The Life and Times of Nelson Frazier Jr. 
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A Man of Many Names: The Life and Times of Nelson Frazier Jr. 

Across an on-and-off again WWE career of 15 years, Nelson Frazier Jr. underwent various name and gimmick changes. Known as Mabel, Viscera, and Big Daddy V in the company, Frazier found himself from the heights of the main event scene to one of the most distrusted men in the locker room. This is the story, both inside and outside of the ring, of Nelson Frazier Jr.  

Early Years

Born in North Carolina in 1971, Nelson joined the wrestling business early, switching out the tools of joinery for a pair of wrestling boots at just 20 years old.  

A wrestling fan since the age of three, Frazier has cited Bam Bam Bigelow as a big influence.  

Frazier is thought to be the last student of Gene Anderson, a prolific grappler who trained a diverse range of talent such as Ken Shamrock, Don Kernodle, and Mustafa Saed.  

It was at this time that Nelson found the man with whom he would be synonymous for the next half a decade: Robert Horn.  

Ring The Damn Bel
The Harlem Knights. (Photo: Ring The Damn Bell!)

The duo would become a tag team, working for free as they broke into the business. At the same time, the duo were working as repo men. The team were under the tutelage of The Italian Stallion and when asked for some gas money, were given just $5 ($11 in 2023) to split. Stallion was infamous for such money-grabbing moves, reportedly taking in two-thirds of The Hardy Boys’ $150 payout from matches after bringing them in.  

The group’s first work was under George South in 1991.  

When they debuted in Jerry Lawler’s Memphis-based United States Wrestling Association (USWA) in 1993, the team were given the name The Harlem Knights, with members Nelson Knight and Bobby Knight. The group also saw success in the Pro Wrestler Federation, picking up the tag titles on two occasions.   

With business on a downward spiral by 1993, the WWF had entered into a working relationship with the USWA. At a time when Vince McMahon was playing a heel in the USWA, workers were traded between the promotions, with Jerry Jarrett trading The Harlem Knights traded. Frazier had injured a member of The Moondogs, leaving him with a limited ability to effectively book the duo, a sign of things to come.  

Men On A Mission

By the early 1990s, hip-hop was in vogue. With Snoop Dogg and Dr Dre cracking the Hot 100 and Cyprus Hill topping the album chart in 1993, Vince seemingly saw an opportunity to tap into this cultural zeitgeist.  

As such, Men On A Mission were created. A neon-wearing group of fun-loving rappers, the members were renamed Mabel and Mo.   

Wrestling News
(Photo: Wrestling News)

As neither man could rap, that was done on their behalf by manager Oscar, real name Greg Garard, who managed to impress Vince McMahon enough to get a job when performing an impromptu rap in a Las Vegas casino.  

The group regularly encouraged chants of “Whoomp! (There It Is)” as a reference to the popular hip-hop song of the same name.  

In July 1993, the team made their on-screen debut. The team would rise the ranks to become a fixture in the company’s increasingly desolate tag team scene.  

At Survivor Series, Men On A Mission were a part of the infamous four Doinks tag bout, described by Bruce Prichard as “a fucking heaping pile of dog turds.”  

At WrestleMania, the duo found themselves challenging for the World Tag Team titles against The Quebecers. At this event, Mabel became the first superstar born in the 1970s to compete at WrestleMania, when wrestling at the age of just 23. In the end, Mo and Mabel won the match by count-out, thus not winning the tag titles.  

However, nine days later in London’s Royal Albert Hall, The Quebecers picked up the title belts. It is commonly said that such an instance was a botch, occurring by mistake after the 500-pound Mabel incapacitated Quebecer Pierre for real.   

(Photo: Pro Wrestling Stories)

Yet, talking to Wrestling Shoot Interviews, the future PCO denied that such a move was an accident, instead stating it was done to try to drive up house show numbers. Such an explanation is not unreasonable seeing as according to the book Titan Sinking: The Decline of the WWF in 1995, “nearly every show was losing money.”   

During the early-mid 90s, house show title changes were thus common, especially with the tag belts with six of the last nine World Tag Team title changes coming at live events.   

The reign was not to last as two days later 200 miles away in Sheffield, The Quebecers took back their titles. They would never win back the belts. 

On an episode of Wrestling Challenged aired in May, Mo injured his leg after landing awkwardly from being thrown over the top rope, an injury that would sideline him for months. Mabel pursued a brief solo run, getting to the King of the Ring quarter-finals and losing to Jeff Jarrett at SummerSlam.   

In late 1994, the team returned but was eliminated in the first round of a tournament for the vacant tag belts. Both failed to make a splash in the Royal Rumble, with Mabel handily eliminated by Lex Luger whilst Mo lasted just three seconds.  

In March, the duo turned heel, attacking The Smoking Gunns after a loss. The move was a concession for the duo, who had apparently asked for their release. Prior to joining the WWF, they had never portrayed babyfaces so were comfortable in such a role.  

Once turning to the dark side, Mo and Mabel attacked Oscar, permanently writing him off-screen. Wanting to be a positive influence on the lives of those in urban ghettos, Oscar refused to serve as a heel. Oscar subsequently left the wrestling business.  

A King’s Crowning

After the heel turn, it was clear the WWF were positioning Mabel as a solo star whilst Mo became more of a background character as a manager.   

Mabel won the 1995 King of The Ring in one of the most derided brackets in the history of the tournament. Mabel won the entire tournament, beating the newly-debuted Savio Vega in the finals after a bye through the semi-finals. More notably however, in the quarter-finals, he pinned The Undertaker. 

Wrestlings Glory Days FB
(Photo: Wrestling’s Glory Days on Facebook)

Only the second person to pin ‘Taker on Pay-Per-View and the first to do so in over three years, Mabel described the win as “the thrill of a lifetime.”   

In a shoot interview, however, Mabel also notes the tinge of sadness he has for the event, with Mabel’s subsequent solo push starting the erosion of his friendship with Mo. With Mo becoming jealous, Mabel claims that the friendship was crumbling, remarking his reign as the WWF’s sovereign would “start the end of our friendship.”  

The win was also notable for the actions of the rabid audience. With the event taking place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – ECW home territory – the partisan crowd broke out with an ECW chant during the final and were extremely unreceptive to the action unfolding in the ring. As Sir Mo read Mabel’s proclamation, Mabel was hit in the face with a wad of paper.  

Truck Stops A-Rollin’

At In Your House 2: The Lumberjacks, Mabel cemented himself with a clean pinfall victory over Razor Ramon, before interfering in the main event to set up a WWE championship match with Diesel at SummerSlam.  

The SummerSlam match is regarded as not only one of the worst SummerSlam main events of all time but one of the worst WWF title matches ever; knowing they would be outdone by the Razor Ramon versus Shawn Michaels ladder match, they pleaded to not main event but such requests fell on deaf ears. Even Diesel breaking out an outside dive could not save the brawl – and yes, Diesel was the mobile one in this match!  

After nine minutes of slow-moving action, Diesel picked up the win with a second rope clothesline.  The most memorable moment occurred when Mabel delivered a sit-down splash on Diesel, dropping his entire 500-pound frame onto his back. Diesel, legitimately hurt, can be heard audibly yelling “fuck” multiple times.  

The Sportster 2
The HORRIFIC Diesel match. (Photo: TheSportster)

Nash later stated: “I told him not to do and he did it, like a dumb fuck.” Nash recalls how he could not feel his legs after the impact and had to take somas to ease the pain in the days afterwards. He suffered a strained abdomen and an injured lower back.   

According to legend, Vince McMahon wanted to fire Mabel right there and then, but “Big Daddy Cool” saved the king from the sack.  

Fracturing The Phenom

Just over a month later, Mabel was wrestling The Undertaker at a house show when he broke ‘Taker’s orbital bone, the bone holding the eye in the socket.   

A botched move culminated in a fist to the eye socket, with Undertake explaining on Tony Hawk’s Hawk vs Wolf podcast that attempting a clothesline when out of position, “he lunged – and I’m coming off of the ropes full steam – and basically run straight into a big punch. Hand hits me in my eye socket and then I have an orbital blowout fracture.” 

He wrestled three more matches, even when his optic nerve was resting on a jagged bone and anything as simple as a touch of the area or sneeze could inflate the socket. He told Joe Rogan that he had lost 90% of his orbital floor, one mistake away from losing his eye.  

Bruce Prichard notes how injuring both the top champion and perhaps the most revered many in the company “definitely earned [Mabel] a reputation.”  

The angle was converted to TV, with Mabel writing ‘Taker off with a big leg drop during a brawl.   

(Photo: TheSportster)

Instead of “The Dead Man”, Mabel wrestled Yokozuna in a rare heel versus heel match, one ending in a double count-out; it was rated a rotten -2 stars by Dave Meltzer.  

The Undertaker would return at Survivor Series, wearing what is commonly referred to as his Phantom of the Opera mask. Mabel, four-one down, decided to take the count-out loss, followed at the subsequent In Your House by a casket match loss.  

The next night on Raw, he was pinned by Diesel in just eight seconds, showing how by the end of 1995, Mabel was on a sleep gradient down the card.   

At the 1996 Royal Rumble, Mabel hurt Henry O. Godwinn. A friend of The Undertaker’s and member of the Bone Street Krew, The Undertaker chewed out Mabel backstage. In the words of Mo, “Taker was the locker-room leader. He felt it was his responsibility to correct the young dudes.”   

Mabel had already made other enemies in the locker room such as The Kliq (Mo actually went into depression after a physical run-in with Shawn Michaels) and with “The Phenom”’s berating, was “scared shitless,” according to Godwinn. He was gone within the week. Indeed, the man who main evented SummerSlam was gone by WrestleMania.  

Prior to Mabel, the only televised King of The Ring winners had been Bret Hart and Owen Hart and with Steve Austin and Triple H following in the next few years, Mabel has been described by James Dixon as “the one lame duck amidst a lake of regal swans.”  

Years Away

In 2008, Mabel confirmed that a King of The Ring title belt was customized for him by the legendary belt maker Reggie Parks. Made on Mabel’s part and created after exiting the company, it never made it to TV but was used as a marketing device on the independent scene after his WWE release.  

During this time, Mabel toured North America, feuding with some of the biggest stars in their respective territories such as Carlos Colon in the WWC and Jerry Lawler in the USWA, in both of which he was crowned world champion.  

He also mended fences with Mo, with Men On A Mission reuniting.  

Perhaps his most interesting appearance however was in ECW. In a one-off appearance at 1998’s November To Remember event, Mabel aligned with the Fully Blooded Italians (FBI) stable. Mabel would lose in seconds to Spike Dudley, who was in the midst of his gimmick as “The Giant Killer”, in which he beat superheavyweights in sub-minute matches such as One Man Gang, Sal E. Graziano, and 911.  

JofusSunshyne Reddit
(Photo: JofusSunshyne on Reddit)

Mabel fondly recalled his time in “The Land of Extreme” many years later. He described it as having “the best locker room of all time,” and said he got a high payout in the several thousand range.  

Rather bizarrely, there was even speculation in 1996 that Mabel was to be the NWO’s third man. Mo states Eric Bischoff asked to put Mabel’s name on a shirt as the third man and the potential for the 500-pounder to be the mystery man was reported in the Wrestling Observer at the time.  

Viscera Arrives In The WWF

 In 1998, King Mabel returned on a one-time deal, losing via submission to the new King of the Ring Ken Shamrock.   At the 1999 Royal Rumble, Mabel made his in-ring return in the Royal Rumble (wrestling Mankind in a dark match earlier that night).  

During the night, he was abducted by The Undertaker’s Ministry of Darkness. Stablemate Mideon, himself disturbingly brainwashed into the stable in a dark ceremony, has noted that part of the reason he was brought into the faction was more for ‘Taker’s convenience: “When ‘Taker was doing The Ministry, ‘Taker was like, ‘We’re gonna bring Viscera in.’ I’m like, ‘Why?’ He goes, ‘Then we don’t have to work with him.’ I was like, ‘Fucking genius!’”  

After being brought into the stable, he was given a more imposing image, with white contact lenses, black attire, and a constant look of seething anger.   

The Mix Net
(Photo: The Mix Net)

Viscera would often be teamed with Mideon as the first line of defence, facing off against the likes of Mankind and Kane. Notably, the duo earned a win over Triple H in a casket match.   

In late 1999, the faction disbanded, leaving Viscera directionless. At Survivor Series, he was pinned in less than a minute after a bodyslam and chokeslam by Big Show.  

He would go on to be instrumental in one of the most notorious moments in Raw history, being the person to perform the big splash on Mae Young, which would lead to her eventually giving birth to only a hand.  

At WrestleMania 2000’s hardcore invitational battle royal, he pinned Tazz to win the Hardcore championship, which he held for just under seven minutes. It would be the only official singles title Nelson Frazier ever held, even if not the titleholder by the time the bell rang for the second time. 

His last match of this run would be taped just two days later.  Released in August, Jim Ross described Frazier at the time as “morbidly obese,” citing this as a likely reason for cutting ties.  

Daily Elite Attitude DM
Viscera was synonymous with tag partner Mideon. (Photo: Daily Elite Attitude on Dailymotion)

“The World’s Largest Love Machine”

 After a brief stint in NWA TNA at the side of world champion Ron Killings, Frazier returned to the WWE in 2004.  

In 2004, John “Bradshaw” Layfield was feuding with The Undertaker and brought in ex-Ministry members Gangrel and Viscera to attack ‘Taker.   

In April 2005, Viscera entered a relationship angle with Trish Stratus, in which the character became increasingly sexualised, given the nickname of “The World’s Largest Love Machine”. On one occasion, he even showed his “protection,” a massive roll of magnum condoms.   

Blakan Sas YT
(Photo: Blakan Sans on YouTube)

After weeks of being broken down by the condescending and controlling Trish, “Big Vis” turned on Trish. Flattening her with a splash, the woman-beating monster was now a face, for the first time in a decade.  

Viscera subsequently engaged in a long-running angle in which he fought for the affections of ring announcer Lilian Garcia. Kissing on May 23rd 2005 after a serenade, at June’s Vegenence, Lilian proposed in return. However, this was called off when The Godfather brought out his hos, advocating the bachelor life where “Vis” was not pinned down on one woman. He was successful.   

Later on after Lilian’s return from injury, Viscera would again try to fight for her love, ending with a heel turn when Viscera delivered a Samoan drop on Garcia. Garcia later told a Reddit AMA: “I loved working with him. Such a big teddy bear, a loveable guy. He always thanked me for getting him a part in that storyline, and I always laughed and thanked him.”  

Swatzify YT
(Photo: Swatzify on YouTube)

In-ring, Viscera saw limited success. He did have a memorable 2006 Royal Rumble spot when humping Matt Hardy in the middle of the match, apparently as a punishment for backstage issues. He won an 18-man invitation battle royal in WrestleMania 22’s dark match but this had little consequence.   

Viscera mostly lingered in the tag scene, forming slapdash teams with Val Venis in V-Squared and Charlie Haas after Viscera’s heel turn.  Yet, with WWE’s new ECW brand flailing, WWE once again reinvented “Big Vis”.  

Big Daddy V

Managed by Matt Strike, V made his debut by throwing The Bogeyman through a teaching green board.   

Perhaps the most notable aspect of this character was his attire. For the first time, WWE fans got a good look at the physique of the New York native, with some fiddly straps barely covering the mass of his upper chest. In describing it, Whatculture simply wrote: “Whoever allowed the former Viscera to wear that ring attire should have been immediately wished the best of luck in his future endeavours.”  

(Photo: TheSportster)

Big Daddy V did get to challenge for the ECW title, losing via disqualification to reigning champion CM Punk at No Mercy.  

Big Daddy V would struggle to get off the ground in 2008. He underwhelmed in the Royal Rumble, scoring no eliminations and was outed in short order at No Mercy’s World Heavyweight Championship number one contender’s Elimination Chamber.   

Despite being drafted to SmackDown, Big Daddy V would never wrestle there. In March, Frazier would have his last ever WWE match, when losing a Money in the Bank qualifier by count out. The man who beat him, CM Punk, would go on to win that match.  

Final Years and Death

 In a 2009 interview, when asked if he missed wrestling. He responded: “The money, yes. The pain, no. The travel, no. Being away from my family, no.”

After leaving WWE, Frazier’s most notable run was in All Japan Pro Wrestling under the name Big Daddy Voodoo, where he and TARU won the All Asia Tag Team titles.  

96.5 The Walleye
Viscera with some fans during his WWE run. (Photo: 96.5 The Walleye)

His final ever match would occur on July 7th 2013, when losing to Blue Demon Jr. in Nuevo Leon, Mexico.  

In 2014, Frazier’s health issues would finally catch up with him.  

On February 18th 2014, Nelson was reportedly in the shower when he started suffering from chest pains that preempted a heart attack. The ambulance could not revive Frazier, who died at the young age of just 43 – having celebrated his birthday four days prior.  

Mo told the Angry Marks wrestling site that Frazier literally died in the arms of his wife, his last words being to her when he told her “I love you very much.”  

Frazier was suffering from type 2 diabetes and obesity, with the coroner noting drugs and alcohol being found in his bloodstream.    

After Death

Many of Frazier’s co-workers from the past and present and from across the wrestling world paid tribute to Nelson, with Ted DiBiase remarking: “big guy, big heart, and a great sense of humour,” whilst William Regal referred to him as “a lovely man who always dressed and conducted himself like a real pro.”  

Frazier’s wife Cassandra attacked WWE on Facebook for not sending their condolences, at the same time stating a TMZ story about Frazier losing 100 pounds was false.  

After Frazier’s death, his family associated with Kyros Law sued WWE. As a part of a large class-action lawsuit, Frazier’s family joined over 50 other wrestlers suing the company over neglect in regard to concussion-based injuries, specifically Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). Frazier had apparently been suffering depression, migraines, and memory loss after leaving the ring.  

The suit claimed: “Mr. Frazier suffered several other injuries while performing for the WWE which eventually led to his permanent disability and contributed to his pain and suffering, death, and damages to self and widow. … In sum, WWE actively, willfully, recklessly, and negligently concealed important medical information from its wrestlers and deceived them concerning the effects of multiple head trauma and prematurely allowed them to return to wrestling matches even when injured. As a result, wrestlers, including Mr. Frazier, suffered serious, permanent, and debilitating injuries, damages, and in the case of Mr. Frazier, death.”  

Frazier’s urn, with his ashes scattered across 500 pendants to gift to friends. (Photo: TMZ)

In 2016, the district court granted WWE’s motion to dismiss the wrongful death claim made by Frazier’s family. It cited the lack of examination of Frazier’s brain prior to cremation and “Frazier’s estate failed to plead any non-conclusory allegations linking Frazier’s death to 2 injuries sustained while wrestling.”  

As for the class action lawsuit, the case was thrown out in 2018. A federal court rejected the case in September 2020.  

WWE attorney Jerry McDevitt was seemingly less than sympathetic to the case, he told The Boston Herald: “It’s ridiculous that someone can … try to blame someone because a gentleman with a weight problem died of a heart attack in the shower eight years after he last performed.”  

He implied the case was a media headline grab, calling the suit a “creative writing exercise”, adding that cases like Frazier’s make it an “embarrassment to be a lawyer.”  

Closing Remarks

On three occasions and four gimmicks, Nelson Frazier, Jr. could never quite make it work in the WWE in spite of his many chances.   

Gaining a reputation as a reckless worker, his brief time at the top was pulled from beneath him. Perhaps due to Vince McMahon’s documented love of giants or to increase the roster, he was brought back from 1999-2000 and 2004-2008 but failed to attain great success.  

With his death in 2014, the man of many names may be gone but he has nonetheless raised the profile of CTE within professional wrestling. 

Griffin Kaye is a contributing writer for Lace 'Em Up. He is a life-long pro wrestling fan and has written on comedy, music, history, politics, and TV. He can be reached by e-mail at, on Twitter @GriffinKaye1, as well as on Instagram at @TheGriffinKaye.

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