The MAD MAX films may very well go down as the most inspirational series of films ever to be utilized by professional wrestling. From the obvious (The Road Warriors, Lord Humongous) to the obscure (Jericho’s phrase “The Ayatollah of Rock and Roll-ah” is derived from the films), no other series of films has given pro wrestling as many gimmicks. This week’s entry looks at a lesser-known member of this league.
Around 1980 or so, a young man named Gary Lindgren, along with Curt Hennig and several others, began training with Verne Gagne. Unfortunately, before he could make any real mark on the sport, he suffered a brain aneurysm, and fell out of sight for several years. When he finally got to the point he was ready to return, he re-trained again, and waited for Verne to find a suitable way to introduce him into the AWA. And introduce him he would, in a promo that would pre-date the Shockmaster by several years.
In 1987, AWA announcers Larry Nelson and Al DeRusha stood in front of a blank wall with the AWA logo on it, talking about an upcoming series of matches between some of the AWA’s finest. Out of nowhere, a loud yell is heard, and somebody or something crashes THROUGH the wall…
…and promptly trips, almost falling to its knees.
Gaining his footing, the man stands up to reveal himself to be a very large, bald man wearing a leather outfit, most notably a bizarre glove that he kept holding on to and adjusting. Larry Nelson, in shock, starts to scream “What in the world do you THINK you’re doing” as the silent monster makes weird faces and lumbers menacingly towards him.
The Blaster had arrived.
Obviously, Gary wasn’t another Hennig, but Verne felt something could be done with the wrestler, and found a “monster heel” role to put him in. That role, derived from MAD MAX BEYOND THUNDERDOME was of a giant man. Sadly, they didn’t add the movie’s dwarf half of the team, The Master (comprising The Master Blaster, a name stolen later by WCW for yet another MAD MAX take-off tag team). If they’d had Tiger Jackson manage The Blaster, and ride out to the ring on his shoulders, I think they could have had box office gold there.
The Blaster didn’t accomplish much in the AWA, working a few matches that he won using the dreaded claw, enhanced by his leather glove. He soon disappeared again, this time for good, it seems.
But even during his brief stay, he made history. For when people look at the Shockmaster debut, they can now realize that almost half a decade before, someone else had done almost the exact same thing.
Just without the Stormtrooper helmet.
Or Ole Anderson’s garbled voice.