AS I SEE IT 1/29: Your thoughts on Scott "Bam Bam" Bigelow

Bob Magee
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets

This week, some of your thoughts from the passing of Scott "Bam Bam" Bigelow.

From SSgt Chip Hayes, USMC...currently stationed in Afghanistan:

" I wrote to you only once before. I am writing now about Bam Bam Bigelow, as you asked in your article. I met him once, far from a wrestling venue. In June of 1997, my company of Marines was flying to Okinawa for a deployment, and were routed through Anchorage, Alaska.

We were there in the middle of the night for a several hour layover, and met Sgt Slaughter, Jimmy Snuka, King Kong Bundy, and others....including Bigelow. All of them were great, spending time with us, posing for pictures, etc. They were on their way somewhere to the far east for a show.

But of all of them, the best was Bam Bam. He sat with us for hours...not in character, but as a man, talking to us about the road, the business, who was clean, who wasn't, who were jerks, etc. he made wrestling seem real to us, as a lifestyle. It was a great time with a good man, who never put himself above the common fan. I was very glad to have met him.

As I sit right now in Afghanistan, about to head home, I wonder if he, or any of those like him, ever realize the impact that just being a real person has on their fans. Thanks for the outlet, and the great articles. He will be missed."

From Kathy Fitzpatrick :

"Bam Bam was a unique person. When a man his size could do the stuff he did in the ring it was a joy to watch a wrestling match. I remember in the early Tri-State Wrestling Alliance days seeing him in Philadelphia, with his son Shane and just joking around with him. He had a heart that was as big as he was. My prayers go out to his family and rest in peace my friend.

I also just heard another person in the wrestling business has passed... Doug Gentry. No matter what everyone else thought about Doug he was always nice to me. We would always chat about our dogs, and what new ones he was getting, and all the crazy stories about them.

I can only say that I know they wrestling gang that has went to that big wrestling arena in the sky now has a great guy to film the matches they are having. I will never forget you."

To amplify what Kathy said about Doug Gentry...Gentry, who was instrumental within Ring of Honor in the early days of the promotion, died this psat Friday at 34 after a heart attack. Gentry had been diagnosed with a rare bacterial infection of the heart, and had been undergoing antibiotic treatment in preparation for surgery on a heart valve damaged by the infection.

Gentry's first work was the ECW Fancam releases. He played a role unknown by many within ECW in that he was responsible for international talent during the later years of the promotion including Super Crazy, Yoshihiro Tajiri and Masato Tanaka.

Gentry, along with videographer Rob Feinstein, helped found the Ring of Honor promotion in 2002 in Philadelphia; with Gentry scouting talent and handling video production. He also brougnt in friend Cary Silkin as a major investor into Ring of Honor. Without Silkin buying in, Ring of Honor would have been out of business after March 2003 due to early financial losses. Gentry's role continued until the well-publicized incident involving Rob Feinstein in March 2004.

Gentry then served as on-paper owner of the promotion until later in the spring when the promotion split completely from the RF Video company, with Gentry leaving the company. Gentry continued working with Feinstein at RF Video and in other related enterprises until his death last Friday.

From David Hanthorn:

"I was a skinny, rather shy 15 year old kid in late October of 1997. I was at the airport, wishing my uncle farewell as he went home, when I saw this huge man with a tattooed skull walking away from me.

I immediately recognized him, as I had been watching him since his stint in the WWF in the late 80s: Bam Bam Bigelow. He had just defeated Shane Douglas for his ECW title just a matter of weeks before. I told my mom I wanted to meet him and dashed off in his direction.

When I finally reached him, I almost didn't go through with it. I thought he might beat me up or something. But finally, I gathered the guts to say "Excuse me, Mr. Bigelow?" All the fear I had of this man dissipated almost immediately, as he was one of the warmest, friendliest wrestlers I had ever met.

I told him that I had been a fan of his since his matches with my favorite wrestler (at the time) Bret Hart, and his match with LT at WrestleMania. (I told him that I thought he should have won, to which he responded with a big belly laugh.) I saw his newly won ECW title peeking out of his partially unzipped duffel bag, and, as politely as I could, asked if I could look at it.

He pulled it out of the bag and asked if I would like to hold it. Of course I said yes. He said "I'll let you hold it if you promise to finish school and stay away from drugs." "I promise, sir." After another couple minutes, I shook his hand (which completely engulfed mine) and said my thank yous and goodbyes, and he said "Remember what I told you, son: stay in school, and stay away from drugs."

After that, I walked away feeling like I was on top of the world. I had just spent the past five minutes with Bam Bam Bigelow, the 360 pound behemoth with the flames tattooed on his scalp, who had terrorized the most hardcore promotion on the planet, and he was the nicest wrestler I had ever met. He was kind enough to let me hold the ECW championship, and he took the time to tell me to stay on the right paths in life.

After that incident, I was a lifelong Bam Bam mark. I hunted down tapes of his Japan matches, I watched him and cheered for him religiously on ECW TV, and later WCW. As I grew into a more "educated" wrestling fan, I would go back and watch Bam Bam's matches and realize how good he really was, especially for such a big guy. He and Vader, for my money, are the two greatest big man wrestlers on the planet, and Bam Bam was one of the nicest people you could meet. Risking his own life to save kids from a fire back in 2000 only speaks to that.

Just by taking five minutes of his time to speak to a young wrestling fan, he touched a life. All throughout those rocky teen years, I remembered what he said. I stayed in school, graduating with a 4.0. I also stayed away from drugs, and now live a poison free lifestyle (drug, alcohol, and tobacco free, as well as not giving into gangs and such.) I will forever remember those few moments in the airport with Bam Bam. Rest in peace, man. I'll miss you. "

From Jeff "Bruiser" Costa:

"There are more 1970's legends alive then 1980's legends. Think about it. Who's next? Who's left?

I knew and worked with at one time or another at least 20 wrestlers that are dead. I have only lost my grandparents in my life, my wife lost a sixteen year old sister.

But how many people have lost 20 co-workers in a lifetime of working? Some I knew well and some in just passing, some having just worked a show or two with. But I told my wife Bigelow died and it's just sad. I'm sure this is how you, and many others involved in wrestling for years, think now."

Here's quite an ending comment...from Eddie 'StiffEddie Rhulez' Crawford

"I spoke with Gen. Colin Powell during one of his book signings nback in 1995; Powell being a tremendous fan of the sport, asked him who his favorite wrestler was. He replied, with a big grin; no hesitation......'THE BEAST FROM THE EAST....BAM BAM BIGELOW'!"

Hope you're reading this somewhere, Bam Bam.

Until next time...

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