Last week, the news came out about Nelson Frazier’s passing. Most widely known as Mabel, Frazier wasn’t a household name, though any wrestling fan who had watched from the 90s and on would know who he is immediately.
Several of us wanted to pass long our memories of the big man.
Mabel (as he’s always known to me) was a remarkably agile guy for his size and stature. One of the most amazing realizations that’s come out about him since his passing was just how young he was when he started in WWE. He didn’t seem like he was out of his depth at all, and was a nice part of the roster at that time. In recent years when I’ve seen him wrestling in Japan, he’s actually been very solid and played his role well. He and Akebono had some interactions which were a lot of fun.
For all intents and purposes, Mabel seemed like a gentle giant. I’d never heard a single interview saying anything negative about Nelson Frazier. I remember reading he garnered a lot of heat in 1995 when he broke Undertaker’s face by accident, and of course, hurting Taker will surely get you some heat in the office. But other than that, nothing bad from anybody. He was just a guy who was pretty much always there. When you think about it, from 1993 to around 2008 (on and off); that’s a decade and a half, and how many guys have been able to be in the WWE that long and that often? He was there during a number of different eras and each time, many folks were shocked that he would still be around, so somebody HAD to like him. His last run on ECW was unexpected, but a lot of fun! He wasn’t the best big man ever in the business and his biggest career push came during a time when the company was at its worst financially ever, but at the end of the day he WILL be remembered by many!
Much like Alan, I was so surprised to read about how young Frazier was when he started in WWE. Maybe because of his amazingly large stature, he just seemed older. While Men On A Mission was a hokey act (all the way down to their gear), it was different. Mabel was huge and scary, Mo had an original look, and Oscar was a terrible rapper. For a short time, I thought they were okay.
I didn’t really care much for Frazier’s work, except for right near the end when WWE decided to unleash a wacky version of ECW. Right off the bat, the promotion wasn’t to be taken seriously so Frazier’s Big Daddy V character was perfect. He was fun and over the top for a promotion that was created to be over the top.
It’s always sad to hear about a wrestler dying before his 44th birthday and just based on the idea that very large men don’t age well, it was probably expected that Frazier didn’t have a lot of time left on his clock. But thankfully, the news doesn’t have to be about what drug caused the death. Instead, the news is about his career and the memories.