At Impact Wrestling’s Slammiversary XV, a celebrity is going to wrestle.
DeAngelo Williams, running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers, will team up with Moose to take on Chris Adonis and Eli Drake. Williams is training at Scott D’Amore’s Border City Wrestling for the occasion.
Celebrities and professional wrestling are a natural fit. They go together like Rob Van Dam and marijuana, or Matt Riddle and marijuana, or X-Pac and marijuana, or… well, you get the idea.
Oftentimes the celebrity is relegated to live musical performances, backstage skits, or merely a quick shot of them smiling and waving in the crowd. But there are some instances, like with Williams, where a celebrity actually gets in the ring and wrestles: Jay Leno, Mr. T, Lawrence Taylor, Karl Malone, Dennis Rodman, Snooki, Maria Menounos, Stephen Amell, and former WCW World Heavyweight Champion David Arquette, just to name a few.
Impact Wrestling is no stranger to letting celebrities step through the ropes.
Tennessee Titans tight end Frank Wycheck teamed with Jerry Lynn against James Storm and Ron Killings at Slammiversary 2007. Survivor contestant Jenna Morasca wrestled Booker T’s wife Sharmell at Victory Road 2009 in one of the worst matches ever. You could even go back all the way to their very first show on June 19, 2002 and watch Toby Keith suplex Jeff Jarrett.
But perhaps the most infamous celebrity to ever, ahem, “wrestle,” in an Impact ring is none other than football player Adam “Pacman” Jones.
A sixth-round pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, Jones played for the Tennessee Titans for two seasons. It wasn’t his performance on the field that earned him notoriety though; it was his performance off of it. Between 2005 and 2007, Jones was arrested for the following charges:
- Assault and felony vandalism
- Drug possession, felony and misdemeanor counts of obstruction of justice
- Disorderly conduct and public intoxication
Jones’ most notorious incident took place in February 2007 at a strip club in Las Vegas. After Jones “made it rain” with hundreds of one-dollar bills, the club owner ordered one of the dancers to collect the cash on the floor. Jones, not so eager to part from his money, allegedly grabbed the dancer by her hair and slammed her head on the stage. A brawl broke out between Jones’ entourage and a security guard. Jones allegedly threatened the guard’s life. After the kerfuffle died down, the club owner claimed that a member of Jones’ entourage pulled out a gun and fired into a crowd. The guard was hit twice, while another man was paralyzed from the waist down. Jones was eventually arrested and charged with one count of felony coercion, one misdemeanor count of battery and one misdemeanor count of threat to life. He wound up accepting a plea deal in November, serving a suspended prison sentence of one year, probation, and ordered to perform 200 hours of community service.
With all those extracurricular activities filling up Jones’ resume, it was only a matter of time before the NFL put its foot down. In April 2007, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Jones for one year. He would end up missing the entire 2007 season and part of the 2008 season. Jones promised to win back the trust of his teammates and his fans.
Here is where our story really begins: July 2007.
Pacman Jones is suspended from football for a year. Now what? Take up crocheting? Attend a cooking class? Start a book club? Jones decides to spend his free time as a pro wrestler. He signs a contract with Impact, then known by its original name TNA Wrestling. You could argue that the relationship is a win-win scenario: Pacman can get back in everyone’s good graces by showing he can work in a team environment, while TNA can get some big publicity by having this controversial football player wrestle on their television show.
There is just one little snafu: The Tennessee Titans won’t let Jones wrestle. They slap a restraining order on him, forbidding him from getting in the ring. Whoops. Eventually TNA and the Titans work out a deal: Pacman can still participate in TNA, he just can’t do anything in the ring that might get him hurt. I think you can see where things went wrong.
Jones debuts on August 12 at TNA’s Hard Justice 2007 pay-per-view in an in-ring interview with Mike Tenay. Pacman unenthusiastically mumbles to Mike that he wants to be a team player and a trend setter. I know coma patients with more energy. Jones mumbles a few more lines until Ron Killings comes out. Ron wants to pick a fight with Jones, but security holds him back. Later that night, they show a bloody and battered Pacman laid out backstage. He is soon loaded into an ambulance. Jones’ first feud in TNA is thus set, right?
On Jones’ Impact debut, Killings and Pacman make peace and form one of the worst tag teams ever: Team Pacman.
Not only does this pairing make no sense, Team Pacman are given a shot at the TNA World Tag Team Championship at the next pay-per-view, No Surrender. So to clarify: A football player with zero wrestling experience (and zero possibility of actually wrestling) forms a tag team with Ron Killings—a man whom just a few days ago attacked Jones backstage to the point of medical attention and transportation—and then they get a tag title shot at the next pay-per-view without earning it.
Are you with me so far? Good, because it only gets wackier from here.
In the weeks leading up to their big debut, Team Pacman go on the offensive, attacking other wrestlers and spray painting “PAC” on their backs like an nWo version of Neville.
Finally the big day arrives: No Surrender 2007.
The opening contest is Team Pacman challenging for the TNA World Tag Team Championship. And who are the TNA World Tag Team Champions at this time? Kurt Angle and Sting, two feuding wrestlers who are also tag team champions. You can smell the originality wafting off the screen. The match lasts about five minutes. Pacman “refuses” to fight, so Killings stays in the ring the entire time. Well, not the entire time. The match ends when Angle shockingly gives Sting the Angle Slam, laying him out. Killings makes the tag to Jones, who covers Sting for the win.
In his first ever match, without performing a single move or taking a single bump, Adam “Pacman” Jones pins Sting to become one-half of the TNA World Tag Team Champions. Let that sink in nice and deep into your gut. Feels pretty gross, doesn’t it? Don’t worry, we’re just getting started.
October 4 is TNA’s first ever two-hour episode of Impact. Team Pacman defend their belts against Team 3D, a.k.a. The Dudley Boyz. But this time Pacman isn’t going to stay on the apron, no sir. He gets in the ring with Brother Ray and has a series of athletic maneuvers the likes of which will blow your mind!
- Leapfrogging over an attempted Brother Ray tackle
- Throwing a football at Brother Ray’s back
- Ducking a Brother Devon clothesline
- Holding Brother Ray’s legs open for a modified Wassup Drop
Slow down there Will Ospreay! You’re gonna hurt yourself with all those crazy moves.
The match ends in a disqualification when the New Age Outl- sorry, the James Ga- sorry, the Voodoo Kin Mafia interfere and attack Killings, causing a DQ. Pacman runs after them with a chair.
(A friendly reminder: During this entire run, Jones is still facing charges for the Las Vegas shooting incident. Just keep that in mind.)
Jones’ third and final match is Team Pacman vs. Triple X (Elix Skipper and Senshi, a.k.a. Low Ki) in a non-title contest. Surprise surprise, Ron Killings does all the work in this one. Towards the end, Skipper gets ready to hit Killings with his finisher Sudden Death. Pacman saves his teammate like any wrestler would: By throwing a wad of cash right in Elix Skipper’s face.
Killings’ Corkscrew Axe Kick gets Team Pacman the win, rendering them 3-0. If only Robert Gibson carried around a giant wad of cash in his tights, he could have saved Ricky Morton a load of trouble.
At this point, you’re probably saying “Andrew, this is ridiculous. There is no way they could keep this nonsense up for much longer.” In this case, you’re correct.
We head on down to Bound for Glory 2007, TNA’s biggest pay-per-view of the year, for Team Pacman’s second TNA World Tag Team Championship defense. Their challengers are AJ Styles and Tomko, who won a tag team gauntlet match at No Surrender to get this title shot.
Before the match, Team Pacman cut a promo backstage. Pacman is not going to wrestle tonight. Instead, they have arranged a substitute to take his place under the Freebird Rule. That substitute is 21-year-old Rasheed Lucius “Consequences” Creed, which would later be shortened to Consequences Creed. You remember Consequences Creed, right? He’s the guy who puked in the ring after taking a spike hurricanrana from Amazing Red.
But that’s beside the point.
The point is that TNA finally realized that putting Pacman Jones in a wrestling ring when he couldn’t wrestle was a huge mistake. So TNA hit the eject button and brought in Creed to wrestle in his place. The match gets underway and everything is hunky dory… until we get to the finish. Styles is about to beat Killings, so Pacman gets on the apron with his giant wad of cash. AJ, noticing the ploy, grabs the money. Killings sneaks up behind Styles and rolls him up, but the momentum causes Styles to throw the money in the air, sending it flying.
Question time: What does this scene remind you of?
As you can see, Killings has Styles rolled up for the pin, but Earl Hebner is too busy picking up the money to notice. How appropriate. Styles and Tomko hit the Tornado-Plex, winning the match and beginning their quite successful run as TNA World Tag Team Champions. Some people might point out the irony that “making it rain,” the very act that caused Jones’ temporary downfall in the NFL, also ends up causing his downfall as a TNA champion. I would like to point out that this was completely scummy and tasteless. But it’s pro wrestling after all. Heaven forbid we have a touch of class in this sport of kings.
This was the last hurrah for Team Pacman.
Ron Killings left TNA after this, quickly signing with WWE where he still works to this day as R-Truth. Consequences Creed stuck around in TNA for a little while. He formed a tag team with Jay Lethal called Lethal Consequences and won the TNA World Tag Team Championship once again, holding the belts for all of 26 days. He too left TNA and went to WWE, where he is now much more successful and popular as Xavier Woods.
And as for Pacman Jones? TNA decided not to renew his contract after Bound for Glory. So Jones returned to doing what he does best: Playing football and getting into trouble. He’s been with the Cincinnati Bengals since 2010. And since 2007, he’s been involved in a variety of legal issues, including the foreclosure of his $1.5 million dollar home, being accused of hitting a woman in an Atlanta strip club, and his January 2017 arrest for obstructing official business, disorderly conduct, assault, and a felony charge of harassment with a bodily substance. But hey, at least he made the Pro Bowl one year.
A decade after all this nonsense went down, I still feel the same sense of embarrassment that I did back then. This is the type of crap that makes people look down upon wrestling. The whole affair was a colossal waste of time, money, and energy for everyone involved. This did not help TNA bolster their image in the public eye. This did not help Pacman Jones get back into America’s good graces. The only people it helped were AJ Styles and Tomko, who immediately became the biggest babyfaces on the roster for ending the ungodly reign of Team Pacman.
Pacman Jones should never have gotten involved with pro wrestling. It was a sour combination from the start. The only silver lining is that since 2007, Pacman Jones has not stepped foot in a wrestling ring.