|FORMER ECW WORLD CHAMPION, WWF, WCW STAR BAM BAM BIGELOW PASSES AWAY |
by Mike Johnson @ 3:20:00 PM on 1/19/2007
Former ECW World champion and Wrestlemania main eventer Scott "Bam Bam" Bigelow was found dead in his Hudson, Florida home this morning. An investigation into his passing is currently ongoing by local authorities.
Bigelow broke into the business in the 1980s, training at New Jersey's Monster Factor under Larry Sharpe, often using the name Crusher Yurkof early in his career.
Bigelow began working the Memphis territory before having a hot run as a babyface in the then-World Wrestling Federation, managed by Oliver Humperdink. WWF built up for weeks on end that every heel manager in the company wanted to manage Bigelow with one being eliminated each passing week. In the end, he debuted as a babyface, picking Humperdink. For a man of his size, he was surprisingly agile, diving over the top rope into the ring for a big splash.
Bigelow headlined the first Survivor Series PPV in 1987 as a member of Hulk Hogan's team. He ended up being the last member of the team after even Hogan was eliminated, forced to go against monsters Andre the Giant, One Man Gang and King Kong Bundy. Bigelow persevered, eliminating Bundy and Gang, before falling to Andre. He later headlined Madison Square Garden against Andre in a singles bout.
With his girth and look, Bigelow appeared to be readymade for an eventual heel turn and feud with then-WWF champion Hulk Hogan, but it never came to pass.
After knee surgery, Bigelow went on to work for the Jim Crockett Promotions in the late 1980s including a memorable feud with Barry Windham over the United States championship. He later did tours for New Japan Pro Wrestling, teaming with Big Van Vader for an IWGP Tag Team championship run.
Bigelow returned to the WWF as a heel member of Ted DiBiase's Million Dollar Corporation, headlining Wrestlemania 11 against New York Giant great Lawrence Taylor in Hartford, CT. The match closed the show (following Shawn Michaels vs. Kevin Nash) and Bigelow was given credit for carrying Taylor through an entertaining bout. A babyface turn followed, and Bigelow later left the company.
Bigelow had a long run in Extreme Championship Wrestling, feuding with Shane Douglas over the ECW World championship and Tazz over the ECW World Television championship, both belts Bigelow held in the company. As a member of the Triple Threat, Bigelow was paired with Douglas and the late Chris Candido.
In one of the most memorable moments ever on ECW PPV, Bigelow and Tazz crashed through the ring during Living Dangerously '98 in Bigelow's hometown of Asbury Park, NJ. Tazz was attempting to lock his finisher, The Tazzmission on Bigelow, who leaped backwards to escape. Both went through the ring to the floor below. Bigelow emerged first, pulling the unconscious Tazz back up to the ring, pinning him for the title.
Bigelow also took part in another ECW moment that has been repeated over and over, launching Matt "Spike Dudley" Hyson into the crowd from the ring, where Hyson was later bodysurfed by ringside fans. Bigelow added a great deal to the ECW product during that time period, feuding with and putting over ECW homegrown talents including Hyson and Rob Van Dam, giving those talents the rub of defeating a well-known international star.
Citing money issues, Bigelow later jumped to World Championship Wrestling as a surprise, challenging Bill Goldberg in an angle on Monday Nitro.
Bigelow held the WCW Hardcore championship and had memorable PPV appearances against Hardcore Hak (The Sandman) and Raven, among others. During that time period, he was praised for saving several children from a fire, suffering bad burns in the process.
Bigelow later settled into a unit with Chris Kanyon and Diamond Dallas Page, known as the "Triad". The Triad ended up winning the WCW World Tag Team championship at one point.
After WCW shut down, Bigelow collected what money was left on his contract before moving on to work the Northeastern independent scene. At one point, Bigelow announced retirement, but later returned. He owned a deli for a time in Pennsylvania before quietly closing it down, leaving the wrestling business and moving South to the Sunshine State of Florida.
Bigelow never worked indepenents once he relocated. He returned to the public eye after crashing a motorcycle he was riding with his girlfriend, who was seriously injured in the crash. Charges were later filed in the incident by authorities, but there was never any conclusive end to the case.
Bigelow appeared at one Florida autograph signing shortly after the crash, believed to be his last public appearance.
The St. Petersburg Times in Florida interviewed Bigelow some time after the incident, with Bigelow discussing the crash, his decision to leave wrestling, and other personal problems that plagued him as his career wound down.
Bigelow commented on his troubles and the physical issues a lifetime of professional wrestling has brought him, stating, "I don't know if it's hiding or disappointment or what, but being Bam Bam Bigelow is a pain in the a--. You did this the first half of your life and now this is the second half and now you're bruised and battered. So what the hell can you do? What can you do?"