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Dutch Mantell shares story about the late-James 'Kamala' Harris facing him in for the first time

James
James 'Kamala' Harris
Anirban
ANALYST
Modified 11 Aug 2020, 20:35 IST
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During his time in wrestling, James 'Kamala' Harris made quite a name for himself as an unbeatable heel. Be it in WWE or outside the company, anyone who came face-to-face with Kamala was in for quite a match. At one point in time, he was known as the 'Unstoppable Kamala'. Recently, news broke that Kamala passed away at the age of 70 following a Covid-19 infection. Dutch Mantell, a veteran wrestler, has now shared his experience of working with Kamala.


Dutch Mantell shares experience working with Kamala

Dutch Mantell revealed that he first became aware of James Harris as Kamala in 1992. He revealed that at the time, Kamala had beaten most of the babyfaces in the promotion. He had been set to face Handsome Jimmy Valiant in the semi-final of the card. Unfortunately, Valiant was not available as he had an emergency that needed him to become hospitalized. Instead, Kamala faced Dutch Mantell, and to his surprise, he was booked to not lose to Kamala, instead have his match end via DQ.

As Kamala had faced and defeated all other faces, it was left to Mantell to face him and he revealed the reason that Jerry Jarrett had booked him to not lose. Later, due to the booking decision, when Kamala faced Jerry Lawler, the place sold out.

Kamala had beaten most of the other good guys, Steve Kern, Stan Lane and Bill Dundee but had never faced me. Therefore, I fully expected Jerry to say that Kamala would beat me also. But Jerry surprised me and said we would end up by getting me DQ’ed but not pinned. That totally surprised me because the whole plan was to get Kamala as an unbeatable force when he finally would face off against Lawler. The plan involved me using my bullwhip on Kamala. I remember going over the match with James and I’ll never forget James asking me a question. He said, “ do dat bullwhip hurt”? I said no it won’t hurt. Trust me I told him. At the time, I didn’t know James that well and it was a stretch asking him to trust me but he did. I just told him to not move when I threw it. The finish was perfect. Kamala didn’t lose any steam and nor did I. But the finish perplexed me. Why did the unstoppable Kamala just pin me right in the middle?
A week or so later, I asked Jerry Jarrett why Kamala didn’t just plain out beat me, as I expected, in the match. He told me something I’ve never forgotten. He said that the fans would be disappointed in Handsome Jimmy’s absence and beating his replacement would be a double disappointment therefore the DQ. It made sense and Kamala kept his steam and when Kampala did face Lawler, the house was a sellout or very close to it. Thank you James for the trust. Thank you Jerry Jarrett for the lesson in Booking 101. 
Published 11 Aug 2020, 20:35 IST
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