Sunday, March 11, 2007

WCW: Big Bubba Rogers

Ring name(s) Big Bubba Rogers,Big Boss Man,The Boss,The Guardian Angel,Ray Traylor,The War Machine,The Bossman
Billed height 6 ft 7 in (201 cm)
Billed weight 312 lb (142 kg)
Born May 2, 1962,Marietta, Georgia
Died September 22, 2004
Paulding County, Georgia
Billed from The Correctional Facility in Cobb County
Trained by Mickey Henry
Pro Wrestling Debut 1985

Raymond ("Ray") Traylor (May 2, 1962 – September 22, 2004) was an American professional wrestler. He was perhaps best known for his appearances with the World Wrestling Federation under the ring name The Big Boss Man.

A prison guard that moonlighted as a wrestler, Traylor first debuted for the AWA then for the National Wrestling Alliance's Jim Crockett Promotions in 1986 under his given name as a jobber. After wrestling a handful of matches, booker Dusty Rhodes saw potential in him and took him off TV for a few months to be repackaged. He would re-emerge under the name Big Bubba Rogers, serving as the silent bodyguard of manager Jim Cornette. His first appearance saw him straightening his tie in response to a chair shot by Rhodes. This would lead to them feuding across the country in a precursor to "Hardcore" Battle Royales called The Bunkhouse Stampede, in which the winner of the most Battle Royales would win a $100,000 USD (kayfabe) cash prize. Bubba and Rhodes ended up tied in the number of wins at the end of the Bunkhouse Stampede Tour, leading to a 1 on 1 match to decide who got the prize. Rhodes came away victorious. He also wrestled in the Universal Wrestling Federation, where he won the UWF Heavyweight Title from his future tag team partner One Man Gang in 1987. He became well known as a big man who could move very quickly and perform many moves usually reserved for wrestlers 80-100 pounds lighter.

By 1988, Traylor had joined the World Wrestling Federation as the Big Boss Man, a character who was formerly a prison guard in Cobb County, Georgia (Traylor had actually been a jail guard for a time in that area, a fact the WWF exploited to bring in the character Nailz, a former convict who believed Traylor had wronged him). Traylor enjoyed a good deal of success in the company, first as a heel, challenging for Hulk Hogan's WWF World Championship also teaming with Akeem in the Twin Towers, and later as a face, befriending Hogan and opposing Bobby Heenan's stable of wrestlers, the Heenan Family, including a memorable encounter with Mr. Perfect at WrestleMania VII in 1991. Boss Man would go on to beat wrestlers such as Ted DiBiase, Dino Bravo, and The Mountie.

After leaving the WWF in 1993, Traylor had a brief stint in All Japan Pro Wrestling before returning to the United States to work for World Championship Wrestling. Traylor was originally known as The Boss, but the WWF legal department determined the character to be too similar to the one that Traylor had portrayed in the WWF and forced WCW to change it. As a result, Traylor became the Guardian Angel, a character based on the real-life Guardian Angels group. Once again, the character did not last long before Traylor returned to his original Big Bubba character.

Big Bubba was a solid mid-card heel, joining the Dungeon of Doom faction before eventually defecting to the nWo. Eventually, a loophole in Bubba's contract forced him out of the nWo (according to storylines). As a result of this, Bubba became a face once again and began competing under his real name - Ray Traylor. He frequently worked with the Steiner Brothers during this time period. This was not the most successful period of Traylor's career, as he rarely rose above the mid-card.He also appeared briefly as a suprise partner for the Rock N Roll Express vs Jim Cornette's Heavily Bodies.Cornette thinking they were still friends was incorrect as Big Bubba Rogers was successful in helping defeat Cornette and the Bodies.

Traylor died in his home from a "massive" heart attack related to years of anabolic steroid use in Paulding County, Georgia on September 22, 2004 at the age of 42.

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