Icons of Wrestling #19 – Mantaur

https://ringthedamnbell.wordpress.com/15570 - mantaur wwfJamie Lithgow

Height: 6’2″
Weight: 401 lbs
Glory Days: January 1995 – July 1995
Fun Fact: Mike ‘Mantaur’ Halac made three PPV appearances for WWE: He was Mantaur at the 1995 Royal Rumble and In Your House 2, and Goldust’s unnamed bodyguard at In Your House 7.

Mantaur's career highlight - losing to Razor Ramon

Mantaur’s career highlight: losing to Razor Ramon

Bio:
In Greek mythology the Minotaur was the illicit lovechild of King Minos’ wife and the white bull which Minos himself had prayed to Poseidon – god of the sea – for. With the head of a bull, body of a man and taste for human flesh you can understand why mummy and step-daddy opted to keep the Minotaur out of mainstream education. Instead they trapped him for eternity within a bloody great big maze.

What does this have to do with wrestling I hear you ask? Well, on January 7th 1995 a creature matching this description was spotted defeating a jobber by the name of Walter Slow on ‘Superstars of Wrestling’. Granted, this creature did not eat Mr. Slow and was actually billed as ‘Mantaur’, but I think we all know the real story here…

Clearly Vince McMahon had travelled to Crete and released the Minotaur from his eternal torment in order to book him in a series of squash matches against local enhancement wrestlers before unleashing him upon want-away superstars like Razor Ramon and Diesel, thus defeating WCW and winning the Monday Night War before it had even began. Either that or aliens that visited Earth thousands of years ago were to blame…

In reality the name ‘Mantaur’ was more apt than just a means of retaining the character’s copyright. You see, this creature was not the Minotaur after all. It was a man pretending to be the Minotaur; a sort of man-bull-man, if you will.

Yeah, Vader was better...

Yeah, Vader was better…

Remember when Vader wore that elephant mask thing for his entrance in WCW? Well Mantaur went one better; he wore a gigantic, furry bull head to the ring for his entrance. He also wore furry boots, stamped his feet, charged at opponents and – like any well adjusted human – made “moo” noises. Speaking of Vader, he was famously managed in WWE by Jim Cornette – who also managed Mantaur. You see, a fat man in a brown leotard and bull head wasn’t really doing it for wrestling fans in early ’95. So, Mantaur got a new leotard, lost the bull head, had horns painted on his head and was aligned with Cornette. Sounds like a winner, right?

Well, he did win his first eight televised singles matches. His only defeats during this run were in the Royal Rumble and a random Battle Royal won by The British Bulldog. Mantaur’s first singles defeat came at the hands of Razor Ramon, and even that was by DQ when Jeff Jarrett and The Roadie interfered. Our man would revert to defeating jobbers before staring at the lights himself. In his last days in the WWF the man-bull-man jobbed to Bret Hart, Bam Bam Bigelow and – shamefully – Bob ‘Sparky Plugg’ Holly. Mantaur’s record against contracted workers was a poultry 1-4. His only scalp – if you can call it that – was over Aldo ‘Justin Credible’ Montoya. The big man’s last televised appearance was as a lumberjack in the main event of In Your House 2 on July 23rd 1995.

Despite barely spending six months on WWE TV, Mantaur’s legacy will live on in the rumours regarding the cost of his ridiculous outfit and in the memory of long term fans who don’t consider El Torito as that bad a gimmick…

All previous ‘Icons of Wrestling’ can be read here.

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4 thoughts on “Icons of Wrestling #19 – Mantaur

    • Indeed he was. He was called Tank and wore a mask. He wrestled under that gimmick in the USWA, where the Truth Commision were originally formed. He only made a couple of televised appearances with the group in WWE. Here is one of them, he’s the guy in the mask who looks a bit like Golga from The Oddities. Also, check out a very young looking Rhyno on the opposing team…

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  1. Pingback: Icons of Wrestling #20 – P.N. News | Ring the Damn Bell

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