Lex Luger

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Lex Luger
LexLuger.jpg
Birth nameLawrence Wendell Pfohl
Born(1958-06-02) June 2, 1958 (age 56)[1]
Buffalo, New York, United States
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Lex Luger[2]
The Narcissist
The Total Package[1]
Billed height6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)[2][1]
Billed weight275 lb (125 kg)[2]
Billed fromChicago, Illinois[2][1]
Trained byBob Roop[3]
Hiro Matsuda[3]
Barry Windham
Debut1985[1]
Retired2005
 
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This article is about the wrestler. For the record producer, see Lex Luger (record producer).
Lex Luger
LexLuger.jpg
Birth nameLawrence Wendell Pfohl
Born(1958-06-02) June 2, 1958 (age 56)[1]
Buffalo, New York, United States
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Lex Luger[2]
The Narcissist
The Total Package[1]
Billed height6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)[2][1]
Billed weight275 lb (125 kg)[2]
Billed fromChicago, Illinois[2][1]
Trained byBob Roop[3]
Hiro Matsuda[3]
Barry Windham
Debut1985[1]
Retired2005

Lawrence Wendell "Larry" Pfohl (born June 2, 1958) [3] better known by his ring name, Lex Luger, is an American retired professional wrestler, television producer and American football player currently working with WWE on their wellness policy. He is best known for his work with the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), World Championship Wrestling (WCW), and the World Wrestling Federation (WWF).

Luger is a three-time world champion, having held the WCW World Heavyweight Championship twice and the WWA World Heavyweight Championship once; and a record-tying five-time NWA/WCW United States Heavyweight Champion who owns the records for consecutive days and total days as champion. Although he never won a championship in the WWF, he headlined multiple pay-per-view events for the organization and was the 1994 Royal Rumble winner (with Bret Hart). Pro Wrestling Illustrated readers voted Luger the Most Popular Wrestler of the Year in 1993, while contracted to the WWF.

American Football career[edit]

Luger attended high school and played football in Orchard Park, New York. He then attended Pennsylvania State University on a football scholarship, but transferred to the University of Miami after his freshman year when the Penn State coaches thought he should move to linebacker or defensive end, where he played for the Hurricanes. A talented soccer player and lifelong fan of English soccer team Manchester United, Luger considered changing sports for some time but eventually decided his skills would be better suited to football. He sat out the 1978 season as a redshirt transfer student in Coral Gables.

In 1979, Luger played for Miami, which featured future All-Pro quarterback Jim Kelly, Jim Burt, Mitch Guittar, Fred Marion and current University of Georgia coach Mark Richt,[4] until he was booted off the team for what Pfohl referred to as "off-the-field incidents,"[5] specifically on the team’s road trip to Atlanta to play Georgia Tech, Pfohl, suffering from cabin-fever and disappointed at not being named a starter by Coach Lou Saban by that 5th game into the season, just snapped and trashed his hotel room.[6]

Upon leaving Miami, he played professional football for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League where he played in the Grey Cup Game against Edmonton.[7] He then signed with the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League, but never played in a game and thus is not listed on their all-time roster, though he did spend the entire 1982 season on the team's injured reserve list with a groin problem incurred during training camp. He returned to the Packers training camp in 1983, but he was released before the regular season began. Luger wore number 66 for the Packers; the last player to do so before it was retired for Ray Nitschke.

In 1984, Luger finished his football career playing in the United States Football League for the Memphis Showboats. He also played for the Tampa Bay Bandits in the USFL, where he was a teammate with future WCW rival Ron Simmons.[3]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

NWA Florida (1985–1986)[edit]

In 1985, Luger met Bob Roop at a celebrity golfing event in Florida and was given the chance to get into professional wrestling as Roop was greatly impressed with Luger's powerful bodybuilder physique. Roop arranged for Luger to be trained by Hiro Matsuda,[3] who had previously trained Hulk Hogan and "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff. Luger adopted the ring name "Lex Luger", being a fan of the comic book villain Lex Luthor, and made his in-ring debut in September 1985. He was featured alongside Percy Pringle and Rick Rude.[8]

Luger began wrestling in the NWA Florida territory. He got his first victory on October 31, 1985, against Cocoa Samoa and won the Southern Heavyweight Championship from Wahoo McDaniel the next month.[9] He would go on to become the biggest attraction in Florida since Dusty Rhodes left in '84. And would work a short program with Barry Windham before turning baby face and teaming with Barry Windham and feuding with Sir Oliver Humperdink and his team of Ed "The Bull" Gantner, Kareem Muhammed, The White Ninja(who is better known as The Great Muta). On September 1, 1986, he fought NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair for the title at a show Battle of the Belts, which resulted in a 60-minute draw. As a result, Flair retained the title.[3] Towards the end of his run in Florida, Luger was involved in angles with Kevin Sullivan and Bad News Allen that had him taking most of the bumps. And in a now infamous steel cage match with Bruiser Brody, where Brody stopped cooperating, leading to Luger climbing over the cage leaving the match.[3] It was said that he did not even stay in the dressing room and just ran out of the Arena. However he would say in several shoot interviews that he did talk to Brody and was okay with him after that match.

National Wrestling Alliance / World Championship Wrestling[edit]

Teaming and feuding with the Four Horsemen (1987–1989)[edit]

Main article: Four Horsemen

In 1987, Luger went to work for Jim Crockett's World Championship Wrestling (WCW), which was under the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) banner, with the nickname "The Total Package" and began using "The Human Torture Rack", an Argentine backbreaker, as his finisher.[10] He was first booked as an associate to Ric Flair's "Four Horsemen" stable until Ole Anderson was kicked out and he became an official member of the group.[3] Luger started wrestling as a heel.[10] His first big feud was with Nikita Koloff, whom he defeated for his first NWA United States Heavyweight Championship on July 11, 1987.[10] Manager James J. Dillon threw a chair over the top of the cage while the referee, Earl Hebner, was down. Luger knocked Koloff unconscious with it and then lifted up Koloff in the Torture Rack. A revived Hebner then dropped Koloff's arm three times with no response and awarded Luger a submission victory.[11]

He held the title until NWA's first pay-per-view event Starrcade in November, when he dropped it to Dusty Rhodes in a steel cage. This loss set the stage for Luger leaving the Four Horsemen, as manager Dillon's interference cost Luger the match. A steel chair thrown in by Dillon was dropped by Luger and Rhodes DDT'd Luger on it prior to pinning him for the win.[12] Luger left the Four Horsemen in 1988 after he and his stablemates (Tully Blanchard, Arn Anderson, and Dillon) were the sole wrestlers left in a Bunkhouse Stampede battle royal and Dillon asked the other wrestlers to eliminate themselves so he could win. Although Blanchard and Anderson complied, Luger refused and eliminated Dillon, leaving the Horsemen in the process.[3]

Luger turned babyface and befriended Barry Windham, his former Florida ally. They formed a tag team, dubbed "The Twin Towers". "The Twin Towers" first teamed on March 27, 1988 at Clash of the Champions to defeat Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson for the NWA World Tag Team Championship.[13] Only a few weeks after the title win, a swerve took place in the NWA with Windham suddenly turning on Luger during a title defense (against Blanchard and Anderson) and joining Luger's former stable, The Four Horsemen.[10] Days later, the Jim Crockett, Sr. Memorial Cup Tag Team Tournament was held with its first night in Greenville, South Carolina. A partner-less Luger was teamed with Sting (whose partner Ronnie Garvin had been kayfabe injured) and the impromptu team won the entire tournament, defeating Blanchard and Anderson in the finals.[14]

Luger continued his feud with the Four Horsemen and Windham. He began hunting their leader Ric Flair for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. At the June 8 edition of Clash of the Champions, it was announced that Luger would challenge Flair for the NWA title at The Great American Bash on July 10 in Baltimore.[10] The contract was signed on a yacht with Flair delivering the line "You gotta make it to Baltimore..." to Luger.[10] As Luger arrived at The Clash in a limousine he was attacked by The Four Horsemen, leaving him (kayfabe) injured and bleeding in the parking lot on live television.[10] While Luger had Flair in the "Torture Rack" and Flair was about to submit, the match was abruptly stopped by the referee who cited (kayfabe) "Maryland State Athletic Commission" rules about a cut that had opened up on Luger's forehead "bleeding excessively".[3][15] Luger faced Flair in many rematches across the country, never winning the title. The Luger/Flair feud came to an end after December's Starrcade 1988: True Gritt where Flair pinned Luger in a rematch main event for the NWA title by illegally using the ropes.[16]

United States Heavyweight Champion (1989–1990)[edit]

He was then matched up against old foe Barry Windham at The Chi-Town Rumble winning his second NWA United States Heavyweight Championship from him.[17] Luger defended the U.S. Championship regularly. One of his major title defenses was against Jack Victory in a dark match on the April 2, 1989 edition of Clash of the Champions.[18]

He teamed up with Michael P.S. Hayes against Barry and Kendall Windham in a match, televised on March 18, 1989, which saw Hayes turn on Luger, setting himself as a contender to the U.S. Title.[19] Hayes defeated Luger for the US title at WrestleWar 1989: Music City Showdown when a surprise appearance by Hayes's ex-Freebird teammate Terry Gordy helped cost Luger the match.[10] Luger regained the U.S. Title from Hayes in a rematch a couple of weeks later, beginning a heel turn when he broke the rules by pulling Hayes's tights while pinning Hayes to win the match.[20] The turn became "official" shortly after, when on the June 14 edition of Clash of the Champions, Luger attacked the popular Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat after Steamboat had defeated Terry Funk by disqualification.[19] Luger and Steamboat faced each other at The Great American Bash in July with Luger winning by disqualification after Luger refused to wrestle Steamboat until the match's no-disqualification clause had been waived.[21]

Flyin' Brian Pillman challenged Luger at Halloween Havoc 1989: Settling the Score for the US Title, which Luger won.[20] He also defeated Pillman in a rematch on the November 15 edition of Clash of the Champions to retain the title and end the feud.[20] After the main event of the card, which saw Ric Flair and Terry Funk in an "I Quit" match, Luger made a surprise run in, attacking both Flair and Sting, who had come out to save Flair from a post match attack by The Great Muta.[22] December's Starrcade featured an "Ironman" tournament between Flair, Sting, Luger, and Muta.

Though Sting eventually won the tournament, Luger was the only participant to go undefeated (Sting got pinfall victories over Muta and Flair, giving him the most points to win the tournament).[23] This elevated Sting to the status of No.1 contender for Flair's world title. With Sting and Flair set to square off at WrestleWar in February, Luger was booked to defend the U.S. Title against "Dr. Death" Steve Williams on the card. A legitimate injury to Sting, however, caused the entire booking of the card to get changed. Luger was elevated to face Flair for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. An injured Sting appeared in Luger's corner during the match, eventually being attacked by Ole and Arn Anderson. When Luger left the ring to help Sting he was counted out, giving the match to Flair.[24] The idea here was to build Luger up as a "changed man" that had "gained self-respect" by saving Sting. Luger challenged Flair across the country in rematches. In the final match of the feud, a few months later at the inaugural (and only) Capital Combat event in Washington, DC, another screwjob finish occurred where Luger won by disqualification against Flair in a steel cage match when the cage rose up from the ground and outside interference marred the match.[3]

In mid-1990, Luger's focus went back to defending his U.S. Championship while the NWA focused on Sting and his reign as World Heavyweight Champion. When Stan Hansen entered the company and the two of them feuded for a brief period of months, Luger eventually dropped the title to Hansen at Halloween Havoc,[25] though he won it back at Starrcade 1990: Collision Course beginning his fourth NWA United States Heavyweight Championship reign.[26] Luger's third title reign lasted a total of 523 days, making him, the longest reigning United States Champion in history.[27] WCW withdrew from NWA in 1991 and the U.S. Title was renamed the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship. Luger started a feud with Dan Spivey, whom he defeated at WrestleWar to retain the U.S. Title.[28] Following their match, Nikita Koloff suddenly appeared to attack Luger, reigniting their feud from 1987. It did not last long, however, as Koloff found himself being pushed into an angle with Sting instead of Luger, which began at SuperBrawl I: Return of the Rising Sun when Sting and Luger challenged The Steiner Brothers for the WCW World Tag Team Championship.

During the match, Koloff interfered and hit Sting with a chain, which was intended for Luger.[29] Luger again began to challenge Flair for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship after becoming No.1 contender by defeating The Great Muta on the June 14, 1991 edition of Clash of the Champions.[30] With the history of "screwjob finishes" between Flair and Luger, their title match was set to be contested at The Great American Bash in a steel cage match with the added stipulation that, should Flair get disqualified he would lose the title. The match never occurred, however, as Flair began to have disagreements with Jim Herd, the head of WCW, over his future and salary. He eventually quit the company (being "stripped" of the title in the process) and took the World Title belt with him.

World Heavyweight Champion (1991–1992)[edit]

With the WCW Title now vacant, Barry Windham was declared the No. 2 contender and was set to face Luger in the cage match at The Great American Bash. During the match, a double turn took place when Harley Race and Mr. Hughes came to ringside and "ordered" Luger to execute a piledriver on Windham. He did it, winning his first WCW World Heavyweight Championship.[31][32]

After Luger won the WCW Title, he got over top heel by participating in a controversial racial angle with Ron Simmons where he asked Simmons to join his entourage, but as a chauffeur. It was also around this time he abandoned the Torture Rack and started using the piledriver, which he dubbed the "Attitude Adjustment", as his finisher. Luger retained the title at Halloween Havoc in a two out of three falls match.[33] Eventually, Luger began to have his own issues with WCW, and the contract he had seemed to have him wrestling less and less while still collecting money. After ending his feud with Simmons, Luger had a brief feud with Rick Steiner, defeating him on the November 19 edition of Clash of the Champions.[34] The next month's Starrcade was booked with the BattleBowl format, with Sting winning No.1 contendership at the end of the night.

Luger's contract only required him to work a specific number of dates, and having fulfilled them he "sat out" the end of 1991 and beginning of 1992. This left Sting to build the feud against him on his own. Aside from one title defense against Masahiro Chono at WCW/New Japan Supershow II (Starrcade in Tokyo Dome),[35] Luger did not wrestle a match until SuperBrawl II, where he lost his WCW title cleanly to Sting.[36]

World Bodybuilding Federation (1992)[edit]

After losing to Sting at SuperBrawl, Luger negotiated a departure from WCW and joined Vince McMahon's World Bodybuilding Federation (WBF), appearing regularly as a co-host on its Saturday morning program, WBF BodyStars.[37] He also made an appearance at WrestleMania VIII, taking part in an on air interview with Bobby "The Brain" Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon.[38] Heenan & Luger formed an alliance in the WBF (similar to Heenan's alliance with Ric Flair in the WWF). He was slated to guest pose at a WBF pay-per-view event, but was injured in a motorcycle accident.[39] By the time he recovered, the WBF was out of business.

World Wrestling Federation[edit]

The Narcissist (1993)[edit]

After his accident and the closure of the WBF, Luger joined the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). Bobby "The Brain" Heenan "unveiled" him with the persona of "Narcissus" at Royal Rumble 1993. Shortly thereafter, his name was altered slightly to "The Narcissist". Luger posed before full-length mirrors before every match.[40] The WWF also incorporated his motorcycle accident into his gimmick, capitalizing on the fact that he had a "metal plate" inserted into his forearm which was said to cause more damage when it struck an opponent, often allowing Luger to pin them with only his little finger placed on their chest. This caused a number of his opponents to demand that he wear a cover over it during matches when he had a streak of knocking people out. This eventually led to WWF officials demanding that Luger wear an elbow pad, though he would often remove it. The Narcissist's one major feud was with Mr. Perfect. The feud was based on Heenan, his advisor, referring to him as being "Beyond Perfection," in a slight at Mr. Perfect, his former managerial client. The rivalry ended at WrestleMania IX when Luger defeated Perfect.[41] During a WrestleMania IX press conference, Luger knocked out Bret Hart, leading to a house show feud between the two, mostly concentrated in Canada, with few (if any) of these matches being televised. At King of the Ring, Luger participated in the first-ever King of the Ring tournament on pay-per-view, but was eliminated in the quarterfinals after a time limit draw with Tatanka.[42]

The All-American (1993–1994)[edit]

Luger in his All-American attire

In mid-1993, after Hulk Hogan's departure from the company, Luger was transformed from a heel to a "mega-face" with the nicknames "Made in the USA" and "The All-American". On July 4, he took part in a memorable event where he arrived (by a red helicopter) on the deck of the USS Intrepid and body slammed the near 600 pound (270 kg) WWF Champion Yokozuna after a number of other athletes, both inside the WWF and out, attempted and failed.[43] Following this he began the "Lex Express" tour, traveling the country in a Red, White, and Blue painted bus to greet fans and to "campaign" for a shot at the WWF Title, thus beginning a feud with the champion Yokozuna. Luger got his shot at SummerSlam 1993, with the stipulation that this would be Luger's only shot at the title. Luger, with the use of the metal plate in his forearm, eventually won the match, but the count-out victory meant that Yokozuna retained the title.[44]

In late 1993, Luger began a feud with Ludvig Borga, another anti-American foreigner. At Survivor Series 1993, Luger captained a team dubbed "All-Americans" (Lex Luger, The Undertaker, and The Steiner Brothers) against Yokozuna's team "Foreign Fanatics" (Crush, Yokozuna, Ludvig Borga, and Quebecer Jacques) in a 4-on-4 Survivor Series match. Luger's team won the match after he pinned Borga.[45] At Royal Rumble, Luger participated in the Royal Rumble match where he and Bret Hart were declared "co-winners" of the Royal Rumble match after both men went over the top rope and had their feet hit the ground simultaneously.[46] As such, both received shots at the WWF Championship at WrestleMania X. Luger was disqualified in his title match against Yokozuna,[47] and later that night Hart went on to win the title from Yokozuna.

Ever since he became a babyface in the summer of 1993, Luger aligned himself with Tatanka until rumors began to swirl that Luger was planning to join Ted DiBiase's Million Dollar Corporation in the summer of 1994.[48] Tatanka and Luger's friendship was strained by the lack of trust between them, and a match between the two took place at SummerSlam. At the event, Tatanka defeated Luger and joined the Million Dollar Corporation.[48][49] Luger continued to feud with The Million Dollar Corporation, leading a Survivor Series team consisting of himself, Mabel, Adam Bomb, and The Smoking Gunns, dubbed "Guts & Glory", to a loss against the Corporate team of Tatanka, King Kong Bundy, Bam Bam Bigelow, and The Heavenly Bodies at Survivor Series – with only King Kong Bundy and Bam Bam Bigelow surviving.[50]

The Allied Powers and departure (1995)[edit]

In the beginning of 1995, Luger formed a team with Davey Boy Smith, dubbed The Allied Powers[51] and they continued to feud with the Million Dollar Corporation. They made a good impact on the tag team division and made their pay-per-view debut as a tag team at WrestleMania XI, defeating the Blu Brothers.[52] They wrestled and defeated jobbers on Raw and, after a victory over the newly turned heel team Men on a Mission in June 1995, earned a shot at the WWF Tag Team Championship against Owen Hart and Yokozuna at In Your House 2: The Lumberjacks but failed to win the titles.[53] Bulldog turned against partner Diesel in a match against Men on a Mission which Luger, who was scheduled to team with Smith, was unable to participate in. While Diesel fought King Mabel at Summerslam, Sir Mo tried to interfere but was attacked by Luger, who chased him to the back. Shortly after Summerslam, Luger, whose contract had expired,[54] left the WWF without letting McMahon know firsthand.[54]

Return to WCW[edit]

Alliance to End Hulkamania (1995–1996)[edit]

In late August 1995, after expressing to Sting that he wanted to leave the WWF, Luger got a call from World Championship Wrestling Vice-President Eric Bischoff to set up a meeting about a contract and Luger possibly "jumping ship". Bischoff was initially reluctant to make the offer, as he didn't care for Luger personally or professionally, but relented due to both Sting's urging, and the idea that his appearance would make a big splash. Bischoff, in fact, offered Luger only 20% of what he was making when he left WCW three years earlier in a deliberate attempt to have him turn down the offer (and, according to Bischoff, "at least tell Sting that I tried."), only to be surprised to see that Luger accepted the offer.[55]

Eight days after his appearance at SummerSlam and only one night after competing at a WWF house show in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Luger made his return to WCW on the premiere of Nitro, coming out during the main event for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship between Hulk Hogan, who was the champion at the time, and Big Bubba Rogers, who was the challenger.[2] After Luger's return, he acted as a sort of tweener character, not making his allegiances known, except for his long-time friendship with Sting. He merely claimed that he wanted to stake his claim at Hulk Hogan's WCW World Heavyweight Title, facing him on the September 11, 1995 edition of Nitro, which Hogan won by disqualification.[56] At Halloween Havoc, Luger officially turned heel, attacking Hogan after his match with The Giant and joining Kevin Sullivan's Dungeon of Doom stable.[57] Later in the pay-per-view, Luger had a match where he lost to Randy "Macho Man" Savage.[57] Luger and Savage had a rematch at World War 3, which Luger won.[58] Later that night, Luger participated in the first-ever three-ring, 60-man battle royal for the vacant World Title, which was won by Savage.[58]

Despite being a heel, Luger retained his friendship with Sting. At Starrcade, Luger participated in a WCW vs NJPW World Cup of Wrestling where he represented WCW in a winning effort against NJPW representative Masa Chono.[59] Later that night, he participated in a triangle match with Sting and Ric Flair; Flair won after both Sting and Luger were counted out, making Flair No.1 contender to the WCW title.[59] The two men teamed up to defeat Harlem Heat for their first World Tag Team Championship on the January 22, 1996 edition of Nitro,[60][61] with Luger constantly threatening dissent due to his allegiance to the Dungeon of Doom, but always seeming to stay on the same path as his friend. Luger also defeated Johnny B. Badd for the WCW World Television Championship on February 17, losing it back to him the next night.[62] He regained the television title from Badd by beating him on March 6.[62]

The Dungeon of Doom aligned with the Four Horsemen to form the Alliance to End Hulkamania, which feuded with Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage. At Uncensored, nine members from the Alliance participated in a "Tower of Doom Steel Cage match", but were unsuccessful in defeating the team of Hogan and Savage.[63] Luger was blamed for the loss because he accidentally punched teammate Ric Flair and was kicked out of the stable, thus turning him face again.

Feud with the New World Order (1996–1997)[edit]

Luger in the ring during a taping of WCW Monday Nitro in 1998.

During the summer, Luger began a feud with The Giant for the World Heavyweight Championship, unsuccessfully challenging him at The Great American Bash.[64] During this time, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, both former WWF superstars, began appearing on WCW television and claimed they were "taking over" the company. Randy Savage spearheaded the WCW wrestlers against them, with Luger and Sting by his side. Luger, along with Savage and Sting, took on Nash and Hall (who called themselves The Outsiders) and a third, mystery, partner that they claimed was an "insider" at Bash at the Beach. In the first few minutes of the match Luger went down to a kayfabe injury, leaving Sting and Savage on their own when the mystery partner revealed himself to be Hulk Hogan. With Luger no longer around, Savage and Sting were "easy prey" for the three who announced themselves as the New World Order (nWo).[65]

Luger continued to be one of the leaders for the WCW's siege against the nWo, wrestling and feuding with a number of their members. At SuperBrawl VII, Luger and The Giant defeated the Outsiders to win the World Tag Team Championship.[60] The title was returned to the Outsiders by nWo member and WCW President Eric Bischoff. Luger won a Four Corners match to become the No.1 contender for Hogan's WCW Title at Spring Stampede,[66] and teamed with his new ally, The Giant, to defeat Hogan and basketball star Dennis Rodman at Bash at the Beach.[67] On the August 4, 1997 edition of Nitro, Luger defeated Hogan to win his second World Heavyweight Championship in an impromptu match,[68] before dropping the title back to Hogan just five days later at Road Wild.[69] His victory, however, marked the first time in a year that WCW had "won their world title back" from the nWo.[70]

Luger began a program with Hall after both men pinned each other in tag team matches (Luger's partner was Diamond Dallas Page and Hall's partner was Randy Savage)[71][72] before facing each other in a 1-on-1 match at Halloween Havoc which Luger won.[73] He had a short feud with Buff Bagwell in the fall of 1997, culminating in a match at Starrcade, which Bagwell won.[74] In the first half of 1998, Luger feuded with Savage and defeated him at Souled Out[75] and SuperBrawl VIII.[76] His final feud with the nWo was against Scott Steiner, whom Luger defeated at Uncensored.[77] At Spring Stampede, he teamed with Scott's brother and former tag team partner Rick to defeat Scott and Bagwell.[78]

Joining nWo Wolfpac (1998–1999)[edit]

Luger in 1998 after taping WCW Monday Nitro.

After a long war with the nWo, Luger joined nWo Wolfpac, the babyface faction of the nWo.[79] Luger played a central role in the group's war with Hogan's nWo Hollywood, and even convinced the long standing anti-nWo Sting to join.[80] On the August 10, 1998 edition of Nitro, he defeated Bret Hart to win his record-tying fifth, and final, United States Heavyweight Championship in an impromptu title match,[81] before dropping the title back to Hart just one day later on Thunder.[82] He also took part in the incident in which both nWo factions united against the dominant Bill Goldberg in early 1999, turning heel for the first time in many years.[83] He remained a member of the new nWo until he was sidelined with a (legitimate) biceps injury.

The Total Package (1999–2001)[edit]

In August 1999, Lex Luger returned to WCW Monday Nitro during a Sting/Hogan angle for the World Heavyweight Championship. He eventually helped Sting win the World Title at Fall Brawl in September 1999. After Fall Brawl, Luger claimed that Lex Luger was now "dead" and he was going by the name "The Total Package". He debuted this gimmick on the September 27, 1999 edition of Nitro with a Terminator-style entrance symbolizing his "rebirth" and by bringing back Elizabeth as his manager. The Total Package’s entrance would often conclude with Elizabeth tearing off his tracksuit in the middle of the ring. Luger would then pose down as if in a bodybuilding competition and conclude by performing a pose with fireworks. During late November and into December 1999, The Total Package began to have some disagreements with his best friend Sting. He also began treating Elizabeth badly that prompted Sting to intervene. At Starrcade in December 1999, Sting and The Total Package had a match with Elizabeth eventually turning on Sting. After this Luger began appearing dressed up as Sting and mocking him.

Luger continued his Total Package angle with Elizabeth through January 2000. He began a storyline where he would break the arms of his opponents by placing the arm inside a closed steel chair and stomping on it. In February 2000, he formed an alliance with Ric Flair to take out Hulk Hogan from WCW. They later formed a tag team under the name Team Package with Ric Flair. The team feuded with Sting and Hogan until April 2000 when WCW was reformatted with Vince Russo forming the New Blood causing Luger to turn face and joining the Millionaires Club. Lex Luger would not return again to WCW until September 2000 when Vince Russo was still running the company. Luger would no longer pose in the ring with Elizabeth and his hair was cut short. He would face Booker T on the November 20, 2000 edition of Nitro for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship and Goldberg at Mayhem and again at Starrcade 2000 with Goldberg’s career on the line. He also formed a tag team with Buff Bagwell named "Totally Buffed". They defeated Goldberg and DeWayne Bruce in a tag team match at WCW Sin in January 2001. Luger stayed in the team until the WWF now known as WWE purchased WCW in March 2001. When Vince McMahon bought WCW, he asked the fans about a number of WCW superstars who should migrate to the WWF. When he asked the fans about Lex Luger to join, the fans gave a negative reaction for him not to return. Luger never returned to the WWF (later WWE) as an in-ring competitor.

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2003; 2006; 2012)[edit]

In late 2003, Luger began working for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA); he teamed with Jeff Jarrett on November 12 in a loss to Sting and A.J. Styles.[84]

Luger returned to TNA in 2006, first appearing during the April 27 TNA Impact! as the second of Sting's potential tag team partners for Sacrifice.[85] Throughout September and October, he appeared on Impact! as one of the people (along with Buff Bagwell) helping Sting to "prepare" for his upcoming match against Jarrett at Bound for Glory.[86]

On October 13, 2012, Luger inducted Sting to the TNA Hall of Fame at a ceremony held in Phoenix, Arizona prior to the Bound for Glory pay-per-view.[87][88]

Semi-retirement[edit]

In late 2002, Luger joined the European tour of WWA. He debuted in November at Dublin, Ireland, teaming with Sting to defeat Buff Bagwell and Malice. At Retribution, Luger defeated Sting to win the vacant WWA World Heavyweight Championship after Jeff Jarrett interfered on his behalf.[89] In Manchester, England on December 7, Luger and Sting faced Bagwell and Jarrett in a match in which both Luger's WWA World Heavyweight Championship and Jarrett's NWA World Heavyweight Championship were on the line, though neither title changed hands, as Sting pinned Bagwell.[90] Luger made his final appearance with WWA on December 13, in Zürich, Switzerland, when he lost the WWA World Heavyweight Championship to Sting in a three way dance that also featured Malice.[89]

Throughout 2004 and 2005, Luger made sporadic appearances on the independent circuit.[3] Luger is also included as a downloadable character in WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2011.

On September 22, 2007- Lex was inducted into the XWF Hall of Fame in Moundsville, WV by Jack Blaze at their "XWF Mountain Madness 2007" event. XWF was later renamed LPW (Legends Pro Wrestling) where Lex is still honored in their Hall of Fame- Class 2007.

In 2011, Luger began working again with WWE on their Wellness Policy. In regards to this role he stated:

Personal life[edit]

Luger is divorced from Peggy and has two children, a son, Brian (born 1 January 1986),[92] and a daughter, Lauren Ashley (born September 24 1990).[93] He is a born again Christian.[94]

Legal problems[edit]

On April 19, 2003, Luger was involved in a domestic dispute with Elizabeth Hulette, then his live-in girlfriend, in the garage of their townhouse in Marietta, Georgia, during which Luger allegedly struck her. Cobb County police found Elizabeth with two bruised eyes, a bump on her head, and a cut lip. Luger was charged with a misdemeanor count of battery and released on $2,500 bond. Two days later on April 21, Luger was arrested for driving under the influence after rear-ending another car. According to the police report, Luger had slurred speech and bloodshot eyes, and could not locate his driver's license. Luger had a 9mm handgun in the car (which was legal in Georgia). Hulette was a passenger in the vehicle and was sent home in a taxi. Luger was also driving with a suspended license for not appearing in court on March 5, 2003 for a hearing on a previous offense of driving with expired tags and having no proof of insurance.[95]

On May 1, 2003, Hulette died in the townhouse they shared in Marietta, after mixing pills of hydrocodone, and Alprazolam (Xanax) with vodka. Luger was arrested later that day after a search of the residence revealed a number of illicit controlled substances, including anabolic steroids, OxyContin, synthetic growth hormone, testosterone, and Alprazolam. He was charged with 14 drug possession counts, 13 of them felonies. He was released the following day on $27,500 bail. Hulette's death was eventually ruled accidental. Luger pleaded guilty to the charges on February 3, 2005. He was given a $1,000 fine, sentenced to five years probation, and required to submit to periodic drug testing.[96]

In December 2005, Luger and fellow wrestlers Marcus Bagwell and Scott Steiner were removed from a flight from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Winnipeg, Manitoba. They were detained for several hours before Bagwell and Steiner were released, while Luger was held without bail as a result of his outstanding felony charges (he had neglected to obtain permission to leave the country from his probation officer). Luger was detained in the Hennepin County jail for two weeks before being extradited to Georgia to stand trial on December 22, 2005. Luger was sentenced to nine weeks imprisonment, and was released in February 2006.

Spinal stroke[edit]

On October 19, 2007, Luger suffered a nerve impingement in his neck that led to temporary paralysis. He underwent intravenous antibiotic treatment and was expected to make a full recovery.[97] Nearly a month after his spinal stroke, Luger was still in a quadriplegic state, having no movement in either his arms or legs. In June 2008, Luger was said to be able to stand on his own for short periods of time and walk using a walker. In 2010, Luger stated in an interview that he was able to walk more comfortably, and was now able to drive.[98]

Other media[edit]

On September 28, 2006, Luger appeared on Praise the Lord, the flagship talk program of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, and declared himself a born again Christian. In an interview conducted by guest host, one-time wrestling tag-team partner Steve "Sting" Borden, Luger emotionally discussed the downward turn of his career and personal life—including the events surrounding Elizabeth Hulette's death—and how it led to his Christian conversion. Luger credits Steve Baskin, the pastor of Western Hills Baptist Church in Kennesaw, Georgia, with pulling him from a terminal tailspin. The jail chaplain met Luger in early 2006.[94]

On October 30, 2011, a Lex Luger character appeared on the parody show Robot Chicken in a segment involving Superman. On November 20, 2012, Lex appeared on season 6, episode 15 of Hardcore Pawn. He sold his ring robe for $3500 to Les Gold with the cash going to a charity.

On August 13, 2013, Lex published his first book titled Wrestling with the Devil: The True Story of a World Champion Professional Wrestler - His Reign, Ruin, and Redemption. It features a foreword written by fellow wrestler Steve "Sting" Borden.[99]

In wrestling[edit]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

1Luger and Bret Hart are recognized as co-winners after both simultaneously eliminated each other.

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External links[edit]