His rise was meteoric when Ahmed Johnson burst onto the WWE scene in late 1995. Within months, he had captured the Intercontinental Championship in June 1996, solidifying his status as a handpicked favourite of WWE Chairman Vince McMahon.
However, Johnson's quick ascension was not without its challenges, most notably a discernible sense of envy that emanated from the locker room. In a candid interview on the podcast "Developmentally Speaking," Johnson delved into the tension he experienced backstage during his early WWE stint.
"The jealousy was palpable. Many top-tier talents were reluctant to face me in the ring, forcing me to grapple with lower-card wrestlers," he shared. Johnson was keen to point out that the hatred wasn't universal: "The exception was WWE Hall of Famer Razor Ramon.
He would offer constructive criticism post-match, guiding my performances like no one else else did."
Ahmed Johnson's WWE Spotlight
The hatred, Johnson contends, was fueled by the effectiveness of McMahon's strategy to spotlight him.
My swift popularity with fans exacerbated the resentment. McMahon had envisioned someone with my blend of raw power and agility, and I was proving him right," Johnson explained. At 350 pounds, his athleticism stood out, impressing not just the WWE chairman but also legions of fans.
Despite the obstacles, Johnson refused to let backstage politics derail his focus. His authenticity resonated with fans, and his wrestling style showcased a unique blend of intensity and magnetism previously absent in WWE programming.
Post-WWE, Johnson had a brief stint in WCW in 1999, where he wrestled under the name "Big T." Teaming up with Stevie Ray, he participated in a storyline feud with Booker T. Unfortunately, his WCW run would be short-lived, as he was released from the promotion within a year.
Ahmed Johnson's journey offers a compelling narrative about the highs and lows of achieving stardom in professional wrestling. Despite the backstage rivalries and the strain of being the chosen one, his impact on the wrestling world remains indelible.