Craig Wilson, Russ Morgan, Brian Damage, John Carbery and Jamie Lithgow
In recent weeks we’ve had a serious of hugely entertaining Sunday Sermons. Whether it was heels, babyfaces or tag teams, they have prompted some great, great debate. In this latest one, we take a look at some of the best big men in the history of wrestling.
Craig: The last few sermons of this ilk have been good fun and great discussions. Now it is the turn to focus on big men, superstars that have featured across all three topics already but deserve a standalone Sunday Sermon, I’m sure we’ll all agree.
Whether it was big men that created wonder, those that terrified us – particularly as kids – or those that defied their size, and often gravity, to display a type of arsenal that should have been well beyond the,.
Wrestling history is littered with these guys. Whether it was Andre the Giant in the 70s and 80s, Vader and Bam Bam Bigelow in the 90s or the likes of Kamala, Big John Studd and Yokozuna that burned bright but over a short period of time.
So, chaps, who are the best big man and what makes them stand out amongst their contemporaries?
Russ: Plenty of names to choice from. For me, Vader and Bam Bam Bigelow standout as innovators. Sure they would use their size to their advantage, but they had so much more than that. They would do moves most cruiser weights would be proud of.
Brian: Is there really such a thing anymore?
Russ: Big Cass?
Brian: I guess he could be included, but the days of big men in pro wrestling are really over and done in my opinion.
Craig: Brian is right, the days of big men are probably behind us but this topic is looking at some of the best big men in wrestling history. The bulk of those discussed in the heels Sunday Sermon have long since hung their boots up…
Russ: I’m just going with historical ones as the bigger you were, the bigger hard on Vince got…
Brian: If that is the case…Andre was the best big man ever…simply for what he meant to wrestling for so many years. A huge box office attraction that people wanted to pay to see.
John: Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks have to come into the discussion too. For all their limitations there was no bigger feud in the history of British wrestling than the one they had. As a child when I’d tell an adult I was a wrestling fan they’d all invariably mention Daddy and Haystacks. Despite Britain having a rich history of technical wrestling and probably the best practitioners in the world at the time no amount of matwork could compete with two fat giants belly butting each other for 3 minutes at a time. Haystacks though to be fair was a versatile performer, a great talker and giving in the ring. Daddy meanwhile was somehow mega over without having many redeeming qualities at all.
Craig: I have the same reference points as John, it has to be said. Whenever you talk about wrestling to people of a certain generation, it is those two that are their reference points – despite their limited in-ring work. They are certainly icons of wrestling this side of the pond.
In terms of big men that caught my eye, it was always the ones that had movesets that defied their size, the likes of Bam Bam Bigelow and Vader being two such stars. Guys that could fly despite their size and it made their moves have even more impact. Vader wins out of the two because he used to absolutely terrify me as a kid too, his smoking helmet thing was a terrifying spectacle as a youngster!
Yokozuna deserves a special mention too. His run might have been relatively short but it burned very brightly. Almost immediately rising to the top of the WWE mountain. and, prior to his weight getting out of control, had a very legitimate looking and hard hitting offence in the ring.
Jamie: I can’t help but agree with Brian. A guy getting over based on his size alone just doesn’t cut it these days. Whether it’s television, movies, wrestling or the NBA, we’re used to seeing large human beings these days. That said, when I was a kid it was a simpler time. There was no internet and I only had access to four TV channels. To me wrestlers, especially really big ones, were like the myths of ancient Greece; spoken through word of mouth and handed down through the generations. I specifically remember being made aware of Giant Haystacks by my Dad before seeing a photo of him in a newspaper. Weirdly it’s this intrigue around what Haystacks might be like that has stayed with me far more than when I actually saw him in the flesh at a wrestling show. I guess it’s for the greater good that unusually proportioned people are more normalised these days.
In terms of big men I enjoyed watching I too have to mention Vader, specifically in his WCW days when he wore that elephant mask thing. That terrified me when I was younger. Speaking of elephants, there’s one in the room; The Undertaker. Dude is close to seven foot tall and billed at over 300lbs, surely that makes him a big man? For me it is the best gimmick in wrestling history and – save for his days fighting bigger Giants in the early 90s – his matches are usually very entertaining if not excellent. If he counts as a ‘big man’ then I can’t top The Undertaker for the memories and entertainment he has provided wrestling fans with.
So there you have some of our thoughts on the best big men in wrestling history. What do you think? Got different views? You know what to do! Leave them in the comments section below.
You can read all previous Sunday Sermons here.