Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Boo: Devil in Disguise

Wrath, James Vanderberg, and Mortis
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

I was originally going to write about Mortis and Wrath for this post, but as I was researching I came across a lot of information on this duo's manager James Vanderberg.  At least that's what his name was back in WCW in 1996.  You may remember him better as former TNA manager "Father" James Mitchell or "Devil" James Mitchell.

As I mentioned, it was 1996 when Mitchell first arrived on the national wrestling scene. Prior to this, he had done some work with Smoky Mountain Wrestling, but I have no recollection of his work there.  In WCW though, Mitchell aka Vanderberg was managing Mortis (played by the late Chris Kayon) and Wrath (played by Bryan Clark, aka Adam Bomb) in a gimmick called "Blood Runs Cold."  It was a weird set up for sure.  The whole idea was to push a wrestler called Glacier.  Mortis and Wrath were his rivals in the feud.  They all dressed like characters from a video game, or rejects from the Masters of the Universe.  But as you can see in the picture, Vanderberg didn't dress like his men, instead he looked more like a traditional manager.

The Sinister Minister (ECW)
He later left WCW for ECW and started managing Raven.  But it wasn't long before Raven flew the coop and left the company.  The manager then became a narrator of sorts for ECW and was dubbed The Sinister Minister.  He managed Tajiri and Mikey Whipwreck, but again I don't remember much of this gimmick either, as these were the dying days of the ECW brand.  He even appeared at One Night Stand (the WWECW PPV in 2005), but my memory of him being there is strained.

"Father" James with his "son" Abyss
After his time in the original ECW, Mitchell ended up in TNA.  He managed once again, this time leading the way for a team called the Disciples of the New Church.  Brian Lee and Slash were the two members of the New Church.  Eventually, Mitchell would leave the company and return to manage Abyss.  If my memory serves me correctly the storyline was Mitchell was the father of Abyss.  It was a long, played out angle between the two before the revelation was actually made.  Then Mitchell ended up getting released from the company.  Personally, the storyline was starting to remind me a lot of the Kane-Paul Bearer angle from a few years earlier.

The devilish manager hasn't been seen from in years, but certainly made an impact (pardon the pun) on TNA wrestling while he was there.  Maybe he and his "son" will be reunited in the future.  You never know.

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