Tuesday, November 20

PW Weekend Report: Big Cass Fired, Passing of Big Van Vader, MYC2, WWE UK Tournament, This Week’s Schedule & More

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With NXT Takeover and WWE Money in the Bank week finally in the books, we turn our attention to another equally busy week ahead.

On top of the never-ending bombardment of wrestling television to wade through, both nights of the WWE UK Championship Tournament will drop on the WWE Network to kick off the week. Plus, a two-hour special on AXS TV covering NJPW Dominion will go head-to-head on Friday night with ROH Best in the World, live on pay-per-view, and an ROH television taping event on Saturday to wrap everything up.

WWE UK Championship Tournament – Night 1

  • All 4 Quarterfinal Round Matches
  • Toni Storm vs. Killer Kelly vs. Isla Dawn
  • Both Semifinal Round Matches
  • British Strong Style vs. The Undisputed Era
  • Tournament Finals

WWE UK Championship Tournament – Night 2

  • NXT Tag Team Title Match
  • Killer Kelly vs. Charlie Morgan
  • Noam Darr vs. Flash Morgan Webster vs. Mark Andrews vs. Travis Banks
  • NXT Women’s Title Match
  • Aleister Black vs. Wolfgang
  • NXT North American Title Match
  • Tournament Winner vs. Pete Dunne

ROH Best in the World

  • ROH Title: Dalton Castle vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Marty Scurll
  • ROH Tag Titles: The Briscoes vs. The Young Bucks
  • ROH 6-Man Titles: The Kingdom vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon
  • ROH TV Title: Punishment Martinez vs. Hangman Page
  • Bully Ray vs. Flip Gordon
  • Jay Lethal vs. Kushida
  • Kenny King vs. Austin Aries
  • Women of Honor in action!

Leon “Big Van Vader” White, 1955-2019

From our original article: 

We are saddened to report the loss of a truly great pro wrestling legend, Big Van Vader (real name: Leon Allen White), whose iconic career spanned the globe over and reinvented what it meant to be a “big man” wrestling in the industry.

The announcement was made via Twitter late Wednesday morning, by White’s son Jesse stating, “It is with a heavy heart to inform everyone that my father, Leon White, passed away on Monday night (6/18/18) at approximately 7:25pm. Around a month ago my father was diagnosed with a severe case of Pneumonia. He fought extremely hard and clinically was making progress. Unfortunately, on Monday night his heart had enough and it was his time.”

White grew up in Compton, CA the son of a U.S. Marine, and went on to become a multi-sport athlete in high school, competing in track and field and wrestling, but truly excelled on the football field. He had his pick of athletic scholarships and ultimately choose to attend the University of Colorado, where he not only graduated with a degree but did so as a two-time All-American athlete.

In 1979 White was selected in the third round of the NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams, returning home to California to play two seasons of professional football including an appearance in SuperBowl XIV, but was unfortunately forced to retire early due to injuries.

White got his start in pro wrestling in the mid-1980s working for Verne Gagne’s American Wrestling Association, before being picked up by New Japan Pro Wrestling and immediately pushed to the top of the card. In one of the most infamous incidents in puroresu history, Vader’s three-minute squash victory over an already beaten and battered Antonio Inoki – who hadn’t been beaten for two years at the time – caused such a tremendous riot from the Japanese fans that Ryugoku Sumo Hall banned the promotion.

It was around the same time that White was rebranded as Big Van Vader for the first time, working under a black mask that would later become synonymous with his in-ring persona. He would go on to become the first foreign IWGP Heavyweight Champion in history, winning the title three times and establishing himself as one of New Japan’s topmost heels in the late 80s and early 90s. At one point in his early run he actually toured to both Europe and Mexico winning world titles from various promotions, becoming the first man to ever hold three world titles on three separate continents, simultaneously.

Vader signed full-time with WCW in 1992 and wasted very little time feuding with the hottest babyface at the time, Sting, eventually defeating him to become WCW World Heavyweight Champion for the first time. While he had some exposure with the U.S. fans, particularly with the hardcore fans at the time that followed the Japanese wrestling scene, this was when his career really started to take off domestically.

Over the course of his historic career Leon White become one of the most globally decorated wrestlers the world has ever seen, holding AJPW’s Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship (2x), the IWGP Heavyweight Championship (3x) and the WCW World Heavyweight Championship (3x) among many other accolades and accomplishments.

The later part of White’s life was filled with medical issues, as previous injuries and some of his own personal demons began to catch up with him. After divorcing from his wife in 2007 he underwent a double knee replacement surgery, but an infection left him bedridden for nearly six months. No sooner had he gotten back on his feet, White blacked out during a plane ride to Japan and was left in a coma for more than a month.

In 2016 the big man was involved in a car accident, flipping his vehicle twice and according to a shoot interview he later recorded, was lucky to have escaped the crash with his life. While following up with doctors for things related to the accident, it was discovered that White had a congestive heart condition, and was given only two years to live. He underwent heart surgery earlier this year, and after several complications, came down sick with the pneumonia that would eventually take his life.

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This Week’s Schedule

Have an event you’d like us to add to our weekly schedule? Email [email protected] 

Monday, June 25

  • WWE UK Championship Tournament Night 1 | WWE Network
  • WWE Raw | USA | 8PM ET

Tuesday, June 26

  • WWE UK Championship Tournament Night 2 | WWE Network
  • WWE Smackdown Live | USA | 8PM ET
  • WWE 205 Live | WWE Network | 10:05PM ET

Wednesday, June 27

  • WWE NXT | WWE Network | 8PM ET
  • Lucha Underground | El Rey | 8PM ET

Thursday, June 28

  • Impact Wrestling | Pop TV | 8PM ET

Friday, June 29

  • NJPW on AXS | 8PM ET
  • ROH Best in the World | 9PM ET

Saturday, June 30

  • ROH Fairfax Excellent TV Taping | 7PM ET

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Creative Director
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Creative Director & Senior Editor of ProWrestling.com