TSC Interviews: Simon Dean (Part I)
Mike Bucci is a Jersey boy through and through. He's also a superhero and fitness guru. Allegedly.
Bucci has spent most of his life making a living in professional wrestling, until recently, immersing himself into the world of finance via Diversified Management. Fans may remember Bucci as ECW's Nova/SuperNova/Hollywood Nova, among other incarnations of his "Nova" character.
Perhaps most famously, Bucci is remembered as WWE's fitness guru Simon Dean, inventor of the patented Simon System.
Not only was Bucci one of the best and most underrated in-ring workers of his generation once the pieces came in place, but he also was a key figure behind the scenes in WWE, responsible for hiring many of the superstars you see on television today.
Bucci was kind enough to discuss his career and the state of the wrestling business in-depth in this two part interview.
Part I focuses on his humble beginnings, big break, ECW's demise, becoming Simon Dean, and the storylines that could have been.
TSC: How you doing, Mike?
Bucci: What's up, fellow Jersey natives? I heard it wasn't too bad down there. It was pretty nice here in Louisville, Kentucky, but I'd rather be at the Jersey Shore.
TSC: Definitely. So before we get into all the great accomplishments of your career we'll ask: How the heck did you get into the world of professional wrestling?
Bucci: Long story short, I graduated high school in 1990. I had a friend named Rich whose dream was to go to the Hart Bros. Camp in Canada. When we graduated high school, Iron Mike Sharpe, longtime wrestling veteran, opened up a school in Brick, NJ. I went to the grand opening just to see it as a fan and Rich actually signed up. After about three or four lessons, which my brother Donny and I would always go watch, Mike Sharpe went up to us and said “I always see you watching. I know you want to do it [wrestle].” I was going to college and working at Wendy's. I didn't want to do it. I thought about it. And push came to shove I said “I might as well do this.” I didn't take it too seriously. I figured I'd just do a few shows every now and then and that will be it.
I likened it to some people playing in softball or bowling leagues. They had some shows at schools so that was kind of fun. I tried to get some independent bookings. I think I'm one of the few people that got a little bit out of wrestling from what I put into it. A lot of guys these days do the exact opposite. They do nothing and expect a lot out of wrestling. I was discovered so to speak, in an independent show in 1995. Raven was in the main event at the show I was at and he loved the superhero act I was doing at the time. I gave him an 8 x 10 and he brought it and showed it to Tommy Dreamer and Taz. They got a kick out of it. I started showing up to ECW shows and the rest is history.
TSC: When you were in ECW what was your favorite gimmick? Was it SuperNova or the Blue World Order?
Bucci: I liked everything, man. When I first went to ECW, I was a lackey for Raven and a wannabe superhero. The Blue World Order will forever be immortal.
TSC: (Laughs) We still have the shirts!
Bucci: Blue Meanie, Stevie Richards, and myself did a convention in NJ last year at Legends of The Ring. We had the longest line of the day. I'm not saying that because I was there. You can ask vendors. Our line was two to three times bigger than anyone else's that day. It was the first time we were together for awhile. But I also like towards the end of my ECW run. I got in crazy shape. I had the cool outfit. Then went with the leather pants. The ECW fans made me. They were so cool and with me since Day One. That's the only thing I miss about ECW—wrestling in front of those fans. I don't miss not getting paid. I don't miss getting hurt all the time. I miss the guys and I miss the fans and shows.