Wrestler of the Day – April 24: Big Boss Man

Today it’s one of the nicest guys ever in wrestling: the Big Boss Man.

 

The Boss Man, real name Ray Traylor, got his start as a jobber. He’s one of the few guys ever to get a job based on one match and one match alone. Here’s the match, from WCW TV on February 15, 1986.

Tully Blanchard vs. Ray Traylor

Yes, that’s Big Bossman as a jobber. He’s in a singlet here which looks like an S&M outfit on him. JJ is on commentary and sounds a little worried about Traylor’s size. Tully goes amateur on him but Traylor gets up and muscles him back into the corner. Traylor keeps using his weight to get him into the corner. Tully sweeps the leg and takes it to the mat again. He manages to get Traylor up and hit the slingshot suplex for the pin.

Rating: C+. Considering Traylor’s size (over 350lbs) that suplex at the end was awesome. Dusty was so impressed by the fact that Traylor could take it and make it look good that Traylor got a full time job out of this. He was kept off TV for three months and came back as Cornette’s unstoppable and unhurtable bodyguard Big Bubba Rogers and would jump to the WWF in about two years.

After being Cornette’s bodyguard for awhile, Bubba would go on to feud with Ronnie Garvin, who he would face in a street fight at Starrcade 1986.

Ron Garvin vs. Big Bubba Rogers

Garvin is Mid-Atlantic Champion but this is non-title. It’s also a street fight and Bubba, a 400lb monster who can move very quickly and is dressed as a gangster for lack of a better term, has Jim Cornette as his manager. You can only win by pinfall or knocking someone down for a ten count. Why not just cover them for three instead of waiting the extra seven seconds? Falls count anywhere also. Oh and this is a Louisville (Cornette’s hometown) street fight in Atlanta.

Garvin gets in some quick right hands to stagger Bubba so the big man asks for a test of strength. Ron agrees but sucker punches Bubba down in a smart bit. Garvin is in street clothes here which works for a street fight. Back in and Bubba throws Garvin onto the announce table and out to the floor as we pause again. While out there, Garvin picks up a drink and throws it in Bubba’s face to get an advantage. He goes NUTS on Bubba, pounding him out to the floor with rights and lefts.

Back in and Garvin chokes away but Cornette slipped Bubba something and a shot to Ron’s head changes control again. Bubba punches him down a few times for a couple of four counts but Ron comes back with more punches. Garvin pulls out a rope of some kind and ties Bubba’s leg down with it before choking away. Bubba comes back with some right hands of his own and slaps on a bearhug like any good monster would.

Garvin doesn’t appear to be in pain at all and headbutts his way out of the hold. A BIG right hand puts Rogers on the floor and he’s almost out cold. Back in for, of course, more punching from Garvin. Bubba is knocked to the floor where he gains control by the power of fat, but as they go back in Ron slams him down off the top rope.

The referee is crushed (as has happened A LOT tonight) and Ron piledrives Bubba down, only to have Cornette blast him with the tennis racket. The referee gets up and counts both guys out to ten, but there has to be a winner. It’s the first man to his feet gets the win apparently, and with Bubba distracting the referee, Cornette nails Ron in the knee with the racket to give Bubba the easy win.

Rating: D+. This didn’t do it for me. Garvin throws a decent punch, but other than that there was nothing to see here from either guy. It wasn’t terrible or anything but I need more than eleven minutes of punching and a screwy finish with Cornette hitting Ron in the knee with a tennis racket. Not much to see here.

After another few months as a big brawler in the NWA, Rogers would head to the WWF and become the Big Boss Man, a former prison guard who dished out law and order. His PPV debut was at Summerslam 1988.

Big Boss Man vs. Koko B. Ware

Boss Man is brand new here. This wasn’t included on the home video version for reasons that I’ve never figured out. It was probably a time thing though. Koko fires away to start and staggers the very fat Boss Man with a dropkick. Boss Man is one of the best cases of weight loss you’ll ever see as he lost probably 100lbs in a year and a half, making him MUCH smoother in the ring.

Koko charges into a front facelock and Boss Man pounds him down with a forearm to the back. A splash in the corner crushes Ware but Boss Man pulls him up at two. Off to a surfboard hold but Koko rolls forward and kicks Boss Man in the face. A stiff right hand puts Koko down again but Boss Man misses a top rope splash. Boss Man misses another splash in the corner and a missile dropkick gets two for Koko. Ware charges again but gets dropped face first onto the post, followed by the Boss Man Slam for the easy pin.

Rating: D. This went WAY too long for a squash early on in Boss Man’s run with the company. The match wasn’t terrible and Koko looked good with the high flying stuff, but therein lies the problem: there’s no reason to have Koko look so good here. He should have gotten destroyed in about three minutes as opposed to being somewhat competitive in twice as long.

Boss Man would become part of a tag team with the 400lb Akeem called the Twin Towers. They would be the top heels in the company in early 1989, facing off with the Twin Towers at the Main Event II.

Twin Towers vs. Mega Powers

This is an hour long show and the match is over twenty minutes long so if you didn’t get the idea, this is the only reason to watch this show. After the Towers get to the ring, we get a video about Hogan and Savage. This isn’t your typical video however. This is set to a WAY too upbeat song called You’re A Friend Of Mine by Clarence Clemens Jackson Browne. Look it up and picture a highlight package of Hogan and Savage. It looks like the intro to a REALLY bad sitcom. I can’t make this stuff up people.

Hogan and Savage say there is no issue with these three. The underlying theme here is that Hogan allegedly loves Liz but Hogan insists it’s just like a brother and sister. In short, this became about Hogan which Savage didn’t like which has to be at least half legitimate. Everyone talks a lot here and hey now let’s have a match.

Boss Man starts and Savage and Hogan both want to start for their team. Boss Man wants Hogan so Savage can’t get his way again. Hogan looks especially orange tonight. The heels are cleared out by Super Hogan alone and the fans are WAY into it. The little things in this match like Savage wearing Hogan’s colors with the words Mega Powers written on them but Hogan wearing his usual gear is very well done.

Akeem comes in and here’s Savage to meet him. Oh wait never mind Hogan needs to come back in. He even comes off the second rope to work on the arm a bit. Boss Man hits a Piledriver and Hogan does his fish out of water dance on the mat. I’m not sure if it looks more like that or a steak being grilled. One or the other. Jesse points out that Hogan is hogging the ring time and he’s absolutely right at this point.

Slick gets involved so Savage drills him in the face. Spinebuster which is unnamed at this point gets two. Savage finally comes in this has been ALL Mega Powers. Top rope cross body puts Akeem down but Slick gets a shot in to take down the Macho Man and momentum shifts. Savage is still world champion here if I didn’t mention that and you’re not familiar with this era.

And now we get to the meat of this show. Akeem throws Savage to the floor and he wipes Elizabeth out, landing right on top of her (lucky). She’s GONE and Hogan goes to try to help her which ticks Savage off for some reason. “Oh no the woman I love is getting helped after I was incapacitated! SCREW THIS!” Hogan carries Liz to the back in as dramatic a fashion as possible. He leaves with her as they check her out.

We get the other fun part of this as Hogan’s acting is at its peak here. Keep in mind we stay on Hogan and Liz for like 3 minutes with ZERO talk of what’s going on in the ring. Back from a break we get a bumper of the match and now back to General Wrestling Hospital. Hogan keeps saying thank God and making weird noises. I don’t have the video up as I’m typing here and the sounds are just disturbing. Leaving out the word God it’s God Elizabeth God Elizabeth and random moaning and groaning and breathing sounds.

FINALLY he realizes he’s left his partner for like ten minutes against two monsters so he comes back for the save and the glory. Oh but instead of like, I don’t know, GETTING IN THE RING and beating the heck out of one of the guys and helping Savage, he gets on the apron and grabs the tag rope. Savage continues to do all of the work and beats up Boss Man but won’t tag Hogan.

Savage slaps Hogan nice and hard and leaves him. Serves the bald pest right too. Macho stands on the floor and then leaves with his belt. For once Hogan has absolutely no one to blame but himself here. More on that later though. Air Africa (Akeem’s splash) hits Hogan, he Hulks Up, Boss Man apparently asks Slick if he knows where he can find a good turkey on rye as he pays NO attention to what’s going on and Hogan gets the pin.

Rating: C. Total angle here with a match as the backdrop but this was a big deal to put it mildly. This would be like Orton turning on Cena when they had been best friends for like a year. The match is just ok but that’s all it needed to be. Hogan’s hammy acting aside, this was perfectly fine for what it was.

We’ll take a quick jump away from Hogan to one of the first matches on Wrestlemania V.

Rockers vs. Twin Towers

That would be Big Boss Man/Akeem. Shawn makes his Wrestlemania debut by starting against Big Boss Man and the little guy takes over quickly. He also decks Akeem in the corner and gets to face the bigger man (Akeem, the former One Man Gang). The Rockers start flying in and out of the ring as they work over Akeem’s arm. The arm cranking continues but Akeem makes a blind tag. Marty gets tossed into Boss Man’s arms and crushed by both big men. This is back when Boss Man weighed about 400lbs so it’s a big more painful than it sounds.

The Towers take their turns with fat man offense as Marty is in big trouble in a hurry. Akeem avalanches him in the corner and it’s back to Boss Man. We get heel miscommunication though and Boss Man is knocked to the floor by his own partner. Off to Shawn who pounds away in the corner before both Rockers hit a series of whips into the corner. A double middle rope shoulder finally takes Akeem down for two and it’s back to Shawn on his own.

Akeem KILLS HIM with a clothesline (Jesse: “I think he irritated Akeem!”) but Boss Man misses a top rope splash. The Rockers hit some double dropkicks (one of which sees Shawn completely missing Bossman) but a top rope rana is countered into a wicked powerbomb by Boss Man. Akeem crushes Shawn with a splash for the pin.

Rating: C. Considering how hungover the Rockers were in this match (as confirmed by Shawn), this came off pretty well. The Rockers sold the power offense like few others could, which made for some awesome visuals. They would get a lot better over the coming years but this wasn’t their best performance.

Back to Hogan, for what might be Boss Man’s most famous moment. From Saturday Night’s Main Event #21.

WWF Title: Hulk Hogan vs. Big Boss Man

This is in a cage remember. Slick says that the surprise is Zeus. He stands on the steps and slams the cage door, blocking Hogan’s entrance. Dang it I was hoping I was done with this guy. Ok here’s the concept of Zeus. Hogan made a movie called No Holds Barred. The main villain in that movie was named Tom Lister, playing the character of Zeus, a monster fighter that was a crazed wrestler. Hogan played a character that more or less was himself named Rip. At the end of the movie, Rip beats Zeus as you would expect him to. So what this would be is Zeus the character coming after the actor that played the character Rip.

In other words, a character played by an actor is coming after a character played by a character played by Terry Bollea. Now here’s the big problem: LISTER CANNOT WRESTLE. Vince of course contemplated putting him vs. Hogan in SkyDome at Mania 6 for the title. Yeah around this time WWF was in REAL financial trouble until Mania saved the freaking company. Anyway, this is Zeus’ debut.

Remember, this is a movie character going after an actor that played a character that beat his character up. Yeah it was idiotic but oddly enough few got the problem, mainly because most kids were so freaked out by Zeus, including me, that they didn’t get how stupid this was. Oh and remember Hogan hasn’t even come to the arena yet.

We get a clip of No Holds Barred, showing Zeus beating up a street fighter. That movie needs to be on DVD. It just does. Hogan comes out and can’t get in. Zeus beats Hogan down as you would expect. Remember, this would be like Christian Bale claiming to be Batman beating up Liam Neeson. Not Ra’s-as-Ghul, but Liam Neeson. Boss Man dominates early but here comes the champion as you would expect.

See here, the fans are cheering and money was coming in. BIG difference to today. He hits what would be called a spinebuster on Hogan but doesn’t have a name other than “look at that maneuver!” Boss Man gets over the top of the cage but since Boss Man can’t climb down with any kind of speed, Hogan gets there in time. We then get the mega spot of the match, which really isn’t much by today’s standards.

With Boss Man on the top of the cage and Hogan on the top rope, Hogan suplexes Boss Man to the mat. I think it’s because of the size and era that this is considered such a great bump. They’re up about 45 seconds later and everything is fine. Boss Man has handcuffs which don’t work of course. Ah never mind it’s just a chain. Both guys get rammed into the cage and they’re both down.

This time it’s just for a few seconds though. Boss Man is bleeding a bit. The usual stuff ends it as Hogan goes over the top to get to the floor. For those of you that don’t remember, Slick is more or less Pope minus wrestling. I forgot to mention that Slick runs in and there’s a mix up, causing Boss Man to get cuffed to the rope. Hogan beats Slick up afterwards.

Rating: B-. It’s a Hogan cage match. That’s all there is to it. The bump is nice, but other than that there just isn’t much here. Hogan vs. a monster was where he was at his best and this came off just fine. It’s no classic or anything, but for a TV match this was quite good and that suplex scared me to death as a kid.

Boss Man would turn face in early 1990 after Ted DiBiase hired him to retrieve the Million Dollar Title. Boss Man did his job, but DiBiase made it sound like Boss Man was a mercenary. That wasn’t what Boss Man stood for and the turn was simple. This led to a feud with DiBiase, but somehow they wouldn’t have a big match for months. Here’s one from about eight months later on August 8, 1990.

Ted DiBiase vs. Big Bossman

This is a fan favorite match, meaning a fan requested it. The problem with this is simple: there’s no point to this at all. Luckily this was a bit of a feud from Wrestlemania which had a bit of time on a SNME so there’s a bit of history there I suppose. We’re in Providence here. Boss Man chases him out of the ring to start. When I say start I mean start to stall as DiBiase won’t come in and then tries to leave.

Boss Man curses loudly which isn’t something you hear in this era that often. After a two minute stall, Virgil’s distraction fails and Boss Man takes over. Atomic drop and a punch send DiBiase to the floor. Out to the floor and Boss Man crushes him, using the belt to whip and choke Ted out a bit. Finally a splash misses and Virgil slips in the nightstick. A shot to the ribs shifts momentum over to DiBiase. This isn’t particularly boring but it’s such a paint by numbers match.

Out to the floor again with Boss Man being sent into the post and steps. Did referees not DQ anyone back in this era? DiBiase wastes a lot of time and stomps away. More rib work follows after that earlier nightstick shot. Bearhug goes on as Mooney questions why the ribs are hurting. See what I have to work with here people? Boss Man gets out of it and a double clothesline puts both guys down.

DiBiase misses a middle rope double axe and flips over which he does so well. His athleticism was underrated. Virgil gets brought in too and it’s an old school double noggin knocker. It’s a DQ somewhere in there with it being given to DiBiase. WHAT THE HECK??? How in the world is that a DQ? Not only is this tape boring but it makes no sense. DiBiase and Virgil hammer away but Boss Man gets the stick and runs them off.

Rating: D+. Still a boring match and the ending was just stupid. How is it a DQ to beat up Virgil? I guess it’s over him pulling Virgil in but still dude, that’s as confusing an ending as I’ve seen since the last TNA show I watched. Not a bad match I guess but this tape is dead anyway so it’s not like it matters anyway.

Next up was a feud with the Heenan Family. Bobby Heenan insulted Big Boss Man’s mother and you don’t do that to a Georgia Boy. Heenan said Boss Man would have to face every member of the Family to get to him and that’s exactly what Boss Man did. He wound up facing Mr. Perfect for the Intercontinental Title at Wrestlemania VII.

Intercontinental Title: Big Boss Man vs. Mr. Perfect

Perfect is defending. This is an interesting yet simple idea for a story: Heenan had insulted Boss Man’s mama so Boss Man swore revenge. He went after the Heenan Family and beat every single one of them until there was only Perfect left. Tonight is the final showdown. They spit at each other to start and Perfect slaps Boss Man like a schmuck. Boss Man hits him once to knock Perfect out to the floor and there’s a spin around BY THE HAIR. FREAKING OW MAN!

Boss Man speeds around the corner and hits a big clothesline to take Hennig down. Perfect gets tossed out to the floor and Boss Man is standing tall. Back in and Boss Man hits the running crotch attack to Perfect’s back and whips him with a belt for good measure. Perfect finally avoids a shot and takes Boss Man down with some kicks to the ribs. Off to a chinlock with a knee in the back followed by an abdominal stretch. There’s the Hennig neck snap for two and Mr. goes up, only to jump into a boot.

Perfect gets to do his reverse crotching into the post but as they go to the floor, Boss Man is whipped into the steps to take him down again. Since it was a Heenan distraction that caused the whip into the steps, here’s Andre the Giant to counter the weasel. Andre picks up the belt and takes way too long to get to his position, from which he whacks Perfect in the head to knock him out cold. Boss Man covers but Haku and Barbarian run in for the DQ.

Rating: C. This wasn’t great and I have no idea why they didn’t change the title. The story set it up to be a title change, but I guess they were hoping for something else besides this. What that was I have no idea as Boss Man would never come close to the title again. The match was decent enough all things considered though.

Boss Man would be in the main event of Survivor Series 1991, desite there being no story to it whatsoever.

Legion of Doom/Big Boss Man vs. IRS/Natural Disasters

This is your main event people. Let that sink in for a minute. The LOD are the tag champions and IRS and Boss Man are having a worthless midcard feud. Boss Man and IRS start things off with the tax dude (if you need help figuring out who that is you’re beyond my help) getting thrown all over the place. Off to Animal vs. Earthquake which fires the crowd up a bit.

They collide and Animal’s cross body is caught in a backbreaker in an impressive display of strength from Quake. Back to IRS to face Hawk with the latter working on the arm. Typhoon gets the tag, only to have IRS thrown at him by Hawk. Off to Earthquake who carries Hawk to the heel corner. IRS and Boss Man come in again and it’s a briefcase shot to Boss Man’s head for the elimination.

It’s Typhoon vs. Animal now and the Disasters double team Animal in the corner. Quake suplexes him down as Monsoon talks about Bobo Brazil. IRS hits a top rope right hand for two and Typhoon puts on a bearhug. Animal escapes and hits a clothesline before tagging in Hawk. IRS misses a briefcase shot to the head and hits Typhoon by mistake, giving Hawk the easy pin.

Quake wants to fight IRS now but walks off with Typhoon instead, making it the LOD vs. IRS. Hawk powerslams IRS down but a charge goes shoulder first into the post. Hawk gets sent face first into the steps as we continue to fill time by having IRS look like he has a chance. We hit the chinlock as the announcers talk about Thanksgiving dinner. Not hot tag brings in Animal who cleans whatever is left in the house. IRS tries to walk out but runs into Boss Man in the aisle. Hawk hits a top rope clothesline for the win.

Rating: D+. We go from Hogan vs. Andre II to this in five years? That should give you a good idea as to what you’ve got going on with this show. The match was nothing and there was no reason to get excited about it, because the whole reason the match was happening had been postponed to Tuesday. In Texas.

Boss Man’s last WWF feud was against Nailz, who claimed to have been abused by Boss Man in prison. This led to a nightstick on a pole match at Survivor Series 1992.

Big Boss Man vs. Nailz

This is a nightstick on a pole match, which means you can get it down and use the stick on the other guy. Is it a DQ if the person that doesn’t pull it down uses it? That’s how the rules sound. Nailz tries to get to the stick but Boss Man runs out for the save. Nailz isn’t a wrestler so him using nothing but chokes and punches makes perfect sense. He chokes Boss Man down but still can’t get the stick.

A right hand puts Nailz down and Boss Man gets his hand on the stick but he gets slammed down off the top. Nailz works on Boss Man’s back a bit and chokes away some more but Boss Man shoulders him down. A splash misses and Nailz goes for the corner again. He gets crotched as this is already slowing down. A double clothesline puts both guys down and Boss Man quickly gets to the corner to get the stick. Nailz barely sells a stick shot to the face but Boss Man no sells one to the ribs and hits the Boss Man Slam for the pin.

Rating: D. This was terrible with the no selling looking awful. I mean, it’s a nightstick to the head. There are only so many ways you can get hit with that and be up twenty seconds later. Nailz never did anything other than this although he was scheduled to feud with Undertaker. Boss Man would be gone after the Rumble and wouldn’t be back for years.

It was off to WCW after this, with one of the Boss’ (new name in WCW, and yes it caused a lawsuit) first big matches coming against Vader at Spring Stampede 1994.

The Boss vs. Vader

Guess who the Boss is. Almost right off the bat, Vader takes a HARD whip into the railing. Like I’ve said before, Boss was perfect for this feud as he had the size and power to stand up to Vader but wasn’t big enough that Vader’s offense would make no sense against him. This is a freaking fight. All night long has been physical but it’s been reigned in which is a huge help to it and it’s making the thing work a lot better. Vader is bleeding from the eye. That can’t be a good thing at all.

They’re just punching the tar out of each other here and it’s AWESOME stuff. Boss throws a freaking DDT off the middle rope. I’m into this also if you can’t tell. There’s not a lot to say here as it’s just them beating the crap out of each other with STIFF shots. The Vader Bomb gets two but the Vadersault ends this. I don’t think Boss ever pinned Vader even though they feuded all summer. Post match Boss goes nuts on Vader and Race with the nightstick. In the back Bockwinkle takes the stick and the cuffs away from him, leading to him becoming the Guardian Angel.

Rating: B. Again, this was far more of a fight than a match but it worked VERY well. The matches would get progressively worse, but the first ones were straight up fights. This worked fine although it could have been better. Just awesome fighting here which never gets old.

He would turn heel later in the year and eventually meet up with old rival Hulk Hogan in the main event of the first Monday Nitro.

WCW Title: Hulk Hogan vs. Big Bubba Rogers

Hogan is defending of course. Rogers is more famous as the Big Boss Man from the WWF, meaning this is another pairing with a lot of experience against each other. Hulk Hogan’s manager, and former rival, Jimmy Hart has stars and stripes pants and a jacket. He looks like a walking barber pole. The fans are going nuts for Hogan if nothing else, which shouldn’t surprise anyone at all.

Hogan shoves Bubba back to start but gets caught in a headlock. Bubba sends Hogan into the corner to stay on the champion but can’t ram him into the buckle. Instead it’s a backbreaker to put Hogan down for no cover, with Bubba opting to pound away in the corner instead. Hogan gets two straight boots up in the corner to stop a charging Bubba before pounding down right hands in the corner. A simple shot to the throat puts Hogan down again but Bubba goes after Jimmy Hart on the floor, allowing Hulk to come back again.

Back inside and Hogan wraps Jimmy’s jacket around Bubba’s head to pound away even more. Some hero. Hogan slams him down and drops some elbows but Bubba drives knees into the ribs to take over. Hogan avoids a splash in the corner but walks into Bubba’s trademark side slam for two. The champion Hulks Up, hits three straight right hands, a big boot to the face and drops the big leg to retain his title.

Rating: C. It’s exactly that: average. Hogan wrestled this exact same match probably a thousand times over his career and there’s nothing wrong with it. Why mess with the most successful formula of all time? This is the kind of thing the fans wanted to see and that’s exactly what they got here. Fine idea for a main event.

We’re going to jump WAY ahead here as 1996 and 1997 weren’t kind to Big Bubba. After joining and being thrown out of the NWO and now being known by his real name of Ray Traylor, he would go fight for WCW. Here’s a match from January 5, 1998 on Nitro.

Buff Bagwell/Scott Norton/Konnan vs. Ray Traylor/Steiner Brothers

Traylor and Konnan get things going with Ray missing a charge into the corner and getting clotheslined down. Konnan loads up a DDT but Scott Steiner takes his head off with a clothesline to break it up. Bagwell gets slapped to the floor as Scott Steiner stomps on Konnan’s head. Everything breaks down and the NWO is sent to the floor. Bagwell gets the tag but wants Rick instead of Scott.

Rick poses a bit in a funny spot, causing Buff to go off with right hands. That lasts all of four seconds as Rick suplexes him down and gets two off a Steiner Line. Back to Ray to face Norton with Traylor being taken down like he’s nothing. Ray comes back with an uppercut and it’s back to Rick for a top rope clothesline.

The NWO finally starts cheating to let Buff take over and Rick gets beaten down by all three NWO guys. Rick finally clotheslines Buff down and tags in his brother as everything breaks down. Everything breaks down and the Steiners set up the Steiner Bulldog, only to have Scott drop Buff down in an electric chair. Rick is distracted but his brother hits the awesome Steiner Screwdriver on Konnan for the pin. DiBiase gets in some kicks to Vincent for old times’ sake.

Rating: C+. This match goes up a letter or so because of the Steiner Screwdriver. If there has ever been a more devastating looking move I can’t think of it off the top of my head. If you’ve never seen it, picture a delayed vertical suplex but instead of falling back, Scott drops the other guy straight down on his head like a fast piledriver. It’s incredibly dangerous but so sweet to watch. That lack of the Steiner Bulldog at the end isn’t a good sign for the Brothers though.

Traylor would head back to the WWF and join Vince McMahon’s Corporation as the Big Boss Man. Vince would reward him with a Hardcore Title shot on Raw on November 30, 1998.

Hardcore Title: Big Bossman vs. Mankind

Ladder match. Shawn comes out with Boss Man and climbs the ladder for old times’ sake. Boss Man knocks Mankind into the ladder as Shawn ejects the JOB Squad who came with Mankind. Shawn jumps in on commentary as Boss Man is sent into the steps. Mankind throws the ladder at Bossman’s head as Shawn is giving scores to every move Mankind does. Foley drops the ladder on Boss Man and they head inside.

Boss Man gets crushed between the ladder and an elbow drop onto the ladder onto Boss Man onto the ladder crushes him even more. Mankind vs. Rock for the title at Rock Bottom is confirmed. Boss Man keeps Mankind from getting the belt but walks into a double arm DDT. Another climb is countered and Boss Man slams Mankind down (getting a ten from Shawn) and they fight on top of the ladder. Socko goes into Boss Man’s mouth but here’s Rock to shove the ladder and Mankind over. Mankind gets back up and hits Rock low but gets knocked off the ladder again. The Rock Bottom allows Boss Man to win the title.

Rating: D. This is in the time of Russo and there’s one of your first instances of the title being a prop in a feud. Now to be fair it’s not like the Hardcore Title was ever meant to mean anything, but it clearly is being treated like nothing at all here other than a way to enhance Rock and Mankind’s feud. The match only had six minutes to work with too so it didn’t get anywhere.

Less than a month later, Boss Man had a chance to become a double champion on the December 14, 1998 episode of Raw.

Tag Titles: New Age Outlaws vs. Big Bossman/Ken Shamrock

The Outlaws are defending. Shawn is out with the challengers. Also, last night Shamrock went after Billy’s leg with a chair. That becomes important later. Billy and Boss Man start things off and Boss Man knocks him down, only to have Billy ask him to do it again. Boss Man does it again and Billy doesn’t get up. Serves the idiot right. Off to Road Dogg who does about as well, getting sent into the corner with authority. Boss Man misses a charge and it’s back to Billy.

Boss Man tries to crotch him on the post but gets pulled face first into the post instead. Off to Shamrock who goes after Billy’s leg for a good while. Boss Man comes back in and Billy falls down while being whipped to the corner because of the leg work. Shamrock comes back in and tries a standing rana but Billy powerbombs him down to counter.

The double tag brings in Roadie to face Boss Man and Shawn cracks Road Dogg in the back with a chair. The Boss Man Slam gets two and Road Dogg hits Boss Man low for absolutely no penalty. Back to Billy but Shawn whacks him with a pipe. The ankle lock goes on but Billy is out and we have new champions.

Rating: C-. The match wasn’t any good but it gave the Corporation yet another title. I believe they have everything but the European Title and the Light Heavyweight Title at the moment. Anyway this wasn’t much but at least it was short. The wrestling in the Attitude Era just wasn’t that good and most of the time that was because no one really cared about it. The fans were there for the drama and that’s about it.

Boss Man would stay in the Hardcore division for most of 1999, including getting a title shot on the first regular episode of Smackdown.

Hardcore Title: Al Snow vs. Big Bossman

I guess he stole the dog on Monday. Yep, the dog is nervous and Jerry is no longer dry. Yeah that’s not really funny. Snow only cares about getting his dog back so he’s distracted. This is all of three minutes long and ends with Bossman slamming Snow in the head with the nightstick.

He of course leaves, stealing Pepper again in the process. A week later they would meet in a hotel room where Snow would be given dinner that was, you guessed it, Pepper. It ended up being decided in the Kennel From Hell match. If you from to see something awful, go look that one up.

Rating: C. I’ll go with average because it’s just too short to really grade. Snow did next to nothing, but that fit with the storyline of him being nervous and upset. I really don’t know where they thought this would wind up going, but whoever thought the Kennel match was a good idea should be shot.

Boss Man would get into a feud with Big Show, who would become WWF Champion due to an injury to Austin. This gave Boss Man a title shot at Armageddon 1999.

WWF Title: Big Boss Man vs. Big Show

Should be a big match. This is for nothing more than to make Show’s reign not look transitional which it totally was. You have to remember that Show is still in shape and kind of slim here so he’s completely lethal. Prince Albert is with Boss Man here. He’s chokeslammed through a table in like a minute but it lets Boss Man get a step shot.

The fans think this is boring. To you new fans, here’s an idea of what Big Show from this era was capable of. He kicks out of a cover and NIPS UP. You read that right: The Big Show Nipped Up. A huge boot and the chokeslam end this in like 3 minutes. Show looked AWESOME here.

Rating: B. This is what it should have been. Big Show destroyed him and looked great doing it. He shrugged off weapons and everything Boss Man threw at him like it was nothing. This was great and it came off great. Total dominance and I loved it far more than I ever should have.

Boss Man would form a team with Bull Buchanan and open Wrestlemania 2000 in a strange choice for a match.

Godfather/D’Lo Brown vs. Big Bossman/Bull Buchanan

Eh? We’re opening the show that’s supposed to lead the WWF and therefore the wrestling business into the new millennium and this is what you give us? And people wonder why wrestling went downhill in a hurry once WCW died. Godfather and Brown are rapped to the ring by Ice T, who I try to block out as most of the time these live intros are awful. Brown is a co-pimp here.

Remember the catchy Godfather entrance? This isn’t close to it. Ice T does some song that includes the lyric Pimp Or Die. Something sound bad about that? This intro goes on WAY too long and sums up what I hate about rap: this whole thing is just loud and stupid sounding. It was built to market a CD called Aggression which was a rap album of WWF entrance themes. In case you can’t guess, it bombed.

After that completely pointless intro, Godfather decides he has to do his awful intro, saying for everyone to smoke a blunt and say it ain’t easy. FINALLY Bossman’s terribly bland theme music plays and the pain in my head goes away a little bit. Godfather has really stupid looking dreadlocks here and is somehow dumber looking than usual.

There’s really no reason as to why these two are feuding in case you thought there was. Is it possible that D’Lo Brown is the most successful of these four men? I do believe he is and that’s a scary thought. Anyway let’s get to this. Brown vs. Buchanan to start us off with Brown controlling so far. Godfather takes Boss Man’s interfering head off while Brown is on offense.

Off to the pimp now as the fans want puppies. Big elbow misses as we talk about JR wearing some of Godfather’s clothes for some reason. Basically Boss Man dominates when he’s in and Buchanan can do one move, that running up the corner into a spinning clothesline. Blind tag brings in the Boss Man who gets two on Brown as Godfather saves.

Axe kick by Buchanan gets two. Brown and Boss Man on the floor now and Godfather accidently clotheslines the referee. I say accidently as the referee doesn’t even go down so it wasn’t the point obviously. Boss Man gets two on Brown who is the face in peril here. Buchanan with a bearhug now as the fans chant for D’lo.

Naturally that doesn’t do it but an elbow takes down Brown. Double teaming by the guys in black as Godfather just looks freaking stupid. Boss Man sucks chant starts up. The beating goes on for awhile with Buchanan hitting a double axe off the top. We talk about Pete Rose for a bit and apparently he’s got a ball bat with him just in case.

Godfather shakes the ropes to crotch Godfather and Brown busts out a rana to break the momentum. Here’s Godfather who cleans some house. Ho Train hits Boss Man in the corner sets up the Lo Down from Brown. Bull pushes him off the top though but Brown lands on his feet. Boss Man Slam kills D’lo though and a guillotine leg drop from Buchanan ends this.

Rating: D+. This wasn’t terrible but at the same time it’s Godfather/Brown vs. Boss Man/Buchanan. It’s not a terrible match but is this really what you want to open Mania? Also, a heel team winning the opener? Just not a great idea especially after the crowd got fired up for the rapping. Not bad but just odd.

We’ll wrap it up there as Boss Man would be in the meaningless team for the rest of the year before leaving for most of 2001. Boss Man would have a meaningless return in 2002 where he would be in the main event for a cup of coffee, realize he wasn’t capable of doing that anymore, and head back down the card before being taken off TV soon after.

Big Boss Man was a very talented guy who could move far faster than someone his size should have been able to do. He also stuck around for a long time and was perfect for his role. No he wasn’t the top guy in the company at any time, but he was able to beat people up with a nightstick and give them a feud before they got to the big feud. That’s a valuable person to have and Boss Man ran with it for over fifteen years.

Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and pick up my new book of on the History of Clash of the Champions at Amazon for just $3.99 at:

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