Greatest Wrestlers Of The WrestleMania Era: #22 – Big Van Vader

For the longest time, big men in wrestling were of one mould. Slow, lumbering and of course large, not much was ever expected of a 350lbs+ performer from an athletic point of view. Their asset was their size and as long as they maintained that, they would be fine. Leon White changed that. Making his first (and perhaps biggest) impact in New Japan Pro Wrestling in the late 80’s, White was given the gimmick which he would carry with him for his whole career – Big Van Vader. As a former NFL prospect, Vader was blessed with legitimate athleticism for someone his size. Not only was he as strong as an ox but he could move around the ring with a swiftness that defied his size. His agility was equally as impressive, peaking on the occasions where he would pull off a top rope moonsault (never the prettiest moonsault but still absolutely remarkable). These talents gave Vader the ability to have some really great matches throughout his career, and the combination of guaranteed match quality plus his natural monster aura made him a guy much more suited to being a top guy in the main event scene than most of the big men that came before him.
Continue reading