Papa Shango: Why Charles Wright (Godfather) Disliked This Role in WWE

Unveiling Papa Shango: The Dark Gimmick and WrestleMania VIII Mishap

Photo Credit: Pro Wrestling Stories.

Papa Shango was a gimmick in the WWF that gave many a young fan nightmares, but older fans lukewarm responses back in the day. Here, wrestler Charles Wright opens up about his memorable botched WrestleMania 8 run-in and why he didn’t like his Shango character.

Debuting on WWF Superstars back on February 8, 1992, the dark role played by Charle Wright carried a skull to the ring, which billowed smoke.

He could control arena lights, which allowed for strange goings-on in the ring and even cast spells to cause opponents pain and make them vomit from afar.

Controversy Surrounding Papa Shango’s Character and the WrestleMania VIII Disqualification Plan

Photo Credit: WWE.

Wright’s short stint as the voodoo practitioner received critique from fans and wrestlers alike due to a few miscues and the character’s over-the-top nature.

At WrestleMania VIII, the plan was for Hulk Hogan to hit Sid Justice with the mighty leg drop only to have Papa Shango run out, break up the pin, and cause a disqualification.

Then, as Hogan was being double-teamed, a returning Warrior (who hadn’t been seen since SummerSlam ’91) would run out to make his triumphant return.

In actuality, what happened was Papa Shango arrived late to the ring (by no fault of his own, as explained later).

By the time Hogan hit the big boot and went for the cover, Shango was nowhere to be found. So, after Hulk hit the leg drop and went for the cover, Sid had no choice but to kick out, causing the ending of WM8 to be ruined.

Charles White (The Godfather): Rumors and Ridicule

Photo Credit: WWE.

Through its short stint in the then-World Wrestling Federation, Wright’s Papa Shango role was ridiculed by fans. It was voted Worst Gimmick and the Most Embarrassing Wrestler in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards for 1992.

Findlay Martin of professional wrestling magazine Power Slam, in a 2013 article, wrote, “Shango and his curses were a total embarrassment. Fans exhaled loudly each time he appeared on screen. Shango bombed, and deservedly so.”

On the other hand, Bret Hart liked the character and Wright’s in-ring work but found Shango’s storyline with the Ultimate Warrior – in which a voodoo curse was placed on Warrior – to be perhaps the second-worst creative concept in WWF history (after the introduction of the Gobbledy Gooker).

Hart reported that WWF executive Pat Patterson did not like the gimmick and was responsible for its termination.

Charles Wright’s Candid Reflection on Papa Shango and His Discomfort with the Gimmick

Photo Credit: WWE.

In an interview with the now-defunct (H/T: Wrestling’s Glory Days’ Facebook page), Charles Wright opened up about his Papa Shango character and why he wasn’t a fan of it, either.

“I took Papa Shango extremely seriously.

“The reports and rumors of me hating the gimmick are true – it’s because Shango is so dark, so demanding, and it took so much out of me that it was exhausting. I’m a happy guy, man. I love being happy. I’m The Godfather! I love smiling.”

Going to the Dark Side: Charles Wright’s Commitment to the Authenticity of Papa Shango

Photo Credit: WWE.

“But Papa Shango, man… I had to go to a real dark place to make him so convincing…

I used to read books on voodoo – in fact, I built an entire voodoo library. Everything I said in my promos was real and legit. All the props were from voodoo stores. It was totally authentic.”

Pioneering Wrestling Spectacle: Papa Shango’s Innovations and Secrets Revealed

Photo Credit: WWE.

“The effects guys worked with the staffs and sticks so that they all did something different. I had a bunch of them…some would shoot sparks, others had smoke and lights that came out of them.

“I was the first wrestler to do the ‘lights out’ gimmick. Arena owners and building management didn’t want to do it in case somebody got hurt.

“Now, of course, it happens every week, but back then, it was a huge deal. The funny thing is, as impressive as it looked, the only reason we did it was so that the effects guys could get into the ring and light the guys’ boots on fire without being seen!”

Papa Shango’s Main Event Plans Derailed: The Sid Vicious Factor

Photo Credit: WWE.

“Papa Shango was supposed to last much longer in the main event, but Sid ****** it up. It was supposed to be Sid and Warrior headlining SummerSlam [1992], but Sid didn’t want to do it, and he quit.

He had his own issues… he said Vince had brought him in under the promise of replacing Hogan as the top babyface, and it wasn’t going the way it was supposed to. So Papa Shango was fed to Warrior instead.”

Jealousy and Stiff Competition: Charles Wright’s Take on Warrior’s Success and In-Ring Style

Photo Credit: WWE.

“People were jealous of Warrior because he did his own thing, he was smart, and he was successful. People don’t like that. He was stiff with me in the ring, but he wasn’t as stiff as I was with him, I’ll tell you that much right now.”

The Downfall of Papa Shango: When Mystique Fades

Photo Credit: WWE.

“The problem was, with a character like Papa Shango, once the losses piled up, the character lost a lot of that mystique and invincibility, and it was all downhill fast from there.”

Setting the Record Straight: Papa Shango Defends His WrestleMania 8 Run-In Mishap

Photo Credit: WWE.

“That [WrestleMania 8 run-in with the botched finish] was not my fault! I was told to go too late, and they underestimated the length of the aisle.

“Even Warrior said later that night that he had to haul serious *** to get there on cue. Watch his run. He used to run to the ring every night – but never like that!”

A Nod to the Past: Charles Wright’s Current Connection to His Papa Shango Persona

Photo Credit: WWE.

“Today, I have a pet dog, a pit bull. Do you want to know what his name is? Shango.”

The Super-Finisher: 11 Dangerous Wrestling Finishing Moves!

A great finishing move can define a wrestler. Finishers can become iconic, from Stone Cold Steve Austin's Stunner to The Rock's People's Elbow. But when a finisher doesn't work, in rare circumstances, wrestlers dig deep to brandish a powerful, more dangerous super-finisher to finish the job. Sometimes, the maneuver becomes more iconic than its creator!

A great finishing move can define a wrestler. But when a finisher doesn’t work, in rare circumstances, wrestlers dig deep to brandish a more frightening super-finisher to finish the job. Sometimes, the move becomes more iconic than its creator!

Read:  The Super-Finisher: 11 Dangerous Wrestling Finishing Moves!

Powerbomb! Secret History of a Devastating Wrestling Move

One of the most iconic moves in wrestling is the Powerbomb. Discover the history and secrets behind one of wrestling's most powerful statements of a maneuver, ten notable wrestlers who used it, and how a legendary wrestler's misstep led to the creation of this legendary move!

“It was one of the most unpleasant things I ever had to endure!”

Discover the history and secrets behind the Powerbomb, ten notable wrestlers who used it, and how a legendary wrestler’s misstep led to the creation of one of wrestling’s most powerful maneuvers!

Read: Powerbomb! Secret History of a Devastating Wrestling Move

Chokeslam! Secret History of an Iconic Wrestling Move

Abraham Lincoln preparing to send Jack Armstrong all the way to hell! Chokeslam! | The History of This Iconic Wrestling Move

Chokeslam: A compound of words that’ll send a shiver down any younger sibling’s spine! We look back at the history of the maneuver and try to answer some age-old questions. For example, who invented it? Could it really be the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln?

Read: Chokeslam! Secret History of an Iconic Wrestling Move

Knee Strike: Its History and Devastating Examples in Wrestling

There are few moves as devastating as the knee strike. Learn its fascinating history and the best examples of it in pro wrestling.
Photo Credit: WWE.

“This knee strike has stood the test of time as perhaps the most brilliant use of a knee in wrestling history!”

Discover the riveting story behind one of the most powerful moves in pro wrestling. From its origins to the most jaw-dropping examples of its execution.

Read: Knee Strike: Its History and Devastating Examples in Wrestling

Superkick: The History of Wrestling’s Most Loved/Hated Move

The Superkick Heard 'Round the World! Shawn Michaels superkicks Marty Jannetty before propelling him through Brutus Beefcake's barber shop window on WWF Wrestling Challenge on January 11th, 1992. The Superkick always gets a great reaction, so why's it so polarizing? Here's the surprising history of wrestling's most controversial move!
Photo Credit: WWE.

DAVID MANNING: “I got a call saying, ‘You gotta get over here and get Chris Adams. He got into an argument with the bartender, and Chris had this Superkick. It was real!'”

SHAWN MICHAELS: "I think he’s smiling in his grave that his move has become so big."

The Superkick is a wrestling move that elicits a strong reaction from fans, either positive or negative depending on the wrestler who performs it. So why is the move so polarizing? We dive into the surprising history of wrestling’s most controversial move!

Read: Superkick: The History of Wrestling’s Most Loved/Hated Move

Want More? Choose another story!

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, X/Twitter, Instagram, Threads, YouTube, TikTok, and Flipboard!
Pro Wrestling Stories is committed to accurate, unbiased wrestling content rigorously fact-checked and verified by our team of researchers and editors. Any inaccuracies are quickly corrected, with updates timestamped in the article's byline header.
Got a correction, tip, or story idea for Pro Wrestling Stories? Contact us! Learn about our editorial standards here.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. This helps us provide free content for you to enjoy!

Be sure to follow Pro Wrestling Stories on Twitter @pws_official and Facebook @prowrestlingstories to keep up with the latest!