Paul Wight, aka The Big Show broke on to the scene when a wrestler’s win/loss record mattered. The likes of Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels were known for refusing to do the favor for some of their peers while Hulk Hogan’s and Ric Flair’s political play has been credited as a factor in the demise of WCW.
Imagine what Stone Cold’s response would be if he read his character would be scripted to beg to keep his job instead of stunning his bosses. Would Ric Flair’s ego take his manhood openly being questioned live on television? Would Hulk Hogan’s pride allow himself to be beaten by two celebrities just for the sake of a big pay day?
Wight never has and never would claim to be as big a name as any of those above yet may be more business smart then any of them. Wight has been sensible enough to pick his moments when to speak up, understanding how the business works, never letting his ego dictate his judgement.
While many called Big Show the worst babyface of 2013 he had enough foresight to know if he was humiliated enough by the Authority he naturally, as the babyface would get the last laugh. When he finally knocked out HHH he received a pop many thought not possible in the twilight of his career, earning him a WWE title shot at Survivor Series, quite an achievement for someone aged 41. Bearing in mind before Mark Henry’s injury the plan was to throw Show and the World’s Strongest Man into a mid-card tag team it’s fair to say Show has maximized his potential in the last 12 months. This is nothing new.
Due to his height WCW pushed Wight from the off, building him as the modern day Andre the Giant. Wight then known as The Giant beat Hulk Hogan by disqualification for the WCW title on his debut, holding this for a week! However soon Wight became a victim to veterans desperately clinging on to their spots. Although Wight would have been being paid well for someone in the higher mid card spot, the WCW main event scene was difficult to break into. This was where Wight would take the biggest gamble of his career, allowing his contract to expire, leaving WCW.
When he signed for WWE, he was big enough to hold up his hands and admit that Stone Cold and the Rock deserved to be the faces of the industry with him as part of the supporting cast.
Soon after management found he was guilty of many of the complacent flaws he had accused his ex-co-workers of possessing. Earning guaranteed money with no character development Wight stopped looking after himself physically. When asked to lose weight, instead of throwing his toys out of the pram like others may have done Wight was smart enough to realize that Vince McMahon might be someone worth listening to.
Now competing as Big Show, he accepted any scraps the company were willing to give him; Tag title reigns with numerous partners, US title reigns, Hardcore title reigns, Intercontinental reigns or ECW reigns. What some may of thought beneath him, Show was going to make them work for him. In essence Show became a ‘Yes Man’, the ultimate company man, someone they could rely on who would put up little fuss. Whether it was to play a monster heel for a few months or someone to enhance the younger talent, Show excelled at it. As recent as 2012 Show was credited for giving Sheamus the best matches of his career when he became World Champion.
At the 2014 Royal Rumble Big Show will face Brock Lesnar with the sole objective of making him look as bad and dangerous as possible. He is someone WWE can trust for the role, someone who doesn’t mind a convincing defeat. Some may judge Show but having a high profile match is better than making up the numbers in the Royal Rumble match. Indeed Show has played it so smart that at Survivor Series and the Royal Rumble (two of the WWE’s big 4 PPVs) he has taken part in big matches without even having to wrestle frequently on television.
While Ric Flair would have never allowed a boxer to come into his world to knock him out, it is the Nature Boy who has no choice but to still wrestle at the age of 64. While Hulk Hogan would never agree to dress up as a sumo wrestler there’s a reason he was contracted to TNA for years, he has made some costly life choices!
So while Paul Wight will never be remembered as the greatest technical wrestler, the most entertaining or the most loved there is no denying he ran with every opportunity and is perhaps one of the smartest men in the business.