Kayfabe, Lies and Alibis: Kamala Shoot Interview review!

Kamala runs through his whole career, with much talk of lousy payoffs and defying bookers plans

Presented by Hannibal TV

Kamala opens with his trademark growl. Now I kind of wish he just did the whole interview in native screams and squeals with the interviewer just moving along as if nothing was wrong.

Jim Harris was a fan of the business. He mentions Bobo Brazil and the Sheik in particular.

Harris thought he should get into wrestling since he needed a job and wanted to make lots of money.

“Sugar Bear” Harris came first, but then Harris had a chance to go to England as the “Mississippi Mauler.”  Harris broke his ankle while wrestling overseas, but took the cast off early to take the “Kamala” gimmick that Jerry Lawler offered him.

Harris had been a truck driver and he regrets not staying in that line of work because he feels the wrestling promoters shorted him out of a bunch of money over his career.

Lawler was great to work with as he was a pro’s pro. Kamala was also able to work with J.J. Dillon at this time, which was tremendous.

Taking bumps bare footed began to cause Kamala ankle issues, so he took to wearing sandals. His boss at the time, Vince McMahon, told him to lose them as they didn’t fit the gimmick.

They move on to talking about Steve Lombardi’s relationship with Pat Patterson. Kamala believes they were lovers. Kamala recalls once checking into a hotel next to them and hearing Pat order a room with a king size bed for the two men to share.

Jumping around the timeline again, Kamala explains that the JYD got him a gig in Mid-South.  Kamala was being paid around 3500 a week there.

Andre the Giant and Kamala got into a fight during a match in Mid-South. Andre stiffed him first, and Kamala returned fire. Things were hot enough that Kamala brought a gun and flashed it at Andre the next night.

Andre was racist and didn’t like anyone who threatened his gimmick by being a big man.

World Class paid Kamala well. The Von Erichs were good kids, but were definitely addled by drugs.

Kamala worked for Mid-Atlantic briefly, but the payoffs stunk.

The WWF came calling, but the promises of big paydays never came to be.

Kamala had to become the “Ugandan Headhunter” in the WWF because of Andre not wanting him to be a “Giant”.

Hulk Hogan was great to work with. He’d ask Kamala what he wanted to do in the matches, and thanked him after their bouts every night.

Kamala worked a few shots for the AWA. Crusher Blackwell was a fine big man to clash with.

Bruiser Brody worked with Kamala a bunch of times. They were scheduled to wrestle for World Class the week after Brody was murdered. Kamala was offered a decent pay day to work with Brody’s murderer in Puerto Rico a while later, and he had to take it due to his fiscal needs.

JCP booked Kamala briefly. They asked Kamala to put over Magnum T.A. Kamala refused to go along with a pinfall loss. JCP ended up editing the tape to make it look like Magnum beat him clean.

Dusty Rhodes was sort of racist. Dick Murdoch was pretty openly racist. Murdoch was great to hang out with, so Dickie’s racist behavior didn’t bother Harris much.

Abdullah the Butcher tried to become All-Japan’s booking agent for black wrestlers. Giant Baba eventually fired Abby and replaced him on the roster with Kamala.

Kamala told Baba that he did not want to do many jobs. This issue came to a head eventually and Kamala was told he was going to take a pay cut and/or be fired if he didn’t agree to lay down when asked to. Kamala ended up losing his gig.

Koko B. Ware and Kamala were both working for Bill Watts when the WWF came calling. They were best friends, but neither told the other about going to meet with Vince McMahon. The men ended up meeting at an airport and laughing at how they both hid their meetings from one another.

The Ultimate Warrior was great to work with because his matches were always short.

Warrior really liked Kamala for whatever reason, so he’d book limos to drive Harris around with and also paid for expensive first class hotel rooms for him.

At Summerslam ’92 at Wembley Stadium, Kamala was paid 13-grand to work the Undertaker. Taker was paid $500,000.

Kamala did not want to turn babyface, but the WWF would have fired him had he not gone ahead with it.

While working for the WWF, Kamala’s sister was killed by her husband. His niece was also killed in the attack. The WWF gave Kamala time off, then once he got back on the road, he was called to the office and fired.

Kevin Sullivan called Kamala to work for WCW in 1995. He was given 500 dollars a shot and was not offered a contract. He went to Hogan for help and got a 300 per match raise, but they cut his booking dates down. Kamala was released not too long afterwards.

WCW asked Kamala to job to Randy Savage. He refused because he didn’t have a contract and he was not happy with the overall run he had been having.

The WWF brought Kamala in to face Umanga in 2006. He was only paid $300 or $400 for the Raw shot.

Ring of Honor brought Kamala in to face Bryan Danielson. Danielson worked like an old school wrestler.

Afa and Sika brought Kamala to Samoa, where the men spent two weeks having a blast together.

While driving truck after his wrestling career, Harris began to have pain in his feet. Then his toes formed blisters. His circulation issues caused him to have his toes amputated. The issues persisted and he lost his foot. The other foot then went through the same problems and he lost that foot too.

Harris can’t afford healthcare, which is a problem when you run into as many health issues as he has.

Final thoughts: Hannibal was all over the place with his timeline of questions, so if you weren’t aware of the general gist of Kamala’s career, then this would have been extremely confusing to listen to.

 

Written by Andrew Lutzke

The grumpy old man of culturecrossfire.com, lover of wrasslin' and true crimes.

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