Charles ‘Papa Shango’ Wright has cleared the mist on missing his cue at WrestleMania VIII, one of his most infamous moments in the history of the company.
As the chilling voodoo priest, Papa Shango fit right in with the cartoon era of professional wrestling. His fearsome face-paint, terrifying entrance attire and manner in which he moved chilled children of a certain generation to the core as he used his exploding voodoo stick and curses to defeat beloved babyfaces.
While Shango was a mid-card talent, all of his Christmases came at once in 1992 when he was suddenly inserted into the main event picture with Hulk Hogan and Sid Vicious at WrestleMania VIII. Unfortunately for the dark magician, he blew his chance to impress management when he mistimed a run-in during the headline bout causing Vicious’ manager, Harvey Wippleman to make the save.
The original plan was for Shango to hit the ring after Hogan nailed his psychotic foe with his patented leg-drop, break-up the pinfall attempt and cause a disqualification finish which would have handed the bout to the former WWF Champion. However, Wright left Gorilla position too late necessitating Wippleman ad-lib and execute the spot instead when it became apparent the mystic personality wasn’t going to make it.
Now, Charles Wright has lifted the curse on his moment in time in a sit-down interview with Scheduled For Two Falls Podcast, detailing why he was late to the ring for the biggest moment of his first stint with the company:
“That night I never heard anything from anybody at all. I was so involved in what I was doing at the time, working with Hogan, Sid, Warrior; I wasn’t really concerned. The problem is that they knew I was green so they were going, ‘Don’t go until we tell you to go.’ And so, for whatever reason I got the cue late. I didn’t know. I’m there at the curtain like a track star getting ready to run and it was a long way.
So, then they say, ‘GO! GO! GO! GO’ and I went. Once I got there I was like, ‘Oh s**t what’s going on’, because I wasn’t watching the monitors. I never heard anything about it for years and I mean years later. I’m doing autograph signings and people are like, ‘Hey what happened when you missed the cue’ and I’m like, ‘No I didn’t, what do you mean?’ So then when I started checking into it, I’m like, ‘Oh s**t!’ I never heard it from one person, not even Taker and you know why? Because it wasn’t my fault. I never even knew about it.”
The eventual interference of Papa Shango and the two-on-one assault of Hulk Hogan saw the return of The Ultimate Warrior, who raced to the ring – faster than Wright managed – and warded off Vicious and Shango, beginning his long run with powerhouse on WWF television.
The Ultimate Warrior vs. Papa Shango is arguably one of the worst WWF feuds of all time, but it gave the world the classic segment of Warrior bleeding from his hair after a curse was cast upon him, so it wasn’t all bad.
Credit for the interview: Scheduled For Two Falls
h/t for the transcription: Wrestling Inc