Bam Bam Bigelow

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Bam Bam Bigelow
BamBamBigelow.jpg
Bigelow in 1998
Birth name Scott Charles Bigelow
Born (1961-09-01)September 1, 1961[1]
Asbury Park, New Jersey
Died January 19, 2007(2007-01-19) (aged 45)[1]
Hudson, Florida
Cause of death Drug overdose
Spouse(s) Dana Fisher
(divorced in 2000)
Children 3
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Bam Bam Bigelow[1]
Bruce Bigelow[1]
Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow[2]
Crusher Yurkof[1]
Billed height 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)[3]
Billed weight 390 lb (180 kg)[3]
Billed from Asbury Park, New Jersey[1]
Trained by Larry Sharpe[1]
Debut 1986[1]
Retired 2006

Scott Charles Bigelow (September 1, 1961 – January 19, 2007) was an American professional wrestler, best known by the ring name Bam Bam Bigelow. During his professional wrestling career spanning twenty-one years, Bigelow worked in major wrestling promotions, including the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), the original Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) promotion, and World Championship Wrestling (WCW). He was recognizable by his size of nearly 390 pounds (180 kg), and a distinctive flame tattoo that spanned most of his bald head. Bigelow was known by the nickname, "The Beast from the East".[4]

Bigelow held multiple championships in both ECW and WCW, and thirteen throughout his career. Among other accolades, he was a one-time ECW World Heavyweight Champion, and a two-time WCW World Tag Team Champion. Bigelow headlined ECW's premier annual pay-per-view event, November to Remember, twice. Although he never held a WWF title, Bigelow headlined multiple pay-per-view events for the promotion, including WrestleMania XI.[5][6] Ryan Murphy of WWE (formerly the WWF), in a 2013 publication, described Bigelow as "the most natural, agile and physically remarkable big man of the past quarter century."[4]

Career[edit]

Memphis[edit]

After training in Larry Sharpe's Monster Factory in New Jersey, Bigelow debuted as an athletic and agile monster heel in the Memphis territory of Jerry Lawler and Jerry Jarrett in the summer of 1986. Billed as "the Beast of the East" and referred to as "the Bammer" by announcer Lance Russell, Bigelow was slowly established as an unstoppable force who challenged then-champion Jerry Lawler.[7] Bigelow was featured in an article in the September 15, 1986 issue of Sports Illustrated[8]

Continental Wrestling Association and World Class Championship Wrestling (1987)[edit]

In early 1987, Bigelow wrestled in the Continental Wrestling Association, teaming with Jerry Lawler to feud with Austin Idol and Tommy Rich. Around the same time, Bigelow worked a brief stint in World Class Championship Wrestling with a Russian gimmick under the name Crusher Yurkof.

World Wrestling Federation (1987–1988)[edit]

In May 1987, he signed with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). 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.[1] Fans were entertained by Bigelow's unique style and his remarkable agility for a man his size. 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 biggest star in wrestling history at the time). He eliminated both King Kong Bundy and One Man Gang, but eventually lost to sole survivor André the Giant.[3] He wrestled in the WWF for one year before leaving to have surgery on a badly injured knee. Bigelow lost by count-out to One Man Gang in the first round of WrestleMania IV's WWF World Heavyweight Championship tournament.

Jim Crockett Promotions and Japan (1988–1992)[edit]

Bigelow briefly re-emerged with the NWA member Jim Crockett Promotions in late 1988, and was immediately set up to challenge Barry Windham for the NWA United States Heavyweight Championship.[9] While NWA wanted control of Bigelow, his loyalty was with New Japan, to whom he was committed.

After this brief stay, Bigelow 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.[10] In 1992 he left New Japan, performing for several other Japanese professional wrestling promotions. His time in these promotions featured a win over Japanese wrestling legend Kenta Kobashi during a brief stint in All Japan Pro Wrestling.

Return to WWF[edit]

Affair with Luna Vachon (1992–1994)[edit]

Bigelow in the WWF in 1994.

Bigelow returned to the WWF as a heel on the November 28, 1992 episode of Superstars, defeating enhancement talent Jerry Fox in his first appearance with the company since 1988.[11] In 1993, Bigelow made his pay-per-view return with a victory over The Big Boss Man at Royal Rumble.[12] On the May 10 episode of Monday Night Raw, Bigelow defeated Typhoon to qualify for the first-ever televised King of the Ring tournament.[13] At the King of the Ring pay-per-view, Bigelow defeated Jim Duggan in the quarter-final round before losing to Bret Hart in the final.[14][15] Soon after, Luna Vachon became Bigelow's (kayfabe) love interest and valet. Bigelow went on to feud with Tatanka and Doink the Clown. He teamed with The Headshrinkers against Tatanka and The Smoking Gunns in a losing effort at SummerSlam.[16] Bigelow's team of The Headshrinkers and Bastion Booger was defeated by The Four Doinks (The Bushwhackers and Men on a Mission) at Survivor Series.[17]

Bigelow began 1994 by replacing Ludvig Borga in a match against Tatanka at Royal Rumble.[18] Tatanka won the match. Later that night, both men participated in the Royal Rumble match, where Bigelow eliminated Tatanka to end the feud.[19] At WrestleMania X, Bigelow teamed with Luna to defeat Doink and Dink to conclude the rivalry with Doink.[20][15]

Million Dollar Corporation (1994–1995)[edit]

On the May 16 episode of Raw, Bigelow defeated Sparky Plugg to qualify for the 1994 King of the Ring tournament.[19] He lost to Razor Ramon in the quarter-final at the eponymous pay-per-view.[21] Bigelow's lack of success resulted in his breakup with Luna after his loss to Mabel on the June 27 episode of Monday Night Raw and he joined Ted DiBiase's new faction Million Dollar Corporation on the July 2 episode of Superstars, thus becoming the second member of the group.[19]

On the August 1 episode of Raw, he was placed in a tag team with Corporation's newest acquisition Irwin R. Schyster and the two were announced as the next challengers for the Tag Team Championship on the August 6 episode of Superstars. However, the champions The Headshrinkers dropped the titles before the scheduled title match at SummerSlam.[19] The two teams still fought at the event, with Bigelow and IRS emerging victorious.[22] At Survivor Series, Bigelow was part of Million $ Team with Heavenly Bodies and Corporation teammates King Kong Bundy and Tatanka against Guts and Glory (Lex Luger, Mabel, Adam Bomb and Smoking Gunns). Bigelow and Bundy were the survivors of the match.[23][15]

In the fall of 1994, Bigelow and Tatanka participated in a tournament to crown the new Tag Team Champions, defeating Men on a Mission in the quarter-final and The New Headshrinkers in the semi-final matches on the December 17 and January 14, 1995 episodes of Superstars respectively.[19][24] Bigelow and Tatanka ended up losing to Bob Holly and 1-2-3 Kid in the finals at Royal Rumble.[25] Bigelow was mocked at ringside by former New York Giants All-Pro linebacker Lawrence Taylor. Bam Bam fought back, shoving Taylor at ringside, and was soon engaged in a highly publicized feud with the famous ex-football player.[24] Bigelow was defeated by Taylor in the main event at WrestleMania XI.[26][5] Shortly after WrestleMania, tensions were starting to build up between Bigelow and Ted DiBiase. After he failed to win the WWF Championship from Diesel on the April 24 episode of Raw, DiBiase slapped him and led the entire Million Dollar Corporation to take him down including new member Sycho Sid. Diesel made the save and Bigelow turned babyface, publicly quitting the Million Dollar Corporation.[24]

He teamed with Diesel to take on Corporation members Tatanka and Sid in a tag team match at King of the Ring, which Bigelow and Diesel won.[27] Bigelow's feud with the Corporation continued for most of the summer of 1995 including a victory over Henry Godwinn at SummerSlam, until it quietly ended in September 1995 as Bigelow moved on to a rivalry with British Bulldog, which culminated in a loss for Bigelow at In Your House 3.[28][29] Bigelow's last match in WWF was a loss to Goldust at Survivor Series.[30] After rumored problems backstage with The Kliq, Bigelow left the WWF in late 1995.[1]

Extreme Championship Wrestling[edit]

Initial appearances and MMA fight (1996)[edit]

Bigelow made a few appearances in Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) in early 1996, feuding with Taz and siding with Tod Gordon. Later in the year, Bigelow would face Terry Gordy. He won with the assistance of The Eliminators.[31]

Bigelow at a U-Japan MMA event in 1996.

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.[32] 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 would later claim in a shoot interview that the fight was a work and he received minimal damage for a nice paycheck. He then claimed that he was the "world's highest paid jobber."

Triple Threat (1997–1998)[edit]

Main article: Triple Threat

He returned to Paul Heyman's ECW in 1997, eventually joining with the Triple Threat faction, with Chris Candido and leader Shane Douglas. Bigelow made his in-ring debut in a tag team match at Chapter 2 on May 10, teaming with Douglas to defeat The Pitbulls.[33] Bigelow made his televised debut on the June 26 episode of Hardcore TV in a six-man tag team match, in which Triple Threat defeated Balls Mahoney and The Pitbulls. Bigelow participated in his first singles match in ECW on the July 3 episode of Hardcore TV, where he pinned Pitbull #2.[34] Bigelow made his pay-per-view debut in a tag team match with Chris Candido at Heat Wave against Chris Chetti and Balls Mahoney, which Candido and Bigelow won.[35]

Bigelow began a series of matches against Spike Dudley, with the two exchanging victories including one at the Hardcore Heaven pay-per-view, which Bigelow won.[36][37][38] During the rivalry, Bigelow established himself as a dominant force in ECW, carrying out feats of strength such as hurling Dudley out of the ring and into the audience and slamming Taz through the ring itself.[34]

As part of the Triple Threat group, Bigelow was quickly promoted to main event status by turning on fellow Triple Threat member Shane Douglas, as he was booked to win his first world championship by beating Douglas to win the World Heavyweight Championship under the guidance of Rick Rude on the October 24 episode of Hardcore TV.[39] As a result, Bigelow left Triple Threat and began feuding with his former stablemates. He retained the title against Douglas at Ultimate Jeopardy, before dropping the title back to Douglas at the November to Remember pay-per-view, ending the reign at 46 days.[40][41] It turned out to be a classic match. Both men were so badly injured as a result of the match that they did not appear on ECW television for over a month.[42]

They continued to feud, with Bigelow looking to Taz to join him in his campaign against the Triple Threat. At the Hostile City Showdown event in 1998, Bigelow and Taz took on Triple Threat in a handicap match, where he turned on Taz and rejoined the group as Triple Threat prospect Lance Storm was tossed aside.[43] Triple Threat began a feud with Taz, Rob Van Dam and Sabu, which carried over throughout 1998. During this rivalry, Bigelow won the World Television Championship from Taz in his hometown of Absury Park, New Jersey at the Living Dangerously pay-per-view.[44] Bigelow successfully defended the title against The Sandman on the March 25 episode of Hardcore TV before dropping the title to Rob Van Dam, two weeks later on Hardcore TV, ending the reign at just 34 days.[45][46] After beating New Jack at Wrestlepalooza, Bigelow failed to capture the [[E FTW Heavyweight Championship]] from Taz in a falls count anywhere match at Heat Wave.[47][48] The feud ended with a six-man tag team match between the two teams at November to Remember, in which Sabu, Taz and Van Dam defeated Triple Threat. Bigelow then left ECW.[49]

World Championship Wrestling[edit]

Early years (1998–1999)[edit]

On the November 16, 1998 episode of Monday Nitro, Bigelow debuted in World Championship Wrestling (WCW), interrupting a match between Scott Putski and Chavo Guerrero, Jr. and attacking both competitors.[50] He was portrayed as an unwelcome guest from outside the company and confronted the World Heavyweight Champion Goldberg.[51] After defeating Wrath in his WCW pay-per-view debut at the 1999 Souled Out event, Bigelow competed against Goldberg in a losing effort at SuperBrawl IX.[52][53]

He was one of the wrestlers who developed WCW's hardcore division with a series of hardcore wrestling matches for the next few months including a triple threat falls count anywhere match with fellow ECW alumni Raven and Hardcore Hak at Uncensored in which Hak would emerge victorious and then Bigelow defeated Hak and Brian Knobbs in hardcore matches at Spring Stampede and Slamboree respectively.[54][55][56]

Jersey Triad (1999)[edit]

Main article: Jersey Triad

In May 1999, Bigelow formed a tag team with Diamond Dallas Page and the duo entered competition for the World Tag Team Championship. On the May 31 episode of Nitro, Page and Bigelow were booked to defeat Raven and Perry Saturn to win the tag team title for the first time after they attacked Raven before the match and his substitute Chris Kanyon turned on Saturn.[57] The following week on Nitro, Kanyon officially joined Page and Bigelow to form a stable, known as the Jersey Triad.[58]

Page and Bigelow dropped the titles to Saturn and Chris Benoit on the June 10 episode of Thunder, after Saturn's original partner Ric Flair abandoned him and Benoit replaced Flair as Saturn's partner. As a result, Triad began an affiliation with Flair.[58] Triad regained the tag titles when Page and Kanyon defeated Benoit and Saturn at The Great American Bash. Following their second reign, Triad executed the Freebird Rule in which any two members of the Triad could defend the title, allowing Bigelow to be recognized as champion and defend the title as well.[59][57] Triad successfully defended the titles against Benoit and Saturn in a rematch at Bash at the Beach, before dropping the titles to Harlem Heat at Road Wild.[60][61] Triad disbanded after Page's loss to Goldberg at Fall Brawl, with Bigelow moving to singles competition.[58]

Hardcore Championship reign and various rivalries (1999–2001)[edit]

Following the dissolution of Triad, Bigelow entered a tournament to crown a new World Heavyweight Champion, losing to Norman Smiley in the first round on the October 25 episode of Nitro.[58][62] Bigelow returned to the hardcore division and was booked to win the Hardcore Championship, his only singles title in WCW, from Brian Knobbs, on the February 7, 2000 episode of Nitro, only to drop the title back to Knobbs at SuperBrawl.[63][64][65]

Bigelow began his next program with The Wall after Wall developed a sadistic streak and attacked younger wrestlers, including David Flair and Crowbar. This led to a series of matches between the two, which culminated at Uncensored where Wall and Bigelow fought in a match where The Wall put Bigelow through a table, resulting in a disqualification win for Bigelow.[66]

Bigelow floundered into the mid-card and was rarely utilized in a major feud. He closed the year with a win over Sgt. AWOL at Mayhem and a loss to Mike Awesome in an ambulance match at Starrcade.[67][68] In 2001, Bigelow began his final feud in WCW against Shawn Stasiak, resulting in a match between the two at WCW's final pay-per-view event Greed, which Stasiak won.[69] The pair ended their feud in a rematch on the final episode of Nitro on March 26.[50] The stipulation of the match was that, if Bigelow won, he would tattoo "that sweet thing" in the ring (Stasiak accepted the stipulation, assuming he meant his valet Stacy Keibler when he was, in fact, referring to Stasiak himself). However, Stasiak won the match.[50]

Independent circuit (2002–2006)[edit]

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 (Legion Cage and Marcus Hall).[70]

In his most profitable years, he earned between $750,000 and $1.2 million per year.[71]

Later life and death[edit]

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.[71]

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.[72]

In August 2002, Bigelow made several public appearances to promote a chain of automotive customizers called "Hot Rodz" throughout the southeast of the United States. Along with a seven-minute speech that Bigelow prepared himself, he would also often unveil a hot rod which was detailed by the staff of each shop to resemble the hot-rod style flames associated with Bigelow for much of his career. Fourteen cars were displayed and eventually sold, with all proceeds going to local charities.[citation needed]

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,[73] but it later closed. He then relocated to Florida, with his close friend Shane Douglas clueless as to his whereabouts.[71]

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.[71]

On October 2, 2005, Bigelow was hospitalized with a broken nose and several lacerations after crashing his Harley-Davidson motorcycle in Spring Hill, Florida. Janis Remiesiewicz, Bigelow's girlfriend, was his passenger at the time of the crash, and she suffered severe injuries. A spokesman for the Florida Highway Patrol stated that Bigelow would be the focus of a homicide investigation should Remiesiewicz die, but she eventually made a complete recovery and remained with Bigelow until his death.[74]

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.[75] He was 45 years old. The autopsy results showed that Bigelow's death was due to multiple drugs found in his system including toxic levels of cocaine and an anti-anxiety drug.[76] Bigelow was also suffering from a heart problem,[76] specifically arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease, and had severe back problems.[7]

In wrestling[edit]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

1Bigelow defended the title with either Page or Kanyon under the Freebird Rule.

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 0-1 United States Kimo Leopoldo Submission (rear naked choke) U-Japan November 17, 1996 1 2:15 Japan

Filmography[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]