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May 10, 2016

Longtime WWE Employee Released

From Mike Johnson at pwinsider.com:

I initially heard this last week when all the other announced WWE releases were going down, but since WWE did not (and still has not) publicly acknowledged it, I wanted to triple-check before PWInsider.com reported this - but we can confirm that last week, WWE released Steve Lombardi, 55, aka The Brooklyn Brawler and he is, after over 30 years, no longer with the company.

Lombardi has worked full-time in professional wrestling since at least the early 1980s, mostly as a preliminary wrestler for WWF, both under his given name or under different masked personas. He was Kamala's handler Kim Chee in the late 1980s and in the early 1990s, performed as Doink the Clown during the time period WWF had multiple Doinks appearing, sometimes at the same time.

Lombardi's biggest singles push as a wrestler came in 1989 when he was rechristened the Brooklyn Brawler and managed by Bobby Heenan in a feud with The Red Rooster, Terry Taylor. He performed as MVP and Abe "Knuckleball" Schwartz at times as well, doing a baseball-inspired character that never seemed to get out of the gate. In 1997, he won a Battle Royal in Madison Square Garden as a surprise, earning a WWF title match against Shawn Michaels in what was undoutedly his highest profile match in his home market, NYC.

Although he continued to make sporadic appearances over the years on WWE TV (usually at events broadcast from NYC, where he was always a cult favorite), Lombardi had been a far more valuable asset to the company behind the scenes, where he worked his way up to overseeing and producing promos. Lombardi was the person that every talent, upon trying out, had to cut promos for and his praise or criticism would factor greatly into whether the talent would get a bigger look from the company.

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