Following his 1995 King of the Ring tournament victory, a crew of wrestlers had the unenviable task of carrying the newly crowned almost 500-pound, 6’9″ King Mabel on his throne. Later, he would commission a custom King of the Ring championship belt, but not without his fair share of controversy and scrutiny…
King of the Ring: A Once Major Pay-Per-View
There once was a time when the King of the Ring was considered one of the big five annual pay-per-views for WWE.
Alongside WrestleMania, the Royal Rumble, SummerSlam, and Survivor Series, many historic angles occurred on these shows.
For instance, The Ringmaster became Austin 3:16 after Steve Austin won the King of the Ring tournament in 1996.
And how could we forget the classic Undertaker versus Mick Foley Hell in a Cell match at the King of the Ring pay-per-view in 1998?
One lesser-talked-about moment (for good reason, some would say) occurred on June 25th, 1995, when the then WWF held their third annual King of the Ring pay-per-view with the tagline: “Guts & Glory!”
It was a fully stacked tournament that year including competitors such as Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, Lex Luger, Razor Ramon, Yokozuna, and Doink the Clown.
However, if you stumbled upon this PPV today without prior knowledge, you might be perplexed to find the surprise winner judging from the participants: Mabel!
Let’s revisit the Philadelphia event.
From Mabel to King Mabel
After Mabel of the tag team Men on a Mission – later known as Viscera and Big Daddy V – squashed Adam Bomb in under two minutes, he went on to the second round to face The Undertaker.
With outside interference from Kama, Mabel shockingly pinned the Dead Man in the middle of the ring.
Yes, that happened.
Vince McMahon thought that if Mabel pinned The Undertaker, it would get the crowd behind him.
Instead, it backfired, and the fans reacted unfavorably.
Shawn Michaels or Kama awaited Mabel in round three. However, their match resulted in a no-contest due to reaching the time limit.
Mabel was given a bye into the tournament’s final round, where he went up against Savio Vega, where he would apply a bear hug for the majority of the plodding match.
The crowd began to get restless.
To make matters worse, this was Philly, ECW territory, where fans weren’t scared about expressing their displeasure!
Vince McMahon stated at the commentator booth during the match, “Listen to this!
As he turned up the speakers, much to his surprise, he was shocked to realize fans were chanting “ECW!”
Mabel was eventually crowned King, and the audience booed throughout his coronation, leaving the wrestler utterly confused as he left the ring and made his way to the exit.
Watch Mabel vs. Savio Vega in the final round of the King of the Ring tournament in 1995:
King Mabel Injures WWF Champion Diesel
At the time, WWE was struggling with attendance and business overall. According to Jim Ross, Vince McMahon’s biggest goal was pushing a new big man to become a draw.
Enter: King Mabel.
Like any good King, Mabel began his conquest for gold as he feuded with the WWF Champion at the time, Diesel (Kevin Nash).
The two would face off at 1995’s SummerSlam pay-per-view, but King Mabel’s quest ended fast as Deisel retained the title. But not without problems.
During the match, Nash was injured after a move went wrong as Mabel crushed his back with a sitdown splash.
Kevin Nash later discussed this incident on his Kliq THIS podcast:
“I told [Mabel] not to do it [before the match], and he did it like a dumb f***!
“I was supposed to go off the top rope, but I couldn’t feel my legs after he did it."
Nash ended up with a strained abdomen and a lower back injury and would cuss out Mabel in front of everyone once he made his way backstage.
“I was like, ‘Dude, what the f***?'” Nash revealed.
Vince McMahon was furious that his champion was hurt and was going to fire Mabel on the spot. However, Nash stepped in to stop him.
"Vince was going to fire him in Pittsburgh at the bottom of the [Pittsburgh Civic Arena], and I said, ’No, man, don’t f***ing fire him."
Nash continued, "The next day [at TV tapings], I was eating Somas (a muscle relaxer that blocks pain sensations between the nerves and the brain) because I was in so much pain.
There was a training table, and I laid on it on my back, and once I laid on it after getting out of the car – and back then, there weren’t any trainers – Vince gave me the night off."
Mabel was given another chance. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be long before another injury occurred at King Mabel’s hands.
Crushing Undertaker’s Orbital Bone
Coming off his noteworthy botch where he injured Kevin Nash and a few others, including one of The Headshrinkers at a house show, another injury would further damage Mabel’s reputation in 1995 when he badly injured Undertaker’s eye socket.
"We were in the middle of the match and he ended up lunging, coming full speed,” Undertaker revealed in an episode of WWE Most Wanted Treasures.
“It basically was me running into his fist."
Undertaker explained that the impact blew out about 90 percent of his orbital floor.
X-rays revealed his optic nerve pressed against a piece of jagged bone near his eye socket.
“[The doctor] said if you had been hit again, it probably would have severed that, and you’d have lost your eye," Undertaker disclosed.
To protect his eye, WWE designers developed a few mask concepts. They settled on one resembling a Phantom of the Opera mask, which included padding to protect The Undertaker’s eye in case of an accidental blow to that area.
Godwinn and his former tag partner Mideon were part of The Undertaker’s legendary behind-the-scenes group of friends known as the Bone Street Krew (BSK), and Undertaker was none too pleased.
In an interview with Monte and The Pharaoh, Mideon recalled how the WWE Hall of Famer grew tired of Mabel’s numerous botched moves:
I go to the Royal Rumble, and the very first thing I see is [Mabel] dropped on [Henry O. Godwinn] and hurting him.
I walk in the locker room, and Undertaker was just ripping him apart because he broke ‘Taker’s orbital socket, he hurt Kevin Nash’s back. Now, he just hurt [Godwinn].
The Undertaker’s backstage threat legitimately frightened the giant superstar.
“Scared, scared s***less.” Godwinn said of Mabel after the confrontation.
Mabel’s former Men on a Mission tag team partner Mo recalled Undertaker’s frustrations about Mabel’s safety as an in-ring performer.
"There was the face-off, a lot of yelling and screaming between ‘Taker and Mabel. But, as far as a physical fight, I never witnessed one.
“‘Taker was the locker room leader, and he felt it was his responsibility to correct the young dudes. So as far as their conversation and what it was about, I respect the process.
“[Undertaker] wasn’t one of those guys that just bullied anybody. Him and Nelson [Nelson Frazier, Jr., Mabel’s real name] pretty much had a really good relationship in spite of things," Mo acknowledged.
It was the last straw, and Mabel was eventually released from the company the following week.
Was the King of the Ring Championship a Legitimate Belt?
After this departure from the company, a “King of the Ring Title” began circulating online of Mabel with the championship next to premier belt maker Dave Millican.
Fans began speculating about the belt’s origin and whether or not the WWF officially made it.
Rather than the official company’s logo, the lettering was in print.
In addition, some of the country’s flags on the straps looked “off” as well.
Mabel addressed this “urban legend” in an interview with WWE Magazine in 2008.
“It never made it on TV, and it’s more of a trophy that was made for me,” Nelson Frazier (King Mabel) admitted.
“I had the title [later] refurbished by Reggie Parks. He makes titles and is a good friend of mine.
“He took a whole bunch of pictures of it and put them on the internet, and it sounds like an urban legend, but it’s true.”
Although reports at the time claimed that the belt was legitimate, it was only a belt Frazier made for himself, which would explain why it was never used on TV.
Ten years later, further information about the King of the Ring championship belt emerged as Dan Van Alst of Leather By Dan had an interview with Fightful in November 2018.
He stated that it was a marketing tool following Mabel’s first exit from the company in 1996.
“That was a belt Mabel had made on his own after leaving the company,” Dan disclosed.
“[Mabel] reached out to Reggie Parks. Dave Millican had that belt made. If you look at it, it has ‘WWF,’ but it’s in a font, not the copyrighted WWF block logo.
“That’s a title that Mabel would use on the independents. He’d defend it, and mostly it was used at a gimmick table.
“The belt, based on its size, is unique. It was a great marketing ploy by Mabel. He sold it [to a private collector] before he passed away.”
Death of Nelson Frazier, Jr. (AKA King Mabel, Viscera, and Big Daddy V)
Nelson Frazier, Jr. would return to WWE on two occasions.
As Viscera, a role he would portray from 1998-2000 and again from 2004-2007, he would become a member of Undertaker’s faction, The Ministry of Darkness, proving that the issues he and the Deadman once had were now behind them.
He would also be repackaged as Big Daddy V from 2007-2008.
Sadly, on February 18, 2014, Nelson Frazier, Jr. died of a heart attack. It was only four days after his 43rd birthday.
And today, the crowning of a new King of the Ring is reduced to a mere TV angle.
If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out author Conor McCorkindale sharing his thoughts on King Mabel’s WWF King of the Ring Championship belt on his YouTube channel below:
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