Wrestler of the Day – August 30: King Kong Bundy

We’ll follow up Heenan with a Heenan guy: King Kong Bundy.

Bundy got started in 1981 so we’ll pick things up in WCCW in 1982.

Kerry Von Erich vs. King Kong Bundy

It’s never easy seeing Bundy with hair, or in long tights. Bundy, looking much slimmer here, shoves Kerry up against the ropes but he comes back with a dropkick to put the big man down. They slug it out and the power of clubbing forearms has Kerry in trouble. He nails Bundy with a right hand though and we’re back to a standoff. Bundy slams him down and puts on a chinlock as the fans start cheering for their hero.

We take a break and come back with Kerry fighting out of the chinlock. Bundy pulls him to the mat by the hair and drops a knee for two. Von Erich goes after the leg but Bundy casually puts him back on the mat for another knee drop. Kerry avoids an elbow and drops knees of his own but Bundy blocks the Claw hold. Back up and Bundy powers him into the corner before both guys head outside. They slug it out in front of the ring with Kerry getting the better of it as we have a double countout.

Rating: D+. This was about giving the live fans something to cheer for. They all loved Kerry and that carried the match as far as it needed to go. It wasn’t a masterpiece or anything but it gave Bundy a reason to keep fighting the Von Erichs. Somehow the end result was the dad beating Bundy for a title. Such is life in WCCW.

We’ll stay in WCCW on June 17, 1983 at the Star Wars show.

PWF Title: King Kong Bundy vs. Giant Baba

Baba, with arms smaller than mine, is billed at FOUR HUNDRED SEVENTY FIVE POUNDS. Even with gimmicked weights, he MIGHT weigh 300. Bundy is challenging of course. They collide with neither guy really going anywhere. Bundy grabs a headlock but Baba comes back with an armbar. That goes nowhere so Bundy stomps him down against the ropes but Baba punches him into the corner. A smiling Baba drives forearms into the chest but gets punched to the mat. Bundy misses the splash and a big boot retains Baba’s title.

Rating: D-. I’ve never seen much from Baba in the ring and this was no different. He always looks strange with the freakishly skinny arms and the long body. The line about him weighing 25lbs more than Bundy was laughable though and made the match a bit more entertaining. The wrestling sucked though.

Bundy would head to the WWF in 1985 and debut on March 16’s Championship Wrestling.

King Kong Bundy vs. Mario Mancini

Bundy comes in wearing a cape and sunglasses. Mario is easily shoved to the ropes before a hard clothesline puts him down. There’s a slam and some stomps in the corner as Bundy is dominating like everyone knew he would. The Avalanche Splash ends this quick.

Things would become a big deal for Bundy very son, starting on June 21, 1985.

King Kong Bundy vs. Tony Garea

Bundy shoves him around with ease as today this would be Brodus vs. Regal and would last a minute. Here in 1985 though, this lasts WAY too long. Garea works on the leg but gets caught by the power. Garea misses a dropkick and the Avalanche ends this. Somehow that took about 6 minutes.

Rating: D-. What in the world was the point of this? Either way at least this tape is almost over. Bundy was fine as a monster but he could only be interesting for so long. That would be about 2 months but he was good for something like this. Boring match here and I’d much rather watch Garea have a tag match.

You had to get to this match eventually. From September 23, 1985.

Andre the Giant vs. King Kong Bundy

By jove I think we’ve got a theme going here! This is called the Colossal Jostle for no apparent reason. Albano is with Andre to counter Hart. Andre goes right for him as this is about revenge from a Bundy attack in Toronto. Bundy gets chopped in the corner and knocked to the floor. Clipped to Bundy getting knocked back to the floor. Clipped again to Bundy knocking Andre down. Bundy goes after the injured sternum which was hurt by a bunch of splashes at the aforementioned Toronto show. Andre fires off some shoulders in the corner to take over. Bundy runs into a boot in the corner and here’s Studd for the DQ.

Rating: D+. Pretty dull stuff here but at least they kept it relatively short. The clipping really hurt it….I think. It might have helped it but it’s kind of hard to tell. Not terrible but definitely worse than the Khan match. This would result in Hogan coming in to help Andre….I think.

We’ll continue that theme at Saturday Night’s Main Event II.

Big John Studd/King Kong Bundy vs. Tony Atlas/Andre the Giant

The heels cut Andre’s hair and beat him up in Toronto so he picked some random partners to try to fight back. By the way that’s Abraham Washington’s Tony Atlas in there. Andre and Bundy start and the bigger fat man is MAD. He rams Bundy’s head into Atlas’ which is kind of mean but whatever. Somehow Atlas, a big old man, is the smallest in this match by far.

He gets beaten down and the splash from Bundy half kills him. Andre and Studd……uh…….I guess you could call it fight. Everything goes insane and Andre gets the tar beaten out of him. I think the match has been thrown out. Oh and Atlas got posted so he’s out. AND HERE COMES HULK! The faces clean house as Andre and Hogan begin their year and a half long angle that would culminate at Mania in Detroit.

Rating: D. Match was awful, but this was about starting a huge angle. Now at the time no one knew how big, but this is a very historic moment no matter how you look at it. There really isn’t much else to say about this one as the main story here was the ending rather than the match itself.

This eventually led to Hogan vs. Bundy for the title at Wrestlemania II.

WWF World Title: Hulk Hogan vs. King Kong Bundy

Escape only here, as it should be. Tommy Lasorda of the LA Dodgers is guest ring announcer. Ricky Schroder, a child actor, is guest timekeeper and Robert Conrad, an adult actor, is guest referee. Hogan starts firing off right hands to start and knocks Bundy into the cage before choking Bundy with his own singlet. The following clothesline in the corner has Bundy in even more trouble and a forearm to the head staggers him even more. All Hogan so far.

Both guys block shots into the cage but King goes to the ribs to stop Hogan cold. There’s a slam to mess with the ribs even more and Bundy goes for the door. You know it’s not ending that fast though so Bundy comes back to choke with the tape a bit. Another attempt to escape goes about as well and Hulk comes back with an elbow in the corner. Bundy gets rammed into the cage to bust him open and Hogan rakes his back a bit. More cage ramming occurs and Hulk climbs to the top to choke away on the ropes.

Hogan goes for the slam but Bundy falls down onto him as you would expect him to. Bundy goes to the door but Hulk grabs him for some choking with the rib tape. The Avalanche splash hits in the corner and a regular one hits as well so Hogan can shake like a fish. Hogan dives to stop Bundy from getting out but takes another Avalanche….with no effect whatsoever. The champion busts out a powerslam of all things and easily climbs out to retain.

Rating: D. It’s Hogan vs. a monster in 1986 so what in the world were you expecting to see here? At the end of the day this was the safe move but with all of the other heels on the roster, this is the best they could come up with? I mean, you have Savage, Piper or even Roberts to be in there, but you pick Bundy? It’s not like this was some huge feud as the SNME that set this up was five weeks before this show. I’ve heard that Vince was trying desperately to get Nikita Koloff to jump and be in the main event but when they fell through, they picked a monster instead. Eh when all else fails, go with the safe pick.

Bundy and Big John Studd would team up on occasion, including this match on July 12, 1986.

King Kong Bundy/Big John Studd vs. Sivi Afi/King Tonga

Tonga is Meng/Haku and is in the middle of a small push as he tries to slam Studd. He succeeded at a house show but it was after a match was over. Tonga and Studd start with the power stuff. Tonga throws him to the floor and rams him into the post to take over. Back in Studd jumps off the top for a forearm shot and Tonga is in trouble.

As I say that he comes back with a superkick and Studd is reeling. Tonga fires away and dances. A headbutt keeps Studd down and there’s a slam which should be $15,000 but Heenan would always have an excuse of some sort. Afi comes in and gets tossed around but isn’t really hurt. Bundy comes in and the size and power catch up with the islanders. Afi takes him down and splashes him for two.

Afi looks a lot like Jimmy Snuka. He doesn’t have anywhere near the talent but that never stopped people before. Studd and Bundy pound him down and this is going on forever. Tonga comes in and Bundy drops a knee on him which gets the pin. Bundy tried to pull up but it got counted anyway. At least it’s over.

Rating: D-. This tape is AWFUL. This was basically a squash and probably the end of the run for King Tonga. Afi never went anywhere and I have no idea what happened to him. Bundy and Studd would continue to beat on people including the feud with the Machines which is an old favorite of mine. Other than that there isn’t much going on at all with them and they’d leave pretty soon.

Time for midgets and a hillbilly at Wrestlemania III.

Hillbilly Jim/Little Beaver/Haiti Kid vs. King Kong Bundy/Lord Littlebrook/Little Tokyo

Beaver would be 52 and Littlebrook would be 58 at this point. Uecker jumps in on commentary. Haiti and Tokyo start before we get a four way crisscross. The good small guys hook a stupid looking hold called the rowboat on their evil counterparts and the crowd doesn’t seem interested. Off to Beaver as Uecker seems really happy to be here. Jesse wants to see Bundy crush one of these guys because that’s the kind of guy he is.

Littlebrook vs. Beaver at the moment but it’s quickly off to Bundy. Beaver and Haiti annoy him a bit until it’s off to Hillbilly for a nice ovation. Bundy gets dropped by a clothesline and an elbow drop allows Jim and company to pile on for a two. Jim gets caught in a front facelock but Beaver comes in and blasts Bundy in the face to get on his nerves again. Bundy finally grabs Beaver and crushes him with a slam and an elbow drop, drawing a DQ.

Rating: D+. This is another of those matches where you have to consider what they were going for. You’ve got two giants and four midgets out there with Hillbilly Jim picking up a 52 year old man so he can pull on Jim’s beard. How tough can I be on a match like this? Unfortunately Beaver’s back was hurt by Bundy in this and he had to retire.

Time for more Hogan, from SNME XIII.

WWF Title: Hulk Hogan vs. King Kong Bundy

This is from the 13th SNME. Heenan brings out Andre to be the cornerman for Bundy. We haven’t gotten any reference to Survivor Series yet either. Hogan, with tassels from the headband over his eyes, cuts a completely insane promo about being brought back to life from a heart attack or something like that. Has there ever been a better theme song than Real American? I think not.

Something tells me this is going to be a run of the mill Hogan match. He throws a high knee if nothing else to break the monotony. Yep the slam misses and a crowd that is barely moving has an incredibly loud and audible chant. What a shock. Yeah Vince screws up and says just after that that the crowd isn’t very lively, yet they just had a very loud chant.

We hit a chinlock for a minute or five and Hogan makes his comeback only to have Andre jump Hogan. He gets sent to the back and the match is restarted. What follows is, shockingly, a Hogan 101 match as he does his normal get beaten down by the power heel only to make the comeback and win.

Actually that’s a lie as amazingly, Hogan LOSES. Yeah. They fight on the floor and Heenan keeps Hogan from getting back in time and Bundy wins by countout, which is exactly what happened two days before, although it was One Man Gang and not Bundy but whatever. Hogan goes after Heenan and hurts his neck which I think is legit.

Rating: B-. It’s a Hogan match. These things were cookie cutter as all goodness but that’s all they needed to be really. They worked and the crowds ate them up. What more could you ask for really? This was really just to have Andre and Hogan in the same place which was still a HUGE money feud.

And again from the next SNME.

WWF Title: Hulk Hogan vs. King Kong Bundy

Notice what WWF does for the heel monsters: they look up at them with the cameras. It makes them look far bigger and more intimidating. It’s little things like that which makes the difference. Hogan gets his third promo in half an hour and talks about his main man Ronald Reagan. I love that theme song. I will never understand why they used Voodoo Child at Mania 19. Who picked yellow and red? I’ve never gotten that.

They’re iconic to say the least but who thought they would look cool? Hogan channels his inner fat man and uses elbows to the top of the head. Jesse uses that Quarterback analogy which is absolutely true when you think about it. Something tells me this is going to be Hogan 101. Bundy uses an armbar…the heck??? Hogan has the most hair here. This is just weird looking.

It’s weird to say this but the psychology here is dumb. Monsters aren’t supposed to use psychology. They’re supposed to use their fatness. Hogan slamming fat guys never gets old. He’s in control now but gets caught with a splash and the referee gets crushed. He was legit hurt actually and Hebner had to come out to take over.

The heels stall for a bit to give him time to get out of the ring and for Hogan/Hebner to get their heads together. This is already better than the first two matches these two had. Bundy hits a chinlock and Andre shouts to ring the bell. Who does he think he is, Vince? Bundy wastes a ton of time and you know what’s coming after the splash.

Rating: C+. Eh not bad here but not great. Hogan and Bundy are a combination that makes sense and is perfect for someone like Hogan as he can get beaten down and then make the comeback. He’s the perfect Hogan opponent so this was fine. Jesse talking about Bundymania always makes me chuckle.

Unless I’m missing it, Bundy left the business, or at least the mainstream business, until about 1994. He would return to the WWF as part of the Million Dollar Corporation. Here he is with the team at Survivor Series 1994.

Million Dollar Team vs. Guts And Glory

Tatanka, King King Bundy, Bam Bam Bigelow, Heavenly Bodies
Lex Luger, Adam Bomb, Mabel, Smoking Gunns

This is DiBiase’s team (DiBiase had hurt his neck and had to retire) vs. Luger in a continuation of a long feud. DiBiase had said that Luger had sold out and Tatanka, Luger’s friend, believed DiBiase. This led to a match at Summerslam where it turned out that TATANKA had been bought off in a swerve I liked a lot. This is Luger’s chance for revenge again.

Luger and Tatanka start things off, much to Tatanka’s surprise. Tatanka takes over to start and chops away but the ones to the chest don’t work on Luger. Does no one watch the NWA around here? Lex no sells a suplex and pounds away with all his usual stuff. A clothesline puts Tatanka on the floor so here’s Del Ray to be beaten up too. Mabel and Bundy come in but it’s just a staredown as it’s back to the starters. Now it’s officially Mabel vs. Prichard (the Bodies are Tom Prichard and Jimmy Del Ray) with the big man missing an elbow. Prichard pounds away but a middle rope cross body (Mabel weighs 500lbs) kills him dead.

It’s 5-4 now and Del Ray comes in for some dropkicks which have no effect. A Boss Man Slam takes Jimmy down so it’s off to Bundy vs. Mabel. They collide a few times until Mabel runs him over. Off to Bigelow who gets beaten down and Mabel goes up, only to get slammed down in a cool visual. Bigelow goes up for a sunset flip but Mabel sits on his chest for no cover. A Cactus Clothesline sends them both to the floor and Mabel can’t beat the count back in to tie things up.

Off to Billy Gunn vs. Del Ray which goes nowhere so here’s Bomb vs. Bigelow. This takes about 30 seconds with Bomb hitting a slingshot clothesline but getting hit in the head by Bundy. A moonsault takes Bomb out and it’s 4-3. Luger comes in immediately and tries a rollup but it just gets two. Off to Del Ray who hits a fast superkick to take Lex down. After some right hands from Jimmy, a running forearm smash catches him in the head and Luger ties it up.

It’s Tatanka/Bigelow/Bundy vs. Luger/Smoking Gunns. It’s Bart vs. Tatanka before Billy comes in for a double Russian legsweep for two. The Gunns pound away on Tatanka for a little while with Bart and his mullet of death hitting a monkey flip for two. The Sidewinder (side slam from Bart with a legdrop from Billy) gets two and it’s back to Bart, who like an IDIOT, tries a crucifix on a guy whose finisher is a Samoan Drop. Later Bart and it’s 3-2.

Billy vs. Tatanka goes nowhere so it’s back to Luger. Billy comes in and hip tosses Tatanka for two and an elbow drop gets the same. Luger and Gunn take turns on Tatanka’s arm until Billy gets caught in a powerslam. Off to Bundy who hits a splash and elbow to get us down to Luger vs. Bigelow, Bundy and Tatanka. It’s Luger vs. King Kong now but Lex goes after Tatanka because he’s A FREAKING MORON.

Luger gets caught in the evil corner and we play the numbers game for awhile. Luger hits a forearm to Tatanka but only gets two. A sunset flip almost gets a pin on Tatanka but a tag was made on the way down to bring in Bigelow. Bundy drops an elbow for two and Lex is in trouble. Bigelow drops a headbutt for a VERY fast two. DiBiase talks trash as it’s off to Bundy for more fat man offense.

Bundy drops an elbow for two as we’re reenacting the main event of the first Survivor Series, complete with two of the original people in it. Back to Tatanka who gets two off a powerslam and drops a bunch of elbows. In a stupid looking yet still good ending, Luger gets a fast small package for the pin on Tatanka, then lays down on the mat so Bundy can splash him for the final elimination. That looked stupid.

Rating: C. This wasn’t that bad actually and the ending was a nice surprise. There was no reason to have Luger come back here and having him lose was the right move. The feud didn’t really go anywhere after this and was more or less the ending of it. Luger’s collapse after Summerslam 1993 is a sight to see given how hot he was during the summer after his face turn.

Here’s a squash against a future star. From December 1994.

Jeff Hardy vs. King Kong Bundy

Even Gorilla admits that Hardy has no chance here. A hard whip into the corner puts Jeff down and Bundy does it again for good measure. The Avalanche gets the easy pin.

Bundy would take on the Undertaker at Wrestlemania XI.

King Kong Bundy vs. Undertaker

This is part of the never ending Undertaker vs. Million Dollar Corporation feud. The Corporation stole the Urn at the Rumble and tonight is about revenge and getting the Urn back. Before Taker comes out, Todd Pettingil talks to some football player. The referee is a Major League umpire who is moonlighting because MLB is on strike. Undertaker stares at DiBiase before the bell and Ted drops the Urn.

Taker pounds away to start and hits Young School but he can’t drop Bundy. The jumping clothesline finally puts him down but Bundy knocks him over the top to the floor in retaliation. Taker lands on his feet right in front of DiBiase and takes the Urn back from him. Paul Bearer gets the Urn back but Kama Mustafa (Godfather) comes out to steal the Urn back. This is like a bad comedy.

Taker tries to stop the theft but Bundy jumps the Dead Man, allowing Kama to get it. He says he’s going to melt it down and make it a necklace. Bundy pounds on Taker a bit and slams him down before getting two off a knee drop. We hit the fat man chinlock fot a bit before Taker fights up, only to get caught by the Avalanche in the corner. No selling is done today, and it’s a slam and the jumping clothesline to make Taker 4-0.

Rating: D. This was nothing but a formality for Undertaker as we continue the Urn stealing story for even longer. Bundy was worthless here, other than looking like a walking penis to give us some comic relief. This feud kept going and never got interesting at all since DiBiase’s team was all lame power guys. Nothing to see here and probably Undertaker’s least interesting Mania match ever.

We’ll wrap things up with an indy appearance on April 9, 2000 for South Coast Championship Wrestling.

King Kong Bundy vs. Andy Jaxx

Bundy is actually a face here due to being a legend. The normal size Jaxx literally bounces off of Bundy and then makes the mistake of trying a slam. Andy runs up the aisle for a breather, earning him an even worse beating back inside. Bundy misses a splash and gets taken down by a string of clotheslines. Not that it matters as Bundy comes right back with the splash for the pin. Literal squash.

King Kong Bundy isn’t exactly the greatest heavyweight of all time, but he was actually perfect for what he was: a big guy that could look intimidating. He had one big match in 1986 and lived off of that memory for years. No he isn’t Bam Bam Bigelow or Andre, but he didn’t need to be.

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