|Members||Henry O. Godwinn / Shanghai Pierce|
Phineas I. Godwinn / Tex Slazenger
Tex Slazenger and Shanghai Pierce
6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
|573 lb (260 kg)|
|Billed from||"Bitters, Arkansas"|
|Years active||1991–1994, 1996–1998, 2006–2007, 2011–2012|
The Godwinns was a 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 original WWF gimmick was that of two brothers who were hog farmers from Arkansas.
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 (WCW) in 1992.
The duo was renamed "Tex Slazenger" 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 and Keith Cole, the Cole Twins. Tex and Shanghai would mainly appear on the WCW “B” shows such as WorldWide and WCW Saturday Night. Tex Slazenger 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 helped 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”, originally billed as Henry's cousin, but later changed to Henry's brother. 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 Bodydonnas' 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.
During a match in April, Henry Godwinn suffered a cracked C7 vertebra when the Legion of Doom botched a Doomsday Device.
Henry was told to take at least 15 weeks off to fully recover from the injury but returned in less than 8 weeks. Henry returned to active duty but acted more heelish and less cheerful, the team would slowly turn heel. They ditched their goofy pig farmer gimmick for that of bitter southern boys who wanted to hurt people like Henry got hurt. They also ditched their manager Hillbilly Jim and for a short time was without a manager. They eventually 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. However, the title run was short-lived as they would lose the titles to the Legion of Doom only two 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, they engaged in a short feud with the returning Quebecers that failed to gain fan interest. The team began to flounder again with no real direction. As a result, the two were repackaged, thus ditching the Hillbilly gimmick and false names. On the June 1st, 1998 edition of Raw, the two adopted a "Southern Hired Gun" type of gimmick that saw them wear sharp suits and sunglasses and use their real names of Mark Canterbury and Dennis Knight for the first time and backing up Jeff Jarrett. 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 until January 2001, repackaged as "Mideon" and later, "Naked Mideon".
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 30 November, as a tag partner for Ray Gordy. They wrestled a dark match before WWE SmackDown around this time. But the gimmick never came into fruition on the main roster. 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".
Both men came out of retirement in 2011 for Great Lakes Championship Wrestling in Wisconsin. Gimmicked as the Texas Hangmen They lost to Demolition on December 3. A year later they lost to them again.
On November 22, 2020 they made an appearance at Survivor Series during The Undertakers retirement ceremony.
(November, 1992) Tex Slazenger & Shanghai Pierce defeated Ricky Nelson & the Italian Stallion at 4:17 when Slazenger pinned Nelson with a reverse DDT
(November 26, 1992) Johnny Gunn & Tom Zenk defeated Shanghai Pierce & Tex Slazenger
(December, 1992) Cactus Jack and Johnny B. Badd defeated Tex Slazenger & Shanghai Pierce at 3:50
(March 8, 1993) after the bout, Slazenger grabbed the mic and made a challenge to the Cole Twins; moments later, Grizzly Smith came out and said they could have the Cole brothers for 5 minutes, with the Coles then coming out and clearing Tex & Shanghai from the ring
(Superstars 12/10/94) featured a vignete promoting the debut of Henry Godwinn
(June 26, 1995) Lex Luger & Davey Boy Smith defeated Henry Godwinn & Tatanka (w/ Ted Dibiase) at 5:49
(August 15, 1995) Henry Godwinn pinned AC Conner at 2:20 with the Slop Drop; late in the bout, Ted Dibiase appeared in the aisle; after the match, King Kong Bundy came out and attacked Godwinn from behind and held him for Dibiase to slop but Godwinn moved and accidentally slopped Bundy
(January 22, 1996) Henry & Phineas Godwinn (w/ Hillbilly Jim) defeated Skip & Zip (w/ Sunny) when Phineas pinned Zip with the Slop Drop; after the bout, the Godwinns briefly had Sunny square dance with them against her will (Phineas' debut)
(April 21, 1997) the Legion of Doom defeated Henry & Phineas Godwinn after Henry sustained the Doomsday Device; as a result of the move, Henry sustained a broken neck and was out of action for several months
(June 30, 1997) Farooq & D-Lo Brown (w/ Kama) defeated the Legion of Doom at 3:02 when Farooq pinned Road Warrior Hawk after Henry Godwinn, who watched the entirety of the match with Phineas Godwinn on the entrance stage, hit Hawk in the back of the head with his slop bucket
The Legion of Doom defeated WWF Tag Team Champions Henry & Phinneas Godwinn (w/ Uncle Cletus) to win the titles at 8:50 when Road Warrior Hawk pinned Phinneas with the flying clothesline, as Phinneas attempted to piledrive Road Warrior Animal; moments prior to the finish, Cletus accidentally hit Henry with the horseshoe; pre-match stipulations stated that if LOD did not win the titles, they would have to retire; after the bout, the Godwinns bloodied Uncle Cletus for costing them the titles (The Life & Death of the Road Warriors)
(June 1, 1998) Jeff Jarrett (w/ Tennessee Lee & Southern Justice) pinned Farooq after hitting him with Lee's belt buckle as Southern Justice distracted the referee; prior to the bout Tennessee Lee introduced the repackaged Godwinns as Southern Justice