Comparison Series: Vader
The series is back with another person that had waited till later on in his career and maybe was a little bit past his prime. Steve Williams would debut in WWE in late 1997 as a member of the failure of a Brawl for it All. Around a year before that another legendary figure from Japan would finally make the jump to the WWE this time from WCW. At first Vader's career really struggled to take off in America and really didn't find his place in wrestling until he got the chance to go to Japan. In Japan, Vader would become a top box office draw and would eventually move back to America to join WCW and would spend the later half of his prime as a box office draw in WCW.
Even though WCW prior to the arrival of Hulk Hogan didn't have the same type of notoriety as they would, but Vader was one of the top stars in the pre-Hogan WCW. Around the time of Hogan's arrival it was when Vader run in WCW was winding down. The reality is at the time a five year run in one place was still extremely rare especially with Vader staying as a heel for his entire run in WCW. Vader would leave WCW in late summer 1995 prior to the start of Monday Nitro and would eventually sign with WWE.
Vader would debut as a member of the Royal Rumble and would then attack President Monsoon the next night on Raw which was rare at the time, because nobody laid hands on Gorilla Monsoon. Vader at the time needed surgery so they needed to write him off for a time which was unfortunate, but something that needed to be done at the time. A lot has been made over the years out of the eventual feud between Vader and Shawn Michaels and I will not dig deep into this part of Vader's career. Overall Vader's career in WWE would hit a wall after an incident in Kuwait due to getting arrested for beating up a news reporter who asked if wrestling was fake. Even though at the time in 1998, Vader was approaching the twilight of his career as he was in his early 40's, his body was wearing down, and had experienced weight gain.
In my opinion, Vader was a victim of circumstance from the very start of his stint in WWE and if his run started a little differently. I'm not sure if they knew about Vader's need for surgery from the start of his signing with the company then I wonder exactly why they didn't chose to hold off his debut until after his needed surgery was completed. Vader was out of his prime by the time he moved to WWE and in reality his in ring style didn't really fit the WWE style, because he was more snug in the ring. I do think that there was still drawing power for Vader early on in his run with WWE, but the mystique would've disappeared eventually anyway. I just don't think it would've happened as quick had they held off his debut or done things a little differently from the start, I just don't know how Vince didn't see money in Vader and did with some of his other experiments at the time.
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