John Heidenreich wore many hats during his tenure in World Wrestling Entertainment, a real jack of all trades. Paul Heyman guy. Poet. Road Warrior. Rapist. This big man did it all.
Entering arenas to the abrasive sounds of his name being repeated in rhythmic fashion “HEIDEN-HEIDENREICH, HEIDEN-REICH,” poor John was doomed from the start. Heidenreich made his first appearance in the fall of 2003, asking Steve Austin for a tryout match on Raw. It was at this time that the audience first learned of Little Johnny, a mysterious voice that guided Heidenreich’s behavior. While it’s probably safe to assume that this was a figment of his own imagination (Heidenreich all but confirmed as much years later), the story went the way of G-TV and was dropped before any on-air resolution was established. A couple of months later, Heidenreich moved to the Smackdown brand. With Paul Heyman as his new handler, logic would dictate that Heidenreich could find success as a strong silent monster for whom Heyman would advocate. Despite having the best mouthpiece in the business at his side, though, Heidenreich still did his own talking … in the form of poems. When he was working as a heel, his “disasterpiece” poems were about destroying his opponents and hating the world. When he was a babyface, he’d recite verses on topics like friendship and farts, clearly things that wrestling fans would be interested to hear.
It was during this stage of Heidenreich’s career that he engaged in his most memorable angle – the rape of Michael Cole. Assaulting Cole in the backstage area during a Smackdown taping in the summer of 2004, Heidenreich pinned his victim against a wall. Thrusting and breathing heavily all the while, Johnny boy spoke longingly to Cole about their mutual wants and desires before reading him one of his poems. Years later, Heidenreich was quoted as saying “I’m just happy I was doing the raping and not getting raped.”
Despite an extended program with the Undertaker, Heidenreich never found his footing on Smackdown. There was nearly a WrestleMania match that would have pitted the Brothers of Destruction against Heidenreich and fellow weirdo Gene Snitsky, but it was eventually dropped in favor of Undertaker vs Randy Orton. After this, Heidenreich was firmly cemented into the lower mid-card. He did taste gold alongside Road Warrior Animal in the summer of 2005, winning the tag team titles and even becoming an honorary Legion of Doom member. Like the Ascension today, the iconic should spikes and face paint did not treat Heidenreich well, and within 6 months, he was gone from the company.
The thing about Heidenreich is that he wasn’t just a guy with a bad gimmick. He was one man who was somehow saddled with innumerable bad gimmicks in rapid succession over a three year span. Almost every segment he appeared in was an unmitigated disaster, as if the WWE was going out of their way to one-up themselves on the silliness scale. To put this in perspective, I’ll leave you with an actual excerpt from Heidenreich’s Wikipedia entry:
“Heidenreich went on to feud with MNM (Melina, Johnny Nitro, and Joey Mercury) after they attacked him while he was eating chocolate with the divas, during an event in Hershey, Pennsylvania.”
It was as weird as it sounds, folks. Video evidence below.