The Yeti may go down as one of wrestling’s worst-ever gimmicks. Billed at 7 feet 2 inches tall and covered head-to-toe in what looked like toilet paper and dirty gauze, he was quite clearly a mummy yet he went by the name of “The Yeti.” Why was this? Plus- who was originally pegged to play this role and what was up with that strange ‘humping’ maneuver on Hogan? Today, we dive in to answer all of these pressing questions!
In 1994, Hulk Hogan jumped ship and joined Ted Turner’s World Championship Wrestling. About a year later, a stable of monster-themed wrestlers was introduced. Led by “Taskmaster” Kevin Sullivan, the Dungeon of Doom’s entire purpose was to destroy Hulkamania.
In actuality, the Dungeon of Doom was filled with wrestlers Hogan was friends with from WWF and they were safe guys to wrestle and none of them posed any threat to him. The stable included a cannibal and a human shark, after all!
After teasing vignettes on Monday Nitro, The Yeti made his first in-ring debut at WCW’s spooky-themed pay-per-view, Halloween Havoc on October 29th, 1995.
In the main event, Hogan defended his WCW championship against The Giant (AKA Big Show), the Dungeon of Doom’s shining star.
The match ended in a tremendous trainwreck with a bunch of faces turning heel and beating up on Hulk Hogan, which in itself should have been an effective way to end the pay-per-view, but WCW had one last surprise in store for the fans:
Bumbling clumsily down the aisle and into the ring (and into our lives), The Yeti wrapped his arms around Hulk Hogan, who was hanging limply from the grips of a bearhug courtesy of The Giant. It wasn’t immediately clear whose side The Yeti was on as he awkwardly gyrated his hips and body behind Hogan with his arms wrapped around both Hogan and The Giant. The Yeti was supposed to come out to aid The Giant in a “double bearhug” on Hulk Hogan, though what transpired in the ring looked more like he was trying to have his way with the Hulkster! It wasn’t good…
The Yeti would be off television “in hiding” for the next month of tapings and would make his next appearance looking slightly different at WCW’s World War 3 PPV event.
The dirty gauze and toilet paper were gone and in their place was a black and yellow ninja outfit! Interestingly, his name was spelled “Yetti” during this match. To explain the sudden change in appearance, the announcers speculated that he must have thawed out! The fans didn’t buy it.
Despite being advertised to make his reappearance at the World War 3 PPV, it was a fairly forgettable affair. He was tossed out of the battle royal within moments and The Yeti (or Yetti) was never seen again. He would technically compete again later that month under the new guise of “Super Giant Ninja”, but he was the same as The Yetti in everything but name. As a final blow, he would lose to the One Man Gang, who acted as though he had no idea that he was wrestling a fellow member of the Dungeon of Doom!
In an interview with In Your Head Online, Ron Reis opened about why his character was called The Yeti (when it was clearly a mummy), who was supposed to originally play the role, and his peculiar ‘offensive move’ against Hogan:
“I don’t think there was too much thought into it (laughs).
The Yeti was actually supposed to be Giant Gonzalez. They brought him down because there was a taping [but] he left with physical problems. They called me up and were like, ‘Fly down…you’re The Yeti now…’
At the time I had no creative say, I was just happy to be there! But it was really like, ‘What is going on?’
No one had any idea what was going on – there was nobody to say [what to do]. They just said, ‘Get in there and beat the crap out of Hogan.’
I was like, ‘Alright…’
I got in there and [The Giant] was bear-hugging him from the front, so I bear-hugged him from the back.
[People] say I was trying to hump him. I wasn’t trying to hump him…but it looked [like it] on TV.
I think that’s one of the top ten [worst] moments in wrestling history…so at least I made SOME highlight film, y’know? (laughs).”
Watch The Yeti (“Yett-ayy!”) make his in-ring debut in all its horrifying glory at 1995’s WCW Halloween Havoc:
So concludes another chapter in the book of WTF, WCW?
Recommended: The End of WCW and the Final Monday Nitro