Why Bam Bam?

Discussion in 'The Wrestling Archives' started by Mustang Sally, Jan 17, 2016.

  1. Mustang Sally

    Mustang Sally Sells seashells by the seashore

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    When WWE booked legendary football player Lawrence Taylor to work a match with a pro wrestler at WM11 in '95, why in the world did they choose Bam Bam Bigelow as the opposition?

    Obviously, a match like this was an effort by WWE to get mainstream media attention. That being so, was the guy they wanted to represent the wrestling profession someone as overweight and sloppy looking as Bam Bam, who added to the image by wearing a garish, ridiculous outfit, as pictured here?

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    If this was to be the non-wrestling fan's first look at a modern wrestler, wouldn't seeing Bam Bam simply reinforce their image of the 'sport' as what it was in the 1950's and 60's; fat men exchanging boring holds in smoke-filled arenas?

    True, Bam Bam was a performer who knew how to work a match.....and since protecting the football player from injury and making him look good was paramount for the production's sake, it worked. In that, Bigelow did a fine job.

    Still, wouldn't WWE have wanted to trot out a wrestler with a muscular, more athletic physique to give non-fans a taste of what they'd been missing?

    Plus, there's the obvious contradiction in having the football player defeat the wrestler at his own game, but that's probably the only way WWE could get Taylor to participate. Still, I always thought WWE did everything to make itself look bad in this event, and wondered how they might have expected to lure in new fans by handling it in this manner.

    Why Bam Bam? Do you agree with the choice.......and if not, who would you have sent out to face Lawrence Taylor?

    Or, would you have advised WWE not to try something like this at all?
     
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  2. Y 2 Jake

    Y 2 Jake Slightly Autistic

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    Excellent choice. Bigelow did everything in his power to make that work. He was utterly selfless in that match.

    Good worker, intimidating guy with a marketable look. Obviously the event was a bust and maybe some of that can be attributed to Bigelow's standing in the company prior to that even, but his look was more likely to entice non fans than a Diesel ir Sid. Two guys who couldn't have got as much out of Taylor and probably would've protected themselves more.
     
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  3. J.J.

    J.J. Mid-Card Championship Winner

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    Really nobody else worth noting that were as agile in the ring at the time other than Bam Bam. When I say that I mean weren't already involved in their own storylines. Bam Bam was looking like the modern day Ziggler in terms of booking - always put on solid matches and convincing but never could go over.

    Apparently he was a good professional and WWE felt comfortable enough that he would protect Lawrence Taylor in the ring. He was about the only star that would be a believable matchup in which LT could go over on and it not greatly hurt their status on the card. I believe at the time Bam Bam was just floating about with The Million Dollar Man

    WWE didn't really have any agile workers to put up at the time. King Kong Bundy? Lost all his steam at the Royal Rumble. Mabel? Too big and was on the cusp of his own push. Mo, Yokozuna and Diesel were either too over weight, would lose credibility from losing. At the end this is all a general assumption but remembering the relevant big men during that time he would be the only decent one that could protect LT in the ring.

    Overall that is a forgettable year for WWE and WCW. Overall it was a good match and Bam Bam did a great job in making LT look like a legitimate professional wrestler. This match and the tag matches that year were more entertaining than anything else in the card.
     
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  4. Mustang Sally

    Mustang Sally Sells seashells by the seashore

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    Definitely true.....and if WWE's only goal in staging this event was to improve the PPV numbers for one night, it probably worked.

    Still, if any type of entertainment organization is trying to produce a program that draws in people outside their normal audience, I would think they would try to hold on to some of the new viewers.

    To that end, wouldn't football fans buying the PPV say: "That's what wrestlers today look like?" and never have the impulse to check out what WWE is doing on their weekly program?

    The match itself was rather interesting, solely because of Bam Bam. Taylor's only weapon seemed to be a clothesline, and he delivered it over and over. That Bam Bam took it and sold so well was a credit to his unselfishness ......and probably also necessary if he wanted to keep working for Vince McMahon.

    I also agree about the factors you name of having Sycho Sid or Diesel working with L.T. But surely they could have found a more impressive physical specimen than Bam Bam. I liked the guy, but not for a spectacle such as this.
     
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  5. Makaveli31

    Makaveli31 Championship Contender

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    You just answered your own question.

    Well I'm pretty sure Bam Bam wasn't the ONLY wrestler on the PPV. Hell, they had Nash and Michaels walking out with Pam and Jenny McCarthy for Christ's sake.
     
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  6. J.J.

    J.J. Mid-Card Championship Winner

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    I always felt while Diesel and Sid were the prototype of a wrestler by size and appearance that they lacked the the ring work in comparison to Bam Bam. Take a look at their matches during that era were average at best and lacked the abilities to carry a match with someone like LT who was green in the ring. You also have to look at what WWE was facing during that the time that WWE still had that steroid investigation still looming over them. Their selection of who they chose to me made sense.

    Would you have put one of your top guys to lose against LT? In kayfabe that damages your top stars credibility. You've built Diesel up to be your top guy to lose to a retired football player? It doesn't look good, especially since this was a one off appearance.
     
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  7. Rhodes2TheFuture3313

    Rhodes2TheFuture3313 Getting Noticed By Management

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    Having Bam Bam lose was lame. The Beast from the East is one of the more underrated forgotten stars from the 90s who left us way too soon. Bam Bam was a big guy that could work. It's amazing he never held a WHC. He was ahead of his time and it's unfortunate because he and Roman Reigns could have a hell of a feud. Thank the lord for WWE2K16
     
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  8. stingray11214

    stingray11214 Cena is no Bruno & Cole is no Solie

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    Bam Bam was a Pro's pro. He did what was expected of him without looking stupid. Remember, LT was a "celebrity". Since when did celebrities lose on WWF programming? So, they had to have someone who would be a believable tough guy. Bam Bam from Jersey did the trick.
     
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  9. sikkbones

    sikkbones the root of all evil

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    Bam Bam had name recognition From the 80's federation Hogan Era, no one Else on The roster at the time really did.
     
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  10. Mustang Sally

    Mustang Sally Sells seashells by the seashore

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    Agreed, and the last thing either WWE or the NFL wanted was a non-wrestler suffering injury at the hands of a pro wrestler. That wouldn't serve WWE well at all. At the same time, it wouldn't take a Diesel or Sid to oppose LT. On the roster at that time were bad guys Bob Backlund, Mike (IRS) Rotundo, Chris Candido and even a much younger Jerry Lawler. Any one of them had name recognition the equal of Bam Bam.....and each looked more like a serious wrestler than did Bigelow whom, as I said before, was not the body type that was going to attract non-wrestling fans, imo.

    My initial reaction is: no, I wouldn't. But it could be done as a one-time event to handle the dual goal of making both Lawrence Taylor and WWE come off looking good for both wrestling fans and folks who might become wrestling fans.

    Another example: Owen Hart. He was a bad guy, could make LT look good while coming out shining himself, and might induce new onlookers to check out Monday Night Raw after they saw Owen's sleek style in the ring. As we know, there are many ways for a 'ham n' egger' to attain victory with sneak tactics and storylines that pro wrestling does so well. How many times have we seen this? Owen would suffer no loss of rep by losing in this manner.

    No, I liked Bam Bam but thought WWE could have matched LT with someone better suited to work a main event in a major PPV.

    Still, I'll never forget Bam Bam walking up the aisle after losing, with Ted DiBiase shouting at him: "A football player!"

    It was great TV, but could have been better.
     
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  11. Jack-Hammer

    Jack-Hammer YOU WILL RESPECT MY AUTHORITAH!!!!
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    I think WWE wanted someone that was tough and could take a shot going into the match, yet someone who was professional enough not to kill Taylor when he took one of his shots. Taylor nailed Bam Bam with some legitimately hard, stiff shots during that match and went the extra mile to make Taylor look great.

    Did Bam Bam look ridiculous and sloppy in terms of his appearance? Sure but, then again, you have to realize that it was a different time. This was April 2, 1995, just a handful of months before the Monday Night Wars began. In terms of wrestlers who looked sloppy with ridiculously garish outfits to an almost comical degree, these were the closing days really. I mean, within a few years, guys like Austin & The Rock would be tearing things up with edgier characters and promos; in less than 5 years, the Undertaker would be transformed into this Satanic cult leader due to the escalation of the Monday Night Wars.
     
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  12. WorstWrestlingExcrement

    WorstWrestlingExcrement Getting Noticed By Management

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    Scott Charles Bigelow needs to be in the HOF if anyone deserves it , it is him he carried the match at WM 11 against Lawrence Taylor! He was basically underutilized as a jobber and that is why I dislike wwe being so unfair to a guy like this who truly loved the sport till his passing wwe should clearly rethink and not humiliate or mock the deceased by being spiteful and adding a football player rather than BAM BAM BIGELOW himself who truly deserves the honor and recognition he gave to wwe
     
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  13. Makaveli31

    Makaveli31 Championship Contender

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    What are you talking about??? The whole point of the LT angle was to turn Bam Bam babyface.
     
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  14. Burritocover

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    I had to read this like 3 times because I kept thinking I was reading it wrong because it made no sense to me but I was reading it right. I don't think anyone would watch that entire show and think that everyone looks like Bam Bam. As you may recall there were other matches on that show. I don't really think too many people would base wether they want to watch wrestling just on Bam bam being fat anyway. It's not always about being built like Rick Rude; it's about having a look that is larger than life and Bam Bam had that look. The flames on his head and the suit and tattoos made him really stand out. He didn't look like some shlub you'd see walking around your neighborhood; he looked like a wrestler. He might have been fat but he looked like a dude who could whip a man's ass. He also had more of a name than most people on the roster at that time. He was a huge star in the 80's mostly because of his look actually. He wasn't exactly a household name but he was the closest thing they probably had to it at that point that they could job out to a football player while still getting a decent match. I guarantee that if you were to just ask a random non wrestling fan if they know Bam Bam, Rotundo, Backlund, Candido or Lawler that Bam Bam and Lawler would be the only two that a lot of people would be aware of. I just asked my wife if she knows who Bam Bam is and she said yeah the big dude with the flames. She's only been watching wrestling for about 8 years and has never seen a Bam Bam match but she's aware of him. But she doesn't know who Candido is and didn't know Backlund until he went in the HOF and she only knows Rotundo because I told her her about him when Bray Wyatt started. So I don't think you'd find many non wrestling fans who know them. So I think Bam Bam made perfect sense regardless of his body type; it's not Chippendales. Also like someone else pointed out, during the steroid controversy having your most visible star look like a steroid guy wouldn't be the smartest choice. It would be kinda dumb to act like steroids aren't a big thing in wrestling and then put Sid Vicious on every mainstream media outlet you can.
     
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  15. ECPirate37

    ECPirate37 Pre-Show Stalwart

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    Makaveli31 said most of what I was going to say. To me, at the time, Bam Bam Bigelow was one of the coolest wrestlers there was. He was BIG, he had the flame tattoo on his head, he looked mean, and he was tough. Mind you, I was a kid when this match happened, but I knew who LT was, and knew he was a tough man. So they were putting two of the toughest men (in a kid's eyes) against one another. I thought it was a great pairing back then, and looking back I still do.

    Bam Bam may have looked dumpy, but he was athletic (the cartwheel always got me) and a solid worker. And as others have said, he didn't mind putting over LT. I would need to re-watch this match, but I remember getting the pay per view (on satellite, not even Direct TV, but a huge satellite dish) and enjoying it.
     
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  16. MrMojoRisin

    MrMojoRisin Championship Contender

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    The simple reason for Bam Bam, was that LT was not a wrestler, and they needed someone who they could count on to lead him to a good match. They needed someone big enough to physically match up with LT. And they needed someone selfless enough to lay down for a non-wrestler in what would be the biggest match of their careers.

    Bam Bam Bigelow was all of those things.

    Plus he was hardly the traditional 'fat guy' wrestler. He could move. He could fly. He could do a hell of a lot in the ring. He was simply put a great worker, and he did an amazing job in that match. He made a non-wrestler look like he deserved to be in the main event of Wrestlemania. Honestly, they should be showing that match at the Performance Center as an example of how a wrestler is supposed to make their opponent look good.

    Could they have gone with someone who had a more marketable look? One that would have drawn in more non-traditional fans? I don't know... then again, the big bald guy with a fireball tattooed on his skull, in an era when tattoo's like that weren't very common? That's actually pretty marketable.

    I suppose though, you're looking toward someone with the look of a Sid Vicious or Lex Luger? The problems with both of them though, were that neither could have ever gotten as good a match out of LT as Bam Bam did. Sid had an amazing look, but was limited as a worker, and while Lex ended up getting a lot of critical success a few years later, at the time he was still the guy who had the rep of being someone who could be carried to a good match, but couldn't carry someone else to one.

    Honestly, looking up and down the roster, the guys who could have gotten as good or a better match out of LT were Bret, Shawn, Backlund and maybe IRS. Bret doesn't work since he's a good guy. Shawn is fighting for the belt. And no one would have cared about Backlund or IRS. If DiBiase can still go at the time, he could have done as good or a better job. But he was long done by then.

    Bam Bam was the best choice they had available, and he proved to be the right choice. He did an amazing job.
     
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  17. THTRobtaylor

    THTRobtaylor Once & Future Wrestlezone Columnist

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    I think you''re doing Bam Bam a disservice here... especially with the "throwback" comparison.

    Bigelow was the most agile big man of his era, indeed he was the kind of guy that would make people say "wow, he can do THAT???" when he hit his moonsault or headbutt from the top.

    They wanted to use Bam Bam as a big face in 1987 but it didn't quite work for them and him. Maybe Hogan nixed it or they did as you suggest and went with Warrior instead. So this was their chance to actually do something with Bam Bam.

    In LT you had a big man, sure a lot of it was muscle but he was not a rake/muscle man... He was a tank, so they needed someone with a bigger build, the agility to cover LT's greenness with exciting moves and an attitude that could sell a "personal" grudge between the two.

    If they'd had Vader in 1995, he'd have been that guy, especially with the Superbowl connection - two Superbowl players squaring off would have been mainstream big... but Vader wasn't there, so Bam Bam who was his equal in Japan and had gotten over in spite of his atrocious booking was given the slot.

    The Kliq clearly didn't like it and they helped scupper his push, but there was already issues when they had him come out with flamethrowers on his arms... that wasn't Bam Bam... not the one the fans wanted... they wanted that bad-ass guy, just kicking heels asses... not gimmicks like Vader had gotten rid of 4 years earlier.

    Was there anyone else on the roster who could have made it work? Not really, maybe at the outside Davey could have had a good match with LT, but there wouldn't have been that connection and the storyline would be harder to make work/revert to the "we invented football" thing which would have been lame.
     
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  18. d_henderson1810

    d_henderson1810 Mid-Card Championship Winner

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    So you think that the mainstream fan looking at wrestling at the first time would take a guy who wrestled in a business shirt, tie and suspenders, and talked about paying your taxes (like IRS) or a guy who wears a crown to the ring (like Jerry Lawler) more seriously than a guy who looked like a bad-ass with a head tattoo.

    Owen Hart would have been too small against a hulking football player.

    "better suited to work a main event at a major PPV".

    This is the main problem that I had with this match, that it headlined a PPV. People say that I give WWE or Vince no criticism, well I did with this. Diesel v HBK for the title should have gone on last. Instead a football player headlined the company's main PPV rather than the WWF World Champion.
     
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  19. Mustang Sally

    Mustang Sally Sells seashells by the seashore

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    That's the point I'm trying to make. I'm loving the feedback to this topic; I never expected a post in Old School to generate this type of response, and it's terrific.

    However, while I can appreciate what you folks are saying, I'm old enough to remember his first stint with WWF in 1987-88 as well as his second, during which the Taylor match occurred.....and Bam Bam wasn't thought of as highly as people are saying today.

    But okay, you folks thought he was fabulous, and I didn't. Fair enough.

    Still, the above quote is significant; this match shouldn't have been headlining a Wrestlemania, yet if that's what they were going for, they needed a guy who represented the new face of pro wrestling better than Bam Bam. The fact the match was made the featured attraction of the card meant the fans who had bought the PPV strictly to see Lawrence Taylor.....and didn't patronize wrestling events otherwise.....needed to be shown wrestling's best in order to hopefully capture some of them as new fans.

    That wasn't Bam Bam.
     
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  20. THTRobtaylor

    THTRobtaylor Once & Future Wrestlezone Columnist

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    I was around the first time too... Bam Bam was absolutely intended to be something big... but it didn't work out for whatever reason. He was green for a start, Hogan was in the power trip mode and they ultimately went with Warrior and Savage rather than Bam Bam in that role... but when they did the manager search thing with him, it was planned he would be the next big thing.

    By 93 he was more seasoned from Japan - you forget that it was he AND Vader who were the two top gaijin for a time, only Stan Hansen was really close in All Japan. Bam Bam had legit credentials then.

    There was literally no one else they could use at the time, and you're wrong about what was needed in that match. It was sold on a personal issue between a retired NFL star and a pro-wrestler. It didn't need the BEST wrestler, or they'd have put him in with Bret or Shawn... it needed someone who could be believable in having an issue, and could potentially have kicked LT's ass if it was real... that WAS Bam Bam...
     
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  21. Makaveli31

    Makaveli31 Championship Contender

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    I remember Bam Bam being EXTREMELY popular during his first run in the WWF. He was doing moves off the top rope that no one had ever seen from a 300 plus pounder. He was very agile in the ring for his size. His look was extremely unique. He was so popular that they had him teaming with Hogan during Hogan's prime years. He was absolutely on track to be the "next big thing" but he blew out his knee. He ended up wrestling on it until he inured his other knee and could not continue. He asked Vince for time off to recover but the WWF was running strong in those days (300 plus dates a year) and they couldn't afford to have anyone off for an extended period time.

    As a result Bam Bam ended going back to Japan (which he preferred anyway).
    But he was absolutely over with the crowd. That's why they tuned him babyface at WM 11 against LT and had him team with Diesel until he left.
     
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  22. J.J.

    J.J. Mid-Card Championship Winner

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    Bam Bam allegedly left because of an on-going issue with Andre the Giant. I've had this confirmed by two others that were in backstage roles for the company during that time. He actually left WWE and came back to Crockett while making appearances in Japan. After his first Survivor Series his popularity kinda fizzled.
     
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  23. Goldie

    Goldie Getting Noticed By Management

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    Bam Bam was a midcarder at the time... its highly doubtful Vince would have booked a top heel such as Shawn Michaels to lose to a non-wrestler.

    Supposedly Bam Bam was promised a push after his loss to LT... though he did turn babyface, the push never materialised, and he left soon afterwards
     
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