A particularly sinister wrestling manager is behind the scenes of Impact’s “Slammiversary” Pay-Per-View.
According to a new PWInsider report, Father James Mitchell is in Nashville for tonight’s Slammiversary PPV and subsequent TV taping.
Mitchell, 57, made his professional wrestling debut in the Carolinas in 1989 and made his way to televised Smoky Mountain Wrestling. There, he was known as Daryl Van Horne and managed the strange character, Prince Kharis, billed as a 4,000-year-old mummy. The trick was scrapped after just a few months and led to Mitchell aligning himself with Kendo the Samurai, a masked trick played by Tim Horner, Scott Antol and 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 who was one of the “rare outsiders” that Vanderberg had in store for the WCW audience. They had a long-running 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 out and try new methods of outplaying the WCW crowd. After an unpopular segment “Vandenberg’s Odditorium” he tried where he appeared on camera alone in a dimly lit space, discussing current disputes, he was sent home and paid for two years until his contract expired.
Mitchell became a crowd favorite on ECW, renaming himself ‘The Sinister Minister’ and having a comment period before becoming the manager of The Unholy Alliance (Yoshihiro Tajiri and Mikey Whipwreck). Unfortunately, he was injured in an accident with a portable machine that was used to shoot fireballs and would not do much more with Extreme Championship Wrestling before its decline in the early 2000s.
Que Mitchell’s arrival at TNA/Impact Wrestling in June 2002, and any die-hard fan of ‘The Sinister Minister’ probably knows the rest of the story. He would make his first major mark on the company, introducing the persona of Father James Mitchell and welcoming New Church Disciples (Slash and Brian Lee) to TNA. The team would continue to feud with TNA’s premier duo, America’s Most Wanted, for the rest of the year. They would delve into a rivalry with Raven afterwards, allowing Mitchell to seek out new clients in The Gathering, Raven’s former protégés.
Arguably, the businessman’s most legendary duo is with Abyss, which began on July 1, 2005, and would propel the monstrous TNA star to victories over top talent, culminating in an NWA World Heavyweight Championship win over Sting on “Genesis.” 2006. The two would have some tumultuous moments throughout their pairing, including Abyss’s face-turn on the April 19, 2007 issue of “Impact” when Black Hole slammed Mitchell to symbolize their breakup. He would also manage stars like his “son”, Judas Mesias (Ricky Banderas). The storyline led to the eventual revelation that Abyss is Mitchell’s onscreen son as well, but once the storyline was completed, Mitchell remained inactive for six months and was released from his contract with TNA on July 7, 2008.
Mitchell would appear on some of the new ECW shows rebranded by WWE in 2005. He would return to the business in 2017, making more appearances with Impact Wrestling and continuing story interactions with Joseph Parks/Abyss. He later became a central part of the feud between Rosemary, Su Yung, and Allie, introducing himself as the guardian of Rosemary’s soul. The veteran’s sporadic appearances would continue throughout 2019.
His most recent work was with AEW, appearing as an officiant during Penelope Ford and Kip Sabian’s wedding. He also appeared many times in the NWA as the manager of the rising star, Judias.
Stay tuned to Wrestling Inc. for tonight’s live coverage of Impact “Slammiversary” Pay-Per-View!
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