March 17, 2006
REAL NAME: David Findlay
A second-generation wrestler, whose father was a promoter, David "Fit" Finlay began his career in his native Ireland in 1978, before moving to the U.K. later that same year. Trained for the ring by Ted Betley (who also trained the British Bulldogs), Finlay began wrestling under the Joint Promotions banner and was managed by his then-wife Princess Paula. Little is known about his early career until his June 1982 victory over Alan Kilby for the British Heavy Middleweight Championship. Finlay and Kilby would trade the title back and forth for several months, with Finlay enjoying four reigns with the title. Defeating Ringo Rigby in the finals of a tournament on February 24, 1982 in Oldham, England netted Finlay the British Light Heavyweight Championship.
In 1983, Finlay began facing Marty Jones, defeating Jones for the World Mid-Heavyweight title on May 10, 1983 and another reign as British Light Heavyweight Champion.
Finlay remained active wrestling in England as well as Germany over the next few years. On February 5, 1990, Finlay defeated Tony St. Clair in Croydon, England to win the British Heavyweight Championship. On June 23rd of that same year, he teamed with old foe Marty Jones to again defeat St. Clair and his partner Miles Zrno for the Catch Wrestling Association Tag Team titles in Graz, Austria.
A few months later, Zrno and Franz Schumann would defeat Jones and Finlay for the CWA Tag belts. Meanwhile, Schuman and Finlay would clash over the CWA Middleweight Championship, as Finlay began to concentrate more and more on CWA action, rather than in the United Kingdom. This would especially be true after Finlay lost the British Heavyweight Championship to Dave Taylor in 1991.
Finlay would end the year with a victory over Steven Wright in Bremen, Germany on December 21st to win the CWA World Middleweight Championship. Nearly a year later, on December 19, 1992, he defeated Eddie Gilbert to regain the title.
Returning to the CWA, Finlay picked up the CWA Intercontinental Championship and the CWA British Commonwealth belt, the latter coming on the heels of another victory over long-time foe Tony St. Clair. In all, it is said that Finlay won no less than 16 championships in Great Britain and Germany before heading to North America.
Finlay arrived as "The Belfast Bruiser" in WCW in 1995 and battled Steven Regal (now William Regal), with WCW playing up the natural English-Irish bad blood during the early part of his stay in the organization. In 1998, he would become part of the WCW TV title picture with Chris Benoit and Booker T, defeating Benoit for the title on May 4, 1998, then retaining the title while Benoit and Booker T had their best-of-seven series to name the number one contender. Booker T defeated Finlay for the championship on June 14, 1998.
Finlay would then begin wrestling in hardcore matches, winning the Hardcore Junkyard Invitational at Bash at the Beach 1999, thanks to help from David Taylor and Steven Regal. Finlay's trophy was stolen the next night on Nitro by Jimmy Hart and the First Family, leading to a feud between the two factions.
However, during a house show in Jackson, Mississippi, on July 25, 1999, Finlay would be sent through a table by Brian Knobbs and badly injured his leg, suffering a lacerated nerve in his knee and, at one point, being given only a 50% chance of ever walking again. Finlay would walk and in fact returned to WCW to attack, feud with and later team with Knobbs later that same year.
Finlay would continue to team with Knobbs and later feuded with Vampiro but got lost in the shuffle after Eric Bischoff and Vince Russo took over in April 2000. Finlay remained with WCW for a while, working hardcore matches, but soon left the company and returned to England.
After WCW folded, Finlay found work as a road agent for WWE, and was eventually put in charge of training the WWE Divas for their matches. He even wrestled on occassion, such as a WWE live event in Glasgow, Scotland in March 2004, when he defeated Jamie Knoble.
In late 2005, vignettes on Smackdown heralded the arrival of Finlay to the program. On January 20th, he made his return, getting disqualified for being too rough against Matt Hardy. Finlay continued his attack, showing the ref what rough was all about.
At No Way Out, Finlay interfered in the JBL/Lashley match, costing Lashley his winning streak. An enraged Lashley now had Finlay in his sights, but it was Finlay who won a lumberjack match against Lashley on Smackdown, to send Finlay to Wrestlemania 22.
Finlay would receive some unexpected help as a Leprechaun would appear from under the ring at key moments in his matches. On July 14th, Finlay shocked Lashley to win the United States championship. With Lashley out of action, Finlay has instead been defending the title against a former ally, William Regal.
Finlay would hold onto the belt for six weeks before losing it to Mr. Kennedy in a three-way match.
He would then feud with Batista and Bobby Lashley while aligning himself with King Booker and Regal. His attention then turned to John Cena and he wrestled against him in an eight-man elimination match at Survivor Series, a tag match at Armageddon, and lost to him in a singles match on Smackdown.
Finlay's short feuds with The Boogeyman and Undertaker took him to WrestleMania 23, where he lost in an eight-man Money in the Bank ladder match that Mr. Kennedy won.
His next major feud came against Kane after he accidentally slapped someone's drink over "The Big Red Machine." They would interfere in each other's matches and face each other in tag matches. Kane beat Finlay in one of their singles matches, but Finlay came out on top against Kane on TV in a Championship Competition Tournament and a Belfast Brawl.
Finlay would then turn his attention to Rey Mysterio, attacking him from behind and interfering with his matches. He'd wrestle Mysterio to a no-contest draw at No Mercy.