One of WCW’s most iconic gimmicks made a shocking return to professional wrestling on October 23rd as they made their unexpected IMPACT debut during the Call Your Shot Gauntlet.
Dale Torborg, most notably known as WCW’s KISS Demon, made his IMPACT Wrestling return during Bound For Glory’s Call Your Shot Gauntlet match, following a nearly 15-year stint away from professional wrestling.
IMPACT’s Bound For Glory event featured a plethora of shocking moments, from Josh Alexander & Moose’s World Championship victories to The IInspiration’s debut championship victory but no moment was more shocking than the infamous WCW gimmick The KISS Demon making his return to professional wrestling.
‘The Demon’ would enter the prestigious match at number 10 quickly eliminated IMPACT mainstay Johnny Swinger – but not before signing an autograph for the ecstatic Swinger.
Torborg would stick around until he was ultimately eliminated by IMPACT’s Ace Austin ending The Demon’s return after nearly 15 long years.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) October 24, 2021
‘The KISS Demon’ last appeared inside a ring back in 2007 for IMPACT predecessor TNA, competing in the Basebrawl at Against All Odds: 2007 in a losing effort against current AEW competitor Lance Archer – then Lance Hoyt.
The KISS Demon would initially debut for WCW on WCW Nitro in 1999 as part of Eric Bischoff’s vision to introduce highly popular Glam Rock band KISS into the world of wrestling and to create a line of KISS/WCW merchandise to sell and cash in on KISS’ extreme popularity in ’99.
Speaking on his 83 Weeks podcast, available via the fantastic AdFreeShows, Bischoff would recall his initial meeting with KISS frontman Gene Simmons and discuss the original plans for the iconic character and what could have been had the storyline played out as planned.
“I remember specifically the first time I met Gene. We sat down and immediately we’re talking about a long-term plan. When I met Gene, the very first time was at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Rodeo Drive,” Bischoff began by saying. “It was like four o’clock in the afternoon and I had never met Gene. Frankly, wasn’t a big fan of KISS. I certainly knew of them and had a lot of friends who were, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea… I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know that Gene didn’t drink at the time. I find out pretty quickly afterwards, but I walked in and there was nobody in the bar… It was just Gene sitting back in the corner in the Beverly Hills Hotel. It was a really cool, classic Hollywood hotel. They had booths throughout the bar, in the back looking out over the courtyard, and they have these super high backs to the chairs. It was a big, kind of semi-circle booth that Gene was sitting in. There’s was a 20-foot ceiling and Gene had stacks of KISS merchandise stacked up almost all the way to the ceiling all around that booth. Must have been $3,000 with of merchandise stacked up, and there was Gene sitting at the table by himself waiting for me, he got there early, he’s sitting there waiting and I thought, ‘wow this is fucking cool. I wish there was somebody here to see me hanging out with Gene Simmons,’ but to my disappointment, there was nobody there but the bartender who wasn’t paying attention. We had a great meeting. The idea really wasn’t to have KISS make an appearance on Nitro. That came about after. It was Gene being interested in wrestling. He saw the potential for characters in licensing and merchandising.”
Bischoff would continue, revealing that the initial plans saw The KISS Demon sticking around in WCW until a PPV event on December 31st, 1999.
“The whole idea for the meeting was ‘how do we bring KISS, the KISS brand into this world of professional wrestling and successfully create a line of merchandise that we would have ended up splitting on a 50/50 basis?’ It was merchandise that was going to be created specifically for WCW and KISS. So it would be different than the rest of the KISS merchandise that he already had out there and making a fortune off of.
“We were going to create characters that were part of the KISS Army, and, ultimately really cap it off with a pay-per-view on December 31, 1999, at the turn of the millennium. So there was a long-term plan. It did not happen all at that meeting. It was the initial meeting, let’s agree to find a way to create a line of merchandise. Well, we know if we’re going to create a lot of merchandise, we have to have some long-term plans creatively in place to sustain it, because you don’t just flip a switch and all of a sudden start selling merchandise. That happens over a long period of time. So that was the essence of our discussion in that first meeting.”
IMPACT Wrestling Bound For Glory is available to watch for just $19.99 on Fite TV and is also available via InDemand, DISH, DirecTV, Vubiquity, Rogers, Bell, Shaw, Sasktel.