I’m bummed out hearing about the death of Big Van Vader. As an 80s wrestling fan, I was used to big guys like Andre the Giant, Bam Bam Bigelow, King Kong Bundy, but nobody was like Vader. He was savage, mean and a mauler. His moves looked like the hurt and he had an intensity that was unmatched.
The WWF seemed clueless about how to use him as if they’d never seen him battle Sting, Ric Flair, Cactus Jack or Ron Simmons. But in WCW? Vader was great. He was responsible for some of the best WCW matches of the early 90s and they’re well worth revisiting.
It really sucks that Vader didn’t get in to the WWE Hall of Fame before his death. It seems like the Hall can either add more people or drop the celebrities. It seems stupid Kid Rock and Drew Carey actually get to enjoy that moment while Vader just had to watch and hope for his turn.
Here’s some of what Vader’s peers and colleagues had to say about his death.
Loved working with Leon, loved the friendship I had with him for many years, and especially these last 8 months of his life. He will truly be missed. pic.twitter.com/32cWMdH2yX
— Sting (@Sting) June 20, 2018
My heart is heavy with the news of Leon White’s passing. He was an amazing performer who brought out the very best in so many. Best big man ever, the most effective monster heel of his generation. My heartfelt prayers to his loved ones, and my gratitude for having known him. pic.twitter.com/uy3yBfwZOs
— Mick Foley (@RealMickFoley) June 20, 2018
— Harley Race (@8XNWAChampion) June 20, 2018
Sorry To Hear About The Loss Of Another Great! Rest In Peace My Friend! pic.twitter.com/O0NvIINS3l
— Ric Flair® (@RicFlairNatrBoy) June 20, 2018
Rest in peace Vader! Much respect! pic.twitter.com/tcAxbURrTS
— Brian Heffron aka The Blue Meanie (@BlueMeanieBWO) June 20, 2018
— Dustin Rhodes (@Goldust) June 20, 2018
Vader was one of the 1st big men to show that big didn’t mean limited skills, speed or agility. He was a beast & was not afraid to try NHB either! I had my 1st WWF match with him & was very pleased with his toughness & endurance. My prayers go out to his family & friends. pic.twitter.com/ITfYMWie06
— KEN SHAMROCK (@ShamrockKen) June 20, 2018
— Tommy Dreamer (@THETOMMYDREAMER) June 20, 2018
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— Booker T. Huffman (@BookerT5x) June 20, 2018
My prayers and thoughts go out to the family Of truly one of the greatest big men to step foot in the ring. Vader my friend May you R.I.P
— D-von Dudley (@TestifyDVon) June 20, 2018
"I fear no man and I feel no pain!"
— Nick Aldis (@RealNickAldis) June 20, 2018
When I was a kid I was legit scared of Vader
Thanks for making me believe #RIPVader
— James Ellsworth (@realellsworth) June 20, 2018
Very sorry to hear about Vader this morning. Man was a Gentle Giant the years I worked with him and after. Love to his family, friends and fans.
— Vince Russo (@THEVinceRusso) June 20, 2018
Maaaaan…Vader was my guy as a child and was a sweetheart when he came down to FCW to help train us. I’m forever grateful for the conversations I was able to share with him. Condolences to Leon’s son, Jesse, and the rest of his family.
— Florida Man (@WWEBigE) June 20, 2018
Vader was one of the best big men of all time. Will never forget his battles with the likes of Stan Hansen, Sting, Ric Flair, Cactus Jack and so many others. Sad he didn’t get his #WWE Hall of Fame induction before passing. #RIPVader #RIPLeonWhite pic.twitter.com/Bj0CLojg8B
— Scott Fishman (@smFISHMAN) June 20, 2018
I’m saddened to hear about the passing of Leon “Baby Bull” White aka “Big” Van Vader! My prayers of strength go out to his family at this time, I’m sorry for your loss. #RIPVADER
— Brian G. James (@WWERoadDogg) June 20, 2018
GOD BLESS VADER FOREVER
— The Iron Sheik (@the_ironsheik) June 20, 2018
May you finally be in peace.
— ウィル・オスプレイ (@WillOspreay) June 20, 2018
We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Vader. Our thoughts are with his family today. pic.twitter.com/7olr0V4NNR
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) June 20, 2018
Vader man. Love you brother
— Virgil (@TheRealVirgil) June 20, 2018
RIP Vader. This is very sad news as a wrestling fan and @RamsNFL fan. Godspeed big man.
— Frankie Kazarian (@FrankieKazarian) June 20, 2018
My thoughts are with the family, friends and fans of Vader. An unmistakable force of nature. pic.twitter.com/C1rY3Y90Lo
— Rob Schamberger (@robschamberger) June 20, 2018
Vader hit me w/ live rounds while I was in Memphis '95 when he did Vader Roadkill Tour, snug but didn't hurt.. truly respect all you did for wrestling #RIPLeonWhite
— RIGGS (@realscottyriggs) June 20, 2018