Hello again wrestling fans, and welcome back to How It Started vs How It Ended! Today’s column will focus on former WWE Superstar The Big Show, who is now known as AEW star Paul Wight. Today, you’ll read about the WWE debut of Wight, see his transformation into The Big Show, and follow an interesting championship trend he had, throughout his WWE career. Now that we’re all caught up on what’s going down, let’s see how it all started and ended!
Paul Wight made his WWE debut on February 9th, 1999,at the St. Valentines Day Massacre event, during a steel cage match between Stone Cold Steve Austin and Mr. McMahon. Wight arrived on the WWE scene in dramatic fashion, tearing his way through the bottom of the ring mid match, and making Stone Cold feel his presence. The former WCW star drove Austin into the steel cage twice, and revealed an alliance with the boss in the process. After Wight and McMahon taunted Austin as he laid on the mat, Wight threw Austin into the cage a third time, but the cage swung open, allowing Austin to pick up the win. Wight moved on to the February 22nd episode Raw, where he competed for the WWE title against The Rock, with Mankind as the special guest referee. The match ended in a no contest, after Wight and The Rock attacked Mankind, in an apparent set up by Mr. McMahon. Paul quickly moved on from helping out Mr. McMahon, and began competing as The Big Show. Show took to the ring for the first time against Viscera, in a match that ended in a no contest. During the super heavyweight showdown, the lights went out mid-match, and The Undertaker appeared, before delivering a brutal beatdown to The Big Show. Undertaker, along with Viscera continued the beating, until Mankind ran down to make the save. Two weeks later, The Big Show took on the deadman in a one on one match, and picked up a victory, via disqualification. The Big Show shook the dust off, and picked up wins over Big Boss Man, Goldust, and Billy Gunn, until taking on The Undertaker yet again, this time for the WWE Championship. The collision of titans ended in a no-contest yet again, after The Big Show choke slammed The Undertaker straight through the ring. The Big Show continued his path of destruction all the way to Survivor Series, where he took on Triple H and The Rock. During the closing moments of the match, DX attacked Show and Rocky, leading to an appearance from Mr. McMahon. McMahon carried the WWE Championship with him to the ring, and nailed Triple H with the title, allowing The Big Show to put Hunter away, and win the title. McMahon and Show celebrated together to end the Pay Per View, and the deal the between the two was on again. The Big Show held the company’s top prize into the new millennium, where he played “The Game” again, this time in a one on one match. The January 3rd, 2000 contest came to an end when DX interfered once again, and distracted the referee. While the referee dealt with the group of degenerates on the floor, Triple H nailed a low blow, followed by a pedigree, and put away The Big Show to win his title back. The result of the match ended a 50 day reign as Champion, and The Big Show moved on with the rest of his career.
Welcome to the Show
After taking time away to work on his health, The Big Show reappeared at the 2001 Royal Rumble. Show made an impact right away, and eliminated K-Kwik, along with Test. The Big Show followed up by choke slamming everyone in the ring, until The Rock caught him with a low blow, and tossed him over the top rope. The mountain of a man moved on to meet Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, and The Rock, in a Fatal 4 Way Number One Contenders match to the WWE Championship. Show was unable to pick up the victory, and began competing in the Hardcore division during the weeks that followed. The Big Show defeated Raven for the Hardcore Championship at No Way Out, and moved on to the next night on Raw. During the main event of the episode, Show successfully defended his title in a triple threat match, where he took on The Rock and Kurt Angle. The Hardcore Champion defended his title for 20 more days after that, until Raven defeated him for the Championship on an episode of Raw. Show received his rematch for the title on “The Grandest Stage of them All”, competing in a Triple Threat Match against Raven and Kane at Wrestlemania. The trio battled all over the arena, and even drove golf carts, in a match that many WWE fans still enjoy to this day. The end of the match came when The Big Show attempted to hurl Raven off of the stage, but Kane kicked Show in the face, which sent sending both men crashing through a lower portion of the stage. Kane picked up the victory, and The Big Show continued to compete in the division. Show looked to reclaim the Hardcore Championship once again, and did just that by defeating Rhyno. The colossal Champion held the title for just one week, and quickly lost the Championship to Chris Jericho. Show remained a member of the division after dropping the title for a second time, and began a quest to claim the title for a third time. Show achieved three time Hardcore Champion status the next year, defeating Spike Dudley at a July 12th, 2002 house show. The Big Show lost the title to Bradshaw on the same night, and received word he had been drafted to Smackdown a short time later. Show made his Smackdown debut in a big way, and went straight after Brock Lesnar. The two behemoths battled at Survivor Series, where The Big Show defeated “The Next Big Thing”, claiming his second WWE Championship in the process. The result put an end to the dominant win streak Lesnar had going, and Show held the title going into the next Pay Per View. During the weeks leading up to the event, Show retained the title via disqualification over Edge, and even had a match with The Fabulous Moolah, which ended in a no contest. Show faced off with Kurt Angle at Armageddon, and dropped the strap to the Olympic Gold Medalist, putting an end to the 38 day reign as Champion. The loss marked the final time The Big Show would carry the WWE Championship, but it wouldn’t be the last time Show held a brands top title.
After a 147 day reign as US Champion, and a third time carrying the Tag Team Championships, alongside his second different partner, The Big Show began competing on the ECW brand. Show started things off on the right foot, and picked up a win in a multi-branded Battle Royal. The Big Show defeated Raw and Smackdown stars, and moved on to ECW: One Night Stand. At the event, Show made an early impact in his new brand, and attacked Tajiri and Super Crazy, along with The Full Blooded Italians, after both teams competed in a tag team match. The Big Show took his momentum into the July 4th 2006 episode of ECW, where he battled Rob Van Dam for ECW Championship. During the match, Paul Heyman screwed over Van Dam during a pin attempt, allowing The Big Show to put away Van Dam with a choke slam onto chairs. The moment revealed a partnership between Heyman and Show, and made The Big Show the first man to hold the WCW, WWE, and ECW Championships. The next week on ECW, The Big Show defended his title against Ric Flair, and defeated “The Nature Boy”. The following week, Show defended his title once again, this time in a matchup against his first former tag team partner, The Undertaker. The match would end in a no contest, after interference from The Great Khali. On the following weeks edition of ECW tv, Show defended his title yet again, and picked up a clean victory over his other former tag team partner, Kane. For the fourth time in as many weeks, The Big Show took on a Championship challenger, and put his title up for grabs against Batista. “The Animal” won the match via disqualification, but Show remained the ECW Champion. The Big Show defeated Sabu three times after that, with the title on the line each time, as well as a successful defense against The Sandman. Show moved on to the interactive Cyber Sunday event, where he threw down for the World Heavyweight Championship, in a triple threat match against WWE Champion John Cena, and World Heavyweight Champion Booker T. The WWE Universe voted for Booker to put his title on the line, and the holder of the big gold belt retained the Championship. At the next months December to Dismember event, The Big Show faced his toughest challenge yet, and faced off against Test, RVD, Hardcore Holly, CM Punk, and Bobby Lashley, in an Extreme Rules Elimination Chamber match for ECW Championship. The match came down to Show and Bobby Lashley, and the two man completely brutalized each other. In the closing moments of the match, Lashley reversed a choke slam from The Big Show, and followed up with a spear, ending the 151 day reign of “The Worlds Largest Athlete”. Show failed to regain the title during the following episode of ECW, and never held the title again. The man behind the character took time away from the ring after the match, ending his time on the ECW brand.
The Big Finish
The final part of The Big Show’s story-as told here-begins with his return in 2008. After competing in an attraction match at Wrestlemania 21 against sumo wrestler Akebono, The Big Show faced off with boxer Floyd Mayweather at Wrestlemania 24. The boxing champion delivered a crushing blow to The Big Show, cheating to win the match, after the use of brass knuckles. Show finally regained Championship gold at the 2009 Night of Champions event, where Chris Jericho announced the former 3 time tag team champion as his partner, helping him carry the Unified Tag Team Championships. The tag team, known as Jeri-Show, held the titles until the Tables, Ladders, and Chairs event, where they lost to DX in a TLC match. The duo came to an end to kickoff 2010, and Show began a partnership with The Miz. The pair competed as Show-Miz, and put together a 77 day run as Unified Tag Team Champions, and eventually dropped the straps to The Hart Dynasty. The Big Show hit a rough patch after that, and struggled to find any gold, until he reunited with his former tag team partner, Kane. The Big Show and Kane defeated Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater for the WWE Tag Team Championships, and earned the monstrous duo their second reign with the titles. The Champions reign lasted for weeks, until they dropped the straps to Michael McGilligutty and David Otunga on Raw. At the 2011 TLC event, The Big Show claimed singles gold for the first time in nearly five years, after defeating Mark Henry in a Chairs Match, for the World Heavyweight Championship. Immediately after the match, Daniel Bryan cashed in his Money In The Bank briefcase, and made The Big Show a former champion once again. Show tried to earn the big gold belt for a second time, at the 2012 Elimination Chamber event, inside the chamber. Cody Rhodes eliminated Show, and both men moved on to start a feud over the Intercontinetal Championship. The Big Show defeated Cody for the title at Wrestlemania 28, and became a Grand Slam Champion. The championship run lasted for four weeks, until Show dropped the title to Cody in a Tables Match. Show remained title free until the Hell in a Cell event, where he defeated World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus, and earned his second reign with the title. Show held the title into 2013, where he lost a Last Man Standing match to Alberto Del Rio, after a 72 day reign as Champion. Two years later, The Big Show added one last accolade to his WWE career, and picked up the win during the 2nd Annual Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal, at Wrestlemania 31. The 20 plus year career of The Big Show slowly came to an end after the match, and he moved into a more part-time role, before completely stepping away from WWE TV. Show made his final WWE appearance at the 2021 Raw Legends Night, and parted ways with the company, after contract negotiations ended.
So, did you catch the trend? Show managed to become a grand slam champion during his time in WWE, though with exception of his ECW and United States Championship reigns, he kept each title for a short time. Even his longer reigns weren't all that long. Did the powers that be view him as more of a transitional champion? This guy thinks so!
How It Started;
How It Ended:
That’s all for this weeks edition of the column. Make sure to stop by next week, where I’ll cover the WWE career of “Captain Charisma” Christian.