As a professional wrestling fan that grew up watching WWE, the name “Big Show” was very relevant. In the late 90’s I watched him fight the likes of Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock on my TV screen. The man, whose real name is Paul Wight, Jr., is the only man to have held the World Wrestling Entertainment/Federation (WWF/E), World Championship Wrestling (WCW), and Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) World Champion titles on separate occasions, has held numerous other wrestling titles (WWE Intercontinental Championship, WWE Hardcore Title, WWE Tag Team Titles, etc.) and appeared in a couple of hit movies, such as Adam Sandler’s Waterboy and TV shows like MadTV and Nikelodeon’s Figure it Out.
What’s more, he’s 7 feet tall and weighs in at around 400 plus pounds. This might be one of the biggest events I might have covered for this site, and by that I don’t mean to say ‘big’ due to the enormous size of Mr. Paul Wight. It isn’t everyday that you get to interview one of these “larger than life” (in this case very literal) athletes from the WWE, after all.
So there we were at the Conrad Hotel, a group of people about to interview World Wrestling Entertainment’s largest athlete, Big Show. He was here in Manila to promote WWE’s live event at the SM Mall of Asia Arena on September 9, 2016. It was pretty nerve-wracking for me as we were about to enter the interview room with fellow friends from the media. We entered this interview room where Big Show welcomed us as he sat in his self-proclaimed “Star Trek Enterprise Chair”.
While I was still nervous, I was at least made slightly at ease by the giant man who had a great sense of humor. Everyone sat down near the WWE Superstar and we started to talk to him about various topics, which included his views on the current state of WWE, WWE’s Chairman Vince McMahon, Triple H, and other things.
On The Current Crop of Wrestlers in the WWE Roster and thoughts on the “New Era” of the WWE
“I’ve worked in the Attitude Era, InVasion, brand splits and now this is the New Era. It’s an exciting time. I think this is one of, probably since the late 90’s, the best crop of talent of new [WWE] superstars that we have. There’s a lot of talent in NXT coming up. The Women’s division is amazing, the ones from NXT that have been added to the main roster. Charlotte, Becky, Sasha, and others changed the entire women’s division. It’s not the Diva’s division anymore, it’s the Women’s Division and they should be taken seriously.” – Big Show on WWE’s New Era
Outside his views on the current “New Era” of the WWE, he told us about last week’s brand split. The two different shows/brands, namely RAW and Smackdown Live, now have distinct and exclusive lineup of WWE Superstars. Big Show said that there will also be dedicated writing teams for each show/brand and will be a platform for new and current WWE Superstars to have better on-air story lines.
He also talked about young talents in the WWE such as Baron Corbin and the duo of Enzo and Big Cass (Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady). Baron Corbin, the winner of the 2016 Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal in this year’s Wrestlemania, is a favorite of Big Show. He admitted that Corbin may be “a bit ‘green’ (slang for “new” or “inexperienced”), but he does little things that seasoned guys know already. If you’ve been in the [pro wrestling] business or if you understand it just watch the kid [Corbin] move and you’ll know what I’m talking about.” Big Show said that he looks forward to see what Enzo and Big Cass would bring to the table in the near future. Big Show said that the WWE is currently creating a “broader spectrum of entertainment option” and it could be seen with the rise of the Women’s Division, the re-establishment of the Cruiserweight Division, and recruiting talents from around the world.
Age as a factor in the realm of professional wrestling
After being asked if age is a factor in the professional wrestling industry, he said that the biggest problem of being an older worker in the industry is the amount of years the performers have been in the ring and how much it has taken a toll on their bodies. Big Show pointed out that it’s not just during the television tapings that most WWE talent perform but they still work 4-5 nights a week and when a talent does that for a good couple of decades, their body will eventually start to feel the aches and pains. Big Show joked that he sounds like a box of crispy treats when he wakes up and gets out of his bed in the morning due to being in the business for the past 20 years. For Big Show, age isn’t a factor in the pro wrestling business. He said that age might critical in Hollywood, but the pro wrestling business is “open to whatever the angle is and whoever pulls off the interview the best gets the opportunity.”
On Staying “In-Ring” Shape For the Past 20 Years
Big Show joked that he does not have to do a lot in the ring since he had only 3 moves (chop, choke slam, and his patented Knock Out Punch) in his arsenal. Big Show noted his various injuries and surgeries in the past few years and said that the biggest thing is the eventual “wear and tear” of his body after performing for 20 plus years. He described his workout routine as “Motion is Lotion” that includes of a lot of swimming, biking, and a workout that is mostly “rep conscious”.
On Vince McMahon
When asked what he’d do if he was WWE Chairman Vince McMahon for a day, Big Show joked that he’d check himself into therapy. The WWE Superstar said that Vince is like a father to Big Show “in the respect that he challenges you, he pushes you, he will piss you off…but at the end of the day, yes, it will work out for the WWE. It will work out for the WWE Universe (WWE fans).” Big Show said that Vince challenged him to be a better WWE Superstar, businessman, and even a better husband and father.
In his opinion, Vince McMahon is a brilliant man. He said there’s no doubt that Vince may be crazy, but there’s that little eccentricities that billionaires have. Big Show said that if he was a billionaire, he’d “always have a midget playing the violin around me…wherever I went.”
He said that Vince is a great visionary and “has an ability to understand human emotion, human psychology, and the pulse, basically, of…when to change the [professional wrestling] business and modify the business to the current turn.” Big Show said Vince is creative in many things and there were a lot of instances where Vince McMahon’s ideas would sound off the wall or farfetched initially, but would work 6 months down the line. Big Show attributed McMahon’s creativeness as to why WWE is where it’s currently stationed at, as a global powerhouse of a brand.
Big Show added that Vince McMahon is “far ahead of the curve” because he has never held anyone back because of their size, race, gender or sexual orientation. What matters to McMahon is how someone conducts himself/herself as an athlete, how someone conducts himself/herself in the ring as a WWE superstar, and how they accomplish the goal that has been put out to them.
On Paul Levesque (“Triple H”)
Big Show told us that WWE Executive and Talent Paul Levesque (a.k.a. Triple H) is a “real student of the business.” He added that Triple H is currently “in a position of building future generations with what he’s doing in NXT (Author’s note: NXT WWE’s developmental league for their up and coming wrestlers) and some of the things he’s even doing with independent [wrestling] companies that are not part of the WWE.” He said that Triple H is currently helping a lot of independent wrestling promotions to help them build brand recognition/reputation in their area so wrestlers in those promotions will know that they are being scouted to be the next WWE or NXT Superstars.
Big Show stated that “what Paul (Triple H) is doing is that he’s trying to build an industry where the Sports Entertainment athlete protected on all grounds.” Big Show said Triple H is doing that with the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, that houses a lot of technical staff and equipment that can train any current or up and coming pro wrestler.
Big Show on his preference of being a Babyface (Good Guy) or a Heel (Bad Guy) and his many ‘turns’
Asked if he preferred working as a babyface (pro wrestling term for ‘good guy’) or heel (‘bad guy’), Big Show chose ‘heel’. He said that it was easier for him to be hated by the crowd and could deliver the ‘David and Goliath’ story much better as a bad guy. He added that it’s harder for a person of his stature to get sympathy when he’s being ‘beaten up’ inside the ring.
He acknowledge his many ‘turns’ from being a good guy to bad guy, and vice versa in the past 2 decades. He joked to us that his character is basically a ‘schizophrenic’ due to his many turns. Big Show said that it proved that he was a versatile role player for being good at being both heel or babyface that when a new good guy comes, they’d stick him into a program with them to be the bad guy (even though at that junction, Big Show just recently turned into a good guy, as he joked to us). Big Show shared a story wherein he fought John Cena in a match as the bad guy, but he had to fight CM Punk a couple of days later as a good guy.
“Not being funny but I’m glad that whatever role I needed to do in those 21 years, I can go out right now, I can tear up, I can be a heel, I can be a babyface, go out smile, wave and shake my butt and be a big friendly happy giant, just depends on whatever needs to be done. So, I’m thankful for my versatility. It has given me a longer…and definitely exciting career.”
Big Show answered some fun questions such as who he’d pick in a battle that would pit Superman and Son Goku. Big Show didn’t hide his fandom for the Man of Steel and picked Superman. Speaking of people who are ‘BIG’ fans of Superman, the topic of Big Show vs Shaquille O’Neal for next year’s Wrestlemania was brought up. This marquee matchup was made a few weeks ago when the two big men had a ‘confrontation’ at this year’s ESPY awards. Big Show joked that his Wrestlemania match with Shaq will be a “Free Throw Shooting Contest”. Big Show felt that he will win the contest after disclosing that he was a 90% shooter from the free throw line. We wrapped up the session with Big Show reminding us of the WWE Live event on September 9, 2016 at the Mall of Asia Arena. He recalled the last time he was with the WWE in Manila (back in 2006) and how wild the fans were. He said that the WWE crew will put on a great show in September for the WWE fans in the Philippines. After the interview, we all had a chance to get a signed picture from Big Show and even have a couple of pictures with the WWE Superstar himself.
All in all, it was a very fun-filled interview with someone who we can literally say is a “larger than life” athlete. We would like to thank Big Show for dropping by Manila to have a chat with us at the Conrad Hotel. Special thanks go out to the people of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and Monsters Centaur Productions for inviting us to this small press gathering for one of WWE’s biggest athlete. As a big WWE fan, this was one ‘mark out moment’ for sure. That said, I am so ready for September 9th when the rest of the WWE crew drop by at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Photos by: Hub Pacheco