The 2022 WWE Hall of Fame Class officially has its second inductee, and it’s the global pro wrestling legend known as Vader (Leon White) as confirmed by Bleacher Report.
Only those who aren’t aware of Vader’s entire career and the impact he had around the world could question this induction, since a vast majority of his Internation accomplishments took place before he even arrived in WWE in 1996. Vader actually debuted in 1985 in the AWA, using the names “Baby Bull” and later “Bull Power.” His first real impact in pro wrestling was when he debuted as “Big Van Vader” in New Japan Pro Wrestling, defeating the iconic Antonio Inoki in his debut match.
American fans may remember first seeing the Big Van Vader persona in WCW in 1990, where he had a spectacular presentation with his trademark smoking helmet, but due to his commitments to New Japan, Vader didn’t move past mid-card matches during his initial WCW run. In 1992, Vader was able to work full-time in WCW, and won his first WCW Title from Sting in dominant fashion at that year’s Great American Bash. While his first reign ended less than 2 months later, his loss to Ron Simmons produced one of the most memorable moments in pro wrestling history, and Vader had the title back just a few months later.
Vader was a main eventer in WCW for the rest of his run from 1992 to 1995, and by the time he left the company, he was a prime target to bring over to WWE. Vader in WWE was new and fresh with plenty of new opponents, it seemed like only a matter of time before he won the WWE Championship and had another dominant run. Sadly, that run never came as Vader didn’t seem to mesh in the company in the way he did in WCW and the International companies, although Vader was still a big presence who had memorable matches against the likes of Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Ken Shamrock, and Yokozuna.
After Vader left WWE in 1998, Vader continued to wrestle around the world, making appearances in TNA, All Japan, Pro Wrestling NOAH, and even numerous returns to WWE over the years. Vader had expressed his desire to go into the WWE Hall of Fame and had the support of many of his peers, but unfortunately, it didn’t happen before his untimely death in 2018. But now, it is officially “Vader Time” as the legend will join The Undertaker as part of the 2022 class; as far as Vader’s inductor, his longtime rival and the man Vader inducted into the Hall of Fame, Stan Hansen, seems to be an option, but Mick Foley who lobbied for Vader’s induction seems like a frontrunner if we had to make a guess.