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RIP, King Kong Bundy

WWE is saddened to learn that WWE Legend King Kong Bundy has passed away.

Bundy was appropriately called the “walking condominium,” standing at an impressive 6-foot-4 and weighing 458 pounds. The sight of Bundy stepping between the ropes was intimidating enough, but his crushing offense proved that he was every bit as destructive as advertised. In fact, Bundy was so dominant that he demanded referees count to five when he pinned his opponents to show that there was no way they were getting up.

The Atlantic City, N.J., native broke into WWE in the 1980s, dominating at the first WrestleMania and memorably challenging Hulk Hogan for the WWE Championship inside a Steel Cage at WrestleMania 2.

Although Bundy left WWE in the late ’80s, he returned in 1994 as part of The Million Dollar Corporation, once again destroying rivals with the Avalanche Splash and proving that he was one of the greatest and most eye-catching big men to lace up a set of boots.

WWE extends its condolences to Bundy’s family, friends and fans.

First Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, and now this.

I’m sure Robbie Fox or someone else more qualified than me will be along later to pay better tribute to King Kong Bundy than I ever could. But as someone who led a group of guys to the old Boston Garden to watch the first Wrestlemania on CCTV, witnessing (practically) live Bundy’s dominating, 17-second takedown of Special Delivery Jones in one of the undercard bouts, I couldn’t let a moment like his passing go without expressing the condolences of an old school WWF fan.

Simply put, I can relate to what my female friends in their 30s are going through right now, because King Kong Bundy was my generation’s Luke Perry.  A universally beloved icon who was still performing right up until his untimely passing:

And gawdamighty, what a performer he was. The only person to ever to wrestle Hulk Hogan at one Wrestlemania and the Undertaker at another. He also once broke Andre the Giant’s sternum in one of the few bouts where he was not the biggest human being in the ring. He fought under such luminaries as Jimmy Hart, Bobby the Brain and The Million Dollar Man. Teamed up with Big John Studd to face Hulk and Andre, arguably the most star-studded tag team bout of all time. And later fought with The One Man Gang against Don Muraco and The Ultimate Warrior. In short, you couldn’t be somebody during what to me was the sport’s Golden Age unless you wrestled against or alongside King Kong Bundy. It’s a cliche, but in this case it is very much true: His kind will pass this way but once.

RIP, sweet king.