Why It Ended – Ahmed Johnson
Release Date: 12/25/18
Running time: 1:12
Recap by: Joe Aguinaldo
Robbie and Matt welcome Ahmed Johnson to the show.
- Ahmed was born in Indiana and raised in Florida. He had a rough upbringing.
- When he was younger, he watched a little wrestling but wasn’t a die hard fan at the time.
- He did a lot of athletics including basketball, track and football in high school
Getting Into The Business
- A friend of his was trying to get into wrestling had been asking Ahmed to come with him. After two years of blowing him off, Ahmed decided to go.
- Ahmed trained at a school that also had Booker T and Stevie Ray. Ahmed says wrestling training was harder than football training. At the time, he didn’t think they were going to make it and was only doing wrestling training to stay in shape.
- After two months, Ahmed had his first match and remembers being scared
- Ahmed originally working in Global and thought they were going go somewhere. He had fun working there.
- Ahmed got along with everyone and didn’t have heat with anyone. One time, Johnny Valentine was showing Ahmed how to hit someone in the chest and hit Ahmed so hard his heart stopped for a second.
- When Ahmed was in Global, that’s when he started loving the business.
- Michael Hayes was the one who connected Ahmed with the WWE. Vince called Ahmed directly but he initially thought it was a rib.
- Vince sent Ahmed a plane ticket to Stamford for a meeting. Vince had watched a tape and was impressed with what he saw.
- Vince was the one that came up with the gimmick. Ahmed was confused with the gimmick at first until he started thinking about it. Ahmed was a Muslim name and around that time, the WWE was going to Kuwait. When Ahmed went down there he was treated like a king.
- When Ahmed started in WWE, he didn’t know anyone and there was some heat due to his push. Vince wanted Ahmed to slam Yokozuna which caused some heat between the two and Yoko said he wasn’t going to help him. Ahmed said it was like picking up 700 lbs of chewed bubble gum but he was able to do the slam. Later on, Yokozuna and Ahmed became riding buddies.
- Another time, Ahmed got into Yoko’s face because Yoko was upset during a match with Owen and The Bulldog
- Ahmed thinks he handled his push well at the beginning but could have handled it better towards the end.
- Triple H and Scott Hall helped Ahmed improve himself in the ring
Winning The IC Title
- Winning the IC title from Goldust was fun. Ahmed says Goldust is one of the best in the business at getting someone over.
- During an angle, Goldust was going to kiss Ahmed. He was supposed to put his hand over Ahmed’s mouth and kiss his hand but played a rib and kissed Ahmed on the lips knowing Ahmed couldn’t do anything because they were on live TV. Afterwards, Ahmed went after Goldust who vacated the building as fast as he could
- Ahmed was the first African American to win the IC title. It meant a lot to Ahmed but he says it wasn’t just about being African American but won it for anyone out there for anyone who thought they couldn’t win something
Ahmed Experiences Racism
- After winning the IC title, there was talk of Ahmed getting a shot at the WWF title with Shawn Michaels.
- Ahmed feels it was stalled because of Shawn and other people who he said were racist. When Ahmed won the IC belt, someone scratched a derogatory racist term on Ahmed’s rent a car. Some people said it was Shawn and others have said it was Steve Austin. Other African American wrestlers were angry.
- During a match with the Nation Of Domination and The Hart Foundation, the Kliq came went into their locker room and did some stuff (I assume messed around with everyone’s stuff) which is the worst Ahmed had ever seen.
- The other wrestlers such as Farooq were tired of it
- Robbie talks about some of Ahmed’s injuries including some kidney injuries. Ahmed says some of these were worked and it was Vince wanting to build an angle. He says they went too far because there were too many injuries.
- This particular kidney injury forced him to miss SummerSlam and admits this may have been a tipping point for his career but never thought about this until Matt mentioned it.
- When Ahmed came back, he feuded with the Nation of Domination and while he thought it was good, he felt it went too long. He enjoyed working with Farooq.
- Ahmed admits the physical stuff was easy for him to do was in a way easier than the psychology.
- At the time he was still near the top of the card and felt everything was building towards getting the WWE title. However, at this time, there were things in his personal life that were affecting him such as a friend having cancer and a rough relationship. His personal life was falling apart. Wrestling wasn’t fun anymore.
Heel vs. Babyface
- Ahmed didn’t like when he turned heel and joined the nation. Initially, Vince didn’t make Ahmed a heel or babyface. He let the fans decide and they made him a babyface.
- This is why Ahmed has always treated the audience with respect and treated them well. The fact the fans took a black man from the streets and made him a babyface meant a lot to him.
- He wasn’t in the Nation long because the fans didn’t buy it.
- When the Rock first came in, Ahmed said he was cool but as Rock became more popular and turned him heel, his attitude changed and that’s when Ahmed got turned off.
- Ahmed says the comments about him being dangerous in the ring are people who are jealous. Not one person in the WCW have ever complained that he was dangerous. He thinks part of this was people in the WWE trying to stop his push.
- Towards the end, Ahmed had so much on his plate and tried to hang in there as much as he could. During that time, he was riding with Taker, Crush, Yoko and Kama
Leaving The WWE
- Ahmed told Vince he was leaving and regrets not telling Vince what was going on in his life at the time.
- Ahmed didn’t tell anyone what was going on in his life and thought he could handle it on his own. The more he tried handling it, the more it came crashing down
- When Ahmed told Vince he was leaving because he didn’t want to explode on someone, Vince was pissed. Since he’s been gone, he’s never tried to reconnect with the WWE. He says if you try to get back in, Vince makes you grovel and Ahmed was not in the grovelling mood.
- Ahmed says the Kilq is the object of his anger and that’s enough. There are things about them that still eat at him today
- If Ahmed could go back, he would tell Vince what was going on and not try to handle it himself.
- Ahmed doesn’t think the whole locker room was racist. Some of the guys were great such as Psycho Sid, Owen and Bulldog.
Going To WCW
- About a year after leaving the WWE, Ahmed went to WCW. They had called him earlier but he said no because he was still having issues in his personal life
- When he went to WCW, he wasn’t in shape and they tried to work him to death.
- Ahmed likes Russo and attributes a lot of the success of the WWE to him.
- In WCW, the boys ran the locker room. The inmates ran the asylum.
- Ahmed never had any issues with Nash and Hall even though they were Kliq members.
- Ahmed wasn’t feeling it in his run with WCW and they were going to shut the doors soon anyways.
- After WCW closed, Ahmed did a few shows but slowly lost his interest with wrestling
- Ahmed says slamming Yoko was a highlight of his career.
- What makes him feel good is getting a big pop because no one can deny that
- Winning the IC title was cool too.
- Ahmed is proud of getting to where he did especially with how rough his childhood was with his father. He credits his faith for overcoming these hardships.
Robbie and Matt thanks Ahmed for being on the show and they sign off
Rating – 7.5/10
I was never a huge Ahmed Johnson fan and was pleasantly surprised with this podcast. Ahmed has an interesting story and career. Even though he still sounds like he holds some resentment, for the most part, he didn’t come across as angry, more matter of fact.
There were some surprising things in this podcast, for example, Ahmed not thinking that some of the worked injuries he was part of may have had an impact on his career, also the comments about racism in the WWE. I would be remiss if I didn’t give props to Matt and Robbie who did a great job on this podcast. While they didn’t ask incredibly hard questions, they also didn’t lob any softballs and kept Ahmed engaged. Definite recommend.
Joe is a long time wrestling fan from Toronto. He is a co-host on the Pull Apart Podcast with Jeff Rush and Caitlin Lavelle as well as a contributor to www.pwpodcasts.com. One of his life goals is to be a guest host on one of Wade Keller’s post-show podcasts. He doesn’t consider himself any sort of expert, he just likes wrestling. Check him out on Twitter and Instagram @ja113.