A legendary character from the WWE’s 1980s and 90s heyday is set for enshrinement in the Hall of Fame class of 2016. It will likely be announced on Monday’s episode of RAW that the Big Boss Man will join Sting, the Godfather, and the Fabulous Freebirds in this year’s class. The Big Boss Man, whose real name is Ray Traylor, Jr., will be posthumously inducted the night before WrestleMania, per a report from Wrestling Inc. and confirmed by WWE. Here is an excerpt from a statement released by the company.
“Although the Boss Man passed away in 2004, the memories he created for the WWE Universe will surely live on forever. Because of that, he will be rightfully celebrated as the newest member of the hallowed WWE Hall of Fame on April 2, the night before WrestleMania 32!”
The Big Boss Man character was an extension of Traylor’s real-life persona, as he was employed as a prison guard in Cobb County, Georgia, before becoming a professional wrestler. Thanks to Dusty Rhodes, Boss Man caught the eye of Vince McMahon and debuted with the WWE in 1988. His memorable run ended in 1993 when he signed with rival WCW wrestling, under the moniker Big Bubba Rogers. Traylor spent an additional five years with World Championship Wrestling before returning to McMahon and the WWE in 1998. The Big Boss Man character was revived, this time sporting SWAT team-style ring gear amidst the edgy Attitude Era.
The Big Boss Man is forever known for wielding his patented night stick, which he often used to beat his opponents with while they were handcuffed to the turnbuckle. The early and latter parts of his career were spent as a menacing heel, but fans bought into the character so much that when he turned babyface it was that much more accepted, as highlighted in WWE’s statement for his induction.
“Though he initially displayed a warped view on justice, the former cop eventually showed that he did have morals. When ‘The Million Dollar Man’ Ted DiBiase attempted to procure his services, The Big Boss Man declared that he couldn’t be bought. The bold move led to Boss Man becoming one of the WWE Universe’s most beloved Superstars, an enforcer of law and order who made evildoers pay for their transgressions.”
The Big Boss Man may have been “beloved” as a crowd favorite, but his most memorable feuds came as a bad guy. Programs with Andre the Giant, Ultimate Warrior, Hulk Hogan, and Macho Man Randy Savage elevated Traylor, though like many from that era, he was unable to capture the industry’s top prize. Mid-card feuds with The Mountie, DiBiase, IRS, and Nailz accentuated the Boss Man’s positive attributes.
The Big Boss Man’s return to WWE saw him side with Vince McMahon as a bodyguard and eventual member of The Corporation. He was able to climb into a WWF Championship program that ended unsuccessfully at 1999’s Armageddon pay-per-view against The Big Show. Their feud will be remembered as one of the most cringe-worthy programs in company history, but clearly the Boss Man’s legacy will not be defined by one angle.
It was announced last week that Ric Flair will induct Sting into the WWE Hall of Fame, and JBL and Ron Simmons will do the honors for The Godfather. Kevin Von Erich will play some role in the induction of the Fabulous Freebirds, but who will induct the Boss Man? Perhaps the other half of his dominating tag team, The Twin Towers, Akeem, or their manager, Slick. The Million Dollar Man would also be a worthy candidate. Regardless, the Big Boss Man will take his rightful place in the WWE Hall of Fame.
Now, that’s justice.
[Image via WWE]