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R.I.P. Bam Bam Bigelow

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Professional wrestling lost one of the best “big men” in it’s history this past Friday January 19, 2007, as Scott “Bam Bam” Bigelow was found dead at the age of 45 by his girlfriend. The cause of his death is unknown.

I found a nice tribute video to Bam Bam from the folks at The Fight Network.

“The Beast From The East,” Bam Bam Bigelow was known for his massive size and trademark tatooed forehead, which bore red and yellow flames that matched his ring attire. Bigelow was a rarity in the world of professional wrestling: a big man who could stand toe-to-toe in the ring with such equally massive combatants as Andre The Giant and The Undertaker, he also moved with the same agility of much smaller wrestlers like Rey Mysterio and Sean “X-Pac” Waltman.

Before retiring in 2002, Bam Bam enjoyed a long and successful career. He wrestled in all of the “big three” wrestling promotions — WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment); WCW (World Championship Wrestling); and ECW (Extreme Championship Wrestling), as well as overseas in places like Japan, where he worked successful programs with other big men like Big Van Vader in such promotions as New Japan Wrestling.

His biggest years, however, were in the nineties, with the then World Wrestling Federation. In Vince McMahon’s WWF, he most often worked as a despised wrestling “heel” (the wrestling vernacular for “bad guy”). During his WWF tenure, Bigelow was managed by equally colorful characters like Sir Oliver Humperdink, a short, fat little man with a penchant for big cigars and loud Hawaiian shirts; and Luna Vachon, the “psychotic” female with flamed tattoos that matched Bigelow’s own.

Bigelow worked matches with most of the biggest WWF names, such as Bret “Hitman” Hart (who praised his wrestling ability as being remarkable for such a big man), The Undertaker, and Hulk Hogan. In these matches, Bigelow would run the ring with the agility of a man half his size, doing somersaults and flying off of the ropes. His arsenal of wrestling moves even included a textbook moonsault, a move popularized by smaller wrestlers of the Lucha Libre discipline, and one that most wrestlers his size would not even dare to attempt.

His most famous match was on April 2, 1995, before a worldwide pay-per-view audience at Wrestlemania 11, where he headlined a main event against NFL star Lawrence “LT” Taylor. Largely because of the pro-football connection, the match garnered massive mainstream media coverage. Bigelow, who worked the match playing the heel role he was most accustomed to, lost to “LT”.

In another of his more noteworthy matches — this time for ECW — Bigelow created one of the most visually stunning images ever seen on a wrestling TV show, slamming the pint-sized Spike Dudley clear through the ring and on to the floor. The visual effect has since been duplicated many times, but never with quite the same impact.

Bigelow’s death at the young age of 45 is the latest of what has been a disturbingly large number of wrestlers who have died young in recent years. Many of these deaths, such as those of Brian Pillman and Rick Rude, are widely believed to be at least partially the result of performance-enhancing and pain-relieving drugs. Many wrestlers use such drugs to keep up with the demanding schedules and physical punishment their bodies are forced to endure.

Recently, World Wrestling Entertainment — far and away the world’s biggest wrestling promotion — adopted a “wellness policy” in an effort to prevent such premature death among its athletes. This policy followed the passing of one of its biggest stars, Eddie Guerrero about a year ago. It was perhaps, however, too late for “Bam Bam”.

Scott “Bam Bam” Bigelow, dead at age 45, will be missed by wrestling fans from America to Japan, and throughout the world.

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About Glen Boyd

Glen Boyd is the author of Neil Young FAQ, released in May 2012 by Backbeat Books/Hal Leonard Publishing. He is a former BC Music Editor and current contributor, whose work has also appeared in SPIN, The Rocket, The Source and other publications. You can read more of Glen's work at The Rockologist, and at the official Neil Young FAQ site. Follow Glen on Twitter and on Facebook.
  • http://www.breakingwindows.com Matt Paprocki

    That’s a shame. They just profiled his match with Lawrence Taylor a week ago too.

    He will be missed.

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    It is a shame Matt. Unfortunately it has also become an all too common occurence. And yes, he will be missed. Thanx for the comment.

    -Glen

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com Christopher Rose

    Bam Bam was a brilliant wrestler and will be missed by this fan. RIP Big Guy.

  • Vichus Smith

    I caught your article by chance from reading the BC yahoo group. I’m not really into the wrestling lately, so I haven’t been on the wrestle news websites.

    It’s sad no matter what he died of, but I hope it’s not another case of drugs. It’s bad enough that Eddie Guerrero died months ago.

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    Thanx for the comments Chris and Vicius.

    I too hope this wasn’t drug related Vicius. But with him dying so young and the initial cause of “unknown”, I have to be honest and say I’m not real optimistic. I remember reading that “unknown” cause when Rick Rude and Eddie Guerrero first passed as well. Lets cross our fingers for now…

    Thanx for the comment.

    -Glen

    P.S. And be sure to visit Digg, etc. to cast your vote for this article (a little smameless self-promotion there…-Glen)

  • Ty

    RIP Bam Bam.

  • Jim Harter

    Bam Bam could be both funnt and mean. He was amazingly agile for a “big man”. It’s so sad that the wrestlers from the greatest decade of the sport are leaving us too soon. We all know the list. It males me very sad to see Bigelow added to that list.

  • sisterbiker

    bam bam was a great wrestler. the lat time we saw him was in oct.2006 in fl.
    he was great. rip bam bam!!!!!!!!!:(:(:(:(

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIMW5iYFGhM D’oh

    To Scotty: I first met him in Asbury Park, at a place that’s gone now, but was a staple of the Shore, Mrs.Jay’s. I bounced there, and was warned about this crazy huge guy, who wanted to be a wrestler.

    A man who would order 40 or more hot dogs from the grill, and whose drink was a beer pitcher, half full of ice, with everything from the speed rack mixed in equally.

    Tattoo’s from Gene’s, and a warm , truly good guy, saw his first WWF match at Red Bank Regional HS, against little Brady Boone, who was literally half his size, Scotty not only hit all the spots, he protected Boone like he was his own family during the match.

    R.I.P. Scotty, ya will be missed and remembered…I’ll meet you at the ghost of Mrs. Jay’s down the road a ways and buy ya some hot dogs.

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    Thanx for the comments everybody. Bam Bam will definitely be missed.

    -Glen

  • Josh Stark

    Some friends & I did an Armwrestling Tournament @ Bam Fest in 2004. I got to hang out with him and Chris Candido that day. Early in 2005 while hearing about a local show here in Bristol, I learned that Chris had passed away. And now I hear that Scott too has passed. These 2 wrestlers will be missed!

  • Scott

    RIP Bam Bam…you put a lot of guys over during your career and you were always a joy to watch.
    Had to laugh during your article Glen. I have Sir Oliver Humperdink’s autograph from 1974 when he was managing a tag team called the Hollywood Blondes. A little troll of a man….but always good for a laugh.

  • Peter

    I am the biggest WWE fan to date,my favorite wrestler to date was Eddie Guerrero,but Bam Bam isnt to far down the list.i wish the best to his family

  • Joe

    Bam BAm helped out our fire company in Hamlin when he was in the burger business. He was a great guy and a pleasure that I got to know him

  • Hop

    Scotty, that was his name as we grew-up together. He was the youngest of three boys and the biggest. One of his older brothers, Todd, was a very good friend of mine that I hung out with often. Because of Todd I got to know Scotty. What a-lot of people don’t know about Scotty is that his wrestling career started in high school. He was our heavy weight and he always won his matches. Many by forfiet. Imagine being in 10th grade and having to wrestle a 15 year old that was 6’3″ and weighed 275 lbs. Scotty was a very mild young man at home. His dad was one of the hardest working men I knew. A roofer that swung a hot tar mop all day. Scotty’s mom ruled the house and kept the boys and many of us in line. When we went off on our own, we were the force to be reckoned with in Neptune and Asbury Park, NJ. Nobody missed with us. Gene’s Body Art World, in Asbury was a hangout for us. We were so eager to become old enough to get a tat. Another hang-out was Shark River Park in Neptune, NJ. We had many great winters hanging out in the cabin.

    Scotty was a good person with a big heart. I often wondered if it was hard for him to make all those mean faces. It was not the Scotty I knew or will remember.

    May the lords peace be with him and his family forever,

    A dear old friend,
    Hoppy

  • http://ATTANBAMBAMBIGLOW geesavelli

    HI BAM BAM WHY DID WWF WCW ECW FIRE YOU

  • gurmukh

    bam bam was the best big athletic rrestler that evr lived

    well mis u

  • Melissa J,

    My Mom and Bro actually got to meet Big Bam a long time ago on a plane. He was nice to my Bro. My Bro died 4 years ago and now Big Bam is with him in Heaven looking down on us. RIP Gregory and Big Bam. Love you both.

  • HEATHER

    I KNEW BAM BAM HE WAS ONE OF MY CLOSE FRIENDS