Where Are They Now?: Simon Dean

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August 06, 2014

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Simon Dean

The patrons at Louisville, Ky.’s Woodforest National Bank might not know it, but before he became the bank manager helping them with their loans, Mike Bucci spent the previous 15 years as a superhero, a Hulk Hogan impersonator and the most obnoxious fitness instructor since Tony Little. For Bucci, the road from the ring to the bank took many twists and turns, some of which he least expected.

Growing up in Toms River, N.J., Mike Bucci was a huge wrestling fan. With ease, he can recall the first match he ever watched — Pedro Morales vs. The Magnificent Muraco. Though he was passionate in following the exploits of his favorite grapplers, the idea of entering the ring himself seemed out of reach for a Jersey kid with a normal upbringing.

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“It was an impossible dream,” Bucci told WWE.com.  “I didn’t think I could do it until the end of high school [in 1990].”

That was when he discovered that journeyman grappler “Iron” Mike Sharpe had opened up a wrestling school in nearby Bricktown, N.J. Bucci and his brother, Donnie, would go to the eccentric grappler’s school and watch him train wrestlers. After a week, “Iron” Mike asked Bucci if he wanted to get in the ring and give it a try.

“After the first lesson, I loved it,” he exclaimed.

He continued training, but wrestling was just a hobby for Bucci at that time.

“I was working full-time at Wendy’s and going to school to get my math degree,” Bucci said. “I thought wrestling was going to be a part-time thing, like some guys do bowling leagues or softball.”

It seemed as though the more Bucci convinced himself wrestling would be anything but a career, the more it became clear that a life in the squared circle was his destiny. Any time WWE’s tour stopped within driving distance of Sharpe’s camp, “Iron” Mike would take Bucci and his other students to get them work with the biggest company in sports-entertainment. While it probably wasn’t fun getting bulldozed by guys like Ludvig Borga and Adam Bomb, the experience was invaluable.

Watch Ludvig Borga take on Mike Bucci on WWE Network

Meanwhile, Bucci was developing his own unique persona on the independents. Taking a cue from another passion of his — comic books — he created the off-kilter caped crusader known as Super Nova.

“The vein in which I did it was Adam West in ‘Batman’ — tongue-in-cheek, an almost goofy kind of superhero,” he said. “That’s what got me noticed by Raven. He saw me and invited me to come to ECW.”

As Super Nova, Bucci began hanging around ECW with the grungy Raven and his goofy sidekicks, The Blue Meanie and Stevie Richards. The silly trio often did pop culture parodies of groups like KISS and The Jackson 5 away from their leader, which made them extra popular with the South Philadelphia faithful.

However, it was a goof on the biggest trio in sports-entertainment that helped propel them into wrestling history.

“It might have been Bubba Ray Dudley who said, ‘The only thing that would be better than KISS is if you parody The nWo,’” Bucci recalled. “We were joking about it, but I went home and made all the signs. We planned everything out.”

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