Where Are They Now? Chuck Palumbo

Page 2 of 3
September 25, 2012

Billy & Chuck

Before they could reach their apex however, the sports-entertainment industry changed forever. WWE purchased WCW in March 2001, leaving many WCW stars wondering what their future would hold. The mood in the locker room was somber, according to Palumbo.

“I think people were bummed for the most part,” he said. “For a company that was so big and so dominating and so successful to dwindle down to closing was sad.”

Though many WCW competitors’ futures were up in the air, Palumbo soon found out that he would be part of the group coming over to WWE. But when he finally joined WWE on the road as part of the invading WCW/ECW Alliance in summer 2001, Palumbo didn’t quite get the welcome he expected.

“I was thinking we’ll come over and they’ll be glad to have us all,” he said. “Not all, but most of [the WWE Superstars] were like, ‘Whoa, this is our company, you have to prove yourself.’ ”

Palumbo, still a youngster in the wrestling industry, worked hard to show the WWE talent he belonged. Several veterans took notice.

“I was very fortunate to work with guys like Mr. Perfect, Billy Gunn and Ron Simmons, guys who had been around a long time,” Palumbo told WWEClassics.com. “Those guys, in particular, were very good to me as far as giving me guidance.”

Some of Palumbo’s WCW co-workers, however, didn’t fit in quite as nicely.

“We had some guys in WCW who were spoiled with the working conditions and very light schedule,” he explained. “When you come over [to WWE], they’re a strong believer in Live Events, having guys out on the road. Once you get into that routine and you can prove that you deserve to be there, everything’s cool.”

After the Invasion ended, Palumbo found himself without direction, when a makeshift pairing with multi-time World Tag Team Champion Billy Gunn turned into something much bigger.

“I think it was just an idea that Sgt. Slaughter had,” he said. “He was joking around about it, ‘Let’s have these guys with platinum blond hair and robes’ in one of Mr. McMahon’s meetings before the show and it happened that quick.”

The infamous duo known as Billy and Chuck was born. Palumbo dyed his hair to match Gunn’s, the pair got identical headbands with their names emblazoned on them and the rest was history. The fashion-conscious duo, guided by their stylist, Rico, dominated the tag team scene for most of 2002, winning the World Tag Team Titles on two occasions (WATCH), even taking on American hero Hulk Hogan and Edge on the Independence Day edition of SmackDown. (WATCH)

“We had a blast,” Palumbo said of his team with Gunn. “It started out as a joke and turned into this big thing.”

After the partnership with Gunn ended, Palumbo joined up with Johnny Stamboli and Nunzio, The Full Blooded Italians, before he was released in November 2004.

He competed in promotions around the world, including All Japan Pro Wrestling for several years before he was contacted by WWE again in 2007 to see if he had any interest in returning. After finishing up his commitments in Japan and Mexico, Palumbo headed right to a WWE SmackDown taping, competed against Rob Van Dam and was offered a deal to return, which he accepted. Now, he needed a way to get noticed after several years away. Palumbo knew just what to do.

“At the time, I was building motorcycles in my garage as a hobby. I’d grown up around them,” Palumbo said. “I just had a cover feature in American Iron Magazine. So I showed Mr. McMahon and asked ‘What do you think about me just being myself?’ He loved it.”

So Palumbo went full-throttle onto Friday nights, riding one of his custom motorcycles to the ring before unleashing his bruising blows on opponents. (WATCH) For Palumbo, being able to be himself was a welcome change.

The motorcycle-riding brawler soon struck up a romance with Michelle McCool, which led to a rivalry with Jamie Noble, who was trying to woo the Diva, as well. After their battles died down, Palumbo was sidelined by a shoulder injury. While rehabbing, he was let go by WWE, more or less ending Palumbo’s career as a full-time grappler.

“I didn’t really stop wrestling, but I took some time off and never picked up full speed again,” he said. “I wrestle once in a great while, to have a little fun, travel and see the boys.”