I had a Throwback Thursday column all set to write… Research had been done, pictures filed, I was really ready to go…
But it just. . . keeps. . . snowing. . .
If you’re a New England wrestling fan (and there seems to be a lot of us), you know how its been these last few weeks. For whatever reason, Boreas (Greek god of the north wind and of winter) has deemed that Mondays in late January and early February are where New Englanders get another foot or so of snow… Happened 2 weeks ago, happened this week and if you believe the forecast, it’s going to happen again in a few days.
So I’m sitting here in my home office, looking out the window, and the piles of plowed snow are over my head. I can barely make out the top of my SUV, which coincidentally, has snow on it, because we’re just having a slight 1-2 inches on a Thursday, just for Funsies.
And I’m thinking. . . “All this weather makes my blood run c. . . . Damn it, now I got to write about Glacier.”
In the mid 90’s, literally weeks before the seeds of the nWo were planted and the Monday Night Wars truly began, both WWF and WCW still had some over-the-top gimmicks, the hog farmers, the stereotypical Japanese wrestler (complete with calligraphic tattoos and kasa) and, of course, “The Booty Man”.
Note: Each of these gimmicks, I’m sure, will someday warrant their own Throwback Thursday.
WCW decided to borrow from the popular world of video games, specifically the uber-violent (yet still all sorts of “toasty” fun) Mortal Kombat, introducing their own version of the Sub-Zero character, known as Glacier. Claiming to have studied a hybrid of martial arts and professional wrestling, Glacier came to the ring wearing armor and a helmet supposedly handed down to him from his master. As he walked to the ring (at least, for his first couple matches), blue lasers danced around and there was snow. . .Yes, SNOW. . .falling.
You know, my description isn’t going to do it justice.
Glacier was portrayed by Ray Lloyd, journeyman wrestler with a legitimate martial arts background. He had been part of NWA and WCW house shows in the past but had (to my knowledge) never appeared on television. He had been signed after a conversation with 2015 Royal Rumble entrant and my personal yoga master Diamond Dallas Page, who convinced Bischoff to sign him.
Glacier was originally set to debut in the summer of 1996, but the legdrop heard round the world from Hulk Hogan put a hold on his emergence, since WCW had actual storylines and programs to run. After a few short weeks, though, even the WCW mucky-mucks had to admit that this whole schtick was TOO over the top, and he was taken off of television, returning in the winter (naturally) with much less fanfare and much less of an extravagant display.
There really isn’t a whole lot of note to talk about with Glacier, save for his most major storyline. Glacier’s biggest feud was with the camp of James Vandenberg, evil manager and a guy I wish was still floating around WWE. Always liked him. Vandenberg’s initial charge was Mortis, a masked (and supposedly Asian) pitfighter who had a history with Glacier, a history, I should mention, that we never discover.
Mortis was actually Chris Kanyon, one of (in this writer’s mind) the more underrated talents of the last 10-20 years. Who better than Mortis? Well, Glacier was, really, until the debut of Wrath. Bryan Clark, the former Adam Bomb and future. . .Well, Bryan Clark (one half of Kronik), was yet another masked assailant, though I do believe he took the mask off while wrestling.
Here’s a picture, and no, we’re not in a really bad 80’s movie. This is 1996, I remind you.
Anyway, the storyline went basically nowhere (though it did lead to the debut of Ernest “The Cat” Miller, yet another candidate for Throwback Thursday. . .so many gimmicks, so little time), and was over within a year or so. That was pretty much it for Glacier’s future in WCW as well, as he wallowed in lower to mid-card obscurity the remainder of the time he wore the frozen gear.
Lloyd had a brief run as “Coach” Buzz Stern in WCW, which went over even worse than the Glacier gimmick. After a very brief return as Glacier in 2001 (and let’s face it, NOBODY was watching WCW in 2001), Lloyd returned to the independents.
Here’s the major problem, folks. I remember watching Glacier in 1996, and for a just-turned-teenager at the time, I really dug the look. I played Mortal Kombat 2 on my Sega Game Gear (NAIstalgic folks just shed a tear reading that sentence), so having a wrestler look like Sub Zero was super cool! The schtick worked for me, and considering I still am a fan of the gimmick (obviously, why would I be writing about it?), perhaps it was not as bad as people thought at the time.
What do YOU think? Do you remember watching Glacier? What were your thoughts? Shouldn’t somebody in WWE be using “The Ice Pick” (essentially an Asian Spike) as a finisher? (The answer to that question is YES, and his name is Bray Wyatt. . . He’s got the thumb covered in leather already, he’s halfway there.)