WWE announced some sad news this week, as former WCW World Heavyweight Champion Leon “Vader” White passed away. Originally posted by his son, Jesse White, Vader passed away Monday morning. Jesse stated that Vader was diagnosed with a severe case of pneumonia, and “fought extremely hard and clinically was making progress.” He added, “Unfortunately, on Monday night his heart had enough and it was his time.”
Steve Austin, who occasionally teamed with Vader in WCW, as well as competed against him in WWE, shared his thoughts on Vader’s passing. Austin recalls Vader saving Sid Vicious’ life during the stabbing incident with Arn Anderson. Austin stated that he and Vader (in nothing but his underwear) was drinking after hours at the hotel bar, when Sid came down bloodied. Austin said that Vader put Sid on the ground and put his thumb on his artery, which kept him from bleeding to death.
Angry during his contract negotiations with WCW, Austin was having a hard time reaching an agreement because he did not reach “superstar status” yet. Vader gave a word of advice to Austin: “Steve. Just relax, brother. Always let a cooler head prevail.” Austin stated that although he did not always heed to that advice throughout his career, it was some of the best advice that he had ever gotten in his career.
Austin then began talking about how he used to ride in the back seat while Vader was riding shotgun and Harley Race was driving, and how Race was “the man” and gave Vader some great advice throughout their time together in WCW.
The first time Austin saw the Big Van Vader gimmick was over in Japan.
“He [came] walking to the ring, and that guy was as big as a house to began with,” said Austin. “Just the intimidation factor. And then he’d set that thing on the floor, on the ground, and he’d start whistling and point at it, and of course that’d blow the steam, whatever that was that they blow out of there, it was incredible.”
Austin then discussed The Ultimate Warrior being the original person slated for the Big Van Vader gimmick.
“I think, if memory serves me correct, I think they originally wanted to give that gimmick to the Ultimate Warrior who I think passed it up,” said Austin. Despite the original idea, Austin feels that no other person would have served it justice, and it “ended up with the right man at the right time, because I don’t think anybody else could have pulled that gimmick like Leon did with his work style, with his athleticism. It was a parallel along with the first time I saw the Road Warriors.”
If any portion of these quotes are used, please be sure to credit the Steve Austin Show via Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: The Steve Austin Show
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