1- The Big Show Paul Wight Opens Up About His Condition
From a young age, All Elite Wrestling’s Paul Wight (known as “Big Show” in WWE) was a medical phenomenon, suffering from acromegaly, a hormonal syndrome that led to Andre The Giant‘s passing in 1993.
The condition is responsible for Big Show’s immensity, just as it was for Andre’s. The difference is that Big Show stopped his acromegaly’s progress with a successful surgery on his pituitary gland in the early 1990s.
In 2011’s WWE ‘Beyond The Ring’ release, Big Show: A Giant’s World, Show opened up about his condition:
"I figure I was about nine when I developed a tumor on my pituitary gland. It’s referred to as acromegaly. I think the statistic is that there are 177 seven-foot kids that graduate from high school each year. I was 6’2” at twelve. I really started to get freakishly big at fourteen when I was like 6’8”. I was just a machine.
“I ate about 14,000 calories a day. It was nothing for me in high school to eat four Big Macs, two fish sandwiches, two large fries, and a large shake, and twenty minutes later, play a basketball game like nothing was wrong. I was dunking a basketball in eighth grade [and reached 7’0” tall in high school].”
Big Show continues, "I realized when I was a freshman in college that I had giantism. It really hit me right in the stomach hard because I always thought I was just blessed. I never thought of it as an abnormality. I just thought I was just gifted with all this. As a young kid, I didn’t know. I just thought I was just stronger than all the other kids."
2- He Uses Humor to Cope With People’s First Impressions of Him
Being 7-foot even, the Big Show has a tendency to be an imposing presence. To counter his incredible immensity compared to everyone else, Show has an infectious sense of humor. This is one way he has said to cope with people’s first impressions of him.
He often does impressions of other wrestlers backstage (on-screen as well!), and it was his comedy skills that helped him move into acting.
In 2010, he starred in the film Knucklehead. Big Show also appears in the movies The Waterboy and MacGruber. He has also had parts on TV shows such as Royal Pains, Burn Notice, and Psyche as well.
The stories featured in this installment will showcase the funnier side of the big man.
3- How His Wife Puts Up With Him
The following four stories come from Big Show in the recommended book, "Are We There Yet?: Tales from the Never-Ending Travels of WWE Superstars" by Robert Caprio.
"My wife, Bess, travels with me a lot of the time. She’ll make the full rounds with me. Every live event, every television taping, every Pay-Per-View. These times are great because we get to spend time together, and Bess gets a firsthand view of the entire business to see what the life of a Superstar truly entails.
"Sometimes, though, there are even more perks.”
4- Several Changes With His WWE Character
"I went through several changes with my character when I first arrived in WWE. During one of these periods, the WWE creative department was experimenting with my humorous side. I did several impressions that I had such a great time with, including Hulk Showgan, Showkishi, Showman the Barbarian, and more.
"Although my personal favorite was the night when Vince informed me that I would be impersonating The Godfather! This, of course, sounded like great fun until Vince explained that I’d have to kiss one of the ‘Hoes.’
5- Vince McMahon Stepping in to Save the Day
“I was totally cool with the idea of wearing gold chains, dancing, and playing up the role, but the problem was me kissing another woman on a night Bess was sitting backstage.
"I expressed my fear to Vince. Yes, I said fear! It doesn’t matter how big I am. Telling Bess that I had to kiss another woman wasn’t something I was looking forward to. So I asked Vince to do it for me.
"Being the confident leader that he is, Vince looked me straight in the eyes and without hesitation said, ‘No problem.’ He seemed so confident; I knew this was something I had to see.
"Mr. Vincent Kennedy McMahon has always been known for his huge grapefruits, but this time he would meet his match. He had no idea what he was about to go up against. I would just as soon kick a Bengal tiger in the balls in a phone booth than tick off my wife. She isn’t intimidated by anyone.
"Bess, a statuesque five-foot-eleven brunette with piercing blue-gray eyes, stood off to the side of the stage as Vince approached her. They chatted for only a minute or so. I figured it didn’t go well.
"Vince came over to me and let me know we were all set; Bess was okay with the whole idea.
"’We’re putting Bess in the show. She’s going to play the woman you kiss.’
"Smooth, just plain smooth. I should have expected something like this from Vince. He’s such a great businessman who thinks on his feet quick as a cat—and let’s not forget he’s also married to a formidable woman, so he totally understands the game.
"So that night in Anaheim, I dressed up as a pimp and kissed my wife on national television. My wife, on the ‘Ho Train,’ how cool is that?
"Of all the trips Bess has joined me on, this is still one of our favorites for sure."
6- The Time Big Show Paul Wight Lost His Lunch
"I’m driving with Billy Gunn in Pittsburgh, and we’re running late,” Big Show remembered. “We stopped at the gym, stopped to go tanning, and before we knew it, we only had time to grab drive-through food because we had to get to the building quickly.
"It’s Pittsburgh, so there’s traffic regardless of the day or time. We merge onto this big highway that has four lanes of traffic. As we merge in, this guy from two lanes over-swerves and cuts us right off. Billy blows the horn to say, ‘Hey, buddy, there’s someone behind ya.’
"There are three people in the car, and the guy in the backseat looks through the rear window and flips us the bird.
"Now, they’re driving forty, fifty miles an hour down the road and thought they were invincible. I hate it when people think they are safe in a car and grow these huge balls and start to think, ‘I’m so tough because no one can touch me.’ It just really bothers me. They show no respect for anyone else.
"I just snap when I see that finger go up. I immediately open the door while we’re still going fifty miles an hour and step out with one foot on the hood. I’m holding the handrail with my left hand, and I have my right foot out in front of me on the hood.
"With my right hand, I reach into the bag and take out the triple cheeseburger I’d just gotten from Wendy’s. Their car is only maybe six feet in front of our hood, so I gun the cheeseburger at them and splatter it all over their rear window.
"Billy and I were cracking up.
"Then it dawned on me that it took me about three seconds to get out here; I had done it without even thinking. Now my *** is hanging out of a car going fifty miles an hour down a highway; how am I going to get back in?
"Then I started to wonder what these other people must be thinking. There’s a cheeseburger splattered all over their rear window and a five-hundred-pound giant pretending to be a hood ornament on the car behind them. They’re looking back and seeing a monster hanging out of the car, who they think is going to do a Jackie Chan and jump on their hood or something because they got right off the highway at the next exit.
"Billy slowed down a bit and let me sink my way back in. The worst part about the whole thing is after I finally got myself back in the car, I realized I threw my lunch out.
"Tossing the cheeseburger at them was funny, but probably not worth it. I was starving by the time we got to the building."
7- Problems as a Giant in Japan
"I did something quite strange the first time I was in Japan to work,” Paul Wight remembers. “I was with WCW at the time, and we flew straight from Atlanta to Japan. It took something like sixteen, seventeen hours in the air, and then we jumped right on a bus for a two-hour ride to the hotel that was somewhere outside of Tokyo.
"There aren’t many details about the hotel I remember, but one thing I’ll never forget is that it was massive. I can’t remember the name of it, the exact city it was in, nothing like that other than how big a building it was. It was a business hotel. Meaning it was a place for Japanese businessmen to sleep, shower, and go to their meeting. A five-hundred-pound guy in town for a wrestling show wasn’t the target clientele of this place.
"A couple of us were staying in rooms right near each other and had to take the elevator up to somewhere on the seventieth floor to get there.
"When I got off the elevator, the first thing I noticed was that there were like a hundred rooms in every direction you looked. I figured out the way to my room and started walking. Now, we’re staying in Japan for a week, so I got all these heavy bags I’m pulling behind me. I’m real tired from all the traveling, and I feel like I’m walking through a maze. This wasn’t the happiest moment of my life.
"I had to drag on through this hallway forever because my room turned out to be the last door. Lex Luger was staying right across the hall from me, and we were figuring we must have walked for at least a hundred yards to get to the rooms from the elevator. I’m not kidding you. It was about the length of a football field.”
8- Paul Wight Shares His Most Peculiar Bathroom Moments
"Now, when I’m on a flight for that long, the first thing I always do when I get to my room is go to the bathroom. I have to get in there and free myself up.
"After almost a full day of traveling, I’m excited when I finally get to the door just to be somewhere with a bed and a toilet to use. I swing the door open and do not like what I see. There was literally, maybe, two feet of room from where the door opened to the bed.
"And the bed was just about pushed to the walls on all four sides. I could have practically touched the back wall standing there in the doorway. There was barely enough room between the foot of the bed and the dresser for a normal-sized person to walk, forget about me. This was going to be a tough trip.
"Well, I step on in figuring there’s nothing I can do about the size of the room right now. I shut the front door and notice that the bathroom was behind where the main door had opened, so I didn’t notice it until now.
"The bathroom door was about half as wide and a foot or so shorter than regular doors I was used to. The bathroom itself was maybe six feet by five and a half feet with both a bathtub and a toilet in it. To call this bathroom small is an understatement. It was really more like a Port-o-Potty than an actual bathroom.
"But I really had to go.
"It didn’t take long for me to realize that because I’m seven-feet-two and the toilet is tiny and not very far off the ground, I won’t be able to sit on it, especially with the wall built right in front of it.
"One knee would be pressed up against my face, and the other would be jammed into the wall. The big issue was that I had already geared myself up to go to the bathroom, and now it’s like trying to hold back the flood waters of time while I’m deciding if there’s a way to get on this toilet without injuring myself.
"I really had to go.
"As I leaned up against the wall with my foot resting on the toilet trying to figure out my options, I had a jet-lag-fueled temper tantrum.
"I took my left arm and swung it against the wall about as hard as I could. These walls were very thin and put up in big sections attached to one another with bolts. When I hit the one panel, I knocked all the bolts out of it, and a four-foot section of wall fell back right out into the hallway. The quick renovations allowed me to fit on the toilet without having to sit with my head between my knees.
"Now you’ve got this huge hole in the wall with a five-hundred-pound guy sitting on the toilet with half his [bottom] hanging out in the hallway of this Japanese business hotel. It wasn’t the most flattering sight, but it was the only thing that would work for me. I really had to go.
"One of the other boys came walking by heading into Lex’s room while I was mid-[going to the bathroom], looked at me, shook his head, and asked, ‘Giant **** fit?’ I always thought that was a great line."
9- Why Travel is a Risky Business for Giants
"A few years ago, I went over to India to do a promotional tour for WWE. I’d never been there, so I was curious to see it but was real paranoid about some health issues.
"We had to get like twelve shots before we went over. I was worried about eating the food over there and also brought like eight cases of bottled water with me. I was all about the bottled water during this trip. I’m drinking bottled water. I’m brushing my teeth with bottled water, and I’m showering with bottled water. That’s right, I was doing the Hollywood movie star, Evian bath.
"It might have been a bit much, but I didn’t trust the water. I didn’t want it in my eyes, didn’t want to risk swallowing it, or have it get into any open cuts. I didn’t want to pick up any disease I wouldn’t be able to get rid of or fall over dead two days into the trip. That wouldn’t have been good.
“So we get to our hotel and have a little bit of time before we have to head out for the first appearance. I was traveling with the guy from the promotional company who takes great care of us on these trips, and we decided to go to our rooms to drop all of our stuff off before we left. Between my luggage and water, I had tons of stuff to get into the room.
"This wasn’t a regular room I was staying in, either. WWE put me in a huge suite. That’s one thing I love about WWE; it knows how to take care of its talent.
"With the little bit of time I had, I figured I’d take care of business in the bathroom. Now, this suite had these elaborate European-style toilets that came out of the wall. They were nice from a decoration standpoint, but not practical. They had absolutely no support underneath them because they were built right into the wall. I guess a luxurious suite in a classy Indian hotel doesn’t get many five-hundred-pound guests.”
10- Nature Calls in Small Places, Too
"As soon as I saw the setup of these things, I knew it would be risky for a guy my size, but nature was calling, so I didn’t have a choice. I had to get on.
"I’m sitting down for a little while, reading my golf magazine, and everything is comfortable, everything is great.
"Now remember, I’d only been in the room for a few minutes, so I didn’t know much about it yet. One of the things I wasn’t familiar with was the sound of the doorbell.
"It was so friggin’ loud. It was like a bomb siren going off.
"Ding … dong! Ding … dong!
"It just echoed through the entire suite. I thought there was a speaker in the bathroom or something; it was so loud. When it blasted through the suite, I really had no idea what it was.
"Ding … dong! Ding … dong!
"This bell caught me so off guard that as soon as it rang through the suite, I jumped up off the toilet and ripped it right out of the wall when I crashed back down on it.
"As it’s crumbling under me, I somehow managed to hold myself up by grabbing the sink with my right hand and the towel rack with my left. I look down and see there is all this broken porcelain and everything else below me. I started to think about how I was so nervous about the food and the water, and now I was so close to falling in this mess.
"I was about three inches from being pumped full of porcelain and having to call the office and try to explain that one.
"I pushed off the sink to get back on my feet and get the hell out of there. We went right to the appearance for four hours, and when we got back, there was already a new toilet on the wall.
"I pity the poor maintenance guy who had to make that call."
A Battle of the Giants: The Real-Life Fight Between Big Show and The Great Khali
CHRIS JERICHO: “The Great Khali and Big Show had been at odds for years. They had what the boys called ‘Giant Heat’!”
Khali was taller, but Big Show was better in the ring, and each was jealous of the other. Chris Jericho recounts this real-life backstage fight in all its hilarious glory!
Taking Care of a Heckling Fan
In 1998, The Big Show (then known as The Giant) found himself being heckled by a fan at a Marriott Hotel bar in Uniondale, New York. The incidents that followed ended up landing him in court!
Unforgettable Tales Told By His Friends
Mean Gene Okerlund: “I saw him cry. He was a very sensitive man. Nobody realizes this…”
From stories of brute strength, drinking prowess, and clearing out elevators with his farts in Japan, “The Eighth Wonder of the World” captivated people wherever he went.
Wrestlers Who Live Unique Lives Outside of the Ring
The lives these wrestlers live outside of the ring may surprise you!
“Straight after matches, without time to shower, he would serve his shift as a police officer. He kept quiet to coworkers about his life on the side as he didn’t want the attention.”
Rick Rude: A Ravishing Man with a Tragic End
“He refused to budge.”
Rick Rude was a unique, once-in-a-lifetime kind of wrestler. He went by the nickname “Ravishing” — and rightfully so. He had a solid moveset, great looks, and unbridled arrogance with the in-ring skill to back it up. He played hard in the ring but even harder out of it.
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