Kayfabe, Lies and Alibis: Big Van Vader Shoot Interview (Part 3)

Vader covers his role in the Sid/Arn stabbing incident, his backstage brawl with Mr. Wonderful, Hogan’s politics and more!

Presented by RF Video 

Vader talks about the incident where Cactus Jack got his neck wrapped in the ropes and could not get out. Jack was suffocating, so Vader helped pop his head out, which tore up both of Foley’s ears. One ear was hanging on by a thread. Vader saw all the blood and told Jack we need to finish quick. He smacked Jack with some fists and the ear fell off and into the ring. Vader said “Let’s go home Jack, your ear just fell on the mat.”

Jack wanted the program with Vader to go well, so he insisted that Vader hit him for real while they fought on a WCW Saturday Night TV main event. Jack ended up all busted up.

Cactus Jack vs. Big Van Vader

Harley Race is slammed by Jack in the ring, The men go to the floor and start tossing hard blows. They fight into the entrance way where Jack takes control with a chair. Jack punches Vader with some beautiful shots. Vader is then bit by Cactus to really put over the raw hate unfolding. Vader is dumped on the rail ribs first. Race gets involved to save his man. Jack slams the manager on the cement and drops an elbow to take Race out.

Jack continues to dominate as things finally get into the ring. A back suplex downs Vader, but he catches Jack’s next attack and slams him roughly to the mat. A fallaway slam crushes Jack, and a pair of Vader bombs adds more damage to his ribs. Jack avoids another assault and takes Vader to the floor with a clothesline. Vader is downed on the floor, but Jack misses an elbow – taking a wicked back bump. Race peels back the mats and Vader powerbombs Jack on the cement! Tony Schiavone makes a great call by grimly stating “If Vader powerbombs him on the floor, he’ll kill him”. Jack gives a glossy eyed stare as the ref counts him out. Jesse Ventura: “Vader promised there would be NO rematch.” Jack is carried off on a stretcher. This angle got over big with me back in 1993. Vader was an absolute monster, killing guys in kayfabe and real life (Joe Thurman).

At Slamboree ’94, Terry Funk delivered a moonsault during a “legends” match with Tully Blanchard. Vader was suppose to use one in the main event, and Funk hadn’t asked permission to steal the “high spot”.

Nobuhito Tanaka was a youngster when Vader was tearing up New Japan in the late 80’s. When Takada was made the top star of the “fake shoot/MMA” UWFI, he sought out Vader to come in as a top guy there.

The interviewer and Vader go over Leon’s 15 major titles he won over Mexico, Europe, Japan and America. Vader jokes that winning fake belts won’t pay for a cup of coffee in the real world.

Super Vader vs. Kiyoshi Tamura

Tamura is a quite legit MMA trained bad ass. He weighs in at all of 185 pounds. He’d go on to fight in over 40 MMA matches after this. He was trained (in part) by Billy Robinson. Tamura starts by attempting side kicks to Vader’s leg- trying to find his range and keep Vader away. Vader delivers a club and rattles Tamura. Tamura attempts a takedown, but fails. Tamura is cornered and Vader starts to rock him with fists, but Tamura strikes back and hurts Vader with more leg kicks. Vader crumbles to the mat and Tamura grabs a leg vine. Vader screams in pain, but manages to get to the ropes.

Back at a vertical base Vader connects with a hard punch and Tamura goes to the mat for a brief time as the ref attempts to count him out. Vader is once again kicked in the leg and falls to the mat when things get restarted. A knee bar ravages pain in Vader’s limb, but he again struggles to the ropes. Vader cracks Tamura, and Tamura strikes back with more leg kicks. More Vader hammer blows down Tamura for another count. Vader picks him up and drives him to the mat with two hard slams and a powerbomb, which earns Vader a TKO victory. Quite a unique and fun match. Probably not up to everyone’s taste though.

Back to the shoot…

The first Vader vs. Takada match was suppose to go over 30 minutes. Vader ended up gassing out at the 20 minute mark and making Takada end the match early. Vader promised Takada he’d be in better shape for their rematch.

The strikes in the UWFI were very real. The Japanese would lay in their kicks and Vader would throw hard punches. The matches were works, but much of the action was all too real.

Super Vader vs. Nobuhiko Takada

Takada comes down to the Rocky Balboa’s training montage music from Rocky 4 and immediately becomes my favorite wrestler ever for it!!! Takada and Vader stare down and the crowd loses their shit. Vader connects with strikes early and manages to mount Takada and drive home blows to his head as he holds him down like a big brother roughhousing his sibling. Takada manages to drape the ropes with his foot. His relief is short lived as Vader pummels him with more punches. A German suplex is blocked, so Vader settles for a rear naked choke. Takada struggles, but only ends up smothered under Vader’s girth.

Back on their feet, Takada scores with some kicks to Vader’s thigh, but Vader makes him pay by dropping him with a clubbing blow. Vader attempts a frontal choke, but Takada pulls into a defensive position and lures Vader into a kimura. Vader gets free, but eats more kicks before catching Takada’s leg and gaining top position after a takedown. He attempts a variant of the “can opener” submission move.

Takada escapes and starts to wail on Vader’s leg with kicks again. Vader goes down for an 8 count. More kicks keep Vader down for another 8 count. Vader tackles Takada in a desperation move, but can’t keep him grounded. Once he catches Takada, a stiff powerslam follows. A second one keeps Takada down for an 8 count. Vader grabs a limb and lays his mass down upon it, then maneuvers into a full nelson. A rope break saves Takada.

Vader keeps him close as the stand up game comes back into play. Takada manages to take Vader down with something similar to a judo throw. He finds Vader’s arm and wrenches in a kimura for the submission victory. A good match, which certainly had the air of reality surrounding it.

Back to the shoot…

Vader is asked about the incident where Sid and Arn Anderson got into it while on a European tour, leading to Anderson being stabbed by Sid. Vader blames WCW for cramming too tight of a schedule for the guys, so everyone was jet lagged and cranky, leading to tempers flaring.

Arn, Sid and Vader were drinking together prior to the incident. When the shit hit the fan, Vader was in a nearby hotel room. Vader had to use his fingers to stop the blood from spurting out of Anderson’s belly wound.

Sid was scheduled to beat Vader for the title, but Vader would have regained it shortly thereafter. Flair ended up taking Sid’s spot instead.

Flair decided 2 days before Superbrawl ’94 that he was changing the finish and keeping the title. Vader fought it, but ultimately agreed to do the job in exchange for some promises that never came to pass.

Ric then brought in Hogan, who spent several months beating Flair time after time. Hogan then moved on to a feud with Brutus Beefcake, but the buyrate for that main event was so poor that Vader had to get involved in the mix again.

The WCW fans rejected Hogan, and Vader was cheered.

On the Clash of the Champions prior to Hogan and Vader’s first match, Hogan was booked to be powerbombed by Vader and sell it big in order to build up heat. Hogan ignored the plan and no sold the move. Vader knew then that Hogan was a backstabber, and that the buyrates would never live up to their potential since Vader was now neutered.

Leon was not pleased with this development and asked Eric to fire him if they had so little regard for his abilities. Vader basically demanded he be put over Hogan to rebuild his own aura.

Super Vader vs. Nobuhiko Takada

The rematch. The men start more tentatively than last time. Vader does eventually open up with strikes and then delivers several hard slams. More strikes send Takada into the ropes for relief. Kicks to Vader’s leg follow and once the big man is off balance, a kimura attempt follows. Vader finds the ropes. Takada follows with more leg strikes and scores with a back suplex. Takada and Vader jockey for position on the mat, each man searching for a limb to twist or bend. A kimura is again avoided by Vader, and things return to a standing position.

Takada scores some good kicks to Vader’s midsection, but Vader cracks off his own strikes to rock Takada. Vader attempts an arm lock, but Takada twists out of it and mounts Vader, teasing another kimura attempt. Kicks and knees rock Vader, but one punch sends Takada to the mat. Both men are down.

More exchanging of strikes. Vader ends up using a wristlock/head scissors combo to control things briefly, before Takada manages to slip out and mount him. Vader delivers one solid shot from his side and that is enough to down Takada. The men scramble for control and Vader gets control when Takada sits out from a German suplex attempt. Takada ends up taking a release suplex anyway once the men return to their feet. Strikes down Takada several times as the ref nearly counts him out.

Takada scores a takedown and tries to hyperextend Vader’s knee. Vader gets up from that and eats a kick to the face that the crowd pretty clearly buys as the finish as they frantically count along with the announcer. The men exchange more strikes. Vader teases a powerbomb. The crowd goes bonkers. Takada fights him, and Vader basically dead lifts him up for the move anyway. Takada manages to stumble to his feet and Vader makes him pay with several shots that down him. Finally it proves too much and Takada falls to the mat for the final time. Vader earns a KO victory. I did not like the early portion of this bout as much as their prior encounter. However the second half of this battle really picked up and the finish was really hot. Lou Thesz awards Vader the UWFI title.

Back to the shoot…

They talk about a Vader/Hogan match that went only 3 minutes. Vader does not remember such a thing, but he knows Hogan had total control, so if it happened, that’s on him.

The interviewer asks about rumors that Vader and Hogan had strap and cage matches on PPV in order to avoid having either man have to take a pinfall loss.   Vader speaks of Hogan changing finishes and angles at the last minute, so it is what it is.

When Nitro started, Vader figured WCW would fail because the WWF had better production and better quality control on angles coming off as planned.

Vader was scheduled to be on the first Nitro, but when he showed up to work he was told that Eric Bischoff did not want him in the building.

Vader refused to do some photo sessions during a TV taping, causing Bischoff to threaten to fine him if he didn’t do so. Vader then did so, but then he was late for the TV tapings. Paul Orndorff, acting as a WCW agent, came over to Vader and started to tear him a new asshole verbally for being late. Things escalated. Terry Taylor came in the room and convinced Vader to dress up for his TV promos. Orndoff met up with Vader in another room, and challenged him to fight. Vader slapped him. Vader immediately realized that attacking another guy could get him fired, so he stopped fighting. Orndorff then punched Vader 3 times, with Vader not defending himself. Vader heard Paul talking shit in a nearby room, so he stormed in and told off Orndorff. He goaded Orndorff into going outside to brawl, but after taking Paul down, the fight was abruptly stopped. Vader ended up losing a long term deal for a lot of money over the incident.

A major rotator cuff injury had Vader reeling in pain, but WCW insisted that he make his shots anyway. Vader ended up taking tons of pills and beer to numb the pain. Vader tried to use the pills as an excuse to Bischoff for his behavior during the Mr. Wonderful scuffle, but he was fired anyway. Vader figures Hogan saw a chance to get rid of another top guy.

The conclusion next week….


Written by Andrew Lutzke

The grumpy old man of culturecrossfire.com, lover of wrasslin' and true crimes.

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