The tough part about being a new member of the Wrestlecrap crew is coming up with ideas for inductions that haven’t been done already. When I look back at the Wrestlecrap treasure trove that was the WWF in the mid-90s, it’s frustrating to know that all the atrocious gimmicks had already been written up on this site over a decade ago. So as much as I might want to write a piece on Mantaur, Aldo Montoya, Avatar, Kwang, or Well Dunn, I simply cannot retread old ground and rehash previous…
Wait, hold up! A search of the “Past Inductions” list yields nothing whatsoever about Avatar. Leif Cassidy, yes, but nothing about Al Snow’s very first gimmick in the WWF.
Well, I guess I have my work cut out for me, then.
Avatar made his first appearance on October 23rd’s Monday Night Raw, making an unassuming entrance that, rather than projecting mystique like a typical masked wrestler, simply confused fans who watched a clean shaven Caucasian man put his mask on right before his match.
Now, this sort of break from tradition could have been played up. After all, the man’s moniker was Avatar, so he donned a mask and, with it, another persona.
There were three problems with this unique approach to a masked wrestler gimmick:
- the fans had little idea what was going on,
- the announcers didn’t quite understand what was going on, either, and
- the persona that Snow appeared to be “taking on” was that of Hayabusa, the Japanese daredevil wrestler with a mask and ring attire to which Avatar’s were suspiciously similar.
Not everyone thought he looked like Hayabusa, though. Jerry Lawler thought he looked like a Karate Fighter, the Milton Bradley fighting action figure line sponsoring Survivor Series that year.
As bad as Avatar’s presentation was, the match itself was somehow much worse. During this time, Raw was only aired live once every few weeks, but unfortunately for Avatar, this night was one of those episodes. Without the benefit of editing, he proceeded to have a squash match so sloppy that Henry O. Godwinn himself wouldn’t handle it without rubber gloves.
Part of the blame may fall on Avatar’s opponent, Brian Walsh, who forgot to sell Avatar’s savate kick and instead just sort of wandered out of the ring.
However, even Avatar’s jobber opponent outshone him in this match, executing a kip-up while Snow’s series of arm wrenches and other offense elicited no reaction whatsoever from the crowd.
Actually, that’s not exactly true. The time he slipped on the top rope certainly drew a smattering of boos from the audience. Neither his follow-up plancha nor Vince’s rationalization could salvage that misstep by the newcomer.
By the time the collection of miscues loosely called a “match” concluded with a standing splash, Snow could tell that his days in the Federation were numbered. He even removed his mask in the middle of the ring, perhaps hoping to save time by trading it to Vince McMahon for his pink slip right then and there.
It was all downhill from there for Avatar. Although he had been penciled in for the Underdogs team at Survivor Series before his debut, he was ultimately replaced by Bob Holly. I don’t know what’s worse: being bumped off the card by Sparky Plugg, or being deemed unworthy of a team captained by Barry Horowitz.
Snow made a handful of appearances after his debut, including a match on Superstars in a losing effort to his former partner Unabomb, who had the relative luck of wrestling as the evil dentist Isaac Yankem.
By that time, Avatar had ditched the gimmick of masking and unmasking in the ring, instead playing the masked wrestler gimmick straight and pretending that no one had ever seen his face (It worked for Rey Mysterio, but not for Al).
Perhaps Al had taken Jerry Lawler’s insults about his appearance to heart. Don’t feel bad, Al. Back when The King was more of a heel than a pervert, he used to call Sable ugly, too.
Avatar’s final grasp at superstardom was a short-lived team with the more established masked embarrassment, Aldo Montoya.
Incidentally, my sources tell me that in 1995, Aldo was robbed of the chance to team with Man Mountain Rock under the name “Rock ‘n’ Jock” due to the guitarist’s untimely firing.
Who wouldn’t have wanted to see that?
I bet nobody reading this even cares that I made that whole thing up.
Finally, Snow traded the Avatar mask for the Shinobi mask, wrestling a couple of matches as the hooded ninja…
…before wrestling bare-faced as Leif Cassidy of the New Rockers.
If there is one redeeming feature of the Avatar fiasco, it’s that by wrestling under the name “Avatar” and bombing completely, Al Snow ensured that Vince would never be able to create an “Avatar” character based on the James Cameron movie of the same name.
I can just imagine the injured Edge making a “comeback” by inhabiting the body of some giant hoss like The Great Khali, who would wrestle in a blue catsuit. This, of course, assumes that Vince McMahon has even heard of the film “Avatar.”
Though you might have missed Avatar if you blinked during late 1995, you can now relive the memories right here on Wrestlecrap as this Al Snow persona takes its rightful place among such legends as Bastion Booger, Who, Alex “The Pug” Porteau, and… wait, Alex “The Pug” Porteau has never been inducted!?
Alright, I’ve got to get to work now.