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The unlikely main event was born at the Royal Rumble a few months earlier. Taylor as a "guest" of the WWF Champion Diesel was sat at ringside for the show, and he and Bigelow had an altercation following Bigelow's tag team loss against the 123 Kid and Bob Holly. The pair exchanged words then Bam Bam - seemingly unprovoked - shoved Taylor to the ground. For the time, it was a great angle that had a rare believability to it. Vince McMahon on commentary quickly apologised before moving on, and "Scott 'Bam Bam' Bigelow" was suspended on the Raw following.
But, of course, this wasn't an accident. Instead we were building to a main event of Bigelow and Taylor at Wrestlemania. The company tried but failed with Lex Luger at Mania X, ultimately not going with him at all, and at a time when Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage were in WCW, the likely headliner of Diesel vs Shawn Michaels wasn't going to cut it, even if there's a very real argument the WWE missed opportunity or two with that feud.
Even looking back, names like Razor Ramon, Bret Hart and The Undertaker - while miscast in their positions on the card probably couldn't have made a better case to be in the top spot. The same could definitely be said for Bam Bam, who while impressive was never a guy who the company seemed to view as someone who could be the number one guy.
So why Bigelow for this feud? The rationale seemed to be that they needed someone physically that could be a rival for Taylor. Taylor's pedigree as an NFL player was very strong, and was still physically very capable even at 36-years-old. Bam Bam didn't have the speed but he was incredibly good for his size and would be a perfect foil for Taylor.
Their feud leading up to the show, it has to be said, was very good. By the time we got around to game time it was light-years ahead of the build for Michaels and Diesel. The pair had been together for over a year between mid-1993 and the end of 1994, but the build was like any other feud, and seemed to focus more around Michaels' new bodyguard Sid Vicious than it did around any of the obvious storylines they could and should have explored.
Bam Bam and Taylor was something else, though. Bam Bam, suspended for a month following the Rumble, was limited to satellite interviews and, what d'ya know? The guy can talk. His promos were great in giving the feud some meat on the bones. Taylor's involvement was limited (although a lot more than would be expected for a celeb) but the little things he did say were effective enough.
It was the press conference at the beginning of March where the pair really hit a home run. Bam Bam said he was defending the WWF, Taylor called Bam Bam an "Easter Egg" to an audible pop from the journalists in attendance. All that was left to do was for Taylor to kiss him on the cheek during a stare down and the touch paper was set. In terms of main-stream publicity, this was the most exposure the company had got from Wrestlemania in a number of years.
Understandbly, perhaps, the company moved to cover the tracks of this match. Bam Bam Bigelow had a team assembled around him in the Million Dollar Stable of Kama, Tatanka, Nikolia Volkoff and King Kong Bundy. Taylor had his “All Pro” Team: Ken Norton, Chris Spielman, Ricky Jackson, Carl Banks, Reggie White and future WCW alumnus Steve McMichael. The smoke and mirrors were ready.
Bizarrely, despite the potential for all kinds of shenanigans outside of the ring, when it came to all both the Million Dollar Stable and the All Pro Team were almost completely irrelevant in the match, barring the odd spot. More surprising, though, was the match didn't need them.
This is not to say the match was great, nor would you say it was good if we were applying it to normal standards. But with a motivated Bigelow and Taylor who had clearly been working on a few moves nailed them to perfection. Bam Bam did a lot of the heavy lifting, and most of his offence was just rest holds, but the match had the potential to be a complete mess and it certainly wasn't that. When you consider that both Bret Hart and The Undertaker (against Bundy, admittedly) were involved in far inferior matches down the card, it makes this main event a worthy effort.
The company were so happy with Taylor they did look at the opportunity of bringing him in again. But once the Wrestlemania buyrate came in (barely above the previous year) the reported $150,000 wage that Taylor cost made that prohibitive.
Why didn't the feud and the hype translate into buys? Firstly, while Taylor was a big name it was only really in the North East where he was truly a star. In Canada, a country where Taylor wouldn't have had anywhere as much attraction, the show tanked. Also, the company probably paid a price for Bam Bam Bigelow ultimately feeling out of place in the main event. It also speaks a lot to the make-up of the rest of the card – this was probably the earliest indicating factor that Diesel was WWF Champion wasn't going to move numbers.
But don't let any of that take away from this feud. Bam Bam Bigelow in the biggest match and feud of his life delivered big time. Lawrence Taylor overperformed in almost every aspect, particularly at the press conference. The match ended up being decent, and ultimately the presence of Taylor was there for a few mainstream photos. Taylor more than delivered on that end.