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Big Boss Man

WWE Network Spotlight
by yo go re

Ban moss? Why would anyone want to support a big moss ban? Oh, wait.

In kayfabe, Big Boss Man was an ex prison guard from Cobb County, Georgia. In real life, Big Boss Man was an ex prison guard from Cobb County, Georgia - hey, sometimes you just gotta go with what works. Originally destined to be nothing more than another forgotten jobber, Ray Traylor caught the eye of The American Dream, Dusty Rhodes. Rhodes pulled Traylor off TV long enough for everybody to forget they'd ever seen him, then reintroduced him as Big Bubba Rogers, a monster heel. When the WWF brought him onboard, he was basically playing an exaggerated version of himself.

A wrestling cop fit perfectly into the good vs. evil landscape of wrestling, but surprisingly, he was still a villain, not a hero. He started out as a mid-carder, but the WWF saw the same potential that Rhodes did, and soon he was feuding with Hulk Hogan. Granted, this was just Hogan's backup feud, because it happened at the same time he and Macho Man were falling out, but still. Their emnity culminated in a cage match that's miles above what you expect from either of them.

To be honest, a lot of Bossman's appeal probably came from the fact that fans could see themselves in him - quite literally, really. A slightly overweight guy with a brown crew-cut and a goatee? It doesn't get much more average than that. Heck, there are plenty of people who still look like that today. The likeness on the toy is terrible, but there's no mistaking the body.

During his second run in the WWF, Big Boss Man (for the record, they constantly went back and forth on whether that name should be one word or two) was "head of security" for the Corporation faction, and wore an all-black SWAT style outfit. That version will be available in the upcoming Elite Collection Series 47. This, however, is his classic uniform: black pants with a yellow stripe down the legs, a blue shirt, and a black strap across his chest. The pockets on the shirt are painted black with yellow outlines, his name is printed on the left pocket (it was normally on his right, but whatever), he has black apaulettes with two yellow stars on them, and he has rank insignia on both sleeves and a "Sheriff Dept." patch on his left. Every bit of the figure is a new sculpt, because who else would have worn anything like that? The shirt is unbuttoned far enough to show off his painted chest hair. The sculpt is a bit rumpled, so it looks perfect.

This figure was originally available in Series 14 of the WWE Elite Collection, but that was hard to find and went for big money on the secondary market. Thanks to Mattel for re-releasing him in the TRU-exclusive WWE Network Spotlight line! Anyway, the articulation is therefore good and plentiful: the Medium Man-Boss moves at the head, shoulders, biceps, elbows, wrists, torso, waist, hips, thighs, knees, and ankles. Rather than swivel/hinge rockers, like most of the figures' ankles, these are weird balljoint conglomerations. His finishing move, the "Boss Man Slam," was just a normal powerslam, so he has plenty of movement to do that.

The figure's accessories include a pair of sunglasses, his nightstick, and a pair of handcuffs. The original release also included a ball and chain, but that was dropped for this version. The glasses fit on his head fairly well, and the cuffs are rubber so they can slip over other figures' hands.

Ray Traylor died in 2004. He was visiting his sister's family and had a heart attack, and that was that. That sounds like an ignominious end, but consider his peers: he didn't spiral into depression, he didn't get addicted to pain killers, he didn't waste his money... in fact, he made a lot of shrewd real estate investments, leaving his family fairly secure in his absence. When this figure came out last year, Traylor's daughter posted a picture of her son after a trip to Toys Я Us. He was sitting in his car seat, looking at an action figure of his grandfather, and the caption said he didn't know. Yet.

The Big Boss Man was both unremarkable and unforgettable. He played a rough, violent character, but was apparently the sweetest guy in the world backstage. He lost the shortest match in WWE history (four seconds), but has legitimate wins over some of the biggest names in the sport: Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Ric Flair, Sting, Undertaker, Kane, The Rock, Steve Austin, Million Dollar Man, Big Show, Mick Foley... he may not have won when titles were on the line, but it's not like they were just feeding him jobbers to beat up. It's no wonder he was inducted to the Hall of Fame! The "local LEO" look is more famous than the SWAT suit, so it's great that Mattel found a way to put it back out.

-- 02/08/17

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