R.I.W Wrestling Legend: Papa Shango

The Rotten Ink Arena doors are open and as you can see, it’s really spooky in here as fog is all over and Halloween decorations are hanging all around as this “R.I.W Wrestling Legend” update is about a wrestler who had the power of voodoo on his side and who could put curses on his opponents and make fans look on in fear! And I am of course talking about Papa Shango who terrorized the WWF as well as a few indies in the early 90’s and who is going to be coming down this aisle with his smoking skull and will shock, scare and entertaining this packed house. And while he grab some candy corn and spooky punch from the snack bar and find our seats I am also here to say that from time to time in the month of October we will have some “R.I.W Wrestling Legend” updates about these spooky themed wrestlers. But as you can see, the house lights are going down and the smoke is pouring in so that mush mean Papa Shango is on his way to the ring and our update is about to start.

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Charles Wright started his pro wrestling career in 1989 and was trained by Larry Sharpe and came from background of working for bars and would first start working for Jerry Lawler in the USWA and go under the name The Soultaker and would even capture the USWA Unified World Heavyweight Championship title his rookie year and held it for two weeks. While working for USWA he would also get chances to work a few matches in New Japan Pro Wrestling and this helped him learn more moves and skill sets. The Soultaker would also start working other smaller indie feds during this time and by 1991 he would get the call to come work for the WWF. And when first working for the WWF in Dark Matches and House Shows as Sir Charles and was not a character with a future. But in 1992 Sir Charles would become Papa Shango a voodoo master who would chant curses, wear face paint to make him look like a skull, would carry a skull that would smoke and he even could control the arena lights. Kids in the crowd was scared of this creepy guy as he would be pushed fast from the start and would get wins over name mid-carders and would also be pushed in big stories as he would feud with Ultimate Warrior that had him curse the Warrior and cause him to bleed and vomit black goo. He would also get a WWF World Heavyweight Title shot against Bret Hart at Saturday Night’s Main Event XXXI and even entered the 1993 Royal Rumble. But while he started out being a big heel for the company he quickly found himself falling down the card and loosing matches against names like Tito Santana and Hacksaw Jim Duggan. And by mid 1993 Papa Shango would be faded away from TV and the WWF. But he would be sent back to USWA by WWF as the two companies worked together and Papa Shango would win the USWA Unified World Heavyweight Championship title for a second time. And would even in 1994 wrestle for the German company Catch Wrestling Association as Papa Shongo would go for the company’s world title but would loose. Papa Shango would fade away due to Pat Patterson not being a fan of the spooky character. But during his short run he would have some big matches against some big names like The Undertaker, The Road Warriors, Bret Hart, Ultimate Warrior, Randy Savage, Big Boss Man, British Bulldog, Kamala and Bob Backlund to name a few. Papa Shango really did scare the kids in the crowd and even some adults was spooked by his voodoo ways but his time to scare was short.

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In 1994 Papa Shango would be no more and in 1995 Kama “The Supreme Fighting Machine “ would appear and be a shoot fighter who loved to fight and would feud with The Undertaker and even steal the Dead Mans urn and turns it into a gold necklace and would join the Million Dollar Corporation a stable of heels lead by Ted DiBiase. And Kama was a short-lived character that would be gone by 1996 after entering that years Royal Rumble. Kama Mustafa would return to WWF in 1997 and would no longer have the nickname The Supreme Fighting Machine and would be apart of the Nation Of Domination stable that was lead by Ron Simmons and would have fellow members over the years like The Rock, Mark Henry, D’Lo Brown, Owen Hart and PG-13. And after a good run with the stable he in 1998 would become The Godfather a pimp who would have hos come to the ring with him and the fans would love him and his larger then life persona. The Godfather would be a very popular mid-carder who would be in the WWF Intercontinental title picture from all the way up to 2000 and would even capture the title once. In mid 2000 The Godfather would become The Goodfather and would stop his sleazy ways and join the stable known as Right To Censor and would capture WWE Tag Team Gold along with partner Bull Buchanan. In 2002 he would return to The Godfather character with his ladies and all. But by the end of 2002 he would be let go from the company. From 2005 on The Godfather would make special appearance off and on for the WWF via Royal Rumble matches and even backstage segments. And even in 2007 Charles Wright would start working the Indies as well as doing conventions and at many would be both Papa Shango and The Godfather. In 2016 The Godfather was inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame and still remains a beloved semi retired wrestler.

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Papa Shango almost made two big returns to the WWF over the years but the plans just never seemed to work out. Like in 1994 a plan was in place that would have Papa Shango be the one who put a voodoo spell on Bob Backlund to explain his crazed heel turn, but they decided to bring Charles back as Kama The Supreme Fighting Machine. And in 1997 they had plans to bring back Papa Shango and even update his look and character and once more he was instead Kama on his return. I am not going to lie as I would have loved to have seen either of these returns happen as I feel that the WWF did not fully do Papa Shango justice as the character was really cool and was a favorite of mine in the early 90’s and his feud with The Ultimate Warrior was one I enjoyed. And on a side note I still think WWF could bring back Papa Shango even now and have him involved in a story with The Fiend, and he could even have a none wrestling role and it still would work. But check out the first two pictures below to see what Papa Shango would have looked like in 1997 if he had returned.

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Growing up a wrestling fan I have always liked the creepy and horror themed wrestlers and Papa Shango was one of my favorites as how can you go wrong with a wrestler who looked creepy and would put voodoo curses on his opponents and scare the hell out of the kids in the crowd. I mean he would make black goo pour from peoples heads, make them get sick and puke up that same black goo, he would mess with the arena lights and even set peoples feet on fire! He even once put the black goo curse on Mean Gene Okerlund and caused his arm to have pain and drop the microphone as the goo ran down his arm. And I always marked out for his matches against the likes of The Undertaker, Ultimate Warrior and Kamala. And I even had his Hasbro figure and would play him in the video games on the Sega Genesis. And in these modern times it seems that Papa Shango is finally getting some respect and love as the character was loved by many and hated by many when he first appeared, and now it seems like more people have discovered just how awesome the character was and how much potential he had as they really could have used him as a monster heel and could have had him in the World Title picture. If you can see Charles Wright at a convention at times you can get photo ops and he will dress as Papa Shango complete with smoking skill prop! I should also note that when Papa Shango disappeared off WWF TV I was pretty bummed and when he showed back up as Kama I was disappointed as while I like Kama and The Godfather the best gimmick in my eyes for Charles hands down was Shango. While he is none active for the most part from in ring action I for one hope that he does return at some point to the WWF as I think they could do some cool stuff with him in the over all story arch of The Fiend.

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We are now at the point of this review were we will be taking a look at the DVD set and review some of the matches on the discs like always between 4 to 8. I want to thank Coliseum Of Wrestling & Boxing for having this set in stock and also want to thank Papa Shango for his hard work in the world of wrestling. I also want to remind you that I will only be breaking down randomly select matches from this set and will be breaking down the match and will be rating the matches on a 5 Star rating system. I also only choose from Single matches, as I want to break down his matches that showcase his style. Here is what the stars mean ½ Means a really terrible match, * Means a bad match,** Means a below average match, **1/2 Means a good average entertaining match, *** Means a good match, **** Means a great match, ***** Means an epic match. So if you are ready, let’s step into the ring with Papa Shango.

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Best Of Papa Shango

Match 1: Papa Shango vs. Tatanka

Shango jumps Tatanka from behind just as the bell rings and unloads some punches and throws Tatanka into the ropes but misses a dropkick, given Tatanka a chance to fight back with some massive chops. Papa Shango takes the chops for a short time but once more takes control of the match and even delivers a big jumping head butt that knocks Tatanka down, and allows Shango to keep up his assault and even choke the Native American superstar on the ropes. Shango then gets Tatanka in a nerve hold trying to make him submit and he really digs it in with all his size and power, but as the fans start cheering Tatanka starts to war dance and use his elbows to Shango’s gut in order to break the hold and take the momentum of the match. Tatanka climbs to the top rope and drops a chop to the head of Shango, and is able to get a two count. Shango goes outside the ring and grabs his voodoo stick and tries to hit Tatanka with it as sparks shoot out of the top of it and the referee has seen enough and disqualifies Papa Shango and gives the match to Tatanka. This was a good solid match that was sadly a very lame ending as both guys were being pushed at the time so they just did a DQ ending so neither had to take a pin. The match for the most part is all brawling styles mixed with some moves and a dash of rest holds. While the styles of Tatanka and Papa Shango did not blend all that well they both did a great job to make the best of the match that the fans at the arena seemed to enjoy as they popped for Tatanka throughout. It was also nice to see Papa Shango try and pull off a dropkick and Tatanka’s top rope head chop looked good. And also the commentators did a good job of putting both men over in skill as well as Shango’s gimmick. Over all a good upper mid-card match that had Shango trying to use his voodoo to win and it backfiring and causing him to loose by DQ.

Grade: **1/2

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Match 2: Papa Shango vs. Kamala

Before the bell rings Papa Shango shows Kamala the smoking skull, and as Kamala stares at it and the bell rings Shango makes the skull shoot fire from the top and this scares Kamala who tries to leave the ring and is only being stopped by his manager Slick. Shango then attacks Kamala from behind and even starts biting him, and splashes him into the corner. When Shango whips Kamala into another corner and tries for a splash again Kamala is able to move and makes a comeback complete with a chop to the top of Shango’s head. Kamala misses a big splash and Shango is able to once more take control of the match and attacks the eyes of Kamala and then starts choking him on the ropes. Shango keeps up the attack on Kamala and tosses him out of the ring, and then starts to attack his manager Slick. Kamala sees the attack on his manager and gets back into the ring and is able to save him and then the two go outside the ring and get counted out. First thing I have to say is that Kamala’s selling of looking at and being freaked out by the smoking skull is fantastic! Kamala is such an under rated wrestler and his comedy aspects are great when he wants to be funny. This match is pretty much a brawl as Shango and Kamala throw punches and hit basic movies like body slams and yet for some reason it really works as both guys have gimmicks that mesh well and they play off each other so well. In fact when selecting the matches for this update, this was the one I was most looking forward to. Neither men throw out any moves that standout or are that impressive, but the comedy between the two is what makes this match work so well. I was a little disappointed in the count out ending though. To sum it up, I would have liked for this match to go a little longer and would have had one of them winning the match. And Shango is the prefect heel in the match as he uses dirty moves and trues his best to scare his opponent silly.

Grade: **1/2

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Match 3: Papa Shango vs. Mr. Perfect Curt Henning

Papa Shango jumps Curt Henning as the bell rings and lays in some big punches, and then tosses Henning out of the ring. Shango even rolls out of the ring and attacks Henning before he can even get back into the ring and even once he is able to get back into the ring. Henning makes a comeback and dropkicks Shango out of the ring and then goes out after him even ramming him into the post. Once back in the ring Henning and Shango exchange hits and moves each trying to cut the other off from getting to much momentum. Shango ends up getting Henning in a headlock and cheats to get leverage by putting his feet on the ropes and almost puts Henning asleep with the hold. But Henning is able to get out of the hold and land some big clotheslines, and after a missed move Shango is put into the Perfect Plex and Henning gets the win. This is a good match as Curt Henning was one of the all time best and he was able to work well with the style of Papa Shango who throughout the match looked like a major threat. Henning also really sells for Shango well and makes him look like the monster heel they were building him up to be. The ending was great and having Henning quickly hit the Perfect Plex was a great way to give Henning the win and also not damage Shango in the process. Over all this was a really good match and again have to stress just how good Henning was at this time in making everyone in the ring with him look like a true superstar.

Grade: ***

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Match 4: Papa Shango vs. Repo Man

Before the match its clear that Repo Man is a little scared of Papa Shango as is many of the young kids in the crowd. As soon as the bell rings Papa Shango is all over Repo Man and throws and batters him around the ring before getting an arm bar and working over the wrist joint of his opponent. But Repo Man is able to make a comeback and after a few bit punches he uses a clothesline to take Shango off his feet. Repo Man then gets an arm bar of his own and starts working over the arm of Shango who gets out of the hold by picking him up and body slamming him hard to the mat, and locks in a chin lock on Repo Man who is clearly in lots of pain. Shango breaks the hold and pushes Repo Man into the corner and starts biting him as the referee yells at him. Repo Man tries to make a small comeback but is cut off and after a double clothesline Shango gets mad and grabs his voodoo stick and shoots sparks into the face of Repo Man who in turn grabs his rope and hook and the referee disqualifies both me and neither get the victory. What a strange match for the WWF to have as both men are heels and the fans have no idea who they should cheer as they both work a brawling style with each throwing big punches and hitting your most basic wrestling moves. And because they wrestle a semi same style the action in the ring was solid and it was clear that Shango is who was being pushed and he is in control for most of the match. And Repo Man does a great job of selling as well as acting scared of Shango, and on the other side Shango does a good job of selling for Repo man when he makes his comebacks. But like before the finish is a little of a letdown as once more is a DQ as both men grab weapons and the referee has seen enough and throws it out, it should have had a clear winner of the match. This is a weird booked match but at least a very entertaining one.

Grade: **1/2

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Match 5: Papa Shango vs. Marty Jannetty

From the start of the match Papa Shango out powers Marty and gets him into the corner and starts throwing punches and even works over Marty’s eyes. Shango makes a mistake and tries to axe handle hit Marty who is able to jump kick Shango in the face. Shango then challenges Marty to a test of strength, but Marty is to smart for him and just as they are about to lock up he gets Shango in an arm bar, Shango gets out of the hold and they pull off a chain of moves against each other and Marty ends up back to having the arm bar locked in on Shango. Marty ends up knocking Shango out of the ring and goes out after him, but Marty misses a move and hits the guard railing and this gives Shango the chance to stomp on Marty outside the ring, and then tosses him back into the ring and drops an elbow and stomps on his face and then tosses Marty back out of the ring. Marty gets back in and rolls up Shango for a pin, Shango kicks out and hits Marty with a massive clothesline and is only able to get a two count on the Rocker. Shango starts arguing with the referee and Marty roles him up for a one count. Shango then starts punching Marty who bounces off the ropes and rolls up Shango again and this time gets the three count. What a good match that had to solid mid-card draws entertaining the fans as Marty of course worked a fast pace as Shango brought the brawling style. The two really worked well together and the quick surprise pin was a great finish for the match as if gave Marty a win and also didn’t make Shango look weak in defeat. The crowd was behind Marty and he does a great job of playing the crowd and getting them involved in the match. And the fans do not like Shango as they boo for his moves. Over all really a good quick match and both guys look great and both guys work well together and made for an entertaining match.

Grade: ***

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Match 6: Papa Shango vs. The Undertaker

The bell rings and The Undertaker and Papa Shango stand in the middle of the ring face to face and stare each other down and the electricity is filling the arena and Shango makes the first move and grabs Taker by the throat and backs him into the corner. But Taker then grabs Shango by the throat and backs him into the corner. Once the choke is broke Taker starts landing good hits on Shango and even walks the top rope and clubs the arm of Shango who tries to make a comeback but is body slammed for his attempt, but taker misses a dropping elbow and Shango is able to knock Taker out of the ring who lands on his own feet, but Shango will not let him into the ring. Once Taker gets back in the ring and behind the referee’s back Shango uses his voodoo stick to shoot sparks into the eyes of Taker who falls out of the ring blinded and Shango goes out after him and starts pounding on him and hits him with a chair and even throws him into the steel steps. And once back in the ring Shango continues to beat up on Taker who keeps sitting up and after a serious if big elbow drops Shango waits to see if he rises, and as the manager of The Undertaker Paul Bearer lifts the urn he carries into the air The Undertaker sits back up and hits Shango with a leaping clothesline and then choke slams him and gets the three count and the win. This is a match that features two of the best wrestling gimmicks that were in the WWF at the time as both had horror themes and these two should have had a much bigger feud than they did. I mean imagine a story that had Papa Shango using voodoo to control The Undertaker and turning him into a heel, and Paul Bearer having to figure out a way to get Taker back, but that for another topic. The match is slow passed as both work a brawling style but their styles cause very similar mix very well and The Undertaker does a great job of selling for Shango even when sitting up like Michael Myers from the Halloween movie series. While Shango does great selling and watching The Undertaker as you could tell he wanted to bring him down. The Undertaker walking the top rope in a movie that is now called Old School is great and got a pop from the crowd. In fact the crowd was really into this match and it was clear they wanted The Undertaker to win. The stare down between the two at the start of the match was great and really set the mood for the match and when Shango landed all those elbows and watched to see if Undertaker would sit back up was great creepy heel stuff. A great entertaining match as I enjoyed the story telling in the ring as well as the slow moving brawling action, really do wish these two got a longer and more flushed out feud.

Grade: ***

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Match 7: Papa Shango vs. Bret Hart

This is match is for the WWF World Heavyweight Title. As the bell rings Papa Shango starts landing clubbing blows to the back of Bret and takes control for a moment, but then Bret is able to pull off a monkey flip and hits some big punches and goes for the pin after a flying body press, but only gets a one count and with the kickout Bret is thrown to the outside, Bret slides back in and hits Shango with an atomic drop and then clotheslines Shango over the top rope as the fans go crazy, as Bret dives out and lands a big punch to the downed Shango. Once back in the ring Shango is able to take control of the match when he whips Bret chest first into the turnbuckle, and then start beating up Bret with punches and moves and even gets Bret into a massive bear hug, Bret escapes the move by biting Shango on top of his head, but Shango keeps the momentum in his favor and shows just how powerful he is, and then goes for a never hold on Bret. And anytime Bret tries to make a comeback Shango uses his power to cut it off and stop it. Shango misses a top rope elbow drop and Bret takes over the momentum of the match and keeps hitting Shango with moves and going for the pin only for the Voodoo Man to kick out. But Bret is able to get Shango in the Sharpshooter and Shango gives up and this gives Bret the win. This was a great WWF title match and like always Bret Hart gets a great match out of his opponent with this one being Papa Shango. Bret does a great job of not only flawlessly pulling off his moves, but also makes Shango look like a top heel contender for his title and like the true superstar he is gets the fans really into the match. Shango as well does a great job of hitting massive moves and stays on Bret making it look like the title is in jeopardy of switching hands. And even in loosing Shango still looked strong throughout the match. A really good match and shows that Papa Shango could work with every style of wrestler on the WWF roster at the time as he could work jobbers as well as top of the federation like Hart and have good matches with them all.

Grade: ***1/2

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Match 8: Papa Shango vs. Bob Backlund

From the start of the bell Backlund is able to use his speed and technical style to trip up, out maneuver and take down the much bigger Papa Shango who ends up talking the momentum when he beats Backlund in a test of strength. Bob is able to gain control again and this time shows Shango that he as well has power. But Shango is able to land a massive backbreaker and take Backlund down, and then the two battle outside the ring with Shango being the one in control and rams Backlund’s back into the apron, and even back in the ring Shango keeps up the attack keeping Backlund down with a headlock. Even when Backlund is able to use an arm drag to get out of the headlock Shango keeps up his attack not giving him a moment to catch his breath, and after pounding on him locks in another headlock and cheats to get leverage by putting his feet on the ropes. Shango lets go of the hold and starts to torture Backlund a little more, but the veteran out smarts Shango and is able to roll him up with a small package and get the win via pinfall. This was a good match that was for the most part very one sided as Papa Shango was in control for most of the match and just beat the heck out of Bob Backlund and event used submission moves to try and wear the old veteran down, and Shango looked like a beast doing so and really got the fans worked up as they were on the side of Backlund. And speaking of Backlund he does a good job of selling for Shango, getting the crowd to cheer and his for his age at the time showed that he had speed. Bob Backlund was super skilled in the match and while he and Shango have very different in ring style the match comes off very good and both come out looking like the superstars they are. Also should note this was a match of the past meeting the then generation of WWF wrestling.

Grade: **1/2

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Papa Shango was one of my favorite heels in the WWF in the early 90’s and is truly one that I wished would have stuck around as he could have had good matches and feuds with many of the wrestlers at the time and the years after he was gone. I mean I would have loved a full feud with The Undertaker, Ultimate Warrior, Jake “The Snake” Roberts and later Mankind and Vader. While Papa Shango might not be the most skilled wrestler of all time his gimmick, look and skills made him a stand out for me and he was one of the best horror themed wrestlers at the time only behind the likes of The Undertaker. But as you can see the ghosts, goblins and vampires have started to fill the Rotten Ink Arena for the after midnight monster bash so I think that’s our cue to leave, but before we do I would like to tell you that our next update will have us hanging out with Horror Host Icon Sammy Terry as we celebrate Halloween! So until next time read a comic or three, watch a wrestling match or two and as always support your local indie wrestlers. I wonder if the Great Pumpkin will show up for the next update?

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Pro Wrestling’s Master Of The Five Count: King Kong Bundy

When you think of the big men of Pro Wrestling, names like Andre The Giant, Big John Studd, Big Van Vader, Haystacks Calhoun, Kevin Nash, One Man Gang and a small amount of others come to mind, but at the top of that list for any old school wrestling fan has to be the one and only King Kong Bundy! The walking condominium, as Gorilla Monsoon use to call him, has made his mark in the WWF and independent scene throughout the 80’s and 90’s and was one of the sport’s most hated bad guys as his feuds with the likes of Hulk Hogan, Hillbilly Jim and The Undertaker encouraged boos from fans worldwide. For this update, we will take a look at TLW Productions comic based on King Kong Bundy as well as the man himself and his career. So lace up your boots and make sure your tights are on right as we step into the ring with the master of the five count, the man who delivers the most brutal avalanche splash to anyone in his way, the legend of pro wrestling’s big men King Kong Bundy who was billed as weighing 458 pounds!

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Christopher Alan Pallies was born on November 7, 1957 in Atlantic City, New Jersey and did not start his wrestling career until 1981 when he began working for World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW) where he was named Big Daddy Bundy and would wear a rope belt to hold up his blue jean pants.  He was a fan favorite who was friends with the Von Erich Family, that was until a dispute broke up the friendship and Bundy began to be managed by Gary Hart and started to wear his signature black singlet and changed his name from Big Daddy to King Kong and went from good to bad in a blink of an eye! During the feud he would loose his hair in a match that would lead to Bundy’s final transformation into a monster heel. In 1982, King Kong Bundy was selected to be the final opponent for Fritz Von Erich who was Texas’s most iconic wrestler and the owner of World Class. Bundy would travel after leaving World Class and wrestle for the AWA, NWA, Japan and Mid-South where he would start his 5 count request to add heat from fans during matches against jobbers and fan favorites. In 1985, King Kong Bundy would sign to World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and be pushed as a giant heel that was managed by Jimmy Hart and would go to the first WrestleMania and defeat veteran S.D. Jones in nine seconds! In late 1985, Jimmy Hart traded King Kong Bundy’s contract to Bobby “The Brain” Heenan for both The Missing Link and Adrian Adonis as Heenan wanted Bundy for his stable called The Heenan Family. Bundy began a feud with Andre The Giant that became so heated that Bundy broke Andre’s sternum after a series of massive big splashes.  This lead to many matches finally settling in a match called “The Colossal Jostle” that saw Andre beating Bundy all during the match until Bundy was saved by fellow Heenan Family member Big John Studd. His next feud was with WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan after Bundy once more used his weight to crush Hogan giving him bruised ribs.  They settled the war in a steel cage at WrestleMania II where Hogan defeated his massive opponent. Bundy’s next major fight would come at WrestleMania III where Bundy along with midget wrestlers Lord Littlebrook and Little Tokyo took on Hillbilly Jim and his partners Little Beaver and Haiti Kid.  The match would have Bundy and his team losing by disqualification after Bundy body slammed and elbowed Little Beaver causing his own team to even turn on him! In 1987 on an episode of Saturday Night’s Main Event, Bundy would beat Hulk Hogan via count out, but by the rematch in 1988 on the next Saturday Night’s Main Event special, Hogan would beat Bundy.  This also marked the end of Bundy’s in WWF. During this run, Bundy was able to feud with wrestling’s top two stars with Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant and was a part of the major boom of pro wrestling in the 80’s,  Love him or hate him, King Kong Bundy helped put butts in the seats and delivered some fun and entertaining matches.

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After leaving pro wrestling behind for about six years, King Kong Bundy would return as part of Ted DiBiase’s group called “The Million Dollar Corporation” alongside other wrestlers like Irwin R. Schyster, Bam Bam Bigelow, Tatanka and The Fake Undertaker. His first Pay-Per View match was at Survivor Series where The Million Dollar Team beat the Guts And Glory Team lead by Lex Luger, with Bundy and Bigelow being the only survivors. Bundy would be in the 1995 Royal Rumble, coming in at # 15 and only lasting three minutes after being tossed out by Mabel. After floating around and doing the dirty work of The Million Dollar Corporation, his final WrestleMania was XI where he was defeated by The Undertaker and became number four of the Streak. Bundy’s second and final run in the WWF came to an end in late 1995. While his second run was not as impactful, it did introduce him to a new generation of wrestling fans, and he did a great job of putting over younger talent and will forever be on the books for losing to The Undertaker at WrestleMania and become a notch on the legendary Streak.

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After leaving WWF in 1995, Bundy started working for independent promotions and became an attraction wherever he went! He wrestled for such promotions as USA Power Pro Wrestling, USWF, JCW and NBW, and while at an independent show facing Primo Canera III, the ring broke after he delivered a Bundy Splash! On October 10, 1999 for the Heroes Of Wrestling PPV, King Kong Bundy teamed with Jim Neidhart to defeat Jake “The Snake” Roberts and Yokozuna in an impromptu to tag match after Roberts was in no shape to wrestle.  Bundy and Yokozuna came out to try and save the match from stinking up the place. During this independent run, Bundy would feud with the likes of Koszmar Polski, “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka, Tom Brandi and Doink The Clown. While slowing down nowadays, you can still find Bundy from time to time at wrestling conventions as well as comic and horror ones! At the age of 58, the idea of his return to WWE or even wrestling for TNA is very doubtful, but one thing is for sure, the master of the five count could still pin many of the worlds wrestling stars.

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On March 1, 1986 on the fifth Saturday Night’s Main Event special Hulk Hogan was defending his WWF Championship against The Magnificent Don Muraco when King Kong Bundy interfered in the match causing Hogan to win by disqualification, but this also lead to Bundy crushing Hogan’s ribs and causing the champ some major pain and forcing him to be carried away on a stretcher. This was one of the classic wrestling moments that stuck with me as Hogan was the Real American and the ultimate baby face in wrestling, and watching him get crushed was shocking! This moment lead to the Steel Cage Match at WrestleMania II, where, for the first time, kids of the 80’s truly thought that Hogan could lose the WWF Title.  I mean Hogan was going in the match with taped up ribs, and Bundy not only had the weight advantage but also had that weasel Bobby Heenan in his corner.  It was as if Hogan had the odds against him! Not to mention Bundy was on a 300 win streak that had him pinning people with his trademark 5 count instead of the normal 3. The steel cage was the classic thick blue bars and was not the terrible chain link fence they use now and looked more unforgiving even if it was probably just hollow metal. Calling the match was Jesse “The Body” Ventura, Lord Alfred Hayes and Horror Hostess Elvira Mistress Of The Dark, who was looking as ravishing as ever.  Even as a youngster, I always thought Elvira was one hot goth beauty. The match itself was brutal and a blood bath as Bundy was busted open and Hogan was able to get the win after climbing over the top of the cage to the arena floor. The match might not have been one of the best in the history of WrestleMania, but it will forever be one that I remember.

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But Bundy was not just a pro wrestler, he was also an actor and in 1988 he starred in “Moving,” a comedy starring Richard Pryor where he played moving man Gorgo who is the brute force for the rude movers who in the end gets punked out by Pryor’s character after everything goes wrong. Also in 1988, Bundy was on the TV Show “Married With Children” where he played Uncle Irwin, the brother to Peggy Bundy and would later be on an episode where he played himself and wrestled Bud Bundy who was dressed as a bee. Lesser known acting roles are the 2002 short film “Bill’s Seat” where he played Big Swede, and in 2008 he was in a film called “Fight The Panda Syndicate” where he played Otto Belmar. Besides acting, he also became a comedian and has tickled the funny bones of all who have seen him. While he might not be box office gold like The Rock, his roles in movies and TV have entertained many, and I must say Moving was a film my brother and I watched a lot.

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Vendex Computers with their HeadStart line in the late 1980’s hired King Kong Bundy to promote their product in TV Commercials as well as in Print Ads.  This is what is said that lead to Bundy leaving the WWF for the first time as Vince McMahon was upset that Bundy made the deal without telling the WWF and therefore, the story goes, he did not get a percent of the money Bundy earned as he was under contract with the WWF. But the argument would go that Bundy being an Independent Contractor could take out sourced jobs like that to make extra money but Vince did not see it that way. Bundy was the face for the computer brand for a short amount of time, but this was the final straw and the WWF and Bundy parted ways all over him make extra money on the side…or as I have said so the story goes. So what do you think should Vince have a right to part of his wrestlers pay for acting and promotion work? Did Bundy do the right thing by leaving the WWF in 1988? Would you have bought a Vendex Computer cause of King Kong Bundy endorse it? Is this even a real drama issue between Bundy and Vince that is said to still burn between the two till this day? Or is this just a wrestling rumor told through the ages? So many questions with so many answers!

King Kong Bundy Computer Ad

Like any wrestling legend Bundy has had his share of merchandise. Some of the most notable include the LJN figure as well as Thumb Wrestler and Bendie and the official WWF Bundy t-shirt. He would appear on trading cards, magazines and VHS tapes. He would have official action figures as of late as well as some none-WWF figures from smaller toy companies. He had a comic book series and video game appearances and posters. Growing up I had both the large and bendie Bundy figures, and me and my friends use to make jokes about how you could kill a person with his figure as it was one wide and heavy piece of rubber. I have lots of memories throwing that Bundy figure around and acting like Hulk Hogan or Andre The Giant were body slamming him. So if you’re a Bundy fan, there is stuff in the world that you can get to make your collection complete and show the world you stand with King Kong Bundy.

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King Kong Bundy has been in a few video games like Legends Of Wrestling series that had a total of three games that were released for PS2 and Xbox by Acclaim. In WWF/WWE games he has appeared in WWE 2K14 for 2K Sports and Legends Of WrestleMania for THQ both of those games were released for PS3 and Xbox 360. That’s right, you can relive King Kong Bundy fighting Hulk Hogan in a steel cage in many of these games or even have him try and Bundy Splash the likes of Ricky Morton, Mil Mascaras or Mike Von Erich in the Legends Of Wrestling Series. So pick up your controller and demand a five count when putting the Smack Down on the computer or a friend.

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So I hope you learned a little about King Kong Bundy or even took a trip down memory lane with this update so far as it’s been fun looking back and remembering some of these moments in his career. I want to thank Jason Young who gave me issues one and two of this series for Christmas in 2015 and sparked me trying to find the other three issues in the series in order to do this update. I also want to thank TWL for sending me the missing three issues so that this update could happen! So before we get into the ring with the Master of the Five count, I need to remind you all that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s step in the ring with the walking condominium and see what kind of comic adventures he will have.

King Kong Bundy Comic 1

King Kong Bundy # 1  **1/2
Released in 2001    Cover Price None    TLW Productions    # 1 of 5

The Iran Sheik is upset that all the kids around the world are cheering for King Kong Bundy, and while Bundy gets the tough fights, the Sheik feels he is getting no real competition. So a match is set up for Bundy to fight the Sheik that has the madman from Iran cheating to try and win by loading his boot, using the ring bell and even knocking out the referee. The Iran Sheik’s cheating ways leads to him loosing the match by disqualification. The rest of the comic is filled with short stories like two adventures of Lil’ Bundy that has King Kong Bundy as a kid going trick or treating.  The second story is him fighting with his teacher that he big splashes! Another story has Bundy at a bar throwing a man who was beating up his girlfriend through the front window for disturbing him while he was drinking! One has him buying a white suit that makes him look like a famed super villain called The Kongpin and being attacked by masked heroes.  While another has him accidentally drinking a experimental liquid right before a match that turns him to skin and bones, but even with the weight loss, the master of the five count puts a beat down on his opponent Tang Eater Smith! The final story has Bundy in the main event taking on another big man named The Volcano! The match is heavy handed but in the end Bundy gets the five count!

Wow, this is a mixed bag of comic stories all revolving around King Kong Bundy, and strangely enough they are pretty entertaining and have a true independent comic feel to them. The main stories are the book ends and showcase Bundy in fights with the first being againstThe Iran Sheik, who is the only other real wrestler to appear in one of the stories.  The second one has him fighting a parody of The Natural Disasters (Earthquake & Typhoon) named Volcano who is a big heavy set guy who spits red mist to show the eruption. King Kong Bundy is the star of the comic and is shown in two different lights, one being a good guy who, while edgy, loves his fans.  The other side is pure heel with him claiming to be the best wrestler in the world and even chasing off an abused woman all because her fight with her boyfriend annoyed him while he was drinking. Odd to have Bundy shown in a positive light as he has always been a heel when I used to watch WWF as a kid, managed by the likes of Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and “Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase. It was nice seeing The Iran Sheik in the issue as he is the perfect bad guy for any wrestler turned comic hero to fight! Plus the issue’s other baddies, The Volcano and Tang Eater Smith, are pretty funny generic wrestlers who are just stacked up for Bundy to squash and get the five count on. The part that works the most for me about this comic is for some reason, just as Jason Young said, it reminds me of the old Rock N Roll Comics by Revolutionary Comics with its art style and charm.  Plus the cover is fantastic and would be eye catching to any fan of pro wrestling or independent comics. The art is done by Brien Cardello, and one segment is done by Marco Dileonardo.  Both are fitting and bring the mood and feel of this wrestling comic alive!One other cool aspect of this comic is there are one page features that breaks down big moments in Bundy’s wrestling and acting career complete with art and facts.  So sum it up, this first issue is lots of fun, and I am still amazed that this series exists and can’t wait to see what issue two has in store for me! 

King Kong Bundy Comic 2

King Kong Bundy # 2  **1/2
Released in 2002    Cover Price $5.00    TLW Productions    # 2 of 5

King Kong Bundy keeps making short work of sleazy manager Herbie Swartz and making his style look cheap and dated. So to get his revenge on Bundy, Swartz finds an old government robot war machine that looks like Bundy and books a match between the two. While at first it looks grim for Bundy, his never give up attitude proves too much for the robot showing the fans that no one can beat Bundy, not even a robot version of himself! Next up Bundy is upset as the crowd is booing him during his last match but soon finds out that the real match is the next day, and he actually beat up Metallica at their very own concert! The next adventure of Lil Bundy has him training Chuck Brown into beating the kids of Family Circus to death! In a quick story Bundy scares everyone out of the ring during a battle royal. The final story has midget wrestlers being mad about the way Bundy treated Little Beaver at WrestleMania III and want him to wrestle Smalley Biggs, a midget wrestler who has never lost.  After many sleepless nights of them disrupting his sleep, he and a college professor make a midget clone that is known as Mini-Bundy, and he wrestles the match and wins!

This second issue is much like the first, a fun read about a wrestler who by all accounts is underrated by current fans of the sport. Like the first issue as well, this one is packed with lots of mini stories about Bundy that has him cloning himself into a midget all the way to beating up Metallica at their own concert. King Kong Bundy is still loved by the fans for the most part but does do lots of bad things including, as a youngster, teaching a kid to beat weaker kids to death! But Bundy is the type of character that would pick on the weaker man as he is so powerful and bigger than most that survival of the fittest was his attitude even in WWF, just go ask S.D. Jones. Herbie Swartz is a great low talent manager who I hope shows back up in a future issue as his lame stable of wrestlers could be used more to be a thorn in Bundy’s side. Smalley Biggs and his fellow small wrestlers are good at being annoying and keeping the full size Bundy from getting sleep, but are no match for the tiny Bundy clone. My favorite story in this issue has to be the opener called “Enter Mecha-Bundy” as it reminds me of the film King Kong Escapes that pits a Mecha-Kong, a robot version of King Kong, against the real deal and that’s what this story is about as well. The cover for this issue is amazing and fitting as it’s dedicated to those who lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks and has Bundy standing tall holding the American flag. The art in this issue is done by many talented artists that include the likes of Andy Macdonald, Lou Platania, Sal Cipriano, Oliver Drac and Brien Cardello, and all do fantastic work on their segments. This issue also does a segment that takes a brief look at wrestler Big John Studd, and this made me wish they also would have done a full comic series based on him! Over all this second issue is just as great as the first, and I can’t wait to read issue three and see what its all about.

King Kong Bundy Comic 3

King Kong Bundy # 3  **1/2
Released in 2002    Cover Price None    TLW Productions    # 3 of 5

Captain Bodyslam is stuck in traffic, and this leaves Steve The Promoter without an opponent for King Kong Bundy.  But fate is on his side as he finds Frank, a big man who is an elevator mechanic, and offers him the match. Steve tells the Ref not to stop the fight as Frank fights very dirty and during the match Bundy takes a hammer and wrench to the head and finally gets mad when he finds out The Promoter told them not to stop the fight no matter what! By the time Captain Bodyslam shows up for the match, he is crushed in a accident caused by Frank and a counter weight! Bundy, Frank and the crew just walk away and get a beer. The second story has the comic creators trying to explain just how big King Kong Bundy is by comparing him to things ranging from bags of M&Ms all the way to Playboy bunnies. The third and final story has King Kong Bundy being harassed by superheroes like Superman, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and Thor and by the end walking away in frustration.

King Kong Bundy is back to bring us readers three stories as well as more moments in his long wrestling career. I am still amazed that this comic series was made and also very happy to see it made as I think more comics about pro wrestlers should make their ways to comic book stores. In this issue Bundy is still well loved by wrestling fans and just looks forward to squashing his opponent in the ring in order to get the five count. Bundy also seems to showcase his short temper and doesn’t like it when he feels people disrespect him.  He also seems to not be bothered when a fellow wrestler is killed in the ring…oh that Bundy, he so crazy! Captain Bodyslam is so cheesy and reminds of a wrestler that you would see in a match at a high school gym and that’s what makes him such a fun ,yet gone-to-soon character. The opening story is my favorite as I like the idea of a crazed normal guy getting into the ring with Bundy and trying his best to cheat to win, but yet still can’t. Over all this is another good solid issue and shows that Bundy has more stories to share, and I really like the highlights of his career as this issue breaks down his matches with Razor Ramon (Scott Hall), The Undertaker and Diesel (Kevin Nash), and you can tell that artist and writer Brien Cardello is not a fan of Hall and Nash!  Let’s see what Bundy has planned next for us, shall we?

King Kong Bundy Comic 4

King Kong Bundy # 4  **1/2
Released in 2003    Cover Price None    TLW Productions    # 4 of 5

King Kong Bundy travels to Japan as he has been challenged by the undefeated Osara, a man that is the size of Bundy and who is filled with honor and the thrill of the fight! The match is sold out, and during the event, the promoters are cheating using robotic machinery to trip and hold Bundy in spot! By the mid-match Osara figures out that cheating has been involved in the match, and he awards Bundy the winner of the match as the crooked promoters run off. Bundy and Osara become friends after the match and enjoy a very healthy dinner of chicken! The second story has ninjas sneaking into Bundy’s hotel room with orders to hurt him a little to keep him in Japan so that a rematch can be made between him and Osara.  This of course backfires as Bundy thinks they are hotel workers helping him, and in the mayhem, he ends up hurting them badly enough that they quit! The third story takes a look at Bundy’s tag team match at the failed Heroes Of Wrestling PPV that had him and Jim Neidhart teaming up against Yokozuna and a trashed Jake Roberts! The fourth and final story has Bundy using puppets to explain why this issue was a year late!

More great stuff that features the squared ring!  This time around Bundy travels to Japan to face a challenger who just might have been able to beat him! Three of the four stories are really great in this issue with the fourth story being the weakest – but really it’s more of a comedy skit than a wrestling action one. While it’s hard to choose, I think my favorite story in this one has to be the Heroes Of Wrestling PPV as the depiction of a drunk Jake Roberts made me laugh as they made him look so rough that I laughed out loud! If you ‘ve ever seen that PPV, you realize that Jake ruined not only his match but also the main event! The comic acts as if Bundy was so mad about Jake’s antics that he came out to beat him up and that Yokozuna was bored with not beating anyone up yet and marched down to the ring as well. King Kong Bundy once more has lots of pride and when challenged travels to Japan for honor, yet he also beats up an old lady who is buying chicken for her little dog as he says he needs the protein! I think that’s what people should understand about Bundy in this comic, it’s his way or no way and he doesn’t care to hurt anyone who gets in his way! Osara is a mountain of a man, and by the looks of him, could have given Bundy a ride for his money.  But he’s also a man of honor; when he finds out cheating was involved, he quickly stops the match. This was a very fun issue and has art done by not only Brien Cardello but also Kris Renkewitz and Tom Lyle, and each gives their own touch to the look and legend of Bundy. The cover is also well done and reminds me of looking at the independent comic boxes at Mavericks Cards And Comics and buying some with the oddest looking covers in the mid 90’s. I’m still chuckling over the drawings of the bolding Jake Roberts, fun stuff indeed.

King Kong Bundy Comic 5

King Kong Bundy # 5  **1/2
Released in 2003    Cover Price None    TLW Productions    # 5 of 5

King Kong Bundy is at home watering the flowers in his front lawn when the paperboy throws the paper, hitting Bundy in the head and causing him to turn the hose on the paperboy and knock him into the neighbor’s garbage cans! Bundy soon finds out from neighbor and friend Chuck that the paperboy is the son of famed mobster Vito The Cobra! During the weekend poker game, a message of roses and a dead fish is sent to Bundy as a warning.  Then, during a TV broadcast at the local college during a battle royal, Bundy is attacked by henchmen in the ring but as always Bundy comes out the winner! In the end Bundy meets Vito, and the pair make peace as it’s clear his son in the instigator in the turmoil taking place in the neighborhood. The second story is about King Kong Bundy wrestling Jerry “The King” Lawler in an epic match that has Bundy pinning The King with the help of Rick Rude and Jimmy Hart, and oh yeah, a pair of brass knuckles. The third story has Bundy and his pal, fellow wrestler Warthog, in the costume room trying on all types of outfits making Bundy look like everyone from Hulk Hogan to Wolverine of the X-Men, but in the end Bundy just wants to be Bundy. The fourth and final part has King Kong Bundy answering questions from fan letters and ends up leaving on a date with Jessica Rabbit from Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

This was the final issue in the “Worlds Best Wrestling Comic” as the issues say and by all accounts while it might not be the best it sure as hell was one fun of a read! This issue has four stories with the best being the first as Bundy’s run in with the mob is a fun adventures that pits the odds against Bundy who never shows fear as his life is on the line. Plus it was cool to see the comic book version of the famous Jerry Lawler vs. Bundy match making this issue another hit with this comic and pro wrestling fan. I have to give major props to TLW Productions, Brien Cardello and all the other artist who worked on this series as they took a heel pro wrestler and turned out a solid well done comic that would please fans of wrestling as well as independent comics. King Kong Bundy through out the series shows many different sides of his personality as he can go from doing the right thing to getting pure joy on hurting people and it seems as if fans in the comic still always cheer him for almost anything he does good or bad. Plus I like that while his attitude might slightly change from story to story, from issue to issue Bundy acts like the same character, and this is the sign of a good character and good writers. In this issue we get to see the likes of Jerry “The King” Lawler, Jimmy Hart and Rick Rude, and throughout the series we also got to see Big John Studd, Iran Sheik, Yokozuna, Jim Neidhart and Jake “The Snake” Roberts all who added to stories and were great to see as comic characters.  For some of them, it was the very time they appeared in a comic.  Art is by Brien Cardello and looks pretty dang good and has a Box Brown, Chester Brown and Jason Young charm to it. The cover is over done and very pink, but heck it still is eye catching and fun. I would say if you’re a fan of pro wrestling from the 80’s and early 90’s, a fan of King Kong Bundy or just like smaller press comics, check out this series for sure as I am glad I got the chance to review it here on Rotten Ink.  Below is some artwork from the series, so give it a look for at least a five count!

King Kong Bundy Comic Art 1

Before I wrap this up, while doing some research for this update, I came across this picture of King Kong Bundy with hair and just had to share it with you readers as this is a sight most of us never have seen before.  The Bundy many of us know and love or hate was bald, so take a look at this!

King Kong Bundy With Hair

So I hoped you enjoyed this look at wrestling legend King Kong Bundy and that you learned something new or some of it triggered your own memories of his matches and career. Now I am sure I left some major things out including feuds and groups he was in, but I tried to focus on the things I remember him for as well as what would be considered his highlights. I want to also thank TLW Productions and Jason Young again for getting me these issues and making this update possible! For our next update we are stepping out of the ring and into the holiday of July 4th for a look at a patriotic superhero named The Shield.  So make sure to join me back here for that! Until then, read a comic or three, play a video game or two and support your local wrestling federation.  See you back here on July 4th!

On a side note TWL Productions is working on a new King Kong Bundy series that is currently looking for help funding via Kickstarter! The first issue being pitched will also have wrestling legend One Man Gang in it! So if you have a little extra cash and love classic wrestling like I do make sure to give and help it come alive.  

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Andre The Giant The 8th Wonder Of The Comic Book World

Welcome to Rotten Ink’s main event for the night as we witness First Second Book’s own Box Brown step into the ring with the one and only 8th wonder of the world, Andre The Giant! It’s no surprise that growing up I was a huge fan of pro wrestling, and you long time readers know this about me.  One of the biggest names around when I was a kid was Andre The Giant who was always billed as the biggest man in the world and seeing him dwarf the likes of King Kong Bundy, Big John Studd and Killer Khan was a sight to behold. So this update will be all about the man, the myth, the legend known around the world for being the biggest athlete in sports entertainment, Andre The Giant! So get ready to cheer for Andre as we take a look not only at the bio comic but also the man who was the true giant of pro wrestling!

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Andre Rene Roussimoff was born on May 19th 1946 in Grenoble, France, and by the age of 12 he weighed 240 pounds and was 6’3” and dropped out of school by the 8th grade to work on a farm as well as other manual labor jobs. By age 17, he became a pro wrestler after a promotor saw that he could make money off Andre’s size and the fact he was a true giant thanks to the fact he had gigantism. Going under the name Great Ferre, he wrestled for promotions in France, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Africa. In 1970 Andre, under the ring name Monster Roussimoff, dominated the Japanese federation International Wrestling Enterprise even winning the tag team titles with Michael Nador. After Japan Andre went to wrestle in Canada as well as a few dates for AWA (American Wrestling Association)  In the US, he meet Vince McMahon Sr. who turned him into Andre The Giant and changed the character into a unstoppable monster, and together they made lots of money in the WWF as well as off other federations that Vince would lend him out to. Andre The Giant started WWF in 1973 as one of the company’s top good guys and had many great feuds with many great and talented wrestlers like Killer Khan who he defeated in a Mongolian Stretcher Match, Big John Studd who he had a body slam challenge match against as well as had his long afro hair shaved off by Studd, Ken Patera and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. King Kong Bundy and Big John Studd even got Andre suspended during this run, and he returned as a masked wrestler called Giant Machine and teamed with the tag team The Machines. Durning this run as a good guy Andre was also the king of Battle Royals even winning one at Wrestlemania II by throwing out Bret Hart. Beloved by fans, Andre was a top draw as well as a main attraction for the WWF, but something was about to change!

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In 1987, Hulk Hogan was WWF Champion, and Hulkamania was in full swing.  On Piper’s Pit, the interview segment hosted by Rowdy Roddy Piper, Hogan was given a trophy for being champion for three years. And during this time of celebration Andre The Giant came out with Bobby “The Brain” Heenan and ripped the shirt off Hogan as well as his cross necklace and challenged him for the title, changing himself from a fan favorite to a heel in the matter of minutes! Hogan and Andre clashed at Wrestlemania III, and Hogan won under some controversy. After Hogan’s win, he also began a feud with Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase who could not beat Hogan but wanted the title.  So DiBiase hired Andre to win the belt for him, and he did in 1988 making it the first and only time Andre was the WWF Champion.  But this win was also very controversial, and the belt was taken away from him and put up for grabs at Wreslemania IV in a tournament that was won by Randy “Macho Man” Savage. This sparked fights between the Mega Powers (Hogan & Savage) and the Mega Bucks (Andre & DiBiase) that ended with Mega Powers getting the upper hand and would spark the next major feud for Hogan as he and Savage split off. Andre from this point on was stuck in tag team matches and feuds with such superstars as Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Ultimate Warrior. He would also team with Ted DiBiase for a while as well as Haku, who he would win tag team gold with under the name The Colossal Connection. In 1990, they lost the belts to Demolition at Wrestlemania VI, and at this point Haku and Bobby Heenan turned on Andre who ended up beating up his partner and turned from Heel to Face.  This ended Andre’s major role as a full time wrestler for WWF. And besides some angles with Earthquake and Jimmy Hart, Andre’s health was so poor that he left WWF in 1992. His last TV appearance was for WCW during their Clash Of The Champions XX event on TBS. This is the era of Andre that I remember the most, and boy when I was younger, I thought no one could beat him.  When they did, I was awe struck! I mean other wrestlers in the back would call Andre The Boss because they all respected and some feared him. Andre was a strong good guy but in my opinion was a way better bad guy and his feud with Hulk Hogan was legendary. Now being a grown up and watching old matches on VHS and DVD, I find some of his later in ring work very sad to watch as you can tell he was in pain just barely moving around and had to use the ropes to walk around the ring. It’s sad to see Andre The Giant in that kind of shape, and you could really tell he was in the twilight of his career and his health was in decline. I should also say that sadly Andre died in his sleep on January 27th 1993 from heart failure while in Paris to attend his father’s funeral. This update is dedicated to Andre who entertained this pro wrestling fan all through my youth, not just in the ring but also in movies and TV.

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So I should get a little more into Wrestlemania III, the pay per view event that shattered attendance records for a live sporting event as well as truly brought WWF into the main stream culture. Wrestlemania III took place on March 29th 1987 at the Pontiac Silverdome in Michigan in front of 93,173 fans locking it in as the largest recorded attendance for a live indoor sporting event in North America! The card was filled with many great matches like Ricky Steamboat vs. Macho Man Randy Savage for the Intercontinental Belt, Billy Jack Haynes took on Hercules in a Full Nelson Match and Honky Tonk Man took on Jake “The Snake” Roberts who had rockstar Alice Cooper in his corner! But the main event was Hulk Hogan vs. Andre The Giant for the WWF Championship, and I can remember all the build up for this match.  All the while WWF did a fantastic job of making Hogan look like the underdog having Andre best him on many altercations that happened before the match. During the match, it was clear that Andre was not in the best of shape and Hogan was having to carry the match for the most part, but when Hogan tried to slam Andre for the first time and buckled under the weight and was almost pinned, the odds really did look against the champ! But later in the match when Hogan slammed Andre and hit him with the atomic leg drop and got the three count, the torch was passed and Hogan’s star shined brighter. I can remember many kids from school who were WWF fans talking about the slam heard around the world and the feat of Hogan picking up Andre seemed something straight out of a comic book or greek myth, but as I grew up and became wiser to the world of pro wrestling I found out Hogan had slammed him before when Andre was good and Hogan was bad early in his career.  Also to slam Andre was El Canek and Harley Race. No matter who you were in 1987, you knew that Hogan slammed Andre, and WWF was the major force in pro wrestling.  But we have covered Andre in wrestling so it’s only right we cover his acting career briefly!

WrestleMania III magazineHogan slams AndreWrestleMania III Poster

Besides being a pro wrestler, Andre was also an actor, and one role I remember him playing was the Bionic Bigfoot in the TV show The Six Million Dollar Man. Andre played Bigfoot in two episodes called “The Secret Of Bigfoot I & II” that had Steve Rogers running into the famed creature and after doing battle with it finds that it’s a robot! The original episode aired in 1976, and the follow up aired in 1976 as well. Even after Andre stopped playing the role, the Bionic Bigfoot continued for three more episodes and was played by Ted Cassidy, better known for playing Lurch on The Addams Family. The episodes and character of Bionic Bigfoot were so popular that action figures at the time was made based on his likeness. If you watched Six Million Dollar Man, I am sure you remember Bionic Bigfoot like I do!

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Andre’s most popular acting role was the 1987 comedy fantasy film “The Princess Bride” where he played Fezzik the loveable giant friend of Inigo who helps in the kidnapping of the Princess as well as later helps rescue her along side Westley the film’s lead. Fezzik turns from a bad guy to a good guy and was loved in the film for being loyal to his friends and having a big heart. Growing up, I loved this film and watched it many times.  One of the best Andre lines from the movie has him offering peanuts to other characters. It’s funny to think that in 1987 Andre was in this move as a loveable character and also turned on Hulk Hogan and became one of the most hated men in pro wrestling!

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One role many people do not know about that Andre The Giant played was that of the horn God Dagoth in the 1984 fantasy film “Conan The Destroyer”! That’s right, one of the world’s top pro wrestlers wore a rubber suit and fought Arnold Schwarzenegger who was playing Conan in a fake blood drenched scene….and I must say that’s awesome! And in fact, I did not even know Andre played that part until recently, and this helps add to my enjoyment of this film. I loved the Conan movies, and I will tell you readers this when the new Conan movie comes out in the coming years, a Marvel At The Movies Conan edition will be going up!

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Andre The Giant was also an animated superstar as he was used in the fun Saturday Morning Cartoon “Hulk Hogan’s Rock N Wrestling” as one of Hogan’s good guy friends along side the likes of Junkyard Dog, Wendi Richter, Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, Hillbilly Jim and a few other WWF wrestlers. The cartoon would have Hogan and the gang having to stop evil plots by the bad guys lead by Rowdy Roddy Piper and aired for 26 episodes lasting two season starting in 1985. The series was made by DIC Entertainment who also made such cartoons as M.A.S.K., Jayce And The Wheeled Warriors, The Real Ghostbusters, COPS, Camp Candy, The Legend Of Zelda, Swamp Thing, Street Sharks and so many other classics that entertained the youth. Andre in the cartoon was portrayed as a dimwitted giant who would fumble and bumble around all the while never meaning to harm nor break the stuff he did.  So in looking back, he was the slapstick goof of the cartoon.  He was voiced by Ron Feinberg, who also lent his voice to such characters as Ming The Merciless in Defenders Of The Earth and Vladimir Goudenov Grizzlikof in Darkwing Dunk. Growing up I loved this silly cartoon and watched it any chance I got and that was mostly on USA Cartoon Express.  While Andre was silly and goofy, he still was one of the characters I liked. While the cartoon has long been off the air and has not been released on DVD or Blu-Ray, you can find episodes on VHS and the grey market.

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So Andre was a part of TV shows, movies and even cartoons, but he also tackled music videos when he had a cameo in the video for Cyndi Lauper’s hit song “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough” where he played a genie from a bottle who runs off debt collectors played by the likes of Roddy Piper and Iron Sheik! This video is epic for many reasons, and I will share them all with you real quick! The first thing about this video that I loved when I was younger was Cyndi Lauper herself as I found her cute as well as fun to watch as she could sing her heart out and never took herself seriously. The second thing was the fact that it starred Pro Wrestlers as characters and some of the WWF’s best bad guys were great running around as pirates…imagine Iron Sheik as a pirate! The third amazing thing about this video is that it’s attached to The Goonies, one of the most iconic adventure kids films of the 80’s and one I loved, not to mention The Goonies themselves show up to help Cyndi get away from the pirates! I guess I should also explain what the music video is about; Cyndi and her family own a gas station and are about to lose it when Piper and the rest of his goon squad show up to take it away! Cyndi has a map to treasure that could help save the gas station, but while on the hunt Piper and goons become pirates and try to stop her until The Goonies show up and help.  In the end, she uses a lamp and frees Andre The Giant dressed as a genie who runs off the bad guys, and they save the gas station. It’s a great music video for a catchy song that will get stuck in your head after you hear it.

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Honeycomb was a popular kids breakfast cereal in the 80’s, and the one and only commercial made about it that would air during Saturday Morning Cartoons that I remember had Andre The Giant playing a giant and trying to grab kids and their robot while they were eating Honeycomb in their club house. The kids are scared of the giant, but when they share some Honeycomb with him, he mellows out and they gain a new friend! I should also say that after they share the cereal, the cheesy jingle starts that goes “Honeycomb’s Big….Yeah Yeah Yeah! It’s Not Small…No No No! Honeycomb’s Got..A Big Big Bite! Big Big Taste In A Big Big Bite”…you’re welcome. The jingle will be in your head all day now. I always liked seeing Andre in this commercial, and it has always stuck with me; thanks to Youtube I can watch it again!

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Because he was one of the biggest superstars in WWF history, Andre had a lot merchandise come out that used his likeness, and much of that came out via WWF itself and could be bought from their catalog like posters, magazines and the classic t-shirt with his red handprint on the front. LJN had three Andre The Giant figures come out for their WWF Wrestling Superstars series.  One Andre had the afro hair, the next had short hair and the third was the bad Andre. Hasbro made an Andre The Giant action figure come out via their WWF line, and not to mention tons of other stuff like VHS tapes, trading cards, drinking glasses, DVDs and much more! My favorite Andre toy I owned was the short hair LJN figure that I would bring to school and win matches during the WWF events we would have at recess, a great figure with Andre’s good guy smile intact. So if you like Andre The Giant, there are some great collectibles out in the world for you.

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Andre The Giant has also been in some video games, starting with WWF Wrestlemania for NES and even in the most recent WWE Game, WWE 2K15. Also Andre was in the arcade game WWF Superstars that had your team having to will a series of matches to take on Andre and Million Dollar Man to win the game. But the one I played the most was WWF Wrestlemania made by Acclaim in 1989 for the NES, and I must say Andre was one tough cookie to beat and Hulk Hogan was the only character that was able to slam him! One odd Andre The Giant in video games has to be the 2011 THQ game WWE All Stars where Andre was overdone as were all the wrestlers, who look like cartoon characters. So if you’re a gamer and like wrestling, there are many games out in the world that you can play as the one and only 8th Wonder Of The World.

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Before we get to the comic, I should also talk about the underground phenomenon known as Andre The Giant Has A Posse created by Shepard Fairely for the skateboarding culture and beyond as an experiment of phenomenology. Stickers, flyers and posters of Andre The Giant with the phrase Has A Posse began popping up in Rhode Island and then went around the USA and spread like wildfire. The craze went on for many years and even when WWF tried to sue over it, the stickering did not not slow down. Over the years the sticker has changed and now has a closer image of Andre’s face and instead of him having a posse, it now reads “Obey”. I can remember seeing these stickers around town when I was younger and always getting a chuckle from them.

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So now that we have talked about Andre as a wrestler, actor, video game character and everything in between, I think we are ready to look at him as a bio comic character! I need to thank Mavericks for getting this graphic novel in stock for me and also should remind everyone that I will grade this on a standard 1-4 star rating and base it on how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So let’s lace up the boots and step into the ring with the 8th Wonder of the World, Andre The Giant, and First Second Books.

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Andre The Giant: Life And Legend  *** Released in 2014   Cover Price $17.99   First Second Books   #1 of 1

Andre lives in France and when he was 12 years old, he already was a giant and could not even ride the school bus and had to catch rides in the back of people’s pick up trucks. Years pass, and Andre just keeps growing and taking odd jobs around town.  By the late 1960’s he became a pro wrestler in his homeland and became a major attraction cause of his large size. Andre leaves the European wrestling behind and heads to Japan to make a name for himself and then goes to Canada where he starts out as major star selling out events, but his attraction starts to run thin and he finds that fans are sick of seeing him. Andre goes to the United states and with the help of Verne Gagne and Vince McMahan Sr., he becomes a super star as they travel him around from territory to territory and make him unbeatable in some cases even beating two men at the same time! This also starts Andre’s run working for WWF, where he was one of the company’s top baby faces. But while things were looking good for Andre, around this time his health began to decline.  He was drinking a lot, and he had many run-ins with fans and fellow wrestlers like Bad News Brown and Black Jack Mulligan outside the ring. During a feud with Big John Studd and Bobby The Brain Heenan, Andre takes some time off to get surgery on his back to release pressure and pain due to the fact his giantism disease is causing him to still grow, causing much pain in his joints and bones. During his time away from wrestling, Andre also takes a role in Princess Bride, and then he gets the call from Vince McMahan Jr. that he wants him to come back to WWF and be a bad guy and wrestle Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania III! Andre comes back to wrestling and becomes one of the company’s biggest bad guys and is in pain but does so due to his friendship with Vince. Andre sticks around in the WWF for a while even after his feud with Hulk Hogan ends until his body just can’t take it any longer and the fans could see the pain in Andre’s face when he moved. Andre after WWF went to Japan one last time and did a few gimmick matches before his death in 1993.

The first thing I want to say about this comic/graphic novel is that the artwork is not what I would want for this style of comic, but it does hold a very Jason Young of Veggie Dog Saturn look to it so that makes it a little cooler. But while I feel the artwork is a little weak. I know many fellow comic readers who loved its style though.  What makes the comic good for me is the fact that the story of Andre’s life is nicely wrapped up in a little 240 pages bundle and most of his life highlights are showcased. In fact my write up leaves some elements of his life out as I would really encourage you, if you’re a fan, to give this graphic novel a read. One thing I really enjoyed about this comic is that lots of it focused on Andre’s life outside the ring from his medical issues all the way to how he treated fans showing that while he was larger than life in the world of Pro Wrestling, he still was real person with issues. At times Andre comes off lovable, while other times he comes off a a jerk by being rude to his fans, starting fights at parties and even telling inappropriate jokes on the tour bus that cause drama among some of his fellow wrestlers. One thing I learned from this comic is that after leaving the WWF for the last time, he did a few matches in Japan and was in no shape to do so but did them for a paycheck. The book ends on a higher note with Andre on a plan playing poker against a fellow wrestler and only in a small paragraph mentions that he passed away from heart issues.  This was the right way to end it as I feel to go all the way to his death would have really been a downer. It also has lots of humor like Andre watching Princess Bride with Terry Funk over and over again while Funk kept falling asleep! Box Brown did a fantastic job with this Bio-Comic, and I would love to see him do some more like it based on wrestlers like Macho Man Randy Savage, Ultimate Warrior or even Big John Studd. Reading this made me very nostalgic and miss the days of classic wrestling.  So if you’re a fan of independent bio comics or of Andre The Giant I would recommend checking this one out I am glad I did.

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Even if you don’t like Pro Wrestling, or as it’s called now Sport Entertainment, you still have to respect the performers who go from town to town and entertain the crowds of people who pay to see them. Much like the Road Warriors, this update was one comic I was happy to bring to you, and I can safely say look for other wrestling-inspired comic updates in the future. One other thing I should bring up about Andre The Giant is that I remember when Hulk Hogan and Andre had to sign a rematch contract for Wrestlemania IV.  With the encouragement of The Million Dollar Man, the 8th Wonder Of The World used Hogan’s head as the stamp of approval and tipped a table over on him.  Now that’s when wrestling was wrestling! Well our next update will take us out of the squared circle and into the woods along side comic strip icon Andy Capp.  So with that I am going to end this update with Rest In Peace Andre The Giant, and thanks for all the memories.

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