For most people, the only wrestling stormtrooper is and always will be The Shockmaster…
…who famously tripped through a wall during his debut and dropped his glittery Star Wars helmet.
But the Stormtrooper I’m talking about today had a gimmick that harkens back not to the famous Star Wars, but an earlier war called World War II.
This Stormtrooper was significantly less fun than the Shockmaster.
The Stormtrooper debuted in 1988, rappelling into a steel cage to beat up Bob Armstrong. The masked man who goose-stepped to the ring waving a Nazi flag and wearing swastikas all over his body promptly joined the heel stable managed by Ron Wright.
The following week, Gordon Solie had stern words for the Stormtrooper’s manager – not because his new wrestler was an authoritarian racist fanatic, but because he cheated. This was a trend throughout the Stormtrooper’s career – commentators would just gloss over his whole gimmick and instead play up how he broke the rules and used cheap tactics in the ring.
I mean, I can’t be the only one picking up kind of a Nazi vibe from this guy, can I?
Far be it from me to praise GLOW’s Gestapo match, but at least Dave McLane really drove home the simple but effective message that Nazis are bad.
Maybe none of the announcers could figure out that the Stormtrooper was a Nazi, given how crappy his swastikas looked.
Seriously, look at these things. No Nazi would be proud of this ring attire, and the stuff they are proud of (to paraphrase Moe Szyslak) is disgusting.
The swastikas he sported looked like he drew them on his shirt himself, while wearing the shirt…
…and that includes the one on his back.
Then there’s this half-hearted one that looks designed for not-so-plausible deniability by Smoky Mountain Wrestling. (“It’s not a swastika, it’s a gammadion!”)
And this thing that looks like a backwards swastika is just an ancient symbol for good luck, I’m sure.
As for his Nazi salute, half the time Ol’ Trooper here was too ashamed to do the real thing, instead opting for a William Regal wave.
Promoters seemed a little hesitant to see a wrestling Nazi get his hand raised, so the Stormtrooper usually ended up jobbing in short order.
Take his debut match in Smoky Mountain Wrestling against Brian Lee, who took out the Nazi-symbol-wearing creep in a matter of minutes.
After the show, I bet he celebrated with his buddies, the Harris Brothers.
Later on in the same promotion, the Stormtrooper showed up on TV again. Fans booed as the masked man posed with symbols of his racist, oppressive ideology. That is, until Scott Armstrong rushed to the ring decked out in Confederate flags came to save the day.
They were in Tennessee.
Perhaps the Stormtrooper’s biggest test was against Super Mario. No, Trooper didn’t get put into a video game, not even Wolfenstein. Instead, Mario stepped into the wrestling ring.
You may be surprised to learn that no fewer than three wrestlers have donned the Super Mario get-up, and that doesn’t even include Phineas Godwinn.
There’s of course Captain Lou Albano, the only official Mario of the bunch…
…West Virginia’s spherical Super Mario…
…and the copyright-skirting Super Duper Mario of ICW.
Super Duper Mario deserves some credit – after all, he was so popular with the youngsters that they’d rush the ring when he won a match.
Dude was years ahead of Public Enemy.
SDM was once voted Wrestler of the Month and chatted with host of the Teen Report, Dawna (Yes, it’s spelled like that. I checked).
He even carried a hammer, much like Jumpman himself in Donkey Kong.
But it was the West Virginia version of Super Mario who’d be the one to take on the Stormtrooper. This extra-portly version of Mario wore tie-dye instead of red, suggesting that any mushrooms he ate were of the hallucinogenic variety (and also deep-fried).
Perhaps Super Mario’s highest profile match was against Gorgeous George III…
…jobbing to the future Maestro in just over a minute. I hope the Gorgeous One appreciated the favor, as it’s not easy for a worker as proud as Super Mario to lie down for someone…
…or get back up, for that matter.
So how did Mario fare against the Stormtrooper? Unfortunately for our favorite plumber, he’d have a hard time picking up a victory, as the match went nearly eight minutes – way longer than Super Mario’s typical match (which he would also lose).
Every other time Mario went beyond 400 seconds, he would actually drop dead.
The unofficial gag order on mentioning the Stormtrooper’s Nazi predilections seems to have been lifted by 1994, as the announcers pointed out that the Trooper claimed to be a neo-Nazi but – and here’s the incredible part – they couldn’t be sure because of that swastika mask obscuring his face. It was a mystery for the ages!
Another great mystery was how Super Mario managed to hit a dropkick on the Stormtrooper, putting the Nazi no-goodnik away for the 1-2-3.
That called for a celebration, even if Super Mario never did find the hard camera.
What are the odds we’d see a match like this in a ring on national television today? Unlikely. First of all, it wasn’t even on national television then. And while we can never say never about another wrestling Mario, what with The Elite’s hobby of video game cosplaying…
…we can pretty much rule out a Stormtrooper-like gimmick popping up in a major promotion.
Then again, as much as I’d like to say that these kind of blatant references to Nazis wouldn’t fly today…
…both WWE and AEW regularly feature advertisements for a product called “Nugenix”, so who knows?