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WWE Profiles Vader: Talks 'Demons'

Former WCW World Heavyweight Champion Big Van Vader is profiled in the latest edition of "Where Are They Now?" on WWE.com. "The Man They Call Vader" discusses his meteoric rise in the professional wrestling industry, "the demons" that brought him down and the way he got back on his feet.

Towards the conclusion of his successful run with WCW, Vader, who's real name is Leon White, began struggling with bad personal habits.

"I drank way too much. I was in a lot of pain with my knees and my back and my shoulders and started taking way too many pain pills," he said.

Following runs in WWE and Japan, "everything caught up with him" at the turn of the century.

"It got to the point where I physically couldn't get on a plane and go do it anymore," White said. "It didn't matter what I took, didn't matter how much alcohol I drank — I was just physically unable to continue."

The article then states: "It has been said that an addict must hit rock bottom before they can begin to recover. For Vader, that moment came in 2007 when he returned to his beautiful house in Colorado, which was now empty. His wife had left him."

"That was the low part of my life," he said. "At that point I realized something had to change. Either I had to get busy dying or get busy living."

After quitting his "ill habits cold turkey," Vader underwent double knee replacement, which became infected and forced him into bed for six months. He then attempted to take a trip to Japan for an autograph signing and went unconscious on the plane. The former champion was in a coma for 30 days. When he awoke, he had lost 112 pounds and struggled to walk and talk again. Vader says this was the moment of his rebirth.

"Did I really think that after misbehaving for so many years that I was just going to quit and go through a couple of weeks of misery and be done with it and be healthy and happy?" Vader said. "For me, that didn't make sense. If you want to get your life back this is what you have to do."

After returning to Colorado following his coma, he was put in touch with the Wounded Warriors Alliance. Though designed for military veterans, the group heard his story and recognized him as a wounded warrior. He was invited to attend a program at their ranch in Pueblo West, Colorado. He says the experience changed his life.

"These beautiful people allowed me to come into their program and they taught me how to give my testimony — that's what has value," he said.

Since completing their course, he has become a motivational speaker and a counselor with the faith-based group.

"These guys may have one arm or one leg, may have been shot in the shoulder or the chest two or three times," White said. "What I do with these kids is I stand up in front of them and tell them that throughout my career, I've had 45 surgeries to date, I've had 19 concussions, I've had both knees replaced, I've actually been in a coma for 33 days in Japan.

"If this old man can do what he did and come out on the other side and actually be here tonight," he added, "then what can someone do at 23 with their whole life ahead of them?"

Source: http://www.wrestlinginc.com/wi/news/2011/0525/539978/

posted on 26/5/11

Japen love brash in your face wrestling and thats what Vader and Albert were all about.

There was I Talking to you with the previous comments on this thread thinking you might not know much and that you were new. Its weird how you get a perception of people straight away

posted on 26/5/11

Yeah, it's the name, throws people off. That's the thing about new forums.

I'm glad MVP had the balls to go to Japan and make something of himself. I hated his gimmick in the 'E yet, his character in TNA had some substance. Another 'pop culture' signing by Vince.

It's amazing how underutilized people like Vader and Albert were. They were legitimate monsters and could easily get over as main event heel.

posted on 26/5/11

That's why I hope CM Punk doesn't sign and makes it somewhere else maybe go back to ROH or Japan. He would be wasted in TNA also.

I think once MVP has established himself in Japan he'll be back in the e without a doubt, that's all wwe are about these days bringing in the latest hottest property instead of making their own stars.

posted on 26/5/11

Punk is seriously wasted in the 'E. It's such a poor effort creatively to see what they have done with the Nexu. It had the potential to be huge on a NWO scale. You could've added Ziggler to the mix to give it more 'main event' credibility but now Punk is like a lamb to the slaughter.

He'll go and end up back in ROH with any luck. I just hope he doesn't go to TNA.

posted on 26/5/11

Ziggler has gone back to blond whats up with that.

I bet it's all because Punk doesn't fall in line like the ortons and cenas, I'd go as far to say he's his own man to some degree because he knows he's that dam good and wwe dont like it.

The Ortons and Cenas know they cant survive in a non wwe enviroment - Punk knows he can

posted on 26/5/11

His run at the moment is down to his contract issues. Vince has previous for burying people who refuse to sign new contracts. Just look at Batista's feud with Cena for how far he will go.

Didn't know Ziggles had gone back to blond, good move though, he looked like a generic wrestler.

posted on 26/5/11

He's on a 13 month ppv losing streak im not sure if his contract issues would go back as far as that I may be wrong only they will know.

Im well aware what wwe/Vince is like just look at the send off Lita got also. Over the last 20 years I bet if we really thought about it there be a big number of people that got a send off like that.

posted on 26/5/11

By demons, he's referring to the WWF booking team right?

Everywhere he went he was a star, and WWF c0cked that up!

comment by (U5529)

posted on 27/5/11

WWF always had an issue about his weight - ignoring that, even though he was a bit bulky, he was still a top notch worker. So there's no chance they'll sign (and ruin) Kevin Steen anytime soon.

As a sidenote, his son Jesse White began his wrestling career in Japan last year, and has been signed by WWE. He's about 150lbs lighter than his father...

posted on 12/5/16


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