Acolyte Protection Agency

From Academic Kids

The Acolyte Protection Agency (A.P.A), also known as Hell's Henchmen and The Acolytes, was a professional wrestling tag team in World Wrestling Entertainment, active between October 1998 and March 2004. The members were Ron "Faarooq" Simmons and John "Bradshaw" Layfield.

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Bradshaw
Contents

The Acolytes

The Acolytes were originally known as Hell's Henchmen and managed by The Jackyl. Faarooq and Bradshaw were both on a losing streak before teaming together - The Rock had recently taken over leadership of the Nation of Domination from Faarooq in a coup, and Bradshaw's tag team partner Terry Funk had left the WWF (now the WWE). The two resurfaced as an unstoppable tag team under the management of Callis, squashing other tag teams.

When The Jackyl left the WWF, the duo joined The Undertaker's new heel stable, The Ministry of Darkness. They adopted the name The Acolytes, as they acted as acolytes of the Undertaker. The Acolytes kidnapped Dennis Knight and Mabel, indoctrinating them into the Ministry, where they were renamed Mideon and Viscera respectively.

Throughout 1999, The Acolytes feuded with the enemies of the Ministry, including D-Generation X and The Brood, until The Undertaker was injured in late 1999, leading to the dissolution of the Ministry.

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Faarooq

The Acolyte Protection Agency

On January 31, 2000 the Mean Street Posse asked the Acolytes to protect them from The Radicalz, offering to pay them. This gave Bradshaw the idea of charging for protection, and the Agency was born. The A.P.A were nominally a face team, but would protect heels if the price was right. One one occasion Crash Holly paid the A.P.A to protect him while he slept; the A.P.A neglected their duties, and Gerald Brisco was able to pin Crash, winning the Hardcore Championship.

The tag team were notable for their series of backstage vignettes, usually involving them drinking beer, smoking cigars and playing cards in their "office" (which was merely an open space behind a stand alone door; the A.P.A would insist, however, that anyone entering the area used the door). Their bar room brawls were frequently alluded to, and the A.P.A eventually did engage in a brawl with the occupant of "JB's Pub" while feuding with Edge and Christian. Their motto was "'Cause We Need Beer Money!"

The A.P.A feuded with T & A (Test and Albert) after T & A, lacking money, staked their manager Trish Stratus' clothes in a game of Poker, but attacked the A.P.A when Trish was obliged to go topless. The A.P.A were sidelined with injuries after being ambushed at No Mercy, and T & A took over their office, renaming the Agency the "T & A.P.A" until the A.P.A returned and reclaimed their property at Armageddon.

The conservative Right to Censor faction feuded with A.P.A throughout the autumn of 2000 and the spring of 2001, culiminating in a six man tag match at WrestleMania X-Seven pitting the A.P.A and Tazz against Bull Buchanan, Val Venis and The Goodfather, where Bradshaw pinned Goodfather. They were often accompanied by Jacqueline.

The A.P.A were at the vanguard of the resistance against The Invasion of World Championship Wrestling, and guarded the arenas to ensure that no WCW wrestlers could interfere in matches. When WCW employees Sean O'Haire and Chuck Palumbo ran in after a Hardy Boyz vs. Dudley Boyz on June 28, 2001 the A.P.A and many other WWE wrestlers prevented them from leaving and put them both through tables. After Booker T managed to attack Vince McMahon in the ring and then escape, the A.P.A reasoned that a mole was aiding the invaders. The mole was eventually revealed as Paul Heyman, but not before the A.P.A had organised a group beating of Test, believing him to be the traitor. A reproachful Test later joined The Alliance, costing the A.P.A the World Tag Team Championships to Diamond Dallas Page and Chris Kanyon.

In 2002, the A.P.A were split up when the WWE roster was divided into RAW and SmackDown! brands. Bradshaw competed on RAW for the European and Hardcore Championships, carrying a cowbell to ringside, while Faarooq briefly teamed with D-Von Dudley on SmackDown!. They were reunited on SmackDown! in June 2003.

At Vengeance 2003 the A.P.A hosted a Bar Room Brawl, which Bradshaw won.

On March 18, 2004, SmackDown! General Manager Paul Heyman forced the A.P.A to face Rikishi and Scotty 2 Hotty after they mocked his being Stunnered by Stone Cold Steve Austin the previous week. If the A.P.A lost, they would be fired. After they were defeated, Heyman then offered Bradshaw the option of staying, claiming that as a published author and a Fox financial analyst he was a valued asset to the company. Bradshaw opted to stay, and Faarooq left in disgust.

Singles Careers

Faarooq was released from the WWE immediately after his onscreen firing, ostensibly as a result of his behaviour over the WrestleMania weekend and his refusal to enter into alcohol rehabilitation. He retired from professional wrestling soon after. Bradshaw became John Bradshaw Layfield, and went on to become WWE Champion after an intensive image change.

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