On the morning before WrestleMania 33, I found myself walking through the Hyatt Regency Orlando alongside an UPROXX camera crew and Glacier, a pro wrestling ice ninja from 1996, while he told me a story about the contact lens he wears in his right eye to create a magic eyeball.
“It was such a defining part of Glacier, it’s the one eye, the ice-blue eye. So when kids would come up to me at shows or appearances or whatever, just in a child-like wonderment, they’ll stay stuff like, ‘Is that your real eye?’ ‘Does your eye really look like that?’ And what I tell them is, ‘Yeah, actually both of my eyes look like this, but I put a contact on this one to make it look like a real eye.’ And they go, ‘REALLY?’ And I go, ‘Yeah, but don’t tell anybody. It’s our secret.'”
We said goodbye to him at the end of the hall, watching him shake hands and laugh with old friends moments before the WrestleCon people shuffled him into a ballroom for the “Mania Moments” brunch. As we shot our final frames of footage, an independent wrestler noticed us. He broke line to approach me, and in a condescending voice asked, “You burying Glacier? You burying Glacier?”
This is the first thing people ask when you tell them you’re writing about Glacier.
The “Blood Runs Cold” posse — a live-action Mortal Kombat proxy featuring Glacier, his karate champion pal Ernest ‘The Cat’ Miller, and their rivals, a giant Satanic knight (?) named Wrath and a radioactive Thai pit-fighting skeleton (?) named Mortis — would’ve fit in perfectly in WWF’s corny, cartoonish New Generation. They would’ve done karate to wrestling plumbers and wrestling magicians. They also would fit in perfectly on modern shows like Lucha Underground, where the pulp sensibility of grindhouse films meets a jaded-with-reality crowd of rowdy fans who WANT to see zombies and skeletons wrestle.
Instead, it debuted in the in-between, where kids who’d grown up watching Hulk Hogan in the ’80s suddenly wanted the real-life stars they read about on the Internet to show up and kick Hulk Hogan’s ass. Heroism and bright colors were replaced by shades of grey, both figuratively and literally, as the world’s biggest wrestling heels started wearing black and white and using their real names. The world’s biggest wrestling babyface started wearing black and white. On the other show, the dancing, happy champion who loved his fans was replaced by a guy who pointed at his dick every chance he got and showed his bare ass to the camera. The biggest star in that world was Stone Cold Steve Austin, a man who’d be a hated villain in any other era. People started pulling guns on each other. A Philadelphia indie started setting tables on fire. The cartoons were balled up and thrown in the trash.
Glacier was supposed to debut in the spring of 1996. Scott Hall made his WCW Monday Nitro debut first. Kevin Nash followed.