#TakerWeek: Indy Spotlight – UltraMantis Black

Man, oh man, I can’t wait for Wrestlemania season to end.

It’s not that I don’t love the biggest show in pro wrestling’s calendar year.  I’m super-pumped to watch 80-thousand people celebrate Daniel Bryan’s Wrestlemania moment.

It’s this pesky Indy Spotlight.

As much as I love writing it (and I really do), these Wrestlemania-caliber Wrestlers of the Week are just too much for most indy stars to live up to.

John Cena week was tough.  It took some deep thinking before I came up with the one-and-only indy star who made any sense in “Lightning” Mike Quackenbush (who, by the way, Tweeted his thanks for what I had to say.   Yeah, I marked out.)

Hulk Hogan week?  Simply impossible.  There will only be one Hulk Hogan, ever.  No one on the indies comes close.  And that’s not a knock on anyone, or the industry.  It’s a statement to Hogan’s value and legacy in pro wrestling.

That brings us to #TakerWeek.  Yeah, this is going to be a tough one, too—but I think I got it.

When I think about the Undertaker, I don’t really think about his in-ring work.  While his ring work is great (especially with the right opponents), it’s the undeniable presence of his character that is truly special.  That, and the unbelievable depth of his back story.  For an undead wrestling zombie, it’s pretty incredible.

If there’s anyone on the indies who comes close to making me feel the way Taker does, it’s Chikara regular UltraMantis Black.

While they’re not quite in the same character realm (one is a zombie demon, the other is an evil insect overlord), they do share quite a bit in common.  They’re both covered in tattoos.  They both have cool gimmick attires.  They both have history as leaders of dark, mysterious cult-like groups.  Taker had the Ministry of Darkness, and Mantis had the Order of the Neo Solar Temple, and most recently, the Spectral Envoy.

But what really makes UltraMantis Black stand out to me is his gift of gab.  The man knows his character so well, and he definitely knows how to speak through it.  Whether he’s cutting promos to build matches, advance storylines, or even providing color commentary, the guy is just GOLD.  If he never wrestles for WWE, he’d easily be a perfect manager, or announcer.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you why you should check Mantis out.  I’m just going to tell you that you really need to do it.  If you love pro wrestling’s “out there” characters, like the Undertaker, you should have a lot of fun with UltraMantis Black.  Just do it.  You’ll thank me later.

@AndyMillerJMS