In late 1999 Rhyno made his debut in Extreme Championship Wrestling. At first, he would lose to the likes of Taz, Sabu, Jerry Lynn and Spike Dudley among several others. He essentially paid his dues to be part of the company. Once that happened, Rhyno made a splash.
By the end of 1999 Rhyno was associated with Steve Corino and the Impact Players. They would win a six man tag about Raven, Tommy Dreamer and the Sandman at November 2 Remember 1999. Arguably November to Remember was seen as ECW’s WrestleMania. Well, at least that’s my opinion on the matter. It was a statement for that young group.
Rhyno would breakout during the final year for ECW. It can be safe to say that Rhyno is the one man who’s career would have skyrocketed if ECW had stayed afloat. Rhino made it to the finals of the ECW Television Championship tournament early in 2000 but lost to Super Crazy at Living Dangerously.
At the time, Rhyno was feuding with the Sandman and had attacked his wife several times. On several occasions Rhyno gored his wife through a table and even hit a piledriver off the apron through a table on the floor as well. Rhyno would win seemingly every match he had with the Sandman, and the matches were never overly long.
By April, Rhyno won the ECW Television Championship by beating Tajiri (he had beaten Crazy). This would set up a feud with Rob Van Dam who had to vacate the championship due to breaking his ankle in a match with Rhyno. Naturally, Rhyno took credit for breaking RVD’s ankle, though RVD broke it himself on a baseball slide.
Rhyno would lose the ECW Television Championship to Kid Kash in late August at the Hammerstein Ballroom. Rob Van Dam played a role in that happening, though. It didn’t take long for Rhyno to regain the title and he did so on September 9th.
He would successfully defend the championship against Rob Van Dam at Anarchy Rulez officially giving Rhyno a huge statement victory. It was clear that Rhyno was being groomed to be the main event heel for ECW for a long time to come.
Rhyno finished the pay per view year with wins over New Jack and Spike Dudley. The final pay per view was Guilty As Charged and Rhyno was able to win the ECW World Heavyweight Championship after beating the Sandman in an impromptu match.
Where does he go from here? ECW goes out of business about a month or so later. Rhyno resumes his career in the World Wrestling Federation.
March 19th, 2001 saw Rhyno make his debut in helping his buddies Edge and Christian win the WWF World Tag Team Championships from the Dudley Boyz. The group didn’t last long, though. Rhyno would appear during the WM X7 Tables, Ladders and Chairs match to help Edge and Christian win the titles again.
Rhyno would become dominate in the Hardcore division and won the championship on the April 17th taping of WWF Smackdown where he beat Kane after Steve Austin and Triple H viciously attacked Kane with chairs.
His reign as WWF Hardcore Champion was highlighted by possibly the best hardcore match to ever happen when he beat Raven at Backlash 2001. Eventually, Rhyno lost the strap to the Big Show on RAW. Rhyno would also manage to reach the semi-finals in the King of the Ring tournament, but lost to Edge who would go on to win the tournament.
Later on in the summer the Invasion would take place. Rhyno would be part of the Alliance team that beat the WWF in a ten man tag at the pay per view event, Invasion, in July 2001. However, his role in the group would diminish fast.
Stephanie McMahon hired Rhyno to take Chris Jericho out for being rude to her. Rhyno was effective at beating Jericho up. On an edition of Smackdown leading into the SummerSlam event, Rhyno gored Jericho through the stage. This happened to create the giant fist setup that Smackdown would have for several years. By the way, Jericho would win their match at SummerSlam.
Rhyno would actually pin the Rock in a tag match in late August on Smackdown and win the WCW United States Championship at Unforgiven a month later. The momentum he was getting wouldn’t last too long. He would lose the championship to Kurt Angle on RAW and was suspended from the Alliance, but in reality he underwent neck surgery.
Sixteen months later, Rhyno returned from the injury and formed a team with Chris Benoit in early 2003. The team failed to win the titles in a triple threat tag match at WrestleMania XIX. By June 2003, Rhyno started to accidentally hit Benoit with weapons during matches to cause them victories. This eventually led to Rhyno turning heel at Vengeance 2003 by hitting Benoit with a Gore to cost him the WWE United States Championship in a match with Eddie Guerrero.
Rhyno would spend the rest of the year losing several matches that saw the WWE United States Championship on the line. He wouldn’t do anything else of note for that year.
In early 2004, Rhyno formed a partnership with Smackdown General Manager Paul Heyman. At the time, Heyman was being disrespected by John Cena and Chris Benoit. Rhyno would try to fight for the honor of the man who made him a star in ECW, but would fail.
After WrestleMania, Rhyno turned face and would form a tag team with Tajiri. They tried to win the WWE World Tag Team Championships, but failed to win the championships. Rhyno was then released by the WWE in April 2005 but did appear at the ECW One Night Stand show in June.
Rhyno joined Total Non-Stop Action a few months later and was able to win the NWA-TNA World Heavyweight Championship from Jeff Jarrett at Bound For Glory 2005. The reign lasted all of a couple of weeks before Rhyno became a upper midcard talent for the promotion.
Once Rhyno left ECW his career lost a lot of steam and he never got back to the level that he was presented as in ECW. Watching his stuff in ECW today is still enjoyable and he was totally realistic as being a man who could just dominate everyone. His finishing move was effective and booked perfectly in ECW.
However, Rhyno got lost in the shuffle. In ECW he had the ability to say anything and I think the ability to curse every sentence really helped Rhyno. However, when he went to WWE and later TNA, he had to actually cut promos and it just never worked. Plus, the size of Rhyno didn’t really appeal to a national audience and when you have guys like Austin, Rock, Angle, Taker and Kane it’s going to take a lot to think that Rhyno could beat them. Had the WWF gone the route that ECW did in promoting Rhyno, those above mentioned men could have had some great programs with Rhyno.
Why wasn’t Rhyno given a bigger role in the Alliance? I feel like his history in ECW was never noted. Had he came in and just destroyed a top talent like Jericho and then move upwards to Rock Rhyno could have been a lasting force in the WWF. The Gore was a powerful enough move at one point that it could have gotten over huge. Yes, you could have even done a Rhyno/Edge feud over the move.
The neck injury he encountered happened at a time where Rhyno was already losing steam. This kind of reminds me of when Buff Bagwell returned from neck injury and WCW turned him heel instead of making some cash on a babyface push. Rhyno came back only to form a tag team with Benoit. Now, by 2003 Angle was a heel and was the last person Rhyno worked with before injuring his neck. A babyface Rhyno getting revenge for a neck injury caused by Angle (in storyline) sixteen months after the fact. That beefs up the babyface side for Smackdown.
TNA started off well with Rhyno, but chopped him off at the knee when he lost the title back to Jarrett so quickly. I’m sitting here trying to remember some things Rhyno did with them and really I can only think of his feud with AJ Styles and the angle where James Storm mocked Rhyno for being a drunk. That isn’t really memorable run, is it?
Lately, Rhyno has been working with Ring of Honor and other independent groups. The guy is in incredibly condition and I think there is an interest in Rhyno to get back on national television. If that were to happen, the guy needs to pushed properly and pushed as the force that he really is. We shall see if that ever happens.
What are your memories or thoughts on Rhyno? Feel free to share below.
Thanks for reading.
31-year old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Longtime fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Vikings. Avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on the old school wrestling.