Jimmy Del Ray

  (Redirected from Jimmy Backlund)

David Everett Ferrier (November 30, 1962 – December 6, 2014) was an American professional wrestler, better known by his ring name, "Gigolo" Jimmy Del Ray. Del Ray was best known for his appearances in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) as one half of the Heavenly Bodies with his tag team partner, Tom Prichard.[1][2]

Jimmy Del Ray
Jimmy Del Ray with Paul Billet.jpg
Birth nameDavid Everett Ferrier[1]
Born(1962-11-30)November 30, 1962[2]
Grove City, Pennsylvania, United States
DiedDecember 6, 2014(2014-12-06) (aged 52)
Tampa, Florida, United States
Cause of deathMyocardial infarction
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Jimmy Backlund[3]
Jimmy Del Ray[3]
Jimmy Graffiti
Jumo Kenya
Billed height5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)[3]
Billed weight230 lb (100 kg)[3]
Trained byThe Mighty Yankee

Professional wrestling careerEdit

Ferrier was trained by The Mighty Yankee and debuted in 1985 as "Jimmy Richland", which most thought was his real name. In the late 1980s, Del Ray joined Championship Wrestling from Florida as "Jumo Kenya". He later changed his ring name to "Jimmy Backlund" and formed a tag team with Brett Sawyer known as "The Playboys". The Playboys were awarded the vacant FCW Tag Team Championship on July 1, 1989. They held the titles until August 22, when they were defeated by the Nasty Boys.

Del Ray later joined Smoky Mountain Wrestling (SMW), where he replaced Stan Lane as one half of the Heavenly Bodies with Tom Prichard.[3] He was given the name Jimmy Del Ray as a small on Lane, because Lane was billed during his career as being from Delray Beach, Florida. The Heavenly Bodies were managed by James E. Cornette, and won the SMW Tag Team Championship on three occasions.[3][4] Cornette put the "Gigolo" moniker on his name as a play off his physique. While Del Ray was an agile and able wrestler at the time, he had a slightly pudgy midsection that shook, or "jiggled" when he did a taunting dance.

Along with Cornette, the Heavenly Bodies debuted in the World Wrestling Federation in 1993. They made their first televised appearance on the August 9, 1993 episode of Monday Night Raw, defeating Bobby Who and Mike Bucci.[5] They made two more appearances on Raw that year; they were defeated by World Tag Team Champions The Steiner Brothers in a title match on August 30, and were victorious over Mark Thomas and Scott Taylor on August 4. At SummerSlam 1993 on August 30, the Heavenly Bodies faced the Steiner Brothers with the World Tag Team Championship on the line, but were defeated.[6]

At the 1993 Survivor Series on November 24 in the Boston Garden, the Heavenly Bodies faced The Rock 'n' Roll Express for the SMW Tag Team Championship. Though the Rock 'N Roll Express appeared to have the match won, the Heavenly Bodies defeated them after Del Ray struck Robert Gibson with Cornette's tennis racket while the referee was distracted, enabling Prichard to pin Gibson and win the titles.[5]

At WrestleMania X on March 20, 1994 in Madison Square Garden, the Heavenly Bodies defeated The Bushwhackers in a dark match.[7] They returned to WWF television on the April 25 episode of Raw, defeating John Paul and Jason Headings. They made sporadic appearances on Raw over the next year, with their final appearance being a loss to The Smoking Gunns on the March 20, 1995 episode of Raw.[5] At the 1994 Survivor Series on November 23, the Heavenly Bodies took part in a ten-man survivor match, teaming with Bam Bam Bigelow, Tatanka, and King Kong Bundy as Ted DiBiase's Million Dollar Team. The Million Dollar Team defeated their opponents, Guts and Glory (Lex Luger, Mabel, Adam Bomb, and the Smoking Gunns), although both Prichard and Del Ray were eliminated from the match.[8] Prichard and Del Ray both participated in the 30 man Royal Rumble match on January 22, 1995.[5]

The Heavenly Bodies made several appearances in Extreme Championship Wrestling in December 1995 as members of Raven's Nest. At ECW December To Dismember: Ultimate Jeopardy on December 9, the Heavenly Bodies faced Raven's enemies, the Public Enemy, in a tag team bout. The match had stipulations applying to the losers - if the Public Enemy lost, they would face one another later that night, while if the Heavenly Bodies lost, the Eliminators (members of Raven's Nest) would be forced to leave ECW, while their manager, Jason, would have his head shaved. Moreover, if the Heavenly Bodies were defeated, then Raven's valet, Beulah McGillicutty, would be forced to spend a week with Tommy Dreamer, while Raven's Nest member Stevie Richards would be locked in a steel cage for five minutes with the winners of the Ultimate Jeopardy match later that night. The Heavenly Bodies lost their match, leading to the enforcement of the aforementioned stipulations. Later that evening, Raven, Richards, the Eliminators, and the Heavenly Bodies faced Dreamer, the Pitbulls, and the Public Enemy in an ultimate jeopardy match. The match was won by Dreamer, who pinned Richards. Richards was subsequently locked in the cage with Dreamer's team, but Raven and his Nest attacked Dreamer's team before they could hurt him. Raven's Nest then attacked Dreamer's team until The Sandman drove them away.

Del Ray later joined World Championship Wrestling (WCW) as Jimmy Graffiti.[9] He took part in the three ring battle royal at the 1996 World War 3 event on November 24. Del Ray remained in WCW until a knee injury forced him to retire in 1997. After retiring, he worked as an instructor in Steve Keirn's Floridian professional wrestling school for several years,[2] training wrestlers such as Buck Quartermain and Steve Madison, and managed a tag team known as the New Heavenly Bodies. Del Ray later retired from training wrestlers and started a hardwood flooring company named Ferrier's Fine Flooring Inc. in Tampa, Florida in March 2006. In September 2013, he registered another Tampa company called Ferrier's Flooring Inc.


Ferrier, who lived in Valrico, Florida, died at the Tampa General Hospital on December 6, 2014. He suffered a heart attack at the wheel of his truck on US 301 near the Florida State Fairgrounds. Two days later, WWE.com noted his death and offered condolences to his friends, family and colleagues.[10]

Championships and accomplishmentsEdit


  1. ^ a b "Single vehicle accident on U.S. 301 kills Valrico man", TBO.com staff
  2. ^ a b c d "Jimmy Del Ray Profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Pro Wrestling Illustrated Top 100 Tag Teams of the PWI Years: 17 The Heavenly Bodies". Pro Wrestling Illustrated. Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, United States: Sports and Entertainment publications LLC. October 18, 2003. p. 20. November 2003.
  4. ^ a b c Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). "(Tennessee) Knoxville: Smokey Mountain Wrestling Tag Team Title". Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  5. ^ a b c d Cawthon, Graham (2013). the History of Professional Wrestling Vol 2: WWF 1990 - 1999. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. ASIN B00RWUNSRS.
  6. ^ "SummerSlam". Pro Wrestling History. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  7. ^ "1994". The History of WWE. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  8. ^ "Survivor Series 1994". Pro Wrestling History. Retrieved 2008-05-13.
  9. ^ Cawthon, Graham (2015). the History of Professional Wrestling Vol 5: World Championship Wrestling 1995-2001. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. ISBN 1499656343.
  10. ^ Namako, Jason (December 8, 2014). "WWE issues statement on Jimmy Del Ray's passing". WrestleView. Retrieved December 9, 2014.
  11. ^ Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). "Florida: FCW Tag Team TitleHeavyweight Title". Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  12. ^ Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2006). "Japan: W*ING Junior Heavyweight Title". Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  13. ^ Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  14. ^ Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). "(Japan) FMW World Light Heavyweight Title". Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  15. ^ Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). "(Tennessee) Memphis: United States Wrestling Association Tag Team Title". Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.

External linksEdit