Recently InterVision Pictures released Masked Mutilator on Blu-ray and DVD. This long-lost film began production in the early ’90s before hitting a snag that shut things down. Then the film just sat there, and sat there, and sat there. Nearly 25 years later, the producers and writers were able creatively resolve the issues and complete a finished film, thus giving us Masked Mutilator.
The story follows a professional wrestler that accidentally kills an opponent, live in the ring. This leads him to a new career working at a group home for youth offenders. Unfortunately, tragedy continues to follow him as a crazed lunatic in a wrestling mask shows up and begins killing kids.
It’s a wild movie that we’re finally glad to have our hands on. Go visit Severin-Films.com and order yourself a copy now. You won’t be disappointed.
Watching a film about a masked wrestler got me to thinking about what are some of my favorite masked wrestlers of all time. Obviously, this got me to thinking about putting a list together. But a list that is merely dedicated to the best masked wrestlers is sort of bland. Not because the wrestlers are bland, quite the opposite actually, but we all probably have the same favorites. Your Rey Mysterios, your Kanes, and so on.
Instead, I’m going with 10 Lesser Known Masked Wrestlers!
Before diving into this fun list, let me make one thing crystal clear — I’m not saying these are wrestlers you’ve never heard of. If you’re a super hardcore wrestling fan, you’ve probably been well aware of these dudes for a while now. Hell, you probably know masked wrestlers that are even less well known than the ones I’ve selected. That’s cool, make your own list.
This is my list, these are the wrestlers I’ve chosen to shine a spotlight on and these are my words. Read through it and then yell at me.
This is a wrestler that was made for me and how this gimmick never truly took off I’ll never understand. One of the earlier characters portrayed by Glenn Jacobs (Kane), the Christmas Creature was a hulking masked beast dressed in green and red with gold tinsel wrapped around his body in an effort to fully embrace the Christmas spirit.
A quick Google search doesn’t pull up a lot of info on the character. There’s one match on YouTube from Memphis-based USWA that took place in December 0f 1992 with the Creature squaring off against Trey Keller. Before the match he shoves Santa Claus. This was probably a seasonal thing.
On episode 58 of Jerry Lawler’s Dinner with the King Podcast, Jacobs and Lawler discuss the character.
“(Kevin) calls me later, and this is December, and he’s got this idea for an evil Christmas character, the Christmas Creature. So my mom made me this costume,” Jacobs says.
The Kevin in this story refers to Kevin Lawler, the King’s son. So to recap, the Christmas Creature was a gimmick created by the son of Jerry “The King” Lawler with a costume designed by Kane’s mom.
Brad Armstrong had a number of different gimmicks over the course of his career that never quite took off. My personal favorite is Arachnaman, an alias he used in WCW for about a year stretch in the early ’90s. This Spider-Man knockoff featured a stellar purple and yellow costume, and upon entering the ring Arachnaman would shoot webs out of his hands.
The character was never given much of a chance because Marvel threatened to take legal action and this would end up becoming another disappointing go in the career of Armstrong. It’s a shame too, because Armstrong had all the talent in the world and this was a character with real potential.
Fortunately, the Internet won’t let the memory of Arachnaman be forgotten and a number of his matches are available online, including this one against Lou Fabiano.
This Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle inspired gimmick was used by two different wrestlers. First by Chris Champion in USWA and Frontier Marital-Arts Wrestling, and then by Brian Hildebrand* in Smoky Mountain Wrestling.
Ok, I know I said this was TMNT inspired, but I was being generous. This is a straight rip-off of the Ninja Turtles, and I fully respect it. Unfortunately I can’t really find much of anything about this character. There are a few matches online, including this one against Keith Eric that I highly recommend because he gives an interview beforehand and it’s hilarious because a Ninja Turtle should not sound like that.
*Hildebrand was was more famously known as the late, and widely beloved, WCW referee, Mark Curtis.
Michael Kirchner, most known for an ’80s stint in WWE as Corporal Kirchner, would gain some traction in Japan wrestling under the name Leatherface, a take on the main baddie in Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. This gimmick first began in W*ING where Leatherface would go on to establish a reputation as one of the toughest wrestlers on the circuit.
Kirchner would eventually find himself serving 6-months in jail and during this time the Leatherface character was passed onto Rick Patterson. Once he was released, Kirchner resumed his role but now there were two and the tag team Leatherfaces was formed. The Leatherfaces would be most notorious for a match in IWA against Shoji Nakamaki & Hiroshi Ono that would end with a power bomb onto a bed of nails. Ouch!
Kirchner would finally take the character to FMW under the modified name of Super Leather.
The Midnight Rider
The Midnight Rider is actually fairly well known gimmick, but the details are a bit fuzzy. If you search through the deepest, darkest corners of the Internet you’ll find discussions regarding The Midnight Rider on many a wrestling forum. The only solid conclusion people seem to agree on is that The Midnight Rider is one of the most hated characters in the history of wrestling.
Here’s what I do know — the character was portrayed by “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes on more than one occasion. It’s possible other wrestlers used this gimmick sporadically, but I can’t confirm who or when. On at least one occasion Rhodes donned this costume because he was suspended, and well, by hiding his face and pretending to be someone else he could get back in on the action.
This suspension came during Rhodes’ time in the NWA and on February 9, 1982, The Midnight Rider actually defeated Ric Flair for the NWA Heavyweight Championship. At the time NWA rules did not allow masked wrestlers to hold the title, so president Bob Geigel asked the Rider to unmask. Knowing he would be “banned for life” if he did so, The Masked Rider chose to keep the mask on and forfeit the title back to Flair.
YouTube has a fun cage match between The Midnight Rider and Lucifer.
With all due respect to Arachnaman, Max Moon is the coolest character to make this list. According to an interview. with WWE.com, the legendary Konnan came up with the character in the early ’90s during his brief stint with WWE. The gimmick was a cross between a robot cartoon Konnan remembers seeing during his time wrestling in Japan and the Lucha Libre style wrestlers he knew from Mexico. Vince McMahon was immediately smitten with the idea and put a lot of money into make it a reality.
The character was made for the ’90s and should have been a huge success. He was a spaceman that was billed as coming from Outer Space, he had an elaborate entrance, a bright, colorful costume, and belonged to a talented and exciting performer. But sometimes, we’re denied great things.
Unfortunately, backstage drama stemmed from this new young wrestler getting all of Vince’s attention (all of this discussed in that WWE interview) eventually resulted in Konnan being fired. The Max Moon gimmick was passed onto Paul Diamond and despite Paul’s best efforts, it just wasn’t a character for him. Max Moon peaked with a loss to Shawn Michaels on the first-ever episode of Monday Night Raw.
Doink the Clown
Look, we all know who Doink the Clown is. There isn’t a single wrestling fan alive that doesn’t know Doink. I understand that. I also know that everyone is aware of the fact that many wrestlers took on the Doink persona. But we respect Matt Borne (RIP) for being the first and one true Doink. And there’s no need to mention is sidekick Dink, because d’uh.
With that all being said, I couldn’t possibly write about masked wrestlers and leave out Doink. That would be ridoinkulous. I’ll spare going into any further details of Doink, because we all already know, and instead leave you with this video of Doink doinking it up.
The Handsome Stranger
Dallas-based Global Wrestling Federation had a little three year run in the early ’90s that included some televised events on ESPN. Throughout GWF’s short history a number of wrestlers that would go on to be big name players in the industry passed through their ranks, including Buff Bagwell. Now I loved Bagwell during his WCW days, which I refer to as his Andy Sidaris phase, but everything I can find about his GWF days is pretty lame.
His gimmick? A male escort/Chippendales dancer with a Lone Ranger mask, creatively dubbed as The Handsome Stranger. He would come out wearing a glitzy jacket and hand roses to the ladies in the crowd. There’s real potential here but the cheap Lone Ranger mask makes me irrationally angry.
You can watch him face Barry Horowitcz in a match that ends lamely.
The ’90s were a golden age for wrestling fans. Unfortunately, every golden age comes with a few lackluster periods and for WWE’s Attitude era that luster-free moment smells of Faygo root beer. Yes, I’m talking about the time wrestling fans had to determine if they were down with the clown as the notoriously grody Insane Clown Posse became a fixture in the sports entertainment world.
ICP performed the theme song for a group known as the Oddities, a stable of would-be circus freaks. A prominent member was the larger-than-life Golga. This behemoth was known for his Eric Cartman obsession and was forced to cover his face due to an alleged bone growth disorder that made him look deformed. This at best silly, and at worst offensive, character was brought to life by John Tenta, the man formerly known as The Shark formerly known as Avalanche formerly known as Earthquake.
Golga and the rest of the Oddities quickly disappeared, but not before Golga faced Jeff Jarrett on a random Sunday Night Heat.
Guess who’s back, back again? Kane is back, this time as Doomsday, friends. That’s right, we started this list with Glenn Jacobs and we’re going to end it with Glenn Jacobs, this time with his run as Doomsday.
Before becoming a key player in the Attitude era as Kane, Jacobs saw most of his success on the indie circuit as Doomsday. Luther Biggs described the character as “the biggest, the meanest, the most homicidal, the most psychopathic maniac,” when he introduced him as his bodyguard of sorts to help protect him from the likes of Brian Christopher. The costume consisted of a red hockey mask looking thing and leather straps to make an “X” across the chest. Doomsday definitely gave off a dominant vibe.
Because of his massive size, Doomsday would often wrestling multiple opponents at once, like the time he took on Master Blaster and Tex Ranger. In July of 1997 he would go on to win the USWA Heavyweight Championship.