Fashionably late to the party as ever – making his way to the ring for Halloween, here’s Papa Shango, who looks remarkably like the terrifying Baron Samedi. With the same voodoo powers and wrestling nous to match – what a terrifying prospect!
Shango arrived in 1992, and, sure enough, he would strike fear and concern into the kiddies at ringside with his smoking skull staff and ominous chants. There were other powers, too – he could blackout the arena, set items ablaze and, in perhaps his most infamous appearance, reduce The Ultimate Warrior, who at that point seemed virtually invulnerable, to a pathetic, vomiting mess.
There really isn’t much more to say about Papa Shango, as that was really all that he did. The gimmick was never able to get off the ground; planned rivalries with Sid Justice and the aforementioned Warrior were put on ice when both of those men left the company, leaving Shango floundering as the writers scrambled for new victims in makeshift plots. He did challenge then champion Bret Hart, but ultimately proved no real threat. With that, the mystique rather ebbed away, and Shango had been cast away completely by early 1993. Charles Wright, the man behind the face paint, would go on to have a successful run in the WWF as Kama and most famously in the late nineties as ‘The Godfather’ – a fun-loving pimp – capping off what certainly was a colourful career.
Though a bit of a flop, Papa Shango isn’t easily forgotten. An acquired taste for definite, and perhaps they could have done without the whole vomiting angle. But I love these bizarre, goofy characters – they’re a big part of what wrestling is all about. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t; this one’s failure probably just makes it all the better a horror story!