Big Boss Man
Class of 2016
80s/90s WWF Mid Card Star
Hall of Fame Rating
5 out of 10
Surprises are fun. The WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2016 was “spoiled” early giving us a list which included the worthy (Sting & Freebirds) and the unworthy( The Godfather). Luckily, the published list was not complete. 2016 now includes a deceased man, popular and well liked by fans and business insiders alike-The Big Boss Man
And that’s all well and good, but surprise aside, is this a good choice?
The Big Boss Man is a mid-card act, plain and simple. He fits into the “late 80s face character who has feuds” category, but never competes for a championship. Like Jim Duggan but a cop.
There is and always was a huge difference between the upper mid card (Jake Roberts as a face in 1980s, Dean Ambrose today) and the actual mid-card. We’ve heard of languishing in the mid card. The Big Boss Man peaked at the midcard. He never actually attained any large accomplishments, such a championships, in his first WWE run.
That’s not to disparage Traylor. He was a decent wrestler who ran with what he was given. Michael Hayes summed up Boss Man completely in the induction video
“A big guy who lived a dream and made the most of it.” The WWE Hall of Fame ladies and gentlemen!!!
I generally set the bar on Hall of Fame inclusion with two simple rules.
- Was the performer memorable in good way? Bossman was popular with fans, had a solid gimmick and was beloved to a degree in the 1980s.
- Did the performer have good feuds? Boss Man is a yes here too. His feud with the Mountie served its purpose and in the end was very fun. A welcome mid card feud.
Boss Man’s downside is that for many years, his career languished in WCW. From 1993-1998, Traylor existed in one character or another outside even the mid-card. Traylor’s strength is he would go out and work with what he was given. WCW wasn’t known for giving complex characters, memorable low card feuds or even generally knowing what to do with many of their bloated roster members.
During his tenure in WCW, Traylor was:
The Guardian Angel
Big Bubba Rogers
Evil Big Bubba
NWO Big Bubba
Boss Man had the second most gimmick changes in WCW in the 90s. The only guy to beat Traylor’s record was the best buddy of Hulk Hogan, Ed Leslie, aka the Barber, the Butcher and the Candlestickmaker.
Bossman made a good career move and likely helped solidify this induction with his return in 1998. Right off the bat, he became the enforcer for the Corporation, an organization at the heart of the biggest feud in WWF (Austin/McMahon) which was surprisingly filled with random mid-card acts for Austin to beat up. And the Boss Man fit in spectacularly.
It would be in the corporation that Traylor achieved his first WWE gold. He won the tag team championship with fellow random corporation member, Ken Shamrock. Granted, this was during WWE’s title hot potato phase and didn’t last for long; yet it is in the history books, tag team champion the Big Boss Man.
Boss Man had three final memorable moments with the organization. He fed Al Snow his dog:
He ruined Big Show’s father’s funeral in a hilarious moment….
And he got hung by the Undertaker
One last mention, the WWE induction video above mentions the Boss Man’s hardcore reigns as if they are something to be lauded. They and that championship are nothing to mentioned nor praised. WWE Hardcore equals…
Big Boss Man was a fine character and a memorable act. He succeeded due to good booking and a gimmick which while basic, was still fun. Kids loved seeing Boss Man handcuff his defeated opponents (much like Jake did with his snake and Beefcake did with cutting hair) A perfectly pass-able induction for a perfectly pass-able star.
Still, his inclusion does call out other deceased wrestlers who were left off yet again and are much more deserving. Where is Rick Rude or Bruiser Brody? Both fit the Texas theme a lot more.
Still we accept this induction as something which was going to come at some point. I am welcoming of his inclusion and happy for the surprise. Yay surprises.
WWE likes to include one deceased inductee. This year they chose Big Boss Man. Also, WWE likes to have different eras represented in their inductions. Boss Man hits both on 80s cartoon era and Attitude Era.
His family is also on good terms, signed to a legends deal, he was just included in the latest video game and as a general rule, a memorable part of WWE’s history.
One last idea, it is possible that Boss Man was a second choice. WWE has inducted other deceased wrestlers when alive ones declined (see Gorgeous George in 2010 instead of declining Ultimate Warrior and Stu Hart in 2010 instead of declining Honky Tonk Man) We may learn at a later point of a decline in 2016. Just a thought.
Opens Door For?
Other deceased wrestlers from the WWF era. Bam Bam Bigelow is one of the most likely next inductees. Here’s hoping Rick Rude is also included shortly.
Reasons this shouldn’t have happened.
Boss Man going in means no Bruiser Brody and no Rick Rude. Both would be more deserving deceased inclusions.