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January 20th, 2007


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03:49 pm - A True Tale of Wrasslin' and Cussin'
The WWE (formerly the WWF until the other WWF sued 'em) is reporting that wrassler Scott "Bam Bam" Bigelow is dead at the age of 45. Bigelow was a classic heel, a mustachioed bad guy whose bald head was covered in tattoos. He was often accompanied by one of the scariest wrasslin' ladies this side of Sensational Sherri.

But Bam Bam Bigelow was one of the few wrestlers I ever marked out for, and all because of one drunken couple.

For those not familiar with wrestling terminology, a "mark" is one who believes wholly in the 'sport' of professional wrestling; one who takes in the whole spectacle hook, line and sinker, and who doesn't believe (or doesn't care -- or want -- to believe) that the outcomes are pre-determined and storylines plotted out months in advance. In other words, a sucker.

And to "mark out" is, well, to behave like a mark. To throw yourself headlong into the match and support your favorite as if you are the one whose cheers and screams really matter. I haven't followed professional wrestling for a long time now; the WWF of the 1980s was camp, fun kid's stuff and accordingly, as a kid I ate it right up, but nowadays I see this "soap opera for men" and its overblown innuendo and every type of stereotype-bashing and I realize who they're playing to now, and it's not me.

But good old fashioned pro wrestling, with Mean Gene Oakerlund, Hulk Hogan, "Macho Man" Randy Savage, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, Bret "Hitman" Hart and Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart, Superfly Jimmy Snuka, "The Birdman" Koko B. Ware, Mr. Perfect, Leapin' Lanny Poffo (Randy Savage's brother who would later become "The Genius"), and good old Barry Horowitz, the professional self-backpatting jobber who could always be counted on to throw a match to help bring a new name up... those were the guys my brothers and I grew up on.

This, then, brings us to Bam Bam Bigelow and the Great Mark-Out. It must have been I think the fall of 1993; it was my little brother's birthday and I'd given him floor seats to the WWF show when it came to our neck of the woods. We went along with my other little brother. I honestly can't remember any of the matches on the card except for a particularly tiresome Doink the Clown match with midget Doinks coming out from under the ring -- I always hated Doink's angle -- and Bam Bam's, because that's when this couple next to us got real excited. They must've saved up for months to make it to this match (I know I did, and I was a broke college student) and it became readily clear they'd only come to see Bam Bam do his thing.

The woman had crammed herself into a pair of fancy goin-out spandex pants and a halter top which had been stretched to the point of obscenity. She smelled like she'd been dipped in booze, I mean literally picked up with a giant pair of tweezers and dropped in a giant vat of Jack Daniels in Lynchburg, Tennessee. Her companion was this tall skinny drink of water with an Adam's apple three times the size of his throat and a pencil thin mustache he must've been working on for months now. The woman first endeared herself to us when she loudly proclaimed early on "I smell PATCHOULI around here! D'you know the ONLY PEOPLE who wear PATCHOULI are? They're the ones SMOKE THE WEED!!" Sure, perhaps she was right, but "I smell patchouli around here!" became a long-lasting catch-phrase between me and my brothers, ranking right up there with "Hey guess what? They have comigs, and cheetahs run fast." (Don't ask.)

The skinny guy didn't say much until Bam Bam Bigelow came out. Bam Bam was a real heel at the time; he'd probably just done something nasty to a fan favorite on a recent TV broadcast and was getting a lot of heat (fan attention) for it. His entrance was heralded with a lot of booing and object-throwing whatnot; his no-name jobber opponent was already in the ring, just counting the seconds until he could fall for a 3-count. As soon as the tall guy saw the bald, tattooed head approaching ringside, he just exploded in a mark-out the likes of which I'd never seen before and probably won't see again. He shot up like a rocket and started punching the air with a gangly fist, knocking his black mesh cap off in the process. Then he started hollerin like you wouldn't believe. It was religious, if your religion involves cussin like a sumbitch.

"YEAH, BAM BAM!! BAM BAM!! MOTHERFUCKIN BAM BAM!! KICK HIS ASS, BAM BAM! KICK HIS FUCKIN ASS!!"

The lady started providing similar encouragement to Bam Bam, who of course didn't need any of it but received it anyway. It was at this point my brothers and I looked at each other and shrugged. What else could we do? We joined in as well.

"YEAH! KICK HIS FUCKIN ASS, BAM BAM! DO IT, BAM BAM! YEAAAAH! INTO THE FUCKIN TURBUCKLE, BAM BAM!! THAT'S THE WAY TO DO IT! FUCK YEAH! KICK THE CRAP OUT OF HIM, BAM BAM! OH, WHAT'D HE DO? DON'T TAKE THAT SHIT FROM HIM, BAM BAM! YOU GOT HIM NOW, BAM BAM! AHAHAHAHAHA! FUCKIN TAKE THAT! ONE! TWO! THREE! YEAAAAAAAAH! YOU'RE THE MAN, BAM BAM BIGELOW, YOU'RE THE FUCKIN MAN!"

We let ourselves get caught up in the fan emotion and gleefully helped this crazy couple cheer on their favorite. We probably were the only five people in the place who, right then and there, actually cared for the big, mean, evil guy who was going to win anyway. But as far as we were concerned, this was the best thing we'd ever done at a match since we'd run to ringside in the late 80s and rubbed the Bushwhackers' sweaty Aussie heads for good luck.

Rest well, Bam Bam Bigelow. I'm gonna miss that guy. One of God's own prototypes.

(11 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:fancycwabs
Date:January 20th, 2007 09:35 pm (UTC)
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That's a lot more interesting than the time I ran into Jerry Lawler at the frozen custard stand. Or Morgan Freeman at P.F. Chang's, both of which amount to, "Hey, look, there's Jerry Lawler/Morgan Freeman!"
[User Picture]
From:xiphias
Date:January 20th, 2007 09:55 pm (UTC)
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The WWE (formerly the WWF until the other WWF sued 'em)

That's not how I remember the story. The way I remember it was that the World Wrestling Federation sued the World Wildlife Foundation for the "WWF" logo, and, in their defense, the Wildlife guys . . . um, that actually didn't disambiguate. . . the animal guys . . . um. . . the PANDA BEAR GUYS (much better) pointed out that they were older and had the trademark longer. And the wrasslin' guys found themselves suplex-reversed.
[User Picture]
From:stankow
Date:January 24th, 2007 06:43 pm (UTC)
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No, it was panda guys suing. The World-Wide Wrestling Federation took out the "Wide" in the early '80s, but the the World Wildlife Fund didn't notice/care until Vince McMahon tried expanding outside the U.S. in the early '90s. VinMac apologized and assured them that he would only use "WWF" inside the United States, and no one would ever confuse the two anyway. Then he got greedy and/or stupid and went back into England, and the panda-WWF sued the hell out of him in 2002. Next thing you know, it's "Get the F out" and WWE all over the place.
[User Picture]
From:cursethedark
Date:January 20th, 2007 10:00 pm (UTC)
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You got to rub the Bushwhackers' heads? You lucky bastard.

As much as I don't like the wrestling fans when I'm performing (or watching the stuff on TV)...marking out at a show is a blast. I did that at the Ring of Honor show we went to in St. Paul last year. The main event was Nigel McGuinness vs. Bryan Danielson for the title. Since Nigel was from London, I spent the entire match shouting his praises in a really bad British accent. "Kick his arse, Nigel." I also successfully started a chant at Danielson: "YOU'RE A WANKER!" *clap clap clapclapclap*

Between that and our signs (since we didn't have time to make wrestling ones, my friends just brought the ones they made when they went to see Snakes On A Plane)...man, that was a great time.
[User Picture]
From:voivod
Date:January 20th, 2007 10:02 pm (UTC)

Scariest Ladies Of Wrestling.

(Link)
You don't have permission to access /files/48/48e815d4051e0bd4c03810c292aebe87937bb9ef.jpg on this server.

No S.L.O.W. for us.
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:January 20th, 2007 10:51 pm (UTC)

Re: Scariest Ladies Of Wrestling.

(Link)
der pic, it was saved and link changed accordingly.
[User Picture]
From:stopword
Date:January 20th, 2007 11:14 pm (UTC)
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Oddly, you're the second person on my friendslist to write a tribute to this guy:

http://nihilistic-kid.livejournal.com/898647.html
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:January 21st, 2007 05:54 am (UTC)
(Link)
In 2000, he was burned over 40% of his body when he rushed into a burning building and saved two children.

Wow. I had no idea.

He was a good man, that Bam Bam Bigelow.
From:sernin
Date:January 20th, 2007 11:18 pm (UTC)
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As a small tot, I watched Saturday morning rasslin' out of Memphis with Jerry THE KING Lawler and my favorite, Junkyard Dog.

Someone at work found a site that's like a rasslin' encyclopedia. This dedicated civil servant probably spent half a day of your tax dollars looking up old favorites.
[User Picture]
From:redtheblue
Date:January 21st, 2007 04:01 am (UTC)
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Bam Bam died at 45? That's just how old Junkyard Dog was when he died nine years ago. He apparently fell asleep at the wheel on I-20 in Mississippi. Or so McMahon would have us believe...
[User Picture]
From:cursethedark
Date:January 21st, 2007 09:11 am (UTC)
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As the story goes, he was on his way home from his daughter's college graduation. She was the first member of their family to do so.

Which, you must admit, is a better way to go out than many deceased wrestlers--found in a hotel room with a system full of muscle relaxants and booze.

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