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Best Big Man In Wrestling


Mad Dog
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I think for me it comes between Vader and Don Leo Jonathan.

 

Vader was great at just mauling people in the ring and proved constantly that no one could do the David/Goliath matches better. His series with Sting was a high point in his career. I also enjoyed his Dome Show match against Inoki in 97 I think.

 

Don Leo Jonathan just for his agility. The kip ups, rolling splashes and to be honest I've only seen him in the twilight of his career. I'd love to see him in his prime.

 

Underrated:

 

Ray Traylor I think is a pretty underrated guy. He takes a lot of unfair shit for his run in 99 and 00. His matches with Vader in WCW were pretty good and he even drug a good match out of the Barbarian at the Rumble.

 

So who are some of your favorites?

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Vader was a solid big guy, but his penchant for stiffing people kept me from being a fan. Unless you're matched with Mick Foley, you aren't supposed to be really beating the piss out of your opponent.

 

Ray Traylor was definately the most underrated big guy of modern times. He lost a lot of weight after his run as the Boss Man and really improved in the ring. It's really a shame that he never got a chance to prove himself after that.

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From what I've seen, I'd definitely have to say Vader. Vader was credible and did everything so well. My favorite thing about Vader was that he was able to make his style work in so many vastly different environments without having to make any alterations. That's the mark of someone who has his game together.

 

From the little Don Leo Jonathan I've seen, I could see him trumping Vader at some point in the future if I saw more footage of him. There's a Thesz/Jonathan match from 2/26/55 available in full that I really want to see. There's also a Destroyer/DLJ match from '75 as well, but I don't know if that was past DLJ's peak or not.

 

Other names that never get mentioned that should get more love:

 

Jerry "Crusher" Blackwell -- Had he wrestled somewhere besides the AWA, people would still be talking more about his work than they are. This was a 400 lb guy who looked like One Man Gang but could throw dropkicks and bump as well as anyone. Was terrific at laying out a match and an awesome character worker as well.

 

If Adrian Adonis and Buddy Rose are considered "big men" in the purpose of this discussion, I may have to do some serious thinking about who I think is the best, because I just *might* say Adonis is better than Vader if pressured.

 

*hides*

 

I'm not quite sure about that, though.

 

Not a fan of Brody, but he was better than probably all of the big men who are active today. Don't know if Hansen fits this category or not, but if he does, he's hands down the winner. Ditto someone like Barry Windham who is really too tall to be taking the bumps he took on a regular basis.

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This discussion begins and ends with Vader.

That's what I was thinking too. I was always a fan of Bam Bam Bigelow as well. Stan Hansen comes to mind as well as Bruiser Brody.

 

What if we were to talk about current big men though? Would someone like Abyss get a mention?

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Adonis and Rose were like 6 feet tall (if that) and 300 plus pound fat fucks (later on in their careers anyways).

 

I would *not* consider them "big men" in any way. They're just fat guys like Mick Foley who I would also not call a "big man" by any means.

 

Giant Baba doesn't get enough love either and he was a legit 6 and a half + feet tall. He looked like a rail, with scrawny arms, but he knew his way around a ring well.

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He should be though. DJL was thicker than Baba but they were both about the same height (with Baba having the slight edge). Baba had a great working-the-neck moveset and could rattle guys with his big boot and high kicks, which he would hit well in matches. Baba was slow as shit in the ring when he hit his 40's but he could be spry in matches at times too.

 

Baba, along with Backlund, is one of the more underrated workers on the net scene.

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I just don't see how people can overlook Vader being unprofessional just because he could move for a fat guy.

 

I mean there's stiff like working All Japan style, and there's almost every Vader opponent coming away with black eyes or busted mouths. Almost everyone who worked with him in WCW seems to have a story about Vader taking liberties with people.

 

If they're expecting it or ask for it like Foley did, then that's fine and game on. If he was just teeing off on people who weren't expecting to be working strong style, then that's (to quote Carlito) not cool.

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I've honestly seen few people really complain about. It's not like Vader was intentionally trying to hurt people. He took it really hard when he crippled that jobber. But some guys are just stiff and that's the way it goes.

 

There are workers that are nowhere near as stiff that have compiled a larger bodycount.

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I don't think he was intentionally hurting people either, but he would get so revved up he would end up legit striking people. Still, intent or otherwise the goal is making it look like what you're doing is painful, not actually hurting someone.

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I think Vader bawling like one huge bitch after he momentarily crippled a guy (to me, anyways) points to Vader being more "serious" and zoned out in the ring as opposed to a liberty-taking douchebag. If Vader pulled a Jack Tatum and never visited the guy after his accident (which he did) or show any remorse for what he did (something he, again, did) then, yeah, I'd have a big problem with Vader's stiff work style.

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I mean there's stiff like working All Japan style, and there's almost every Vader opponent coming away with black eyes or busted mouths.  Almost everyone who worked with him in WCW seems to have a story about Vader taking liberties with people.

"Almost everyone"?

 

Who?

 

Maybe we can talk about it if you can give us an example.

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I'd go with Vader. Vader was a big man who worked like one and never did anything that looked "fake" or bad. Until Hogan turned him into a cartoon character in 1995 Vader was far and away the most believable and scariest heel in the business. The guy worked like a big man and was able to do higspots like a much smaller man. He carried Sting to the best matches of Sting's career and has very good matches with Davey Boy and other's who were capable of having good matches when they were carried.

 

Someone mentioned Bam Bam. I've never been a big fan of his. I can't point to a single match he had that was great. For a guy his size and look he never made me think that I should be scared off him. It's probably because he came up in late 80s WWF and reapeared in the mid-90s WWF, where building strong heels (who weren't going to be fed to Hogan or someone else wasn't a top priority). He did have a resurgence in ECW, but that was more of an example of Heymen's incredible ability to promote talent than anythign Bam Bam ever did in the ring or on the mic. He had a brutally bad match against Shane Douglas at November to Remember 97, his matches with Taz weren't anything great, and his much vaunted (by some) match with RVD where he dropped the TV title was really just a format for RVD to do 2 insane dives into the crowd and not much of a match. Bam Bam's run in WCW was terrible.

 

Bam Bam was a big man who really didn't work like one. He always struck me as goofy, with the cartwheels and horrible moonsault. To me a big man shouldn't be bouncing around the ring like a 5 year old girl in gymnastics class.

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The two that jump to mind is Tom Zenk and Mick Foley, although Foley would request Vader be stiff with him.

 

Zenk's comments were along the lines of you know when you're booked to face Vader he's going to be unbelieveably stiff but he ran out of gas quickly.

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Ok, not to start an argument but are you going to really take anything seriously that comes out of Zenk's mouth?

 

I like Bam Bam quite a bit but I think my vision of him is biased after the way he saved those kids from a fire while getting seriously injured himself.

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Ok, not to start an argument but are you going to really take anything seriously that comes out of Zenk's mouth?

 

I like Bam Bam quite a bit but I think my vision of him is biased after the way he saved those kids from a fire while getting seriously injured himself.

I don't take Tom Zenk's word as gospel, but he pretty much just repeated what I've heard other WCW guys say over the years. Reading interviews over the years most guys would say Vader was a nice guy and a great worker, but if he got "in the zone" on someone you'd be nearly fighting for your life.
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It's not like Zenk really said "VADER'S A DOUCHEBAG" or anything. He was just stating the truth, which, really, doesn't downgrade Vader as a person or a worker in my eyes. He's just a really intense guy who, remember, was at one point a *highly* praised football player before he got into wrestling. That definitely made a difference I think in Vader's in-ring control and "zone in" ability.

 

I don't see anything ball busting worthy with what Sek said.

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