The Godwinns was the most well known gimmick of the professional wrestling tag team composed of Dennis Knight (Phineas I. Godwinn) and Mark Canterbury (Henry O. Godwinn) that they used in the WWF. The team has used other gimmicks before they joined the WWF and had a gimmick change in the WWF shortly before disbanding. Their WWF gimmick was that of two cousins who were hog farmers from Arkansas. Their names were a rather unsubtle joke as a reference to this; Phineas' initials spelled PIG while Henry's spelled HOG.
The two men who would later be known as the Godwinns first started teaming in the United States Wrestling Association under the names Tex Sallinger (Phineas) and Master Blaster (Henry) in 1991. Master Blaster was masked while Sallinger was not. Due to their stature and ring outfits, some mistakenly believed that Sallinger and Blaster were a well traveled team known as "The Texas Hangmen" under a different gimmick as the Hangmen had recently left the USWA. The team feuded mainly with Jeff Jarrett and Robert Fuller as a part of the “Texas/Tennessee” storyline. After achieving little notoriety in the USWA, the two men were signed by World Championship Wrestling in 1992.
Tex and Shanghai
The duo was renamed "Tex Slazinger" and "Shanghai Pierce" who remained masked and made their debut in November 1992. Their debut was without much fanfare as they were at best perceived as a mid-card team used to help establish higher level teams. They did have a “mini-feud” of sorts with Kent & Keith Cole, the Cole Twins (who’s biggest claim to fame was that they were identical twins). Tex and Shanghai would mainly appear on the WCW “B” shows such as WorldWide and WCW Saturday Night. Tex Slazinger somehow got a cult following among the fans of the “Saturday Night” tapings who’d chant for him when he was in the ring. During one Saturday Night show, color commentator Jesse Ventura nicknamed them "the Texicans" although the name never became official.
Tex and Shanghai appeared at very few WCW pay-per-view (PPV)s losing every time they were in the spotlight except for one occasion: Battlebowl in 1993. Tex and Shanghai found themselves on opposite sides in a “Lethal Lottery” tag-team match, which meant that one of them would actually get a PPV victory. Rick Rude and Shanghai Pierce won the match but Shanghai was quickly eliminated in the ensuing battle royal.
In their time in WCW, they help put over future tag-team champions such as 2 Cold Scorpio and Marcus Alexander Bagwell and Cactus Jack and Maxx Payne. In 1994, Shanghai Pierce was unmasked during a bout with Johnny B. Badd and from that day forward appeared unmasked. Sometime after the summer of 1994, Tex and Shanghai left WCW; Shanghai was signed by the WWF while Tex worked a stint in the independent circuit that included a return to his old stomping grounds of the USWA.
Canterbury had joined the WWF in late 1994 and been repackaged with a “Hog Farmer” gimmick and renamed “Henry O. Godwinn”. Canterbury first worked as a heel with the Million Dollar Corporation under Ted DiBiase’s management and then later as a face after being kicked out of the stable.
In the early parts of 1996, Dennis Knight was signed with the WWF and became "Phineas I. Godwinn”, Henry’s cousin. The team was managed by Hillbilly Jim and actually made their debut shortly before the tournament began to crown new tag team champions after Billy Gunn suffered a neck injury. The Godwinns made it all the way to the finals at WrestleMania XII where they lost to the Bodydonnas. The Godwinns feuded with the Bodydonnas for the next couple of months, not just over the tag team titles but because Phineas had become infatuated with the Bodydonna’s manager Sunny, something which initially worked against the Godwinns.
The Godwinns finally got their revenge on the Bodydonnas by winning the tag team titles from them in May 1996. Sunny also joined with them at this point, although she specifically joined to use Phineas and remain near the tag team gold. At In Your House 8, the Godwinns lost the titles to the Smokin' Gunns, and Sunny moved on as she paired up with Billy Gunn and kept close to the tag team titles. The Godwinns would feud with the Gunns over the summer but would not regain the titles. For the rest of 1996, the Godwinns would remain a solid mid-card team.
Henry was told to take at least 15 weeks off to fully recover from the injury but returned in less than 8 weeks. Shortly after Henry returned to active duty, the team would turn heel, ditching their fun loving pig farmer gimmick for something more dark and sinister. They took Uncle Cletus as their manager and began attacking their opponents with their slop buckets. The turn and subsequent feud with the Headbangers would pay off as the Godwinns won tag gold once more on October 5, 1997 at Badd Blood. Unfortunately, their joy was short-lived as they would lose the titles to the Legion of Doom only 2 days later in a retirement match thanks to a botched interference by Uncle Cletus. Following their loss, the Godwinns took out their frustration on Uncle Cletus by busting his head wide open, and he was never seen again in the WWF after that.
After the feud with the Legion of Doom ended, the team began to flounder again with no real direction. Direction came during the summer of 1998. The two teamed up with Jeff Jarrett and adopted a “Southern Hired Gun” type of gimmick that saw them use their real names of Mark Canterbury and Dennis Knight for the first time. The team was named “Southern Justice” and they backed up Jeff Jarrett in a feud with D-Generation X. They even clashed with D-X at the Breakdown: In Your House PPV where they lost to Billy Gunn, Road Dogg, and X-Pac.
Shortly after the PPV, Canterbury herniated his C7 vertebrae and pinched a spinal nerve; this necessitated spinal fusion surgery, a result of Canterbury returning to the ring before he should have. After the neck injury and spinal fusion, Canterbury left the WWF and retired from pro-wrestling. Dennis Knight remained with the company for a couple of years as a member of The Undertaker's Ministry of Darkness. He was repackaged as ”Mideon” and later, after the Ministry disbanded, he wrestled as ”Naked Mideon”, a gimmick which saw him wrestle in a loincloth.
Deep South Wrestling
In September 2006, Canterbury wrestled several tryout matches with World Wrestling Entertainment. On September 15, 2006, WWE announced that he had been signed to a contract. He debuted in Deep South Wrestling on 11/30 as a tag partner for Ray Gordy. Gordy was known as Cousin Ray as the team used the ”Pigfarmer” gimmick; Gordy would later be moved to the SmackDown brand under the ring name "Jesse".
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