54. PAUL WIGHT
Aliases Ã¢â‚¬â€œ The Big Show, The Giant
Hometown Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Tampa, Florida
Debuted Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 1995
Titles Held Ã¢â‚¬â€œ WCW World, WWF/E World, WCW Tag Team, WWF Tag Team, WWE United States, ECW Heavyweight
Other Accomplishments – PWI Rookie of the Year award in 1996, PWI Wrestler of the Year award in 1996, PWI ranked him # 137 of the best singles wrestlers of the PWI Years in 2003.
I wanted to give Paul Wight the respect he deserves in this column. The fact is, he was a talented pro wrestler who gallantly worked through, what must have been, torturous pain in the climax of his career in a gracious effort to “do the right thingÃ¢â‚¬Â and give what rub he could to Bobby Lashley with a clean pin fall loss. What’s more, he made the unselfish choice of walking away from the industry when he knew his body was no longer up to the schedule, despite the promise of a big payoff. He put his family and health above what many had deemed his best push in the WWE since he joined. However, Paul Wight will also have to be remembered for the fact that he could have been much more than he was if he hadn’t been so lazy.
When Wight began his career as The Giant in WCW he weighed about 350 pounds. He was ripped, athletic and absolutely dripping with potential. On top of that, he was astronomically athletic for a man his size being able to dropkick and even moonsault! Just a couple of years later he had ballooned to 500+ and, had he tried a moonsault he no doubt would have broken the ring and had it swallowed up by the concrete! As well as chronic laziness and a diet which in the words of Lance Storm would “choke a goatÃ¢â‚¬Â, Wight also suffered from terrible booking during his career. Debuting in WCW, he was put with Hulk Hogan and was made to look inept at every single turn. I mean when you can only win a world title by some screwy DQ ruling and then can’t even beat Hulk Hogan in a Monster Truck match then you need to rethink your attack plan. He went on to join the nWo, twice, both for inexplicable reasons (especially considering he was beaten up and kicked out the first time). Along, the way he held a handful of major titles in WCW and actually had a brief stint as an effective monster heel that soon ended up going nowhere. His last major matches with WCW were clean losses to DDP and Goldberg. Sick of WCW and, as he said himself, seeing the rats leaving the ship he decided to try his luck up north and signed a sickeningly large and lucrative contract to become the WWF’s new monster heel.
He entered the WWF in impressive fashion, literally throwing Steve Austin through a cage, and all signs seemed to point to him becoming a huge star in the talent starved WWF, WCW still had a much more solid talent back bone at the time. However, just a few weeks in he was stupidly jobbed clean to Steve Austin in a move that made zero sense and he then went on to lose his next 4 successive pay per view matches, turning face and heel about 3 times along the way. After a tasteless storyline with the Big Bossman, which involved him riding his “father’s coffinÃ¢â‚¬Â like a sled and being “outedÃ¢â‚¬Â as being a bastard everyone just assumed that his career was toast and he might as well enjoy mid card hell forever. But, Wight amazingly was able to recover and ended the year 1999 with the WWF Championship and the heel turn that finally turned him into the star everyone knew he could be.
To cover all of his WWF/E tenure would take forever and I would rather focus on the fact that Paul Wight was a damn fine professional wrestler when he wanted to be. Simply viewing his entertaining matches with Kurt Angle, Brock Lesnar and The Rock would be proof of that. And let’s not forget the time he carried Gene Snitsky to perhaps one of the best and most dramatic matches of the big goofs career. You also have to factor in that Wight had a natural charisma that hooked you into his act the moment you saw it. One of my fondest memories of his career was Backlash 2000 where he did a hilarious spoof of Hulk Hogan as “The ShowsterÃ¢â‚¬Â that I think redefined wrestling comedy. Not to mention the time he debuted his new “chicks dig it BIGÃ¢â‚¬Â shirt where he gleefully told the crowd “that’s one of them there innuendosÃ¢â‚¬Â in such a manner that I still remember it with fondness to this day.
Paul Wight’s natural charisma and imposing look made him a perfect fit for the wrestling business we all love and follow. And the fact that he’s the first, and so far only, man to hold the WCW, WWF/E and ECW World Championships is a feat that should be respected and admired. Would Paul Wight have been such a big name in wrestling if not for his size? I think so. There’s a difference between being big and being big with talent.
Paul Wight still wrestles the odd match now and then but his mainstream wrestling career seems done with. I wish him luck.
The entire Top 100 Wrestlers feature can be found here.