Straight out of the prisons in Cobb County, Georgia, former prison guard Ray Traylor made his professional wrestling debut in 1985 with Jim Crockett Promotions and the National Wrestling Alliance. He would serve as the bodyguard for one of the great wrestling managers in Jim Cornette under the name of Big Bubba Rogers.
He would feud with Dusty Rhodes in 1986 before winding up in the Bill Watts-owned Universal Wrestling Federation, where he was champion in 1987.
The early portion of his career put him on the national radar, but it was with Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Federation that he enjoyed his most success.
Debuting in 1988 as The Big Boss Man, he wasted little time in targeting the biggest star the Federation had to offer. He attacked Hulk Hogan with a nightstick on a memorable episode of The Brother Love Show, leading to a big steel cage match on a memorable episode of Saturday Night's Main Event.
He would go on to team with Akeem in a massive tandem known as The Twin Towers. They terrorized the tag team division in the WWF and matched up against some of the promotion's top stars, including Hogan and "Macho Man" Randy Savage.
Boss Man was excellent in his role. He was the big man who could keep up with any size competitor and was seen as a top heel thanks to his interactions with the marquee stars.
But it was decided that he had more to offer as a babyface, and by the time April of 1990 rolled around, he had dumped Slick as his manager and beaten his tag team partner at WrestleMania VI.
Over the course of the next three years, he would serve as one of the Federation's most popular stars, feuding with the likes of "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase, The Mountie and Nailz.
In 1993, however, he accepted an offer to join World Championship Wrestling. He made one of his final appearances with McMahon's company at the 1993 Royal Rumble, where he lost to Bam Bam Bigelow.
Arriving in Ted Turner's company as The Boss, he found instant success as a top contender to WCW champion Vader. Unfortunately, a legal matter resulted in a character change and became The Guardian Angel, named for the group of men who peacefully protect their community's adults and youth.
He continued to challenge Vader in really solid title matches, but by the time Hulk Hogan arrived, there was no more room for him in the main event.
By 1995, he had dusted off the suit and suspenders and reemerged as Big Bubba Rogers. A member of the feared Dungeon of Doom, he made life a living hell for Hogan, Savage, Sting and the rest of top WCW babyfaces.
A stint in the NWO and a babyface turn, in which he used his real name, would bring an end to a run with the promotion that showed great promise to start but finished with a thud.
In 1998, The Big Boss Man made his return to the World Wrestling Federation, serving as the bodyguard of Mr. McMahon and the enforcer of his Corporation stable. He regularly battled The Rock, Steve Austin, The Undertaker and Kane and became a featured star for the company.
During his second stint in the company, he captured the WWF Tag Team Championship once, with Ken Shamrock, and the Hardcore title on four different occasions. His rivalry with Al Snow over the latter is an underrated one that, unfortunately, was capped off with the truly horrible Kennel from Hell match.
Big Boss Man would leave WWE in 2000 but made a short comeback in 2002. He would be released in 2003.
On September 22, 2004, Ray Traylor passed away in Georgia.
One of the most talented big men to ever grace a ring, he excelled as both a heel and a face and never seemed out of place in matches against the elite stars of the sport.
In memory of one of the sport's most underrated performers, here is a look back at some of Big Boss Man's greatest moments and matches.
Big Boss Man debuts
Boss Man made his debut in 1988, taking on familiar face Louis Spicolli, who would later go by Rad Radford in WWF and star for WCW and ECW under his given name.
It was a dominant win and established Big Boss Man as a force in the World Wrestling Federation.
Soon, he would be one of the top bad guys in the sport, starring in high profile matches against elite performers.
No love for Hulk
On an October 1988 edition of The Brother Love Show, Big Boss Man and his manager Slick interrupted Hulk Hogan's interview with the host.
Slick would antagonize Hogan, leaving him open for a shot to the throat with Boss Man's nightstick. Slick would spray The Hulkster with mace, blinding him, before the Cobb County native attacked his back with the weapon.
Boss Man would handcuff Hogan and mercilessly beat him with the nightstick while agents and officials attempted to stop the assault.
Hogan would make his typical comeback and chase the assailants away, but not before Boss Man established himself as a major threat to the biggest star in the World Wrestling Federation.
The assault was different from what fans were used to seeing in that it was a brutal, violent assault using a weapon. Boss Man perpetrated the attack with an intensity and aggression that few of the more cartoonish characters from the period ever reached.
A great heel beatdown that works as well in 2013 as it did 25 years earlier.
Like two caged animals...
Hogan would attempt to get a measure of revenge on Boss Man in a famous steel cage match on NBC's Saturday Night's Main Event.
In a moment that was considered extreme for the time, Hogan delivered a Superplex from the top of the cage.
The Hulkster would go on to win the match, being the top star in the company and all, but Boss Man was better off having worked with him.
The two would travel across the country working with each other, occasionally having rematches of their above average catch match, as seen in the attached video.
He can't be bought
In 1990, "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase was involved in a rivalry with Jake Roberts. His frustration at a high, DiBiase paid Slick for the services of Big Boss Man, who handcuffed Roberts to the ropes and assaulted him with his dreaded nightstick.
After words, Boss Man found out that he had been paid for and snapped. He told Slick and DiBiase that no one buys him and proceeded to head back to the ring and release Roberts from the cuffs.
It was a babyface turn for Bossman that would set him up to become one of the more popular babyfaces during the early 90s.
The Mountie serves hard time
In 1991, longtime tag team wrestler Jacques Rougeau made his debut as a singles competitor. Clad in the red, black and gold of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, he was known as The Mountie and bragged that he "always got his man."
He carried a shock stick and would electrocute his opponents after defeating them, bringing shame and disgrace to law enforcement.
It was not long before he and Big Boss Man clashed.
Their match at SummerSlam in 1991, dubbed a Jailhouse Match, featured the stipulation that the loser would spend a night in a New York prison.
Boss Man won, to the delight of the fans jam packed into Madison Square Garden, and Mountie was taken from the arena in a paddy wagon, booked at a local jail and spent the night incarcerated.
It was a brilliantly booked angle, match and payoff as justice prevailed and The Mountie got what was coming to him.
In 1992, a monstrous new Superstar arrived in the World Wrestling Federation. His name was Nailz, and he blamed Big Boss Man for mistreatment while jailed in one of the prisons Boss Man worked at prior to entering pro wrestling.
It was a logical story, and Nailz was a truly scary individual who was convincing in his role.
For weeks, he attacked Boss Man with his own nightstick, setting up a Nightstick on a Pole match between the two at Survivor Series.
As is the case in most feud-ending bouts, Boss Man grabbed the nightstick ,and moments later, he landed the Boss Man Slam for the pinfall victory.
Kennel from Hell
The less said about the September 1999 Kennel from Hell match, the better.
The feud between Boss Man and Al Snow over the Hardcore Championship lasted throughout the summer and escalated when the vile heel kidnapped Snow's dog Pepper. In a memorable moment, it was revealed that a meal Snow had eaten at Boss Man's behest was actually his late dog.
This led to one of the most contrived matches in history.
Don't take my word for it, though. Check out the video for yourself.
In 1999, Boss Man was engaged in a rivalry with Big Show that was responsible for some of the most surreal television the company ever produced.
It started when Show's father died (in storyline only). Boss Man, a despicable villain, poked fun at the giant's loss. He read a fake sympathy card that contained a completely tasteless poem. He coerced Big Show's mother to reveal that her son was illegitimate.
The most absurd moment of the angle came during the funeral for the deceased Mr. Wight. Boss Man interrupted, hooked the casket to the back of a police car and pulled it away.
It was then that Big Show jumped on the casket and, for lack of a better word, surfed on it.
The angle was so obscenely absurd, but Boss Man was brilliant in his role as the ultimate bad guy.