In January 2000, four Superstars left World Championship Wrestling in hopes of finding greater success and creative freedom in the tremendously popular and successful World Wrestling Entertainment. They were Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko and Perry Saturn.
Two were critically acclaimed for their in-ring exploits and championship victories, another found greater success working behind the scenes as a ring agent.
The other, Perry Saturn, struggled to make it in Vince McMahon's promotion, floating around aimlessly and never really achieving the glory he did in WCW and Extreme Championship Wrestling.
But success, or lack thereof, in one promotion does not a career make. The fact of the matter is that Saturn, throughout the second half of the 1990s, was one of the more relevant stars in WCW and ECW. Enjoying championship glory as both a singles and tag team competitor, he was a significant contributor to the quality of those companies' midcards.
While his WWE career may not have panned out as he had hoped, there is no denying the mark that Saturn left on professional wrestling during its height of popularity.
Under the Learning Tree
Saturn broke into the industry in 1988, training for the mat wars under WWE Hall of Famer Killer Kowalski. There, he learned the toughness that would be essential to making it in the business. It was also as a trainee in the Massachusetts-based school that he earned his ring name.
A year into his career, he made his debut for the United States Wrestling Association, owned and operated by Jerry Jarrett.
It was there that he met the man who would eventually become John Kronus and formed the Eliminators tag team team. The young duo grew and developed to the point that they were rewarded with a USWA Tag Team Championship run. To capture those titles, they were put over "Hot Stuff" Eddie Gilbert and Brian Christopher, son of legendary Memphis star and promoter Jerry Lawler.
There were never any intentions for Saturn to enjoy any sort of success when he arrived in Philadelphia to work for Paul Heyman and ECW. In fact, he and partner Kronus were meant to do the job for Rick and Scott Steiner at an ECW Arena show in 1995.
So impressed was Heyman with the team and their work, though, that he opted to not only keep them, but to build his tag team division around them.
Feuds with The Gangstas and the Pitbulls helped the Eliminators achieve credibility and popularity with the hardcore wrestling fans in South Philly.
With a devastating double-team finishing maneuver known as Total Elimination, Saturn and Kronus began racking up wins before achieving the glory of holding the promotion's tag team titles. Between 1996 and '97, they held the gold three times, establishing themselves as one of the premiere tandems in the industry.
Their matches with the Dudley Boyz, Terry Gordy and Steve Williams, and Sabu and Rob Van Dam only continued building momentum for the duo as the height of wrestling popularity and the Monday Night Wars began.
Unfortunately for fans of the duo and tag team wrestling in general, their partnership would not last.
In 1997, Eric Bischoff and WCW would come calling, offering Saturn the opportunity to jump ship and make more money than he ever could have imagined. He took the offer, splitting the Eliminators up for good.
World Championship Wrestling
Perry Saturn made his debut with the Ted Turner-owned wrestling company in 1997 and was immediately thrown into a storyline with fellow ECW alumni Raven.
While he was part of the Flock faction, he was more of a loner than his teammates. Guys like Billy Kidman, Scotty Riggs, Reese and Van Hammer were devoted to the master manipulator Raven. Saturn, on the other hand, was friends with the guy, but there was always an underlying tension between them.
Still, he wasted very little time capturing his first singles championship in WCW, defeating the goofy Disco Inferno to capture the television title. Underrated about the Saturn character at that time was what he was able to do for the Disco character.
Up to that point, Disco Inferno was a comedic act. He was stupid, and the fans treated him as such. But by the time he found himself paired up with Saturn, the dancing fool began to show a more aggressive and serious side. In fact, during is feud with Saturn, he became a popular babyface and really enjoyed the greatest streak of his career from a quality standpoint.
It was only a matter of time before the issues between Saturn and Raven bubbled to the surface.
In 1998, Saturn defeated his former friend to not only win his freedom from The Flock, but the freedom of every man that followed the cult-like leader.
From there, he segued into a rivalry with Chris Jericho that was, arguably, his finest. After losing a "Loser Wears a Dress" match to the cocky, arrogant Canadian, Saturn sported a dress and white contact lenses, becoming a more gothic and disturbed character than anything WCW was used to at that point.
He reunited with Raven to challenge Dean Malenko and Chris Benoit of the Four Horsemen for the tag titles. They wrestled a near-classic at the Spring Stampede pay-per-view in April 1999 but failed to take the gold.
The arrival of Vince Russo to WCW led to the formation of a faction that included Saturn, Benoit, Malenko and mouthpiece "The Franchise" Shane Douglas. Together they were recognized as The Revolution and primarily feuded with the Filthy Animals.
At Mayhem in November 1999, Saturn picked up the win for his team in an elimination tag match after he pinned the innocent Torrie Wilson.
By January 2000, he would jump at the opportunity to leave WCW and venture into the great unknown of WWE.
From the start, Saturn was portrayed as the lesser of the four competitors who invaded WWE as The Radicalz. It was clear that the writing staff had big plans for Eddie Guerrero and the aforementioned Benoit, but Saturn, along with Malenko, sort of floated around the midcard without any real direction early in 2000.
At least Malenko had the lightheavyweight title to keep him occupied, though. Saturn was treated very much like the second fiddle to Guerrero and Benoit.
That is, until he was joined by the voluptuous Terri Runnels and began a nice little run through the midcard, culminating with a European Championship win over Guerrero at the Fully Loaded pay-per-view that July.
After dropping the title, though, he returned to the lower midcard, directionless while his fellow former WCW mates achieved great things elsewhere. Even a Radicalz reunion late in 2000 could not bring Saturn any real extended television time or significant push.
He would become a fixture of the hardcore division, then establish a tag team with Dean Malenko that would give both grizzled veterans something to do.
Finally, in 2001, he would be given a character that would give him the opportunity to get over with the audience at large.
Even if it may have resulted in one of the most embarrassing periods of his career.
In May 2001, Saturn took a nasty powerbomb from Bradshaw during a tag team match against the APA. In the weeks that proceeded that bout, the former ECW and WCW breakout star demonstrated signs of being knocked loopy, ordering crayons for dinner off of a restaurant menu and spouting off random lines such as, "rabbits eat radishes so they can have babies."
He would end every bit of rambling, useless information with "you're welcome," all the while staring into space.
This ultimately led to the split of Saturn and Terri and a feud between the two, as the management recruited Raven to fight on her behalf.
To really ignite the rivalry, Raven and Terri kidnapped Moppy, a mop with a cardboard face that Saturn had been referring to as his girlfriend. From there, they proceeded to send the maintenance item through the wood chipper, drawing the first bit of emotion out of Saturn in months.
A one-time blow-off between the once extreme stars came at Unforgiven in September 2001, when Saturn defeated Raven.
With the issues surrounding concussions in sports really gaining some steam, and questions about WWE's use of them to initiate a comedic character, the decision was made to drop the character. By 2002, Saturn was left to wallow in the undercard once again.
This time, he would have no way out and by the end of the year, he would part ways with the promotion, bringing an end to his career as a mainstream performer.