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The Great Mephisto

Real Name - Frankie Cain

Lifespan - n/a

5'8" 210 lbs. - Columbus, OH

Athletic Background - Boxing, Wrestling

Teacher(s) - n/a

Professional Background - Nashville(`63-`69), Arizona(`64), Toronto(`64), Florida(`66-`68), Amarillo(`68), Nashville(`70), Gulf Coast(`70), Florida(`70-`72), Kansas City(`71), Tri-State(`71), San Francisco(`73), Florida(`73), Houston(`73-`74), Australia(`74-`75), Mississippi(`76-`80), Florida(`77), Memphis(`77), Georgia(`80), All Japan(`80)

Aliases - Frankie Cain, Frankie Caine, Inferno #1, Mephisto, Mr. Smith

Peak Years - `68-`74

Place in History - In the Golden Age of wrestling, heels from foreign lands with exotic customs like the Sheik of Araby could easily raise the ire of the blue collar crowds.  Sinister Middle Eastern bad guys like their counterparts from the Far East used an amalgamation of cultural practices to enhance their alien status.  The Great Mephisto was the apex of such an approach.  He did more than head dresses and prayer rugs, he touched on a dark, mystical version of the Arab heel that even raised the interest of renowned Satanist Anton LaVey during his time in San Francisco.  Frankie Cain grew up in Columbus, Ohio and truly had to find his own way.  He eventually fell in with carnival fighting (both boxing and wrestling) and that led into a professional career.  Cain worked around the Midwest before finding his niche as half of the Infernos in the second half of the 1960s.  Cain was the driving force of the team.  The masked heels with their manager J.C. Dykes used loaded boots, loaded masks and fireballs to terrorize the South.  The trio ran an exhausting schedule and while Cain’s creativity were key to their success, promoters were not above throwing masks on other wrestlers and calling them “Infernos.”  Cain left the team while it was still successful and formed a new team as Mephisto with Dante (Bobby Hart), which also had a short, but successful run.  Cain continued with the Mephisto name, but he unmasked and tapped into the underlying devilish elements of the gimmick and his own ethnic heritage.  Frankie Cain unquestionably borrowed from the Sheik’s act, however he twisted the stereotypical Arab heel into something distinct.  The Sheik was a silent psychopath who worked short violent matches often with non-finishes, while the Great Mephisto was a delusional sociopath who had grueling battles with his babyface opponents.  The character played upon people’s fears of the unknown both in other foreign cultures and in supernatural realms.  In San Francisco, the Great Mephisto achieved his greatest success as he turned up the volume on his character.  His mystical promos, his pet rat and his vicious reverse piledriver quickly propelled him into a top spot.  After punching out promoter Roy Shire, Cain was never able to reach the same level of success as the NWA establishment were very cautious in using him.  He booked some successful angles in Australia (after its glory years) and Mississippi (after they split from Leroy McGuirk), but his rebellious nature prevented him from any major booking opportunities.  After getting out of the ring, he did some promoting and some work at nightclubs, but became a sad example of the broken-down wrestler as his health declined.  The true legacy of Frankie Cain might be as a freethinker who was always willing to push the bounds of convention.  He found out how to push buttons in the ring and he did it very effectively.