Mantaur Death – Undisclosed Causes
1968-2023 (Age 55)
Super-heavyweight wrestler Mantaur (aka Mike Halac) performed in the WWF at a time when everyone seemed to have a gimmick—unfortunately, most of them were dreadful.
The mid-1990s wasn’t a good time to be a WWF fan as Vince McMahon unleashed one bad idea after another. One of these was the gimmick of the half-man half-bull known as Mantaur.
Despite the goofy gimmick, Mike Halac made the most of things, just one example of his versatility in the squared circle. This versatility continued throughout his career whether he played Mantaur or someone else.
A Monster of a Man
Mike Halac was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1968. Although he was average height (6 feet tall), he was billed as weighing 400 pounds.
The big man worked in Europe for Otto Wanz’s Catch Wrestling Association as Bruiser Mastino, competing there from 1991 to 1994.
In 1994, Halac came to work for the WWF, initially working as Bruiser Mastino. However, the WWF gave him the gimmick of a half-man, half-bull, complete with a bull head that he wore before his matches.
Now working as Mantaur, he looked formidable but failed to find any success outside of the mid-card. Halac did get to wrestle top talent including Bam Bam Bigelow and Razor Ramon. Nevertheless, his WWF stay ended in the summer of 1995.
Halac jumped to Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), working as Bruiser Mastino. ECW fans would chant “Mantaur” at him during a match at the promotion’s Holiday Hell: The New York Invasion show.
The big man changed identities in Jerry Lawler’s United States Wrestling Association, competing as Tank. Tank was a member of the USWA faction called The Truth Commission. He returned briefly to the WWF as Tank.
The former Mantaur continued wrestling in the 21st century, working at various shows on the indie circuit and even promoting his own shows from 2014-2016.
In 2019, Halac was inducted into the Nebraska Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Living with Battling Diabetes but “Living the Good Life”
Halac battled Type II Diabetes in his later years. He also reportedly suffered from back and knee injuries due to his time working in the ring. Nonetheless, the big man told Hannibal TV in April 2023:
“I’m living the good life here in Florida. It’s 84 degrees today, the weather here has never been better in 20 years. I’m soaking up the palm trees, soaking up the beach and I’m excited. I’m down here living my best life. Physically I can’t really complain – I could, but who is going to listen? ‘I’ll be 55 in a couple of weeks – if I had known then what I know now I would have done things a bit differently.”
He was still involved in the wrestling scene and was reportedly scheduled to appear at a wrestling convention in the fall. Sadly, that was not to be.
The Death of Mike Halac
According to the wrestling site Sportskeeda:
Halac was taken to hospital after sustaining a fall on Tuesday. The former wrestler initially feared he may have broken the sixth (T-6) or seventh (T-7) thoracic vertebrae in his back. Hours later, he sadly passed away in his sleep at the age of 55.
Fellow wrestler Bryan Clark spoke about Halac’s injury:
“I’m very saddened to hear the passing of Mike Halac, I messaged him after his fall and while he was in the ER.. he never responded which was very unlike him.”
Mike Halac was 55 when he died. His daughter shared the news via Facebook:
“He went peacefully in his sleep. He’s no longer in pain. This really hit home to lose my father, he will forever be in my heart and many others. I love you dad. Make the skies beautiful for me.”
The WWE posted a tribute to Mike Halac’s career, an excerpt that follows:
Halac’s combination of size and charisma immediately captivated fans worldwide as he took to the ring in a giant bull head to highlight his half-man, half-minotaur persona.
What are your favorite memories of Mike Halac, either as Mantaur or his other wrestling characters? Let us know in the comments below.