Remembering “The Battle for Bam Bam” in the WWF

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Brian Damage

Scott Charles “Bam Bam” Bigelow was a giant, in every sense of the word, of the wrestling business making it big in America and in Japan. Today we take a look at how he was introduced to fans stateside upon his arrival in Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Federation back in the late 80s.

In 1987, the World Wrestling Federation brought in a young, extremely talented but green Bam Bam Bigelow. The WWF had a spot on the roster for a new babyface and Vince McMahon got in contact with Larry Sharpe…who was Bigelow’s trainer/manager/agent. During this era, the WWF and McMahon didn’t give out guaranteed contracts….so when Bigelow was brought in…McMahon offered him a a deal that Bigelow thought was too good to be true and indeed it was. Bigelow was offered a deal for what he thought was four hundred thousand dollars…but in reality was just 400 dollars a show.

Regardless, Bigelow was happy and excited for this new opportunity with a national company. To set him up as a huge star…the WWF had all the managers in the company vying for his services. This became known as “The Battle for Bam Bam.” Heel managers such as Bobby Heenan, Jimmy Hart, Johnny V, Slick and Mr. Fuji all battled it out with each other for the right to manage this new, young star.

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The angle was used to really get Bam Bam over as a huge new star for the company. Week after week, another manager was eliminated from consideration to manage this 6’4 almost 400 pound wrestler. It wasn’t the first time the WWF used this angle to get a particular wrestler over.

They did the same thing back in 1985 to introduce the ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage. Of course, in that instance…Savage turned every manager down and introduced Miss Elizabeth as his manager/valet. Getting back to the Battle for Bam Bam though…It finally came down to the “doctor of style” Slick who appeared to have the inside edge to take over managerial duties of Bam Bam. So during a TV taping in Madison, Wisconsin….Slick who was accompanied by Nikolai Volkoff was suddenly interrupted by a heavy set man in a flashy sports jacket and scepter.

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While announcer Vince McMahon acted clueless as to who this mystery man was…it was color commentator Jesse “The Body” Ventura who immediately recognized him as Sir Oliver Humperdink. Humperdink then introduced Bigelow who came out and laughed off Slick and announced Oliver Humperdink as his new manager!

The question is, why if Bam Bam was a babyface did he need a manager? According to the late Bam Bam…the WWF while they loved his look and ability…felt that Bigelow was still very green in front of the camera. Since, the WWF didn’t want to turn any of their heel managers face to help Bigelow grow into a star…it was Pat Patterson’s idea to bring in the legendary Humperdink.

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Oliver Humperdink who at the time, had close to 30 years experience in the industry was chosen to help guide Bigelow both on TV and behind the scenes. While the duo got along quite well and became life long friends…Humperdink felt that the WWF fumbled the ball with the character.

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According to Humperdink…while he enjoyed his run with the company as a top babyface tandem…Oliver felt the entire gimmick could have been even bigger if he and Bigelow had started out as heels. Perhaps he was right…but there is no doubt that Bam Bam had a nice run as a top babyface for over a year.

Could it have been bigger? Maybe…but it is something that is not known simply because Bigelow wound up needing surgery on both his knees due to the wear and tear of the road. Despite having surgery….Bigelow claims that Vince still wanted him to wrestle and when Bigelow couldn’t…he lost his spot in the promotion.

Bigelow wound up going to Japan to continue his wrestling career and Oliver Humperdink went to WCW. Bam Bam…while ended up having a great career…never quite got back to the spot that he had with the WWF as a future megastar.

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One thought on “Remembering “The Battle for Bam Bam” in the WWF

  1. Pingback: This Week in Wrestling 2015 week 47 | Ring the Damn Bell

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