James "Kamala" Harris died at the age of 70 on Sunday, and pro-wrestling fans were sad to hear the news. Kamala had his share of battles with some of the top wrestling stars in the world, including Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart and Jerry Lawler. On Twitter, Lawler shared a photo of him and Kamala going at it in a match while mentioning that he heard that the "Ugandan Giant" passed away.
Lawler and Kamala both competed in WWE, but based on the photo, the match could have been from when the two were working for the Continental Wrestling Association, which was founded by Jerry Jarrett and based in Tennessee, which was where Lawler is from. In a 2006 interview, Kamala talked about how Lawler is responsible for the "Kamala" character.
Just been told that Kamala has passed away. pic.twitter.com/oBGnezmujn— Jerry Lawler (@JerryLawler) August 9, 2020
"The Kamala character was created by Jerry Lawler," he said. "I kept it hidden for a long time because I like being creative myself, but Jerry Lawler, I give him the credit for it." Kamala was able to work in the WWE (then WWF) during the 1980s and 1990s during the height of its popularity. And while Hogan, Andre the Giant and the Ultimate Warrior were top stars during that era, Kamala was not far behind.
"The Kamala gimmick was so good they were selling out everywhere that I would go," he added when talking about how he was able to join WWE. "I was working with Andre the Giant a lot then and Andre told me that Vince McMahon was interested in me coming to, we all called it 'New York,' and I told him yeah. From there, Kamala would compete in top matches during live shows and television events. Along with his time in WWE, Kamala spent time in WCW and the independent circuit before retiring in 2010. In the interview, Kamala talked about what caused him to stop wrestling full-time.
"I didn't make a lot of money, I wasn't paid well when I was in the WWF," Kamala said. "Vince knows he didn’t pay me what I deserved, after all the main event matches that I was in. I don't know why because we had sold out everywhere." Despite the issues Kamala made have had with WWE, the company paid tribute to him with a statement and graphic before this week's episode of Raw.