This week we will be looking at one of the most talented big men of all time: Bam Bam Bigelow.
Bam Bam Bigelow was one of professional wrestling's most unique individuals. With his tattooed head and large frame, Bigelow was unlike anyone or anything else in the world of professional wrestling. His uniqueness went beyond his looks, however. In an era of lumbering big men, Bigelow broke the mold, demonstrating a work rate and level of agility never before seen, by a man of his size.
During the late eighties and early nineties, it was rare to see wrestlers in the United States pulling off moonsaults, much less 350+ pound monsters doing so. Bigelow's matches never cease to amaze me with the things he was able to do in the ring, and the matches he put on. In Bigelow's highest profile match: Wrestlemania XI's Main Event, he was able to take Lawrence Taylor and craft a surprisingly entertaining match. His greatest in ring work came in his matches with Hart, Tazz, Spike Dudley, and The Sandman.
Bigelow's greatness extended to his character work as well. He was everything you wanted in a monster heel. He was the stuff that your mother's nightmares are made of. Every movement he made and syllable he uttered just gave off the impression of a bad ass mofo who was there to absolutely raise hell. There was no wrestler whose character fit his look better than Bam Bam Bigelow.
With all of his ability, why is it that we are discussing Bam Bam Bigelow here in the "Underrated and Under Appreciated" instead of some place like the "CSSGWT"?
One word: Politics... the bane of many a talented wrestler.
During his time with the WWF, Bigelow had the misfortune of being the victim of not just Hulk Hogan's machinations, but the Kliq's as well. In the lead up to his WWF debut, all of the heel managers were fighting for his services in "The Battle for Bam Bam". Bigelow was a monster heel to the core and the WWF was ready to make him the next sensation.
Unfortunately, Hogan was not ready for such a force to be unleashed, especially one who soon on down the road, could prove to be a popular and talented rival to his status as top dog. Hulk was able to convince McMahon to bring Bigelow in as a baby face, and make him an ally of Hogan for Survivor Series. Although he looked impressive in the Survivor Series match, he would never gain momentum as a face.
Bigelow's second run with the WWF was much more sucessful, but he was never able to break through the glass ceiling due to his real-life heat with The Kliq. It was in ECW that Bigelow really thrived and flourished. Bigelow brought with him the star power ECW was lacking at the time.
However, instead of using his star power to run roughshod over the promotion, he utilized it to create many of the most well-known names in ECW: Names such as Tazz, Rob Van Dam, and The Sandman. It was also in ECW, that Bigelow would finally get a much deserved World Title run.
Following his time with ECW, Bigelow would spend time in WCW feuding with Goldberg before working feuds within the hardcore division.
In the waning years of WCW, Bigelow's feuds with Raven and Sandman, along with his tag team run as part of Jersey Triad (Bigelow, DDP, Kanyon), provided some much needed bright spots. During his WCW run, Bigelow was forced to take a few months off, because he suffered second-degree burns on 40 percent of his body while saving the lives of three children from a burning house in his neighborhood.
After the WWF's buyout of WCW, Bigelow would almost completely drop off the face of the Earth, as he tried to escape his demons. His name would only re-emerge during the occasional Indie appearance, and with the news of his untimely death on January 19, 2007 at the age of 45 years old. As, like many others in the business, he couldn't escape those demons, and they eventually took him.
Lance Storm summed up Bigelow quite well:
"He commanded a match and controlled a crowd like no one I had ever seen to that point in my career. He was a true powerhouse presence that controlled and dictated everything in a match. He was great to watch and fun to be around. "
Some of Bigelow's greatest matches and moments:
- WWE King of the Ring 1993, 'Bret Hart vs. Bam Bam Bigelow' -- by RatedROliveira
- ECW Living Dangerously, 'Taz vs. Bam Bam Bigelow' -- by TheWholefknShow420
- ECW TV Title, 'RVD vs. Bam Bam Bigelow' -- by sir-roddick
- Spike Dudley vs. Bam Bam Bigelow -- by Stinger1981
And last, but certainly not least:
Bam Bam Bigelow's famous three-hour 'Shoot Interview'
(quite possibly the greatest shoot interview ever):
Editor's Note: This FanPost has been mildly edited for promotion to the front page and various sections within Cageside Seats for your enjoyment, Cagesiders!