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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Too Big To Be Taken For Granted
August 5, 2005 by Dave Hanson


As long as there has been pro wrestling, there has been constant debate about who is and is not getting their due. Especially now, when the WWE is, despite up-and-coming promotions like TNA and Ring of Honor, the only game in town and packed with all most too much talent to use any of it to its fullest potential, there is much talk about which wrestlers are being underused, overused, or out-and-out buried. However, there is one wrestler who I feel is not just being underused...he is being simply overlooked, and taken for granted. He is a man who most people forget about completely when he's not out there in the ring, and a man no one ever mentions when discussing the best in the business today. However, he is a versatile, talented performer who brings more things to the table than anyone stops to think about. This man is none other than Paul Wight, better known to wrestling fans as the Big Show.

Paul Wight came to pro wrestling after playing basketball at Wichita State--we'll assume he played center. And, like Robert Horry of the current NBA World Champion San Antonio Spurs, he can be looked upon as a role player who brings all sorts of things to the table that don't show up on stat sheets or scorecards. And, like Robert Horry, he has attained multiple world championships in his long career, and yet no one ever mentions him as one of the great ones in the business today.

It is a very subtle art to be a talented and memorable "big man" in the world of professional wrestling. I am always the first to point out that Vince tends to go overboard with his "big invincible crazy guy" characters, and that he should probably cut back on those kinds of wrestlers. But it is for exactly that reason that Big Show should be appreciated as the great talent that he truly is. When his career is over, his name should be right up there with the likes of Andre the Giant, Big John Studd, Vader, and Yokozuna as the most talented big men in the history of the business, if not more so--for Big Show has something that none of those men ever had--versatility. He has the ability to be any different character you can imagine, and can be used in any number of situations. He can be the big scary psychotic heel, as he was when he was managed by Paul Heyman when Big Show feuded with Brock Lesnar for the WWE title. He can be the big, lovable hero saving the damsel in distress as he was when he saved Michelle McCool from Rene Dupree and Dawn Marie. He can be a man of honor, which was the angle WWE used to build up his "sumo match" with the legendary sumo champion Akebono at WrestleMania 21--the list goes on, from comedy to drama, Big Show has the most range of any big man in the history of professional wrestling, and yet he is not only sorely underused, but completely taken for granted.

Wight's first exposure in the wrestling business came in WCW , where he wrestled under the name of "The Giant." Almost immediately upon entering the promotion, Wight defeated Hulk Hogan to win the World Heavyweight Championship. WCW can be counted among the people who had no concept of Wight's talent, using him solely as "muscle," or as a "big scary villain."

However, Vince McMahon must have seen some sort of potential in Wight, signing him away to the WWE in 1999, where he has remained ever since, wrestling under the new name of The Big Show and winning every title WWE has to offer (including the now-retired Hardcore Belt) save for the Intercontinental and Women's Titles. Still, more often than not, Big Show finds himself in long stretches where the creative department doesn't seem to know what to do with him. At one point in 2000, he went through a stretch where he was trying to prove he was a "nice guy," so every week he came out in a different goofy gimmick, parodying some other wrestler. Another angle had him partnering with Billy Gunn, where Big Show would annoy Billy by saying things like, "We can call ourselves Showgunn!! You know, cause I'm the Big SHOW, and you're Billy GUNN!" Billy Gunn found more success as the homoerotic tag team partner of Chuck Palumbo.

And now, Big Show finds himself traded over to the RAW roster from Smackdown! as of last month, and as of this writing, appears to be starting up a feud with Chris Masters. In fact, the segment on a recent RAW where Big Show came out to challenge Masters is a perfect example of what Show brings to the table; he actually got the crowd to cheer during a Chris Masters segment. Big Show is always good for a big pop from the crowd; Masters was blathering on about how "it doesn't matter how big you are, NOBODY can break the Master-lock!!" and all it took was the familiar "WEEEEEEeeellllll..." that starts off the Big Show's bluesy entrance music to get the crowd roaring to see Masters get squashed by the seven foot tall, nearly five hundred pound Big Show. That's what's great about him. Anytime someone is billed as having a "mystery tag team partner," or a "mystery opponent," or if some babyface is stuck without a partner, more often and not it means that Big Show is coming, because all it takes is that first note of Big Show's entrance music to get the crowd roaring, and put fear onto the faces of the bad guys.

I will give credit where credit is due-WWE tapped into far more of Big Show's talent than WCW did...but the fact remains that every time I see him on-screen, I still feel that there is so much more that he could be doing. Of course, what can the WWE do" They bought out every other major wrestling company, so all the talent is stuck under one roof, all needing TV time. The list of underused or misused wrestlers is quite long-Chris Benoit, Booker T, Rob Van Dam, Chris Jericho, Tajiri, to name a few others-so until another major promotion comes along with a large wallet and promises of better opportunities, it looks like Big Show and the other poor misused talents are stuck where they are for the time being. But for now, Big Show should know he has at least one fan who recognizes all the things he brings to the table.

by Dave Hanson ..


L. Biggins wrote:
It's good to see another person who shares my appreciation for the big man. I think Paul Wight is a superb performer. He can intimidate you, he can make you laugh and he can make you absolutely loathe him. Long live the grandest show on earth : The Big Show!
LanceCrucifix wrote:
Pretty good column man, it was a good read. I agree that Big Show is under used, but at the same, Big Show is highly over rated. I give the guy props, a five hundred pounder, shouldn't be takeing a superplex, but I've also seen Big show do a nice standing drop kikc, and actually get some air. But when it comes to Big show, he can never be used properly. Big Show will always and forever be a transitioner, if he's in a feud most likely he is gonna put the other guy over, if he has a title, it's just so that he can get the title some image before he drops it to another guy. So in all, I agree Big show should be used better, but everyone knows Big Show will always be the guy to put another guy over.
John Nelson wrote:
Great remarks about Show, I think WWE is using him badly also and he does have some versatility. I love Show for the reason that -he looks like a pro wrestler- I was out of the WWE for a while in the 90s and when I would occasionally pay attention everyone honestly looked like some long haired rockstar, no one who I saw had anything that set them apart and I didn't pay much attention because of that. The gimmicks and characters like Junkyard Dog, Roddy Piper, Big Boss Man and yes the original Giant, Andre. Everyone in the late ninties was the arofementioned rockstar looking wrestler or Stonecold, or they were just a bunch of pretty boys who I could EASILY lose in a crowd. Something also told me that no huge superbeast like Andre lurked in the shadows either and if he did, I would have seen him by now. I was wrong until sometime around the summer of 2002 I first saw the Big Show and Oh my God I thought someone that huge is around and I bet he's a dominator. Granted at the time, he was a lathargic whale but he existed!! I love Show because while you may not have seen highflying antics like the Hardies or straight wrestling like Angle or Benjamin, he still did things like being able to toss some poor schmoe from one side of the ring to the other with almost no effort at all, you can't see little guys do that. No Way Out in 05 where he through JBL THROUGH the floor off the top rope, yes it was scripted but is you saw someone like Benoit or Guerrero do that, would you have BELIEVED IT"! How about the "Superplex heard round the world" in June of 2003" Tell me that would have worked with anyone else and seeing the crowd go wild and Tazz letting out a swear wasn't anything out of the ordinary. Show can do it. Or my favorite moment, when Show made his return on 9/9/04 after what was a LONG painful summer of Kurt the GM and having him come nearly unannounced to smash and slam ANYONE in his way at the lumberjack match. They're aren't many others who could make a return like that, the only one in the business right now is maybe Triple H and with his control he could do it. Show's matches unfortunately are a little boring since most of them consist of big headbutts and punches and his palm bomber in the corner where the sound of his open palm on the poor soul who Show got his paws on sounds sometimes like murder. Show is a bodyslamming machine, and his Hog Lock can be a killer and needs to be pulled out more often too. Also, a pin he may have had in the past, where he SITS on the guy, that could be done again, especially if the guy he's fighting is a jerk. Let that be something he does on Chris Masters should that feud continue. Oh and just one other remark, Show, grow the hair back big bald dudes are kinda trite, get the shaggy look you had in the fall just before you shaved your head. Thanks. Show keep going strong!!
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