|Ring name(s)||Big Bubba
Bubba the Belt Collector
Big Steel Man
|Billed height||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Billed weight||384 lb (174 kg)|
August 10, 1956 |
Norfolk, Virginia, United States
Fred Ottman (born August 10, 1956) is a retired American professional wrestler best known as Tugboat or Typhoon, and for teaming with John "Earthquake" Tenta as The Natural Disasters in the World Wrestling Federation. Ottman is also well known for his infamous Shockmaster gimmick in World Championship Wrestling. In WWF, he is a one-time Tag Team Champion.
Florida Championship Wrestling (1988-1989)
Ottman competed in the Gordon Solie-hosted Florida Championship Wrestling promotion as a babyface known as U.S. Steel. Steel feuded with Scott Hall, among others.
World Wrestling Federation (1989–1993)
Ottman made his first appearance in the WWF in June 1989 in a dark match under the ring name Big Steel Man with Slick as his manager. That September, his name was changed to Tugboat Tyler, then Tugboat Thomas, as he portrayed a fan favorite on house shows, defeating the likes of Barry Horowitz, The Brooklyn Brawler and Boris Zhukov. He debuted on WWF television on the January 27, 1990 episode of Superstars under the Tugboat Thomas moniker and defeated Iron Mike Sharpe. His ring name was soon after shortened to Tugboat. His costume consisted of a red striped shirt, white pants, and a sailor's hat. Part of his gimmick included miming pulling the cord of an airhorn and making a "Toot-toot" noise, like a foghorn on a ship. Tugboat aided Hulk Hogan in his feud with Earthquake and "Canada's Strongest Man" Dino Bravo. This coincided with a substantial push that saw Tugboat emerging victorious on television against numerous opponents. He made his pay-per-view debut at that November's Survivor Series, where he teamed with Hogan, The Big Boss Man and Hacksaw Jim Duggan to face the team of Earthquake, Dino Bravo, Haku and The Barbarian. Tugboat was eliminated when he and Earthquake fought to a double count-out, and Hogan went on to be the sole survivor. In the early part of 1991, Tugboat was used as the first true test of The Undertaker, who defeated Tugboat at a number of events.
Natural Disasters (1991–1993)
In May 1991, Ottman teased a heel turn by attacking Hulk Hogan in a battle royal on NBC's Saturday Night's Main Event. Ottman completed the turn on the May 28 episode of WWF Superstars. Tugboat and The Bushwhackers were facing The Nasty Boys and Earthquake in a six-man tag team match when Tugboat attacked his teammates, allowing Earthquake to hit the Earthquake Splash on Bushwhacker Luke and pin him. On the June 17 episode of Prime Time Wrestling, Earthquake's manager, Jimmy Hart, reintroduced Ottman as Typhoon, and he and Earthquake became known as The Natural Disasters. As part of the character change, Ottman began wearing a red, white and black singlet with a tidal wave on the front and "Typhoon" in black letters under it (to match the design on Earthquake's wrestling gear, seismograph lines and "Earthquake" in red letters across the middle).
The Natural Disasters dumped Hart and turned into fan favorites in early 1992, feuding with and winning, in July, the WWF Tag Team Championship from Hart's new top team, Money Inc. ("Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase and Irwin R. Schyster). They lost the title back to Money Inc. three months later. After Earthquake took a leave of absence from the WWF early in 1993, Ottman wrestled in singles matches before leaving the company that spring.
World Championship Wrestling (1993–1994)
The Shockmaster incident (1993)
After departing from the WWF, Ottman found himself at the center of one of the most infamous moments in wrestling history. He had signed with World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and was to make his debut in a match alongside the fan favorite team of Sting, Dustin Rhodes and Davey Boy Smith. He would be their mystery partner in the upcoming eight-man tag match against the heel team composed of Sid Vicious, Big Van Vader and Harlem Heat at Fall Brawl, a replacement for Road Warrior Hawk (who had been advertised).
"They put me in a Storm Trooper mask which they painted and covered in glitter, I couldn't see a thing. I got to the wall and put my hands up like a double axe handle and bust through. The top broke perfectly, but the bottom didn't give. The momentum took me through the wall and to the floor."
— Ottman on The Shockmaster's debut.
On "A Flair for the Gold" (an interview segment hosted by Ric Flair), in front of a live audience at Clash of the Champions XXIV, Sting and Smith were confronted by Sid and Harlem Heat, demanding to know the identity of their new partner. Sting exclaimed, "All I have to say is, our partner is going to "shock" the world, because he is none other than... The Shockmaster!!" The camera zoomed in on a section of the set where two torches set off a small pyrotechnics explosion in front of a sheetrock wall. Ottman was supposed to make a dramatic entrance by crashing through the wall. (His new costume consisted of a Star Wars Stormtrooper helmet painted silver and covered in glitter, a pair of jeans, and a long black vest.)
Instead, Ottman tripped over a piece of lumber that was framing the set, causing him to fall down, his helmet falling off and sliding across the floor. His face accidentally exposed, he scrambled to put the helmet back on and get to his feet. Flair audibly exclaimed "Oh, God!" Ottman slowly walked towards the wrestlers and stood menacingly in an attempt to salvage the segment. Booker T asked, "Who is this motherfucker?" and Smith exclaimed "He fell flat on his arse...he fell flat on his fucking arse!". Both of these comments were audible to the live audience and television viewers, but would later be partially censored in future showings of the footage by the WWE. Sid Vicious reacted in rage to the Shockmaster, attempting to smooth over the incident. Despite generating zero crowd reaction and leaving the announcers speechless, WCW decided to continue with the feud. The Shockmaster was actually voiced by Ole Anderson, who was in another room with a microphone.
Entering the ring to a distorted version of the Beatles song "Day Tripper," The Shockmaster was portrayed as a klutz until the character was soon abandoned. Dusty Rhodes later claimed, on an episode of WWE 24/7's "Legends of Wrestling" show, the piece of lumber previously wasn't there during a successful practice run and it was later put there by David Crockett without informing Ottman. WWE, on its official website, wrote, "There is a case to be made that The Shockmaster's debut at WCW Clash of the Champions XXIV is the greatest of all time — albeit for all the wrong reasons. The well-documented incident is often cited as one of the funniest moments ever, and the most epic fail in the history of sports-entertainment." The organization has also described the incident as "one of the most unintentionally funny moments in sports entertainment history," and "a debacle many still consider one of the worst gaffes in the history of sports-entertainment." While Ottman was displeased with the turn of events, he now finds humor in the incident.
WCW attempted to salvage the incident by introducing a new character called The Super Shockmaster. Also portrayed by Ottman, he was presented as The Shockmaster's nephew, and referred to the Shockmaster as "Uncle Fred."
Return to the WWF (1994)
Japan, Independent circuit, and retirement (1994–2001)
After leaving the WWF in August 1994, Ottman, still using the Typhoon name, began wrestling on the independent circuit in the East Coast. In December 1995, he went to Japan to compete in a one-night tag team tournament, held by WAR. He teamed up with Shinja and advanced to the semi-finals, before losing to Genichiro Tenryu and Ultimo Dragon. In March 1996, he wrestled a tour of Malaysia for the National Wrestling Alliance.
By the late 1990s, he was wrestling primarily in Florida, where he competed for FOW and WXO. In WXO, he was given a gimmick where he was too big to get out of his own car.
Ottman was one of the participants in the 20-man Gimmick Battle Royal match at WrestleMania X-Seven as Tugboat, and was eliminated by his former partner, Earthquake.
Ottman retired from wrestling after WXO folded in 2001. He now lives in Lakeland, Florida and works as a safety manager for Gaffin Industrial Services, a building cleaning service. He also coaches the little league team of his two sons, Berkley and Beau and daughter, Bailey. He is one of the two uncles of Cody Rhodes, the other being Jerry Sags.
- With Earthquake
- Typhoon hits a body avalanche and keeps the opponent/s cornered while Earthquake splashes his back, crushing the opponent with the impact of both of their weights
Championships and accomplishments
- Continental Wrestling Association
- International Wrestling Association
- IWA United States Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Super World of Sports
- SWS Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Earthquake
- Universal Superstars of America
- USA Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- World Wrestling Federation
- "Fred Ottman's profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2011-08-16.
- Cawthon, Graham. "1989 WWF results". The History of WWE. Retrieved 2012-12-14.
- "Tugboat's WWE Alumni Bio". WWE. Retrieved 2010-05-26.
- Cawthon, Graham. "1990 WWF results". The History of WWE. Retrieved 2012-12-14.
- Cawthon, Graham. "1991 WWF results". The History of WWE. Retrieved 2012-12-14.
- Fred Ottman images, from OnlineWorldofWrestling
- Cawthon, Graham. "1992 WWF results". The History of WWE. Retrieved 2012-12-14.
- Hoffman, Brett. "Catching up with Tugboat". WWE. Retrieved 2010-02-16.
- Kevin, Powers. "20 memorable Superstar debuts: #6 Shockmaster". WWE. Retrieved 2013-03-06.
- Zeigler, Zack. "Wherever Nitro goes, success follows". WWE. Retrieved 2010-02-16.
- Typhoon's 1994 WWF matches, from WrestlingData.com
- "Catching up with Tugboat". WWE. Retrieved 2007-04-21.
- "Cody Rhodes Profile". Online World Of Wrestling. Retrieved 2007-10-18.
- "Jimmy Hart profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-09-04.
- Royal Duncan & Gary Will (4th Edition 2000). Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.