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Charles Wright
Ring name(s) Baron Smedly[1]
The Godfather[1][2]
The Goodfather[1][2]
Kama[1][2]
Kama Mustafa[1][2]
Papa Shango[1][2]
Pimp Fatha[1][2]
Rocky Las Vegas[1][2]
Sir Charles[1][2]
The Soultaker[1][2]
Billed height 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)[1]
Billed weight 320 lb (150 kg)[1]
Born May 16, 1961 (1961-05-16) (age 48)[1][2]
Las Vegas, Nevada[2]
Resides Las Vegas, Nevada[1]
Billed from Parts Unknown[1] (as Papa Shango)
Red-light district[1] (as The Godfather)
Trained by Larry Sharpe[1][2]
Debut September 16, 1989[1][2]
Retired 2003[2]

Charles Wright[3] (born May 16, 1961)[1] is an American businessman and former professional wrestler. He is best known for his tenure with the World Wrestling Federation throughout the 1990s and early 2000s under the ring names Papa Shango, Kama, Kama Mustafa, The Godfather and The Goodfather.[1]

After leaving the wrestling business he moved to Las Vegas, where he manages a number of strip clubs.[4]

Contents

Professional wrestling career

Early career

Wright first entered professional wrestling after being noticed tending bar by wrestlers during the filming of the movie Over the Top. The wrestlers involved gave him the advice that, with his large body type and unique (tattooed) look, he should try seeking out Larry Sharpe and his Monster Factory to get into the business.[5]

United States Wrestling Association (1989-1991)

Eventually Wright parlayed his training into a job with Jerry Lawler in the United States Wrestling Association (USWA) with the gimmick the wrestlers from the bar had given him and took the name The Soultaker, taken from one of the tattoos on his arm. Even with his admitted limited skill set, he was given the USWA Unified World Heavyweight Championship on October 23, 1989 and held it for about two weeks.[6]

During his time in the USWA, he would also tour in New Japan Pro Wrestling in 1990.

World Wrestling Federation (1991–1993)

After brief stints in Japan and other American independent promotions Wright was brought in to World Wrestling Federation (WWF) at the suggestion of his friend The Undertaker. He wrestled briefly at house shows as Sir Charles, a play on both his real name and the nickname of National Basketball Association player Charles Barkley. The character was hardly used and wasn't able to be developed, and even when talking about it later Wright only remembers wearing robes he purchased from another wrestler to the ring.[5]

In January 1992, he was repackaged as Papa Shango, a voodoo practitioner with an appearance reminiscent of the Loa Baron Samedi. The character carried a skull to the ring billowing smoke and could control arena lights, allowing for strange goings on in the ring, and later could "cast spells" to cause opponents pain and to make them vomit from afar.[7] Papa Shango was thrust into the spotlight almost immediately, running in on the Hulk Hogan vs. Sid Justice main event at WrestleMania VIII[8] to jump start a feud between himself and Ultimate Warrior. Shango actually missed his cue to run in, hitting the ring late.[citation needed] The finish was supposed to be Sid getting disqualified because of Shango breaking up the pinfall attempt by Hogan after Hulk hit the big legdrop.[citation needed] However due to Shango getting to the ring late, Sid was forced to kick out of the legdrop to save face. Sid's manager, Harvey Wippleman then jumped on the apron, and the referee signalled for the disqualification at that point as Shango was just getting to the ring.

United States Wrestling Association (1993-1994)

At the same time as he was wrestling as Papa Shango in the WWF, the WWF had a working agreement with USWA. As part of the agreement Papa Shango was sent to wrestle in USWA, where he won the Unified World Heavyweight Championship for a second time.[6] Winning the title actually upset him, as he felt it was only done to sell to the predominately black crowd, and after complaining to management he dropped the belt to Owen Hart. He left the company soon after and returned to bar tending.[5]

World Wrestling Federation (1994-1996)

Wright as The Pimp Fatha in a bikini contest (where the women have to strip to their bikinis and the audience chooses the best one who wins) in Hulkmania Tour in 2009.

During the autumn of 1994, there were rumors that the Papa Shango character would be brought back to participate in a storyline involving Bob Backlund, wherein Shango's voodoo spells would explain the traditionally good-natured Backlund's erratic and villainous behavior. This never came into fruition. Wright would eventually return to the WWF in 1995 as Kama "The Supreme Fighting Machine", a shoot fighter who joined Ted DiBiase's Million Dollar Corporation stable shortly after his debut.[9] He became an immediate part of the stables feud with The Undertaker, stealing the Undertaker's signature urn and having it melted down into a necklace,[10] only to lose it back to him at SummerSlam.[11] He was taken off of TV in the fall of 1995, and after an appearance in the 1996 Royal Rumble match, Wright left the company again.

World Wrestling Federation / Entertainment (1997–2002)

The Nation of Domination and The Godfather (1997–1999)

Wright was asked to return in 1997, with the original plans being for him to revive the Papa Shango character,[3] but that plan was never completed with the inception of Kane, another supernatural character.[5] Instead he was turned into Kama Mustafa and placed into the Nation of Domination, which was in the process of becoming an all black group and on the verge of feuding with the all white Disciples of Apocalypse as well as Los Boricuas. Around mid 1998 after the Rock became the leader of the stable, it was renamed to the Nation. Kama also became the Godfather.

In 1998, The Godfather (known to wrestlers as a genuine tough guy) competed in the WWF Brawl for All; which was a strictly voluntary boxing/shoot fighting competition, eventually won by Bart Gunn.

The Nation lasted until around September 1998 and officially disbanded in October 1998 when Mark Henry attacked the nations leader The Rock. After the nation split up Wright pursued a successful solo career and took his new persona as "The Godfather" to new levels. The Godfather character was constantly surrounded by "hos" – usually girls from local strip clubs. He would offer his opponents the right to use these girls for "any purpose" if they would forfeit the match to him. He got over and he gained a run with the WWF Intercontinental Championship in April 1999.[12] He was supposed to drop the title to Owen Hart at Over the Edge 1999 but Hart died before the match started whilst entering the ring from the ceiling.

Right to Censor (2000–2001)

The Godfather dancing with his ho's in their bikinis after his opponent quit the match because the Godfather promised to let him do what he wants with his Ho's.

As Wright was working the Godfather gimmick the WWF began airing SmackDown! on UPN, drawing the attention of the Parents Television Council (PTC), which claimed the WWF and their programming was inappropriate for prime time television. One of the PTCs complaints was the Godfather's pimp gimmick, and during the ensuing controversies the WWF higher ups began imposing restrictions on what he could say and do, hurting his popularity.[5] The Godfather, both before and after being toned down, became something of a tag team specialist, forming teams with Val Venis, Mark Henry, and D'Lo Brown.

With the WWF in general being hurt by the PTC's attention, they decided to mock the controversy by creating Right to Censor, a conservative group of wrestlers lead by Steven Richards. The Godfather faced Bull Buchanan, Richards' first group member, in which he agreed to give up pimping if he lost. Buchanan defeated The Godfather, who promptly joined the stable and renounced his former ways. He began wearing a shirt and tie to the ring (as was part of Right to Censor's gimmick), became known as "The Goodfather", and began teaming with Buchanan. The duo won the World Tag Team Championship[13] one time before the stable disbanded as the Invasion storyline began.

After several months of inactivity, The Godfather had a short revival in 2002, claiming to have gone "legitimate" and formed a legal escort agency. It lasted around four months, but never caught on in the way the original did. Shortly after the 2002 brand split, he was sent to SmackDown! and turned into a villain by feuding with Val Venis for a short time.

The Godfather's final two appearances reverted him back to his old persona, with the Ho Train in tow. He interrupted the "wedding" of Billy and Chuck in September 2002, which helped lead the tag team into admitting that the entire gay marriage was a sham and just an attempt to get media attention. The Godfather appeared again the following month on Raw during the Raw Roulette event, where he offered Jerry Lawler and Stevie Richards a night out with his Ho Train to the victor of their match.

Wright was released from the WWE in December 2002 and retired from wrestling, returning to Las Vegas to manage Cheetah's, a gentleman's club.[2]

Retirement and part-time appearances

2002, 2005, 2007

Despite his retirement, the Godfather has returned to wrestling a few times for one-night appearances with his Ho Train.

He appeared at Vengeance, interrupting Viscera's marriage proposal to Lilian Garcia in order to show Viscera what he would be missing out on if he asked Lillian to marry him.[1] Viscera dropped the proposal and dumped Garcia for The Godfather's hos.[1]

The Godfather next appeared at the Theodore Long and Kristal Marshall wedding ceremony on the September 21, 2007 edition of SmackDown!, where he tried to convince Long and Ron Simmons to go back to the old partying days they had. After they refused, Godfather left the ceremony with his Ho Train, and was accompanied by every male wrestler in attendance and commentator John Bradshaw Layfield, leaving only Mr. McMahon, Jonathan Coachman, Hornswoggle, Gerald Brisco, Pat Patterson, Michael Cole and several Divas behind.[1][14]

The Godfather reappeared on WWE television during the McMahon family portrait during Raw's 15th Anniversary on December 10, 2007, where he let Hornswoggle join his Ho Train.[1]

2009

In late 2009, Wright returned to wrestling to take part in Hulk Hogan's "Hulkamania: Let The Battle Begin" tour of Australia. On November 21, Wright, using the new ring name Pimp Fatha, teamed with Nick Dinsmore to defeat Rock of Love (Billy Blade and Kadin Anthony) in a tag team match.[1][15] On November 24, Big Daddy Row Row defeated Pimp Fatha and Sean Morley in a three-way match.[1][15] Two days later, Pimp Fatha defeated Heidenreich.[1][15] After the match, he hosted a bikini contest between three of his hos.[1] Two days later, Pimp Father wrestled his last match on the tour, and defeated Morley.[1][15]

In wrestling

Championships and accomplishments

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj "OWOW profile". Online World Of Wrestling. http://www.onlineworldofwrestling.com/profiles/g/godfather.html. Retrieved 2008-05-02. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w "Cagematch profile". http://www.cagematch.de/?id=2&nr=901&name=Godfather. 
  3. ^ a b Powell, John. "Papa Shango haunts The Godfather". SLAM! Sports. http://www.canoe.ca/SlamWrestlingArchive/jul28_godfather.html. Retrieved 2007-08-25. 
  4. ^ Ross, Jim. "Rental Car Woes.. Football.. Bar-B-Q (of course) and Your Comments..". JR's Blog. JRsBarBQ.com. http://www.jrsbarbq.com/blog/2007/08/22/rental-car-woes-football-bar-b-q-of-course-and-your-comments/. Retrieved 2007-08-25. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Charles Wright. (2007) (documentary). PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=3306 Shoot Interview with Charles Wright. [DVD]. RF Video. http://www.rfvideo.com/index.asp? PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=3306. 
  6. ^ a b c "USWA Unified World Heavyweight Title". Wrestling-Titles. http://www.wrestling-titles.com/us/tn/uswa/uswa-uh.html. Retrieved 2007-08-25. 
  7. ^ Dee, Louie (2005-10-25). "Rank-a-mania is running wild!". WWE. http://www.wwe.com/inside/news/archive/102505louierankings. Retrieved 2007-08-25. 
  8. ^ "TV Shows > WrestleMania 23 > History > WrestleMania VIII > Main Event". WWE. http://www.wwe.com/shows/wrestlemania/history/wm8/mainevent/. Retrieved 2007-08-25. 
  9. ^ "The Godfather profile". Online World of Wrestling. http://www.onlineworldofwrestling.com/profiles/g/godfather.html. Retrieved 2007-08-25. 
  10. ^ "Ted DiBiase bio". SLAM! sports. http://www.canoe.ca/Slam/Wrestling/Bios/dibiase.html. Retrieved 2007-08-25. 
  11. ^ "SummerSlam 1995 results". WWE. http://www.wwe.com/shows/summerslam/history/1995/results/. Retrieved 2007-08-25. 
  12. ^ a b "WWF/WWE Intercontinental Heavyweight Title". Wrestling-Titles. http://www.wrestling-titles.com/wwf/ic.html. Retrieved 2007-08-25. 
  13. ^ a b "WWWF/WWF/WWE World Tag Team Title". Wrestling-Titles. http://www.wrestling-titles.com/wwf/wwf-t.html. Retrieved 2007-08-25. 
  14. ^ Mike McAvennie. "Tragedy at the altar". WWE. http://www.wwe.com/shows/smackdown/archive/09212007/articles/tragedyatthealtar. Retrieved 2007-09-21. 
  15. ^ a b c d "Cagematch match listings, page 1". http://www.cagematch.de/?id=2&nr=901&view=matches#matches. 
  16. ^ "1995 WWF results". http://www.thehistoryofwwe.com/95.htm. 
  17. ^ Shields, Brian and Kevin Sullivan (2009). WWE Encyclopedia. DK/BradyGAMES. p. 167. ISBN 9780756641900. 
  18. ^ "Monday Night RAW results - May 15, 2000". Online World of Wrestling. http://www.onlineworldofwrestling.com/results/raw/_2000/. Retrieved 2007-08-28. 
  19. ^ "Bobcat profile". Online World of Wrestling. http://www.onlineworldofwrestling.com/profiles/b/bobcat.html. Retrieved 2007-08-28. 
  20. ^ "WWE Hardcore Championship history". Wrestling-Titles. http://www.wrestling-titles.com/wwf/wwf-hc.html. Retrieved 2007-08-28. 
  21. ^ "Victoria's OWOW profile". Online World of Wrestling. http://www.onlineworldofwrestling.com/profiles/v/victoria.html. Retrieved 2007-08-28. 
  22. ^ "Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Top 500 Wrestlers of the PWI Years". Wrestling information Archive. http://www.100megsfree4.com/wiawrestling/pages/pwi/pwi500yr.htm. Retrieved 2007-08-28. 

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