I know I only introduced the series yesterday but I could scarcely wait to cover this one. One of my biggest dream matches though I often did not get a chance to see these two big men in the ring myself. Two of the most prominent big men of the '80s: King Kong Bundy and Big Van Vader.
Many new age wrestling fans don't know of these two legends of the ring and that is unfortunate, as they often don't get the respect they deserve, but to those that do know and respect them, sit back and enjoy what I hope you find an interesting read.
1) Breaking into the business
King Kong Bundy started working with The Von Erichs, legends in their own right, in World Class Championship Wrestling. He wrestled under the name "Big Daddy" Bundy.
After a slight dispute with The Von Erichs, Bundy joined Gary Hart and received the ring name he would use throughout the rest of his career, King Kong Bundy. He competed in AWA and the NWA and eventually found a home in the then WWF.
Big Van Vader was a widely recognized athlete before wrestling. He was an all American offensive lineman in college and eventually went on to play for the Rams and was on the team when they went to the Super Bowl against the Steelers.
He first started wrestling in the AWA under the name baby Bull and later Bull Power after being found by a talent scout for the AWA. His personality was very bland but his in-ring skills were so great they carried him to a title match against Stan Hansen.
This is an important factor in a match like this mainly because both men relied so heavily, no pun intended, on it.
King Kong Bundy was 6'4" and 444 pounds. He was a very imposing man. Jesse "the body" Ventura once famously remarked that King Kong Bundy had such a large back it could be used as a west screen at a drive in.
Bundy used this amazing size to dominate some of the best in the industry at the time including Hulk Hogan and, the best know Giant in wrestling, Andre. Hogan once said of him "he's a great guy but strong as hell."
Big Van Vader was about the same size as Bundy standing at 6'5" and weighing a full 450 pounds. Van has a lot of weight to throw around and he did just as well as Bundy defeating a slew of talented opponents in Japan and America. Van is credited as having nearly inhuman strength.
King Kong Bundy didn't really have that expansive of a move-set, Much of it consisted of the elbow drop, the body slam, the shoulder block and the big splash pin, but when it comes right down to it he didn't need an expansive move-set.
His strength was so incredible it was widely believed it was nearly on par with Andre's. In fact, King Kong Bundy was so sure with his few moves he could beat anyone he demanded that the referee count to five instead of three.
Big Van Vader had one of the hugest move-sets I've ever seen on someone as big as his was. Some of these more feared moves included the German Suplex, multiple powerslam variations, and the chokeslam.
Many of his moves given his incredible strength were basically finishers in their own right, but in a sidenote many of these moves would be numbed by Bundy's immense size.
King Kong Bundy's style was, in a way, the generic big man style. Same couple moves from a big dude, big deal, however it was the way Bundy presented himself that made it unique. Bundy wore a jet black singlet and matched with his pale skin, it gave one more the impression they were going to fight a killer whale.
Bundy was also remarkably fast witch surprised many of his opponents. He is also credited for beating the crap out of his opponents.
Big Van Vader has one of the most feared in ring styles in wrestling. with the Japenese style strongly imprinted on him, Vader is credited for wrestling stiff. He brutally beats opponents and more times than not they leave hurt or are in pain for days afterward. His overall look is not to be forgotten.
His ring attire a slick mix of red and black and the creepy red strap he wears across his face mixed with his reputation often wins a match before he steps in the ring.
King Kong Bundy's finisher was kind of lame...if done by anyone else. He called it the Atlantic City Avalanche. In most basic terms, it was a running corner body splash followed up with a body splash pin.
t can be done rather quickly and although it can be dodged, given Bundy's awesome strength most aren't in any condition to dodge it. The move has kept many opponents down for Bundy's five count, even Hogan was beat by the move at some point or another.
Big Van Vader has as I said a huge move-set, well that translates to his finishers as well as he doesn't have two or three, but four!!! One of the most common seen is a release powerbomb similar to the Jacknife. The move once put Cactus Jack out of commission. Another well known is the sky high chokeslam or a super chokeslam.
Arguably the most common finish he does is the Vader bomb, which is a corner slingshot splash. The most impressive of these move is the Vadersault, which is a moonsault. Can you imagine getting hit with a moonsault by a 450-pound man? Ouch!
Final winner: King Kong Bundy....but barely.
When it comes right down to it Bundy has more experience than Vader against Bigger men. Face it Bundy is also the better known of the two and more fondly remembered though Vader is a better wrestler. Due to Vader's immense size he could easily shrug off the Atlanic City Avalanche.
Vader's Move-set which is much larger than Bundy's has a number of moves he could easily use to beat Bundy however there is no way he could get him up for the powerbomb or the Sky High Chokeslam due to Bundy being similar in size. The Vader bomb is eliminated for the same reason as the Atlantic city Avalanche.
In order for Vader to win the match he would need to resort to the Vadersault, but keeping Bundy down long enough would be difficult and given Bundy's great speed he would be able to dodge it and hit the body splash or giant elbow for the win!
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