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Jim Ross – ‘Hulk Hogan Told Paul Wight To Leave WCW For WWE’

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On a recent edition of his “Grilling JR” podcast, WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross discussed WWE signing Paul Wight (The Big Show) in 1999 and the rumor that Hulk Hogan influenced his decision to sign.

You can check out some highlights from the podcast below:

On Vince McMahon vs. Steve Austin at St. Valentine’s Day Massacre: “I was happy with that booking. I thought it was — you know, you got your top heel, the guy that’s carrying the most heat. The individual that people want to see get his a*s kicked more than anybody else on the roster. And you’re pairing him up with your ‘it’ guy. Steve was getting hotter and hotter, and he had this personal issue with Vince. So the booking made sense. Now, was it going to be an artistic success? Was it going to be WrestleMania 13 with Bret and Steve? No, it never had a chance to do that. I don’t think they believed that. I think they just want to go out and have a dog and pony show, and kicks and punches and a little juice and so forth. But it worked for me, I enjoyed that. I enjoyed calling it because the match had so much drama attached to it. And natural organic drama.”

On Hulk Hogan telling Paul Wight to leave WCW for WWE: “Yeah, it’s all true. I mean, Hogan’s telling the truth. McMahon is gonna make Paul Wight a bigger star than anybody else. And especially if Vince is committed to doing it. And Shane [McMahon] took a liking to Big Show. You know, I went down there to meet with him two or three times, speaking of Big Show, and enjoyed it. It was like a recruiting trip. He was living on the beach in Miami, I think. I’m not sure; somewhere in Florida. But yeah, it was — that was pretty much it. We had a number with which we were going to live or die with. And that was $1 million downside: $19,323 a week [if] memory serves me correctly. So we thought that was his number.

“Now, here’s the great thing about WWE, then and now. Assuming now. But then you know, just because you had a downside guarantee doesn’t mean you’re on salary. Doesn’t mean that’s all you’re going to make. If you’re productive and the PPVs do good by rates, etc., then you get a chance to make a whole lot more money. And I think over the long haul, Paul Wight had some million dollar0plus years on that $1 million dollar downside guarantee. So it was a good deal for him.

On Wight’s WWE start: “Like I said, we didn’t start out with Paul on TV as well as I wish we could have in hindsight. Because you can’t replicate him, and the first thing we did was overexpose him. You can’t have a giant on TV, Andre [The Giant] was — talking about all these different references, Andre wasn’t on TV every week. And nor should he have been.”

On signing Wight: “Negotiations were pretty easy, actually. Shane just bugged the hell out of me on, ‘Where are we with him.’ And I didn’t have a problem with that. But I couldn’t make him sign until he was ready to sign, and that’s what we did. So when the time was right, we made the official offer, and the big guy went for it. It was a good deal. I mean, what the f**k. He was making us a lot of money. Almost 20 Gs a week, so that’s a good chunk of change. I’m glad we signed Paul. But I wish we had used him better. Athletic, big guy. We had issues with his weight from time to time, and we had to talk him off the ledge on that deal. Big guys are funny when you say you want them to lose a little weight. They think they’re going to go hungry, and they can’t stand that. So I think he thought he was going to starve him to death. But seriously, we could have gotten more juice, more mileage out of him if we had used him smarter and not had him on TV every week. Looking back at it, that made no sense.”

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