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  1. #1
    Feeling Minnesota Powder's Avatar
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    RIP Big Van Vader

    Leon White AKA Big Van Vader has died.

    It is a shame that he will not be able to enjoy his overdue, and rightful place in the Hall of Fame.

    RIP, Leon.

  2. #2
    The Brain
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    RIP Big Van Vader

    Gutted at the passing of Vader, one of the greatest wrestling legends in history. A guy who succeeded at the top level on multiple continents despite backstage politics usually being against him, and in my mind the greatest WCW champion of all time. RIP to a true legend.

    I need to dig further into his work in Japan, but WCW Vader is far and away my favorite era, as he led the way in terms of creating great matches and moments as the company floundered around him in the early 90s. He had some great matches after that period but being fed to Hogan in WCW and then having his push pulled in '96 in the WWF, he never quite hit those same heights. My top 10 Vader matches/performances, in no particular order:

    Vader vs. Stan Hansen 2/24/91 WCW Wrestlewar

    Vader & Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Keiji Mutoh & Hiroshi Hase, IWGP Tag Team Championship 5/1/92 NJPW Explosion Tour Day 14

    Vader vs. Sting, King of Cable Final 12/28/92 WCW Starrcade

    Vader vs. Sting, Strap Match 2/21/93 WCW Superbrawl III

    Vader & Sid Vicious vs. Davey Boy Smith & Sting 7/18/93 WCW Beach Blast

    Battlebowl 11/20/93 WCW Battlebowl

    Vader vs. Ric Flair, WCW Championship 12/27/93 WCW Starrcade

    Vader vs. The Boss 4/17/94 WCW Spring Stampede

    Vader vs. Guardian Angel 10/23/94 WCW Halloween Havoc

    Vader vs. Undertaker vs. Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart, No DQ, WWF Championship 2/16/97 WWF Final Four

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Don't have lots to add just that it was a sad day.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  4. #4
    Superheavyweight legend. I wish his WWE run was more significant just to see him match up with a lot of wrestlers who were just starting in the WWE in 1998 or just starting to figure things out.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    The stable I hated the most as a kid was probably Camp Cornette. In hindsight I think you've got to give props to them for their work for that. A huge part of that was Vader, who even when mishandled still often carried that aura that if he kept his composure he could brutalise your champion and take the title almost at will.

    But anyway I mention it because with Vader gone, all the real in-ring workers in that group who were proper, regular members are all gone. The only ones left are the people that gravitated into the orbit temporarily or the guys outside the ring, like Corny himself.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  6. #6
    The Brain
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    I've been reading a lot about Vader's WWF run and trying to think when the best time for him to come in would have been. It was Klique politics that sunk him more than anything, so coming in a few years earlier might not help. I bet Bret would have been glad to work with him, but we know Shawn hated it and I doubt Nash would have been willing to put up with it either. If he comes in later he gets Austin, but with his neck issues it's hard to imagine they'd let him go full force. The '00 era Triple H, who went for the hardcore stuff with Foley, might have actually been willing to go all out with Vader, and Foley himself was still around for a lot of that time too, though by the time he really blew up Vader was pretty much done so maybe shifting him later would have been a good fit. I just don't know, it feels like maybe there was no ideal time for Vader in the WWF, but there should have been because he was so awesome.

    Definitely the best 350+ lbs guy of all time by a big margin. Better than Andre, Mark Henry, Big Show, anyone you could think of. The only guy near his weight class that has a case of maybe being better is Stan Hansen.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    If they hadn't trashed him so completely I think the Attitude Era has to be when you'd have gotten the most out of him. I think anything post-Wrestlemania. He obviously did work with Undertaker and Kane, but in both cases it was where the shine had already been taken off him, especially Kane. Could have been some pretty special stuff if they were treated more as equals. And then there's Hunter, as I say, and you can either do it in the 2000 iteration or you can have the babyface D-X Hunter playing for sympathy off the onslaught. I think either could work. And you just know they'd have revisited something with Foley, and who knows what might have happened with the defections from WCW in 1999 and 2000.

    The only issue is I'm not sure I can see it working with either Rocky, who I don't remember taking a massive beating (he gave out a few mind), or Austin, who was wrapped in cotton wool for most of that run. So the top tier guys may have been off limits even then.

    Prior to that I think the better solution is him coming out from WCW as soon as Hogan comes in and the writing is on the wall, IF the WWF had been willing to shift into what they were doing in late 1995 and 1996 a little earlier for him. If he comes in back in '94 then you potentially lose some of that WCW stuff you mentioned but the Kliq power wasn't what it would become - they'd probably just have to get on with it - and you'd again have him against Bret and Undertaker, and also Luger, Savage, Razor... maybe even the Steiners if you're thinking outside of the box.

    But still, even with that said, I still think coming in a little later rather than earlier is probably a better fit.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

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