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Tazz

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Peter Senerchia (born October 11, 1967)[2] is an American retired professional wrestler and color commentator best known by his ring name Tazz, originally Tazmaniac and later shortened to simply Taz.

From his wrestling career he is best known from his tenure in Extreme Championship Wrestling, where he was a two-time World Heavyweight Champion,[3] two-time Television Champion,[4] and three-time Tag Team Champion,[5] as well as, in storyline, creating the FTW Championship, which he held on two occasions.[6] His World Wrestling Entertainment career as an in-ring performer came to an early halt in 2002 when mounting injuries forced him to retire and become a color commentator, until his contract expired in 2009.[1]

Career

Senerchia debuted in professional wrestling in Puerto Rico in 1987 after being trained by Johnny Rodz. He wrestled as Kid Krush before moving on to the name Tazmaniac, which he would use variations on for the rest of his career.[2] In the early 1990s, as The Tazmaniac, he wrestled for International World Class Championship Wrestling and held the IWCCW Light Heavyweight Championship for six months in 1991.[7]


Extreme Championship Wrestling (1993-1999)

In October 1993, he and Jack Dick (brother of Chris Chetti) debuted in the Philadelphia-based Eastern Championship Wrestling (ECW)—just prior to its name change to Extreme Championship Wrestling—as the tag team The Tazmaniacs.[8] When that team broke up he was put into one with Kevin Sullivan, with whom he won the ECW Tag Team Championship twice;[5] the Tazmaniac becoming a double champion during their second reign when he also held the ECW Television Championship for one night in March 1994.[4] For most of the rest of the year he floated around the tag ranks, teaming with different partners. He held the title once more, this time with Sabu, until Sabu was (legitimately) fired by ECW owner Paul Heyman for no showing an event in favor of appearing at another event in Japan.[9]

Tazmanic was put out of action by a legitimate injury for much of 1995. During a tag team match 2 Cold Scorpio and Dean Malenko delivered a spike piledriver to him, and though he knew it was coming, he didn't have time to properly protect himself. As he explained on the DVD documentary The Rise and Fall of ECW, "The impact jacked my neck back and that was it". The neck injury was so bad that, according to Tommy Dreamer, hospital staff couldn't believe he'd walked into the hospital where he sought help after the match. Though he was unable to wrestle, Paul Heyman continued to pay him per their oral agreement, forging a loyalty between the men.[10]

When he returned, he did so with a revamped gimmick and used the shortened name Taz. The new character had him clad in a black singlet and exhibiting a more physically intense in-ring style, focusing his offense on suplexes—which announcer Joey Styles called "Tazplexes"—earning him the nickname "Human Suplex Machine". He also debuted his Tazmission finishing maneuver, causing opponents to tap out to signal their submission as in mixed martial arts instead of nodding their head or vocally saying "yes". This quirk was soon picked up by other companies throughout the country.[11] After feuds with 2 Cold Scorpio, Jason, and Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Paul Varelans, Taz and his former partner Sabu were put into an angle stemming from the firing incident years earlier. The two chased each other throughout 1996 and 1997, including having an altercation on Monday Night Raw, the flagship show of their "competition", during a working agreement between the two companies.[9] The feud was all designed to lead to ECW's first pay-per-view, Barely Legal, where Taz defeated Sabu with his Tazmission,[12] only to have his manager, Bill Alfonso, turn on him and join Sabu and his partner Rob Van Dam.[2] Two months later, at Wrestlepalooza, Taz took the Television Championship from Shane Douglas to begin his second reign,[4] starting a feud with Bam Bam Bigelow over it and eventually losing it to him.

After losing the TV championship, Taz was elevated into the World Heavyweight Championship picture. In May 1998, with Shane Douglas injured and unable to wrestle, Taz was given an old Television Championship belt painted orange—his trademark color—and began cutting promos declaring himself the FTW Heavyweight Champion of the World. Though the championship was unsanctioned in kayfabe, it was defended at ECW shows until Douglas was healthy,[13] at which time Taz defeated him for the ECW World Heavyweight title.[14] Just before winning the World title, Taz "gave" the FTW title to long time foe Sabu in a match where he physically pulled Sabu on top of him to allow him to get the pin.[6] Taz held the ECW World Championship for nine months before he signed with the World Wrestling Federation, losing the title as the first man eliminated in a three way dance at Anarchy Rulz.[15] As he walked out of the ring, a large portion of the ECW locker room joined him on the entrance ramp to give him an emotional sendoff. After being off of ECW television for most of the fall, he wrestled one final match as an ECW performer at November to Remember, losing to Rob Van Dam via pinfall.[16]


World Wrestling Federation / Entertainment (2000-2009)

Wrestling (2000-2002)

After being contacted by the World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling in 1999,[17] Taz debuted for the WWF—with the slightly modified ring name Tazz—at the January 2000 Royal Rumble in a win over the previously undefeated Kurt Angle.[18] Just a few months after Tazz arrived in the WWF, Mike Awesome, the man he'd dropped the ECW World Heavyweight Championship to, signed with World Championship Wrestling. Legal wrangling by Paul Heyman prevented Awesome from taking the title belt with him, and in a piece of bizarre wrestling history, ECW and WWF officials agreed to have Tazz, a WWF wrestler, make a surprise appearance at an ECW show to defeat Awesome, a WCW wrestler, for the ECW Championship.[19] Tazz held the belt for ten days before losing it to Tommy Dreamer, during which time he wore it on various WWF shows, including an episode of SmackDown! where he lost to the WWF Champion Triple H[20]—a booking decision Vince McMahon later expressed some regret about.[21]

After losing the ECW title, Tazz was placed into the WWF Intercontinental Championship picture, but never won the title. In the summer, after taking time off for an arm injury, he was turned heel and placed into a feud with color commentator Jerry "the King" Lawler.[22] The feud included matches at SummerSlam[23] and Unforgiven pay-per-views, which they split.[24] Tazz was only able to pick up the Unforgiven win when he received help from a debuting Raven, however, and afterwards the duo formed a tag team that lasted until November.

When the Invasion angle began Tazz acted as "the voice of the WCW/ECW Alliance", sticking up for them and speaking on their behalf whenever possible. He eventually left the stable after the leader Stone Cold Steve Austin criticized his decision to stay on commentary rather than help ECW owner Stephanie McMahon.[25]

Lawler returned to the company on November 19, 2001 and resumed his place as commentator, with Tazz becoming both a wrestler and a commentator.[26] In January he and Spike Dudley won the World Tag Team Championship,[27] holding it for over a month before losing it to Billy and Chuck.[28]


Commentating (2002-2009)

His injuries mounting,[29] Tazz began performing part time commentary on Sunday Night Heat in October 2000. He joined the SmackDown! team in February 2001 after Jerry "the King" Lawler quit the company, as well as becoming one of the trainers for the joint WWF/MTV produced reality series Tough Enough.[22]


Tazz signing autographs in 2006When World Wrestling Entertainment split into two brands, Tazz was put on SmackDown!, where he again became color commentator.[30] Not long after he retired from the ring, he became a full time broadcaster.[31] He co-hosted SmackDown! for World Wrestling Entertainment until a third brand, ECW, was introduced in 2006, at which point he became the color commentator for that show.[1] He is also co-host, with Joey Styles, of History of Extreme Championship Wrestling on WWE 24/7 Classics, a show that re-airs archived episodes of the original ECW's weekly television programs. Before and during episodes he and Styles provide insight into the storylines, inner workings, and general ambiance of ECW at the time—as they remember it.

In February 2006, Tazz and his SmackDown! broadcasting partner, Michael Cole, hosted a week long trial run of a show on Howard 101 on Sirius Satellite Radio, but the show was not picked up. He also hosted a talk show on 92.3 Free FM at sporadic intervals between late summer 2006 and early 2007, but it was not picked up and the station changed formats, replacing all post morning programming with music.

During the recording of the April 29, 2008 episode of ECW, Tazz's broadcast partner Mike Adamle abruptly walked off set prior to the main event. Moments later, after reading the promo for the upcoming pay-per-view, Tazz walked out as well, leaving the main event with no commentators.[32]

In August 2008, Tazz filled in for Mick Foley as a color commentator on the SmackDown brand, while Raw wrestler Matt Striker filled in for Tazz on the ECW brand. When Foley left the company, Tazz became the permanent color commentator for the SmackDown brand.

On April 3, 2009, Tazz left the WWE when his contract expired. His WWE.com profile was moved from the active SmackDown roster list to the alumni list, confirming his departure from the company. A long time friend of Tazz, Joey Styles, confirmed in an interview that Tazz was "burned out" and didn't re-sign with the company because he was pursuing being involved with youth baseball. [33]

CWA (Mid 2009-Present)

On April 8, 2009 just days after leaving the WWE Tazz made a life changing decsion to sign with the Canadian Wrestling Association to return to in ring acton. Along with his signing to CWA he was given the title CWA Hardcore Champion. In his first match in 7 years on the every first ep of CWA Tazz defeated the CWA Cruiserweight Champion in a Champion vs Champion match. Tazz would go on to feud with the CWA Cruiserweight Champion untill CWA Judgment Day even though he had Kevyn Kash to deal with as a number on contender. It was announced on ep. 3 that if Tazz lost his match at CWA Judgement Day he would have to retire from wrestling again, and this time for good.

Personal life

Senerchia currently resides in Massapequa, New York with his wife Theresa Smith and son, Tyler.[34] He has a tattoo of the Looney Tunes Tasmanian Devil on his upper left biceps accompanied by the legend TAZ. His action figure produced by Jakks Pacific does not include the character, but does include the name. He also has a self designed tattoo on his left lower biceps. Tazz also studied judo prior to entering the professional wrestling circuit.

Championships and accomplishments

The custom Taz edition ECW World Heavyweight Championship belt design used during his first reign. Amateur wrestling Empire States Heavyweight Champion[35]

Professional wrestling

Century Wrestling Alliance

CWA Light Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[2]

Eastern Championship Wrestling / Extreme Championship Wrestling

ECW FTW Heavyweight Championship (2 times)[6]

ECW Tag Team Championship† (3 times)[5] - with Kevin Sullivan (2)‡ and Sabu (1)

ECW World Heavyweight Championship (2 times)[3]

ECW World Television Championship (2 times)[4]

International World Class Championship Wrestling

IWCCW Light Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[7]

Pro Wrestling Illustrated

PWI ranked him #10 of the 500 best singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 1999[36]

World Wrestling Federation

WWF Hardcore Championship (3 times)[37]

WWF Tag Team Championship (1 time)[28] - with Spike Dudley

Canadian Wrestling Association

CWA Hardcore Champion (first and current)

^† The ECW Tag Team Championship reigns were prior to the companies withdrawal from the National Wrestling Alliance and subsequent name change. They also occurred before ECW declared the tag team championship a "World" championship. ^‡ Only one of these reigns is recognized by World Wrestling Entertainment.

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