As I wrote in a previous article comics and super heroes seem to amalgam nicely with the wrestling world, colorful characters with bright costumes doing all sorts of marvelous things. Recently wrestling has gotten away from those types of characters (with a couple of exceptions) going for more “real” type personas. Let’s take a look at a few of the most notable super heroes in the wrestling world past and present.
Mil Mascaras (1,000 masks) was born Aaron Rodriguez and in the 60’s became a very popular wrestler and movie star in Latin America. Mil’s colorful masks and outfits made him a hit with crowds. Now while Mil was not the first masked wrestler he was one of the first to give his character an origin and history outside of the wrestling ring, the character was made for movies which made him even more popular in the ring. As the story goes as an infant Mil was found by some scientists in World War 2 Europe, they took the boy in and started using him as a guinea pig for all sorts of experiments (somehow I don’t think they’d get away with that in this day and age) building his mind and body so he can go out to fight crime and make the world a better place. He even had his own “Justice League” with wrestlers like The Blue Demon and La Sombra Vengadora (The Shadow Avenger).
Tiger Mask was a 60’s Japanese manga (comic) and cartoon about an American wrestler who do bad things returning to Japan to become a super-heroic wrestler after being inspired by an orphan boy. The first wrestler to use the Tiger Mask name was Satoru Sayama, he also used other variations of the Tiger Mask name, Satoru had a pretty decent career becoming both NWA and WWF Junior Heavyweight Champion. Satoru relinquished both titles in 1983 to “retire” from wresting; however he later returned and was part of wrestling for about another decade. Mitsuharu Misawa took over the role of Tiger Mask, becoming Tiger Mask II. The tradition still holds true today with Tiger Mask 4 (Yoshihiro Yamazaki) who has held the title since 1995.
Gregory Shane Helms first took on the persona of Hurricane in the 90’s WWE attitude era making reference to his Green Lantern tattoo. The character took off from there, with his famous battle cry “Stand back there’s a hurricane coming through” Gregory had moderate success during the era even getting his own sidekicks. To this day I still check out the promos he did with The Rock. After sometime off and wrestling under his given name, Gregory reprised his role as Hurricane which fit well with the new PG era of the WWE. Unfortunately for Helms he went the way of Tony Stark (comic fans will get the reference everyone else will have to wait for the movie).
The Prince Justice Brotherhood
Shark Boy (Dean Roll), Curry Man (Chris “who did I hose off in TNA” Daniels), & Super Eric (Eric Young) has a short lived (thank god) super hero team in TNA (I think Suicide was in there to at some point). Started by Shark Boy who’s character went to fun and lovable to downright stupid (Stone Cold parody) was the leader of the group, unfortunately while having a couple of good storylines and runs he was mainly a jobber and rarely used on television anymore. Curry Man took off the mask and returned as Daniels only to get fired and now is heading to ROH. Luckily Eric Young has been given a decent push as of late getting involved with World Elite and Kevin Nash. While based on a game more than a super hero Suicide (portrayed first by Kaz then Daniels) has not been since since Kaz returned to TNA.
(Dis) honorable Mentions
Lazer-Tron – Hector Guerrero has had the worst luck with gimmicks and it started with this character based on the then popular laser tag game. He also debut as the Gobbledy Gooker during the first Survivor Series, thank god nothing important happen during that event…oh wait.
The Shock Master – I bet Fred Ottman thought to himself “at least it can’t get worse than being called tugboat”.
Arachniman – Brad “don’t call me badstreet” Armstrong, picture Spider-Man with lack of color coordination, while the man behind the mask had some talent, the gimmick (thankfully) went nowhere.
The Ultimate Warrior – He couldn’t wrestle to save his life, but was fun and entertaining, his promos were great.
Glacier – Ray Lloyd loved his entrance but it kind of stopped there, sorry.
Ok at this point we are getting into bad gimmicks more than superheroes so I leave you until next time when I will review the upcoming Northwest Wrestling Show in Rocky Hill, CT on May 1st. I might even have an interview or two with some of the people involved. It should be a great card with appearances by Booker T, Dusty Rhodes & Tommy Dreamer, until then…let’s watch.