WWE through CBS Sports today announced that Ray Taylor, better known as the Big Bossman, will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on 4/2 in Dallas.
Traylor, who really was a prison guard in Cobb County, GA who got his break as an enhancement talent for Jim Crockett, was a surprise and likely a late addition as on the various lists that had gotten out his name wasn’t mentioned. It’s also a surprise since the company likes to not have too many wrestlers who passed away young on the same docket due to wrestling’s issues with young deaths, and this year’s class included Terry Gordy, who passed away at 40.
Traylor was a 350 pound plus prison guard who impressed Dusty Rhodes and others because of how agile he was and how he got up for Tully Blanchard’s slingshot suplex and was hired as Big Bubba Rogers, the huge bodyguard for Jim Cornette.
He left Crockett Promotions in 1988 for the WWF, and had a major feud with Hulk Hogan that was one of the best drawing programs of Hogan’s run on top, as well as frequently headlined against then-WWF champion Randy Savage. The Hogan vs. Bossman feud was blown off in a number of cage matches, including on a Saturday Night’s Main Event on NBC, where Hogan superplexed Bossman off the top of the cage.
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He then turned babyface after turning on Ted DiBiase and became Hogan’s tag team partner at times, and then had a run against various members of the Bobby Heenan family. His most memorable match was a jailhouse match at the 1991 SummerSlam card as the key match of his feud with The Mountie, played by Jacques Rougeau Jr.
He left the WWF in 1993, and had a brief run with All Japan, before signing with WCW later that year. He started as The Boss, but WWE legal sent threatening letters to WCW, so he became The Guardian Angel, a gimmick that didn’t fly, before reverting back to Big Bubba Rogers and at the end was using the name Ray Traylor. He wasn’t being used well, and returned to WWF in 1998 and worked there until being let go in 2002.
He briefly worked as a trainer for WWF, and passed away from a heart attack on September 22, 2004, at the age of 41.