Monday, March 21, 2016

Celebrating "The Godfather"

It's time, once again, for everybody to come aboard… the HOOOOOOOOOOOOO Train!

Congratulations are in order to The Godfather for his selection to the WWE Hall of Fame. The Godfather was one of the most colorful characters of the Attitude Era. But it was a long and winding road for Charles Wright to achieve this honor. In over a decade of action, Charles Wright was cast in a variety of roles- Voodoo Man, Ultimate Fighting Machine, Defiant Militant, and even the Crusading Do-Gooder. In each and every role, he put forth the best he had to give to be an entertainer. But Wright finally found his path to stardom when he emerged as the fun-loving Godfather! The catchy guitar riff, the outrageous attire, the over-the-top strut, and of course, the bevy of scantily clad beauties were sure to light up the crowd on any given night. Pimpin' ain't easy!

So where is the Godfather's real place in wrestling history? Never a world champion, never the main eventer, but always a consistent worker regardless of the gimmick. Wright was the Steve Buscemi of the Attitude Era!

In modern-day terms, the best comparison I can make is to Kane. Demon Kane, Big Red Machine, Corporate Kane, "Team Hell No" Kane- I can't help but admire the guys who bring their talent to the ring, take whatever opportunity they are presented, and give their best effort to the fans.

Papa Shango was my least favorite character of this group. The sketches were awful, and the feigned fear of Ultimate Warrior in particular made for some miserably bad segments. Kama the ultimate fighting machine was clearly a step up, although I couldn't help but wonder when his tag team partners "Apostrophe" and "Semi-Colon" would make their debut. Kama Mustafa was a natural fit for the imposing Nation of Domination. The Nation was a pretty awesome crew, in my opinion, and the three-way feud with Los Boricuas and the Disciples of Apocalypse had the potential for some really intense storylines. If anything, the street gang scenarios and the racial overtones were uncomfortably realistic, and I wasn't shocked when the factions fizzled out.

As Mustafa, Wright was not very active in the ring. Fearing that he would be lost in the shuffle, he put his creativity- and his wife- to work in creating a fresh character. The inspiration began with the black hat which his friends labeled "the godfather hat". Wright credits his wife with creating the Godfather character, adding the colorful vests, the glasses (often made by his wife), and the jewelry. The Godfather persona was described by Wright as "just me being silly". Of all the Charles Wright characters, he describes the Godfather as "the closest one to being me." Here's The Godfather in action, showing off both his engaging persona and his ring work in a memorable battle with Eddie Guerrero and Chyna:

Ironically, Godfather retired from the ring and has become the manager of a Las Vegas strip club. Without a doubt, his appearance at the Hall of Fame induction will add another memory to a collection of Godfather antics which always brings a smile.

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