Acrylic, oil and spray on 24″ x 24″ wood
Bam Bam Bigelow is the most underrated big man in the modern era of professional wrestling. Scott Bigelow was born 1961 in New Jersey, and went on to train at Larry Sharpe’s Monster Factory before making his debut in the Memphis territory in 1986. There he first competed against Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler before teaming with him against Austin Idol and Tommy Rich. He debuted with the World Wrestling Federation in 1987 as a babyface, entertaining crowds with an agility and athleticism largely unseen by men of his size. He feuded with Nikolai Volkoff, then teamed with Hulk Hogan at the Survivor Series before being eliminated by Andre the Giant. He left the company after one year to get surgery on a bad knee.
In 1988 he briefly appeared for the National Wrestling Alliance, challenging Barry Windham, before leaving to compete for Antonio Inoki‘s New Japan Pro Wrestling, teaming with Vader. He returned to the WWF in 1992 as a heel, entering into a feud with the Big Boss Man and then a protracted program with Tatanka. In 1995 he entered into the highest profile rivalry of his career when former New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor taunted him at the Royal Rumble, leading to the two main-eventing WrestleMania XI. Following this he turned face and teamed with Kevin Nash to defeat Tatanka and Sid at the 1995 King of the Ring.
In 1996 Bam Bam joined Extreme Championship Wrestling, where he was repackaged as an unstoppable killing machine, having a remarkably brutal rivalry with Taz. Later in the year he competed in his first mixed martial arts event against Kimo Leopoldo for U-Japan. While he lost in the first round in short order, this was one of Bigelow’s highest paydays, seeing him get somewhere between five and six figures for a few seconds of work. In 1997 he teamed with Chris Candido and Shane Douglas as Triple Threat, running roughshod over ECW, leading to him becoming ECW World Champion and into a brutal series of matches with Douglas. He soon won the ECW World TV Championship and had a series of brawls with The Sandman before losing it in an epic encounter against Rob Van Dam. In 1998 he joined World Championship Wrestling, entering a feud with Goldberg before moving to the Hardcore division, facing off with Raven and Sandman. He briefly partnered with Diamond Dallas Page and Chris Kanyon before feuding with Mike Awesome. Towards the end of his time with WCW he was off television for a few months due to his real-world act of heroism when he ran into a burning building to save three children, causing him to receive second degree burns over 40% of his body. That was an awesome sentence to write. When WCW was purchased by WWE, he rode out the next year collecting off of his contract with Time Warner, then competed on the independent wrestling scene. Bigelow passed away in 2007. His impact is still felt today, having redefined what a big man can do, and even his appearance influenced Cee Lo Green to do a temporary head tattoo on his head.
About the piece: Bam Bam Bigelow’s combination of size, speed and agility made him a fearsome competitor and a striking visual to entertain fans around the world, and this was something I wanted to convey in the piece. I first laid in the blacks with acrylic and a brush, then lightly sprayed over that with some red and orange spray paint, followed by adding the fire pattern with an oil-based enamel, and some drips and splatters for a movement effect. I then painted the face and hand with acrylics to create the appearance of a monster of a man racing at you out of the darkness!