|Big Boss Man|
Big Boss Man at a charity event in 2002
|Birth name||Ray Washington Traylor Jr.|
|Born||May 2, 1963|
Marietta, Georgia, U.S.
|Died||September 22, 2004 (aged 41)|
Dallas, Georgia, U.S.
|Cause of death||Heart attack|
(m. after 1989)
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Big Boss Man|
Big Bubba Rogers
The Guardian Angel
|Billed height||6 ft 7 in (201 cm)|
|Billed weight||330 lb (150 kg)|
|Billed from||Cobb County, Georgia|
|Trained by||Ted Allen|
Ray Washington Traylor Jr. (May 2, 1963 – September 22, 2004) was an American professional wrestler who was best known for his appearances with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) under the ring name Big Boss Man, as well as for his appearances with World Championship Wrestling (WCW) as The Boss, The Man, The Guardian Angel, and Big Bubba Rogers. During his appearances with the WWF, Big Boss Man held the WWF World Tag Team Championship once and the WWF Hardcore Championship four times. On March 7, 2016, Traylor was confirmed to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2016. He was inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame 2016 by Slick and the award was accepted by his wife Angela and his daughters Lacy and Megan.
Professional wrestling career
Jim Crockett Promotions (1985–1987)
A former corrections officer in Cobb County, Georgia, Traylor debuted in 1985. He first made some appearances at Continental Championship Wrestling where he first challenged Roberto Soto for the NWA Alabama Heavyweight Championship on February 3, 1986 and then challenged Norvell Austin for the NWA Southeastern Heavyweight Championship on February 10. He then began working as a jobber for Jim Crockett Promotions, under his real name. During this time, he faced the likes of The Barbarian, Ivan Koloff, The Midnight Express, The Road Warriors, and Wahoo McDaniel. Seeing his potential, head booker Dusty Rhodes pulled Traylor from TV for 12 weeks, in order to repackage him as "Big Bubba Rogers" with Traylor debuting as Rogers on the May 31 edition of WorldWide. As Big Bubba, Traylor was a silent bodyguard for Jim Cornette, who, along with the Midnight Express, was feuding with the James Boys (Dusty Rhodes and Magnum T.A., under masks). He got a solid push as a seemingly unstoppable heel and feuded with Rhodes (the top face at the time) in a series of Bunkhouse Stampede matches in 1986. He and Rhodes were tied for wins in this series, leading to a tiebreaking cage match, which Rhodes won on February 27. Traylor also defeated Ron Garvin in a Louisville Street Fight at Starrcade 1986.
Universal Wrestling Federation (1987)
In 1987, Traylor joined the Universal Wrestling Federation (UWF) after it was purchased by Jim Crockett. He debuted on April 18 winning a handicap match against Mike Reed and The Glassman. On April 19, Traylor challenged and won the UWF Heavyweight Championship from One Man Gang, who was leaving the UWF for the World Wrestling Federation. Following his title win, he aligned himself with General Skandor Ackbar and his Devastation Inc. stable. Traylor would hold the championship for nearly 3 months defending it against Steve Cox, Barry Windham, and Michael Hayes before losing the title to "Dr. Death" Steve Williams on July 11, 1987 in Oklahoma City, OK during the Great American Bash 1987 tour.
In the second WarGames match on July 30, 1987, The Road Warriors, Nikita Koloff, Dusty Rhodes, and Paul Ellering defeated The Four Horsemen and Traylor as The War Machine at 19:38 when Road Warrior Animal forced the War Machine to submit by gouging his eyes with a spiked armband.
After losing the heavyweight championship, Traylor began pursuing the UWF Tag Team Championship which were held by The Lightning Express as he teamed with The Angel of Death, The Terminator, and Black Bart but was never able to win the titles. From late August to early September, Traylor received several rematches against Williams for the UWF Championship but came up short.
All Japan Pro Wrestling (1988)
After leaving Crockett, Traylor toured for All Japan Pro Wrestling during their 1988 Champion Carnival tour. He debuted on March 26, 1988, teaming with Bruiser Brody against Jumbo Tsuruta and John Tenta which went to a double countout. Throughout the tour, Traylor would mostly team with Brody as well as Jimmy Snuka while taking on stars like Tsuruta, Genichiro Tenryu, Yoshiaki Yatsu, Giant Baba, and Ashura Hara as well as future stars like Tiger Mask and Akira Taue. His last match was the conclusion of the tour on April 22 losing to Tsuruta.
World Wrestling Federation
Twin Towers (1988–1990)
In June 1988, Traylor joined the WWF as "Big Boss Man", a character inspired by his previous career as a corrections officer. Wrestling as a heel and managed by Slick, Boss Man's post-match routine often included handcuffing his defeated opponents to the ring ropes and beating them with a nightstick or ball and chain. The theme song used for his entrances was "Hard Time" performed by the lead singer of Survivor, Jimi Jamison.
After defeating Koko B. Ware at the inaugural SummerSlam, Boss Man began his first major WWF angle by attacking Hulk Hogan on "The Brother Love Show". During this feud, he also challenged Randy Savage for the WWF Championship, and formed a team with Akeem (formerly billed as One Man Gang, his UWF opponent) to form The Twin Towers. They feuded with Hogan and Savage (who had formed The Mega Powers), and were a key part in the top storyline of Savage turning on Hogan, leading to the WrestleMania V main event; in the later part of a tag match between the four on The Main Event II, Hogan abandoned Savage to attend to the hurt Miss Elizabeth and went backstage. After being double-teamed for a while, Savage eventually rallied until Hogan returned to the match. After Savage tagged Hogan in, he slapped Hogan and left him to defeat The Twin Towers on his own. This led to The Mega Powers' demise as Savage beat Hulk in the backstage medical room where fellow wrestlers, managers and staff had to break them up.
At WrestleMania V, The Twin Towers defeated The Rockers (Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty) and then, for most of spring and early summer 1989, feuded with Demolition (Ax and Smash) over the Tag Team Championship. Meanwhile, Boss Man concluded his feud with Hogan in a series of Steel Cage matches; one of the most memorable aired on the May 27 Saturday Night's Main Event XXI, with Hogan's WWF Championship on the line. During the match, Hogan superplexed Boss Man off the top of the cage.
The Big Boss Man turned face on the February 24, 1990 episode of Superstars, when Ted DiBiase had paid Slick to have Boss Man retrieve the Million Dollar Championship belt from Jake Roberts, who had stolen it. Boss Man retrieved a bag containing both the belt and Roberts' pet python, Damien. On The Brother Love Show, he refused to accept DiBiase's money for the bag, and returned it to Roberts.
Boss Man then feuded with former partner Akeem, defeating him in less than two minutes at WrestleMania VI. As part of his face turn, he later stopped handcuffing and beating jobbers after matches. He made peace with Hogan, appearing in his corner in his match against Earthquake at Summerslam 1990, and teaming with him at the 1990 Survivor Series, along with "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan and Tugboat, to defeat Earthquake's team.
Singles competition (1990–1993)
In the fall of 1990, Boss Man began feuding with Bobby Heenan and The Heenan Family after Heenan continually insulted Boss Man's mother. He won a series of matches against Heenan Family members in 1991, including The Barbarian at the Royal Rumble and Mr. Perfect (via disqualification) at WrestleMania VII in an Intercontinental Championship match, which featured the return of André the Giant. At SummerSlam, he defeated The Mountie in a Jailhouse Match, a match in which the loser must spend a night in jail. This was the only such match ever held by the promotion. Boss Man then briefly feuded with Irwin R. Schyster.
In 1992, Boss Man began feuding with Nailz, an ex-convict character who, in a series of promos aired before his debut, claimed Boss Man had been his abusive Officer in prison, and warned he was seeking revenge. On the May 30 episode of WWF Superstars, Nailz – clad in an orange prison jumpsuit – ran into the ring and attacked Boss Man, handcuffing him to the top rope and repeatedly choking and beating him with the nightstick. Boss Man took time off TV to sell his (kayfabe) injuries, eventually returning and having a series of matches with Nailz in the latter half of 1992. The feud culminated at Survivor Series, when Boss Man defeated Nailz in a Nightstick on a Pole match. This was the final push for the Boss Man during this run, as he was subsequently used as enhancement talent against Razor Ramon, Bam Bam Bigelow, and Yokozuna on the house show circuit.
The Big Boss Man's last pay-per-view match of this run came at the 1993 Royal Rumble, where he suffered his first clean loss on a WWF Pay-per-view to Bam Bam Bigelow. He left the WWF shortly after a house show in Gatineau, Quebec defeating Doink the Clown on March 14. During the next few months he made appearances in the USWA and SMW. On December 4 he made a one-time return to the WWF as a special guest referee to officiate the main event of a house show in Anaheim, California between Bret Hart and Jeff Jarrett. Boss Man was expected to rejoin the WWF but elected to sign with WCW instead. According to former manager Jim Cornette, Traylor left the WWF because he was concerned about the potential impact of Vince McMahon's steroid trial on perceptions of his character as a law enforcement officer.
Return to All Japan Pro Wrestling (1993)
Traylor returned to All Japan in 1993. Due to not owning the Big Boss Man gimmick, he again used his "Big Bubba" name but still wore the Big Boss Man attire and carried the nightstick. He returned on July 2 defeating Mighty Inoue in a little over three minutes. As was the case with his previous run, he mainly worked tag matches, often with Stan Hansen, Kendall Windham or "Dr. Death" Steve Williams, but also defeated Mighty Inoue, Johnny Smith and Tamon Honda in singles matches. He also had some big one-on-one matches as he lost to Akira Taue on July 29 at the Nippon Budokan and lost to Kenta Kobashi on October 14. From November to December, Traylor competed in the 1993 World's Strongest Tag Determination League teaming with Williams where they placed 4th. His last match was on the end of the tour on December 3 teaming with Williams in a losing effort to Giant Baba and Stan Hansen.
World Championship Wrestling
Early years (1993–1995)
Traylor returned to the United States to debut for World Championship Wrestling (WCW), as "The Boss", on the December 18, 1993 episode of WCW Saturday Night, pinning the International World Champion, Rick Rude, in a non-title match. A face, he received a title match against Rude at Starrcade '93: 10th Anniversary, but lost. In light of legal complaints from the WWF regarding the similarity of "The Boss" to "Big Boss Man", Traylor was renamed "The Guardian Angel", and wore similar attire to those in the organization he was named after. He feuded with Big Van Vader for most of 1994. In early 1995, he turned heel, and became again known as "Big Bubba Rogers". He defeated Sting at Uncensored in 1995.
Dungeon of Doom and feud with nWo (1996–1998)
In 1996, Rogers joined The Dungeon of Doom. He feuded with former Dungeon of Doom member John Tenta, and newcomer Glacier. By the end of the year, he had turned on the Dungeon of Doom and joined the nWo. His stay in the nWo was brief, with Traylor knocked out by an unknown assailant at the start of the February 17, 1997 edition of Nitro, with Traylor later explaining Eric Bischoff fired him from the nWo while he was temporarily paralyzed. Traylor returned on September 1, now using his real name and vowing to rip Bischoff's head off. He feuded with the nWo, defeating members such as Scott Hall, Curt Hennig, and Vincent. He formed an alliance with The Steiner Brothers, who also sought DiBiase as their manager. The union abruptly ended when Scott Steiner turned on them to join the nWo in February 1998. After losing his final WCW Nitro match to Bill Goldberg on the March 30 episode of Nitro, Traylor won his final match defeating Bret Hammer on the following Saturday Night after that he was sent home and WCW let his contract expire.
Return to WWF/E
Hardcore Championship pursuit (1998–1999)
Traylor rejoined the WWF shortly after his WCW release and once again became "Big Boss Man". On October 12, 1998, he returned to television with a new look, abandoning his blue police shirt for an all-black SWAT-style uniform, including a tactical vest and gloves. He served as Vince McMahon's bodyguard during his feud with Stone Cold Steve Austin and his later feud with D-Generation X. He briefly wore a mask, before his identity was revealed.
Boss Man was one of the first members of McMahon's heel stable, The Corporation, and served as a bodyguard for other members, such as Vince's son Shane. While in The Corporation, Boss Man won the Tag Team Championship with Ken Shamrock, won the Hardcore Championship four times, and lost to The Undertaker at WrestleMania XV in a Hell in a Cell match. After this match, The Undertaker hanged him from the roof of the cage (an illusion made possible by a body harness concealed under Traylor's outfit).
In the WWF's Hardcore division, Boss Man's major feud was with Al Snow, a feud that eventually involved Snow's pet chihuahua, Pepper. At SummerSlam, the two had a Falls Count Anywhere match that spilled into the backstage area, the street and, finally, into a nearby bar. Just prior to the match, Snow had set Pepper's pet carrier near the entranceway. Minutes into the match, Boss Man picked it up, taunted Pepper, struck Snow with the carrier and carelessly tossed it behind him. Commentator Jim Ross immediately apologized to viewers for the act, and stated that Pepper had been removed from the box before the match.
Two weeks later, Boss Man kidnapped and ransomed Pepper, arranging a meeting in which he fed Snow a meat dish supposedly made from Pepper's remains. The two settled their feud in a Kennel from Hell match at Unforgiven, in which a blue solid steel cage surrounded the ring, itself and ringside surrounded by the chain-link fenced "cell". The object of the match was to escape from the cage and the cell while avoiding "attack dogs" (which turned out to be disappointingly docile) positioned outside the ring. Snow won the match and retained the Hardcore title, which had been returned to him by Davey Boy Smith, who had defeated Boss Man for it. Boss Man would later win back the Hardcore title in a triple threat match involving Al Snow and The Big Show, and would hold it until January 2000, when he lost it to Test.
Boss Man then feuded with The Big Show over the WWF Championship. During the feud, Boss Man showed up at Big Show's father's funeral, made some disrespectful remarks, then chained the casket to the back of his car and drove off. The Big Show attempted to save the coffin by jumping on it, riding it for a few yards before losing his grip and tumbling off. The feud also included a segment in which Boss Man invaded the home of Big Show's mother and forced her on camera to admit her son was born an illegitimate child. Boss Man became the #1 contender for the WWF Championship by defeating The Rock on the November 15, 1999 episode of Raw. At Armageddon, The Big Show defeated him to retain the title and end the feud.
Various feuds and departure (2000–2003)
On the March 19 episode of Sunday Night Heat, he introduced Bull Buchanan as his protégé. They teamed to defeat The Godfather and D'Lo Brown at WrestleMania 2000, and the Acolytes Protection Agency the next month at Backlash. On the June 5 Raw is War, after losing to The Hardy Boyz and subsequently arguing, Boss Man knocked Buchanan out with his nightstick when his back was turned and the team split up.
In the summer of 2000, Boss Man disappeared from the WWF's primary television shows, wrestling mainly on Jakked and Heat, where he had a minor feud with Crash Holly until suffering a legit injury in April 2001. When he returned on the December 20, 2001 of SmackDown!, he formed a team with Booker T, after Vince McMahon ordered him to be Booker's enforcer. On the December 27 episode of SmackDown!, Boss Man and Booker T defeated Stone Cold Steve Austin in a handicap match. On the January 7, 2002 episode of Raw, Boss Man and Booker T were defeated by Austin and The Rock. On the January 17 episode of SmackDown!, Boss Man lost to Diamond Dallas Page. At the Royal Rumble, Boss Man competed in the Royal Rumble match where he was eliminated by Rikishi. On the January 24 episode of SmackDown!, Boss Man lost to Rikishi. The team quietly split in late January 2002, and Boss Man returned to Jakked/Metal and Heat. On the February 2 episode of Metal, Boss Man defeated The Hurricane. On the February 9 episode of Metal, Boss Man defeated Perry Saturn. On the March 23 episode of WWF Jakked, Boss Man and Mr. Perfect lost to The APA. In April, he formed a short-lived tag team with Mr. Perfect after both were drafted to the Raw brand. On the April 1 episode of Raw, Boss Man and Mr. Perfect lost to The Hardy Boyz. On the April 14 episode of Heat, Boss Man lost to Bradshaw. On the April 28 episode of Heat, Boss Man defeated Crash Holly. On the May 12 episode of Heat, Boss Man lost to D'Lo Brown. On the May 26 episode of Heat, he lost his final WWE match to Tommy Dreamer. Once again he was taken off the main roster after an injury from a motorcycle accident.
Traylor was assigned to train developmental wrestlers in Ohio Valley Wrestling. He wrestled one match for OVW when he teamed with John Cena, and Charlie Haas defeating Lance Cade, Rene Dupree and Sean O'Haire on November 6, 2002. He was released from WWE in 2003.
International Wrestling Association of Japan (2004)
Traylor's final matches were in the International Wrestling Association of Japan, where he competed in a tournament for the vacant IWA World Heavyweight Championship. He made it to the final by defeating Freddie Krueger before losing to Jim Duggan.
Traylor had two daughters, Lacy Abilene Traylor and Megan Chyanne Traylor, and was married to Angela, his childhood sweetheart.
Traylor suffered a motorcycle accident on his Harley-Davidson in May 2002 after he hit a deer, and was badly injured. He spent a year recovering from his injuries, and he was badly affected by close friend Curt Hennig's death in 2003.
Death and legacy
Traylor died of a heart attack on September 22, 2004 at his home in Dallas, Georgia. He was 41 years old. Traylor was posthumously inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2016, with his wife and daughters accepting the award on his behalf.
Big Boss Man appears in video games including WWF WrestleFest, WWF WrestleMania 2000, WWF SmackDown! 2: Know Your Role and WWF No Mercy. He further appears posthumously in WWE Legends of WrestleMania, WWE All Stars, WWE '13, WWE 2K16, WWE 2K17, WWE 2K18, WWE 2K19, and in WWE 2K20.
Championships and accomplishments
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- Pro Wrestling This Week
- Wrestler of the Week (May 3–9, 1987)
- Universal Wrestling Federation
- World Wrestling Federation/WWE
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter
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- "Millions of Cemetery Records and Online Memorials". Find A Grave.
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- "Superstars and Divas featured on WWE 2K16 roster list". WWE.com. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
- "Superstars to be featured on WWE 2K17 roster". WWE.com. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
- "WWE 2K18 roster: Meet the Superstars joining the list of playable characters". WWE.com. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
- "WWE 2K19 Roster". WWE 2K. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
- "Pro Wrestling Illustrated Top 500 – 1992". Wrestling Information Archive. Archived from the original on August 13, 2011. Retrieved August 3, 2009.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 7, 2011. Retrieved May 5, 2008.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Pedicino, Joe; Solie, Gordon (hosts) (May 9, 1987). "Pro Wrestling This Week". Superstars of Wrestling. Atlanta, Georgia. Syndicated. WATL.
- Solie's Title Histories:UWF – UNIVERSAL WRESTLING FEDERATION. Solie.org (May 30, 1986). Retrieved on November 20, 2016.
- Hardcore Championship. Wwe.com (November 16, 2016). Retrieved on November 20, 2016.
- "Big Boss Man & Ken Shamrock". WWE. Archived from the original on November 29, 2005. Retrieved December 17, 2016.