The NXT (untelevised) debut last Thursday of the newest wrestling giant—7’3’’ former University of South Florida basketball star and Nigerian native Jordan Omogbehin—got us here at TWM thinking, “Who are the best and worst big men going in the WWE?”

    It’s a hard question to answer starting with the obvious caveat: what makes one a “big man?”  Does it mean height, weight, some combination of both height and weight, or relativity?  For me, it has to be the latter.  Yokozuna, for instance, was shorter than several opponents not considered big men themselves.  Go back to SummerSlam 1993 and you’ll see Lex Luger has a couple inches on Yoko if not more.  Yet Yoko, ranging from 525-650 pounds, was certainly a big man because he more rotund compared to ring opponents (and an awesome rotund fellow at that). 

    So the term “big man,” is relative.  In other words, there is no line of divination, like, a wrestler must be yay high and this random weight to qualify as a big man.  Instead, we must consider a wrestler’s promotion, opponents, and/or wrestling style and measure body type against them to qualify said wrestler as a “big man.”  Sorry to get fancy with the logic there.  Put simpler, a 6’6” small forward is not considered a “big man” in the NBA, but would be among the tallest wrestlers in almost any promotion.  Likewise, Yoko might not have been big necessarily for a sumo (kayfabe breaker: he was never a sumo, or even Japanese), but he was freakin’ huge for a wrestler.

    Next, let’s use the term ubiquitously gender-wise.  Man could mean woman.  Take the late Chyna, or current WWE star Nia Jax.  These women are such bigger competitors than those they face, they must go in the “big man” column.

    Finally, herein I consider both in-ring and promo skills for the big men.  Like, Giant Gonzalez is the worst big man in WWE history because he couldn’t wrestle nor could he put himself over on the mic.  Vader was an awesome big man because he could fly like a luchador and talked an awesome game on the stick.

    Okay, I’m assuming we’re now well in agreement on defining the term and how to judge them, as I’m sure you’ll agree these are clearly the 5 best and worst big men currently in the WWE…

    5th Best Big Men – Bray Wyatt

    I’m not sure where the “Fiend” gimmick is going, but it’s interesting.  And that’s the whole thing with Bray.  His in-ring theatricality is probably the most stunning since the aforementioned Undertaker. 

    The man once called “Husky” Harris has got to be considered a big man at 285 pounds.  But it wasn’t until Irwin R. Shyster’s son moved off the Husky gimmick and adopted the Bray Wyatt persona that things got interesting.  I mean, that whole lean back in the corner and spider walk thing is awesome—it’s like how a kid moving creepily in a horror film is the freakiest thing in the movie (think Gothika if you can remember that little girl strut walking in the hallway).  Sure, some of his flair requires the WWE production truck, like maggots swarming the ring, but he pulls it off with the polish and poise perhaps only a third generation wrestler could be aware of. 

    Whether it’s the Wyatt family cult leader, or this new creepy Firefly Funhouse Fiend business, it’s a complete revolution from the Husky Harris character.  It earned him a stint as world champion, and earns him a spot on my list at the fifth best big man.

    4th Best Big Men – Luke Harper

    Of course, the most intriguing thing about former Intercontinental Champion and former Wyatt family member this year has been his denied requested release from the WWE.  A renowned in-ring worker since his Chikara days, Harper moves with fantastic fluidity for a big man, especially one in jeans and work boots.  He is the better Bludgeon Brother and probably why he got the title push after the Bray set Harper and Rowan free from the Wyatt family.

    I’m dying to see the WWE turn his desired release into a worked storyline, but I doubt the WWE has that kind of self-reflexive skillset (or sense of humor for that matter).  I think at the moment he’s the most under-utilized talent they have on a bloated roster.  He should have already been a world champion with his talent (he’s better than Bray anyway according to my list).  I also think he is the Bludgeon Brother that should have been teamed with Daniel Bryan.  My gawsh, that’d be like a flannel, ragged jeans, shopping-at-Goodwill hipster-haven of a team.

    3rd Best Big Men – Samoa Joe

    Gawd I wish WWE had nabbed this guy ten years ago when he was the most badass thing TNA ever produced.  Now that they have him, I cannot fathom how he hasn’t gotten a world title yet (there’s two of them for chrissakes!).  His kicks, his suplexes, his submissions—all textbook stuff.  From a guy that weighs 282 pounds, it’s cool to see.  It’s like a lineman getting to play quarterback (RIP Jared Lorenzen).  Add that to the most awesome defensive move ever in the history of wrestling, the Joe Walk Away, and you’ve got one of the greatest in the world to watch in the ring.  By the time WWE finally realized they needed this guy, he was already, unfortunately, slightly past his prime.

    That said, he’s still badass as a “faaaat aaassss” (as Scott Steiner called him in TNA).  Once in the WWE, he matched up awesomely against Finn Balor battling for the NXT Championship, has competed for the Universal and WWE world titles, and won his first main roster singles title this year by winning the United States Championship.  Plus, nobody gets good color in the ring these days like Joe.  He’s fierce.  He’s a beast.

    2nd Best Big Men – Kevin Owens

    **Pause for your WTF?!?**

    Yeah, his height and weight are less than a lot of wrestlers not considered big men.  But let’s face it, like Yoko it is his weight and frame on his shorter stature that actually makes him seem bigger.  Mr. Steen is only six foot high, but at 266 pounds he looks rather girthy and tips the scales more than taller guys like Triple H or even the 1st Worst Big Man below.

    I guess I’m saying this: relative to his height he is a fatty.  But he’s a badass fatty.  Let’s face it, his big appeal is that he does look like that huge dude that does construction… he just wrestles instead.

    But, watch his cannonball into an opponent against the outside wall or his frog splash and you’ll see one of the most mobile guys out there.  He puts on great matches and can work the mic from both sides, face or heel.  For my money, he’s the best all around wrestler on the WWE main roster regardless of size and so he makes my list of best big guys too.

    1st Best Big Men: WALTER

    **Pause here for your eye-roll at my Walter infatuation**

    If you’ve read my articles before it’s no secret that I love Big Daddy Walter.  He is currently the NXT UK Champion and simultaneously holds the world title over at Progress Wrestling.  He is dominating the UK and, I hope one day he decides to make the move and get on the main roster.  You should check out my previous articles on this dude, but in short, he’s the best big man since Vader.  He has an awesome entrance with awesome music and an awesome mug to the crowd.  He looks like a real big man with man boobs instead of like a steroid freak.  He has an old school, stripped-down attire: Stone Cold’s black trunks and black boots.   He does running shotgun dropkicks and won the NXT UK Championship by defeating Pete Dunne with a high splash from the top rope.  He’s lightning fast in the ring (his running big boot is stunning).  And he’s Meltzer certified, putting on a 5-star rated match in Pro Wrestling Guerilla.

    My only hesitation with Walter coming to the WWE main roster is that they’ll ruin him with their terrible writing.  I hope to see him with wider exposure someday, but I don’t want to see him fall victim to Vince’s bad ideas.  To that end, maybe he should go be AEW’s greatest big man instead.

    5th Worst Big Man – The Undertaker

    **Pause here for your swearing at me**

    Yeah, okay, I know.  Calm down.  Breathe into a paper bag.  Take a shot.  No doubt the 6’10” Phenom is the greatest wrestling gimmick of all time.  He is a legend in his time, and his longevity has been astounding.  If I were making a list of all-time great big men, he’d be near the tippy top.  But I’m making a list of current best and worst, and, well, if you saw that shit-show in Saudi Arabia against Goldberg you know what I’m talking about here.  Chrissakes, Goldberg had to Tweet an apology after the match.  Watch the Hogan match of recent memory, or the Roman Reigns rivalry, or his Crown Jewel main event tag match with Kane and Triple HHH and Duck Dynasty…er Shawn Michaels, and you’ll see the same thing we saw at the Saudi show versus Goldberg: botchamania.

    I’m probably being harsh on the Phenom, but it’s one of those things where we don’t want to see the shit side of our heroes.  He should have retired after the first Wrestlemania loss.  What’s left looks like someone trying desperately to hang on.  With the Deadman’s legacy well-secured, it just feels like blatant paycheck and spotlight grabs.

    4th Worst Big Man – Lars Sullivan

    If we were talking just plain pieces of trash, this dude would be number one on the worst list.  He is a racist homophobe who thinks there’s a “grey” area when it comes to rape because women like men “to be in control.”  Seriously, these are attitudes this moron posted time and again on the forum between 2007 and 2014.  Also, why are these things being debated on  But I digress.  Dude plain sucks as a person.

    That aside, he’s uninteresting and not great in-ring either.  His in-ring skills were exposed greatly in NXT where others in his class easily put on 5-star matches…and he did not.  Where once the WWE tried to give him a slightly interesting genetic freak big man gimmick by assigning him high IQ (laughable given the above thoughts and feelings on culture), now they’ve dropped that and he’s simply a big freak who beats up dudes.  Sometimes it really feels like the WWE writers aren’t even trying, know what I mean?

    3rd Worst Big Man – Big Show

    I dunno… I just …really?  They are still face and heel turning this guy?  Jobbing him one minute then pretending his size makes him an automatic title contender or difference-maker the next minute?  I was never impressed with his bandy-legged choke slam and his promos have always sucked, be it his affected fake “giant” voice or his nursery time rhymes (remember those from his WCW days?!?).  Just this fall he once again went face to heel to help The Bar.  He was once quite fit and lithe in the ring.  He was actually quick for his size in WCW but began putting on weight almost immediately in the WWE.  His skills diminished over the years to the point that his finishing move had to simply be a punch.  A punch. 

    2nd Worst Big Man – Nia Jax

    See, I put her in the caveat section for a reason.  With online forums dedicated to the topic, “Is Nia Jax the worst female wrestler ever,” it’s easy to justify her inclusion on this list.  She’s not by the way.  Plenty of women have been worse wrestlers, same as no man on this list is in the “worst ever” category.  But, um, well, she’s not great.

    Obviously, her size is part of her push.  Like Chyna, her size has allowed her to be written into matches with the men, as we saw at this year’s Royal Rumble when she became the fourth woman to ever enter the men’s Royal Rumble match.  But thing is, she injures competitors, just uses big clotheslines, and sucks on the mic.  The first one is the most damning; unsafe is the worst thing a wrestler can be.  I mean, that is the “art of wrestling”—making it look real without letting it be real.  Any oaf can hit someone.  Question is, can you pull a punch but still make the audience largely suspend disbelief?

    Nia Jax cannot, and seems unremorseful about it.  She dumped Charlotte Flair on her head doing a shoulder breaker.  She backed out of the way rather than catching Charlotte on a moonsault to the outside later on in the same match that luckily didn’t leave Flair eating through a tube. She threw Bayley down and separated Bayley’s shoulder.  She threw Zelina Vega out of the ring in such a botchy way that Tamina couldn’t catch Vega right and Vega got a concussion.  Famously, she broke Becky Lynch’s face—well broke her nose and concussed her anyway—because she is an oaf and can’t pull a punch, then had the gall to Tweet, “Hey…we don’t deliver mail, things happen. Is anyone gonna ask me about how my fist feels?” while posting a picture of a slightly cut and swollen knuckle.

    Makes one wonder, do some of these Anoa’i kids get jobs just because they’re the Rock’s and the aforementioned Yokozuna’s cousins?

    1st Worst Big Man: Roman Reigns

    **Speaking of those botchy Anoa’i-s…**

    We don’t need to Roman-bash at-length anymore.  It’s been a five-year phenomenon at least.  I don’t know why Vince and the WWE are determined to completely ignore crowd pushback on this guy and keep him in a main event face push.  He has like two moves in the ring, and like Jerry Lawler one of them is a freaking punch.  He has no mic skills—all of his suffering succotash lines are written by WWE and delivered woodenly by him.  He has no promo skills besides wanking off his arm and punching the ground in time with WWE’s pyro.  He’s an eye-roll on the card, and not nearly the measure of his former Shield buddies Rollins and Moxley.  The only thing that could make this guy interesting at this point is a heel turn, and it would have to be an interesting one at that.

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