Wrestler of the Day – June 4: Nova

Today is a true innovator of offense: Nova.

Nova debuted under his real name of Mike Bucci in 1992 and had some early jobber spots in the WWF, such as this one from Superstars on November 27, 1993.

Adam Bomb vs. Mike Bucci

There’s a guest ring announcer of about 8 years old who introduces Bucci as weighing 249 libs and says Bomb is managed by Marby Bippleman. Bomb throws him around with ease but avoids an elbow and goes to work on the arm. Adam drops him ribs first across the top rope and the Adam Smasher (powerbomb) ends this quick.

After some time in the indies, Bucci went to ECW as Supernova and would appear on the Hostile City Showdown 1996 card.

Supernova vs. El Puero Ricano

Supernova is a superhero here and quickly hiptosses Ricano over the top rope to the floor. A top rope flip dive puts Ricano down again and a powerbomb out of the corner gets two back inside. Ricano sends him outside for an Asai Moonsault against the barricade but the Eliminators run in for the no contest. Short but very energetic stuff while it lasted.

Things would get a bit more serious in 1998 as Nova had become part of the Blue World Order (Hollywood Nova, Stevie Richards and Blue Meanie), a parody of the NWO. Joey Styles summed the group up perfectly: “If any gimmick never deserved to make a dime and made a whole boatload of cash, this is it.” They would be on the card at Wrestlepalooza 1998.

F.B.I. vs. BWO

Suddenly I want some alphabet soup. It’s Tracy Smothers and Guido vs. Super Nova and Blue Meanie. The BWO itself is actually over and dead but they both wear blue and team together still so there we are. I want to hit Tommy Rich. The guy is just freaking annoying. He gets a huge F YOU chant directed at him so at least Georgia fans are intelligent. Nova and Guido, the two talented guys, start us out.

Nova is a superhero by the way. Meanie is just a fat guy that has nothing else going for him. Nova is well known for having a very unorthodox offense and it’s on display here. Meanie comes in and Rich says we need to have a dance contest. And the referee dances too. THANKFULLY Smothers jumps Meanie to end this mindlessness. And the referee slams both heels to get two on Smothers. What the heck am I watching???

Finally we get something sensible as Smothers hits a nice bicycle kick to Nova’s head. Meanie can’t even get into the ring correctly. This is what critics mean when they say this company was a joke. When you’re that sloppy, you have no business being in a ring on a major show at all. Meanie misses the moonsault, which is just about the only move Meanie could do without injuring someone else. Nova hits a downward spiral for the pin. And the faces do the YMCA afterwards. My head hurts again.

Rating: D+. It wasn’t bad, but for the most part it was an unfunny comedy match. Nova was cool, but other than that there was just noting at all that stood out here for me. Meanie was just a fat man that never did anything of note outside of ECW (Bluedust was nothing of note and yes I know he was in WWF for awhile) and the FBI were always annoying as all goodness to me. It’s not bad but it’s nothing to write home about, or better yet it’s nothing to review. Wait what?

Another six man tag, this time from November to Remember 1998.

Blue World Order vs. Danny Doring/Roadkill

The BWO here are Nova and Meanie, as Richards realized he had that thing that people like called mainstream appeal so he’s in WWF at this point. Roadkill is an Amish guy, called the Angry Amish Chicken Plucker. This could be a really long night. They’re a new team here but they would eventually become kind of a big deal by ECW standards. Doring is about as bland as you could dream of a guy with his name being.

Nova has some unique offense from what I remember so this should be ok. And here’s Funk again with his own cameraman. There’s also a camera following Funk and his cameraman. Styles asks a great question: why are we focusing on Terry Funk when there’s wrestling going on. Funk takes over as timekeeper. Again, I get that he’s a far bigger star, but if you’re going to have these four guys out there, don’t take the focus off of them for Funk.

Yes he’s by far the bigger star and more important than all four combined, but show the guys some respect if you could. We get a lot of heel miscommunication to keep the faces in control as this is becoming a glorified squash. Ok the People’s Legdrop is kind of a cute idea but I’m still not huge on theatrical moves. Not a big deal at all though. And here’s Funk again to interfere and then put himself through a table.

Doring is setting for something but stops to do a strut called the Dastardly Shuffle. I like the name if nothing else. Ok seriously, have the match, or follow Funk. This is annoying. Joey makes me chuckle asking if Roadkill took a horse and buggy to New Orleans from Pennsylvania. That’s rather amusing. He does a Taker rope walk but misses the elbow drop he was trying.

Doring has a lot of long and drawn out names for his moves which is clever for some stupid reason that I don’t get but whatever. He and Nova are working the majority of the match which is intelligent. And now we have one of my biggest annoyances of ECW: claiming Monday Night shows steal all their moves. This is brought up by Nova doing a move called the Sledge-o-Matic. It’s a diving powerbomb where he goes to the side on the landing.

In other words, it’s the same move but with a slight twist that makes zero difference. It’s wrestling guys. People use the same moves quite often. You don’t see a right hand being called a Strangler Lewis Special do you? Now yes, ECW got ripped off more than any other company I can think of, but at times they got ridiculous complaining about it.

I mean really, can you imagine someone complaining about every tiny little thing that goes on at a wrestling show which no one else would have the sheer stupidity to notice since no one else would be such a bored and pathetic human being to think this in depth about such a thing? Can you imagine how pitiful that person really is? DANG they would drive me crazy. What’s the point of picking something apart and blowing the tiniest thing completely out or proportion?

Anyway, this match needs to end as the right lace of Nova’s left boot has a single thread sticking out and it’s driving me crazy. Nova hits a modified tornado DDT that is completely different than the one that Chavo Guerrero had been using around this time, because it was MODIFIED. The BWO wins it with a double team move where Meanie did a wheelbarrow lift into a DDT from Nova called the Blue Light Special.

And here’s Funk again to steal the spotlight, which yes I know that’s fine and the point. I have no problem with it here, but did we need to have him do the stuff during the match? Not that I can see of. Heyman comes out to calm him down. So in other words the ten minute match was all just to set up the Funk angle. Got it. Not that bad of an idea I guess as at least there was a full length match, unlike in WWE where it would have been lucky to go 100 seconds before Funk ran in, so points for that definitely.

Rating: D. It was a long squash and Funk stole the focus at a very annoying rate. I don’t get that but we’re just twenty three minutes into the show so maybe we’ll find out later. This wasn’t a very good match but it got the crowd going, which isn’t really something ECW needs as I always thought they had Red Bull IVs going into them but I get the idea.

After the group split up, Nova would hook up with Chris Chetti as a pretty solid tag team. Nova would be on Cyberslam 1999 in a singles match.

Rod Price vs. Nova

Nova is more famous as Simon Dean. Price is a big muscle guy that looks about 55 years old. Price gets taken down quickly but takes over with basic power. Snap suplex puts Nova down and Price hammers away for awhile. Nova goes to the middle rope and hits a clothesline but can’t get much going overall.

Skull Von Crush (Big Vito), who is Price’s partner, comes out to hammer on Nova a bit as well. Nova’s partner Chris Chetti comes out for the save and it’s a double brawl. Nova hits a baseball slide to Price and then the good guys fire off a pair of dives. The Tidal Wave (splash/top rope legdrop off the same corner) pins Price. Big mess but I like the Tidal Wave so this was fine.

ECW got TV soon after this and Nova would appear on the show on October 22, 1999.

Nova vs. Chris Candido

Gertner makes alcohol jokes about Tammy. They start fast with no one being able to get anything significant in. Candido finally hits him in the face to take over but walks into a backdrop. Flying forearm gets two. Nova is a guy that’s hard to keep up with because he’s not only fast but he does a lot of stuff that no one else did so it’s hard to call the moves. Before anything happens, Doring, Roadkill and Lita run in to beat on Nova for a DQ. This was really short.

Now we’ll get to the team as they had a match on Living Dangerously 2000.

Jado/Gedo vs. Nova/Chris Chetti

I’ve heard incredibly mixed reviews on Jado and Gedo but I think I’ve seen one match of theirs and it was a 6 man. We hear about how great Gedo is and he’s got a decent resume actually with wins over Jericho, Benoit and Malenko. Joey: Nova and Chetti have been together as a team now for a year minus the six months Chetti was out with a back injury. I think that’s grounds for just saying they’ve been together for awhile.

They tag with other people though but it’s all good. The Japanese guys like to mock opponents apparently. Joey can you freaking say who is who? I think Gedo is in the ring but I’m not sure. This show has been such a train wreck I’m not sure. Ah never mind that’s Jado. Gedo has a shirt on. Got it. Nova gets a NICE superkick to the throat of Jado. That looked great and sounded great too.

Chetti tries one and does very well too. His only missed by six inches or so. Cyrus doesn’t know the referee’s name which means nothing at all but I need to fill in some space here. The Tidal Wave hits Gedo to end it. It’s a combination splash and leg drop but both guys jump from the same rope. It looked pretty freaking cool.

Rating: D+. This was just a mess. It wasn’t bad or anything, but it was just a total mess. I know I said that already but it’s the only way to put it. Why are the Japanese guys here? Why did Nova and Chetti pick this time to run down? How was a contract agreed to and sanctioned so fast? Yes I know I’m nitpicking but dang man. That’s two in a row with nothing but random match to explain it. That’s not good.

Another tag match from Heat Wave 2000.

Da Baldies vs. Nova/Chris Chetti

And remember, even though Nova and Chetti are the best tag team in ECW, they can’t have the tag belts because we’re not going to have tag champions for about four months. DeVito “hits” a “dropkick” on Nova as we’re actually having something close to a tag match here. Wow Chetti is sloppy. His punches more or less hit their arms. It’s his birthday though so I can’t complain that much. Well I could but whatever.

Nova misses a Swanton and Cyrus says Chetti has educated feet. I wonder who stole that from whom. Nova hits a very nice double piledriver into a helicopter bomb (think the Three Amigos but with piledrivers and a spinning powerbomb to end it). Since that’s a totally awesome move, it doesn’t end the match. The Tidal Wave ends it as I shake my head over these two never winning the tag titles.

Rating: D+. This was a glorified squash as the high flying guys were never in anything close to danger here. These guys are kind of like the MCMG in TNA at the moment but not as tandem based. Still though this was good for them as the Baldies remain completely useless yet employed.

The team would split soon after without having a title reign because ECW didn’t make a ton of sense around this time. Nova would wrestle on the last ECW on TNN show, from October 6, 2000.

Bilvis Wesley vs. Nova

Yeah see what I’m having to deal with for you guys here? Nova and Chetti, the best team in ECW for their last 15 months or so have split up with Nova as the face I think. Commercial #3 and we haven’t had a match yet. There are about 5 empty seats in the front row. Nova is dressed like the Flash here which is one of the few costumes he stuck with.

This should be a squash but it likely won’t be. He’s a bad Elvis impersonator. I mean he makes Honky look good. Joey asks Joel what his strategy is for his match with Cyrus which was five days earlier but whatever. This is just a way for Gertner to make Elvis jokes which are getting over. Nova hits a Swanton for two as this has been going for a good while now but the commentary is more interesting.

SICK enziguri by Nova and Bilvis is almost out. Nova Cain hits and the valet and the wrestler that hangs out with Bilvis break up the pin. Nova is just toying with them here for the most part. School boy gets two. Kryptonite Krunch (modified Emerald Flosion) ends it. Mostly a squash.

Rating: D+. Nothing much here but it’s the last original match on this show as other than this it’s nothing but repeated matches from the PPV. This was nothing of note but Nova is always fun to watch with all of his insane offense. This wasn’t much at all though and it’s a shame that this is what the company had become.

Nova and Chetti would meet in a Loser Leaves ECW match at November to Remember 2000.

Chris Chetti vs. Nova

They were the best team forever in ECW and this is loser leaves ECW. Yeah because we need to split them up before they get too good. Dangerously, as in Lou, Chetti’s manager, runs down Chicago for some basic heat to start. Nova is Spiderman here which is better than the Flash I suppose. Nova busts out a Crossface Chicken Wing of all things. Chetti has a bad back and it gets hurt here.

Lou comes in and Chetti was faking it. What a brilliant man. The crowd is a bit dead here which is saying a lot at an ECW show. Nova is bleeding and Chetti is as well to an extent. The problem with these kinds of matches and this one in particular is that you have to have a team built up high enough to have a match like this mean something. These guys were good but only for a few months and they never won anything. That’s why this isn’t incredibly interesting.

Chetti steals Nova’s move so Nova steals Chetti’s move. Nova just goes insane with punches in the corner, beating the heck out of Chetti. And it’s chair time since this is an ECW match. The fans finally wake up a bit for this due to Nova’s insanity. I don’t think anyone ever actually liked Chris Chetti which is the biggest problem here. Nova hits a double arm DDT but Lou makes the save.

He gets nailed to a nice pop. The crowd is trying so hard to care about this match but it’s just not happening. Why were these guys never tag champions? Nova goes insane and tries rolling piledrivers. He gets two of them but Lou pops him with the phone. Nova kicking out gets a solid pop as well. Kryptonite Krunch from the middle rope ends it and Nova can stay for the remaining two months!

Rating: C-. The fans wanted to like it but this just missed so many times that it never got together. No one liking Chetti hurt it a lot like I said. Nova could have been something special but he was in midcard/tag purgatory forever. This wasn’t anything special though and it never went anywhere. Of course it’s the longest match of the night so far.

After ECW went out of business, Nova would hit the indies for a bit, including WWA Revolution in 2002.

Nova vs. AJ Styles vs. Tony Mamaluke vs. Christopher Daniels vs. Shark Boy vs. Low Ki

Elimination rules here and no one gets an entrance. It’s probably a good thing that they have to tag here. Styles vs. Mamaluke to start and they trade arm control. The camera keeps changing angles and it’s getting annoying. Mamaluke is bleeding from the nose as he hits a German to send AJ down onto his shoulder. Shark Boy comes in to fight Tony and gets clotheslined down.

Nova is standing on the floor, drinking water. Shark Boy hits an atomic drop and bites the place where his knee went. Off to Low Ki who gets atomic dropped as well, but comes back with a kick to Shark Boy’s head before he gets bitten. Daniels vs. Low Ki now and you know the strikes are coming here. A Capo Kick staggers Daniels and Nova gets tagged so hard that he spills his drink.

Apparently Nova is a businessman now. I’ve never seen a businessman in workout pants and no shirt but whatever. He works on Daniels’ arm a bit before it’s back to Low Ki. A double gordbuster puts Daniels down and it’s off to Mamaluke. There are the kicks from Low Ki and a double suplex by Ki and Sharky, but there was no tag so Shark Boy’s cover gets no count.

Things start to break down a bit as Sharky Boy and Mamaluke go to the floor for some dives. They wind up in the crowd (which is carpeted) as AJ pounds on Nova in the ring. Nova hooks a modified Crossface which goes nowhere because they’re not legal. Shark Boy hits a top rope rana on Mamaluke for two, even though the referee’s hand hit the mat three times. Low Ki comes in and hits a cartwheel kick on the distracted Shark Boy for the first elimination.

Off to AJ vs. Low Ki as the camera angles start to show a few details about the “arena”. There’s no ramp that I can see, and all of the seats are opposite the screen. I believe they’re in a theater, which is a really weird visual and atmosphere. Low Ki hits a HARD kick to the head (I’m shocked) but AJ comes back with forearms to the head. Both guys hit cross bodies so it’s off to Mamaluke vs. Daniels.

An STO kills Mamaluke who is a bloody mess. Daniels loads up the BME (I think) but Styles breaks it up for no apparent reason. AJ gets knocked down (I think. The camera direction here is a nightmare) so Mamaluke hits a belly to back off the top for two. Daniels hits the Angel’s Wings for no cover, instead tagging in Styles for the Clash to get us down to four people.

Nova comes in with a backbreaker on Styles for two before it’s back to Daniels vs. Styles. Even before TNA existed this was happening a lot. Styles tags in Low Ki who strikes away even harder on Daniels. Low Ki charges into a spinning electric chair of all things and a top rope elbow from Nova gets two on the kicking dude. Nova goes up and gets crotched, but as Low Ki goes up, he gets elbowed down into the Tree of Woe. Low Ki sits up and pulls Nova down into a rear naked choke while they’re both upside down.

Daniels comes in and is immediately thrown out, followed by everyone going to the floor. Daniels dives onto Low Ki so Styles hits a Shooting Star Press to the floor. This camera work is REALLY annoying as it either keeps cutting away or it has awkward shots of everything. Back in the ring, Low Ki loads up a rana on Nova, but Daniels runs the corner and hits a top rope Rock Bottom on Low Ki for the elimination.

Nova dropkicks Daniels to the floor so it’s Styles vs. Nova legally I guess. AJ is busted too. Everyone is in now and Daniels kicks Nova down and AJ gets two off a neckbreaker to Christopher. Daniels takes AJ down and hits the BME for two. There’s a dragon sleeper to AJ but Nova hooks a standing Last Chancery on Daniels at the same time. Nova grabs Daniels from behind but Styles sunset flips Nova, sending Daniels flying in the suplex.

AJ shoves Nova off the top and counters Daniels’ rana into a middle rope Styles Clash to get us down to one on one. A pair of rollups get two for Nova, as does a Downward Spiral. AJ gets two of his own off a German and Tessmacher’s current finisher (Tesshocker if you’re a big wrestling geek like me). They both go up with Nova hitting a C4 off the top (flipping Downward Spiral) for the final pin. Not much build to that.

Rating: B. Take six young and small guys, throw them in one match, let them have fun. AJ and Low Ki looked like the stars here, which they would be for all intents and purposes. Nova was already a name, Mamaluke never went anywhere, Shark Boy would become a cult favorite, and Daniels would become a decent sized star of his own right. Still though, fun match and AJ looked good in it, which shouldn’t shock anyone.

Nova would be brought into OVW in early 2002 and become quite a big star, including this match against a guy who you might have heard of. I’ll throw in the pre match promo before their match on May 15, 2002.

Nova is in the ring with Jim Cornette and sounds like he’s making his debut. He talks about wanting to get into the ring with the Prototype but says he’s done it a few times already in California. Nova says he’s beaten Prototype three times already in California, but now they’re both two years better. This brings out Prototype to say he’s tired about hearing everyone talk about the next big thing in WWE, Brock Lesnar. Now this Nova guy is the next big thing. Nova wants a fight right now and we get a bell for a title match.

OVW Title: Nova vs. Prototype

Nova hammers away to start and takes Prototype down into a front facelock. A sunset flip gets two on the champion and Nova hammers away with right hands and a hurricanrana. The fans think this is boring for some reason. Prototype comes back with a slam followed by a spinebuster but misses a top rope splash. Nova accidentally bumps the referee and Prototype’s manager Kenny Bolin throws in the briefcase for a hard shot to Nova’s back. It’s only good for two via a new referee and we take a break.

Back with Prototype nailing a hard clothesline and stomping away in the corner. Another hard clothesline gets two and a vertical suplex gets the same. A big side slam gets yet another two count but an atomic drop sends Nova bouncing off the ropes and the second referee gets bumped. Nova nails Kenny Bolin and the first referee comes back in.

A hard shoulder to the ribs has Prototype in trouble and a big kick gets two. Nova plants him with an STO and gets two more off a top rope elbow. Prototype kicks out of a rollup and a Nova crossbody puts the referee down AGAIN. Sean O’Haire runs in to jump Nova but he rams both heels into each other. The Kryptonite Krunch (White Noise) is enough for the pin and the title.

Rating: C+. It was a bit overbooked but it still worked well enough for the most part. It makes Nova look like a star and that’s all you need to do with something like this. Prototype would be gone from the promotion soon after this as he debuted on Smackdown under his real name: John Cena.

Nova would be a big force in OVW for over two more years before FINALLY debuting in WWE under a totally new gimmick: Simon Dean, a fitness expert. You know, because why bother using the character that worked all those years when you can turn him into an over the top comedy character? Dean would have a match on Raw, December 6, 2004.

Hurricane vs. Simon Dean

Simon is Nova from ECW and had a gimmick where he was a sponsor of Raw and pitched a weight loss system. Just take a guess as to how well this goes. This is his debut match. Simon wants to have an amateur style match so Hurricane rolls him up for two. Simon takes over with nothing significant. This is really the best match they can give us on Monday Night Raw? The King makes fun of TMNT and I hate him already. Hurricane breaks a chinlock and hits some fast paced stuff. The Shining Wizard misses and Dean rolls him up for the pin with tights.

Rating: F. This is the best they can do for Monday Night Raw? Seriously? Yeah that’s all I’ve got here.

In 2005, WWE held an ECW reunion show called One Night Stand. At the end of it, a big brawl broke out and JBL beat the living tar out of Blue Meanie in a shoot. Instead of firing JBL, this was the payoff, from Great American Bash 2005.

Mexicools vs. BWO

Oh where do I begin. Ok so the Mexicools are Juvy, Psicosis and Super Crazy as really stereotypocal Mexicans (ride lawnmowers, carry rakes etc). The BWO is here because at One Night Stand, JBL legitimately beat up Blue Meanie. WWE gave Meanie a job for like two months so he didn’t sue them. This is their only match of note. The BWO comes out on big wheels for absolutely no apparent reason. American Chopper joke maybe?

Juvy vs. Nova starts us off. Things break down and the BWO takes over. Psicosis finally hits a corkscrew plancha to take over on Nova. Back to Juvy as Nova gets beaten down. He Hulks Up (NWO parody remember…..in 2005) and Cole messes up the BWO’s names. Hot tag brings in Richards who cleans house. Side slam gets two on Psicosis. Everything breaks down and Crazy hits a moonsault onto Richards followed by a guillotine legdrop by Psicosis for the pin.

Rating: F. This was on PPV. Once you get that through your heads, you’ll get why this was a failure.

We’ll wrap it up with one more trip to OVW, from May 31, 2006.

Simon Dean vs. Shawn Spears

Dean easily throws him down to start before tripping him to the mat. Back up and Spears cranks on a hammerlock but walks into a big right hand. Not that it matters as a small package out of nowhere gives Spears the quick pin.

Dean loses his mind, breaks a lot of stuff, and hits security with chairs after the match.

Nova is a guy that worked well when he was allowed to be himself but companies kept feeling the need to make him into some over the top character. The Simon Dean issue is the same thing that keeps hurting NXT talent being called up today: why does WWE see them get over down there as one character then switch everything up and blame them for not getting the new character over? Anyway, Nova is a talented guy but bad gimmicks killed him.

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