January 18, 2006
Comings and goings in WWEPrudius in, Heidenreich out
World Wrestling Entertainment's HR department was busy Tuesday, with two roster moves.
Early in the day, it was announced that Oleg Prudius had signed with the Fed.
Prudius first made headlines on WWE's website in 2005 when Jerry Jarrett visited the Stamford, CT. offices. In an article published on wwe.com on Tuesday, Jarrett was quoted as saying, "Oleg is quite an athlete. He's a World Champion [Sambo] wrestler and has played professional football in Germany. He's quite a specimen. He's 6-foot-6, 310 pounds and no body fat. He's an exceptional person and a special athlete."
Prudius, as noted in the WWE article, has not performed as a professional wrestler, but has a fighting background. As Jarrett noted, Prudius is a Sambo champ, having won the 2005 USA Open Heavyweight Sambo Championship. He is also, according to wwe.com, "a member of the Martial Arts League of America and the United States Kickboxing Association (USKBA) International Heavyweight Grappling Champion," and has been part of two Euro SuperBowl-winning teams.
While one former football player was hired, another was released, as John Heidenreich and WWE have parted ways.
The Fed announced later on Tuesday that, "World Wrestling Entertainment has come to terms with Heidenreich on his release from the company. WWE wishes Heidenreich the best in all his future endeavors."
Heidenreich, a former Canadian Football League player, had been with WWE for a couple years. Initially appearing on TV with a shadow of mystery, Heidenreich was seen offering a promo video to company officials, including then Raw co-general manager Steve Austin, while talking about "little Johnny".
Though this character was short-lived, Heidenreich would later return to WWE TV, this time on Smackdown, managed by Paul Heyman. The association with the former head of ECW wouldn't last long, however, and soon Heidenreich was on his own, gaining popularity as he made "friends" throughout the Fed.
Heidenreich would later team with Animal in a quasi revival of the Legion of Doom. The pair would enjoy one run as tag team champions. The two had most recently been appearing on Velocity.
Jon Waldman has been with SLAM! since 2000.