Details You Didn’t Know About Charles Wright

You might know him by one of his many gimmicks: Papa Shango, The Godfather, Kama, Kama Mustafa, The Goodfather … the list goes on and on. According to his Fandom bio, Charles Wright was tending bar when he got noticed by some wrestlers who told him he had the look and should give it a shot. He started in the United States Wrestling Association, where he debuted as The Soultaker, a name apparently inspired by one of the many tattoos on his arm. After winning the USWA Unified World Heavyweight Championship in 1989, he wrestled for a stint in Japan and some other independent promotions in the United States before his friend The Undertaker suggested he be brought into the WWF (now the WWE).

His first character, Sir Charles, didn’t play too well, so in January 1992, he repackaged himself as Papa Shango, a voodoo practicing witch doctor who wore human bones as a necklaces and cast spells on his opponents with smoking skulls. Papa Shango’s official WWE bio (one of Wright’s two) said that the moment he used black magic on his rival the Ultimate Warrior “earned the magic man his place amongst the scariest Superstars of all time.” Despite the theatrics of forcing the Ultimate Warrior to double over in pain or vomit or bleed inexplicably, the rivalry ultimately went nowhere. Shango also had a title bout with Bret Hart in 1992, but the Hitman came out victorious.

Charles Wright reinvents himself as The Godfather

After a short return to the USWA, Wright hit the WWF again as Kama “The Supreme Fighting Machine.” Even though his angle against The Undertaker had him steal the Deadman’s signature urn and melt it down into a necklace, the character didn’t take off, and he left the promotion again in 1996.

Wright really hit his stride the next year when his character Kama Mustafa joined up with the Nation of Domination. This stable ended up becoming a group of Black wrestlers that rivaled the all-white Disciples of Apocalypse and the Latino group Los Boricuas in a weird and probably racist “gang warfare” angle that fortunately petered out by 1998. But by the end of the Nation of Domination’s run, Wright was known as the group’s “Godfather,” so he switched gears once again and took on a new, more stylish angle. According to Wright’s other official WWE bio, for The Godfather, this ladies’ man character became “a fun-loving staple of the Attitude Era” who was known “both for his attractive supporting cast and for his enigmatic charisma and charm.”

The Godfather won an International Championship and a WWE Tag Team Championship, but his run to the WWE Hall of Fame would be marked by controversy. As it turns out, wrestling fan parents are fine with voodoo and gang war gimmicks, but once you start flashing working girls on prime time TV, that’s when the Parents Television Council gets involved.

Charles Wright's controversy as The Godfather

This pimp character got over (wrestling term for winning the fans over) by outrageously offering his “hoes” (his term, not ours) to his opponents for whatever purpose they pleased (again, his words) if they forfeited the match to him. He debuted the ladies in a tag team match against the legendary Road Warrior duo. But he did not win over the good God-fearing people of the nation, and his angle began to suffer. So the WWF decided to create the Right to Censor stable as a joke, and The Godfather faced its leader, Bull Buchanan. He promised to give up pimping if he lost, which he did, and joined the stable a changed man. He donned a shirt and tie to become The Goodfather, then teamed up with Buchanan to win the World Tag Team Championship just once before the stable disbanded.

Wright came back as The Godfather just before his retirement in 2002, but this time he’d “gone legit” and was running a legal escort agency. But the angle never caught on like his original flashy bad boy image did. The WWE released him from his contract later that year, and he moved to Nebraska to become a Baptist pastor. Just kidding! Of course he didn’t. Wright moved back to his hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada, where he now runs a strip club called Cheetah’s.

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