Meet Wild Bill Wantland A.K.A. Moondog A.K.A. The Animal A.K.A. Disco Santa.

In the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) history there have been many memorable Moondogs: Mayne, Sailor, Rex, Spot, Spike, Cujo… and there continues to be lore around the origin of the Moondog name within the WWF family tree. Wild mountain men chewing on bones fighting like dogs in ragged cutoff jeans and boots with full grown Santa Claus beards.

In September I met Bill Wantland, a Las Vegas entertainer, who wrestled professionally for 12 years under the WWF names of Moondog Spot and Moondog Spike. He was trained by Ray Stevens, the Blonde Bomber, to be a tag team partner for the then injured Lonnie “Moondog” Mayne. In Bill's words, “I was young, strong, and stupid.” He added in an email, “THE MOONDOGS WERE INTERCHANGEABLE! THERE WHERE 3 SPIKES AND 2 SPOTS SO I ASSUMED THE CARICATURE THAT OF MOONDOG! IT WAS LIKE WEARING A MASK OR A VERSION OF ME SO I WAS LIKE ON CALL! TO WHO EVER NEEDED ME. BUT IM MOST PROUD OF MY MUSIC AND MY INVENTION THE ONE-HANDED GUITAR.” Pictured below and to the right: Bill as Moondog Spike.

WWF Junkyard Dog vs Moondog Spot
Uploaded to youtube by WWF Channel.

WWF Champion Hulk Hogan vs Moondog Spot
Uploaded to Daily Motion by TSteck160.

Bill Wantland - CineVegas Red Carpet Event - Las Vegas

“ME AND HULK HOGAN”. This photo is from Moondog's webtv page.

Once an entertainer, always an entertainer…

At home on stage since early childhood, Bill Wantland has performed in plays, in films, worked as a magician, as a session musician (Bill Haley and the Comets; Danny and the Juniors), as an Uncle Sam impersonator, and as a radio talkshow host. He has also been a winning contestant on a game show. Bill's professional wrestling career ended in 2001 when he suffered a stroke and as a result became dependent on caretakers and a wheelchair for mobility.

Once an entertainer, always an entertainer… Bill saw the opportunity to do more for persons in his community who live their lives in wheelchairs. Limited to the use of one arm, Bill hand-stitched sequins and shimmering fabrics together into brightly colored outfits and chair decorations; he developed his public image as Disco Santa around Las Vegas's Fremont Street - a strategic way of confronting the social isolation that can be experienced by those living their lives in a chair. Crowds gather round him for autographs and he dishes out “good” and “bad” Santa humor. Bill has become an advocate for persons in wheelchairs in the Las Vegas community - speaking out at Taxi Authority meetings; he also volunteers at local children's hospitals telling stories, entertaining, and teaching kids with terminal illnesses how to be tough in the face of pain.

Sher, Bill, and the magician Jan Rouven. Photo credit: Sher Whritenour.

Links to Bill's projects and websites:
MySpace photos
OJTalk radio host
MOONDOG: photos and life story
MySpace page
MySpace page 2
A tribute to his personal caretaker "Mia", filmed by vegasmoviequeen.

Kristin putting Moondog in a headlock; Photo credit: Sher Whritenour.

Our introduction: Kristin is version 2, Bill is version google-plex. Fremont Street, Las Vegas.

Interview, part one; RT: 2m 46s.

Since his public debut as Disco Santa in Las Vegas, Bill has been invited to entertain at red carpet events and on Beacher's Madhouse which airs on Fox. He is regularly photographed with celebrities and celebrity impersonators at these events by his personal photographer Sher Whritenour. In addition to his entertainment work, Bill is actively working on inventions for persons in wheelchairs, such as the one armed guitar. There is rumor that he will appear on the Discovery Channel's Pitchmen.