On June 19, Ron "R-Truth" Killings will wrestle his first WWE singles match for the WWE Championship at Capitol Punishment. For a guy who seemed destined for mid-card hell his rise to the top might seem surprising, at the very least.
It was only this past February that R-Truth stood in front of a live audience on an episode of Raw from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and belted to the top of his lungs "GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN!!!! WHAT'S UP!!!"
It was at that very moment that Killings career in the WWE seemed sealed. Michael Cole proceeded to bury him on commentary, not to mention he was promptly jobbed out of the Elimination Chamber match a couple weeks later within a matter of minutes and his WrestleMania duties were limited to the pre-show jobber battle royal.
Truth's little faux pas in Green B--- err, Milwaukee seemed to be stifling his already lackluster WWE career.
What we did not know at the time, however, was that Truth's moment was on the horizon. A week after Mania, Truth found himself in a gauntlet match to determine The Miz's next opponent for the WWE Championship.
To everyone's surprise, Truth pinned Dolph Ziggler and John Morrison consecutively. He wrestled his last opponent in the gauntlet, John Cena, to a double disqualification due to outside interference from Miz an Alex Riley.
As a result, a triple threat match between Cena, Miz and Truth was scheduled. The next week, John Morrison weaseled Truth into wrestling him in a match for Truth's spot in the three way match and won. We all know what happened next.
Truth snapped! He beat down John Morrison after their match and then puffed on a celebratory cig as if he just gave Halle Berry the thrill of her life. Who was this new R-Truth? What made him tick?
Over the course of the month Truth would take out Morrison again and Rey Mysterio and explain how he was tired of being overlooked and that smiling and rapping to the fans got him nowhere.
Fast forward to a few weeks later, We have John Cena vs. R-Truth as the main event for Capitol Punishment. While on the surface, this feud seems like it's only weeks in the making, Killings and Cena have had a rivalry outside of the WWE that had been brewing years before their paths ever crossed in the WWE.
To understand the significance of the Cena/Truth rivalry, one has to know the series of events and set of circumstances that led to Ron Killings' current WWE stint. Ladies and gentlemen, let the slideshow begin!
Killings made his wrestling debut for National Championship Wrestling (later renamed NWA Wildside) as K-Krush, where he was paired with the very animated Jeff G. Bailey.
Krush was billed as a rapper signed to Ca$h Money Records and a WWE bound superstar who was the "greatest African American Athlete on the planet" As seen in this video, their promos consisted of a lot of race baiting and venom.
His first feud of note was with AJ Styles where they feuded for the companies Television Championship. After a few back and fourth title exchanges with Styles, Killings eventually made his way to then WWE developmental territory, Memphis Championship Wrestling.
In MCW, he became a two-time MCW Southern Heavyweight Champion and it wasn't long after, he was called up to the WWE main roster in late 1999.
Killings, rebranded as K-Kwik (a happy go-lucky rapper) was paired with Road Dogg Jesse James. Here's a clip of the two rapping on an episode of Heat:
Kinda corny, right? Anway....
The duo had a brief less than memorable feud with the Radicalz that led up to a Survivor Series match that pitted Road Dogg, K-Kwik, Chyna and Billy Gunn against Perry Saturn, Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit.
Once the feud with the Radicalz died down, Kwik and Road Dogg had another forgettable mini feud, this time with Edge and Christian (Ah, that acting from Debra.. Look out, Meryl Streep!).
Soon after, Road Dogg was released by WWE and Kwik became an island unto himself, mainly wrestling on WWE's then mid-carder/jobber shows Sunday Night Heat and Jakked and winning the worthless, Hardcore title twice, before being released in late 2001.
By the Summer of 2002 Killings made his debut with the upstart Nashville-based company NWA -Total Nonstop Action (Later renamed TNA) under his former moniker, K-Krush.
Krush immediately established himself as a heel by making fun of NASCAR drivers, Sterling Martin and Hermie Sadler, an easy way to get heat in Music City.
As seen in the video above, Killings new how to work the country Nashville crowd, and give credit to Hermie Sadler also. He was one of the better celebrities to appear on a wrestling show.
He would drop the "K-Krush" name and adopted the more serious Ron "The Truth" Killings
Killings would go on to win the grandest prize in TNA at the time, The NWA World Championship, on two separate occasions.
While Killings was establishing himself in TNA as the resident wrestler/rapper. A guy in WWE by the name of John Cena was on the rise.
Cena began his gimmick as a rapper in WWE on a Halloween episode of Smackdown. What started off as a goofy gimmick turned into super stardom for John Cena..
His star was quickly rising and the fans were taking a liking to his freestyle disses to the point where the brass in the WWE has no choice but to turn him face.
Cena began to be featured more predominantly on WWE TV and by the end of 2004, it was apparent that 2005 would mean big things for him and his career.
As Cena's WWE career progressed he became less of a hardcore rapper and more of a corporate puppet. WWE began phasing out the rapping aspect of his character and began marketing him to small children and teeny boppers.
Killings took exception to John Cena's meteoric rise to the top in WWE. Killings was originally WWE's resident rapper before John Cena. A few years earlier Killings was released by WWE with the excuse being that WWE creative had nothing for him.
So Killings takes his ball, goes to TNA and gets so over as a heel rapper that he is turned into a face. Do you see the parallels? Perhaps Killings resented the WWE for firing him and then bringing in Cena to do, essentially, the same gimmick.
Maybe the creative team in the WWE thought they could get more mileage out of the gimmick with Cena than they could out of Killings.
In any case, Killings let it be known that he thought Cena was a phony and even wrote a few diss raps directed toward his former employer and Cena here's part 2 of Truth's message to Cena:
What'chu know about that, what'chu know about that--- Oh, sorry about that. It's just when I hear that beat I have to bust a rhyme, anywho...
Killings even went as far as to challenge Cena to a freestyle battle. Cena actually responded to Killings and said that he "never turns down a battle."
Cena and Killings would eventually cross paths at the Douglas International Airport in Charlotte. According to reports
"Cena simply stared Killings down waiting for him to say something in person. Killings then reportedly returned with a stare to Cena as well, in what was described as a very tense moment. The two later went their separate ways, with sources saying there was no physical interaction between the two at all." (source: PWInsider)
Killings took exception to the way the encounter was reported and released the following statement via his official myspace page
John Cena did'nt approach me 'Ron Killings' about sh$%# at the airport,,infact,,this is second run in that we've had..First one was kind of a calling his bluff type thang....even tryin to comunicate with him to see what's up with what i've been hearing,,also all the interviews he did supposely calling me out..Big Mistake,,
Then he leaves voice messages on my cell talking about battleing me and about thrashing my ass,,not to mention people he's done interviews with tell me John Cena wanted us to call you so he could battle you.....Man Please!!
He did what he should've done,,and that's nothing!!I wish he would try to play that battle rap sh$%# with me,,I'll just eat his ass alive,and spit and sh#$% out the pieces i dont like,,Just like I told him,, He's a Punk ass,,rap wanna be ME!
WOW! That sounds kind of heavy! Jay-Z and Nas got nothing on these two! Whether this was a publicity stunt by the two rivals or not, from the average Internet wrestling fan's perspective, this seemed like a genuine beef that these two had.
Cena would go on to win multiple WWE Championships while Ron Killings would remain a player in TNA. Killings was eventually reunited with Road Dogg now known as BG James, and together with Konan they would form the 3 Live Kru.
Once that group disbanded Killings' TNA career began to wane. He partnered with Sting to take on Jeff Jarrett's band of misfits and even had one more title match at Slammiversary '06.
By 2007, Killings began lobbying for his release from TNA after months of back and forth with TNA management, a few ridiculous storylines, including a stupid partnership with Adam "Pacman" Jones that saw them win the tag titles. Killings was granted his release in December.
A series of vignettes began to air on WWE Smackdown showcasing Ron Killings this time rebranded as R-Truth.
Ahh, inspiring! Thanks for the life lessons, R-Truth.
No mention of his previous WWE stint was ever mentioned though R-Truth was very similar to "K-Kwik" (except cornier, believe it or not) and the WWE chose not to exploit his real-life rivalry with Cena.
Truth quickly established himself as someone who was ALWAYS in a good mood no matter what. R-Truth was the kind of guy who could be viciously attacked by Drew McIntyre one week and rap his way to the ring (smiling all the way) before a match with him the next.
I swear it seemed like Truth never met a grin that he didn't like. Truth was giving his former cross-promotional John Cena, a run for his money as the most corny wrestler on the planet except in the case of Truth, he was not getting a monumental push.
From day one, Truth was made to look like a buffoon as seen in this gawd awful vignette of him as the Delicious One himself, Pretty Ricky - riiiiiiiight? But WAIT! THERE's MORE!!! and more... ugh. These videos were abominable on so many levels! It really felt like someone on WWE creative had a vendetta against Ron Killings.
Man, I felt so sorry for Jim Ross having to give credence to this tripe on commentary. My disgust at this whole stint is enough for a separate article in itself! but anyway, I digress. In spite of all of this nonsense, Truth endured and even manage to get over with the so-called WWE Universe.
He was eventually paired with John Morrison in a part time tag team and had adequate feuds on Smackdown with Shelton Benjamin, MVP and Drew McIntyre, but nothing to write home about.
Truth was eventually drafted to RAW. On Raw, he beat the Miz for the vacated U.S Title, his crowning achievement in WWE up until that point. I am guessing it was around this time that R-Truth and John Cena developed a real life friendship.
The Internet began posting stories of a budding friendship between the two and fellow rapper/wrestler MVP began tweeting about a single that he Truth, and Cena recorded together signalling that the two rapper/wrestlers had squashed their real life beef and became friends, or at least reached common ground.
This off screen friendship began to be showcased on television with Truth acting as a backstage confidant (almost a lackey) to Cena during his angle with the Nexus. At this point, it seemed as though the WWE's creative team was actively trying to make R-Truth goofier with each passing week.
Fast forward to present-day WWE Cena, still the number one face of the company is in a rivalry with R-Truth, the current No. 1 heel in the company.
R-Truth's character has undergone a metamorphosis and now has a clear motivation. He wants respect and he wants the WWE Title and he does not care who he has to step on to achieve his goals. Ron Killings, the performer, has turned skeptics into believers.
Within a matter of months he went from the mid-card goof that can't remember the name of the city he is in, to a credible main eventer to challenge John Cena for his title.
He also becomes one of the few African American wrestlers in the WWE to challenge for the WWE Championship on a Pay Per View in a singles match.
While it might be hard for many of us to think WWE is actually serious about pushing Truth due to the go and stop pushes of many wrestlers in the past five years (Dolph Ziggler, Sheamus, Kofi Kingston, etc.), the fact of the matter is that at this very moment, R-Truth is without a doubt the top heel in the company.
And how apropos is it, that Truth's first singles match as a main eventer is with John Cena? A man who has been his cross-promotional counterpart for many years?
To the television audience this feud between Cena and Killings is brand new. To Internet fans, this match has been brewing for quite some time. The various twists and turns in each man's wrestling career has led them to this very moment.
While Cena vs. Truth is definitely no Hogan vs. Flair, there is a storied history between the two that transcends WWE Television.
After over 12 years in the wrestling business and a cross-promotional rivalry with Cena that began over 8 years ago, Ron Killings' moment of truth has come against his longtime rival/friend, John Cena. This, my friends, has the potential to be epic.