This past week, the wrestling legend known as Vader (real name Leon White) passed away at the age of 63 after a battle with numerous heart issues. He was truly one of the greatest big men to ever step into a wrestling ring and he deserves a spot in the WWE Hall of Fame one day. His immense size and iconic mask are legendary, but Stone Cold Steve Austin has revealed that the gimmick of “Big Van Vader” wasn’t originally meant for him.
When Vader passed away, the wrestling world expressed their grief and sadness, while also honoring the big man, as reported by Inquisitr. It was blatantly obvious that he was respected around the entire world by generations of wrestlers then and now.
Stone Cold Steve Austin partnered with Big Van Vader on a number of occasions during their time in WCW and even had some matches once they both signed with WWE. On a recent episode of The Steve Austin Show, the former WWE Champion shared a lot of memories and stories from his days with Vader.
Austin also revealed a very important fact and it was that the Big Van Vader gimmick wasn’t originally intended for Leon White. In a bit of a shocking twist, the gimmick was originally meant for the Ultimate Warrior.
Austin said the gimmick was incredible and that the steam coming out of the mask was an amazing “intimidation factor.” Since Vader was such a big man, he’s not sure that anyone would have been able to pull off that gimmick as well as he did, but the Ultimate Warrior was the first person in mind for it.
“I think…if memory serves me correct…I think they originally wanted to give that gimmick to the Ultimate Warrior who I think passed it up.”
There is no reasoning known as to why the Ultimate Warrior passed it up, but it ended up in the hands of Leon White and he ran with it. Obviously, things turned out well for the Ultimate Warrior with his gimmick as well, but all of this could have been very different.
Austin feels as if fate had a hand in it and Vader was destined to play that part.
“I don’t think anybody else could have pulled that gimmick like Leon did with his work style…with his athleticism. It was a parallel along with the first time I saw the Road Warriors.”
Whenever you mention the name of Big Van Vader, wrestling fans around the world know exactly who you are talking about. His size, athletic ability, gimmick, mask, intensity, strength, and overall talent are enough to declare him one of the best of all time. If the Ultimate Warrior had ended up with that gimmick, things in WCW, WWE, and around the entire world would have looked quite different in professional wrestling.