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Vader to join The Dead Man In WWE Hall of Fame

The late Vader will be honoured in the WWE Hall of Fame. Supplied

The late Vader will be honoured in the WWE Hall of Fame. Supplied

Published Mar 8, 2022

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By Glenn Schouw

Johannesburg - Riots – one immediately thinks of SA’s riots in July last year. However, a WWE wrestler who also caused a riot was 202kg Vader – the big man’s real name was Leon White.

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Vader first made an impact in Japan where he destroyed WWE Hall of Famer Antonio Inoki in a controversial match. The Japanese fans were so distraught over seeing their hero dismantled that a riot broke out in Tokyo’s Sumo Hall.

This pandemonium further fuelled Vader’s aggression, and a long line of competitors fell to his devastating manoeuvres — particularly the bone-crushing Vadersault.

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Vader, who died in 2018 aged 63, will be inducted into the WWE Hall Fame on April 1 at American Airlines Centre in Dallas as part of WrestleMania Week.

He will be joined in the 2022 WWE Hall Fame by Undertaker – Mark Calaway.

Ironically in 1997 Vader, in a reversal of roles, buried the 160kg Dead Man, as Taker is also known, in a fight which captured the imagination of fans worldwide.

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A former gridiron player, White worked for just about every wrestling company in the world during a career that spanned more than 30 years.

Hailing from The Rocky Mountains, Vader first caught the eye by asserting his dominance in Japan before he stomped over competitors in Europe and Mexico.

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This led the giant to World Championship Wrestling in the early ’90s where he became one of their biggest stars.

In 1996 he made his WWE debut in a Royal Rumble Match. Vader teamed with manager Jim Cornette and battled Shawn Michaels for the WWE Championship at SummerSlam that year.

With WWE Hall of Famer Harley Race in his corner, Vader battered WCW legends like Sting, Ric Flair and Cactus Jack and captured three World Heavyweight Championships during his time with the company.

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He had some crossover success playing himself on television, most famously in Boy Meets World. But the never-say-die-Vader continued to wrestle almost until his death.

Always innovating, at 61 he made headlines in 2016 when he feuded with Will Ospreay on Twitter and in the ring.

That was also the year he made his final WWE appearance, inducting Stan Hansen, his legendary foe from Japan, into the Hall of Fame.

He’s survived by his son Jesse, who wrestled in WWE developmental as Jake Carter, who figures to accept on his late father’s behalf.

However, there is no official word yet from WWE head honcho Steve McMahon on who will induct White.

Some Vader backstage stories, courtesy of sportster.com

Received Backstage Heat for Not Washing Gear

The locker room took exception to a few things about Vader from his in-ring style being reckless to the ridiculousness of him not washing his gear regularly.

Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart disliked having to wrestle Vader because of that. Many people in WWE venting about Vader ended up hurting his career.

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Was Unhappy Heading Into a Legendary Match with Ric Flair

Many fans believe that the best match in WCW history came at Starrcade 1993 between Ric Flair and Vader. The return of Flair following his WWE run saw Flair playing a farce and putting his career on the line for a shot at Vader’s WCW Championship.

Vader knew he’d have to drop the belt to Flair in Flair’s hometown. The story from Flair claims that he had to fight for real during a portion of the match, but they never had issues afterwards.

Issues With Shawn Michaels Ruined His Biggest WWE Push

Shawn Michaels was considered a headache to deal with in the mid-90s during his WWE Championship reign. The opponents to get on his good side like Mankind and Diesel had classic matches with him.

However, for someone like Vader to receive Michaels’ anger would see his career suffer for it. Reports indicated that WWE wanted Vader to end Michaels’ WWE Championship reign at SummerSlam 1996 and drop it back to him at Royal Rumble 1997. Michaels’ disdain of working with Vader saw those plans change with Sycho Sid getting that title reign a few months later instead.

Bret Hart Felt He Was Dangerous

Vader developed a reputation for working stiff and potentially being a danger to some of his opponents not used to his style.

Hart revealed he hated his matches with Vader, and it made him think less of WCW since Vader was the top star there before coming to WWE. Vader’s run in WWE was a bust due to top names like Bret and others feeling he was dangerous.

Vince McMahon Wanted to Change His Name

The signing of Vader from WCW saw Vince suggesting a name change to completely revamp the monster as his own creation.

McMahon wanted to call Vader “The Mastodon” with conversations going back and forth for days. Vader talked Vince into keeping his name, but WWE still marketed him as The Mastodon for a nickname. The belief of Vader years after WWE was that he’d have had a better chance with the new name knowing that McMahon prefers to push his own creations.

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