R-Truth: 10 Career-Defining Moments
I have recently decided to start a series of articles that will focus on the career-defining moments of individual wrestlers.
For every main-event star that has made their mark in the wrestling business, there are moments that, when you look back, define the directions that their career has taken.
I am talking about moments like the iconic "Austin 3:16" promo or Shawn Michaels kicking Marty Jannetty through the "Barber Shop" window, turning points in the respective careers of two icons.
Today's feature is a man whose recent gimmick change has elevated him to heights that nobody ever thought possible.
I am talking, of course, about R-Truth, who went from mid-card babyface rapper to main-event heel psychopath in a matter of weeks.
This just goes to show that a change in character can work wonders and transform an ageing wrestler that was heading nowhere except into mid card obscurity into one of the most cutting-edge superstars in the WWE.
Here are 10 moments that have defined his long career in the wrestling business up to this point.
1. Wins Hardcore Title as K-Kwik: 2001
Many current WWE fans are unaware that Ron Killings actually enjoyed a fairly successful run in the WWF back in the "Attitude Era."
His character was named K-Kwik and he was the tag team partner of the New Age Outlaw and DX member, Roaddogg.
Killings did not set the world on fire during this run and was eventually released but not before he defeated Raven for the Hardcore Championship.
This was a sign of things to come and although his WWF days were numbered, the victory over the respected ECW original defined this portion of his career.
2. Defeats Ken Shamrock to Win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship: 2002
Killings was a fixture on the independent scene and eventually became a mainstay on the roster of the growing company,Total Nonstop Action.
He debuted for the fledgling TNA promotion in 2002 and quickly established himself as one of their more established stars.
It was at this point in his career that he first started to refer to himself as "the Truth" after a promo where he implied he had been held back in his wrestling career because of his race.
He would then go on to wrestle former WWF star, Ken Shamrock, for the NWA World Heavyweight title at NWA-TNA 8 in July 2002.
In perhaps the proudest moment of his career and arguably his greatest ever achievement to date, Killings defeated Shamrock to become the first-ever recognised African-American NWA World Heavyweight Champion.
Killings would leave Jeff Jarrett's brainchild in 2007 as a two time World Heavyweight Champion and a multiple time tag team champion ready to once again make an impact in Vince McMahon's company.
3. Returns to WWE as R-Truth: 2008
The debut of the R-Truth character represented a new beginning and a fresh opportunity for the man formerly known as K-Kwik.
It gave him a second chance to forge a successful WWE career and his rapper gimmick became very popular with the fans.
Truth was barely pushed in his first year back and was hardly ever involved in meaningful storylines over on SmackDown in 2008.
But his increasing popularity and evident in-ring ability made it inevitable that at some point he would get his chance to shine.
4. Teams with His Friend John Morrison: At WrestleMania: 2010
The first high-profile storyline involving R-Truth took place in the build-up to WrestleMania 26 as WWE Creative decided to do something with these two popular faces besides sticking them in the Money in the Bank ladder match.
Truth and Morrison were revealed to be close friends backstage and formed a makeshift tag team that would pave the way for R-Truth's WrestleMania debut.
Ultimately Truth and Morrison were unsuccessful in winning the tag titles from ShowMiz but it was the beginning of an alliance that would last, in one way or another, for over a year.
This friendship would also sow the seeds for R-Truth's career-defining moment to date with the WWE.
5. Wins United States Title from the Miz: 2010
The R-Truth character was still popular but there was a feeling that the rapper gimmick would never elevate him above the mid card.
There was a horrible experiment with a new theme song and Truth's career was seemingly plummeting with Eve Torres as a valet.
But he was given a short United States title reign to show that he could still impress.
It was his first singles championship in his second stint with the company and it meant even more considering he beat a long-term US Champion in the Miz.
This remains the only singles championship that R-Truth has held in his WWE career but it seems unlikely that, with his recent push, he will retire without winning further gold.
6. Becomes a Part of Team WWE Against the Nexus at Summerslam: 2010
Just when it appeared as if R-Truth was starting to become irrelevant on Monday Night Raw, he became embroiled in the over-arching storyline that dominated the WWE in 2010.
The Nexus' attempted takeover of Raw and repeated attacks on John Cena and other WWE alumni led to a team being formed at SummerSlam to take Barrett's men down.
Truth needed to be involved in this storyline or he really would have taken a backseat and could even have been released.
But in this scenario he furthered his relationship with John Morrison, became more of a serious character and took part in the main event of one the "Big Four" pay-per-views of the year.
There was also some important interaction with John Cena in the build-up to Survivor Series where Truth tried to make his friend do the right thing.
This made R-Truth seem like an important player and kept him relevant on a show where so many have faded into obscurity.
7. Turns Heel by Attacking John Morrison: 2011
At this point, I have to admit that I was never an R-Truth fan. I appreciated why his character was popular but I could never imagine him as being anything more than an enhancement talent, used to put over promising heels on their rise to main event prominence.
It was clear he had the in-ring skills but he was incoherent and unfunny on the mic, awful traits for a babyface, and he was already past his prime at the age of 39.
Ironically enough if John Morrison's infamous snubbing of Trish Stratus at WrestleMania 27 had not taken place, Truth may never have got the main event push he has since proved he deserved.
There was uproar when Truth was given the WWE title shot at Extreme Rules intended for Morrison and eventually the WWE allowed JoMo to win the opportunity back by goading and then beating his friend.
This proved too much for R-Truth who completely snapped and viciously assaulted his former best friend.
Truth had a manic look in his eye and I remember wondering at the time why the WWE had never turned him heel before.
He proved in subsequent weeks that he had the perfect mannerisms and attention to detail with his character to come across as an insane and unstable heel.
He put Morrison on the shelf with another bone-jarring attack and now I had been proved wrong and a main event push awaited.
8. Wrestles John Cena for the WWE Championship at Capitol Punishment: 2011
It was incredible to see the same Internet wrestling fans that were up in arms when R-Truth was first given a WWE title shot celebrate the day that Ron Killings was given a one-on-one match with Cena at Capitol Punishment.
Ever since Truth's heel turn, his mic skills had come on leaps and bounds and he was able to connect with the crowd like never before.
His feud with Cena was incredibly well-written as Truth attempted to expose a conspiracy to keep the belt on the man who all the "Little Jimmies" adored.
Some of his fan interaction in this period was exceptionally entertaining and there were some doubters that started to believe that he could actually beat Cena.
Ultimately he came up short but it was a first pay-per-view main event for the man that had come a long way since his spell as Roaddogg's understudy way back in 2002.
9. Forms an Alliance with the Miz and Gets Fired by Triple H: 2011
R-Truth's heel character was entertaining and often comical but he needed an edge if he was to continue his momentum.
This came about in an alliance with the Miz that became known as "Awesome Truth!"
Miz and Truth both blamed the conspiracy for restricting their appearances in the main event and started to issue overt challenges to Triple H's regime as COO.
At the Night of Champions PPV, they attacked referees and officials as well as interfering in the No Holds Barred match between Triple H and CM Punk.
The following night they were fired and they instantly became two of the most relevant and controversial characters in the over-arching storyline in the WWE.
They began to post videos on YouTube and made appearances at WWE live events disrupting the match results.
They then made their return at Hell in a Cell attacking all three of the competitors in the main event match.
Triple H and the entire WWE roster attempted to restrain these two outsiders but the cell was mysteriously lowered causing a delay while cutters were fetched.
Miz and Truth were arrested and assaulted by Triple H on their way out of the stadium in one of the most surreal and exciting ends to a pay-per-view in recent memory.
This sparked the "walk-out" angle that many felt was scrapped by the WWE before it could really gain its momentum and Miz and R-Truth were re-signed by John Laurinaitis.
10. Feuding with the Rock and John Cena in the Build-Up to Survivor Series: 2011
The duo of Awesome Truth, however, are still very much at the heartbeat of the action on Monday Night Raw.
Tonight at Survivor Series, they will take part in the biggest main event of the year as they face the team of John Cena and the Rock.
Two icons from different generations, WrestleMania opponents will team up inside Madison Square Garden to attempt to eradicate the cancer in the WWE that is Awesome Truth!
"Never Before, Never Again!" is the tagline and the fact is R-Truth has never before been involved in a match of such magnitude or hype.
The Rock's return sold out this PPV in 30 minutes and his eagerly anticipated return to the ring will be the show's focus but Truth and Miz can only benefit from working with one of the all-time greats.
At this point different predictions are floating around with the general consensus that either Cena or the Rock will turn on each other to cost themselves the match.
The implosion of this team would allow Miz and Truth to pick up a huge victory, one that they could brag about for the rest of their careers.
Whatever happens in New York, it is pretty clear that it will certainly be a career-defining night for Ron Killings.
Ron Killings has had a long career in wrestling and for the majority of that time he has played a backseat role.
Apart from his spell as an established main event talent in TNA, Truth had never really been at the forefront of any wrestling company.
But the run that he is enjoying at the moment is the most electrifying and exciting period in his entire career to date.
He is the perfect example of waiting your turn and paying your dues before finally being handed your big break.
R-Truth was given the ball to run with and he carried it all the way out of the stadium and now receives one of the biggest reactions in the company every time he shows his face.
The next article in this series will cover the career of "Captain Charisma" Christian and, as always, feel free to post suggestions in the comments section.
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