Ray Traylor was working as a prison guard in his hometown of Cobb County, Ga., when he finally realized his dream of competing as a professional wrestler.
Traylor, who made his in-ring debut in 1984, competed in independing promotions throughout Georgia and the southeastern United States. He made the big time just two years later, entering the National Wrestling Alliance as Big Bubba Rogers, the silent but brutish bodyguard whose sole job was to protect Jim Cornette and the Midnight Express tag team.
Traylor's true calling came in 1988, when he debuted in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)) as the Big Bossman, a brutish former prison guard from the Georgia penal system. Donned in a prison guard uniform and armed with a lawman's nightstick, Big Bossman quickly proved himself to WWF promoters and would soon find his way into main events.
His most memorable feud came in 1989 vs. Hulk Hogan, with the most famous match an encounter on Saturday Night's Main Event. The May 1989 match, from Des Moines, Iowa, featured both Hogan and Big Bossman taking the hard effects of a superplex from the top of a steel cage.
Bossman feuded with several of the WWF's top stars throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s. Few would forget his feud with The Mountie (Jacques Rougeau Jr.), which culminated in a "Jailhouse Match" at SummerSlam 1991 (Bossman won, requiring the loud-mouthed Mountie to spend the night in jail).
Traylor jumped to World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in 1993 to compete as The Boss and Big Bubba Rogers, but would return to WWF, where he competed once again as the Big Bossman from 1998 to 2002.
Throughout his career, Traylor made numerous appearances at schools and youth functions, often in his Big Bossman character, teaching them about virtues such as staying in school and saying "no" to drugs.
Fans of the Big Bossman truly had reason to mourn when they learned of Traylor's death on Sept. 22, 2004, of an apparent heart attack. He was just 42 years old, and left behind his wife, Angie, and two young daughters.