This is a shitty loss to the wrestling community. We learned this morning that Vader, one of the true legends of professional wrestling, as well as a very accomplished athlete, has passed away at the age of 63. Vader had a really rough go of it health wise the last couple of years. Being a man of that size while pushing yourself to such great heights of athleticism is not easy on the body in anyway.
Vader started off as a highly regarded O-lineman for the LA Rams, who’s career was cut short due to a ruptured patella. From there, he went on to a career in pro wrestling. He started out in AWA, and from there went over to New Japan, where he became the first “gaijin” (non-japanese) heavyweight champion in the history of the company, while attaining star status.
This lead Vader back to the states for a new start with WCW, who had a working agreement with NJPW at the time, so he was able to split time between the two. His run here was great, as he was a well booked multi time champ who made a big name for himself stateside. He had classic feuds with Sting, Ron Simmon, Cactus Jack, Ric Flair, Rick Rude, and a host of others. He became such a big deal over there that Vince decided to make him an offer to come to the big time.
Vader’s time in WWE was a success, but never really reached the heights that it should have like it did in WCW due to some piss poor booking. He ended his time in the WWE as a “jobber to the stars” so to speak. He started out with a lot of hype, but in the end WWE just couldn’t figure out how to use him so he went back to Japan, and then had some one off special appearances with WWE down the road.
In recent years we, sadly, saw Vader’s health take a wrong turn, mainly from years of hard living on the road as a pro wrestler. Today, his suffering has ended and he’s now in the big squared circle in the sky. At the bottom of this blog is a youtube vid that lists his 15 greatest matches, most of which can be found easily on the WWE Network. Check them out when you get a chance. If I know Vader his first move when he gets up there is to Vader Bomb the absolute piss out of Rick Rude. Now all we need is Vader to get inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame so his memory will live on properly. RIP Vader. Let the Lord know it’s time! ITS VADER TIME!!!!