Bam Bam Bigelow [Wrestling Universe Shoot Interview]
One in the Wrestling Universe's series that is definitely a standout. Bam Bam Bigelow, who passed away in 2007, conducted this in 2002, so he was on the comeback trail after severe burns (from saving some kids from a fire) put him on the shelf. He seemed like such a friendly guy who had many good stories and a really good memory. Bigelow's tales of breaking in were about what you'd expect, but the parts about Japan (which started early on for him) were fascinating. Here is a guy who traveled over there many times and worked for four of the top companies and he had some thoughtful and honest comments. He had no problem burying Akira Maeda for his unprofessionalism, FMW for its second-rate status or Genichiro Tenryu for subpar booking decisions. At the same time, he put over the talent, the culture, the learning experience and the style. Puroresu fans should enjoy that aspect of this shoot. There was plenty of time talking about his runs in the WWF (2), WCW (3) and ECW (2), which were filled with great successes and some unfortunate situations. Bigelow seems to have everything in a proper perspective that he can address the good and bad of each. I've heard him put over strongly by Sid (as the greatest ring general he ever worked) and buried by Lanny Poffo (as someone that no one would ever pay to see), but I tend to think the majority of his peers liked him and respected his work. From this shoot interview, you can kind of understand why.
Although I found Bigelow to be pretty straightforward, he was not as professionally self-effacing as I might have expected. While he never put himself over as strongly as many people do in shoot interviews (certainly not personally as he seemed quite humble and down-to-Earth), I expected him to perhaps reflect upon his unfulfilled potential, drug problems and inconsistent pushes over the years. He admitted to not being a complete package (good body, good interviews, good work), but felt he had the third category for sure. I wouldn't argue that point, but it seems like he might have been a little more reflective as to why someone of his in-ring ability never got the consistent shove that so many expected time and time again. He seems to blame injuries, politics and poor booking more than I care to believe. My other issue is his mellowness. Bam Bam Bigelow seems like an intense individual who would speak his mind and have no problem burying people, but here, he is relatively reserved in his comments on Big Van Vader, Andre the Giant and even the Kliq. He always seemed to temper a negative comment about someone being a "pain in the ass" or whatever by putting over their hard work, status or something. Regardless of those concerns, I felt this was a good look at pro-wrestling from 1985-2001 with some detailed inclusion of Japan and even Mexico.
The Rating: ****1/2