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The Epitaph
by Marcus Madison on 2001-08-19

This weeks edition of The Epitaph is a look at how the nineties big men revolutionized wrestling through technique, agility and speed. In part two of our journey of the big man several name made a difference in continuing to look at how no matter how large these competitors were they were still were able to showcase their talents in so many ways.

Oz/Vinnie Vegas/Diesel/Kevin Nash..one man so much diversity!!

When fans look back at the nineties the first name that comes to mind was Kevin Nash. His size, character and skill without a doubt stand alone. At well over 6"8 inches tall and weighting in over 300 Ibs, Kevin rise to fame was a quick one. To those wrestling fans that remember his journey as Vinnie Vegas and Oz in WCW he jobbed to many a man half his size in order to eventually succeed. As he left WCW in his first tour of duty with the company he almost immediately found success in the WWF as Shawn Michaels bodyguard. After some time Diesel, excelled on his own capturing several titles and solidified his skills as a bonified main event contender in the company. This man has come along way since his earlier days in WCW. In 1996, Kevin re-joined WCW as part of the entire NWO angle where he excelled and was a legitimate player in the company. As "Big Sexy" the giant killer, was born through a self created moniker, the nickname stuck. Kevin, had come full circle in a business that has helped to have him make several television appearances. Kevin Nash, now a member in the Legion of Large.

Yokozuna..

The late Rodney Anoai, was truly an outstanding competitor. Yokozuna, weighted in excess of 600 Ibs and was a feared champion in both tours of duty with the WWF. If anyone was to disrespect the memory of this great athlete because they thought his size was all he needed then they never could appreciate the man's skill. Yokuzuna flowed with his tremendous backsplash in to the turnbuckle and belly to belly suplex's. His signature Bonsai drop always culminated in a victory for the enormous man. He was nephew to the great Afa, and cousin to the Rock and Rikishi among others. He was raised in family with tremendous values and talent around him. His feud with Brett Hart and long standing feud with the Undertaker will be etched in my memory forever. He held the tag team titles with the late Owen Hart and was always a threat to any title in the company regardless of his position at the time. Yokozuna, rest in peace is now also a member in the legion of the large.

It's time, it's time, it's Vader time!!!

Big Van Vader, Van Vader and finally Vader has always been an intimidating competitor in the world of pro wrestling. Vader, who competed in the WWF, NWA and WCW first claim to fame was his entrance to the ring. Vader would enter the ring with a headdress that scared many a child in attendance would breathe smoke and fire which was reminiscent of his character at the time. Vader, has had several feuds in his career but none as memorable to yours truly as his with Cactus Jack. In one contest, in fact Cactus lost a piece of his ear. He was also known to many as the one of the "masters of the power bomb" along with Sid Vicious. He has competed in Japan and was in fact banned in one country I believe for hitting a television reporter. Vader, was always intimidating on the surface but beneath the tough character lies the heart of bear that is good to all whom are around him. Vader, now a member in the legion of the large.

The lord of Darkness...has always been FAMOUS

Mark Calloway, known to many as the Undertaker will forever be known as a man that was a revolutionary big man in the ring. The Undertaker, in the early part of the nineties appeared almost in DESTRUCTIBLE. He was a force that no man could stop or even slow down. His signature maneuvers such as his "tight rope walk along the top rope" and tombstone pile driver were a deadly combination for any opponent. He will be remembered for several long standing feuds with Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, and Steve Austin. Although I can not reduce his legendary career to a couple of feuds but two matches in particular made a significant difference into the legend that is the Undertaker. The first match was his casket match with Yokozuna where nearly every athlete in the locker room worked to put him into the casket. His defeat and resurrection although a touch dramatic, in my mind it inevitably will make him remembered. The second match was obviously the hell in the cell, between himself and Mick Foley. These two matches are key in helping to define the career of the Undertaker. The Undertaker now a key part in the legion of the large.

Brother of Destruction...

The character of Kane has taken on several personalities during his stay with the company. Diesel(the fake), and Isaac Yankem were two characters that never took off and fans never really like because the gimmicks were cheesy. Kane, was different he made his debut in an as intimidating fashion as his brother did. As pyro hits, and his music plays, he walks to the ring with a mask that is reminiscent of "Jason". He has had several on again, off again feuds with his brother which has seen them take part in an inferno match. Although he has faced several opponents such as Vader and Yokozuna, no one feud has comes to mind that has helped to define his career. Kane has in ring ability stands alone. His size, and agility have made him a force in the company and he arguably has skills now what the Undertaker had ten years ago. Kane is now welcomed in the legion of the large.

So this concludes my retrospective look at the large athlete in the company and what they meant to professional wrestling. I am sure I have missed a few and for no reason other than these men that were chosen past and present made a significant impact on wrestling today as I see it. I would like to also thank readers who mentioned Bam Bam Bigelow as a major contributor as well, which should not go un-noticed.

Check back in when I begin my next look at the high fliers of the ring and how they have changed the face of wrestling.

Marcus Madison...Can you read through the madness?

You can check out Marcus Madison weekly on Joltin' Joe's Wrestling Line at (416) 350-3000 ext. 2049. Long distance charges may apply.


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Quotes from the boys: Moondog Manson says "Leatherface is by far the sickest man I have ever met in the ring, the moment he hits you in the head with that steal chair you here a creepy laugh come from under that hood.".
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