Jean-Paul Levesque

When young Paul Levesque graduated from Killer Kowalski’s wrestling school, his legendary trainer had the perfect name for him: The Terrorizer.

See, wrestling had had a few Terrorists by then, but never a Terrorizer.

But the future Triple H balked, negotiating Kowalski down to a compromise: Terra Ryzing, wrestling’s next great present participle.

He’d one day beat the likes of Unda Taking and Legend Killing.

Sure, Terra was a girl’s name. And sure, it sounded like he belonged in the Dungeon of Doom. But WCW was nonetheless interested, giving Terra Ryzing a tryout match in 1994.

So impressed were WCW brass that they put him on TV right away, introducing TBS viewers to…

Terror Risin’. The wonders of live TV! (Or taped TV. Whatever)

Was a match with Jushin’ Thunder Liger on the horizon?

Armed with the infamous Indian deathlock…

(the bane of Here Comes the Pain fans)

…Mr. Ryzing raised as much terror as humanly possible while sporting feathered bangs.

But how far could a guy with bleach blond hair, a fancy robe, and a big beak really get in WCW…

…when the real Ric Flair was already world champ?

After a few months, Eric Bischoff noticed that Terra Ryzing’s checks said, “Paul Levesque” and had an epiphany.

“Do you speak French?” asked Eric.

“Not a word,” said Paul.

“Not a problem,” said Eric.

That’s how I imagine it went down, anyhow. But whatever the reason, Levesque would spend his formative years as a fancy boy.

And so on June 18th, the former Terra Ryzing abruptly switched nationalities (and, if you believed Dusty Rhodes, planets). Revealing his true name as Jean-Paul Levesque, he claimed “Terra Ryzing” was simply his boyhood nickname, earned by beating up the Americans at school.

That’s right — the kids named him a freakin’ gerund.

At 9:50 AM, fans saw Levesque wrestle on WCW Pro as a Frenchman

…then again that same day on Worldwide as Terra Ryzing, from Boston.

Adding to the confusion, both matches were against Larry Zbyszko.

Jean-Paul explained to Gordon Solie that he’d got everything he’d ever wanted…

…and now he wanted to be the champion (or failing that, dee shamp-yawn).


Though Jean-Paul’s frilly attire was arguably even more effeminate than Terra Ryzing’s fabulous hair, he still boasted many female conquests…

…making women “fall to the ground”— nay, “to their knees” (Hey-o!) at the mere sight of Levesque.

Though Levesque’s sex appeal was unquestioned, his accent was merde absolue.

Poor Jean-Paul even had to do radio interviews in his French gimmick, with hosts who’d seen (and heard) him in the indies.

The gimmick certainly required a lot of commitment — from Levesque, anyway; WCW couldn’t be bothered to even change his theme music. What, did a French guy create that stock music? (Surprisingly, yes)

If you know your WCW history, you’ll know it wasn’t long before the blue blood Jean-Paul Levesque started teaming with (who else?)…

…Paul Roma, whose regular partner Paul Orndorff was injured. (It’s a Paul thing — you wouldn’t understand)

Believe it or not, Levesque teamed with Lord Steven Regal only twice in WCW.

But before the Blue Bloods could take off as a team, Levesque took off for the WWF…

…bringing his ring gear…

…his new finisher…

…and most of his aristocrat gimmick with him. In the long run, it worked out pretty well for Mr. Levesque, who went on to become a thirteen-time word shamp-yawn.

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