Welcome to "The Thump!" — an irregular column spotlighting the best Black elements of professional wrestling. Named after the signature move of groundbreaking Black wrestler The Junkyard Dog, "The Thump!" showcases the history and impact of Black athletes in the squared circle.
Maven Huffman. No relation to Booker or Lane Huffman (Harlem Heat). No real gimmick. He is genuine reality television star and the male winner of WWE's first Tough Enough competition (2001), a victory that guaranteed him a contract with the company. Trained by Al Snow and Taz, both of ECW fame, Maven feuded with the likes of Shelton Benjamin, Evolution and Eugene. What made Maven famous? His feud with the Undertaker. The WWE rookie, in his first Royal Rumble appearance, Maven entered the competition in the #10 spot, and eliminated the Undertaker, drop-kicking him over the top rop. The Undertaker then proceded to take his revenge in one of the most memorable beatdowns of Royal Rumble history. Maven is also a former WWE Hardcore Title champion. After leaving WWE in 2005, Maven went on to compete in UWA feuding with Team 3D (Dudley Boys), D-Lo Brown and other WWE/ECW/WCW alumni.
Maven eliminated The Undertaker from the 2002 Royal Rumble by drop-kicking him from behind; Undertaker responded in turn by returning to the ring and tossing Maven out of the ring, hitting him with a steel chair, and beating him all the way back to the concession stand area. Maven received a shot at Chris Jericho's undisputed title on the January 28th edition of Raw. He lost, and was granted a beating by Undertaker after the match. The two wrestlers began a feud over the Hardcore Title, which Maven won from Undertaker thanks to interference from his trainer Al Snow and The Rock. At WrestleMania X8, Maven lost the Hardcore Championship to Spike Dudley during Maven's match with Goldust but won the title back the same night from Christian, thanks to the 24/7 title defense rule. In 2003 Maven entered the Royal Rumble for a second time. He attempted to eliminate Undertaker by using the dropkick a second time but failed and was eliminated again by Undertaker. Subsequently that year, Maven continued wrestling on WWE Heat and making sporadic appearances on RAW. Nonetheless, on March, Maven was given a World Title match against then Champion Triple H, on Heat, but lost. In 2004, Maven experienced the biggest push in his career, even gaining a victory over then-Evolution member Batista. Maven then took part in a Survivor Series Elimination Match at Survivor Series 2004, teaming with Randy Orton, Chris Benoit, and Chris Jericho to face Triple H, Batista, Gene Snitsky, and Edge for the power to control Raw for one month. Maven was attacked backstage by Snitsky prior to the match, but after Benoit was eliminated, Maven arrived to join his teammates. He was eventually eliminated by Triple H. Orton was the sole survivor and as a result, he and his team had control of RAW for one month.
Interesting Maven Facts:
- Before starting his wrestling career, Maven was a middle school teacher in Oregon.
- Maven was cast member of The Surreal Life, in its sixth season.
- Maven is a former host of The BET-J LIst (now Centric).
- While in control of RAW, Maven booked himself a WWE title match against Triple H.
- Maven appeared as a wellness/fitness expert on HSN. Maven was the PWI 2002 Rookie of the year.
- Maven appeared in the movie C.R.E.A.M. from Abel Kane Productions.
C'mon Son: The April 17, 2005 edition of WWE HEAT (Sunday show) saw Maven & Simon Dean (Mike Bucci/Nova) defeat C.M. Punk & Chad Collyer. Yes, THAT C.M. Punk.