Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Ray Traylor (May 2, 1962 - September 22, 2004) was a professional wrestler best known for playing the character of the Big Boss Man in the World Wrestling Federation (now World Wrestling Entertainment).
Traylor first debuted for the National Wrestling Alliance in 1986 under the name Big Bubba Rogers, serving as the bodyguard of manager Jim Cornette. By 1988, Traylor had joined the World Wrestling Federation as the "Big Boss Man," a character who was formerly a prison guard in Cobb County, Georgia. (Traylor had actually been a jail guard for a time in that area.) Traylor enjoyed a good deal of success in the company, first as a heel (villain) challenging for Hulk Hogan's WWE Championship, and later as a face (fan favorite) befriending Hogan and facing Bobby Heenan's stable of wrestlers. Yet, during his initial run with the WWF, the Boss Man did not win any championships.
After leaving the WWF, Traylor had a brief stint in All Japan Pro Wrestling before returning to the United States to work for World Championship Wrestling. Traylor was originally known as "The Boss," but the WWF legal department determined the character to be too similar to the one that Traylor had portrayed in the WWF and forced WCW to change it. As a result, Traylor became the Guardian Angel, a character based on the real-life Guardian Angels group. Once again, the character did not last long before Traylor returned to his original Big Bubba character.
Big Bubba was a solid mid-card heel, joining the Dungeon of Doom faction before eventually defecting to the nWo. Eventually, a loophole in Bubba's contract forced him out of the nWo (according to storylines). As a result of this, Bubba became a face once again and began competing under his real name - Ray Traylor. This was not the most successful period of Traylor's career, as he rarely rose above the mid-card.
Eventually, Traylor would return to the WWF, once again under his Big Boss Man persona. He was introduced as the first member of The Corporation, a group of wrestlers controlled by WWF owner Vince McMahon to combat rival Stone Cold Steve Austin. The Boss Man would have several matches with Austin, as well as winning the WWF Tag Team Titles with Ken Shamrock and the WWF Hardcore Title. After the Corporation disbanded, Boss Man would continue to compete primarily in the hardcore division until suffering a knee injury. When Traylor returned from that injury, he was given a role as the bodyguard of Booker T, but the new gimmick was ultimately not successful. Traylor was then assigned to train new wrestlers in Ohio Valley Wrestling before ultimately being released from WWE.
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