On the February 8th, 1992 edition of WWF Superstars, Papa Shango made his debut. Shango was presented as being a voodoo practitioner who carried a smoking skull to the ring. It didn’t take long for Shango to become a heavily featured character on WWF television. His vignettes prior to his debut were effectively creative and mysterious to get the character over.
Leading into WrestleMania VIII, Shango was victorious every outing any time he was on television. His finishing move was a reverse shoulder breaker, which looked like it was a devastating move.
At WrestleMania VIII, Shango wasn’t on the show to compete in a match. Instead, he appeared at the end of the show during the main event when he got involved in the match between Sid Vicious and Hulk Hogan. His involvement helped lead to a disqualification finish, and the return of the Ultimate Warrior. Shango would begin his first program with Warrior after the show.
Prior to the program with Warrior starting, Shango worked with Jim Duggan on the house show circuit and was able to get several pin fall victories over Duggan, which were a rarity. Shango was also victorious over Virgil, but would lose a match to the Undertaker.
I’ve gotten into the feud in-depth HERE. The general basis of the feud was that Shango put a curse on Warrior and thus owned his soul. This would lead to various interactions between the two where Warrior would have black ooze coming from his forehead and cause Warrior to also vomit on two different occasions.
So, while Shango had the upper hand in the mind games department, Warrior had very little difficulty with Shango when it came to competing in the squared circle. After WrestleMania VIII, Shango wrestled Warrior every house show or TV taping and lost each singles match by pin fall. He didn’t even get a courtesy loss by disqualification or count-out. He was pinned every single time.
However, when the feud with Warrior concluded, which lasted nearly all of 1992, Shango found himself in a feud with WWF Intercontinental Champion Bret Hart. On the August 22nd, 1992 edition of WWF Superstars, Shango attacked an enhancement talent, Scott Taylor, with his voodoo stick until the Hitman made the save. Shango would later be seen during Hart’s match on Superstars and apparently put a curse on him.
Despite having not won a marquee match since his debut in the WWF, Shango competed on the 1992 SummerSlam pay per view. At the event, Shango was able to earn the biggest victory of his career when he pinned Tito Santana. On the same show, Bret Hart lost the WWF Intercontinental Championship to the British Bulldog.
On the September 19th edition of Superstars, Shango claimed that he was the reason that Bret Hart lost the championship due to a curse he placed on him. Shango also had a match with WWF Intercontinental Champion British Bulldog, which he lost by disqualification because shooting a fireball into someones face isn’t legal. On the October 4th edition of Wrestling Challenge, Bret Hart proclaimed that he wasn’t afraid of any curse that Shango may have put on him.
For most of September, Shango lost regularly to Bret Hart and the Undertaker. Shango also lost several matches to Randy Savage during a tour of Germany and England in the fall of 1992. Shango lost more matches in October to the likes of Road Warrior Animal, Tito Santana and British Bulldog.
At SNME #31, WWF World Champion Bret Hart forced Papa Shango to submit to the Sharpshooter to retain the title. For the rest of 1992, Shango continued to lose to various wrestlers including Bob Backlund, Tatanka, Crush and the Undertaker.
Entering 1993, Shango continued to lose to the Undertaker on various house shows. He also lost a few matches to Randy Savage in January 1993. Shango competed in the Royal Rumble match, but was the first person eliminated after entering the match third.
Shango earned a rare victory on February 9th in Germany against Big Bossman. On the March 6th edition of WWF Mania, Shango sent spray sparks into Typhoon’s face, but was cleared from the ring moments later.
For most of February and March in 1993, Shango would lose several times to the likes of Bob Backlund and Crush. For most of March, Shango lost to Mr. Perfect on a regular basis. Shango lost to Tito Santana in a dark match at WrestleMania IX. Following Mania, Shango tried to qualify for the King of the Ring, but lost to Jim Duggan.
Shango earned another rare victory when he pinned Typhoon at a house show in Rochester, NY on May 1st, 1993. In fact, he won again on May 2nd. The following day in Memphis, Shango won the USWA World Championship from Jerry Lawler in front of 800 fans. Shango used a fireball to win the championship.
In the USWA, Shango would feud with Jerry Lawler for a little while over the USWA World Championship. In the WWF, Shango got some momentum with several TV victories over lesser known names and on the house shows he won several matches against Jim Powers. Shango had his last MSG match on June 12th, 1993 where he lost to Tito Santana. The next day, Shango defeated Owen Hart in a dark match at King of the Ring.
On June 21st, 1993, Shango lost the USWA World Championship to Owen Hart in front of 2,000 fans in Memphis, Tennessee.
Back in the WWF, Shango kept winning matches against the likes of Kamala, Tonga Kid and Louie Spicolli. In July 1993, Shango got a few victories on Tito Santana. However, Shango would also lose several matches to Jim Powers and Owen Hart. However, Shango did get several wins over Owen Hart during a tour of Germany in early August 1993.
Shango’s final appearance in the WWF took place on October 13th, 1993 in Stuttgart, Germany in a losing effort against Bob Backlund.
Going back and looking at Papa Shango’s career had me realizing that for a character that didn’t have many big wins, he got a fairly lengthy run in the WWF. The infamous feud with Ultimate Warrior is the biggest thing he ever did and to a lesser degree his matches with Bret Hart in late ’92.
Shango is a personal favorite of mine just because I enjoyed the character and have always enjoyed darker, creepier characters. I was also surprised to see that he stuck around so late into 1993.
What are your memories on Papa Shango?
Thanks for reading.
31-year old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Longtime fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Vikings. Avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on the old school wrestling.