Friday, November 19, 2010

The Wizarding World of Wrestling

Since today is the opening of the new Harry Potter film, I decided to let my inner geek out completely and dedicate a post to some of the wizardly and magical superstars of years past.  Here are the only three I could come up with.  I'm sure there are more.

All photos are courtesy of wwe.com unless otherwise noted.

Oz.  Now I don't remember a whole lot about Oz.  I do recall him being based on the character from the Wizard of Oz.  But what I don't know is if he used any kind of "magic" when in the ring, other than the ability to make an audience disappear.

Oz of course was played by Kevin Nash, and when he first appeared in WCW in 1991 he got a lot of hype.  But I think it was more of a case of "all show and no go."  The only match I remember with him was one where Ron Simmons handed him his ass.  This was just about the time Simmons was rising up the ranks.

So while Oz was far from great, it did create a silly gimmick for us to look back at and mock nearly 20 years later.  Who would have thought back in '91 this guy would go on to win the WWF and WCW world titles?  Same guy, different character I suppose.



Papa Shango.  He wasn't really a magician or a wizard.  More of a voodoo guy with mystical powers.  After all, he made the Ultimate Warrior throw up on TV.  Remember that? Or what about the stuff he'd do to the jobbers he was facing.

His big break came at Wrestlemania 8 when he "interfered" in the match between Hulk Hogan and Sid.  This promoted the return of the Ultimate Warrior.  The two feuded for the months that followed, with Shango doing the job.

Eventually, he would take his smoking skull, bone necklace, and other voodoo tools and leave the WWF.  While the character was gone, the man behind the skull face and blazin' tattoos would soon return.  This time, Charles Wright was Kama: The Ultimate Fighting Machine.  Then he became Kama Mustafa and joined the Nation of Domination.  That character turned into the Godfather before becoming the Goodfather.  Lots of gimmicks for the Wright, but the
Godfather was arguably the most popular with fans.

But Papa Shango may go into the book of awesomely bad gimmicks.  It was an odd time in wrestling.  Although I guess each era has its share of hokieness.



Phantasio.  Remember him? If not, don't worry.  His act didn't last very long. I actually saw him wrestle at a Superstars, Raw, Coliseum Home Video taping in the summer of 1995. It was in St. Louis and his opponent was Rad Radford.

Phantasio had wrestled in USWA as Spellbinder.  I think his gimmick was similar.  As you can see, he was the precursor for the "Crow" Sting.

He wore a mime mask to the ring, and once he arrived, he removed it and revealed the white and black face paint.  He would do tricks for the kids.  This was all at a time when the WWF was coming off the steroid trial and allegations of sexual harassment.  Vince was covering his bases and adding as many "kid friendly characters as he could.

This was also the era of Who?, the Goon, and TL Plopper.  Phantasio must not have cast a good enough spell on the powers that be, as he was only with the company for a few months.  He apparently also wrestled on the first TNA pay per view back in 2002, but only that one night.

So, Muggles I hope you enjoyed this one.  Until next time.

5 comments:

  1. Fist off... NERD!!!!

    Second, I may be wrong, but the I don't think Phantasmo wrestled on the first TNA PPV. There was a guy named Spellbinder in the Gauntlet for the Gold, but he was a Scott Steiner look alike not a black magician.

    Third. Am I your only reader?

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  2. Surprisingly, you are not the only reader. But you are the only one who posts. Phantasio wrestled as Del Rios on the TNA PPV, or so says the magic box. And no, I'm not a nerd. Nerds are smart. I'm a geek.

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  3. Hey! I post here too. Good lord, I remember Oz making his debut on PPV. Somehow circa 1990 I was able to afford both WCW and WWF PPV's, and it was quite a year for WrestleCrap. That was the only match I ever remember Oz winning.

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  4. I post as well. I go by Anonymous -- because I am magical and mysterious too. At any rate, doesn't The Undertaker qualify too? He's no different than Papa Shango, as far as I'm concerned.

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  5. How could you forget to include "The Grand Wizard"? (heel manager in WWF)

    Sean

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