The Mortis And Glacier Feud Was A Long-Running Battle Of WCW's Mortal Kombat-Inspired Gimmicks

There's no doubt that professional wrestling and video games go hand-in-hand, with a large overlap of fans dating back decades now. Many modern fans can even trace their love of wrestling to video game series like "WWE SmackDown vs. Raw" or the run of "WWF" games from "War Zone" to "No Mercy." That connection may provide the explanation for why WCW boss Eric Bischoff thought it might be a good idea to introduce a pair of WCW characters inspired by "Mortal Kombat" — Glacier and Mortis. Depending on your point of view, that may or may not seem like a fun idea on paper. However, what can't be denied is that the concept just did not work well in execution.


The first test subject in Bischoff's experiment would be Glacier — a wrestling character clearly inspired by Sub-Zero of "Mortal Kombat" fame. To bring this character to life, Bischoff chose recently-signed wrestler Ray Lloyd. Though Bischoff would later come to regret choosing a larger performer, the plan was set into motion with Lloyd. The company began producing vignettes to hype the character up, and work began on an extremely expensive costume reportedly costing $35,000 and an entrance production that was even pricier.

The Rivalry Between Glacier and Mortis

Glacier debuted for WCW in August of 1996, building up a solid undefeated streak years before Goldberg would do the same. The character's elaborate entrance helped set him apart from other performers in the eyes of fans, but it didn't take long for it to become clear that something about the Glacier character just wasn't working. Part of that may have been the fact that the NWO had just debuted, changing the landscape of professional wrestling, and the aesthetic of what fans expected. The publisher of "Mortal Kombat," Midway, even threatened to sue WCW for similarities between Glacier and Sub-Zero, so Glacier's costume was altered to avoid a lawsuit. Still, Bischoff stuck to the plan (to a degree), and Glacier's push continued.


Bischoff needed an equally-elaborate character for Glacier to square off against, and the WCW executive was keen on the idea of more video game-related wrestlers. Just months after Glacier was introduced, the company debuted Mortis — Glacier's skull-obsessed arch-enemy, played by former enhancement talent Chris Kanyon. Glacier and Mortis would have a number of showdowns over the course of the next year, including several pay-per-view matches and appearances on "WCW Nitro." Glacier won the majority of these battles, especially one-on-one.

Glacier and Mortis Slowly Phased Out

It soon became clear that the world of professional wrestling was going through drastic changes, and the cartoonish characters that dominated the early 1990s were no longer in vogue. Before the characters were quietly and slowly shelved, Glacier and Mortis were actually joined by two more video game-inspired characters — Wrath, portrayed by former WWE star Bryan "Adam Bomb" Clark, and The Cat, played by Ernest Miller. However, these additional characters would not be remembered on the same level as Glacier and Mortis in the eyes of fans. Eventually, all four characters were put on the back burner in WCW before disappearing completely, although the wrestlers behind them would later get another shot in different gimmicks.


Glacier can still occasionally be seen wrestling on independent shows to this day. Lloyd even made an appearance as Glacier in a battle royal on the very first AEW show, Double or Nothing, in 2019, complete with a version of his classic WCW costume. Kanyon, however, tragically passed away in 2010 after years of struggling with his mental health, joining a long lineage of professional wrestlers whose life ended too soon.