Tuesday, March 5, 2019

RIP King Kong Bundy 1957-2019

RIP King Kong Bundy 1957-2019

King Kong Bundy passed away yesterday. While we don't have the full details yet, it is another loss to the wrestling community.

Bundy started out in World Class in 1982. Within no time at all, he took on Fritz Von Erich in his original retirement match and had a good run in World Class. Bundy then moved onto the NWA, Memphis and the AWA before his famous WWF run, where he did just about everything a Hogan foe could do. He had a feud with Andre and Hulk, which lead to his Wrestlemania 2 main event with him. After losing to Hogan, his career headed downwards. He took part in the famous midgets match at Wrestlemania 3 and didn't do much else before leaving.

He took a long sabbatical from wrestling, doing computer commercials and television before making a 2nd run in the WWF in 1994. This run was much less successful than his initial run. This would be his last mainstream run however as he then wrestled on the indies and did some comedy.

Bundy's career is a really unique one in wrestling. He was pushed almost from the start and despite being pretty young and inexperienced, he did great. He even did so well that he didn't need to do wrestling anymore, despite being in the prime of his career. Very few wrestlers can say that and it's hard to fault a guy who was able to pull that off. However, from a selfish perspective, I wish he would have went elsewhere after his initial WWF run.

One issue is that by 1988, at the end of his initial WWF run, there wasn't a lot of other places to go. Perhaps he could have done something in the WCW/NWA against Sting or Dusty, but the promotion was pretty overloaded with heels at the time. The AWA was getting ready to be on its last legs and I don't think they would have been able to afford him. WCCW was already very much on the decline, but perhaps a Japan run or a return to Memphis would have been possible.

While he did return to the WWF in 1994, this run was pretty much doomed to fail. The promotion was filled with bigger guys who worked a similar style like Yokozuna, Mabel, Bam Bam and others. No matter how good you are, it's hard to get over when you have a lot of other people doing virtually the same style as you, and this was on top of the creative slump the WWF had from 1992 to 1996. Had he gone to WCW though at the time, it's hard to think things would have been much better, as they too were having multiple creative issues. An extended run in ECW might have worked out though. ECW did not have many big guys and Bundy's demeanor and mic skills would have been a unique fit.

Bundy strangely missed the Monday Night Wars entirely. Like with the example I mentioned above in ECW, I think he would have gotten a chance to show a unique new side in the WWF's Attitude Era. He might have even made an interesting foe for Austin or Foley, but we will never know.

Bundy will forever be remembered in wrestling for his Wrestlemania 2 and Wrestlemania 3 matches.  For his brief time in wrestling, I think he did an amazing job and one does wonder what he could have done had he stayed around. His legacy for the casual fan will ultimately rest on the WWE, while for the more hardcore fans, he will be an above average big man.

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