Around the Loop: In This Corner, From Parts Unknown, GOD

If you’re a Christian, this is Easter Weekend. If you’re Jewish, the Passover festival is well underway. If you’re a Pagan, the Spring Equinox was last month. If you’re a wrestling fan, you’re probably bummed that there are no pay-per-views this weekend.

For legions of zealous fans, wrestling is a religion. You’ll find them in front of their televisions watching matches more often than you’ll discover them in a place of worship. They wouldn’t be able to quote many scriptures, but they’ll be able to tell you every single word Jim Ross said when the Undertaker threw Mankind off the top of the cell at King of the Ring 1998.

There has always been a bizarre connection between professional wrestling and religion. While it’s easy to take a swipe at money-grubbing televangelists, some wrestlers have made their faith a part of their ring work. Other workers have chosen to roll over to the dark side, where cookies are allegedly readily available, displaying an evil side to their characters. And then, there’s Vince McMahon, but we’ll get to that soon enough.

Brother Love Loves You

Portrayed by podcast darling Bruce Prichard, Brother Love was instantly hated by WWE fans. With his red face and white suit, Brother Love had a drawl thicker than Robert Tilton’s. Although he expounded his message of love, he was adamantly against the good guys on WWE programming. Brother Love served as The Undertaker’s first manager. In one controversial segment, Brother Love “healed” a blind man. It would take The Ultimate Warrior to finally end Brother Love’s reign of unctuous terror, destroying the Brother Love Show set and beating Love unconscious. Thank the gods for that.

The Sinister Minister Gives A Reading

Behold Father James Mitchell, a wrestling manager who first became famous in WCW under the name James Vandenburg. Vandenburg oversaw the monstrous stable of Mortis (the late and lamented Chris Kanyon) and Wrath (the currently still alive and underrated Bryan Clark). It wasn’t until Mitchell moved on to ECW that he picked up the Sinister Minister gimmick. It was his eyebrows that made him wicked, and his tendency to read only the Major Arcana of the Tarot. Listen to him in the Elevator to Hell describing the ECW roster. It’s beautiful, man. It’s full of stars.

Shawn Michaels Comes Down From Heaven And I Don’t Know What’s Happening Now

After years of drug abuse and unverified sexual addiction, Shawn Michaels became a shoot Christian. That’s fine. Whatever you need to get better. But this entrance confuses me. Watch him descend from the Heavenly Heights and then immediately retract into his Sexy Boy persona. View him as he prays to his god that the Sexy Boy will be protected against the infinite evil of The Undertaker. It’s one hell of a dichotomy, and I honestly don’t understand how any of this works. I’ve not a Shawn Michaels stan by any stretch, but damn. This is odd.

Kevin Sullivan Takes A Face From The Ancient Gallery and He Walks On Down the Hall

Kevin Sullivan lived his gimmick so hard that people thought he was actually a Satanist. When Sully rolled his eyes back into his head and started rambling about arcane subjects, he terrified the wrestling-loving denizens of Florida. Black shoe polish on his forehead, strange things coming out of his mouth, Sullivan was the equivalent of the weird aunt you invited to holiday dinners who ruined everything by talking about their thick vaginal discharge. Listen to Sullivan rant about the most weird shit imaginable and still keep kayfabe. Kevin Sullivan may be one of my spirit animals.

MJF Makes the Ring His Temple

No one has brought Judaism to public attention in the wrestling ring quite like Maxwell Jacob Friedman. Sure, there have been other Jewish wrestlers. Bill Goldberg and Barry Horowitz come to mind. But no one has been more aggressively Jewish in the squared circle than MJF. When Friedman decided to have a second Bar Mitzvah,Friedman made it clear that he was the Chosen One. He’s more kosher than you, and you know it. L’chaim.

God is a Wrestler (Have Mercy On Us, Everyone)

I can’t believe this happened but, at the same time, I can. Why wouldn’t Vince McMahon think he could defeat God? Why wouldn’t he roll right up that mountain with his hubris and arrogance, take on the alleged creator of everything, and come out on top? Look: I am sick and godsdamned tired of writing about Vince McMahon and his terrible antics. And this spot? Essentially dissing Shawn Michaels (whom, again, I do not like) and all of Christendom in less then four minutes? This is one of the most blasphemous things I’ve ever seen. God is dead, and Vince don’t care. If there is a hell, you’ll see Vince there.

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