On Tuesday, February 18th, 2014, we lost one of the good ones in Nelson Frazier Jr. AKA Big Daddy V, Viscera, and Mabel in WWE. Nelson Fraizer Jr. got his start in the professional wrestling industry in Memphis’ USWA promotion as part of the monster heel tag team “The Harlem Knights”. Quickly thrust into a main event spotlight against big name stars such as Jerry Lawler, Jeff Jarrett, and Bill Dundee, The Harlem Knights would step up to the challenge and prove they had what it took to become big stars. During these early days, they also worked the Pro Wrestling Federation based out of Charlotte, NC. Frazier and his partner Robert Horne’s size and hard work paid off, as they worked in the territories less than a year before the WWF picked them up.
Upon arrival to the WWF, Frazier and Horne were repackaged as Mabel and Mo respectively and their team was known as Men On a Mission. M.O.M quickly got over with the crowds thanks to their positive gimmick and Fraizer’s size, with fans loving their bright colors and raps of their manager Oscar. They were quickly thrust into the Tag Team Championship picture, feuding with then-champions The Quebecers. Despite their popularity, M.O.M would only gain a very short 2 day title reign on a house show loop in the UK in March of 1994. M.O.M would take a brief break from teaming together that summer, as Mabel was looked at as a possible singles star. However, by the end of 1994, they would be right back in the Tag Title picture. After a failed bid in the Tag Title tournament and a loss to The Smoking Gunns, M.O.M would ditch Oscar and turn heel. After a brief feud with The Gunns that led nowhere, Mabel would return to singles competiton, winning the biggest accolade of his career yet in the 1995 King of the Ring tournament. Even though it was never seen on TV, he actually received a Title Belt for this honor, which is the only one of its kind. Mabel would then go on to feud with WWF Champion Diesel, in which he would fail to capture the title at SummerSlam. He would then be involved in the feud between Undertaker and Yokozuna, in which he would lose a Casket Match to Undertaker at Survivor Series 1995. He was used sparingly after that and was released shortly after the 1996 Royal Rumble.
After their releases from the WWF, Frazier and Horne returned to the promotions that made them successful, USWA and PWF, as well as began touring other major territories such as Carlos Colon’s WWC. In WWC, would finally get his first true taste of singles gold by beating Carlos Colon for the WWC Universal Heavyweight Championship on January 7th, 1996. He would lose the title only a month later to Abdullah the Butcher. Holding on to their M.O.M personas from WWF, King Mabel would terrorize USWA and quickly enter a feud with “Too Sexy” Brian Christopher for the USWA Southern Heavyweight Championship. After a month of battles, he would capture the title on March 16th, 1996. Mabel would then begin feuding with Jerry Lawler, who would eventually win the title on May 20th. Mabel would team back up with Mo and would capture the PWF Tag Team Championships in December of 1996. This reign would be short lived as well, as they were stripped of the titles in January for refusing to defend them. M.O.M would continue to team and work the various promotions, including USWA’s closure and revival as Memphis Championship Wrestling and Music City Wrestling, where he would win the North American Heavyweight Title, as well as Ozark Mountain Wrestling, where he would beat Wolfie D for the North American Heavyweight Title. But by the end of 1998, WWF would call the big man up to rejoin the roster.
Mabel made his return to face King of the Ring winner Ken Shamrock in a losing effort. He would then be featured at the 1999 Royal Rumble, where he would be kidnapped and converted to the Ministry of Darkness. Now sporting a bleached blonde mohawk and freaky contacts, he would be rebranded as Viscera. This rebrand would give him a modicum of success, as he was the muscle of the Ministry, however, by July of 1999, Viscera was back to the midcard lurch he had been previously. He would start participating heavily in the new Hardcore division, and would even win the title briefly in the Hardcore Battle Royal at WrestleMania 2000. But after another short feud with Mark Henry, Viscera would be released again. He would continue to ply his craft on the Indies as the first champion of the doomed-to-start XWF, making a pair of appearances for the burgeoning TNA promotion in 2003, and winning the newly reformed Memphis Wrestling Southern Heavyweight Championship in March of 2004. But yet again, WWE would come knocking on the big man’s doorstep.
Viscera would return to WWE in September of 2004 as a part of JBL’s ongoing feud with The Undertaker. Teaming with his former Ministry comrade Gangrel, his involvement in the feud would last all of two weeks before he would be bucked back down to C level show Heat. He would undergo yet another gimmick tweak, this time as a lady’s man, and join Trish Stratus in her feud with Kane and Lita. This gimmick would mark a low point in his career, but one the big man took in stride. After over two years of it, he would be drafted over to ECW in the summer of 2007 and receive his final gimmick tweak. Returning to his monster roots, he would become Matt Striker’s bodyguard and be renamed Big Daddy V. He would be a very dominant heel, squashing the likes of The Boogieman, Tommy Dreamer, and others before his path of destruction was stopped by ECW Champion CM Punk. He would then have a brief feud with Kane over who was the bigger monster on ECW before fading out again. He would eventually be released in August of 2008 and would return to his Indy roots, making appearances for the NWA, JCW, PWX, RWA, OCW, and many others. He would capture the All Japan Pro Wrestling All Asia Tag Team Championship with TARU on April 29th, 2011 and would hold it for 4 months before losing them to Manabu Soya and Seiya Sanada.
I’ve had a distinct pleasure of watching Big Vis since he was Nelson Knight back in USWA and have met him many times. No matter how famous he became, he always made time for the fans in the Memphis area and the local promotions, as that is where he grew up. In fact, the last time I got to see him was just a year ago. He had lost a ton of weight! He looked like he was maybe 350 lbs, but looked much better for it. He did a big program with RWA here in Northeast Arkansas, putting over a young guy here named Austin Lane. In traditional fashion, he was brought in by the heel stable to try to squash the upstart hero. Of course, it failed, but Big Vis took a guy who was honestly mediocre at best in the ring and made him look like a viable competitor for a job with a larger promotion. And while he was supposed to be a heel, he took the time to talk to each kid who approached him and sign an autograph with a big smile on his face. He was a gentle soul, a true gentle giant of this business, and he will be missed. May his soul find eternal peace.