By 1995 the cartoonish nature of the World Wrestling Federation wasn’t producing a lot of memorable moments. So, in an attempt to spark up some interest the WWF looked outside the promotion to create a buzz.
At the Royal Rumble 1995 event, Bam Bam Bigelow and Tatanka wound up losing to the 1-2-3 Kid and Bob Holly in a tournament Finals match to crown new WWF World Tag Team Champions. It was specifically an embarrassing loss to the much larger, tougher, veteran Bigelow. After the match, Bam Bam was walking around ringside, still shaking off the humiliating loss, when he saw NFL Superstar Lawrence Taylor in the front row, laughing at Bigelow for losing the match to the Kid. Instead of walking away, Bigelow did the one thing he is probably most remembered for during his career, or at least during his WWF run. Bigelow shoved Taylor down in the front row. Taylor would immediately pop back up in a rage and lunge at Bigelow while being held back. This moment would become a major topic, not just on WWF television for the next three months, but all major media outlets.
Vince McMahon demanded that Bigelow issue an apology for his actions to LT on Raw, and Bigelow complied on the January 30th edition of RAW. However, the apology quickly turned into Bigelow saying he wish he shoved Taylor harder and shockingly Bammer would challenge LT to a match in the ring. The following week, LT’s lawyer made it clear that LT had no interest in getting in the ring with Bigelow and would seek legal advice if the taunts continued.
LT talked about the incident and challenge on the February 27th edition of RAW. Taylor revealed he would think about the match, but when Bigelow appeared via split screen and taunted the NFL star, LT accepted the match. It was made official, they would meet at WrestleMania XI. The two would have a major press conference a few days later where Taylor got inside Bigelow’s head by kissing him on the cheek. As the week’s progressed, it was revealed that Bam Bam Bigelow would have the remaining members of the Million Dollar Corporation at ringside for his support, while LT would grab a hrandful of NFL All-Stars to watch his back. One of those NFL All-Stars was none other than Steve “Mongo” McMichael.
Their showdown took place at WrestleMania XI in the main event. The decision to have them in the main event has always been a topic of discussion, but it may have been the right decision. After all, this match had drawn an insane amount of media and press for the event. Taylor would manage to win the match after over eleven minutes of action.
Following the event, Bigelow would fail Ted DiBiase once more after a loss to Diesel, as which point Bammer would be kicked out of the Million Dollar Corporation and turn face. He had been promised a babyface push, but that lasted for about two months before he was forgotten on the undercard and left the WWF in late ’95 (most people speculate this was the Kliq’s doing). This would also be Taylor’s only appearance in a WWF ring, though he had been rumored to compete in a tag team match with Bigelow at SummerSlam, but that never happened.
1995 is considered a rough year for the World Wrestling Federation as they had a lot of goofy characters and lacked the star power that they had a handful of years prior. The decision to bring in Lawrence Taylor to feud with Bigelow isn’t an awful one. To his credit, Taylor took the role seriously and the promotion for the match was done nicely, I thought.
Their match at WrestleMania XI could have been a lot worse but they were able to put together a decent enough match that wasn’t offensive. Bigelow being promised a babyface push only to have that taken back is unfortunate.
The possibility of a tag match involving Taylor at SummerSlam would have been interesting as well. Two guys who had a feud turn around and team with each other. I’m not sure who they would have fought against. I’d assume two guys from the Corporation like Sid and Tatanka or something along those lines.
Their feud produced a lot of media hype and brought attention to the company when they really needed it. When you think about it, the usage of LT really brought forward more use of athletes in wrestling. World Championship Wrestling really took the idea and ran with it in 1996 and throughout the rest of it’s existence. They would hire Steve McMichael and use guys like Reggie White and Kevin Greene.
The feud probably wasn’t main event level as the Michaels/Diesel feud had been going on for around six months only to take a backseat to a one shot deal. In a wrestling sense, it was probably a better idea to put Michaels and Diesel on last especially considering they had a good match on a rather poor show. I’d give the feud between LT and Bigelow a mild thumbs up, though the feud effectively killed Bigelow’s WWF career.
What are your thoughts or memories of the feud between Bam-Bam Bigelow and Lawrence Taylor? Leave your thoughts below!
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