James "Jim" Mitchell (February 26, 1965) is an American professional wrestling Manager, known for his appearances with World Championship Wrestling (WCW) as James Vandenberg, with Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) as The Sinister Minister, and his work under his own name (alternately as both "Father James Mitchell" and as "Reverand James Mitchell") for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA).
Professional wrestling career
Smoky Mountain Wrestling
Mitchell wrestled in the Carolinas and in Virginia before joining Smoky Mountain Wrestling. He was not satisfied with his physical appearance as a wrestler, so he switched to being a manager. Mitchell, known as Daryl Van Horne, made his Smoky Mountain Wrestling debut in 1994 managing Prince Kharis (Rob Mayze). Van Horne claimed Kharis was a "4000-year-old mummy". The gimmick, based on a 1960s wrestler named "The Mummy", was a flop in the promotion and was dropped after only a few months. Van Horne went on to manage Kendo the Samurai (a masked samurai gimmick played at different points by Tim Horner, Scott Antol and Brian Logan, among others) for a brief time before disappearing from the promotion. The Van Horne gimmick was that he was a "Collector of Human Curiosities".
World Championship Wrestling
Mitchell debuted in World Championship Wrestling as James Vandenberg, the manager of Mortis, a wrestler with a persona based on the characters Reptile and Scorpion from Mortal Kombat. Managed by Vandenberg, Mortis feuded with Glacier. Mortis faced Glacier at Uncensored on March 16, 1997 in his Pay-per-viewdebut and lost. Following the match, Wrath debuted, siding with Mortis and Vandenberg and attacked Glacier. Glacier defeated Mortis in a rematch at Slamboree on May 18, when Wrath interfered on Mortis's behalf, causing a disqualification; Glacier then suffered a post-match beating before Ernest "The Cat" Miller ran to the ring to defend him. The four men fought one another over the following weeks, culminating in a match at Bash at the Beach on July 13, which was won by Mortis and Wrath.
Mitchell then tried to get a commentary segment off the ground on WCW Saturday Night. The piece featured Mitchell standing alone in a darkly lit room. He would discuss current feuds such as that between Saturn and Glacier, always finishing the segment with "And I could be wrong...but I doubt it." The segment was quietly axed after a few weeks. With nothing planned for his character, Mitchell was sent home with pay until his contract ran out. The office was not checking up on his contract status, however, which was for two years, so it rolled over and he stayed at home for another year with pay until he was finally released in 1999.
Extreme Championship Wrestling
In late 1999, Mitchell unofficially debuted in Extreme Championship Wrestling in a backstage Promo where he would "heal" a hurt Steve Corino, saying that his "gig" sucked but proclaiming it was better than his previous job, in WCW. In 2000, as The Sinister Minister he managed The Unholy Alliance (Yoshihiro Tajiri and Mikey Whipwreck) until the promotion closed in April 2001. He was injured in an accident with a handheld machine that was used for shooting fireballs, which exploded and blew off a piece of his finger.
Mitchell appeared at the World Wrestling Entertainment-produced ECW reunion pay-per-view One Night Stand on June 12, 2005. He accompanied Tajiri to ringside for his match with Super Crazy and Little Guido.
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling
The New Church and The Gathering
Mitchell debuted in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling on June 19, 2002. On October 30, going by the name Father James Mitchell, he returned to TNA along with Slash and Brian Lee, collectively known as the Disciples of The New Church. The New Church feuded with America's Most Wanted throughout 2002.
In 2003, The New Church began feuding with Raven. On November 5, 2003, Mitchell fought Raven in a Last Man Standing Match match that was won by Raven. In late 2003, Mitchell aligned himself with The Gathering, Raven's former protégés.
Alliance with Abyss
Mitchell returned to TNA on July 1, 2005, aligning himself with Abyss. Mitchell led Abyss to victories over Lance Hoyt at Sacrifice and Sabu at Genesis. At Turning Point on December 11, Abyss lost to Sabu in a Barbed wire match. He also led Abyss in a feud against Jeff Hardy.
At Genesis in 2006, Abyss won his first NWA World Heavyweight Championship by defeating Sting. The weeks after Abyss's title reign Sting seemed to control Abyss, and ordered Abyss to come to the ring alone were he would speak to Abyss without Mitchell speaking in Abyss's ear. Mitchell nearly lost control of Abyss, however soon scared him straight by showing Abyss a prison. Mitchell slammed Abyss into the fence and slapped him and reminded Abyss about his past. This act let Mitchell once again control Abyss with both men going into Final Resolution as a unit, manager and wrestler, to help Abyss defend his title against Sting and Christian Cage. On January 14, 2007, at Final Resolution Abyss lost his World Heavyweight Championship to Christian Cage during a Three Way Elimination match against Sting and Christian Cage. Abyss was eliminated by Sting after a Scorpion Death Drop, and then Sting by Christian Cage. The following week, Mitchell was later attacked and kidnapped by Sting, who threw him into the trunk of his car, and told Mitchell to leave Abyss alone. On January 25, he was able to give Sting by payback by launching a fireball right into Sting's face. The week after that, he told Abyss to find Sting while he later came into the ring and told Sting if he would accept his challenge at Against All Odds pay-per-view and on February 8, he accepted. He was then "kidnapped" by Sting again only this time, he was locked up in a cage, until Abyss came to his rescue by attacking Sting while Mitchell grab his belt buckle and choked Sting with it. At Against All Odds on February 11, Abyss lost to Sting in a prison yard match after he was powerbombed by Sting into a barbed wired table.
Subsequently, Mitchell was attacked by Sting after the match, causing him to bleed heavily. Mitchell returned to on screen action on March 22 when he came up the ramp and distracted Abyss away from his tag team match by bringing Abyss' on-screen mother to ringside. It was then revealed at a meeting with Sting and Mitchell that Abyss' mother had actually shot his dad, and Abyss took the blame to protect his mother. Mitchell was once again Abyss' handler, as "Father Jim" had threatened to report Abyss' mother to the authorities if Abyss did not come back to him, after which Mitchell allied Abyss with Team Cage.
On the April 19 edition of Impact!, after months of abuse by Mitchell, Abyss turned on Mitchell, Black Hole Slamming him, and turning face. Later, Mitchell delivered a eulogy for Abyss, saying that he had moved on to bigger and better things, and implying that he had a new monster. This monster was eventually revealed as his "son" Judas Mesias, who first appeared as a hand cutting a hole in the ring and pulling Abyss through it. He made his official debut on the September 13 Impact!, assaulting Abyss. On the January 17 edition of Impact!, Mitchell finally revealed the secret that he had been threatening to reveal for months: that Abyss was his on-screen son. Mitchell was released from his TNA contract on July 7, 2008.
Wrestlers Managed by James Mitchell
- Abdullah the Butcher
- The Iron Sheik
- Paul Orndorff
- Brad Anderson
- Kendo the Samurai
- Jimmy Garvin
- Jerry Lynn
- Balls Mahoney
- Moondog Spot
- Rick Michaels
- Christopher Daniels
- The Black Reign
- Judas Mesias
- Yoshihiro Tajiri
- Mikey Whipwreck
- CM Punk
- Julio Dinero
- Shane Douglas
- Mike Awesome
- Brian Lee
- Shane Douglas