Here’s Steve Cook’s Top 5 King Kong Bundy Memories, which is only fitting for the master of the five-count.
It’s obvious that some people were born to become professional wrestlers. Can you imagine Ric Flair, Bret Hart or Shawn Michaels doing anything other than instigating classic wrestling matches? Back in the day, folks like Flair, the Freebirds & Dick Murdoch had to be wrestlers because it was the only line of work that would tolerate their foolishness.
Some people just look like they belong in professional wrestling. King Kong Bundy was one of those people. Even in the Land of Giants, where he would regularly team with Big John Studd & wrestle the likes of Andre the Giant, Bundy stood out.
You just don’t see people like King Kong Bundy every day.
His look was perfect for wrestling, as was his character. Bundy never really developed much of a character beyond “big bully”, and he never really had to. He understood that pro wrestling wasn’t rocket science and he didn’t need to try & be something that he wasn’t. He knew what he could do, and he went with it.
Bundy’s career didn’t last all that long in the grand scheme of things. His first run lasted from 1981 until 1988, spending a little over three years in the World Wrestling Federation. Bundy fell off the map as far as wrestling went until 1994, when he made a return to the WWF that lasted a little over a year. After leaving again, he wrestled in here & there in various northeast indies, and pursued a career in stand-up comedy. I don’t know if he was the first wrestler to try that, but plenty have followed in his footsteps.
Bundy wasn’t inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame before his passing. If I was voting for a pro wrestling hall of fame, Bundy would be a tough call for me. He didn’t spend as much time in the business as many of the people we call all-time greats. Bundy wasn’t in a ton of five-star matches, and beyond the run with Hogan in 86 there isn’t much on him as a main eventer.
That being said, he did cram a ton of memorable moments into his career.
5. Being the opponent in Fritz Von Erich’s first retirement match
It tells you how over Bundy was able to get in a short period of time that he’s wrestling Fritz in Texas Stadium in his second year in the business. The strangest thing about this situation, other than Fritz dominating a man nearly thirty years younger than him?
BUNDY HAD HAIR. WUT DA HAIL? The first time I saw this I couldn’t believe it. I just assumed the man never grew any.
4. Beating SD Jones in “nine seconds” at WrestleMania
The first WrestleManias had a few matches with glorified job guys like Special Delivery getting a chance to shine. The IWC would lose their minds if something like this was booked for WrestleMania 35, but back at 1 it gave Bundy a chance to break a record.
My internet stopwatch puts it at twenty-four seconds, but it was still an impressive showing for Bundy in his WrestleMania debut. Bundy later said that Jones made it last a little longer on purpose, which was a strategy that Daniel Bryan would utilize in his WrestleMania 28 matchup with Sheamus.
3. Main eventing WrestleMania 2 against Hulk Hogan
Back in 1986, nobody had any idea that WrestleMania would become the highlight of every pro wrestling year for pretty much the rest of time. It was a WWF show name that got over once, so they tried it again a year later. This time, they held it in three locations and had a main event for each location. Long Island got Roddy Piper & Mr. T in a boxing match. Chicago had a twenty-man battle royal featuring Andre the Giant and a bunch of NFL players. The night ended in Los Angeles with Hulk Hogan defending the WWF Championship against the latest threat to his dominance…King Kong Bundy.
They did an awesome angle to build this up on the Saturday Night’s Main Event on NBC a month prior to the show.
The thing is, you can’t really replicate this in 2019. Ronda Rousey beating up Becky Lynch this week on Raw was pretty awesome, but they’re going to cross paths several more times before WrestleMania. In 1986, you could keep two top stars away from each other pretty easily by letting Hulk take a little time off to sell the beating & keeping him off televised events while Bundy smashes random people on his road to WrestleMania. They didn’t touch again on TV until Hogan got Bundy in a cage. Can’t be done in WWE in this day & age unless somebody breaks their neck.
2. Serving as the inspiration for Married…With Children’s Bundy Family
Who wasn’t big into the exploits of Al Bundy back in the day? Al was somebody we could all identify with, a true working-class zero. Some of us can probably identify with him even more now. Al, Peggy, Kelly & Bud can thank King Kong for their last name, as the show creators were big wrestling fans, and their favorite wrestler was King Kong Bundy. Bundy even got to make a couple of appearances out of the deal.
A lot of people thought the Bundys got their name from serial killer Ted, but apparently that’s not the case. Unless King Kong took the name from Ted, which would make them third-generation Bundys by my math.
1. Beating up Little Beaver at WrestleMania III
Like many my age, one of the first videotapes I rented at my local Blockbuster Video was WrestleMania III. I’d heard so much about it & had to see it for myself. Everybody remembers Hogan vs. Andre & Savage vs. Steamboat but King Kong was involved in another memorable moment in the Pontiac Silverdome that I’ll never forget. Poor ol’ Little Beaver stuck his nose where it didn’t belong, and the Great Bundy made him pay the price.
This probably says something not so great about me, but I always found Bundy beating Beaver absolutely hilarious. That’s what I’ll remember about King Kong Bundy. He was big, mean, and a pretty funny guy.