Friday, October 31, 2008

Wrestlers of Yore: Papa Shango

On this Halloween, I found it fitting to profile a wrestler who has had to endure a litany of ridiculous fucking costumes. But whom do I choose? John Tenta, who had to play Earthquake and The Shark? Fred Ottman, who played Tugboat Thomas, Typhoon, U.S. Steel and the Shockmaster? Some of the forgettable mid-90s gimmicks of the Repo Man, T.L. Hopper the wrestling plumber, the Goon or Man Mountain Rock? Tony Atlas, an African-American who was forced to carry a spear and shield as Saba Simba?

All of these characters were obviously ridiculous, embarrassing and in some cases, quite racist, but only one man has had to endure a vast number of separate embarrassing characters (well, a few embarrassing and one pretty cool) in his WWF/E tenure: Charles Wright. You may better know him by his other names however, including Sir Charles, the Soultaker, Papa Shango, Kama the Supreme Fighting Machine, the Godfather or the forgettable Goodfather. Or by his current occupation, owner of the Las Vegas strip club Cheetah's. That's right kids, Papa Shango runs a titty bar.

According to the unshakeable source that is Wikipedia, Wright was "discovered" while bartending at the same bar where they filmed the epic arm wrestling film, "Over the Top." Wrestlers involved in filming the Oscar-winner (as in the favored movie of the year by men named Oscar) told Wright that his large, tattooed body type would be perfect for the world of professional wrestling. Within a couple of years, Wright was wrestling as "The Soultaker" for Jerry Jarrett's USWA.

From there, Wright's friend Mark Calloway (better known to you and I as the Undertaker) recommended him to WWF management, where he was signed in 1991 and given the name "Sir Charles," an obvious takeoff on NBA player Charles Smith.

Wright was repackaged the next year as Papa Shango, a voodoo practitioner who would cast "spells" on his opponents, causing them pain and making them vomit from afar. As the story goes, Shango ruined the ending to the epic Hulk Hogan/Sid Justice Wrestlemania 8 battle by being a few minutes late for his scheduled match run-in, causing Hogan and Justice to botch the match's finish, causing Sid to inexplicably kick out of Hulk's legdrop, an unplanned and anticlimactic action which helped serve as the beginning of the end of Hulkamania. All because Papa Shango was late getting to the ring. Way to go, voodoo asshole.

From there, Papa Shango would scar my youth by causing my hero, the Ultimate Warrior vomit neon green Nickelodeon Gak all over fake doctors, to the horror of myself and Lord Alfred Hayes:

After the Papa Shango character lost momentum, Wright was repackaged again as "Kama, the Supreme Fighting Machine," a part of Ted DiBiase's Million Dollar Corporation. Clearly, DiBiase was in need of punctuation, causing him to hire someone named Kama. Kama's biggest feud came with the Undertaker, after he stole the Undertaker's urn, melted it into a necklace, and then proceeded to lose 4,483 straight casket matches to the Undertaker for his actions.

Kama later was repackaged again as Kama Mustafa, a member of the Nation of Domination. The Nation, an all-African American stable, feuded with the all-white Disciples of Apocalypse and the all-Hispanic Los Boricuas in a period of WWF History I like to refer to as the "Race Wars." And who won the Race Wars, you might ask? The lily-white Vince McMahon of course, who exploited his minority labor for profit.

After the Rich White Guy won the Race Wars, Wright was repackaged again as The Godfather, the WWF's resident pimp. As part of this awesome gimmick, local strippers/whores would parade out to the ring with the Godfather, dancing around him while he brandished his pimp cane and a huge smile on his face. With such catch phrases as "Pimpin Ain't Easy" and "All Aboard the Ho Train," the Godfather and his hoes were an obvious favorite of the oft-masturbating teenage GHABB,Y, who liked to watch the boobies jiggle. I will now completely kill the mood by noting that the Godfather was the intended opponent of Owen Hart the night that he fell 70 feet to his death.

Wow, sorry guys, total buzzkill there, here's some whores to cheer you up.

Due in much part to the Godfather character, McMahon was sued by the Parents Television Council for airing lewd and lascivious material, and tarnishing the unspoiled Christian eyes of this nation's children. McMahon, being the button-pusher that he is, started a part-of-the-script faction called the "Right to Censor," who wore white shirts and black ties that came out to the sound of shrill alarms and buzzers, and would rail against the liberal nature of the WWF. The Right to Censor, of course, would then get their asses handed to them, and their screen time would be given to scantily-clad women and "hardcore" wrestlers beating each other with Stop signs. In a travesty of justice, the Godfather joined the Right to Censor, renaming himself "The Goodfather" (get it? hyuk hyuk), and the hoes were sadly, gone. Soon too was Wright, made obsolete when the Parents Television Council dropped their lawsuit.

Since then, Wright has made occasional appearances on WWE television, occasionally reprising his "Godfather" character, often when wrestling tapings are filmed in Las Vegas, Wright's home. Wright's "hoes" this time are strippers at The Cheetah Club, the strip club that Wright owns in Vegas.

So let this be a lesson to all of you: if you play a fake pimp on TV, you can later own a strip club in real life. Just when you do so, make sure that you don't injure any innocent Ultimate Warriors in the process, making them throw up Nickelodeon Gak.


Sean said...

Ah, the Godfather. I'll never forget that time you interrupted a gay wedding and asked what the hiz-ell was going on.

Hazel Maes Landing Strip said...

Wow, a 24 hour strip club? I really need to stay away from Vegas...

Anonymous said...

Sir Charles = Charles Barkley
Wannabe Charles Barkley = Charles Smith

Anonymous said...

The whole MMA/UFC craze wasnt started yet when he became Kama, or he might've been popular. Or not, since he had almost zero fighting skills.

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