One of WCW’s biggest acquisitions was the signing of Japan wrestling star Big Van Vader. Having had a shining career in NJPW where he defeated
Shinya Hashimoto to become the IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Vader also had a great run in Germany’s CWA, where he won the CWA World Heavyweight Championship by defeating Otto Wanz. Vader would travel between Germany and Japan to defend both titles. In November of 1989, Vader traveled to Mexico where he defeated El Canek to become the UWA World Heavyweight Champion, becoming the first and only man to hold three world heavyweight championships in three continents at the same time.
When Vader debuted in WCW, he was still the IWGP Heavyweight Champion, working for both WCW and NJPW. In July of 1990, Big Van Vader debuted at The Great American Bash, defeating Tom Zenk in a very quick bout.
Although used sparingly until 1992 when he officially signed with the company, it didn’t take long for Big Van Vader to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship, defeating Sting at The Great American Bash after two years with the company.