A particularly sinister wrestling manager is backstage at Impact’s “Slammiversary” Pay-Per-View.
According to a new report from “PWInsider”, Father James Mitchell is in Nashville for tonight’s Slammiversary PPV and the subsequent TV taping.
Mitchell, age 57, first debuted in professional wrestling in the Carolinas in 1989 and worked his way up to the televised Smoky Mountain Wrestling. There, he was known as Daryl Van Horne and managed the outlandish character, Prince Kharis, billed as a 4,000-year-old mummy. The gimmick was dropped after only a few months and led to Mitchell aligning himself with Kendo the Samurai, a masked gimmick played by Tim Horner, Scott Antol, & Brian Logan, and others, but Mitchell left the promotion shortly after the new direction.
He would then go on to World Championship Wrestling as James Vandenberg, the manager of Mortis (Chris Kanyon), another masked wrestler that was one of the “rare oddities” Vanderberg had in store for the WCW audience. They had a longstanding feud against Glacier in the angle titled “Blood Runs Cold”, which saw each side add a new ally to their ranks. For Vanderbilt and Mortis, it was Wrath (Bryan Clark), and for Glacier, he found a partner in Ernest ‘The Cat’ Miller. In early 1998, Wrath was sidelined with an injury, which forced Mortis and Vanderbilt to branch off and try new methods of getting over with the WCW audience. After an unpopular “Vandenberg’s Odditorium” segment he tried out where he appeared on camera alone in a dimly-lit space, discussing current feuds, he was sent home and paid for two years until his contract expired.
Mitchell went on to become a crowd favorite in ECW, renaming himself ‘The Sinister Minister’ and having a stint on commentary before becoming the manager for The Unholy Alliance (Yoshihiro Tajiri and Mikey Whipwreck). Unfortunately, he was injured in an accident with a handheld machine that was used for shooting fireballs and wouldn’t do much more with Extreme Championship Wrestling before their decline in the early 2000s.
Que Mitchell’s arrival to TNA/Impact Wrestling in June 2002, and any diehard fans of ‘The Sinister Minister’ likely know the rest of the story. He would make his first major stamp on the company by introducing the Father James Mitchell persona and welcoming the Disciples of The New Church (Slash & Brian Lee) to TNA. The team would go on to feud with top TNA duo America’s Most Wanted for the remainder of the year. They would dive into a rivalry with Raven after, allowing Mitchell to pursue new clients in The Gathering, Raven’s former protégés
Arguably the manager’s most legendary pairing is with Abyss, which began on July 1, 2005, and would propel the monstrous TNA star to victories over top talent, eventually culminating in an NWA World Heavyweight Championship win over Sting at “Genesis” 2006. The two would have some tumultuous times throughout their pairing, including Abyss’ face turn on the April 19, 2007 edition of “Impact” when he Black Hole Slammed Mitchell to symbolize their dissolving. He would also manage stars such as his “son”, Judas Mesias (Ricky Banderas). The storyline led to the eventual reveal that Abyss is Mitchell’s on-screen son as well, but once the storyline concluded, Mitchell remained inactive for six months and was released from his TNA contract on July 7, 2008.
Mitchell would go on to appear at some of the new ECW shows, rebranded by WWE in 2005. He would return to the business in 2017 by making more appearances with Impact Wrestling and continuing storyline interactions with Joseph Parks/Abyss. He later became a central part of the feud between Rosemary, Su Yung, and Allie, introducing himself as the keeper of Rosemary’s soul. Sporadic appearances from the veteran would continue throughout 2019.
His most recent work was with AEW, appearing as the officiate during the wedding of Penelope Ford & Kip Sabian. He has also appeared often in NWA as the manager of the rising star, Judias.
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