WWE's Big Men All over 40: No Big Men Is a Big Problem

Photo courtesy of WWE.com
Photo courtesy of WWE.com
Justin LaBarFeatured ColumnistApril 4, 2013

Fee-fi-fo...where did they all go?

Wrestling has gone leaps and bounds with its sophistication over the past 30 years. Entrance music for every talent. Incredible visuals with LED board entrance ways and pyrotechnics. Wrestlers on social media being followed by millions.

A lot of advancement in the whole genre, but one of the great traditional angles of professional wrestling is disappearing: The classic carnival angle of who can take down the big man. One of the simple-to-follow and historical angles to book for entertainment. Here is this larger-than-life person, see it to believe.

To WWE's credit, we have been able to buy into larger than life characters who are shorter than 6'5” because of the performances and packaging of those wrestlers. However, it doesn't totally omit the fact the big men are disappearing.

Big Show, The Undertaker, Kane, Khali, Mark Henry and Tensai are all 40 or older in age.

A large, imposing look that is unique. and not regularly found, is what I look for in calling someone a “big man.”

Titus O'Neil, Brock Lesnar, Ryback, Big E. Langston, The Rock, Jack Swagger, Sheamus and Wade Barrett are all taller or more muscular than your typical man on the street but aren't believable to be or billed as “big men” in wrestling. They shouldn't be. They are in great shape and entertaining to see, but they're not “see-them-to-believe-them” statures.

In addition to the presentation of it all as I mentioned earlier, the style of matches has also advanced over the years. The moves and pace guys can perform in the ring is at a level never seen 30 years ago.

While it has provided stunts and moves that live forever like Mick Foley's famous plunge from the top of a Hell in a Cell―you can't do that every night.

Having the old fashion carnival act of a really tall or heavy guy in the ring provides a lot more longevity night after night, city after city for audiences as well as the health of the performers. You don't have to do as much to get a reaction, if you're doing it right. Hulk Hogan made a living at this in his prime.

Too often fans/critics get caught up in talking about a guy being a good worker or not, and they have a misunderstanding of what “good worker” actually means. It isn't doing the most moves or unique moves.

Good worker is being able to keep the crowd engaged in the story inside the ring and pop the crowd, getting them to react.

This is why Hogan was a great worker in so many respects because he could no sell, punch and point his finger at his opponent for the biggest reaction of the night. This was known as “Hulking Up,” and it worked for years.

Hogan wasn't as versatile of a worker. He couldn't have a great match with everyone. He needed some help depending on the opponent, but he worked hard and kept people interested.

The void of big performers who have got to be coming to the end of their careers is something WWE needs to fill.

No big men, that's a big problem.


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