March 16, 2013 by @JSimpsonWriter
Horror characters and wrestling, eh? Why is that a good combo? I like horror films as well as wrestling. In fact the owner of Gorilla Press Online and I have long conversations about cult or cheesy horror movies when not talking wrestling. I know other fans who dig the horror scene as well as the rasslin’ scene. So, with that, I figured I would write about some Puro Madness that involves both elements in a truly unique and, of course, bonkers way.
There was once a promotion called W*ING – Wrestling *International New Generation. I could go on for a long time about that company but that is for another time. However they had several wrestlers using gimmicks that were basically horror movie characters. I remember when W*ING was in business and would read about their exploits and years later, thanks to the internet, I managed to see that it was more odd than I could ever imagine. These horror character gimmicks were ludicrous – Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th franchise ‘appeared’ as Jason the Terrible, Michael Myers of Halloween fame became The Bogeyman and Freddy Kruger was, well, Freddy.
Former WWF star Michael ‘Corporal’ Kirchner became one of the more famous gimmicks as Leatherface from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre films. And because all these guys wore cheap looking fancy-dress masks no one noticed when a different guy would ‘play’ the gimmick. Kirchner was arrested and jailed for going abit to far in scaring fans at one show where he fucked up a face rather badly. Rather than the character disappear somebody else played it. When Kirchner was freed he returned with the mask on and got the other Leatherface to briefly form a tag team with him. He would then jump ship to FMW and change his name to Super Leather. Confused?
These guys more often than not ran to the ring through the crowd and in Japan this sort of thing is lapped up by the fans. They love the wrestlers pushing and hitting them as it makes them feel ‘part of the show’. Watching footage of Freddy, with his knife-fingered clove, chasing smiling and laughing Japanese people is a truly odd sight to behold. As mentioned, Leatherface took it too far once though. Jose Estrada Jr became ‘The Crypt Keeper’ from hit US TV show and movie franchise Tales from the Crypt. Yet again it was a guy in a dodgy mask who couldn’t really wrestle that well. When these men wrestled they would often blade so would tear their masks open to cut themselves. This meant you should have seen their real faces but, as in the classic example of Jason the Terrible, they would usually have face paint on underneath.
By the end of the 90’s these gimmicks, and their wrestlers, had disappeared from the industry. It is a sign of the staggering success garbage (hardcore) promotions had in Japan during that decade. That they could just pick a horror movie character instead of putting in the effort to create a fresh and original gimmick which would have been more credible. However the fans of these companies really enjoyed it and when you see people wrestling in barbwire maybe it helps that one combatant is a ‘known’ bloodthirsty nutter?
James Simpson (@KnowYourPuro)
Curious? Then heres the ‘proof’ – The Headhunters vs Jason & Super Leather in FMW, May 1996