WWE News

Bronson Reed Recalls Nixed Vader Tribute

Bronson Reed & Vader

Bronson Reed has revealed that he planned a tribute to Vader while in NXT but plans were changed.

On March 7th it was announced that Vader is going to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2022.

The Mastodon competed in WWE between 1996 and 1998 and made sporadic appearances for the company over the following years.

Vader is perhaps best known for his years in the ring as part of WCW, New Japan Pro Wrestling, and All Japan Pro Wrestling where, as Big Van Vader, the 400-plus pound star dominated his opponents.

His success in Japan was unparalleled for a foreign star in the country at the time as he became the first foreign star to become IWGP Heavyweight Champion – a title he would hold three times over the course of his career.

One man who is hoping to emulate the success of Vader is modern-day big-man JONAH. The IMPACT Wrestling star, who was known as Bronson Reed in WWE, is a big fan of the soon-to-be Hall of Famer, as well as another former WWE star, Bam Bam Bigelow.

While in NXT, Reed paid tribute to Bigelow during one of his entrances, something he also wanted to do for Vader. Speaking to Sami Callihan on the Callihan Uncensored, podcast, the star revealed that the tribute, including a genuine Vader mask, was good to go, before being nixed a few weeks later.

“So no spoilers but, I am working on something of that same vein. If you watched my time in NXT, I did a tribute to Bam Bam Bigelow with the flames and stuff… and that’s still what I do now. But on Halloween Havoc, I was supposed to do a tribute to Vader. Right behind me is an actual Vader mask that his son sent me to wear. I was gonna wear that, and someone in NXT knew the whereabouts of the big helmet. I was ready to do it, but they nixed it a few weeks later,”

JONAH signed with WWE in January 2019, appearing in NXT. During his time with the black and gold brand he captured the North American Championship. However, a call-up to the main roster never came and he was released in August 2021.

Following his departure, the star dropped the Bronson Reed name and headed to New Japan Pro Wrestling and IMPACT Wrestling.

H/t to Fightful for the transcription.