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WRESTLING COLUMNS

The Man They Call "Big Vis"
July 11, 2005 by Avi Krebs


There is a phrase that has been used in the world of wrestling for quite some time. The phrase larger than life has been used to describe those wrestlers who are usually massive in size. So if you're a wrestler, and tip the scales at 400 pounds or more, then you'd be a likely candidate to be dubbed larger than life. There have been some true inspirations worthy of this title, some are no longer with us; (Andre the Giant, Big John Studd, and Yokozuna) and there are some who have left the mark in wrestling during one time or another. Examples of this would be King Kong Bundy, Earthquake and the Big Show. You can even include such novelty acts such as Giant Gonzalez and Bastion Booger as being larger than life.

Don't kid yourselves though, not every single super heavy weight wrestler in the business is able to leave a mark. In fact, most of these wrestlers aren't even considered wrestlers by the harshest of critiques, they are too big, too slow, and too fat, can't wrestle, are just boring, uncharismatic, and are usually given degrading angles or personas to accentuate that they may have a few extra pounds to them. In most cases, these individuals are usually given the personas of being monsters. In other instances, they are on the complete opposite end and are basically considered extra large huggable teddy bears.

So with all these great and not so great men given the open paragraph treatment of this article, there is one man who has been in and out of the wrestling spotlight over the past decade, he's an individual you can't really ignore simply because of his massive size and girth. He's currently the biggest man on the RAW roster and is currently involved in truly one of the most bizarre yet mildly entertaining storylines of the year thus far. The man in question is the larger than life athlete Viscera.

Getting the formalities out of the way, Viscera's real name is actually Nelson Frazier. He was born on February the 14th in Memphis, Tennessee. He presently stands roughly 6 feet 6 inches, and weighs in at 496 pounds. These figures alone make him the second heaviest wrestler in the WWE after the 6 inches taller Big Show. Now while the Big Show has enjoyed some success in the WWE as a multiple heavyweight champion and being coined one of the most extraordinary athletes in all professional sports, Viscera has not exactly gotten the same accolades to speak of. He got his start in the wrestling business way back in the early 1990s. His big break came when he was brought into the WWE (formally WWF). He was given the name Mabel and was paired up with a considerably smaller sidekick named Mo and from there Men on A Mission were born. Before MNM, there was MOM. To complete the team, Mabel and Mo were given a manager who at the time was considered much different from the pipsqueak managers of yesteryear. The manager was named Oscar, and his shtick" Well he was tossing the rhymes long before John Cena got his doctrine in Thuganomics. Back in the day, it was more taboo for heel wrestlers to take shots at the fans, and while MOM was introduced as a heel tag team from the start, it didn't take long for fans to take a liking to the new team. Even with Oscar spitting out the rhymes which usually were against the expense of MOMs face opponents, the heel experiment really didn't go off as well as planned. Besides, how can you be taken seriously as a heel if you come down to the ring dancing to your manager's pre-Eminem style rap" So the heel image was ditched promptly and MOM became one of the most popular tag teams in a stable of stereotypical tag teams. In a time where you had fitness buffs, cowboys, hog farmers, marching morons and heavenly bodies, it really doesn't make a rapping tag team seem so out of place does it" From there Men on a Mission went on a mission to become the top tag team in the WWF. They would experience some time at the top being crowned the tag-team champions but their title reign was short lived, and from there MOM basically became just another nice novelty-gimmick tag team that was getting the fan support, but very few precious Ws in the win column.

Aside from being crowned a champion, one of Mabel's finer moments came during the 1993 Survivor series. MOM would team up with the Bushwhackers and they would all play the part of the four Doinks. During this time Doink was having a really big fued with Bam Bam Bigelow. So this was to be settled during the Survivor Series. Considering you had eight guys in that match, none of which excelled in the wrestling department; you basically have a recipe for disaster. This is one of those matches that were basically done to keep the fans entertained, and whether you saw the match or not, it delivered in that regard. It's almost as if the WWE writers told these guys to just go out there and basically improvise the whole match. You had precious little wrestling, and plenty of wackiness that would make the wrestlers of yesteryear roll over in their graves. Considering you had four wrestlers dolled up as clowns, can you honestly expect a match of the year performance" The highlight of this match had to be the botched triple head butts off the top rope involving Bam Bam and the Headshrinkers. (Anyone notice one of those Headshrinkers missing his cue and jumping a whole second too late") The match would end mercilessly with all for Doinks surviving and the real Doink would still get the last laugh on poor Bam Bam. This is one of the few successful matches that MOM would experience as a tag-team.

Unfortunately, MOM would begin to start losing matches at a frightening pace. What made matters worse, it seemed that despite MOM being the ones in the ring doing the wrestling, it would be Oscar who would be considered the fan's favourite member of the faction, and with MOM going really no where at this point in time, it seemed fitting for Oscar to be removed from the team. Mabel and Mo made sure of this when they attacked their manager solidifying their new status as a heel tag team in the WWF and they were not to be taken lightly.

With no Oscar in the equation anymore, MOM was left to take care of business by their own accords. It quickly became ideal for MOM to become just Mabel, with Mo becoming his manager of sorts. There was no more rapping, no more dancing down to the ring, and no more whooping it up with the fans. This was a different Mabel then the one the WWF envisioned. As one of the biggest (as in largest) singles competitors in the federation, Mabel would be involved in many squash matches against the WWFs long list of jobbers. The purpose of this was to build Mabel up as a dominating force, in an attempt to put him in same league as the likes of other big men such as Yokozuna, Diesel, and the Undertaker. Mabel's single greatest achievement however would occur on June 25, 1995. It was the night of the King of the Ring tournament, and with some big names involved with the likes of the Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Yokozuna and Kama. One would certainly not expect the winner to be someone who had just not so long ago was part of an unsuccessful tag team.

Personally, I thought Shawn Michaels had this King of the Ring in the bag. However after he went the full fifteen minutes with Kama in the quarter-final round which ended in a draw, it looked as if anyone could win the King of the Ring. Mabel's first match against the Undertaker wouldn't score any points as far as technical wrestling is concerned. Considering the Undertaker was basically a runaway train for most of the match it looked as if Mabel's night would be over faster than you could say squash. Then cue the equalizer in Kama who came in and provided enough of a distraction to give Mabel the surprising victory. If I could pull a Lance Storm and be serious for a moment, did anyone think that the Undertaker was actually going to win the King of the Ring" Okay, maybe a few of those old-school Undertaker fans out there did and rightfully so. Moving on to the 2nd round of the tournament, well consider Kama and Shawn Michaels had a no-decision it gave Mabel a bye straight into the finals where he would meet Savio Vega. At this point, I'd say Savio was the more deserving of the two to win. He had already beaten 3 guys, (Yokozuna included) to get to the finals no less. So going into this match, you could identify which of the two wrestlers was the more winded of the two. The match wouldn't be a long one with Mabel getting the duke the only way he knows how, with help from an outside source thanks to Mo. So Mabel the rapper became King Mabel, and along with sir Mo at his side, Mabel would carry this moniker all the way into 1996. Shortly after that he would be taken off of WWF programming thanks to an injury and would consequently be released from the WWF altogether.

Another phrase that has been used in the WWF religiously is anything can happen in the WWF and when it was time for the 1999 Royal Rumble, the unthinkable would indeed occur. This event had a few notable surprises, one being Vince McMahon not only being in the rumble, but "winning" the whole thing. It also included Chyna being the first female participant in a Royal Rumble match. Heck it even included an appearance by Goldberg, wait that's actually Gillberg. So with Stone Cold Steve Austin garnering most of the spotlight from the get go, it would come as a bit of a surprise when at #11 Mabel would make an unexpected return to the WWF (As a substitute for Headbanger Mosh) He made his return in a big way disposing of Dan Severn, Steve Blackman, Tiger Ali Singh, and The Blue Meanie. It looked as if Mabel might set the new record for most men eliminated from a Royal Rumble. Then that whole incident occurred where The Undertaker and more notably the Acolytes came and took Mabel away. That would be the end of the man known as Mabel and the beginning of the man we are more familiar to by the name of Viscera.

When you think about this particular angle, it really looks like Mabel with a new coat of paint. That coat being one of gothic proportions. Viscera played a considerably small role as a part of the Undertaker's Ministry of Darkness. This faction would feud with the Corporation. (Led by Vince McMahon) and ironically enough would later join up with the Corporation to become the aptly named Corporate Ministry. For someone as large and in charge as Viscera was. One really didn't get to see a lot of the big man on WWF programming. His appearances on television would be few and far between, and it wouldn't be until after the whole WWF attitude era died down that Viscera would be given some air time. If you think this would be a chance for Viscera to be brought back into the spotlight so to speak, it was hardly the case. In fact, aside from being involved in a few hardcore championship matches (including a few matches as the hardcore champion) Viscera was basically being used as a rather large jobber to say the very least. Naturally, when a personality in the WWF isn't exactly cutting it in the business, they would be consequently released. Whether he saw it coming or not, Viscera would find himself on the unemployment line a second time.

For those who thought that this would be the last of Viscera in the wrestling business then you would be disappointed to know that he resurfaced again, albeit briefly in TNA under the persona as Nelson Knight. Don't read too much into his TNA career because it didn't exactly last long enough to be considering historical. Actually, it wouldn't even last a year but his "efforts" did catch the eye of a certain wrestling promotion that was willing to take yet another chance on the big man. By this time, the WWF had gone through a few changes as well. It was now going by World Wrestling Entertainment. (The panda did piledrive the wrestler) Plus, the WWE had adapted two separate brands keeping wrestlers respectively on RAW and SmackDown. In September 2k4, the man of the hour on SmackDown was John Bradshaw Layfield. He was well on his way to becoming one of the longest serving champions in WWE history. This was made especially memorial considering it was his first time holding the top prize in the industry. During this time, JBL was beginning a short lived feud with the Undertaker.

JBL would try like many others have done previously to psyche out the Dead Man, and it would lead to a accumulation of some pretty gruesome matches where JBL would retain the belt. Prior to this, JBL had called out the Undertaker and had a surprise waiting for him. It was something to do with his past. Now with the Undertaker going from the Deadman, to the American Badass, to Big Evil, and finally a mixture of the three personas, it could be anyone's guess what was going to happen. It would soon be revealed that Taker's former minions Gangrel and Viscera wanted to get a little revenge on their former leader. The end result wasn't a surprising one, Gangrel was beaten right off of television, and Big Vis himself found himself being moved from SmackDown to RAW. That takes us now to the present time and the current scenarios that Viscera has played a big role in. Keep in mind that as of the completion of this article, there could be even more events involving Viscera that will naturally not be mentioned here.

At this stage of a wrestler's career, there comes a time when those geniuses we call the creative writing team at WWE headquarters basically make or break certain individuals. Sometimes it works out incredulously such as it did for Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, and Hulk Hogan to name a few. Then there are the times when seeing someone week in and week out basically becomes a career killer and basically results in poor ratings, and eventually the person/persons who shoulder most of the blame aren't the writers, but the individual(s) who are getting the big push to attract more fans and more importantly, more money for those fine people at Titan Sports.

Keep in mind that when you're someone who has already been in and out of the business on more than one occasion, it becomes more of a challenge to get a tiny bit of the spotlight back on you. On RAW, where Triple H is king and the Heavyweight champion whoever he may be at the time garnering most of the attention, one can easily forget about some of the more prominent talent not being used properly. The likes of Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, Randy Orton, Christian, Shelton Benjamin and a host of others are pushed aside for well...divas. Viscera would find himself on RAW for one night only as Christian's "problem solver" facing off against Shelton Benjamin. Viscera would fall victim to defeat, one of a few defeats actually as he also would lose to Chris Benoit and later be squashed by Batista as well. As unimpressive as his record was on RAW at this point, who would have thought the WWE would be able to come up with something so wacky like they did on April 18th of this year. It involved Viscera getting in the business of Kane and Lita and their rocky marriage. In fact, Viscera would do this with the company of one of the WWE's most successful and most visually appealing personalities in Trish Stratus. Trish wanted a piece of Lita, Viscera wanted a piece of Trish, and Kane wanted a piece of Viscera. A business arrangement was made between Viscera and Trish to take down Kane and Lita. This involved a rather funny promo involving the diabolical twosome on a date with Trish wanting nothing to do with Big Vis. Fast forward to Backlash 2k5 and the big match between Kane and Viscera ended with a victory for Kane and the end of the Vis and Trish connection. This wouldn't be the last time Viscera would find himself involved with a diva in the WWE. The next night on RAW, Viscera would take the time to announce that he had a new lady in mind and that lucky lady was ring announcer and chanteuse extraordinaire Lilian Garcia.

Using plenty of sexual and food innuendos, Viscera would continue to pursue Lillian including using almost 30 minutes of television time to coax her to come back to his hotel room #469. He even broke out a rather soulful voice trying to impress Lillian. For reasons that can't be explained aside from it being strictly for storyline purposes, Lillian would soon take a shining for her much larger admirer and the two would become quite a cozy couple leading up to WWE Vengeance where it looked like the two would become Mr. and Mrs. Viscera. Alas, a return by the Godfather made things interesting giving Vis the option of accepting Lillian's proposal, or getting it on with some hoes. Clearly, the choice was obvious and so ended the budding romance between Vis and Lillian. Don't feel too bad for Viscera, he would only be involved with the eight Diva Search finalists the next night on RAW. It's safe to say that even with no championship title to speak of, Viscera is getting plenty of attention on Monday night's prime television program.

So to conclude this article, which has taken you from the humble beginnings of Mabel's career (involving those old school raps), to the not so humble scenarios involving the self proclaimed love machine called Viscera (and his appetite for lovin'). Who's to know what is going to happen what with the summer months coming and Viscera currently getting in at least one segment a week on RAW. He may no longer be the biggest man on RAW with the Big Show coming over thanks to the draft, but Viscera can lay his claim to being coined larger then life more over then being the answer to the following trivia question:

Name the winner of the 1995 King of the Ring

Bet you didn't know the answer to that before reading this article either.

by Avi Krebs..


Marty Clark wrote:
I have got to say that the new gimmick of Viscera has got to be the least entertaining gimmick i have ever seen. if you recall, the same gimmick was used a few years ago with Mark Henry and Chyna, which earned Henry the nickname "Sexual Chocolate". Anyway, they really took it to far with Viscera though. Garcia actuall liking him, Visera dumping Garcia, and Viscera humping his opponents... all of these things are just wrong! What amazes me though is that some fans actually seem to enjoy it. i think it is vile and discusting!
Cowboys28790 wrote:
Viscera has possibly the worst gimmick in the WWE. The only good part, which acctually WAS a good part, when the Godfather came down and stopped the Vis-Lil storyline. As far as I'm concerned, dump Viscera, and bring in a OVW guy. Viscera is going down, and going down extremely fast. Oh well, maybe the WWE can do something good with Viscera and make him good again. But as for now, his gimmick sucks.
_Mary Anne Clancy wrote:
Like so many before him and so many that will come after him, in my opinion Viscera is being mis-used by the WWE. I think the only reason they gave him this character is the first place is because they didn't know what else to do with him. He will never be as good as when he was with Gangrel in my opinion.
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