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Bam Bam Bigelow: Iconic wrestler who lost his life to accidental drug overdose

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During his time in the wrestling sphere, Bam Bam Bigelow was a predominant force. From his size to his intimidating in-ring persona, he was regarded as an exceptional performer who won several championships to show for it. His talents in the ring garnered him a massive following, and Bigelow’s fame even extended to Japan, where he clinched championship victories.

Notably, WWE hailed Bigelow as “one of sports entertainment’s best big men”. Even after his untimely demise, his legacy remains and he continues to be honoured by new-generation wrestlers and fans of the sport.

Bam Bam Bigelow’s biography

Bam Bam Bigelow

Scott Charles Bigelow, better known by his professional wrestling moniker, “Bam Bam Bigelow”, was born on September 1, 1961, in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, United States. He attended Neptune High School, situated in Neptune Township, New Jersey.

He, however, made a name for himself by excelling in wrestling. Bigelow began participating in athletic tournaments during the formative phase of his teenage years when he unexpectedly showed off his skill in arm wrestling matches. 

He finished in third place in the hotly contested 1979 New Jersey state wrestling championship during a crucial period of his sophomore year. Sadly, his final wrestling season during his senior year was truncated by a cyst in his lower back.

He took on a variety of jobs after leaving formal schooling, working as a bodyguard, an intimidating bouncer and even a dedicated bounty hunter. The wrestler once recounted a scary episode from his stint as a bounty hunter in the landscapes of Mexico.

It was during this episode that he suffered a bullet wound to his back. He was also sentenced to a six-month detention in the middle of Mexico City as a result of this unfortunate episode.

Bigelow stood at a towering 6 feet, 4 inches tall and had a body weight of 390 pounds.

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Bam Bam Bigelow’s career

Upon his release from incarceration in Mexico, Bigelow found himself at a crossroads. Recognising the need to channel his path towards a profession that could capitalise on his size and abilities, he decided to venture into the world of professional wrestling.

The first steps of this trip were taken in May 1985 when wrestler Larry Sharpe enrolled him in wrestling classes at the legendary Monster Factory wrestling school in Clementon, New Jersey. Bigelow stood out as a student in Sharpe’s wise eyes because his potential shone clearly.

On August 23, 1985, at the Studio 54 club, Bigelow made his professional wrestling debut. This life-changing event was put on by Paul Heyman. Bigelow competed in contests under the ring name “Bam Bam Bigelow” for the Continental Wrestling Association (CWA) in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1986

Bam Bam Bigelow in the ring

Guided by Larry Sharpe, he joined tough fights and portrayed his fierce “monster” style. His daring jumps from the top rope impressed some but also got him in trouble as he was disqualified on several occasions.

A notable moment in his career came on July 28, 1986, when Bigelow won his inaugural championship title, the AWA Southern Heavyweight Championship. His win came from a triumphant duel in a vicious battle royal. However, his reign as champion was short-lived.

In a tough wrestling match, Bigelow lost his championship title to Jerry Lawler on September 8, 1986. This marked the end of one chapter, but it also started exciting new stories in wrestling for the Englishman.

Bigelow faced setbacks and withdrew from the CWA for a while. He later formed a tag team with Lawler and fought rivals like Austin Idol and Tommy Rich. He stayed with CWA until March 1987 and returned in the years 1989, 1990, 1991, and 1994.

He went on to compete in professional wrestling under the ring name “Crusher Yurkov” in 1986, taking home the WCWA Television Championship. In the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, he received the “Rookie of the Year” award. In 1987, he travelled to Japan as “Crusher Bam Bam Bigelow,” teamed up with Sharpe and went up against Big Van Vader. In 1990, he competed in more matches, joined All Japan Pro-Wrestling and faced challenging opponents.

He won numerous matches in Japan alongside fellow wrestler, Vader. The duo won the IWGP Tag Team Championship and continued to compete until October 1992. Due to agreements, it was challenging for him to return. In 1987, he made his WWF debut as “Bam Bam Bigelow”. He joined the Survivor Series and competed in wrestling matches.

Bam Bam Bigelow flaunting his belt

Bigelow was agile despite his size, with unique tattoos and a fiery look. He used moves like the “Nuclear Splash” and introduced “Greetings From Asbury Park”. His career was marked by resilience and a unique wrestling style. His professional wrestling career lasted for around 20 years. He continued to wrestle until the early 2000s.

Bam Bam Bigelow stats

  • Full Name: Scott Charles Bigelow
  • Ring Name: Bam Bam Bigelow
  • Born: September 1, 1961
  • Birthplace: Mount Laurel, New Jersey, United States
  • Height: Approximately 6 feet 4 inches (193 cm)
  • Weight: Approximately 390 pounds (177 kg) at his heaviest
  • Debut: Mid-1980s
  • Retired: Early 2000s
  • Trained by: Larry Sharpe
  • Promotions: Competed in various promotions, including WWE (formerly WWF), WCW, ECW, NJPW, CWA, USWA, and more.

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Below is a  table representing the win, draw, and loss statistics for Bam Bam Bigelow’s matches across various promotions and types.

Promotion Win Draw Loss
3PW
AJPW 0
CWA
ECW 68  22
FMW
JAPW 0 1 0
JCW (NJ) 0
NEW 0
NJPW 51  2 53 
NWA 0
UWF (Herb Abrams)
WAR 8
WCW 58  97 
WCWA
WWF 151  64
TOTAL 355 25  252 
Type Win % Draw % Loss %
PPV 18  25
Non-PPV 337  25  227 

Source: Wikipedia

Bam Bam Bigelow’s movies

During his time in the world of professional wrestling, Bigelow took on numerous acting roles and frequently embodied characters with a menacing and unfriendly demeanour. He also delved into the realm of marketing, appearing in a promotional video for Slim Jim beef jerky. It is worth mentioning that he was a member of the Screen Actors Guild.

Here are some of the movies that Bam Bam Bigelow acted in, according to IMDb:

  • Snake Eater III: His Law (1992): In this action film, Bam Bam Bigelow played the character “Goose”. The movie is part of the Snake Eater film series and follows a tough ex-cop who becomes a vigilante.
  • Major Payne (1995): Bigelow was credited as a “Huge Biker” in this comedy film. The movie follows a military officer who takes on the role of a strict drill instructor at a private academy.
  • Joe’s Apartment (1996): In this musical-comedy film, Bigelow portrayed the character “Boss Construction”. The film revolves around a young man who moves into a rundown New York City apartment and discovers that it’s infested with singing and dancing cockroaches.
  • Icebreaker (2000): Bigelow played a role as a SWAT Team member in this action film. The movie involves a terrorist threat on a ski resort and the efforts to thwart the attack.
  • Ready to Rumble (2000): In this comedy film, Bigelow appeared as himself. The movie follows the adventures of two wrestling fans who set out to help their favourite wrestler regain his honour.

Bam Bam Bigelow’s net worth

According to reports, Bigelow was said to have had a net worth of $5 million as of the time of his death.

Bam Bam Bigelow’s family

Bam Bam Bigelow celebrating in the ring

In 1987, Bigelow got married to an Asbury Park native, Dana Fisher. During their union, the couple had three children together before divorcing in 2000. Due to Bigelow’s non-payment of child support after the divorce, Fisher filed a lawsuit against him.

On July 4, 2000, Bigelow was the victim of a devastating accident. The wrestler suffered second-degree burns covering 40 per cent of his body. The incident occurred after he bravely saved three kids who were trapped in a building engulfed by fire in Wayside, New Jersey. He subsequently spent 10 days in the hospital getting treated for his wounds. 

Bam Bam Bigelow’s age

Bigelow was born on September 1, 1961. He was 45 years old at the time of his death.

Bam Bam Bigelow’s death

On the morning of January 19, 2007, Bam Bam Bigelow’s partner found him dead at his home in Hudson, Florida, at around 10 a.m. Following the conduct of an autopsy, Bigelow was found to have high quantities of cocaine and benzodiazepines in his system at the time of his death.

His death was caused in part by atherosclerosis. His passing was ruled an accident by the Pasco-Pinellas Medical Examiner.

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