...sorry, force of habit.
James Fullington (born June 16, 1963) is a retired Americannote professional wrestler known as The Sandman. He is best known for his time in ECW, where he was a 5x NWA ECW Heavyweight/ECW World Heavyweight Champion and a 1x ECW World Tag Team Champion with 2 Cold Scorpio.
His began his career as Mr. Sandman in 1989, when he primarily wrestled in Tri-State Wrestling Alliance under a surfer gimmick. He struck gold in the mid-nineties, when ECW Vice-President Tod Gordon suggested that he mould a gimmick around his own powerful personality: the wetsuits were mercifully now out, and the black wifebeaters and kendo sticks were in. While not the most gifted worker, that arguably played to his advantage and he knew how to work a crowd; Paul Heyman knew a marketing hook when he saw it and dubbed Sandman "The Ambassador of Extreme".
Sandman was among the talent who jumped ship to WCW (as Hak) when ECW began to crumble in '99, but his Improv Fu and edgy gimmicks did not translate to a national stage (even in a neutered "Hardcore Division"), and he withdrew to ECW before the year was up.
In 2005, WWE came knocking when they were in the middle of reviving the ECW brand. The company wisely kept Sandman offstage the majority of the time, employing him as a kind of vigilante who appeared when some injustice was done. In June 2007 he got drafted into Raw, but was soon released from his contract on September of that year. Since then he has run with many promotions, including International Wrestling Cartel (where he became IWC Heavyweight Champion), MLW and TNA as part of its ECW reunion show, HardCORE Justice.
"These tropes are politically incorrect, and damn proud of it!":
- '90s Anti-Hero: Had every indicator of being a heel, but he's too cool for that. He did indeed do a heel run in XPW for a year.
- Alternate Company Equivalent: To the point that some people thought "Stone Cold" Steve Austin was ripping him off by cursing and drinking beer. Which becomes even funnier when people who hadn't seen the Sandman in the original ECW wondered if he was ripping off Austin! Of course, as beer-drinking brawlers, they were both following in the tradition of Dick the Bruiser and The Crusher.
- Bash Brothers: With 2 Cold Scorpio, Tommy Dreamer, Little Spike Dudley, and Terry Funk.
- Beergasm: Chugs on his way to the ring. Has also shown up and wrestled after getting drunk beforehand.
- Big Damn Heroes: This is usually his role at Shane Douglas' Extreme Rising shows, running in to make the save for the Faces by caning their opponents.
- Biting-the-Hand Humor:
- SyFy mandated that there had to be some supernatural or alien wrestlers on the revamped ECW to justify a place on their esteemed network. The Sandman caning a zombie was Heyman's response to that mandate.
- Averted in his actual relationship in the WWE. He knew his style didn't mesh well with the current WWE product and probably wouldn't last long there. Once he was released he had nothing but good things to say about the WWE.
- Blood Knight: As Paul Heyman said on the Rise and Fall of ECW DVD:"Here was just a tough guy looking for a fight. And the fans loved him."
- The Cameo: In what would later be revealed to be the first example of WWE working with ECW, Sandman got to stand up and spit beer in Savio Vega's face during his Caribbean strap match against Justin "Hawk" Bradshaw at WWF in Your House 10: Mind Games, September 22, 1996, which was held in Philadelphia.
- Can-Crushing Cranium: Would bust himself open before he even got to the ring by smashing beer cans against his head.
- Carry a Big Stick: Singapore canes are his Weapon of Choice.
- Catchphrase: Would start promos with a loud "YOOOOO!'"
- Combat Pragmatist: What was commonplace in ECW had a rule against it in WWE, not like he followed too many of the rules anyway.
- Content Warnings: The back of the T-shirt in the page photo has the following warning:"PARENTAL WARNING: Sandman Has Been Known To Promote Smoking, Drinking And Ass Kicking. Keep Away From Childern."
- Crowd Song: The crowd would sing along with "Enter Sandman" during his entrance. During the actual match, they'd chant, "Fuck em up Sandman fuck em up!" or sometimes "Sandman's gonna kill you! Sandman's gonna kill you!"
- Drunken Master: He would drink beer on his way to the ring and sometimes even during the matches. It also led to the names of some of his big moves.
- Early Installment Weirdness: His Surfer Dude gimmick. Even when he transitioned into the more well-known version of the Sandman gimmick, he initially wore rather colorful pajamas, rather than the black sleveless T-shirt and jeans he would become associated with.
- Expy: Sandman's badass, beer-drinking brawler character can be traced back to Dick the Bruiser and the The Crusher.
- Finishing Move: Piledriver, Bitchin' Legdrop, DDT, White Russian Legsweep, Heinekenrana, Rolling Rock Senton.
- Frying Pan of Doom: Infamously was on the receiving end of this (which also stopped the "fans bring your own weapons to the show" practice), as Mick Foley merely thought he was using a cheap frying pan from a nearby dollar store. Nope. And according to Mick it took "two weeks for his brain to unscramble."
- Garbage Wrestler: To the point that, when he actually would pull off regular wrestling moves, and do them well, it stood out.
- Half-Truth: During the "Who is Mr. McMahon's illegitimate son?" storyline, the payoff had numerous possible suspects in the ring, which were eliminated one by one as clues were read out by a lawyer to the "son"'s identity. However, according to the eventual revealee Hornswoggle in a shoot interview well after the fact, Sandman stayed in the ring long after it was his cue to leave. He had a reason, in his own mind, to stay: all the descriptors the lawyer was rattling off applied to him as well. They eventually had to call an audible to get him to leave.
- Hidden Depths: For a guy who has the body of a Garbage Wrestler (because he is one), he has the brain of a Rhodes scholar. (The Sandman's pre-teen son has him beat, though.) Something he has in common with James Mitchell, according to the documentary Forever Hardcore."So instead of screwing rats and shooting drugs like everybody probably assumed we were doing, a night of me and Sandman going was, (raspy shouting) "YO! RED GUY! I WANT YA TO THINK OF A COUNTRY BELOW THE 38TH PARALLEL, AND IT'S A DICTATORSHIP!" Czechoslovakia. "PURR-FECT!! HOW'D YA KNOW THAT?! NOW, WHAT WAS THE DICTATOR'S NAME?" Sit up and play trivia all night."
- I Approved This Message: In 2006, WWE renamed their Taboo Tuesday PPV, where fans would get to vote online on who they wanted in matches and/or what kinds of matches would be on the show, Cyber Sunday. The Sandman was one of the three potential opponents, along with Chris Benoit and Kane (who was the winner of the vote, but not the match), for Umaga. The Sandman cut a promo urging the fans to vote for him. As this was a mid-term election year, he ended his promo with, "I'm the Sandman, and I approved this message."
- I Need a Freaking Drink: Called out for a beer after The Dudley Boys had defeated him and Dreamer in the main event of ECW One Night Stand 2005. He finally got it, courtesy of Stone Cold who was clearly, clearly drunk off his ass himself. Hilarity ensued.
- Jerkass: In his feud with Peaches (his Real Life wife Lori) in 1994.
- Leitmotif: Metallica's "Enter Sandman", often doubling as a Crowd Song.
- Pajama-Clad Hero: Makes sense, since he's the Sandman.
- Power Stable:
- Rated M for Manly: He drinks a 12-pack before he gets to the ring while the whole arena sings "Enter Sandman".
- Red Baron: "The Hardcore Icon", "Hak" (which is his real life longtime nickname).
- Salt and Pepper: With 2 Cold Scorpio.
- The Sandman: As his stage name suggests, he's first based on this legendary character to later evolve into a Hardcore legend, also having "Enter Sandman" as his entrance song (which is based on this character).
- Shoo Out the Clowns: The Sandman faced The Zombie on the first episode of the relaunch. SyFy wanted gimmicks like a zombie on the show and WWE made Heyman do it, so he did. Out of spite. By putting that zombie in the ring and having The Sandman completely plaster him.
- Smoking Is Cool: Along with drinking on his way to the ring, he'd also smoke. No milk and vitamins for him.
- Squash Match:
- Pinned Chad Austin in 9 seconds at ECW's March 5, 1994 show.
- Flattened the Zombie on the first episode of WWECW.
- Technician vs. Performer: No one would ever claim that Sandman was a technical star alongside Chris Benoit, Bret Hart, or Dean Malenko, but he was as loved in ECW as "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, The Rock, or Ric Flair. He also performs purely for the love of the sport, being independently wealthy for years.
- Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Or pants; he wrestled in American flag colored pants for a time. Joey Styles called him a "disgrace to the American flag."
- Wooden Katanas Are Even Better: Singapore canes are his Weapon of Choice.
- Would Hit a Girl: Kelly Kelly, of all people.
- Wrestling Doesn't Pay: A wrestling pimp. More noticeable in WCW, amusingly, since the "ultra violence" wasn't as much of a distraction as in, say, ECW, nor was that kind of thing the norm such as in XPW.
- Wrestling Family: Was originally managed by his wife Lori who used the name Peaches. His son Tyler was involved in the feud with Raven in 1996-1997 and tried his hand at wrestling in 2008-2009 as Twisted Sand, but nothing seems to have come from that.
- Wrestling Psychology: An unlikely choice, but he did have his own version. By busting himself open before he got to the ring, it nullified any threats his opponents might make about making him bleed.
- Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: At ECW's final PPV, Guilty As Charged 2001, he defeated ECW World Heavyweight Champion Steve Corino and Justin Credible in a three-way-dance for the title. Then Rhino came down and issued a challenge. Sandman called for the bell...and Rhino proceeded to squash him for the title.