PREVIOUSLY IN LIONS PRIDE SPORTS:
Texas Takeover | May 19, 2018 | Navasota, TX (See results)
IF YOU'RE NOT DOWN WITH A MULTI-TIME CHAMPION AND IN-RING ALL-STAR FOR MORE THAN A QUARTER CENTURY BEING PART OF TEXAS'S BEST WRESTLING PROMOTION, HE'S GOT TWO WORDS FOR YA.
LIONS PRIDE SPORTS IS HONORED THAT BILLY GUNN IS PART OF THE PRIDE.
Kip Sopp has gone by quite a few names since he got into professional wrestling, but this industry wasn't the first wild one of which he was a part. Born in Florida, Sopp attended Sam Houston State University in nearby Huntsville, and showcased his bull riding skills across Texas and the south. A Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rider for a time, Sopp hopped off the bulls in favor of an in-ring career.
Debuting in 1985 and trained by Jerry Gray, Sopp worked in a variety of promotions, including WCW.
In 1993 as the WWF was transitioning into a new era, Billy Gunn was born in the federation. Alongside Bart Gunn, The Smoking Gunns became major players in the tag team division. Twice in 1995, the Gunns won the WWF Tag Team Titles. They defended the championships at WrestleMania XI, falling short to Owen Hart and Yokozuna. Billy and Bart would gain the titles back from Hart and Yoko in September 1995 and held them until February 1996 when Billy had to undergo surgery and the championships were relinquished.
Upon Billy's return, The Gunns would pick up one more title reign, along with the managerial services of Sunny. But when The Gunns lost the championships in September 1996 to Owen Hart and The British Bulldog, not only did Sunny leave them, Billy Gunn set out on his own.
Gunn picked up a WrestleMania 13 win, spent time under the tutelage of Honky Tonk Man, but eventually decided to join forces with Jesse James in what would become a defining team of the WWF's Attitude Era. Known as The New Age Outlaws, Road Dogg Jesse James and Badd Ass Billy Gunn earned their first tag title reign by defeating arguably the best tag team of all time, The Road Warriors, in November 1996.
In early 1997, The Outlaws and D-Generation X were friendly. The night after WrestleMania XIV, James and Gunn won the tag titles yet again and officially joined DX alongside Triple H, Chyna and X-Pac. Feuds with The Nation of Domination, the team of Mankind and Kane, and The Corporation would follow. At SummerSlam in 1998, The Outlaws again won tag team gold.
By year's end, Gunn went back to singles competition. He won the Hardcore Championship and (unsuccessfully) defended it at WrestleMania XV in 1999. Not long after, Badd Ass became Mr. Ass, who went on to win the annual King of the Ring tournament. Feuds with the members of DX and The Rock defined that summer before a reunification of The Outlaws, who again became champions. Into 2000, Gunn and James were up against the cream of the WWF's crop, but early in the year, he was kicked out of DX.
After a stint as "The One" that included an Intercontinental Title win, Gunn returned to tag team competition with Chuck Palumbo in 2002. The affection the duo showed for each other caught the attention of the fans, as did their success. Billy and Chuck won tag gold twice, and successfully defended the titles at WrestleMania X-8. Supported by their personal stylist Rico, the team would make national headlines when Chuck proposed to Billy in September 2002. The next week on SmackDown during a commitment ceremony, Billy and Chuck refused to go through with it. After claiming it was simply a publicity stunt, the preacher unmasked himself as Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff in a stunning moment. Bischoff's Three Minute Warning tag team attacked Billy and Chuck, and Rico turned on his team. Billy went his separate way soon after.
Gunn would depart WWE in late 2004, and by early 2005, Kip joined the TNA roster. Much of his first year there was spent trying to convince his former tag partner, now known as Brian James, to rejoin him. The duo would come together as The James Gang in 2006 as they faced off against The Latin American Exchange and Team 3D for much of the year before changing their name to Voodoo Kin Mafia. VKM are the initials of WWE's Vince McMahon. The team would compete into early 2008, and Kip went solo until he left TNA in late 2009.
Gunn was back in WWE in the early-and-mid-2010s in a trainer role. In addition, he had one more Tag Team Championship reign with James. It was Gunn's 11th tag title run in WWE. He has 14 total title reigns with the company.
Today, Gunn competes across the country and around the world, including in New Japan Pro Wrestling.
-Written by Steve Fullhart
(Information from various online sources)