze.
  • Singapore: He was billed from there for a time. During his SMW run, he introduced a Gimmick Match called the "Singapore Spike Match."
  • Squash Match: Some fairly nasty ones at that, especially in 1995-1997 WCW.
  • Start My Own: His gym, Froggy's Fitness, which he later sold.
  • Tag Team: The Three Faces of Fear, with the Butcher (Brutus Beefcake) and Avalanche (John Tenta).
  • Take That: In Florida, reintroduced "Maniac" Mike Davis as "Dusty Rhodes," complete with Davis dressing and wrestling the same way and copying Dusty's voice, and even calling Dusty by his real name, Virgil Runnels.
  • Talk Show with Fists: The very short-lived "Sullivan's Saloon."
  • Third Eye: During his Florida run, talked about "the Lady with the Third Eye," revisiting it at WCW The Great American Bash 91 in a promo before the match between The One Man Gang (w/Sullivan) and El Gigante.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Has probably teamed with Abdullah the Butcher as many times as they have been opponents.
  • Weapon of Choice: The Golden Spike, fireball
  • Worked Shoot: One of the first, with Brian Pillman. In an "I Respect You" match (where the point was to force the opponent to say 'I respect you'), Pillman began wrestling sluggishly, then stopped all together, said "I respect you, Bookerman" (referencing Sullivan's role as WCW booker) and walked out of the match.
  • Worthy Opponent: Dusty Rhodes, the Steiner Brothers, The Road Warriors, Terry Funk, Abdullah the Butcher, Chris Benoit.
  • The X of Y: The Army of Darkness, The Tree of Woe, the Dungeon of Doom.