Wrestlers have been paying tribute to Vader on social media after the former World Champion passed away on Monday.
Even though the business has changed somewhat over the past two decades, to an extent professional wrestling will always be known for its big men. The likes of The Undertaker, Andre The Giant, and even Hulk Hogan. Perhaps the most underrated big man of all time was Big Van Vader. Even though he didn't ever make it to the very top in WWE, he did everywhere else that he went and his contributions to the business cannot be overstated.
Sadly, after a two year battle with heart-related issues, Vader passed away on Monday. The former WCW Champion underwent two heart surgeries earlier this year and many of us hoped that he was defying doctors' predictions and that he was on the mend. Unfortunately that was not the case, and naturally, wrestlers throughout the industry have been remembering Vader on social media following his passing.
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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
Someone who knew Vader extremely well, both inside and outside the ring, is Mick Foley. Foley posted a photo of the two of them in the ring together on Twitter after hearing the news writing "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."
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 clearly did have an influence on a lot of other wrestlers as tributes to him have been pouring in ever since the news broke, from current stars and those he shared a locker room with. Big E took to Twitter and recalled a time when Vader came to FCW to help him and other developmental talents train. Samoa Joe also paid his respects, writing "A shame we never got to mix it up more."
The peak of Vader's career may have come during the early 1990s but evidently, he has influenced generations of wrestlers. He helped revolutionize the business when he was a key part of it and paved the way for many of the stars competing in the ring today. Whenever you watch an athletic big man in WWE or anywhere around the world, you can rest assured that they were probably inspired, at least in part, by Big Van Vader.