It was announced earlier today that Charlie “Thunderblood” Norris, a native American gimmick performer on Midwest independents, had passed away. We need to know the specifics of what happened and why the wrestler died.
Who Was Charlie Norris?
WWE, PWA, and AWF all had a star in Charlie Norris. Norris began wrestling in 1989. He had worked for Eddie Sharkey’s PWA banner in Minneapolis, where he had trained. Norris won the PWA Heavyweight Title just a few months after making his debut and went on to successfully defend it five times.
Norris signed with both the NWA and WCW in 1993, the year he made his professional wrestling debut. He worked with WCW from August 1993 to January 1994 and was given a lot of support throughout that time. Norris was defeated by William Regal, the WCW World Television Champion, on the January 29, 1994 episode of WCW Worldwide (aka Lord Steven Regal).
Norris returned to his hometown promotion, the PWA, after his time in WCW, and won the tag team titles twice with Sam Houston and Derrek Dukes. He has been doing promotion work for the AWF and on his own for quite some time up until around 2006.
Norris began his career in the WWE in 1991 by participating in “dark matches,” which served as test bouts for the promotion’s upcoming debut of a Native American wrestler. Chris Chavis, better known in the wrestling world as Tatanka, was ultimately selected.
How did Charlie Norris Die?
Charlie, a WCW wrestler who was active for the majority of that year, has passed away. He was 57. The Cauliflower Alley Club has issued a statement saying that Norris passed away this afternoon. Norris was last seen working as a personal trainer on the Red Lake Indian Reservation in Northwestern Minnesota, but the circumstances surrounding his death are unknown at this time.
We are once again hit was sad news with the passing of Charlie Norris at the age of 57. As always we send out our condolences to his family and friends during this most difficult time. Rest on peace Sir.. pic.twitter.com/f4gqIfi5op
— CauliflowerAlleyClub (@CACReunion) February 6, 2023
Charlie Filed a Lawsuit Against WCW
Norris used the aliases Johnny Grey Feather and Thunderblood throughout his time in WWE. After leaving WCW in 1994, he filed a formal complaint with the company. He said that executives had humiliated and offended him by making him do things like air hand chops and Indian dance.
In the suit, he specifically called out former WCW president Greg Gagne, who he claims called Norris “Big Chief” and showed him the dance they wanted him to do in the ring. Norris also stated that his $800 weekly remuneration was much lower than that of other performers.
Norris added that he wasn’t getting paid for his travel and costumes, but that other performers were. In addition, he stated that a contract he signed with WCW during Ole Anderson’s tenure as talent manager was disregarded. The lawsuit ultimately sided with Norris.
Charlie Norris Career
In 1988, Norris began training under Eddie Sharkey and signed with Sharkey’s wrestling promotion, Pro Wrestling America (PWA), where he was rapidly elevated to main event status. On October 4, 1989, he was scheduled to face Ricky Rice and become the promotion’s first-ever Heavyweight Champion. After a remarkable eight-month reign, he lost his first and only title on May 14, 1990, to Rice.
On February 7, Norris won back the championship from Terminator Riggs, only to lose it again on February 11. The length of Norris’ second tenure as champion was the shortest ever. On May 11, Norris won his third Heavyweight Championship by beating The Golden Idol, who substituted for Riggs after the champion no-showed the event.
Following his title loss to Teijo Khan on October 14, Norris won his fourth Heavyweight Championship by defeating Khan on December 22. On February 17, Norris was defeated by Punisher Sledge, but on April 26, he avenged that loss by defeating Sledge for the fifth time. His fifth reign lasted six months when he surrendered the title to The Hater on October 20. Norris’ championship run came to an end after this. Soon after, in early 1993, he left the business.
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Early in 1991, the World Wrestling Federation explored hiring Norris to play a Native American character, but ultimately cast Chris Chavis in the role.
Charlie “Thunderblood” Norris, a native American gimmick performer on Midwest independents, has passed away. He was 57. Norris began wrestling in 1989 and won the PWA Heavyweight Title five times. He signed with both the NWA and WCW in 1993 and was given a lot of support. He returned to his hometown promotion, the PWA, after his time in WCW and won the tag team titles twice with Sam Houston and Derrek Dukes.
He filed a lawsuit against WCW. Charlie Norris was a professional wrestler who used the aliases Johnny Grey Feather and Thunderblood during his time in WWE. After leaving WCW in 1994, he filed a formal complaint with the company, claiming that executives had humiliated and offended him by making him do things like air hand chops and Indian dance.
He also stated that his $800 weekly remuneration was much lower than that of other performers. The lawsuit ultimately sided with Norris. In 1991, the World Wrestling Federation explored hiring Norris to play a Native American character, but ultimately cast Chris Chavis in the role.
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