Paul Wight, former WWE star The Big Show, was interviewed by Chris Jericho this week on “Talk Is Jericho” to talk about his WWE run, why he decided to leave, his frustrations with his spot in WWE, and why he chose to sign with AEW. Here are some highlights:
Paul Wight on being told he would never headline another WWE PPV:
“The writing on the wall when I figured I couldn’t change anything in WWE was about five years ago. I got a speech that I was told I would never main event a WrestleMania again, I would never main event a PPV again and I would only be used to get over NXT talent because they have a thing about the future of the business; I was told that to my face. Not by Vince, but by somebody in the organization that is pretty high up.
At the time, five years ago, there weren’t any options. They felt because I was frustrated about positioning and I felt a little bit handcuffed because I couldn’t help like I wanted to help. Believe it or not, I was still so company oriented and company driven that I thought you know what, I’ll take this challenge and I’ll work my way out of it. The cream always rises to the top. Then, foolish me, the harder I worked, it didn’t matter. They thanked me for the hard work. They paid me, but there was nothing that I could do that would change their minds at that point.”
Big Show talking about legends on RAW and wanting to create the Big Show Burger:
“The last RAW I did was absolutely horrendous. I was going through contract negotiations then. Sometimes when you’re going through contract negotiations with them, sometimes, for lack of a better term, they will make things a little bit more awkward, difficult, to prove a point. It’s part of the psychology of the game. They wanted Randy Orton to pie face me into a chair which is basically he would push me in the face and knock me down and then I’m just supposed to sit there in the chair and take it. I’m like, well, he’s not going to shove me on my ass.
No disrespect to Randy, but Randy knows he couldn’t do it if I didn’t want him to. To do something, yeah, Randy can put his hand on my chest and I’ll sit down because I’m not going to fight Randy because he’s trying to get in my head. You can always do that story even though it’s the wrong story to tell with me. If Randy put his hands on me, in all seriousness, a giant should have knocked him the hell out in the hallway. That would have been good business. But then to go to the ring and sit on the ramp on the stage with Hogan and Flair and Booker and a lot of Hall Fame and Legends out there, they are really trying to shove me down the road.
They want to use my notoriety to do community work and do overseas media, they are taking my passion away from me, they were taking wrestling away from me. Then, to sit there on the ramp and get called a has been while I sit there and watch a match, you talk so much about legends and respect for legends and respect for Hall of Famers, but anytime Hall of Famers are around, they get run into the ground. That’s one of those things where the machine is always moving forward. It’s about moving forward and any blood they can get out of whatever stone it is, they are going to get that last drop until there is nothing left for anyone. The talent doesn’t have anything left. The fans don’t have anything left for them. For me, that was the icing on the cake where I had to restart.
I had to rebrand myself. There were a couple of business deals that I tried to do with WWE and use my own brand and it was incredible to me that after 20 years of building a brand because they own the intellectual property, I wanted to do a Big Show Burger. It would have been a half pound patty, no antibiotics, no hormones, anywhere in the U.S in 36 hours. You order online.
It was humane and everything is done properly. I went to Vince and said this is what I want to do, I had it set up, I had Wolfgang Puck and we were going to do a meatloaf together to promote it like an infomercial talking about Big Show Burgers. You would have thought that I was some guy that walked in off the street with the numbers they hit me with to use a brand that I helped build.
I mean, we’re talking seven figures up front. 18 months later, another installment of seven figures. 37% of profit. They wanted me to cough up seven figures right off the bat and then seven months later, another seven figures. It killed the whole deal for me. My thing was, and this was before Covid, but I wanted to get some food trucks, wrap them in Big Show Burger trucks, and then like at WrestleMania Fan Axxess, I was going to cook burgers and sell them to fans and help promote. You know the whole gimmick. It’s fun to interact with the fans. It’s fun TV and here’s The Big Show Burger. It turned me off so bad. It put things in real perspective.
I’ve been playing The Big Show for 20 years, but, as far as they’re concerned, anybody can play The Big Show, not just Paul Wight because they look at it like it’s a Marvel character or a Disney character and they own the intellectual property. I’m thinking about the prices they were hitting me with to do The Big Show Burger, and I know I’ve done Honeycomb and I’ve done some other things over the years that weren’t even remotely close to that kind of payoff. I saw the writing on the wall. So the writing on the wall was we either don’t want you to do this, or we don’t want you to be successful, or we see a chance here to make a cash grab. The attitude was very blase like this is what it is. That’s ok because that’s business. I get it.
The problem was I put personal feelings and family and all that stuff they say, like, you’re family and all that, but when it comes down to the nuts and bolts, it’s family when it suits them. When it doesn’t suit them, it’s business. So in all actuality, it’s just business all the way around. It’s not a negative thing. I know people are probably going to think I’m b*tching. I’m really not. I’m just saying that there comes a point in a talent’s life where you have to do what’s best for yourself mentally. It’s not about the financial dollar and all that kind of stuff.”
Show talking about WWE blowing the opportunity to get Justin Bieber at SummerSlam years ago:
“Years ago, for one of the SummerSlams in L.A, I had worked out with a very good friend who was working with Scooter Braun and Justin Bieber. It was going to be John Cena, The Big Show and Justin Bieber vs The Wyatts at SummerSlam. Bieber was on board. He was excited and wanted to work out with John and I. This was a really, really big deal. One of the people that were making decisions said: ‘I just don’t see how Justin Bieber is going to relate to our audience.’
It’s like, does anyone not see the amount of eyes that Justin Bieber would bring to that match? I think WWE offered to help promote his album or something. You’re dealing with Scooter Braun. Scooter Braun is all about cash. They tracked Scooter around for two weeks and Scooter was like, ‘Listen. It’s not going to happen. I got the kid a million dollars to watch a soccer game and they’re flying down in a private jet.’
Jericho talking about trying to get Will Farrell at WrestleMania for charity:
“Chad Smith from the Red Hot Chili Peppers had done a bunch of stuff with Will Ferrell, you know, because they look exactly the same. They had done a drum-off in L.A and they wanted to do something for charity at WrestleMania. They were like, ‘Well, you have to understand. We don’t really pay.’ I’m like, this is Will Ferrell. If you had Will Ferrell and Chad Smith face off or put them in a tag team match, you could do a million things. Will Ferrell in WWE at WrestleMania would make a difference. They said, ‘We really don’t pay celebrities.’ Well then you guys are idiots because he wants to do it. All he wanted to do was have a good donation for his charity.”
h/t to Talk Is Jericho and WrestlingNews.co