WWE star Big Show on wrestling Shaq, retirement and the Philippines

Ryan Songalia

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WWE star Big Show on wrestling Shaq, retirement and the Philippines
What's left for Big Show to do? Wrestle Shaq, it seems. 'The World's Largest Athlete speaks to Rappler about his WrestleMania 33 dream match, wrestling in Manila and more

MANILA, Philippines – There isn’t much that Big Show hasn’t done so far in his two decades as a pro wrestler. The WWE star has held the the company’s world title many times over, switched between being a babyface (good guy) and heel (bad guy) whenever the boss saw fit, and lived up to his billing as ‘The World’s Largest Athlete.’

The only thing he has yet to do, it seems, is wrestle Shaquille O’Neal. And why would he want to wrestle the retired NBA legend next year at WrestleMania 33?

“That whole thing with Shaq is, it’s a why not,” Big Show, whose real name is Paul Wight, tells Rappler during a visit to the Philippines on Tuesday, July 26. 

The match between the two 7-footers had been building since they faced off at the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at this year’s WrestleMania, and then was revisited when the two met up at the ESPY Awards earlier in July. For a man who has been larger than life since he was a teenager, this would be one of the last spectacles left to stage.

We’re excited about it. Shaq’s always been a big fan, he’s always been a great guy that always comes around and done a lot of stuff for our shows. For him to get in the ring and go through some stuff, that’s going to be interesting. Because I’m big enough to move him around. So we’ll have some fun.”

But would a showdown with the 4-time NBA champion be his final match?

“I don’t know if it’ll be my last match ever. Never say never but I don’t know what more I can do,” said Big Show.

“As far as for me, I’ve been fortunate enough in this career that I’ve kind of worked everybody that’s anybody. I’ve done all the angles from being angry, to being sad to being fired, to everything. I’m happy with not having that big a dominant role on TV. I’m happy with doing the live events every now and again when I can, tours like this.

“It’s still fun. For me personally, I’m always whatever Vince needs. If he needs me to turn heel tomorrow and run against whoever, I’ll do it. 

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Big Show’s time away from the spotlight as of late has been helpful, the 44-year-old says, allowing him time to rehab hip and knee injuries, as well as pursue movie roles (he’s growing his beard out in hopes of securing a new part), and says he feels better now than he did when he was 34.

“If Vince [McMahon] finds out how good I’m feeling, that just means he’ll put my big ass back to work,” says Big Show with a laugh.

Big Show, who will return to the Philippines on Friday, September 9 for WWE Live Manila at Mall of Asia Arena – the WWE’s first show in the country since 2009, has fond memories of wrestling in the country back in 2006, saying he looks forward to performing in front of another hot crowd.

“I remember the last time we came here, the fans were insane. Outside the hotels chanting, the arenas were hot, the crowd’s good. That’s one thing you look for. You want to perform in front of crowds that get it, that come there to be entertained,” says Big Show.

“The food over here is pretty damn good. There’s the [jeepneys], you know I don’t fit in them. I can strap one to my foot, or use it like a skateboard. Or use it for a bodysurfing board.”

If Big Show had his way, who would be his final ever opponent?

“My last match if I could pick…it would either be Triple H or John Cena. One of those two guys would be my last.

Or [Undertaker]. Taker would be good but I don’t want to fight Taker at Mania. You don’t ever do well against Taker at Mania. I like Hunter’s record at Mania better, he’s lost a lot like me so. I think I got like a reverse Undertaker thing going for a while until I said something and they were like “My God, he’s like 0-10. We better let him win one.”

Whenever he does decide to hang up his singlet, don’t expect a drawn-out farewell tour.

“When I retire I will probably never do a big fanfare. I’m like Clint Eastwood in Pale Rider, I’ll just ride off into the sunset. That’s more who I am as a person.” – Rappler.com


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