When you meet a 7-foot wrestler for the first time, the last thing you expect is for him (or her) to immediately reveal their addiction to the biggest shooter on the planet. Trust two-decade veteran Big Show to break the mould. In theory I'm sitting down with him to chat WWE’s upcoming grap game – but instead he reveals a Destiny haul to make all but the best of the best jealous.
“I do a lot of gaming,” he tells GR+. “The graphics in WWE 2K17 (opens in new tab) are ridiculous, I’m excited about that. And I play a lot of Destiny. I’m a huge fan. I’ve got all the weapons, seriously. Everything. Gjallarhorns, the Trials of Osiris weapons, everything. And Xavier Woods has smartened me up on these leagues where gamers are playing Street Fighter for a million dollars. They’re selling out arenas watching these kids play. They’ve turned into superheroes via their gameplay.”
Show – real name Paul Wight – has had a fair bit of time for gaming this year, with his onscreen appearances phased back to make room for younger recruits in the similar man-mountain mould. But he insists that’s a change he’s happy with.
“They don’t need me right now," he says. "They’re building Baron Corbin, Big Cass, Braun Strowman. Hopefully they’ll give Erick Rowan a chance because I’m a big fan of his. I’ve done everything I can do, and I have a big WrestleMania spot with Shaq coming up, so I’m sure in January we’ll kick that off and I’ll be back on TV more. For now they’re using me like they should: as an attraction.”
While his match with Shaquille O’Neal at WrestleMania 33 is something to look forward to, Show does admit to one regret pertaining to the biggest show on the wrestling calendar. “I’ve always prided myself on doing what really was best for business. The only time I had an ego is I when wanted to have a reverse Undertaker record at WrestleMania, and they messed it up!” [Undertaker famously went undefeated for 21 WrestleManias before losing to Brock Lesnar in 2014.] “I was 0-8, and they let me win one! Imagine being 0-22 all-time.”
In addition to playing Destiny, Show has spent his time away from the ring cultivating some impressive facial foliage – so I can’t resist asking who’d win a beard-off between him and similarly chin-fluffed ‘rasslers Daniel Bryan (below) and Erick Rowan. "Hmmm… Rowan,” he answers, emphatically. “But you know who else has got a really dense beard? Sheamus. It’s a well kept beard, too. And he gave me some product for my beard that I actually like.”
Throughout the interview, Show – unlike most other WWE superstars – is more than happy to discuss wrestling from a choreographed perspective, rather than tow the ‘kayfabe’ line (i.e. pretend everything is real). To that end, continuing the grooming theme, I have to ask who the company’s worst dressed wrestler is away from the ring?
“Luke Harper. He just wears whatever. And yet he is actually super intelligent, and has the most beautiful little boy you’ve ever seen. You almost look at his kid and go, "who’s your real dad?!” jokes Show. “Nah, I’m giving him a hard time, but he’s a great guy.”
Also on Show’s thumbs-up list is reigning Smackdown tag champ Heath Slater. Apparently the One Man Rock Band is a hoot to wrestle against because he’s constantly talking nonsense under his breath. “Heath’s funny to work with because he starts bitching during the match when he doesn’t like something. He’ll bitch about rental car prices, travel… I wrestled him once and the entire match he just bitched about the catering: “Come on man, we can’t have chicken like that… this is a big company!” And he’ll call for a press slam, then dead-ass you so you can’t lift him up.”
At the other end of the spectrum, Big Show reveals two contemporaries who are much tougher propositions – and again, not in the storyline sense. “Sheamus [above] and I used to beat the snot out of each other. When we were feuding I would sit on my bus at night and look at all these bruises all over me and be like, “this is supposed to be a work”. Good guy, though. Great attitude. Sheamus doesn’t have a ‘work’ speed, he just hits the piss out of you. So you give it back, or you get beat up."
"Christian is worse,” he continues. “He’s a potato thrower. Every time he punches you, his bony ass couldn’t hit any harder. He is the stiffest guy in wrestling. Ask Jericho, ask Edge, he is the stiffest guy you’ll ever work with in the ring.”
And, reveals Show, there’s one competitor who’s tough to go up against simply because of the whiff made by one element of his ring gear: “Kane’s gloves get pretty rank. He grabs you for a chokeslam and you just want to faint. It smells like rancid friggin’ yak meat. It’s the sweat, it builds up real quick. Kneepads, masks – they suggest you throw them in the freezer for a month [every so often], to kill all the bacteria.”
WWE 2K17 (opens in new tab) is out on October 11 for PS4, PS3, Xbox One, and Xbox 360.
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