So it was trending “RIP KAMALA”and first thing I thought oh Kamala Harris kicked the bucket! I was only half right. The Kamala that died isn’t the wannabe presidential DNC but the Kamala from WWF History! Now known as Kamala his name was James Harris which is ironic since I thought it was Kamala Harris. I got very sad when I realized who it was that died… I GREW UP Watching him during his career, and he was pretty awesome. His character was hilarious, and he had no shame in selling it for the fans I’m really sadden when another personality from my childhood passes away.
Here is a timeline of what has happened… On August 5, 2020, he had tested positive for COVID-19 and was hospitalized. He likely contracted it from one of his numerous weekly visits to the dialysis center, his wife said. After he went into cardiac arrest on August 9, 2020, Harris died that afternoon, at the age of 70.
Looking back James Harris (May 28, 1950 – August 9, 2020) was an American professional wrestler, best known by the ring name Kamala Ugandan Giant, and as Kamala, he portrayed a fearsome and yet simpleminded Ugandan who wrestled barefoot in war paint and a loincloth, and approached the ring wearing an African mask and carrying a spear and shield. He is best known for his appearances with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in the mid-1980’s and early 1990’s. That’s how I knew him best.
But Harris debuted in 1978 under the ring name “Sugar Bear” Harris. He spent most of his early career in the Southern United States, also using the ring names “Ugly Bear” Harris and “Big” Jim Harris. His first manager was Percy Pringle. He won his first championship in NWA Tri-State in 1979, teaming with Oki Shikina to win the NWA Tri-State Tag Team Championship. In 1980, Harris joined Southeastern Championship Wrestling as “Bad News” Harris, winning the NWA Southeastern Heavyweight Championship in 1980.
In 1981, Harris travelled to Europe for seasoning. Following a stint in Germany, he travelled to the United Kingdom, where he wrestled for Joint Promotions as “The Mississippi Mauler”, a character with some similarities to his future Kamala character. In June 1981, he competed in a tournament for the vacant WWA World Heavyweight Championship, losing to Wayne Bridges in the final in Wembley Arena in London.
Sporadic WWE appearances (2001, 2004–2006)
Kamala participated in “The Gimmick Battle Royal” at WrestleMania X-Seven and was eliminated by Sgt. Slaughter. On July 26, 2004, he made a surprise return to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), participating in a Raw Diva Search segment on RAW, in which the female contestants were instructed to try to seduce him.
Kamala faced Randy Orton on the August 11, 2005 edition of SmackDown! (accompanied by Kim Chee) but the match was interrupted by a message from The Undertaker to Orton, and ended in a no contest.
Kamala appeared at the 2005 Taboo Tuesday event, as one of the choices for Eugene’s tag team partner. He lost the fan vote to Jimmy Snuka, but came to the ring after the match to deliver a big splash to Tyson Tomko. On June 25, 2006, at Vengeance, he accompanied Eugene to the ring (along with Doink the Clown and Hacksaw Jim Duggan) to take on Umaga. Umaga quickly won, then attacked all three. Before Kamala and Umaga could fight, Umaga’s manager, Armando Estrada, intervened. Umaga defeated Kamala in a match the following night on Raw.
Independent circuit, TNA, JCW (2002–2010)
Kamala returned to wrestling and had a lengthy run on the independent circuit. He lost to his nemesis Jerry Lawler at International Wrestling Cartel On July 20, 2002. From 2003 to 2004 he made appearances for Memphis Wrestling.
He lost to Jim Duggan at WrestleReunion 1 on January 29, 2005. On September 30, 2006, he wrestled to a non-finish with Bryan Danielson, in a match for the ROH World Championship at a National Wrestling Alliance event in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He defeated Lanny Poffo at Great North Wrestling event Wrestling Supershow at the Ottawa SuperEX in Ottawa, Canada.
Kamala appeared at Total Nonstop Action Wrestling’s Slammiversary pay-per-view in June 2008, as a guest at Jay Lethal and SoCal Val’s storyline wedding. His last match was on August 15, 2010 at Juggalo Championship Wrestling with the Weedman defeating The Haters (Pauly and Vito Thomaselli).
On November 7, 2011, Harris had his left leg amputated below the knee due to complications of high blood pressure and diabetes, a condition he had since 1992, which forced him to retire because he did not accept dialysis treatment. In April 2012, his right leg was also amputated below the knee and a campaign was launched seeking donations to cover his financial needs. Harris told Bleacher Report in 2014 that he relies on a disability check, sells handmade wooden chairs, and recently wrote a book about his life.
In July 2016, Harris was named part of a class action lawsuit filed against WWE which alleged that wrestlers incurred traumatic brain injuries during their tenure and that the company concealed the risks of injury. The suit was litigated by attorney Konstantine Kyros, who has been involved in a number of other lawsuits against WWE. The lawsuit was dismissed by District of Connecticut judge Vanessa Lynne Bryant in September 2018.
On November 19, 2017, Harris underwent life-saving emergency surgery to clear fluid from around his heart and lungs at a hospital in Oxford, Mississippi. He was then on life support due to complications. The next day, his daughter said he showed signs of improvement, but remained on life support. On November 22, it was reported that he was able to breathe on his own yet was unable to talk and remained under intensive care.
When we are kids we watch these Pro Wrestlers who project these bigger than life personas and forget that they are like everyone else they’re only human and here for a short time, and time flies. Remember guys we all are but dust in the wind…. He was very interesting man, and he had a great life, and will be missed. Rest in Peace.
Enjoy the videos below…