The Spirit Squad were a bizarre team from WWE history.
Their run in the company lasted less than a year, and they were involved in feuds with some of the biggest stars of the day. However, their time is often forgotten and they made very little impact.
The group of male cheerleaders certainly raised some eyebrows back in 2006. It didn’t seem like a good gimmick for a pro-wrestler, and didn’t appear conducive to success back then.
Feuds with huge stars like Vince McMahon, Triple H and Shawn Michaels seemed to show that the WWE had huge faith in the five. However, they were unceremoniously (and literally) shipped back to developmental after their rivalry with DX ended.
For most in the group, that is where their WWE careers ended.
From the Spirit Squad’s debut match in 2006 to the group’s break-up, the five men were a team for less than a year. They had very little impact on the wrestling world, outside of one of their members becoming a WWE stalwart in the years following.
The five men – Kenny, Mickey, Nicky, Johnny and Mitch – all had varying levels of success in the WWE. However, their Spirit Squad achievements have been largely forgotten by everyone except for hardcore wrestling fans.
In this article, we’ll take you back to the shocking WWE debut of the Spirit Squad. Revealing their first appearance in the WWE, we’ll look at the impact the group made in their first match in the company and what happened to them next.
The Spirit Squad’s WWE Debut
Originally brought in as the lackey’s of various authority figures, The Spirit Squad debuted in WWE in January 2006.
The group appeared during a match between Jonathan Coachman and Jerry Lawler for the chance to appear in the 2006 Royal Rumble match. They had not been announced or even rumoured at this point, and were a huge shock for the crowd.
Not necessarily a good one, but a shock nonetheless.
Mikey, Nicky, Johnny, Mitch and Kenny made a shock appearance on stage and put on the first of what would become their signature cheer. Dressed in green and white matching tracksuits, they looked like nothing seen before in the WWE on their debut.
This distracted Jerry Lawler. Especially so when they cartwheeled down the ramp and ran around the ring performing cheers.
This helped Jonathan Coachman, as he rolled up the distracted Lawler to win the match. He went on to appear in the 2006 Royal Rumble match for the first and only time, being eliminated immediately by The Big Show.
The Spirit Squad’s first match in was a four-on-one handicap match against WWE legend Shawn Michaels, on the 20th February, 2006 episode of Raw. Mitch was injured during this time and could not compete, so the four men in the match were Nicky, Mikey, Kenny and Johnny.
Shawn Michaels won the match by disqualification, and it kicked off the legendary feud between The Spirit Squad and D-Generation X. This would also involve The McMahon’s, who had a bone to pick with DX since the Attitude Era.
This resulted in many matches between the two sides, usually ending a DX win. Despite being tag team champions, The Spirit Squad weren’t really seen as a threat since their debut.
On the November 27 2006 episode of Raw, The Spirit Squad wrestled in a match against Triple H, Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair. Despite it being a 5 on 3 handicap match, the trio got the win and pinned the Spirit Squad in their last match in the WWE.
In a backstage segment later that night, DX beat up the group and placed all members into a crate stamped “OVW, Louisville, Kentucky”.
This was the name and location of the WWE developmental promotion named Ohio Valley Wrestling. This was an in-joke, implying the group would be sent back down to the company for more training.
This was the end of the group. While Kenny Dykstra and Dolph Ziggler made it the main roster from the group, the rest of the Spirit Squad weren’t so lucky.
Mikey, Johnny and Mitch would have short runs in OVW, before being released. Mikey wrestled in ROH, most notably against The Young Bucks, but none of the Spirit Squad has a particularly successful career after release.
Only Dolph Ziggler became a WWE superstar for an extended period of time, and still wrestles for the company 17 years alter.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.