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For the tag team, see War Machine.
Raymond Walter Traylor, Jr. (May 2, 1963 – September 22, 2004) was an American professional wrestler. He was best known for his appearances with World Wrestling Entertainment under the ring name Big Boss Man (sometimes spelled Big Bossman).
Professional wrestling career
Traylor, a prison guard in Cobb County, Georgia, made his debut in 1985, initially working in Jim Crockett's World Championship Wrestling promotion as an enhancement talent under his full name, Raymond Traylor. Seeing potential in Traylor, head booker Dusty Rhodes pulled him off TV for 12 weeks in order to repackage him as Big Bubba Rogers, a silent bodyguard for Jim Cornette, who along with the The Midnight Express, was feuding with the James Boys (Dusty Rhodes and Magnum T.A. under masks). He got a solid push as a seemingly unstoppable villain and feuding with Rhodes, who was the top babyface at that time in a series of no holds barred battle royals called The Bunkhouse Stampede, in 1986. After the series, both he and Rhodes were tied in wins, which led to a tiebreaking cage match in which Rhodes came out victorious. In 1987, he won the Universal Wrestling Federation title from One Man Gang, who was dropping his belt after signing with Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Federation.
World Wrestling Federation (1988–1993)
In 1988, Traylor joined the WWF under the name The Big Bossman, based on his previous profession; wrestling as a heel, Bossman's post-match gimmick involved handcuffing his defeated opponents (mainly jobbers) to the ring rope and beating them with a nightstick.
After defeating Koko B. Ware at the inaugural SummerSlam, Bossman made his first major WWF impact when he attacked Hulk Hogan on Brother Love's interview segment. During his feud with Hogan, Bossman also challenged for the WWF Championship, held by Randy "Macho Man" Savage; and began teaming with Akeem to form The Twin Towers. As the Twin Towers, Bossman and Akeem feuded mainly with Hogan and Savage (who had formed The Mega Powers alliance), and were strongly involved in the storyline involving Savage's slowly building heel turn and eventual betrayal of Hogan. The Twin Towers were The Mega Powers' opponents the night of Savage's turn; Hogan, who was abandoned by his partner late in the match, rallied to defeat the Twin Towers.
The Twin Towers moved on to defeat The Rockers at WrestleMania V, and feuded for most of the spring and early summer of 1989 with Demolition for the Tag Team Championship. This went on while Bossman was wrapping up his feud with Hogan in a series of steel cage matches; one of the most memorable matches aired on the May 27, 1989 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, where Hogan superplexed the 350-pound Traylor off the top of the cage.
He later became a fan favorite in early 1990 on The Brother Love Show after refusing to give Ted DiBiase his Million Dollar Championship belt back after DiBiase had paid Slick off for Bossman to retrieve the belt from Jake "The Snake" Roberts' bag that also held Jake's python. Bossman refused to take a payoff and returned the bag with the belt and snake to Jake Roberts. After this change he feuded with former tag team partner Akeem, defeating him in less than two minutes at WrestleMania VI; he also stopped his post-match routine of beating of jobbers during this time. He joined forces with Hogan at the 1990 Survivor Series along with "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan and Tugboat, defeating Earthquake's team.
In 1991, Bossman began feuding with Bobby Heenan and The Heenan Family after Heenan began insulting Bossman's mother. Bossman eventually gained the upper hand against Heenan's wrestlers, getting wins over The Barbarian at the Royal Rumble and Mr. Perfect via disqualification at WrestleMania VII for the Intercontinental Championship; the latter match featured a returning Andre the Giant. Later in 1991, Bossman defeated The Mountie in a Jailhouse match at SummerSlam; the stipulation had it that the loser would (kayfabe) "spend a night in jail."
In 1992, Bossman became involved in a feud with Nailz, whose gimmick was that of an ex-convict; in a series of promos that aired before his debut, Nailz claimed to be abused by Bossman during his incarceration, and warned that he was coming for revenge. During a television taping that aired May 30, Nailz — clad in an orange prison jumpsuit — ran into the ring and attacked the Bossman, handcuffing him to the top rope and repeatedly choking and beating him with the nightstick. Bossman eventually recovered and went after Nailz in a series of matches during the latter half of 1992. The feud culminated when Bossman defeated Nailz in a Nightstick on a Pole match at Survivor Series.
World Championship Wrestling (1993–1998)
After leaving the WWF in 1993, Traylor had a brief stint in All Japan Pro Wrestling, where he was paired up with Stan Hansen and "Dr. Death" Steve Williams, before returning to the United States to work for World Championship Wrestling. He made his WCW debut on WCW Saturday Night in December 1993 by pinning the International World Champion Ravishing Rick Rude in a non-title match. He received a World title shot against Rick Rude at Starrcade '93 with Rude retaining the title. Traylor was originally known as The Boss, but the WWF legal department determined the character to be too similar to the one that Traylor had portrayed in the WWF and forced WCW to change it. As a result, Traylor became the Guardian Angel. He feuded with Big Van Vader for most of 1994. Soon, Traylor turned heel and returned to his original Big Bubba Rogers character. He defeated Sting at Uncensored in March 1995. Big Bubba joined the Dungeon of Doom faction before eventually defecting to the nWo. Eventually, a loophole in Bubba's contract forced him out of the nWo. As a result of this, Bubba became a face once again and began competing under his real name—Ray Traylor and was briefly managed by old nemesis Ted Dibiase, who also recently left the nWo. He frequently worked with the Steiner Brothers during this time period. He began feuding with the nWo, defeating several nWo members such as Scott Hall, Curt Hennig, and Vincent.
Return to WWF/E (1998–2003)
Eventually, Traylor returned to the WWF on the October 12, 1998 episode of Raw is War, once again under his Big Bossman persona. However, his character was changed from a regular police officer to a bully-type personal security officer, or bodyguard-type character, willing to do anything for a price. The change was further emphasized by his new SWAT-style attire. Traylor was immediately established as a top of the mid-card character, as he was introduced as a member of The Corporation, a group of wrestlers controlled by WWF owner Vince McMahon to combat Stone Cold Steve Austin as well as D-Generation X, as The Corporation's "personal security". During his time as a member of The Corporation, Bossman won the Tag Team Championship with Ken Shamrock and won the Hardcore Championship four times. While still a member of the Corporation, Bossman competed at WrestleMania XV against Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match, which he lost. Undertaker subsequently "hung" Bossman inside the cage, leaving him suspended in the air.
Most of his matches in the hardcore division were part of his feud with Al Snow. At one point, the storyline involved Al's dog Pepper. At SummerSlam, the pair fought in a match that never made it to the ring; it instead spilled into the backstage area, the street, and finally into a nearby bar. Just prior to the match, Snow was seen setting Pepper's dog carrier near the entrance way. Minutes into the match, Boss Man picked up the carrier, taunted the dog, struck Snow with the carrier, and carelessly tossed it behind him. Announcer Jim Ross apologized immediately for the stunt, and confirmed on air that Pepper had been removed from the box before the match.
Two weeks later, Pepper was taken out of the storyline when he was, in storyline killed by the Bossman, who then tricked Snow into eating his pet. The storyline concluded with a Kennel from Hell match at Unforgiven. The cage surrounded the ring, with a second roofed cage surrounding the ringside area. The men would start in the ring, with the first man to escape both cages being declared the winner. Between the two cages were a number of attack dogs.
After this, he feuded with The Big Show over the WWF Championship. The feud included a monologue where Bossman showed up at Big Show's father's storyline funeral (his father had actually died years earlier) and proceeded to steal Show's father's casket by rigging it to the back of his car and driving off. In a desperate attempt to stop the theft, The Big Show jumped onto the coffin as it was being towed away, riding atop the coffin for a few yards until he lost his grip and tumbled off. Bossman became the #1 contender for the WWF Championship on the November 15, 1999 edition of Raw. This feud ended with Boss Man being defeated by Big Show at the Armageddon pay-per-view.
Bossman participated in the 2000 Royal Rumble match, where he eliminated Rikishi (with the help of five other competitors), Chyna, and Faarooq before being eliminated by The Rock. On the March 19 edition of Sunday Night Heat, he introduced Bull Buchanan as his protégé. Together, they would go on to defeat The Godfather and D'Lo Brown at WrestleMania 2000 and the Acolytes Protection Agency the following month at Backlash. However, the team split on the June 5 edition of Raw is War after they lost to the Hardy Boyz and subsequently began arguing before Bossman knocked Buchanan out with his nightstick when his back was turned.
In the summer of 2000, Bossman disappeared from mainstream WWF television and wrestled mainly on Jakked and Heat, primarily feuding with Crash Holly. When Traylor returned from an injury in late 2001, he was given a role as the tag team partner of Booker T, as simply The Boss Man. Boss Man served as an enforcer again, only this time for Booker T under the order of Vince McMahon. The team quietly split in late January 2002, and from there on Boss Man wrestled mostly on Jakked and Heat. In April, he formed a short lived tag team with Mr. Perfect after both were drafted to the Raw brand. In May 2002, he competed in his last WWE match, losing to Tommy Dreamer. Traylor was then assigned to train new wrestlers in Ohio Valley Wrestling before being released from WWE in 2003.
Following his departure from WWE, Traylor's last series of matches were in a tournament for the vacant International Wrestling Association of Japan heavyweight title. He made it all the way to the finals before being defeated by old rival Jim Duggan.
Traylor had two daughters, and was married to his wife Angela, his childhood sweetheart.
In July 2004, Traylor ran for Commission Chairman for Paulding County, Georgia. He was the owner of a Dallas, Georgia storage company called RWT Enterprises.
Traylor died at his home in Dallas, Georgia on September 22, 2004 while his sister was visiting him. He is interred at the Dallas Memorial Garden in Dallas, Georgia.
On March 7, 2016, the WWE announced that Traylor will be posthumously inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2016.
- Finishing moves
- Signature moves
- Entrance themes
- "Jive Soul Bro" by Jim Johnston (used in the time, where he managed by Slick; 1988–1989)
- "Servin' Hard Times" by Jimmy Hart and J.J. Maguire (1990–1993)
- "Rockhouse" by Jimmy Hart and H. Helm (WCW; used while a part of the New World Order; 1997)
- "Tear It Up" by Jimmy Hart and H. Helm (WCW; used while a part of the New World Order; 1997)
- "Cell Block" by Jim Johnston (1998–2002)
Championships and accomplishments
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI ranked him #23 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 1992
- PWI ranked him #138 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the "PWI Years" in 2003
- World Wrestling Federation/WWE
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards