On August 9, WWE announced that James "Kamala" Harris passed away at the age of 70. Kamala was one of the most unique characters in the history of the business. Despite having short stints in the WWE, each of them were successful at building his character, as well as further pushing top babyface talent.
Here is what WWE released regarding the passing of Kamala.
"WWE is saddened to learn that James Harris, known to WWE fans as Kamala, has passed away at age 70. Under the frightening face paint of Kamala, the 6-foot-7, 380-pound Harris battled the greatest Superstars in sports-entertainment history, including Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker and Andre the Giant. He terrorized opponents and thrilled audiences in Mid-South, World Class Championship Wrestling, WCW and WWE until 2006. WWE extends its condolences to Harris' family, friends and fans."
Kamala's pro wrestling career spanned over 30 years, and he was a part of some of the biggest WWE rivalries in the 80s and 90s. His in-ring career ended in 2010, after making several in-ring appearances that year. His last match was a tag team win for the JCW promotion.
In 1992, Kamala was diagnosed with diabetes, but did not receive treatment for the diagnosis. Unfortunately, doctors had to amputate one of his legs in 2011, ending his in-ring career. In 2012, he had to get his second leg amputated because of diabetes.
Kenny Casanova, who co-wrote Kamala's biography, stated that his cause of death was due to COVID-19.
Throughout the three decades of his pro wrestling career, Kamala built a strong enough character to give him a spot in the WWE Hall of Fame. Here are 5 reasons why he should be inducted into the prestigious class.
#5 His main event presence competing for CWA
For the first few years of his pro wrestling career, Kamala competed as Sugar Bear Harris and Bad News Harris, appearing in several promotions such as Mid-South Wrestling, Houston Wrestling, and, most notably, the Continental Wrestling Association. While competing mostly in his first few years, Kamala made a return to CWA in 1982 after a two-year absence under the name of Giant Kimala.
On June 7, 1982 at a CWA event inside the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, Tennessee, Kamala shocked the fans by defeating Jerry Lawler in his return to the company and becoming the AWA Southern Heavyweight Champion. He retained the title for two months, successfully defending against names such as "Superstar" Bill Dundee, Steve Keirn, and Stan Lane. Lawler was able to regain the title on August 9.
His success in CWA led to a return to Mid-South Wrestling, as well as appearances in the Championship Wrestling from Florida promotion, as Kamala. Throughout 1983, Kamala had notable feuds with names such as Andre the Giant, Junkyard Dog, and Jim Duggan. His popularity also led him to a debut in the World Class Championship Wrestling promotion, spending much of his time in the promotion feuding with Kerry Von Erich.