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  John Hodger Laurinaitis (born July 31, 1962),[1][2][3] also known as Johnny Ace, is an American senior producer and retired professional wrestler, currently employed by WWE.

He has wrestled for such promotions as World Championship Wrestling (WCW), All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW) and WWE.[4] He is the brother of Joe (Road Warrior Animal; one half of the former wrestling tag team The Road Warriors) and Marcus, and is also the uncle of James Laurinaitis, former Ohio State standout linebacker for the New Orleans Saints. In WWE, Laurinaitis worked in the talent relations office for eight years, and as occasional wrestler from 2011 until 2012. After his on screen firing, he stepped down from his corporate backstage role to being a producer. Prior to joining WWE, Laurinaitis worked as an executive for WCW.

Professional wrestling career[]

National Wrestling Alliance/World Championship Wrestling (1986–1990)[]

John Laurinaitis started wrestling in 1986 as Johnny Ace.[4] At first, while wrestling in Florida Championship Wrestling, Ace frequently teamed with his brother The Terminator. Later, when he wrestled for NWA's Jim Crockett Promotions he formed a tag team with Shane Douglas called "The Dynamic Dudes".[6] They were managed by Jim Cornette until Cornette turned on them for Bobby Eaton and Stan Lane's version of The Midnight Express. Prior to entering the competition as one of The Dynamic Dudes at the NWA, he appeared as a flagbearer for the team of The Sheepherders. In his last televised WCW match, Ace lost to Mean Mark Callous, later known as The Undertaker, at Capital Combat on May 19, 1990.

All Japan Pro Wrestling (1988–2000)[]

As All Japan Pro Wrestling was cutting its ties with the NWA in 1990, Laurinaitis chose to stay in it, thus becoming a permanent foreign fixture on the roster. In AJPW, he found a lot of success, teaming with Kenta Kobashi, "Dr. Death" Steve Williams and Bart Gunn.

Laurinaitis enjoyed significant championship success and acclaim during his tenure, becoming a two-time All Asia Tag Team Champion, a four-time World Tag Team Champion, and the winner of the New Year's Heavyweight Battle Royal on January 2, 1991 at Korakuen Hall. He won two "5 Star Match" awards and one "Match of the Year" award from the Wrestling Observer, and was ranked #77 in Pro Wrestling Illustrated's (PWI) top 500 wrestlers for 1997. On February 28, 1998, Laurinaitis would reach the highest point of his singles career as he challenged Mitsuharu Misawa for the Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship. It would be Laurinaitis' only shot at those three prestigious belts. Following his retirement in 2000, he was placed #203 in PWI's top 500 all time rankings.

World Championship Wrestling (2000–2001)[]

Laurinaitis retired from the ring in 2000 after the split between All Japan Pro Wrestling and Pro Wrestling Noah. He soon returned to World Championship Wrestling where he replaced Vince Russo as head booker. Laurinaitis was responsible for booking the highly acclaimed one-night single elimination tournament held for the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship that was won by the debuting Lance Storm.

Personal life[]

Laurinaitis' brothers Joe, who is Animal of the The Road Warriors, and Marcus were also professional wrestlers. He is also the uncle of James Laurinaitis, linebacker for the New Orleans Saints.

As of September 3, 2015, Laurinaitis became engaged to Kathy Colace, who is the mother of the Bella Twins and the mother-in-law of Daniel Bryan.[7] The two were married in a private ceremony on March 24, 2016.[8]

He is noted for his distinctively raspy voice. As a friendly joke among fellow wrestlers, he is sometimes referred to as "John Laryngitis", both a play on his last name and a joke that he sounds as though he has a permanent case of the disease.

In wrestling[]

  • Finishing moves
    • Ace Crusher (Cutter, sometimes from the top rope or pop up) – Innovated[4]
    • Ace Crusher II / Guillotine Ace Crusher (Leg drop bulldog) - Innovated[4]
    • Ace Cutter (Hangmans Facebuster)
    • Johnny Spike (Lifting DDT) (Used Rarely)
  • Signature Moves
    • Big boot
    • Cobra clutch suplex
    • DDT
    • Powerbomb
    • Repeating lariats to a cornered opponent
    • Dropkick
    • Clothesline
  • Nicknames
    • "Big Johnny"
    • "Mr. Excitement"
    • "John Laryngitis" (because of his raspy voice)
    • John The Blonde
  • Managers
    • Jim Cornette[9]
    • Missy Hyatt
    • Diamond Dallas Page[10]
  • Wrestlers managed
    • Big Show
    • The Miz
    • The Sheepherders[11]
    • David Otunga
    • Team Johnny (David Otunga, Mark Henry, Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, The Miz and Drew McIntyre)
    • Team Johnny 2 (Cesaro, Gold and Stardust, Bo Dallas, Heath Slater, Titus O'Neil, Damien Mizdow and Mini Gator)
  • Entrance themes
    • "Urgent" by Foreigner (NWA/OWF, 1986-1989)
    • "Kickstart My Heart" by Mötley Crüe[12] (AJPW; 1989–2000)
    • "Money for Nothing" by Dire Straits[13] (UWF; 1994)

Wrestlers trained by Laurinaitis[]

Championships and accomplishments[]

  • All Japan Pro Wrestling
  • Championship Wrestling from Florida
    • FCW Tag Team Championship (6 times) – with The Terminator[17]
  • International Championship Wrestling Association
    • ICWA Florida Heavyweight Championship (2 times)[18]
  • Oregon Wrestling Federation
    • OWF Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[18]
  • Pro Wrestling Illustrated
    • PWI ranked him # 77 of the 500 best singles wrestlers of the PWI 500 in 1997[19]
    • PWI ranked him # 203 of the 500 best singles wrestlers during the "PWI Years" in 2003[20]
  • Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards
    • 5 Star Match (1995) with Steve Williams vs. Mitsuharu Misawa and Kenta Kobashi on March 4
    • 5 Star Match (1996) with Steve Williams vs. Mitsuharu Misawa and Jun Akiyama on June 7
    • Match of the Year (1996) with Steve Williams vs. Mitsuharu Misawa and Jun Akiyama on June 7
    • Worst Worked Match of the Year (2012) vs. John Cena on May 20[21]

References[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Cagematch Profile . Retrieved on 2013-02-17.
  2. 2.0 2.1 John Cena pulled from WWE live events and Raw, WWE weekend (California and Texas correspondents needed), Big Johnny, Kid Kash, El Texano Jr. . Retrieved on 2015-07-31.
  3. 3.0 3.1 WWE Acknowledges The Bella Twins Mother Marrying John Laurinaitis – eWrestlingNews.com . Retrieved on 2015-09-05.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9 OWOW Profile . Retrieved on 2008-06-02.
  5. John Laurinaitis Bio . WWE. Retrieved on 2016-05-02.
  6. Foley, Mick. Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks (p.187)
  7. Daniel Bryan and John Laurinaitis are about to be in-laws . Retrieved on 2015-09-03.
  8. John Laurinaitis marries Bella Twin’s mother Kathy Colace . Gerweck.net (2016-03-25). Archived from the original on 2016-06-08. Retrieved on 2016-06-08. “John Laurinaitis, the former Raw General Manager and now a producer for WWE, got married to Kathy Colace yesterday. Colace is the mother of Nikki and Brie Bella. The two got hitched on a yacht in Ft Lauderdale, Florida, during a ceremony which was attended by several family and friends including John Cena.”
  9. Dynamic Dudes profile . Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved on 2009-11-20.
  10. Diamond Dallas Page's OWOW profile . Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved on 2009-07-31.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Umfeld « John Laurinaitis « Wrestler-Datenbank « CAGEMATCH. Cagematch.de. Retrieved on 2012-12-06.
  12. Themes « John Laurinaitis « Wrestler-Datenbank « CAGEMATCH. Cagematch.de. Retrieved on 2012-12-06.
  13. [1] UWF Blackjack Brawl 1 on September 23, 1994 Retrieved on 2015-15-09.
  14. All Asia Tag Team Title. Wrestling-titles.com. Retrieved on 2012-12-06.
  15. World Tag Team Title (All Japan Pro-Wrestling). Wrestling-titles.com (2012-10-30). Retrieved on 2012-12-06.
  16. Misc. All Japan Events . prowrestlinghistory.com. Retrieved on 2015-09-07.
  17. NWA Florida Tag Team Title. Wrestling-titles.com (2011-11-17). Retrieved on 2012-12-06.
  18. 18.0 18.1 Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). Wrestling Title Histories, 4th, Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4. 
  19. John Laurinaitis « Wrestlers Database « CAGEMATCH. Cagematch.net. Retrieved on 2012-12-06.
  20. Pro-Wrestling Illustrated 500 of the PWI Years . Pro-Wrestling Edge. Retrieved on 2008-06-02.
  21. Meltzer, Dave (January 23, 2013). "The 2012 Wrestling Observer Newsletter Annual Awards Issue". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Campbell, California. ISSN 1083-9593.