Know that cool Godfather guy? The one with the ho’s and the cigar and the feathered hat and the marijuana-reference laden intro spiel? He’s a pretty popular guy these days. But things weren’t always thighs and poontang pies for The Godfather, who is actually a guy named Charles Wright.
In the early 90’s, Wright played a voodoo man. Yup, a witch doctor who would cast spells on his opponents. Sounds stupid? Well, it was. One week he made a prelim guy’s hand catch fire. Another week, he made black gel ooze from the Ultimate Warrior’s head. The next he made hair grow atop “Mean Gene” Okerlund. Ok, maybe not.
Bedecked in full white face makeup made to look like a skull, a top hat, and a furry coat, Shango was quite the sight. He would speak in tongues, and would “curse” his opponents.
Fans would curse the bad matches and the pathetic gimmick.
Shango’s most notable appearance came at WrestleMania VIII at the conclusion of the Hulk Hogan-Sid Vicious match. Shango ran out to double team The Hulkster, only to be creamed by a returning Ultimate Warrior. This set up the Warrior-Shango feud which lasted through the summer. Shango was also granted a world title shot against Bret Hart at the Saturday Night’s Main Event special for Fox.
Eventually, Shango vanished into smoke and mirrors from whence he came, and Wright became “Kama, the Human Fighting Machine”, a shoot fighter gimmick. This, of course, didn’t get over either, and Federation officials were left to come up with something else to do with Wright.
Papa Shango was actually scheduled for one more run in the mid 90’s, as the force causing Bob Backlund to snap and turn heel. Backlund was able to get over as a crazy man all by himself, however, and was allowed to go on his own.
Eventually, Wright was given the Godfather gimmick, and Shango’s top hat and skull necklace remains in the WWF props closet to this day.