Straight Shootin' with Kamala
Kamala is one of those rare people whose shoots I would say everyone should check out once, but once might be enough. He has a particular charm that few people can get across in a shoot interview. He loves his family, he wanted to take care of his mother, he never wanted to cheat the people, he loved to perform and would go to great lengths to preserve the integrity of his character. Jim Harris is able to get himself over for that dedication and loyalty without coming across as negatively as others who had similar situations. I find him to be someone who understands that he was a gimmick wrestler and that's why he worked to protect the gimmick. While some of his approaches (i.e. "eating" a live chicken in a van for fans before the show) might not work in the post-kayfabe era, it makes you think how suspending the disbelief is helped by going to great lengths and when people do not commit - gimmicks, angles and even matches fail! Kamala also gets into a lot of perceived racism that he experienced, which is interesting. While he admits that most promoters will never be entirely fair with you, he felt many just took him as a dumb old countryboy who would be happy with whatever they paid him. He talks about his financial struggles quite a bit and even states that he wouldn't "do it all over again" because of all the hardships. While he is not broke and desperate for indy work like some others of his generation, Kamala is certainly not as well off as one might expect someone who worked for the WWF at their peak, WCW with their ridiculous contracts and was a maineventer in a number of territories. His story is fascinating and heartbreaking. As for the typical qualities that make for a "good shoot," Kamala is not one to hold back. He talks about confronting Andre the Giant with a concealed weapon, he buries Abdullah the Butcher and he has no regard for Eric Bischoff. Generally, Kamala was the type who tried to get along with everyone and did not get involved in all the drugs and carousing, yet he had nice things to say about almost everyone brought up, even people he probably could've buried!
I've heard a few interviews with Kamala before, so this seemed to be largely the same stuff. He comes across as a really nice guy who had some ups and downs and the business that have made a him a little bitter, yet thankful for the opportunity he had to entertain people. I've stated this before, but Jim Harris can come across as a victim of the business, whether that is true or not. He was a fair worker who had great size, good athletic ability and kept himself out of trouble. However, he got started late and probably only "made it" because of the gimmick he landed. Kamala's money woes are more prominent in his interview than many others because others probably do not want to seem like failures after having made a fortune that they blew. He genuinely believes he was not paid what he was due (some places more so than others) and while he was able to take care of his family and buy his home, he really struggled after leaving Mid-South. He is very honest about numbers and while they might seem substantial to some, when you take into account all the travel expenses, you can understand why he ended up having to drive a broken down truck. Then again, maybe you can't.
The Rating: ****1/4