Seeing as how pro wrestling is one of the great loves in my life along with Halloween, why not two great tastes that taste great together? Let’s have a look at just a *few* of the freaks of wrestling, with more to come later this month…
Yes! Let’s kick it off with a shameless ripoff! Obviously, Leatherface has tired of hacking up people down in Texas and has decided to play the by the fast and loose rules of professional wrestling (he still brings the chainsaw though).
Leatherface was a character mostly used in Japan in the early 90s and played by two different wrestlers: originally by Corporal Kirschner (most famous for his mid-80s WWF stint) and later by Rick Patterson. The Kirschner version was also sometimes referred to as “Super Leather” or “Super Leatherface”, if I’m remembering correctly. And I’m pretty sure one of these wrestlers used the gimmick back in Jerry Lawler’s Memphis-based USWA promotion circa 1991 or 1992.
Jason the Terrible
Hm… Who could this be inspired by? Jason was a guy I remember reading about in all of those old wrestling magazines, but he never really had any TV exposure in the U.S., that I know of. Canadian Karl Moffat portrayed the role and wrestled in the original Stampede Wrestling, feuding the late, great Owen Hart. He also spent some time in WWC in Puerto Rico, where the bloodlust there surely made the character a popular one. He is probably more famous for a 1989 car wreck (where he suffered two fractures in his leg) that also involved Davey Boy Smith and Chris Benoit.
True to the theme of the character, he was “sequeled” if you will, and the character was used by a different wrestler in Japan in the W*ING federation in the early 90s. I wonder if Japan ever gave the world Jason the Terrible vs. Leatherface?
The Dungeon of Doom
Just a mess of a stable headed up by the “Taskmaster” Kevin Sullivan in the mid-90s. This was wrestling freaks, monsters and geeks and featured some of the worst wrestlers available at the time. The group was a (much) larger spin-off of the Three Faces of Fear stable that had featured Sullivan, Avalanche (the former Earthquake, John Tenta), and The Butcher (a heeled-up Brutus Beefcake). This stable and their feud with Hulk Hogan & Friends is one of the lowest points for WCW, in my opinion. It was a total ripoff of the 80s WWF cartoon era, but the gimmicks were worse, the wrestling was worse, and the pre-taped segments in which they tried to give us some “story” to it all were awful as well.
Now, I could end it right there, but no, I’m going to spotlight just a few of the SILLIER freaks (and that’s saying a lot)…
Billed from “the Great Barrier Reef”, the Shark was played by the late John Tenta, who is more famously known as being Earthquake in the WWF and making tons of kids cry by Earthquake-splashing Hulk Hogan (broke his ribs!) and Jake Roberts’ pet snake Damien (killed him!). He also played Oddity member Golga during the WWF’s late-90s Attitude era and as mentioned above, he was known as Avalanche (had to pick a different natural disaster name once leaving the WWF, you see) upon his debut in WCW. The highlights of this terrifying gimmick were the huge open mouth of the shark (which looks more like some demented clam) covering The Shark’s huge belly and the fact the he ran around with his hand up in the air meaning to signify a shark fin and yelling “SHARK ATTACK!”
One, in a series, of perplexing gimmicks for the man best known as Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake. I get that he couldn’t be called “The Barber” anymore thanks to the WWF owning the rights, so actually, calling him “The Butcher” was kinda cool, even if no one wanted to see him as a main event heel at Starrcade wrestling Hulk Hogan. But after that initial Three Faces of Fear run as The Butcher, Brutus disappeared for awhile (but not before a failed face turn where he feuded with Sullivan as “The Man With No Name”) and then reappeared months later with no fanfare as the wild Dungeon of Doom member Zodiac.
From this point on, there were no mentions made of him actually being Brutus/Butcher and he just carried on in the background of Dungeon interviews and matches walking around like he was constipated. The few times he did wrestle, he was quickly dispatched. He was pretty much there to act as cannon fodder for Hulk & Macho Man. A very strange look and goofy gimmick for the former Barber. Couldn’t his buddy Hulk have gotten something better for him?
Well, I guess Hulk *did* come through eventually because Brutus went on to play the fun-loving Booty Man (at least he had a Booty Babe, otherwise in a sport of guys wearing tights and getting sweaty together, it could be taken the wrong way) and later was the ‘roided-up nWo Black & White member Disciple.
The Loch Ness Monster
Martin Ruane, who wrestled on the indie circuit as Giant Haystacks, was brought in as the next giant monster for the Dungeon of Doom. I initially thought he was going to be equal level with the Giant sharing duties as the top heel of the group, but in the end, Loch Ness didn’t wrestle much and a Loch Ness/Giant feud quickly happened and was just as quickly forgotten as Ruane was diagnosed with cancer during his time in WCW and unfortunately passed away a few years later.
No idea why they called him the Loch Ness Monster… He didn’t even have Nessie across his belly!
The final DoD (or should that be DUD?) member I’ll mention is the Yeti. And no, the wrong picture wasn’t posted. Don’t you know that the Yeti is a giant Egyptian mummy and not a snow monster? Guess all those Yeti snow monster myths are just that… MYTHS. The evidence has been laid right before you as to what the Yeti truly looks like.
Ron Reis debuted as the Yeti at WCW Halloween Havoc 1995, where he and the Giant handed out some seriously goofy double bearhugs which made it look like anyone in the middle was getting some loving they didn’t ask for. I think the Yeti’s only match may have been the 1995 World World 3 battle royal, and he may have appeared in a Dungen of Doom pre-taped segment or two. Either way, the character disappeared in a matter of weeks. Which is a shame, because I would’ve loved to have seen Hogan wrestle a mummified Yeti.
Reis would later go on to be Raven’s Flock member Reese, and then later wrestling under his own name and also as Big Ron Studd in the indies.
There’s been a number of Executioners over the years, but this is the Terry “Bam Bam” Gordy version I’m talking about used in 1996 in the WWF. He was unrelated to previous versions, and was brought in by Paul Bearer to help Mankind in his feud with the Undertaker. He debuted helping Mankind win a Buried Alive match against ‘taker at a In Your House PPV, and at the following PPV he battled the Undertaker and was easily defeated in a extremely disappointing Armageddon (last man standing) match.
WWF was still not quite yet out of their cartoon phase and calling Terry Gordy (an internationally-known wrestling superstar) “The Executioner” and having him walk around with an axe and black hood & cloak is a prime example of that. A member of the original Freebirds, Gordy was a pretty good brawler/power wrestler who spent many years in Japan and was not the type of guy that you needed to give a gimmick to. Gordy/Undertaker matches could’ve been awesome brawls, but instead he was saddled with a lame “dark side” gimmick and was quickly out the door.