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About a year and a half ago I dedicated a "Freak of the Week" blog to the Ugandan Giant, Kamala. I shared some of my memories of him, and figured I'd update those thoughts after hearing some bad news about the former USWA champion. Many of you already know, Kamala had a portion of his leg amputated late last year. He's continuing to recover from that.
My first memories of Kamala come when he showed up in Texas as a part of World Class Championship Wrestling. They did these vignettes of him out in the wild and manager Skandar Akbar and Friday talked about the destruction he would inflict once he arrived. And he did, rolling over jobbers left and right. But when it came to challenging the all powerful Von Erich brood, the monster was no match. Kerry Von Erich slammed the 350+ pound beast on more than one occasion. He also had a tough time with Bruiser Brody.
|Kamala vs. Hogan (WWF)|
Through the years Kamala jumped from various wrestling companies, including the WWF, USWA, Midsouth, AWA, WCW, and Japan. On his last big run with the WWF he feuded primarily with the Undertaker, losing a Casket Match at Survivor Series 92. I believe that was the first time WWF had done such a match (at least on TV). A short time after that, he turned face and was paired with Rev. Slick. I didn't feel like the gimmick worked at all for him, as Kamala should always be that savage heel character. He won the USWA heavyweight title, I believe after that fun with WWF. He then played a role in the Dungeon of Doom in WCW, a group hell bent on ending Hulkamania (they failed)
|Gimmick Battle Royal (WWE)|
One fascinating thing I've learned about Kamala through the years is that he's one of the few guys to ever body slam Andre the Giant. I know back in 1987, the WWF claimed Hogan was the first, but there were a handful of others who had done it, including the giant from Uganda.
Since his surgery last year, it's all but certain that Kamala's wrestling career is over. I wish him nothing but the best as he continues to recover and adjust to his new life outside the ring. I know he's not got a great relationship with the WWE at the moment, but I hope one day he's inducted in to the Hall of Fame. He'll always be one of my favorite "gimmicks" in the world of wrestling.