The Best Damn Best Man Ever

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July 29, 2007

Wedding plans for SmackDown General Manager Theodore Long and WWE Diva Kristal are in full bloom, and another piece of the puzzle was put together Friday night. During SmackDown, the GM asked long-time friend and associate Ron Simmons to be his best man. Genuinely touched by the request, Simmons accepted, needing only to give Long a one-word answer: "DAMN!"

When it comes to wedding parties, choosing the best man is quite an intricate process. Usually reserved for a male relative or best friend, it's a position that requires someone the groom can count on to help with many important details (like, for instance, the bachelor party).

So for those who have followed sports-entertainment fervently over the last quarter-century (or those who have done their homework to seem as such), Teddy Long's choice of Ron Simmons isn't a surprise at all.

"Let's talk about Ron Simmons; I've known him for over 20 years," Long told WWE.com. "There's so much history between Ron and myself that I don't think I could've made a better choice as my best man."

How much history do they share? Let's take a trip down memory lane, shall we?

Picture it: Atlanta, 1986. The National Wrestling Alliance (later known as WCW) hires a young man named Theodore R. Long as a referee. That same year, a former college football All-American named Ron Simmons makes his sports-entertainment debut in the NWA.

Fast forward about four years. After toiling as a masked duo for the better part of 1989, Simmons and partner Butch Reed, known collectively as Doom, ditched the masks and hooked up with Long, who had entered the managerial ranks after being relieved of his refereeing duties. The following May, Doom defeated The Steiner Brothers to become the first African-American team to win the WCW World Tag Team Championship.

Nearly a year later, the team would self-destruct after a loss to The Fabulous Freebirds, with Long siding with Reed. That wouldn't be the last they'd see of each other, however; Simmons and Long both worked for WCW until the mid-90s, and Long was there when Ron became the first African-American World Heavyweight Champion in history on August 8, 1992. When Simmons joined WWE in 1996, Long -- once again a referee -- followed soon after, and both have been with the company ever since.

In short, they've been good friends forever, at times the best of friends. Therefore, it seems like Ron is the perfect candidate to be Long's best man, a fact the General Manager himself agreed with. And while the excitement of marrying his true love is the most important part of the wedding, Long is almost as excited to have Simmons by his side while he does so.

"Like I said, I don't think I could have made a better choice," Long said. "To have Ron there with me, standing by my side for the biggest moment of my life…I can't wait."

Long also echoes that statement in the latest edition of fiancée Kristal's new blog Wedding Belle, which can also be read here on WWE.com. She supports Long's choice, although, if the rest of the wedding party includes other former associates of the General Manager - such as Norman the Lunatic, Johnny B. Badd and The One Man Gang - poor Kristal might adopt the best man's signature phrase.

Hey, if anything, come wedding day, the best man's toast shouldn't be too lengthy, leaving Long and Kristal more time to bask in their newly-cemented matrimony.

Check out Ron Simmons Damn t-shirt...

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