The Kiss Pro Wrestling ‘Demon’ Remembers His Time in the Ring
Did you know that Kiss once had their very own officially licensed pro wrestling character? Yes, an ever-so-slightly more muscular version of Gene Simmons' "Demon" alter-ego was featured on World Championship Wrestling's roster for two years starting in 1999.
Current Chicago White Sox strength and conditioning coach Dale Torborg remembered his years as "The Demon" in a Where Are They Now? segment on WWE's website. "I was really pumped," Torborg says of getting the offer. "It was a dream of mine to represent Kiss, which I feel is the greatest band in the world."
The dream wasn't as smooth of a ride as Dale might have wished for, however. WCW President Eric Bischoff, fighting hard to keep up with his much bigger competition in the WWE, signed a deal with Kiss to bring their costumed personas to life one by one in his wrestling rings. The band themselves appeared at the debut of the first character, performing 'God of Thunder' as a large casket revealed the first (and unknown to everyone, the last) of their grappling dopplegangers, "the Demon."
Two problems plagued the character's first appearance. One, a last-minute change took the promised role away from Torborg and gave it to another wrestler, Brian Adams. Secondly, the segment aired after the show's main event, and resulted in historic low ratings for the already struggling program. Adams wanted nothing to do with the greasepaint anymore, putting Dale back into what was now perceived as a losing proposition, and only getting airtime due to contractual obligations with the band.
"I still enjoyed it," Torborg insists, "The whole trip with the Demon was just a crazy ride."
For two years he valiantly struggled on, keeping his head up and starting to make a connection with the fans even while serving primarily as cannon-fodder for other wrestlers. Unfortunately, WCW as a whole was bought out by the WWE in 2001 and Torborg's contract was not extended.
At the time, his father Jeff was managing the Montreal Expos, and he brought him in to help one of their catchers bulk up. Torborg, who played baseball earlier in his life has since became a respected coach in Major League Baseball. He says he now he gets more requests than ever to appear at independent shows and signings as his wrestling character, and harbors no ill will over the less-than-perfect circumstances of the assignment:
"I had a chance to bail...and I wouldn't. No matter what anyone says, I'm super proud that I was the Demon."
Watch Kiss's Wrestling Character 'The Demon' in Action