|Bam Bam Bigelow|
|Wednesday, 29 October 2008 12:53|
Born: September 1, 1961, Asbury Park, New Jersey
Died: January 19, 2007, Hudson, Florida
Cause of death: Multiple drugs including cocaine.
Notable because: Big guy. Tattooed his head. Liked recreational drugs. Heroically rescued children from burning house despite being badly burned.
Bam Bam Bigelow was an American professional wrestler. One of the most agile "big men" in professional wrestling history, he was a main event attraction in virtually every major wrestling promotion in the world at one time over the course of a career that spanned twenty one years. His most recognizable feature was a tattoo that spanned most of his bald head.
In May 1987, he signed with the World Wrestling Federation. The storyline upon his debut was that the various heel managers were all vying for Bigelow's services. The angle was thus called "The Battle for Bam Bam." Bigelow in the end wound up a babyface when he denounced all the heel managers and announced that his manager was going to be Oliver Humperdink. His first WWF encounters were with Nikolai Volkoff and his jilted manager Slick. Bigelow wrestled as a part of Hulk Hogan's team at the first Survivor Series, in which he survived longer than even Hogan (the industry's top draw at the time). He eliminated both King Kong Bundy and the One Man Gang, but eventually lost to sole survivor André the Giant. He wrestled in the WWF for one year before leaving to have surgery on a badly injured knee. Despite this injury, he performed anyway to elevate the status of his co-performers (a customary show of professionalism in the industry). Bigelow lost by count-out to the One Man Gang in the first round of WrestleMania IV's WWF World Heavyweight Championship tournament.
Bigelow briefly re-emerged with the NWA-branded Jim Crockett Promotions in late 1988 and was immediately set up to challenge Barry Windham for the NWA United States Heavyweight Championship. While NWA wanted control of Bigelow, his loyalty was with New Japan, to whom he was committed. After this brief stay, he went to Japan to work for the legendary Antonio Inoki's New Japan Pro Wrestling. Here, he formed a tag team with Big Van Vader, winning the IWGP Tag Team Championship. In 1992 he left New Japan, performing for several other Japanese professional wrestling promotions.
In October 1992, Bigelow returned to the WWF. In his first pay-per-view appearance after his return, Bigelow defeated The Big Boss Man at the 1993 Royal Rumble. That June, Bigelow made it to the finals of the 1993 King of the Ring, losing in a match to Bret Hart. Soon after, Luna Vachon became Bam Bam's love interest and manager. Bigelow went on to feud with Tatanka and Doink the Clown; he lost to Tatanka at the 1994 Royal Rumble and teamed with Luna to defeat Doink and Dink at WrestleMania X. In mid-1994, he was made part of Ted DiBiase's Million Dollar Corporation faction, often teamed-up with fellow Corporation members Irwin R. Schyster and (a now heel) Tatanka. Bigelow also survived a high profile Survivor Series-style match, with Corporation member King Kong Bundy, at the 1994 Survivor Series; they faced Lex Luger's "Guts and Glory" team.
Yet another unconventional storyline was bestowed upon Bigelow. After Bigelow and Tatanka lost in the finals of a WWF World Tag Team Championship tournament to Bob Holly and the 1-2-3 Kid at the 1995 Royal Rumble, Bigelow was mocked at ringside by former New York Giants All-Pro linebacker Lawrence Taylor. Bam Bam fought back, shoving "L.T." at ringside, and was soon engaged in a highly-publicized feud with the famous ex-football player. Bigelow was defeated by Taylor in the co-main event at WrestleMania XI. Shortly thereafter, Bigelow was turned babyface, publicly quitting the Million Dollar Corporation. He was teamed with then WWF World Champion Diesel at the 1995 King of the Ring; they defeated Corporation members Tatanka and Sycho Sid.
After rumored problems backstage with the Kliq, Bigelow left the WWF in late 1995 and made a few appearances in the original Extreme Championship Wrestling in early 1996, feuding with Taz. Though Taz choked Bigelow out, the two never had a match. Later in the year, Bigelow would have a match against "Bamm Bamm" Terry Gordy. He won, with the assistance of The Eliminators. On November 17, 1996, Bigelow competed in a "U-Japan" mixed martial arts event against Kimo Leopoldo. Bigelow was dominated throughout the match, being mounted within the first 10 seconds. He lost to a rear naked choke in the first round. In an RF video shoot interview he participated in in 1998 he stated that he was paid $100,000 for the fight, and that he would be willing to take part in other shoot fights, though he never did, he also claimed that the match wasn't a shoot, and neither were any of the other matches on the card, with the exception of one.
He returned to Paul Heyman's ECW in 1997, eventually joining with the re-formed Triple Threat faction, with Chris Candido and lead member Shane Douglas. He was a dominant force in ECW, carrying out feats of strength such as hurling Spike Dudley out of the ring and into the audience and slamming Taz through the ring itself. He held the ECW Television Championship and the ECW Championship during his run. He turned on fellow Triple Threat member, Shane Douglas, under the guidance of Rick Rude and won the ECW World Heavyweight Title in October 1997. He'd go on to lose the belt back to Douglas at the November to Remember PPV in a classic match. Both men were so badly injured as a result of the match that they didn't appear on television for over a month. They continued to feud, with Bam Bam looking to Taz to join him in his campaign against the Triple Threat. Eventually, he turned on Taz and rejoined the group as Triple Threat prospect Lance Storm was tossed aside. His reign as ECW World TV Champion began with a victory over Taz at the Living Dangerously PPV in March 1998. After defending the title in a few vicious brawls with The Sandman, Bigelow was defeated by Rob Van Dam. RVD was assisted by Sabu, who had originally been scheduled to receive a shot at Bigelow's title. Van Dam was only supposed to "soften up" the Beast from the East. Bigelow remained in the Triple Threat and continued to feud with Taz for most of 1998. By the end of the year, he left the company for WCW.
On November 16, 1998 Bigelow debuted in World Championship Wrestling. He initially feuded with then-WCW World Heavyweight Champion Goldberg before being shifted to the WCW Hardcore division, along with fellow ECW alumni Raven and Hardcore Hak. He was put in a stable with Diamond Dallas Page and Chris Kanyon -- known as the Jersey Triad -- in May 1999. After the Triad disbanded, Bigelow began feuding with ECW alumnus Mike Awesome, who defeated him in an ambulance match at Starrcade 2000.
Bigelow remained with WCW until the company was purchased by the WWF in March 2001. Then, he waited until his Time Warner (the major corporation that had bought the promotion from Jim Crockett in 1989) contract expired in June 2002. He returned to the ring, making several appearances for USA Pro Wrestling. He performed his final wrestling match on October 25, 2006 for the American Combat Wrestling promotion, teaming with Ralph Mosca as "The Syndicate" in a tag team match against Overkill (Homeless Fred and Twiztid).
In his most profitable years, he earned between $750,000 and $1.2 million USD.
Despite not being a trained mixed martial artist, Bigelow was able to command a substantial purse for the fight (Bigelow claimed in his 1998 RF Video shoot interview that he received $100,000; though it has been suggested by others that he actually received $75,000). Bigelow later commented that despite the crushing defeat he would gladly sign up for other MMA fights providing the financial rewards were as appealing.
In 2000, Bigelow and his wife, Dana Fisher, with whom he had three children, divorced. In 2005, Fisher sued Bigelow for non-payment of child support.
In July 2000, Bigelow received second degree burns on 40% of his body, while rescuing three children from a burning house near his home. Following the incident, Bigelow spent two months recovering in a hospital.
Upon his retirement, Bigelow moved to a private recreational community called "The Hideout", in Lake Ariel, Pennsylvania. He also opened the eponymous Bam Bam Bigelow restaurant, located nearby in the town of Hamlin in Salem Township, along State Route 590, but it later closed. He then relocated to Florida, with even his close friend Shane Douglas clueless as to his whereabouts.
In May 2004, Bigelow was charged with endangering the welfare of a child through reckless driving. He attributed the incident to a seizure he had suffered, and the charges were dropped two months later. In August 2004, he was convicted of possession of cannabis.
On October 2, 2005, Bigelow was hospitalized with a broken nose and several lacerations after crashing his Harley-Davidson motorcycle in Spring Hill, Florida. His passenger at the time, Janis Remiesiewicz (Bigelow's girlfriend), suffered severe injuries and was declared to be in "critical condition". Larry Coggins, a spokesman for the Florida Highway Patrol, stated that Bigelow would be the focus of a homicide investigation should Remiesiewicz die, intimating that Bigelow would likely face charges based on "the factors...that led to this crash". Remiesiewicz eventually made a complete recovery, and remained with Bigelow up until his death.
On the morning of January 19, 2007, Bigelow was found dead in his home by Remiesiewicz at approximately 10:00 a.m. EST in Hudson, Florida. At the time of his death, Bigelow had been suffering from a persistent infection and diabetes. On March 3, 2007, the Tampa Tribune reported that autopsy results showed that Bigelow's death was due to multiple drugs found in his system including toxic levels of cocaine and the benzodiazepine, temazepam. Bigelow was also suffering from a heart problem, specifically arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 December 2008 16:36|