As we know by now, Big Show vs. Shaquille O’Neal didn’t push forward at WrestleMania 33. Instead of watching a giant of wrestling face up against a giant of basketball, fans instead got to see “The World’s Largest Athlete” take part in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal during the ‘Mania kickoff show, while Shaq was nowhere near the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. Moreover, as O’Neal described it on the latest episode of his podcast, he and the WWE simply weren’t able to come to terms on a deal.
In the lead-up to WrestleMania 33, Big Show vs. Shaquille O’Neal was one of the first few matches to be rumored, and there was a time when the match was all but confirmed. As early as July of last year, the Basketball Hall of Fame center had accepted the challenge as he and Show had met face-to-face at the 2016 ESPYs, wrote the Washington Post. Not only was this intriguing due to the possibility of two seven-footers squaring off in the ring, it just so happened that WrestleMania 33 was to be held in Orlando, the very same city where O’Neal had made his NBA debut.
Unfortunately, as WrestleMania drew nearer, the odds of seeing Big Show vs. Shaq at WWE’s “grandest stage of them all” began to go down drastically. In February, Sportskeeda cited The Big Podcast with Shaq, where O’Neal said that he was no longer sure his match against Show would be pushing forward. This had come after Big Show, mostly in character, had chided Shaq for lack of commitment leading up to his potential WrestleMania 33 appearance, but in O’Neal’s words, the chances of such a match happening had become “very slim” and it was through “no fault of (his) own.”
Big Show vs. Shaquille O’Neal was ultimately canceled shortly before WrestleMania 33, and with Show lacking an opponent for WWE’s biggest event of the year, he competed in his fourth straight Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, which was eventually won by Mojo Rawley.
Shaq Says WWE Botched WrestleMania Match with Big Show (AUDIO): Shaquille O'Neal says WWE… https://t.co/T3JM7lf98R
— TAYE ON DA BEAT (@TayeBeats) April 24, 2017
With rumors and speculation swirling as to why Big Show and Shaq’s planned WrestleMania match didn’t push forward, O’Neal used the 100th episode of The Big Podcast with Shaq (h/t Wrestling Inc.) to clear things up once and for all and explain why his match with Show was a late scratch at ‘Mania. As the 45-year-old NBA legend told it, it was all a matter of WWE not being sure what type of match it wanted to present at WrestleMania 33.
“Because they kept playing. First, they said it was me and Big Show. Then, they said it was going to be 3 and 3. Then, they canceled it so when they canceled it, I made other arrangements. And then they tried to call back and tried to get it done, and I just said, ‘I’m not going to do it.’ They messed it up.”
When O’Neal’s co-hosts kidded him about not wanting to lose a scripted match, Shaq shot them down, saying that he wouldn’t have had a problem losing to Big Show, and would have done so “for the kids” in the audience.
Although no one was expecting a five-star match, had Big Show vs. Shaquille O’Neal taken place as planned, the match had generated a great deal of interest from mainstream media, due to Show’s recognizable status as a wrestler who’s spent almost two decades with WWE, and Shaq’s status as a basketball icon. However, even with the match having gotten canceled, Big Show has made the most out of his limited exposure, having wrestled Braun Strowman in a pair of well-received matches, including one at last week’s Monday Night RAW where he and Strowman made the ring collapse after a superplex spot.
[Featured Image by WWE]