Former WWE Wrestler Kamala to Under Leg Amputation

When I was a kid, I grew up watching regional professional wrestling promotions. Sure the WWE was gearing up to be pretty big with the arrival of Hulk Hogan and mainstream attention, but I preferred the more wrestling oriented action of Mid South Wrestling, World Class Wrestling and World Championship Wrestling out of the Carolinas. Give me Ric Flair over Hulk Hogan any day in the '80s.

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Sure, the regional promotions were just as over-the-top and unrealistic as the WWE when it came to characters and story lines but they at least tried to make it realistic. That is why, as a little kid, the monsters on the independent scene scared the crap out of me.

One of those monsters was a man named Kamala.

Forget what you know about Kamala from the WWE where he slapped his belly and danced around the ring like an idiot. I am talking about the Kamala who came out with General Skandar Akbar and his army of monsters in Devastation Incorporated. These were the monsters that scared me.

Kamala is a gentleman named Jim Harris and before wrestling he was a plumber in Florida. Soon, he entered the profession of professional wrestling and wrestled under his real name in the U.K. and southern United States. It was Jerry Lawler and Jerry Jarrett in Mid Southern Wrestling in Tennessee who convinced him to change his name to Kamala and adapt the new gimmick.

This character was an African cannibal, with a painted face and body, who could only be controlled by his handler and manager. The Ugandan Warrior was born and he terrorized Memphis, Mid South and World Class Wrestling, feuding with people like Hacksaw Jim Duggan and the Von Erich brothers.

He gained worldwide popularity in the WWE and WCW but slowly ended his career in recent years.

Harris, now 61, has fallen on hard times. Recently, he had his foot amputated due to diabetes-related concerns. At the time, Kamala released a video to his fans thanking them for their support and saying he will continue to fight the good fight. However, on Dec. 21, his son announced that Harris will have to have his entire leg amputated.

This is horrific to hear and I can only wish Kamala, Big Jim Harris, my best wishes in a speedy recovery. You may lose a leg, big man, but you will still possess a fighting heart.

Author Shawn S. Lealos has been a professional wrestling fan since the rock and roll days of the 80s. Shawn watched all the promotions, but held an affinity for the more rugged ones in the Mid South and Dallas focused World Class regions. He still watches wrestling today, enjoying the WWE, TNA and ROH, watching all three on television weekly.

Source: PWInsider

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Updated Friday, Dec 23, 2011