HeadLocker — Jay Shannon
Wrestler of the Week –Daffney
Our resident philosopher profiles the “Scream Queen”, Daffney, who took part in one of the best women’s matches in recent history, on last week’s TNA Impact.
In the wild world of pro wrestling, there are an abundance of odd characters. Topping the list of strange personas is Daffney. The self-proclaimed Scream Queen faced Hamada in a brutal no-disqualification battle. Daffney’s unique character, years of in-ring warfare and last week’s performance has earned her this week’s Wrestler of the Week award.
The World Traveler
Shannon Claire Spruill was born into a military family on July 17, 1975, During her first 12 years, she moved between West Germany, England and the United States. When her father retired in 1987, the family moved to the Atlanta, Georgia area. Shannon completed high school and moved onto college at Georgia State University. She was an outstanding student, earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in RTVF (Radio, Television and Film). She also minored in acting. After graduation, she took a job at a video production company. Eventually, she decided to move on to acting, full time. Her first acting gig would last for over a decade, in various forms.
The Birth of Daffney
In November, 1999, World Championship Wrestling sponsored a contest to find new talent. Shannon entered and won. Creative, which often took characters from film and television roles, based Shannon’s new character on the female lead in the movie Natural Born Killers. She was rechristened Daffney. The mentally warped Daffney became infatuated with David Flair and became his girlfriend/manager. She also led Crowbar (Devon Storm) to the ring.
During her time with Crowbar and Flair, she became the Cruiserweight co-champion, along with Crowbar. Thanks to interference from Chris Candido, Daffney was able to pin Crowbar (by accident). She wore the Cruiserweight title until dropping it to Lt. Loco (Chavo Guerrero, Jr.) in a Triple Threat match that also included Disco Inferno. During the match, Miss Hancock (Stacy Keibler) got involved in the match. That kick-started a short, vicious feud between the two. The feud centered around David Flair. Hancock “stole” David away from Daffney and then claimed to be carrying his child. When the pregnancy angle came out, the in-ring wars came to an end. Hancock would soon leave WCW and turn up in WWE as Stacy Keibler.
Daffney would then get into a program with Torrie Wilson, who was serving as Shane Douglas’ valet, at the time.
The “Scream Queen” gimmick came about after a bad landing. She let out a legitimate shriek and writer Ed Ferrera figured that since Daffney was trained as an actress, she could scream at will. The annoying habit of shrieking like a Banshee caught on and was later copied by Melina in the WWE. As WCW began to struggle, financially, talent cuts were put into place. Despite a huge following, creative really had no direction for Daffney to go and she was released in February of 2001, just a month before the company’s merger with the WWE.
Having a devil of a time
After being released from WCW, Daffney joined Dusty Rhodes’ Turnbuckle Championship Wrestling organization. She was there, mainly, for further training. She continued to use the Daffney persona until she left TCW. Once she hit the indy circuit, she went through a series of identity changes. In TNA, she went under her given first name, Shannon. She also became Shark Girl, a valet to Shark Boy. Her time in TNA was short-lived. She then moved on to the east coast indies, most notably Ring of Honor. It was there that she served as manager to the Second City Saints (C.M. Punk, Colt Cabana and Ace Steel). She adopted the punnish name of Lucy Furr (Lucifer) to go along with the Saints portion of the team name of Punk, Cabana and Steel.
She would stick with that name, along with Daffney, until she accepted an offer to go to the WWE’s training territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling. She was partnered with Aaron Stevens until December, 2003, when she was released. The reason for her release was never explained, though it was considered odd that she lasted less than six months with the company.
Retirement and Return
After her release from OVW, Shannon decided to walk away from wrestling. She even sold her wrestling boots to fellow OVW talent (and her roommate), Mickie James. Shannon took a job as a personal trainer in the Georgia area. Her plan was to contact some of the people she met in the Turner organization to try and reboot her acting career. That idea came to an end in February, 2006, when she accepted a job, under the ring name of Lucy Furr, for Women’s Extreme Wrestling. She was introduced to the group by Francine and Missy Hyatt, after posing for their racy website.
After a short stint as a manager, she moved to Alabama and worked as a wrestler, under the tutelage of Robert Fuller. Fuller called her his “Million Dollar Baby”. She would be pitted against El Mexicano for the NWA Birmingham Junior Heavyweight title, which she would win. After dropping the belt, she moved on to various Georgia independent promotions, working as both a ref and a manager/valet.
In 2007, Shannon showed up in Shimmer as both her Daffney and Shark Girl characters. She feuded with Ms. Chif for the better part of a year. Daffney/Shark Girl wanted to revert to her earlier character and prove she could become a star, once again.
The Psycho Governor
On June 5, 2008, Daffney, along with Amber O’Neal and Becky Bayless, were giving a guest shot on Impact. Daffney was chosen to battle Awesome Kong, during Kong’s open challenge. Daffney actually defeated Kong and looked to be on her way to a full-time return to wrestling. Suddenly, she disappeared.
In December, Shannon returned, playing Alaskan governor Sarah Palin. The resemblance was uncanny. “Palin” played upon the naivety of The Beautiful People (Angelina Love and Velvet Sky). Palin put the women through several vignettes of humiliation. It was eventually revealed that Palin was an fake, hired by Taylor Wilde and Roxxi. The Beautiful People snapped and attacked Palin, cutting her hair. The trauma of the assault pushed Palin over the edge and Daffney was re-born. Daffney began to attack Wilde and Roxxi, the women who placed her in the traumatic situation. The feud was derailed when Roxxi was released.
Daffney began to climb the rankings, by way of odd stipulation matches, such as the “Queen of the Cage” match. She also became associated with former ECW stars, Raven and Dr. Stevie (Richards). Daffney invented a new finisher called the Lobotomy (a swinging Perfectplex). She worked primarily gimmick matches, such as Monster’s Ball and the Match of 200 Tacks. Her appearances were sporadic. On the most recent episode of Impact, she faced off against Hamada, who was making her TNA debut. The two women had a brutal no-disqualification match that included tables and chairs. While Daffney came out on the losing end, she proved that she was one of the toughest women in professional wrestling.
Shannon Spruill has been called “Zombie Hot” and “Psycho Psexy”. She’s undergone numerous name changes, but the character (with the exception of the Sarah Palin gimmick) has always been the same. She’s been a solid performer on every promotion that she’s worked for. Her performance on Impact, against Hamada, was just another example of what an outstanding wrestler Daffney has become. Be sure to check out all the videos of her at ClickWrestle.com. Use the search box and enter Daffney. You’ll see match clips of Daffney and her alter-ego, Shark Girl.
Congratulations to Daffney (Unger)/Shark Girl/Lucy Furr, this week’s Wrestler of the Week.
— Jay Shannon