As debuts go, it’s difficult to imagine one will ever be as bad as that of Fred Ottman when he literally fell onto our tv screens in 1993.
We’ll never know how he would have fared had his debut not been as disastrous but one thing is for sure: It’s one of the most memorable moments in wrestling history.
They say a picture tells a thousand words, well let’s look at a video of his entrance to wrestling folklore…
After a brief period working for Florida Championship Wrestling as US Steel, Ottman debuted in the WWF in 1989 as the fan friendly Tugboat and would eventually turn heel on Hulk Hogan and gain some success in the tag team division, now billed as Typhoon, alongside Earthquake in the Natural Disasters and the duo would win the tag titles. Their success was short lived and when Earthquake departed the WWF, Typhoon found himself once again in the singles ranks and it wasn’t long before he was nothing more than glorified enhancement talent.
He too would depart WWF and move to WCW and what a debut he was to make. On “A Flair for the Gold”, an interview segment hosted by Ric Flair, in front of a live audience at Clash of the Champions XXIV, Sting and Davey Boy Smith were confronted by Sid and Harlem Heat, demanding to know the identity of the superstar that was going to replace the injured Road Warrior Hawk at Fall Brawl 1993 in the 8 man tag also featuring Dustin Rhodes and Big Van Vader.
Sting exclaimed, “All I have to say is, our partner is going to “shock” the world, because he is none other than The Shockmaster.”At this point the camera zoomed in on a portion of a wall with pyrotechnics exploding in front of it. The plan was for Ottman to dramatically crash through the wall. Whilst in essence he did indeed dramatically crash through the wall, it wasn’t in the way that the WCW powers that be had hoped for….
Instead, Ottman, in his costume that consisted of a Star Wars Stormtrooper helmet painted silver and covered in glitter, a pair of jeans, and a long black vest, tripped over a piece of wood that was framing the set, causing him to fall down with his helmet falling off and sliding across the floor partially revealing his identiy.
The ridiculousness was confounded with the fact there was zero crowd reaction but plenty of reaction from the wrestlers in attendance. Flair is heard to say “Oh, God” as Ottman walked towards the wrestlers and stood menacingly in an attempt to somehow rescue this. Booker T then asked “Who is this motherfucker?” while Smith exclaimed “He fell flat on his arse…he fell flat on his fucking arse!”. Both of these comments were audible to the live audience and television viewers, but would later be partially censored in future showings of the footage by the WWE. Sid Vicious reacted in rage to the Shockmaster, attempting to smooth over the incident. Despite generating zero crowd reaction and leaving the announcers speechless, WCW decided to continue with the segment. The Shockmaster was actually voiced by Ole Anderson, who was in another room with a microphone.
Perhaps not surprisingly, The Shockmaster didn’t amount to much with the WCW. Few will know exactly what the promotion had planned for the character but in the end the gimmick was short lived and he was portrayed – quite rightly – as a klutz on TV until the Shockmaster was ditched. WCW attempted to salvage the incident by introducing a new character called The Super Shockmaster, also portrayed by Ottman, but this too was short lived. There are just some things that there ain’t no coming back from. And Shockmaster’s debut on our screens is one of those.
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