Thursday, March 29, 2007

WCW: Tex Slazinger

Dennis Knight, born December 26, 1968 in Biggers, Arkansas, is an American professional wrestler best known for his appearances with the WWF as Phineas I. Godwinn and Mideon.

While working as a bouncer in Clearwater, Florida, in 1989, Dennis Knight was introduced to Steve Keirn, who trained him as a professional wrestler. He debuted in the same year using the name Tex Slazinger, facing his stepfather in his first match. When Slazinger signed with the United States Wrestling Association he was given a Leatherface gimmick based on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre character complete with “bloodstained” apron, leather mask and chainsaw (without the chain though). He was pushed as a “Monster” into a program with Jerry Lawler. During one infamous match between the two Slazinger was set on fire in a pre-planned stunt. Despite being briefly engulfed in flames after a fireball by Jerry Lawler (and gasoline being squirted on Slazinger’s apron) he walked away without a scratch because of his thick clothing. After dropping the Leatherface gimmick Tex teamed up with Mark Canterbury who wrestled as the masked “Master Blaster”.

Slazenger was later hired by WCW alongside the Master Blaster who was renamed “Shanghai Pierce” The team was dubbed "The Texicans" by color commentator Jesse Ventura. They remained with the promotion until 1994 without achieving much success.

When both men left WCW, Canterbury would sign with the WWF, and renamed "Henry Godwinn" while Slazinger returned to the USWA. In the USWA Slazinger captured the USWA Southern Title on two occasions, defeating Brian Christopher both times.

In 1996, Knight was reunited with Canterbury, and then renamed Phineas I. Godwinn when he signed with the WWF. The duo were portrayed as being cousins and were collectively known as The Godwinns. Over the following two years, The Godwinns held the WWF World Tag Team Championship on two occasions and were managed by Cletus Godwinn, Hillbilly Jim and Sunny.

In 1997, in a match between The Godwinns and the Legion of Doom, Canterbury suffered a cracked C7 vertebra when the Legion of Doom botched a Doomsday Device. He was advised by doctors to rest for 15 weeks, but returned to the ring in less than eight weeks. Later that year, the Godwinns dropped their pig farmer gimmicks and became "Southern Justice", the bodyguards of Tennessee Lee. Six months later, Canterbury herniated his C7 vertebra and pinched a spinal nerve, necessitating spinal fusion surgery. This came as a result of him returning to the ring too early after his neck injury. He evenutally left the WWF and retired, due to the neck injury suffered in 1997 leaving Knight without a partner.

In early 1999 Knight returned to the WWF as Mideon, a deranged soothsayer. He was kidnapped by the Acolytes and brainwashed into joining The Ministry of Darkness, a heel stable led by The Undertaker. Throughout 1999, The Ministry would feud with Stone Cold Steve Austin, with Knight often teaming up with Viscera. Knight "won" the European Championship in this time when he found it in Shane McMahon's bag. When The Undertaker was injured in late 1999, the Ministry disbanded, and Knight was once again removed from television, reappearing briefly as a Mankind imitator.

Knight returned in a limited capacity in 2000 as Naked Mideon, a comedy character who would run around arenas wearing only a thong. At No Mercy 2000 he tried to reclaim the European Championship from William Regal, but was defeated. Knight then wrestled in a few dark matches under his previous moniker Tex Slazenger, but was eventually released on good terms.

Knight appeared at the Total Nonstop Action Wrestling event TNA Destination X 2005 on March 13, 2005 during the scheduled match between Monty Brown and Trytan. In the course of the match, the lights went off and Trytan vanished from the ring. When the lights came on, a masked Knight was in his place, and was quickly pinned by Brown. In March 2006, Knight wrestled several dark matches for World Wrestling Entertainment under his own name.

He has been an influence to the talent at FSPW, one of the leading independent wrestling federations in Florida.
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