Tatanka’s Thanksgiving Turn

Thanksgiving Tatanka

It was one of the most unlikely stories of 2005: after a decade of residing in the “Where are They Now?” files, one of the WWF’s top stars of the 90’s was back in the renamed WWE, heading straight for the tippy top of the cards.

Ok, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. But while that may have been hyperbole, I have to ask you this question: who on planet earth would have ever predicted a Tatanka comeback in mid 2000’s WWE?

Seriously, now. TATANKA?


Man, I can be a jerk sometimes.

But so it was in late 2005 when Chris Chavis, known to me and you as Tatanka, made his surprise return on a Raw show in a match against Kurt Angle in a “Eugene Invitational” match. Apparently, he impressed WWE officials so much in this 27 second (yes, as in less than a half a minute) match that they offered him a full-time contract.

Ok, this story just keeps getting more unlikely by the sentence.

The crazy thing is that it’s all true.

For those of you youngins out there, a bit of history. Tatanka came into the WWF in the early 1990’s and tomahawk chopped his way to a near two-year winning streak. While this wasn’t a Goldberg-esque streak wherein he just obliterated everyone in his path, the fact remains that he wasn’t pinned nor did he submit in any singles match for the better part of 24 months.

Sure, he lost in a tag match here or there and may have been disqualified once or twice. And yeah, maybe he dropped a count-out decision on occasion. In fact, come to think of it, it was more of a ‘non-pin or submit’ streak than a full blown winning streak. Regardless, it was a pretty big deal, and he would eventually find himself hovering near the top of the cards.

The only issue was that he never really got over. I mean, he was ok, folks liked him alright, but there weren’t a ton of people lining up at the box office saying, “Waitaminute…TATANKA’s on the show? I NEED TICKETS!”

Now I say that, but even I will admit that the feud in which WrestleCrap inductee Irwin R. Schyster (IRS) claimed that Tatanka should pay a “gift tax” on a headdress he received from Chief Jay Strongbow and Wahoo McDaniel, which also featured Irwin dancing around in the same headress (there’s an animated GIF that should be in signatures on wrestling message boards the world over)…well, I paid a ticket broker top dollar to be ringside for that one.

Anyway, having invested all the time and effort into getting the guy over, to whatever degree he was “over”, the company wasn’t going to just drop him cold. This was 90’s WWF, not 2000’s WWE. So a quick heel turn later, he was chumming up with the likes of Ted DiBiase in the Million Dollar Corporation.

Now there’s a money team right there – Sid Vicious and Tatanka. You’d think that a Sid-Tatanka tandem would light up arenas, but sadly, it did nothing of the sort, and it wasn’t long before Tatanka would leave the company, seemingly for the greener pastures of retirement.

Or so everyone thought. Because you’d think that if a guy basically vanished for 10 years, he was enjoying life away from the squared circle. Instead, ten years later we got the return of Tatanka.

Better yet, we got…


And oh me oh my what a MIGHTY mullet it was. How on earth did we ever leave that out of The WrestleCrap Book of Lists! greatest mullets list? If ever there was a hairdo worthy of the term “beaver paddle”, it would have been that one.

So yes, Tatanka was back, looking like a paunchy, middle aged punch-drunk boxer. If Nintendo really wants to make a splash with the upcoming Wii Punch-Out!!, they should really hit WWE up for the rights to that likeness for a character in the game. While I am sure they’d never include Mike Tyson in one of their games again, I’ve gotta believe that “2006 Punch-Drunk Tatanka” would be more than acceptable as the end-boss in the game.

Despite the return, Tatanka really didn’t do much in WWE in 2006. He just kinda floundered in the mid-card, working some opening bouts and collecting checks. That is, until he met this man:

Bobby Lashley. Do not ask why (and please do not email me why), but the two became partners. Partners for one match, anyway, at which time Tatanka…well, let’s just quote our friends at Online World of Wrestling:

“After the match: Tatanka punched out the referee and attacked Bobby Lashley bashing his head against the floor! Tatanka then spread Bobby Lashley’s legs and kicked him straight in the crotch.”

That’s right – he didn’t kick him crooked in the crotch, but STRAIGHT in the crotch. Such precise gonad mutilation gave us what the world really wanted: the return of heel Tatanka.

Sure enough, Tatanka showed up the following week, cutting the most boring interview you ever did hear. In fact, I’ve split it into two parts, hoping that its brevity will help you, dear Crapper, stay awake to listen to the whole thing. It’s so boring that Greg Gagne called WrestleCrap HQ upon listening to it and said, “Man that was a boring promo.”

According to the promo, Tatanka had “called upon his forefathers to awaken a new warrior inside him.” After listening to Tatanka ramble in the most monotone manner possible on for what seemed like a good 20 minutes, my only conclusion was that his forefathers included WrestleCrap Radio’s Johnny 6.

Little did I know, though, it wasn’t our favorite TNA watching house cleaning robot, but rather that his forefather was apparently the Great Muta!

Why did he don Muta’s face paint? No clue. But I will say if he started spitting green mist (or the even more deadly RED mist), he would likely have main evented the last two years at WrestleMania.

Especially with his…





Tatanka would continue his heel rants not on SmackDown!, but on WWE.com. And what better time to do it than at Thanksgiving? And so we got the following headline in WWE’s news section:

On Thursday, millions of Americans will celebrate the holiday tradition that is Thanksgiving. “Turkey Day,” as many call it, brings people together, all in the spirit of giving thanks for the blessings provided by those that came before us. One WWE Superstar, SmackDown’s Tatanka, will not be celebrating Thanksgiving this year. The Native American warrior told WWE.com that Thanksgiving is nothing more than a celebration of the white man.

“We have nothing to celebrate on this bogus holiday, Thanksgiving is a celebration for the white man” said Tatanka. “After all the help and the generosity that we gave to Columbus and his people, what did we get? We got stabbed in the back. They disrupted our lives, enslaved our people, tore apart families, and all in the name of greed.”

(Note from RD: Jeez, now I feel bad about subtitling the poor guy “Buffalo” all these years. What a pitiful pale face I turned out to be.)

“I am thankful and proud to be standing up for what’s right,” said Tatanka. “I am thankful for being awaken by the spirits above. I am now a vengeful warrior, and I will fight for the honor of all Native Americans that have been injusticed by the white man. I have been screwed by WWE refs, WWE officials, and the WWE fans. They are all part of a conspiracy to hinder the progress of the Native American, but that is all about to change.”

Whoa whoa whoa. Let me see if I got this right. Tatanka was so mad at having “been injusticed by the white man”, he attacked BOBBY LASHLEY? What?

Regardless, the screwing would continue, as poor Tatanka would be released just two months later.

Thanks for nothing indeed!

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