Big Van Vader

Height: 6'5"

Weight: 450 lbs

Real Name: Leon White

DOB: 5/14/57

Hometown: Denver, Colorado

Other Names: "Baby Bull" Leon White, Bull Power, Super Vader, Vader(WCW)

Wrestler Since: 1986

Finishing Maneuver: Vader Bomb

Previous PWI 500 Rankings: #54(2002), #48(2001), #11(2000), #18(1999), #65(1998), #46(1997), #14(1996), #7(1995), #4(1994), #2(1993), #15(1992), #33(1991)

History: (Written by Kevin Wilson, and graciously 'donated' to the Wrestling Rollercoaster. See for more information.)

The Beginning

In 1985, a new wrestler was born, one that would rock the wrestling scene for over a decade to come. Known for his brutality, agility, and strength, Vader dominated throughout the world. An indestructible force, Vader battled such legends as Antonio Inoki, Hulk Hogan, The Great Muta, Sting, Ric Flair, and more. In 19 years of wrestling, Vader had a long, successful career that spanned all over the globe.

1984 - 1987

After playing football for the Los Angeles Rams for five years, and after being a sparring partner for former WBA Heavyweight boxing champ, Mike Weaver, Leon White decided that he wanted to become a professional wrestler. Leon White started wresting with Verne Gagne's AWA promotion in 1984. White originally wrestled under the name “Baby Bull,” but was later changed to Leon "Bull Power" White, as he weighed in at about 350 lbs. Leon White was trained by Brad Rheingans, and White quickly adapted to a power-style wrestling technique, as he was training to become a super heavyweight inside the ring.

After several months of hard training, White wrestled his first match under the American Wrestling Association banner. White would ultimately receive a shot at the AWA world title, which at the time was held by a future nemesis, Stan Hansen. In 1987, still wrestling under the name “Bull Power,” White won the Catch Wrestling Association World Heavyweight Title from champion Otto Wanz, while Wanz was touring the states. The win was a great upset, for Wanz had held the title since 1978. White traveled to Austria and Germany, to defend his CWA title. Wanz won the title back four months later. New Japan then offered White a spot in late 1987.


Wrestling for New Japan, White was given the name Big Van Vader, and wore a full mask (instead of the partial mask he wore for the rest of his wrestling career). Being brought in as a slightly inexperienced, but very intimidating force, New Japan was attempting to get Vader over with the tough Japanese wresting fans with his combination of agility and monstrous size. With his size (now over 400 lbs.) and speed, Vader quickly became a legendary figure while wrestling for New Japan Pro Wrestling. Vader debuted against the legendary Antonio Inoki, handing Inoki his first singles defeat in more than four years, defeating the legend in under three minutes. The match set off a fan riot that would get New Japan indefinitely banned from the Sumo Hall, and overnight Vader was catapulted to superstar status in Japan. Even though the fans were outraged at the upset, it gave the foreigner Vader instant credibility as an indestructible force. In late 1988, Vader made it all the way to the finals if the IWGP Grand Prix tournament, perhaps the most prestigious title in pro wrestling at that time (and definitely in Japan), before bowing out to Tatsumi Fujinami.

After being turned back by Tatsumi Fujinami in several IWGP Heavyweight Title matches in 1988, Vader finally broke through on April 24th, 1989 at New Japan's first Tokyo Dome card. A tournament was held, to determine the new holder of the vacant IWPG Heavyweight Champion. In the first round of the tournament Vader defeated Masa Chono, and in the semifinal he devastated Tatsumi Fujinami. In the final of the tournament, Vader faced Shinya Hashimoto, and after a grueling match Big Van Vader was declared the new IWPG Heavyweight Champion. A month after his victory, Vader dropped the title to Russian suplex master, Salman Hashimikov.

International Champion

Even after Vader’s loss to Hashimikov, Vader still dominated New Japan, and he received another title shot on August 10 against Riki Choshu, who Vader defeated to lift the IWPG Heavyweight Title for a second time. After winning the title, Vader fended off many other challengers, including Riki Choshu, Salman Halmashikow, Riki Choshu, Scott Norton, & Shin'ya Hashimoto. After his victory over Choshu, Vader traveled back to Germany to wrestle as Bull Power against Otto Wanz for the CWA World Heavyweight Title. Vader won the match, and now was the champion in two different federations in two different continents. During the next year, Vader traveled back and forth between Japan and Germany whenever he had to defend one of his titles.

In November 1989, Vader traveled to Mexico to face El Canek in the Universal Wrestling Association for the UWA World Heavyweight Title. Once again Vader was victorious, which made him the first man ever to hold three World titles from three continents. That alone was a great accomplishment, but he also managed to accomplish this feat while holding all three belts at the same time. After his accomplishments in Japan, Mexico, and Germany, Vader had finally caught the attention of the NWA/WCW in America. Vader debuted July 1990, and his reign of terror in America began.


Vader's success in Japan, Germany, and Mexico made NWA/WCW interested in acquiring him, and on July 7, 1990, Vader made his debut at the Great American Bash, where he demolished Tom Zenk. Vader made his entrance to the ring in full mask, and with his giant metal helmet. The fans at the arena sat in amazement as Vader removed his helmet and smoke shot out of the top. During the match, Vader went basically untouched, never being knocked off his feet. His debut left an impact on the fans of WCW. His early push in WCW was inconsistent, in part due to his commitments to other promotions around the world, and also due to the instability of WCW's booking teams in that era. Unsure of what to do with him, and unable to use him full time, they would book Vader on only one additional PPV or Clash match for the next year and a half. That one match was his third singles match against Stan Hansen, the final in a unique series of battles between the top gaijin of the New Japan and All Japan promotions. The matches were notable first for their stiffness, including Vader suffering legitimate eye damage to the bones around his eye in the first match (his eye actually popped out of the socket during the match, but Vader continued the match), and secondly for their non-finishes due to political considerations between their Japanese promotions.

With Vader’s new partial commitments to NWA/WCW, he no longer could travel to Japan, Mexico, and Germany to defend his other titles on a regular basis. Vader dropped the CWA World Title to Otto Wanz on June 30, 1990, and then dropped the IWPG Heavyweight Title to Riki Choshu on August 19, 1990. Vader now only had the UWA World Title, but El Canek relieved him from it December 9, 1990. At the end of 1990, Vader went back to Germany and defeated Rambo in a tournament final to lift the vacant CWA World Title for a third time. In Japan, Vader also found success again, as he defeated Tatsumi Fujinami to win the IWPG Heavyweight Title for a third time. He also teamed with rival Riki Choshu to win New Japan's 1991 Super Grade Tag League.


On March 4, 1991, Fujinami ended Vader's regain of the IWPG Heavyweight Title. Less then a month later, Vader formed one of the most devastating tag teams in New Japan's history when he teamed with Bam Bam Bigelow. Together, weighing over 800 lbs., they would capture the IWGP tag team titles by defeating Scott Norton & Rick Steiner in March of 1991. In the CWA, Rambo ended Vader's regain of the CWA World Title on July 6, 1991. Vader continued his dominance of the federation, though, as he won the CWA Intercontinental Title by defeating Tatsumi Fujinami. But when Vader signed a contract with WCW in 1992, the title was declared vacant. By late 1991 WCW started using Vader more regularly on pay-per-view, and he became more a fixture on American television.


In January 1992, WCW thought that a tag team of Vader and Mr. Hughes would be a good idea, but the idea was soon scraped after a loss to the Steiner Brothers. Through the business relationship with New Japan and WCW, Vader was able to work for both companies on their shows. When Lex Luger jumped to the WWF at the end of February 1992, Vader was moved up into the spot of being Sting's top rival for the WCW World Title, including being given Luger's manager, the legendary Harley Race. Vader and Harley Race stalked then WCW World Champion Sting, which was the beginning of one of the hottest feuds in WCW. On April 12, Vader got a shot at Sting's title, but Vader didn't get the win since he hit the referee with a punch.

Sting cracked two ribs in the match, and instead Vader was programmed with Nikita Koloff, who Vader, strangely enough, couldn't beat. Together with fellow super heavyweight Bam Bam Bigelow, Vader was able to win the IWPG Tag Team Title from the high flying team of Hiroshi Hase and Keiji Mutoh (The Great Muta), on March 1, 1992. In May, Vader and Keiji Mutoh clashed in Japan, where Vader suffered a serious knee injury, which was a factor when the two big men, after almost 4 months as champions, were defeated by the Steiner Brothers. Vader also continued to wrestle regularly abroad through mid-1992, holding the IWGP and CWA Titles each for the third time.

After the loss of the IWPG Tag Team Titles, Vader was more focused on winning the WCW World Title from Sting. A match was signed and it happened on July 12, 1992, at the Great American Bash in July '92. Vader would win the WCW World Heavyweight title by soundly defeating Sting with a devastating power bomb after Sting missed a "Stinger Splash". His victory over Sting assured Vader a place in history, for Vader had held major World Championships in 4 countries - on 3 continents (Mexico, Japan, Austria, and The United States), in addition to the IWGP tag team titles.

Strangely enough, Vader's regain only lasted three weeks, when he lost the title to Ron Simmons on August 2. The match was originally meant to be Vader vs Sting, but Sting wasn't able to make it, because of a sneak attack by Jake Roberts. Vader got some rematches, but he wasn't able to topple the new champ. Vader underwent a knee operation in the fall, and the scene began to take a brutal approach, when Vader broke the back of wrestler Joe Thurman. Others also felt the wrath of Vader, including Rick Steamboat and Nikita Koloff. The feud between Sting and Vader heated up again when the two clashed at Starrcade in the King of Cable Final, where Sting came out on top. But two day later Vader was wearing gold again, as Vader defeated Ron Simmons to lift the WCW World Title for a second time. During the match Vader worked on Simmons' injured shoulder and finished the job with a vicious shoulderbreaker.

Back in Japan, with New Japan being able to get over the moderately paid Scott Norton as a top of the card monster gaijin, the front office believed they could create new top gaijin almost at will, and that their crew of workers were talented enough to get them over to the fans. Vader stewed over being asked to put over Norton and another new top gaijin, Tony Halme, in singles matches. In the summer and fall of 1992 the promotion repeatedly freed White of bookings to allow him to get surgery on an injured knee, even agreeing to pick up the expenses. When Vader wouldn't get the surgery and instead accepted more bookings from WCW, New Japan stopped booking him entirely. By now, Big Van Vader was wrestling primarily in WCW, but under the name "Vader" (New-Japan held the rights to "Big Van" Vader). Vader's career in WCW took off as his relationship with New Japan disintegrated. In the course of 1992 in WCW, Vader dealt many legitimate injuries, included to Sting (ribs), Nikita Koloff (neck), Ron Simmons (shoulder), and prelim wrestler Joe Thurman (broken back).


With Vader as World Champion at the beginning of 1993, Sting again came challenging for the title. Vader and Sting fought each other on many occasions, and in March Vader and the rest of the WCW crew took off to England, where Vader lost his WCW World Title to Sting on March 11. But Vader got the last laugh, when he defeated Sting on March 17 in Dublin, Ireland to become WCW World Champion for a third time. Probably the most memorable and brutal encounter between Vader and Sting was at SuperBrawl III in a Strap Match. Vader won the match, but it wasn't without injuries. He sustained a lacerated back and a ruptured artery in his ear that required hospitalization. Sting also was lacerated during the match. This match ended, for the time, the feud between Vader and Sting.

With all of the opponents Vader had to face, Vader soon met his match in an unorthodox opponent named Cactus Jack. Cactus Jack challenged Vader on WCW Saturday Night in April of 1993, and the two had an incredible match, which Cactus Jack won by countout, after delivering a somersault onto Vader from the ring apron to the arena floor. However, Cactus' doctors' report would make him look like anything but a winner. He suffered a concussion, a broken nose, 2 black eyes, and 27 stitches in his face. Still, the two would have a rematch one week later, but this time, Vader would win by countout after legitimately, seriously injuring Cactus Jack with a powerbomb on the concrete floor. Vader also defeated Cactus Jack in a brutal match at the Clash of the Champions XXIV, with a helping hand from Harley Race. After Cactus returned from injury in September, the infamous Texas Death Match at Halloween Havoc took place. Vader and Harley Race knew that Cactus Jack wasn't an easy man to beat, so Race brought an electric prodder to the ring. It was a brutal match, which lived up to ECW standards using chairs and tables. Both men were bleeding. Race used the prodder on Cactus Jack and this gave Vader the victory, because Cactus Jack wasn't able to respond to the 10 count.

Vader also started a feud with former partner Sid Vicious, but it was never ended because Sid was fired by the WCW because of the scissors stabbing incident with Arn Anderson. Instead, Ric Flair took Sid's place as a contender for Vader's title. The angle was played out like it was the ruthless monster (Vader), who wanted to rip the head of the legendary, but old hero (Flair).

But before it got that far Vader won the Battlebowl 1993, which was a tournament where wrestlers would be combined in tag teams and the winners would advance to a battle royal. Vader was teamed with his old nemesis Cactus Jack, and these two hadn't forgotten their feud. They hit each other on any given opportunity, but still were able to win the match against the team of Charlie Norris and Kane (Booker T, not WWE Kane). In the battle royal, Vader dominated, and he got the win when he avoided a Stinger Splash from Sting who thereby was easy pickings for Vader. In Japan, Vader jumped to the UWF International promotion and was built towards an inevitable match with Nobuhiko Takada. The world champion vs. world champion match between the two took place December 5th, drawing 46,168 fans to Jingu Baseball Stadium in Tokyo to watch Vader submit to Takada's cross armbreaker.

At WCW Starrcade, it was time for a special match between Vader and Flair, Flair stated that if he didn't win the match he would retire. Flair won the match, and regained the WCW World Title. 1993 marked the high point of Vader's career as he dominated the WCW World Title throughout the year with defenses against major WCW competitors like the Davey Boy Smith, Dustin Rhodes, Ricky Steamboat, Cactus Jack, and more matches with Sting, which included the title briefly changing hands in Europe. Vader's career year won him the PWI Wrestler of the Year award. Vader would hold the WCW world title for all but 12 days in 1993, having the belt briefly dislodged by Sting in March.


Vader continued to feud with Ric Flair into early 1994, but WCW was anxious to bring their newest acquisition, Hulk Hogan, into the mix, and as a result Vader found his value to the company decreasing as Hogan was programmed straight into main event matches with Flair. Vader and Flair did continue their feud until SuperBrawl IV where they clashed in a Thundercage Match with the Boss (Ray Traylor) as special referee. The Boss didn't handle the job very well, as he was handcuffed to cage by Harley Race, and when Ric Flair got Vader in the figure four leglock, the Boss declared Flair the winner, but Vader didn't give up. Vader then entered into a long feud with the Big Bossman that opened strong, then faded as repetition led to apathy for both the workers and the fans.

In late February, Vader signed an eight-date deal with the Union of Wrestling Force International (UWFI, shoot fight), where he competed under the guise of Super Vader. With the trio of Takada, Vader and Gary Albright at the top of UWFi's cards, the promotion averaged more than 14,000 fans per show in 1994. His greatest triumph under the UWFI banner was when he won the Best of the World Tournament, which started April 3 and ended August 18, 1994. Vader first defeated Salman Hashimikov, and then defeated Masahito Kakihara. In the semifinal Vader defeated Kiyoshi Tamura and in the final he defeated Nobuhiko Takada to win the tournament and the UWFI World Title.

The only good thing that came out of the feud with Ray Traylor was Vader's victory at Fall Brawl 1994, where he defeated the Guardian Angel and Sting in a Triangle Match. The impressive victory didn't bring Vader back to a title shot, so he started to look for a less prestigious title, namely the WCW US Title, who would make him the #1 contender for the WCW World Title. Vader defeated, amongst others, Dustin Rhodes at Clash of the Champions XXIX to get to then WCW US Champion Jim Duggan at Starrcade 1994. Duggan was no match for Vader who squashed him to win the WCW US Title. With the strap, Vader was the #1 contender for WCW, but the WCW World Champion did anything in his power to avoid the mastodon.

But Vader took matters in his own hands at Starrcade 1994. After Hogan won the WCW World Title, Vader confronted him and said that he couldn't avoid the monster, and after a short shoving match Vader left. But all didn't go as Vader planned.... at Clash of the Champions XXX Vader attacked Hogan after his match and hit him with the powerbomb, but Hogan got up and threw Vader out of the ring.


At SuperBrawl V, Vader and Hogan finally met in a singles match. Vader was easily winning the match, and even when Hogan landed the Legdrop on Vader, he kicked out on one. The referee was knocked out accidentally by Hogan before Vader hit him with the powerbomb, and Ric Flair then stormed to the ring and stomped on Hogan, which caused Vader to be disqualified. The Vader vs Hogan wars didn't end there though, but accelerated at Uncensored, where they clashed in a Strap Match. Again, Ric Flair's interference made Vader lose the match. Vader and Flair then teamed up for awhile to take on Hogan and Savage, but they had as much luck as Vader had in his single matches against Hogan.

Vader was stripped of the WCW US Title on April 23, 1995, because of some violent attacks against fellow wrestlers and referees, so the commissioner Nick Bockwinkel didn't have any choice. Without the US Title, Vader got another shot at Hogan's World Title, this time at Bash at the Beach in a Cage Match. It wasn't a very good Cage Match, neither of the participants looked to be very interested in the match, and Hogan won the match and thereby stopped Vader's chances for another World Title in WCW.

Vader was getting sick and tired of Flair's constant interference in his matches, and Flair was mad because Vader wasn't able to destroy Hogan. After Hogan had defeated Vader, Flair ran down to the ring and yelled at Vader, who responded by pounding Flair to the ground, Arn Anderson then came to the rescue of the Nature Boy. After finishing the series with Hogan, WCW turned Vader face and aligned him with Hogan, including having him be one of the faces to run in to save Hogan during the infamous "Dungeon of Doom" skit in the August '95 Clash of the Champions. Vader was even able to defeat Flair and Anderson in a Handicap Match a Clash of the Champions XXXI.

The victory got Hogan interested in Vader. Hogan feuded with Kevin Sullivan's Dungeon of Doom at the time and Hogan needed a strong ally, so Hogan asked Vader to be on his team at Fall Brawl, which Vader accepted. Unfortunately, it never got that far. Only a week or so later, after a locker room brawl with Paul Orndorff possibly over a booking problem, Vader was fired from WCW. In this anti-climatic fashion, Vader’s run in WCW was over, and he never came back to work for them again.

WWF - 1996

After taking some time off to heal some nagging injuries, Vader wrestled his first match since he was fired by WCW in January '96. His opponent was Antonio Inoki. Inoki was over fifty year old. Vader carried him to the best match that Inoki has had in recent years. The match lasted nearly 14 minutes, with Vader just pummeling Inoki into the ground, but Inoki won the match.

At the WWF 1996 Royal Rumble, Vader made his debut under the management of Jim Cornette. The WWF hyped his appearance for weeks before the event, and the expectations for Vader were huge. Even though Vader didn't win the Rumble, he showed that he was just as brutal as before and he didn't care about the rules. When Vader was eliminated, he got back into the ring and cleaned house. Vader and Yokozuna also started their feud at the Royal Rumble, even though they were both managed by Jim Cornette. The next night at Monday Night Raw, Vader squashed Savio Vega, and a few officials, before President Gorilla Monsoon came to ring. Vader didn't care about Monsoon's position with the company, though, landing a VaderBomb on the president. After the incident, Vader was suspended from the WWF.

While Vader was suspended, he underwent surgery to correct a shoulder injury. At In Your House 6, in February, Vader returned at the Free For All, where Jim Cornette stated that Vader would make an impact in the event, and he did. In the match between the British Bulldog and Yokozuna, where Yokozuna was about to pin the Bulldog, Vader attacked Yoko and handcuffed him to the ring and then started to pound on him. This was the setup for a planned match between Vader and Yokozuna at WrestleMania XII, but it was later changed into a six man tag team match, pitting Vader, Bulldog and Owen against the team of Yokozuna, Ahmed Johnson, and Jake Roberts.

After Wrestlemania, his honeymoon in the promotion was over, and by the following night when he was jobbed cleanly to the Undertaker in a short dark match at a RAW taping. By May, he was also jobbing around the circuit to the likes of Ahmed Johnson, the Ultimate Warrior, Shawn Michaels, and Yokozuna at a time he'd yet to get his major TV and PPV push as a WWF World Title challenger. Finally, at In Your House 7, Vader defeated Razor Ramon before the feud with Yokozuna heated up again, as the two mammoths clashed at In Your House 8, where Vader defeated Yokozuna in the match which was aired on TV.

Vader qualified himself for the King of the Ring 1996 by defeating Ahmed Johnson with a helping hand from Goldust. Vader was the favorite to win the King of the Ring, but in the semifinal where he clashed with Jake Roberts, Vader was dominating Jake, when suddenly Jake was about to hit Vader with the DDT. Vader saw it coming and pushed the referee away causing him to be disqualified. Vader then took out his anger on Jake Roberts. The same night Bulldog faced Shawn Michaels for the WWF World Title. After Shawn defeated the Bulldog, Vader hit the ring and attacked Shawn, thus starting the feud between the two. At In Your House 9, Vader, Owen, and Bulldog defeated the team of Shawn Michaels, Ahmed Johnson, and Sid. Vader pinned Michaels. Vader also pinned Shawn in a tag team match, but at Summer Slam, Vader wasn't able to get the pin. Vader first won the match by count-out and disqualification, but Jim Cornette demanded the match to continue, until Michaels pinned Vader.

After the defeat to Shawn, Vader sat out in the cold for a while, but with the return of Psycho Sid, former ally and enemy, the WWF pointed the two men against each other. Vader and Sid fought each other at In Your House 11, where the winner would face Shawn Michaels at the Survivor Series. Many expected Vader to win the match, but it was Sid who came out on top. After being pushed down the ladder, Vader went on to briefly feud with the Undertaker for whom he took his former manager, Paul Bearer. Once again Vader was left out in the cold, but he got some measure of revenge, when he defeated Bret Hart at December 30, 1996, at Raw is War.


Vader was next put up against the Undertaker, who tombstoned Jim Cornette on an episode of Superstars leaving Vader without a manager, before their meeting at the Royal Rumble 1997. The two big men put up a strong performance, where they both showed what they are capable of. During the match, Paul Bearer came to the ring, and in the end Bearer made sure that Vader won the match, when he smacked Undertaker with the urn and rolled him back into the ring for the pin. Vader also participated in the Rumble, where he was illegally eliminated by Steve Austin (who had already been eliminated). This set up the Final Four Match at In Your House 13. At the Final Four Vader again put up a great performance and was clearly the star of the night, even though he didn't win the match. Vader suffered an eye injury during the fight, but continued on. After the loss at the Final Four, Paul Bearer set Vader and Mankind's eyes on the Tag Team Titles, but to no avail: Vader and Mankind(formerly Cactus Jack)used just as much time on hitting each other as hitting the Champions, Owen Hart and the British Bulldog.

The WWF toured Kuwait in April. Vader and the Undertaker appeared on a television program. The presenter of Good Morning Kuwait asked Vader if wrestling was fake. Vader responded by grabbing the presenter, Bassam Al Othman, by the tie, cursed, & then gave him a shove, knocking chairs and a table over in the process. This was Vader's way to get the presenter to respect the work the wrestlers do in the ring. Vader was subsequently arrested and charged with assault and using obscene language. Vader then spent ten days under house arrest. When he returned to the US, a press conference was held in New York, during which Vader said that he would not apologize to Othman. He then accused Othman of extortion. The WWF said that Othman had agreed to drop the charges for $35,000, but then upped it to $400,000.

When Vader returned to the ring, the WWF used his arrest as an angle. After a match on Raw, Jim Ross interviewed Vader. Vader lost it and was about to crush Jim Ross when Ken Shamrock arrived on the scene. He belly to belly suplexed Vader, and thereby saved Jim Ross. This was the setup for the Vader vs Ken Shamrock at In Your House 15, A Cold Day In Hell. The match was a No Holds Barred Match, where Vader showed that he is able to carry a bout. It was easy to see that Shamrock had some difficulties adapting to the world of wrestling, but he was able to beat Vader. Vader came out of the match with several injuries. He had broken his nose in four different places, and he couldn't walk for several days, because of the beating his legs took. When Vader returned to the ring, it really went downhill. He was jobbed to almost every superstar in the WWF. Later he received a World Title shot, but the Undertaker was able to defeat the mastodon with a tombstone.

At a Raw is War, Vader wrestled The Patriot. The Patriot won the match and then went after Bret Hart, who came to the ringside during the match. Vader attacked the Patriot, and then brought him back into the ring, where he went for the Vaderbomb. Bret came into the ring and laid the Canadian flag over the Patriot. Vader got down, picked up the Canadian flag, broke it and started a brawl with Bret Hart. This turned Vader into a baby face and got him involved into the USA vs Canada feud. The Hart Foundation then hit the ring and attacked Vader, but the Patriot then came to Vader's aid.

On Friday Night's Main Event, Vader and Bret had a match. Both men took some big time shots, with Bret suffering a concussion. Again the Hart Foundation hit the ring to attack Vader and again The Patriot came to save the day. At Ground Zero, during The Patriot vs Bret Hart match for the WWF World Title, the British Bulldog came down to the ring to attack the Patriot. Vader came down, stopped the attack and threw Bret into the steps. At In Your House 18 Vader teamed with the Patriot to take on Bret Hart and the British Bulldog in a Flag Match, but it was the heels who came out on top.

When the Patriot got injured, Vader was the leader on team USA, but the team didn't have much luck at the Survivor Series. Vader was the only one making an effort, but it was to no avail. When Goldust wouldn't tag with Vader, Vader got mad and heaved Goldust into the ring, which Goldust responded to by walking away from the ring. Vader couldn't hold up against the force of team Canada and was then eliminated. Vader confronted Goldust with his actions at the following Raw is War. Goldust said it was because of his broken hand, but Vader didn't accept it, so Goldust received a powerbomb for his troubles. Some weeks later Goldust was pushed to ringside by a nurse, Vader wanted to confront Goldust, but the nurse, who turned out to be Luna Vachon, threw alcohol in his face, and Vader was the recipient of a beating. Shortly before Christmas, The Artist Formerly Known As Goldust came to the ring dressed as a Christmas tree to recite a poem, but suddenly Santa came to ring and he smacked TAFKA Goldust with his sack, and Santa turned out to be Vader.


Vader defeated TAFKA Goldust at the Royal Rumble with a tremendous vaderbomb, which he executed even though Luna Vachon was hanging on his back. Vader also entered the battle royal, but delivered a sad performance. Vader then collided with Kane. In a match against TAFKA Goldust at Raw is War, Vader destroyed him, when suddenly Kane came to ring and tombstoned Vader. The following week Vader saved a jobber from the wrath of Kane, when he used a fire extinguisher on Undertaker's sibling. The two fought at In Your House 20, No Way Out, in a great match. Kane won the match and continued to attack Vader after the match with a massive wrench. Vader was carted away. This was because of the injury Vader suffered at the Final Four. He now took some time off to get an operation. The surgery went well, and Vader soon returned.

Vader made his return to the WWF at Unforgiven, in the Inferno match pitting the Undertaker against Kane. Kane was about to walk away from the ring, when Vader appeared and fought him back to the ring, so the match could continue. At Raw is War, May 11th, Vader had his first match after his surgery, squashing Barry Windham. After the match it was revealed that Vader would face Kane at In Your House - Over the Edge, where the loser would have to ditch his mask. The feud with Kane continued at the Raw is War program from May 25th, when Kane attacked Vader. Rumors were spreading that the WWF wasn't too pleased with Vader's physical condition.

Vader lost his match at Over the Edge, which meant that he had to say good-bye to his mask, Vader wasn't too pleased about it, calling himself "a fat piece of s***". At Raw is War, June 15th, Vader's chances of advancing to the King of the Ring were destroyed by Mark Henry, who interfered in Vader's match against Rocky Maivia. Later that evening, Vader attacked Henry, setting up a feud between the two. The next week on Raw is War, Vader made sure that Mark Henry wouldn't advance in the King of the Ring tournament as he attacked Henry in his match against Ken Shamrock. Vader also attacked Henry at King of the Ring, when Henry went after X-Pac of Degeneration X. Henry defeated Vader at Fully Loaded. During the match, Vader didn't look too pleased with himself.

The defeat got a more aggressive Vader to defeat D-Lo Brown by count-out at Raw is War from July 27. Vader was definitely going in another direction at Raw is War, August 10. Vader was supposed to lock up with Kama, but he offered Vader three "hoes" instead of the fight. Vader accepted, but was knocked out by Bart Gunn. At Sunday Night Heat, August 30, Vader teamed up with Bradshaw to take on DOA, but the team of Vader and Bradshaw didn't work very well together. Vader accidentally clotheslined Bradshaw, who retaliated and nailed Vader, who was then rolled up for the pin. Vader and Bradshaw continued to pound on each other, which was the start of a new feud. At Raw is War, September 5, Vader fought Val Venis. Vader was clearly in control of the match, but Bradshaw entered the ring, and also Kane and the Undertaker came down and took Vader out. Vader got a taste of revenge when he went after Bradshaw at Sunday Night Heat.

Vader then went out of sight for a time, missing house shows due to erratic blood pressure caused by his weight-loss program & workout regiment. Vader returned to action at Breakdown, looking in much better shape, where he faced off against Bradshaw in a No Holds Barred Match. Vader lost the match after putting on a great effort, but his future was still uncertain. The next day at Raw is War, Vader went up against Al Snow. Sgt. Slaughter was encouraging Vader, but to no avail since Snow got the victory. Finally, the WWF released Vader of his contract. Vader continued to work for the WWF until October 25, then he went to All Japan Pro Wrestling, leaving behind the US shores.

AJPW - 1999

In Japan, Vader and Stan Hansen formed an incredible duo. They wrecked havoc in the Real World Tag Team Tournament, and Vader once again began to grow respect as a monster in the ring. At one point, Vader dominated the AJPW Champion, Mitsuharu Misawa, in a tag-team match. Vader & Hansen reached the finals of the tournament, but lost to Kenta Kobashi & Jun Akiyama on December 15, '98. Vader feuded with Kobashi for a time, defeating him in a good match on January 15th. The victory earned Vader a #1 Contenders spot for the AJPW Triple Crown Heavyweight Title. A few months later, in March '99, Vader defeated Akira Taue to win the vacated Triple Crown, winning with his patented power bomb. Vader thus became the first man in history to win the both AJPW's Triple Crown and the NJPW IWGP Heavyweight Titles.

Vader continued to be successful in AJPW over the next few months. In the '99 Champion Carnival, Vader advanced to the finals by beating Jinsei Shinzaki, Jun Akiyama, Akira Taue, and others. In the finals, Vader avenged an earlier draw by beating Kenta Kobashi to win the Carnival. Only a few weeks after the big win, however, Vader lost the Triple Crown to Mitsuharu Misawa, who beat Vader with a running elbow smash. Vader dealt with some injuries after the defeat, but continued to be a major factor in AJPW. In October '99, Vader finally managed to get the Triple Crown back, taking down Misawa, and defended the title for the rest of the year.


In 2000, while holding the biggest AJPW singles title, Vader also set his sights on other gold. He teamed up with "Dr. Death" Steve Williams, and the two Americans defeated Kenta Kobashi & Jun Akiyama in February '00 to win the AJPW Tag-Team Titles. Unfortunately for Vader, only seven days later, Kobashi got his revenge by beating Vader with a brutal lariat, taking away the Triple Crown. Vader later competed in the '00 Champion Carnival, looking to repeat as the winner, but a loss to Mitsu Misawa ended that dream. Vader continued to team with Williams for the next few months, but a shoulder injury put Vader on the shelf, leading to the tag-team titles being stripped.


After recovering from his injury, Vader returned to action near the end of '00 in a newer Japanese wrestling federation, NOAH. He immediately went back into his feud with Mitsu Misawa, who had joined the fledging organization. For the next year, Vader used his size and strength to be a presence in NOAH. He also earned some more gold for his resume, as he and Too Cold Scorpio defeated Jun Akiyama & Akitoshi Saito in the finals of the NOAH GHC Tag-Team Title Tournament, becoming the first team to hold the belts. Vader & Scorpio stayed the champions for a little over a month, before losing to Misawa & Yoshinari Ogawa. Vader continued to wrestle in NOAH for the rest of 2001 and all of 2002, usually teaming up with Scorpio (as well as Michael Modest & Donovan Morgan), but never again regained the NOAH gold.


In 2003, Vader briefly appeared in the American spotlight again, as he appeared in NWA-Total Nonstop Action in February '03, coming out to make the save for Dusty Rhodes as he was being beaten down by the Harris Brothers. The two legends worked together against the Harris Brothers, and ended up winning a match the next week via DQ (due to outside interference from Sonny Siaki). But Vader didn't stick around long, eventually making his way back to Japan. He has since appeared for WJ and Zero-One wrestling, losing via countout to Shinya Hashimoto at Zero-One Hustle 1 in January '04. Since then, though, it's unknown if he is still wrestling, and if so, where. Vader's career has definitely had some highs and lows. But there is no doubt that he will go down as one of the all-time greats, having won major titles almost everywhere he went, no matter the continent. Vader Time was an impressive time, indeed.

Pay-Per-View Summary: (65 - 53, 3 DCOs, 1 NC, 2 DDQs)
- NJPW Sumo Hall (December 27, '87) = Big Van Vader took down Antonio Inoki.
- NJPW Tokyo Dome (April 24, '89) = Big Van Vader defeated Masa Chono, Tatsumi Fujinami and Shinya Hashimoto to win the vacant IWGP Heavyweight Title.
- NJPW Sumo Hall (July 13, '89) = Big Van Vader won over Salman Hashimikov.
- NJPW Sumo Hall (August 10, '89) = Big Van Vader pinned Riki Choshu to win the IWGP Heavyweight Title.
- NJPW Tokyo Dome (February 10, '90) = Big Van Vader, as the IWGP Champion, fought to a Double Countout with Stan Hansen.
- WCW Great American Bash '90 (July 7) = Big Van Vader pinned Tom Zenk.
- NJPW Sumo Hall (August 19, '90) = Big Van Vader lost the IWGP Title to Riki Choshu.
- NJPW Inoki's 30th Anniversary Show (September 30, '90) = Big Van Vader & Animal Hamaguchi fell to Antonio Inoki & Tiger Jeet Singh.
- WCW WrestleWar '91 (February 24) = Big Van Vader fought to a Double Disqualification with Stan Hansen.
- NJPW Tokyo Dome (March 21, '91) = Big Van Vader & Bam-Bam Bigelow defeated Doom.
- NJPW Budokan Hall (June 12, '91) = Big Van Vader pinned Scott Norton.
- NJPW Sumo Hall (August 9, '91) = Big Van Vader won, via Countout, over Scott Norton.
- NJPW Sumo Hall (August 10, '91) = Big Van Vader fell to Keiji Mutoh.
- NJPW Sumo Hall (August 11, '91) = Big Van Vader, Bam-Bam Bigelow & Scott Norton won over Hiroshi Hase, Kensuke Sasaki & Tatsumi Fujinami.
- WCW Halloween Havoc '91 (October 27) = Big Van Vader, Cactus Jack, Abdullah the Butcher & the Diamond Stud lost a "Chamber of Horrors" Match to Sting, El Gigante & the Steiner Brothers.
- WCW Starrcade '91 (December 29) = Big Van Vader & Mr. Hughes beat Rick Steiner & the Nightstalker. Later in the night, Big Van Vader competed in a "2 Ring Battle Royal", which was won by Sting.
- WCW/NJPW Super Show II (January 4, '92) = Big Van Vader fought to a Double Disqualification with El Gigante.
- WCW Clash of the Champions XVIII (January 21, '92) = Big Van Vader & Mr. Hughes fell to the Steiner Brothers.
- NJPW 20th Anniversary Show (March 1, '92) = Vader & Bam-Bam Bigelow won the IWGP Tag-Team Title from Hiro Hase & Keiji Mutoh.
- NJPW Sumo Hall (April 30, '92) = Big Van Vader & Bam-Bam Bigelow won over Masa Chono & Keiji Mutoh.
- NJPW Budokan Hall (June 26, '92) = Big Van Vader & Bam-Bam Bigelow were beaten by the Steiner Brothers.
- WCW Great American Bash '92 (July 12) = Big Van Vader took down Sting to win the WCW Heavyweight Title.
- WCW Clash of the Champions XX (September 2, '92) = Big Van Vader, Super Invader, Rick Rude & Jake Roberts fought in an "Elimination" Match against Nikita Koloff, Sting & the Steiner Brothers. Vader was disqualified. Rude & Roberts 'survived'.
- WCW Halloween Havoc '92 (October 25) = Big Van Vader won over Nikita Koloff.
- WCW King Of Cable Tournament (November/December '92) = Big Van Vader defeated Tony Atlas and Dustin Rhodes to reach the finals at Starrcade.
- WCW Starrcade '92 (December 28) = Big Van Vader & Dustin Rhodes beat Kensuke Sasaki & the Barbarian. Later in the night, Big Van Vader was pinned by Sting, who won the "King of Cable" tournament. Big Van Vader then competed in the "2-Ring Battle Royal", which was won by the Great Muta.
- WCW Clash of the Champions XXII (January 13, '93) = Big Van Vader, Paul Orndorff & Barry Windham lost a "Steel Cage" Match to Dustin Rhodes, Cactus Jack & Sting.
- WCW SuperBrawl III (February 21, '93) = Big Van Vader defeated Sting in a "Leather Strap" Match.
- WCW Slamboree '93 (May 23) = Big Van Vader defended the World Title, winning, via DQ, over Davey Boy Smith.
- WCW Clash of the Champions XXIII (June 16, '93) = Big Van Vader, Rick Rude & Sid Vicious beat Dustin Rhodes, Davey Boy Smith & Sting.
- WCW Beach Blast '93 (July 18) = Big Van Vader & Sid Vicious fell to Davey Boy Smith & Sting.
- WCW Clash of the Champions XXIV (August 18, '93) = Vader kept the Heavyweight Title, beating Davey Boy Smith.
- WCW Fall Brawl '93 (September 19) = Vader, Sid Vicious & Harlem Heat lost a "Wargames" Match to Sting, Davey Boy Smith, Dustin Rhodes & the Shockmaster.
- WCW Halloween Havoc '93 (October 24) = Vader won a "Texas Death" Match over Cactus Jack.
- WCW Clash of the Champions XXV (November 10, '93) = Vader lost, via DQ, to Ric Flair. He stayed the WCW Heavyweight Champion.
- WCW Battlebowl (November 20, '93) = Vader & Cactus Jack defeated Charlie Norris & Kane. Later in the night, Vader won the Battle Royal.
- WCW Jesse Ventura Strongest Arms Arm-Wrestling Tournament ('93) = Vader won over Nikita Koloff, but then lost to the eventual winner, Van Hammer.
- WCW Starrcade '93 (December 27) = Vader lost the WCW Heavyweight Title to Ric Flair.
- WCW Clash of the Champions XXVI (January 27, '94) = Vader & Rick Rude competed in an "Elimination" Match against Ric Flair & Sting. Vader was counted out. Sting "survived".
- WCW Superbrawl IV (February 20, '94) = Vader lost a "Thundercage" Match to the WCW World Champion, Ric Flair. The Boss was the special referee.
- WCW European Cup Tournament (March '94) = Vader took down Paul Roma, Cactus Jack and Ric Flair, before falling to Sting in the finals.
- WCW Spring Stampede '94 (April 17) = Vader pinned the Boss.
- WCW Slamboree '94 (May 22) = Vader was beaten by Sting, who won the vacant WCW International Title.
- WCW Bash At The Beach '94 (July 17) = Vader won, via DQ, over the Guardian Angel.
- WCW Fall Brawl '94 (September 18) = Vader won a "Triangle" Match over Sting and the Guardian Angel.
- WCW Halloween Havoc '94 (October 23) = Vader pinned the Guardian Angel.
- WCW Clash of the Champions XXIX (November 16, '94) = Vader defeated Dustin Rhodes.
- WCW Starrcade '94 (December 27) = Vader won the WCW United States Title from Jim Duggan.
- WCW Superbrawl V (February 19, '95) = Vader lost, via DQ, to the WCW Heavyweight Champion, Hulk Hogan.
- WCW Uncensored '95 (March 19) = Vader lost a "Leather Strap" Match to Hulk Hogan.
- WCW Slamboree '95 (May 21) = Vader & Ric Flair fell to Hulk Hogan & Randy Savage.
- WCW Bash At The Beach '95 (July 16) = Vader lost a "Steel Cage" Match to WCW World Champion Hulk Hogan.
- WCW Clash of the Champions XXXI (August 4, '95) = Vader won a "Handicap" Match over Ric Flair & Arn Anderson.
- WWF Royal Rumble '96 = Vader competed in the Rumble, which was won by Shawn Michaels.
- WWF Wrestlemania XII ('96) = Vader, Owen Hart & Davey Boy Smith took down Jake Roberts, Ahmed Johnson & Yokozuna.
- WWF Good Friends, Better Enemies (April '96) = Vader defeated Razor Ramon.
- WWF Beware Of Dog (May 26, '96) = In a dark match, Vader was pinned by Yokozuna.
- WWF Beware of Dog II (May 28, '96) = Vader won over Yokozuna.
- WWF King of the Ring '96 = Vader lost, via DQ, to Jake Roberts.
- WWF International Incident (July '96) = Vader, Owen Hart & Davey Boy Smith defeated Shawn Michaels, Ahmed Johnson & Sycho Sid.
- WWF Summerslam '96 = Vader fell to the WWF Heavyweight Champion, Shawn Michaels.
- WWF Mind Games (September '96) = In a dark match, Vader was beaten by Sycho Sid.
- WWF Buried Alive (October '96) = Vader lost to Sycho Sid.
- WWF Survivor Series '96 = Vader, Faarooq, Razor Ramon II & Diesel II fought in an "Elimination" Match against Yokozuna, Flash Funk, Jimmy Snuka & Savio Vega. Vader, along with the rest of the wrestlers left in the event, was disqualified, leaving the match to end in a No-Contest.
- WWF Middle East Cup Tournament (December 2, '96) = Vader fought to a Double Countout with Farooq. Bret Hart won the tournament.
- WWF Royal Rumble '97 = Vader defeated the Undertaker. Later in the night, Vader competed in the Rumble, which was won by Steve Austin.
- WWF Final Four (February '97) = Vader was involved in the "Final Four" Match for the vacated World Title, which was won by Bret Hart. Steve Austin & the Undertaker were the other participants.
- WWF European Title Tournament (February '97) = Vader defeated Rocky Maivia, then fell to the eventual winner, Davey Boy Smith.
- WWF Wrestlemania XIII ('97) = Vader & Mankind fought to a Double Countout with the WWF Tag-Team Champions, Owen Hart & Davey Boy Smith.
- WWF Kuwaiti Cup '97 (April) = Vader beat Bart Gunn and Freddie Joe Floyd, before losing to Owen Hart. Tiger Ali Singh won the tournament.
- WWF A Cold Day In Hell (May '97) = Vader lost a "No Holds Barred" Match to Ken Shamrock.
- WWF Raw Tag-Team Tournament (June '97) = Vader & the Undertaker lost in the first round to Faarooq & D'Lo Brown. Owen Hart & Davey Boy Smith won the tournament.
- WWF Canadian Stampede (July '97) = Vader was beaten by the WWF World Champion, the Undertaker.
- WWF One Night Only (September 27, '97) = Vader defeated Owen Hart.
- FMW Fall Spectacular '97 (September 28) = Vader won an "Ultimate Rules" Match over Ken Shamrock.
- WWF Badd Blood (October '97) = Vader & the Patriot lost to Bret Hart & Davey Boy Smith.
- WWF Survivor Series '97 = Vader, Marc Mero, Steve Blackman & Goldust fought in an "Elimination" Match against Davey Boy Smith, Jim Neidhart, Phil Lafon & Doug Furnas. Vader was eliminated by the sole 'survivor', Smith.
- WWF Royal Rumble '98 = Vader won over Goldust.
- WWF No Way Out of Texas (February 15, '98) = Vader was pinned by Kane.
- WWF Over The Edge '98 (May) = Vader lost a "Mask vs. Mask" match with Kane.
- WWF Fully Loaded '98 (July 26) = Vader was beaten by Mark Henry.
- WWF Summerslam '98 = In a dark match, Vader & Justin Bradshaw fell to Skull & Eight Ball.
- WWF Breakdown (September '98) = Vader lost a "Falls Count Anywhere" Match to Justin Bradshaw.
- AJPW Budokan Hall (December 5, '98) = Vader & Stan Hansen lost in the finals of the 1998 Real World Tag-Team Tournament to Kenta Kobashi & Jun Akiyama.
- AJPW Budokan Hall (March 6, '99) = Vader won the vacant Triple Crown from Akira Taue.
- AJPW Budokan Hall (April 16, '99) = Vader defeated Kenta Kobashi to win the 1999 Champion Carnival.
- AJPW Tokyo Dome (May 2, '99) = Vader lost the Triple Crown to Mitsu Misawa.
- AJPW Budokan Hall (June 11, '99) = Vader pinned Bart Gunn.
- AJPW Budokan Hall (July 23, '99) = Vader & Gary Albright fell to Kenta Kobashi & Jun Akiyama.
- AJPW Budokan Hall (September 4, '99) = Vader defeated Misuharu Misawa.
- AJPW Budokan Hall (October 30, '99) = Vader won the AJPW Triple Crown from Mitsu Misawa.
- AJPW Real World Tag-Team League '99 (November/December) = Vader & Johnny Smith competed in the league, which was won by Kenta Kobashi & Jun Akiyama.
- AJPW Budokan Hall (December 3, '99) = Vader, Johnny Smith & Maunukea Mossman beat Mitsuharu Misawa, Yoshinari Ogawa & Satoro Asako.
- AJPW Budokan Hall (February 27, '00) = Vader lost the AJPW Triple Crown to Kenta Kobashi.
- AJPW Champion Carnival (March/April '00) = Vader defeated Yoshihiro Takayama, then fell to Mitsu Misawa. Kenta Kobashi won the Carnival.
- NOAH Great Voyage (December 23, '00) = Vader was beaten by Mistuharu Misawa.
- NOAH GHC Title Tournament (March/April '01) = Vader defeated Akira Taue and Daisuke Ikeda, before falling to Yoshihiro Takayama. Mitsuharu Misawa won the tournament.
- NOAH Ariake Colliseum (April 15, '01) = Vader took down Akitoshi Saito.
- NOAH Budokan Hall (July 27, '01) = Vader & Bull Schmidt won over Akira Taue & Jun Izumida.
- NOAH GHC Tag-Team Title Tournament (October '01) = Vader & Scorpio beat Daisuke Ikeda & Takashi Sugiura, Tamon Honda & Masao Inoue and Jun Akiyama & Akitoshi Saito to win the tournament.
- NWA-TNA PPV (Show #33, February 26, '03) = Vader & Dusty Rhodes won, via DQ, over the Harris Brothers.
- WJ Sumo Hall (July 20, '03) = Vader won, via DQ, over Don Frye.
- Zero-One Hustle I (January 4, '04) = Vader lost, via countout, to Shinya Hashimoto.
- AJPW The Unchained World (December 5, '04) = Vader pinned Kohei Suwama.

Title Summary:
- CWA World Heavyweight Champion (3/22/87 - 7/87)
- NJPW IWGP Heavyweight Champion (4/24/89 - 5/25/89)
- NJPW IWGP Heavyweight Champion(2) (8/10/89 - 8/19/90)
- CWA World Heavyweight Champion(2) (8/21/89 - 6/30/90)
- UWA World Heavyweight Champion (11/22/89 - 12/09/90)
- CWA World Heavyweight Champion(3) (12/22/90 - 7/06/91)
- NJPW IWGP Heavyweight Champion(3) (1/17/91 - 3/04/91)
- CWA Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion (12/21/91 - 92)
- NJPW IWGP Tag-Team Champion w/ Bam Bam Bigelow (3/01/92 - 6/26/92)
- WCW World Heavyweight Champion (7/12/92 - 8/02/92)
- WCW World Heavyweight Champion(2) (12/30/92 - 3/11/93)
- WCW World Heavyweight Champion(3) (3/17/93 - 12/27/93)
- WCW United States Heavyweight Champion (12/27/94 - 4/23/95)
- AJPW Unified Triple Crown Heavyweight Champion (3/06/99 - 5/02/99)
- AJPW Unified Triple Crown Heavyweight Champion(2) (10/20/99 - 2/27/00)
- AJPW World Tag-Team Champion w/ Steve Williams (2/20/00 - 4/00)
- NOAH GHC Tag-Team Champion w/ Scorpio (10/19/01 - 11/30/01)

PWI Achievement Awards: (2 wins, 1 1st RU, 2 2nd RUs, 1 3rd RU)
- 1993 Most Hated Wrestler, 1st Runner-Up
- 1993 Feud of the Year, 2nd Runner-Up (Big Van Vader vs. Cactus Jack)
- 1993 Match of the Year, 3rd Runner-Up (Big Van Vader vs. Cactus Jack)
- 1993 Wrestler of the Year
- 1994 Most Hated Wrestler, 2nd Runner-Up
- 1996 Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame Inductee