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Why Does Vince McMahon Hate Big Men?

Adam Scherr’s Instagram

In 1982 Vince McMahon purchased Capital Wrestling from his father and began a dynasty that is now the sole dominant force in pro wrestling in the United States. When he did so he inherited Bob Backlund as his World Heavyweight Champion. Backlund had been champ for four years and was a highly popular babyface standard bearer for the company. Not with the company at the time was the future “Hulk” Hogan, who had parted ways with Vince’s dad after the elder statesman disapproved of his appearance in Rocky III.

It was clear that Vince McMahon’s purchase of the WWF would be accompanied by a shakeup in featured attractions. Like an NFL team that brings in a new GM and head coach, it’s common for a new franchise QB to be drafted soon after. Sure enough, within a year of his acquisition of the WWF, Vince brought Hogan back as a babyface and the rest is history.

Meanwhile Andre the Giant was just sitting there, not getting his chance.

At 7’4 (billed) and over 500lbs, Andre was truly an awe-inspiring presence, and that thick, baritone french accent was endearing to everyone. Andre’s frightful size and heart of gold made him one of the most beloved characters in the WWF. Considering the carny roots of pro wrestling, where the more outlandish and “freakshow” your characters, the more likely they are to be pushed to the top, isn’t it odd that Andre was not given the ball? No it’s not odd at all because Vince McMahon hates big men.

It’s true.

Fast forward to 1985 and a new superstar has debuted in the WWF. He was a 6’4, 450lb giant of a man called “King Kong Bundy.” After debuting, Bundy ran through the undercard of the roster like a genuine monster. Fans trembled in his wake. Legend says arenas shook when he slammed his girth onto his hapless opponents. It looked like he was destined for a run right to the top, a fitting place for a man of such unique...proportions. Indeed he was given a proper WWF Championship push and a main-event match at WrestleMania 2. Bundy even badly damaged Hogan’s ribs a few weeks before the show, no doubt confirming the worst fears of all who followed the sport: Hogan was doomed! Alas, it was all a headfake. Hogan wiped the floor with Bundy inside a steel cage, scooped and slammed all 450lbs of him and hopped over the cage (in a single bound legend says) to retain the title. Bundy never sniffed the main-event again. He was just a glorified prop designed to push the smaller and more athletic Hogan. Am I surprised? No because Vince McMahon hates big men.

Oh it’s true.

And then was the trio of monsters who came through the door at Titan Towers over the next several years...

There was Earthquake who came into the WWF much as King Kong Bundy had done, with a string of squash matches. But of course they were; what other kind of match could there be for someone who was 6’6, 460lbs. He got his big break at SummerSlam 1990, in a match against the WWF Championshipless Hulk Hogan. What an opportunity for the Hulkster to put over the giant heel. Instead, Hogan won their SummeSlam encounter and Earthquake never so much as appeared in a championship match for the rest of his WWF career. Hogan, of course, went on to win the title several more times. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Vince hates big men.

There was also Kamala, all 6’7, 400lbs of him. He was a terrifying monster and though he had a long and semi-prosperous career in the WWF and elsewhere, he was never treated like a big deal, despite having all the stage presence you want out of a “giant” wrestler. Kamala was in and out of the WWF throughout his career, but when he returned to the company in the early 90’s he was booked as a babyface and given a “savage tries to become civilized” gimmick that Vince hoped would win him over with the crowd. A WrestleMania IX match with Bam Bam Bigelow was booked and surely would have solidified his babyface push, but the bout was cancelled at the last minute, without so much as a warning or a ticket refund to the no-doubt severely disappointed crowd. Mania 9 is infamous for how terrible it was, and yet the match that could have saved the show was kept off the show. Why I ask? Because Vince hates big men, I answer.

You know who was featured on WrestleMania IX? Giant Gonzalez: The biggest big man ever, standing at eight feet tall! Google his image if you’re too young to remember. Google it with the lights on, however, because the man is scarier than a James Wan horror film. He was ripped to shreds, with muscles bulging all over, he was covered in hair that made him seem more animal than man, and that beard…and that massive hairy vagina…it’s the stuff of nightmares. Yet today he’s just a footnote in WWF/E history. He’s the guy who almost beat the Undertaker, losing only by disqualification. But it’s not exactly breaking news that Vince would refuse to pull the trigger on putting such a mammoth man over the comparatively diminutive Undertaker. Taker could flip and fly and literally walk on top of the top rope. That’s more Vince’s kind of wrestler; he hates big men.

You know it’s true.

Do we need to talk about Vader? We need to talk about Vader. One of the most dominating big men in the history of pro wrestling. One of the biggest attractions in the history of Japanese pro wrestling. One of the crown jewels of early 90’s WCW. Vader was—is—one of the scariest dudes ever to lace em up. Naturally Vince brought him into the WWF. He signed him at a time when business was way down. Carrying the company was champion Shawn Michaels, some vanilla midget not even six feet tall. I think he was billed as 6’1, but if he’s 6’1 then I’m Yao Ming. Michaels and Vader met at SummerSlam 1996, which really was the potential turning point show for the company. Had the right decision been made here, business could have rocketed. Instead Vader was BURIED by Michaels. Despite having half a foot and 250lbs on him, Michaels beat Vader with a clean and simple flip from the top rope. It was one of the most unrealistic finishes in pro wrestling history. In real life a guy like Vader getting landed on by HBK would be like a dad having his two year old toddler jump on him from the chair to the floor. Michaels should have hurt himself hitting the move. But realism is thrown out the window when it comes to Vince McMahon and his treatment of big men. Hatred will do that to you, I guess.

Now I know what you’re thinking: But Matthew, what about Big Show? He’s had a nearly twenty-year career in the WWF/E, with multiple main-events and world title runs!

Yes, that’s true. But are we really going to hold Big Show up as the defense of Vince’s treatment of big men? We’re talking about Big Show here: The guy whose literal first appearance ever on WWF TV was him being a surprise ace in the hole to help McMahon beat Austin but who bungled it so badly he actually was directly responsible for Austin winning. We’re talking about the guy whose second important job for Vince McMahon was just “beat Mick Foley in an anything goes boiler-room-brawl match” and he couldn’t even do that, despite being a foot taller and many pounds heavier. We’re talking about the guy whose first WWF Championship came by default on account of attempted-vehicular homicide, and whose first WWF Championship feud was against Big Bossman, a perennial midcarder who crashed the funeral of Big Show’s recently-departed father, chained the casket to his pretend police car (equipped with looney tunes-inspired megaphone) and drove it---you know just watch this, I can’t do it justice:

He also wrestled in a thong (and lost) and wrestled a boxer under wrestling rules, and lost despite said boxer weighing no more than Show’s left leg. No. Let us not say Big Show proves Vince loves big men. Big Show proves Vince hates big men.

You know it and I know it.

Now we come to Braun Strowman. Why oh why is Braun Strowman destined to lose to Brock Lesnar this Sunday? Why must it be that Braun Strowman is forced to play second fiddle to smaller guys like Roman Reigns, when it’s obvious to anyone with ears that Strowman is one of the biggest reaction-getters on the roster today? In fact, in terms of size to pop ratio, Braun Strowman is the absolute tops. Lookit, I made a chart…

That’s just math. You can’t argue with math.

Now the unenlightened will say Vince loves his big men, but if that were true he’d hear the reactions Strowman has been getting against everyone and he’d push him to the moon. He wouldn’t be “protected in a loss” or built up like a paper tiger just waiting to be beaten to make a smaller guy like Roman Reigns or Brock Lesnar look good. If Vince really loved his big men Braun Strowman would be your next WWE Universal Champion. But he won’t be, because Vince hates big men.

It’s sad but true, ladies and gentlemen. Sad but true.

As always, I’m Matthew Martin: I love WWE but everything sucks and I’m never watching it again.

See you next week.

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