One of the bigger surprises from a mainstream perspective at last weekend’s WrestleMania was the appearance of Shaquille O’Neal during the 3rd Annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. The night before the big event, Shaq found out he was to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He capped off his memorable weekend with an impressive showing on WWE’s grandest stage in front of 100,000 fans in AT&T Stadium. Shaq got another taste, and he wants some more.
As reported by Wrestling Inc., Shaq told his colleagues (Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, and Charles Barkley) at Inside The NBA on TNT that he had an amazing time and a fun experience. Shaq also reiterated the challenge he’s laid out for a one-on-one match against the Big Show at next year’s WrestleMania in Orlando, Florida. If the stars align, the former NBA superstar said the match is “going down.” Shaq also spoke with Renee Young on Wwe.com immediately after his Battle Royal showing.
“I think I’m a little upset. I’ve been wanting Big Show for years. It’s our second time, the first one didn’t go well. This one, they double-teamed us, but hopefully before he retires it’d just be me against him. So if you’re listening, I’m ready to take on Big Show whenever, wherever. Just let me know.”
Many of the superstars in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal more than double-teamed Shaq and Big Show. It took the remaining competitors in the match to eliminate both behemoths simultaneously, ending Shaq’s shot at a miracle and Big Show’s chance to repeat as winner. Shaq was able to toss out Damien Sandow before being disposed of, however. It was an opportunity that O’Neal could not turn down when WWE made the call. He also thanked the McMahon family for the opportunity.
The Big Show is no stranger to working with stars outside the world of professional wrestling/sports entertainment. Show squared off with sumo champion Akebono at WrestleMania 21. At a Mania that will most be remembered for John Cena’s ascension to the top of the pecking order and the wrestling clinic put on by Shawn Michaels and Kurt Angle, the Big Show and Akebono’s showdown lasted all of one minute and two seconds before Akebono claimed victory. Shaq lasted slightly longer than that in the Battle Royal and would certainly wish for more time in a one-on-one match. Big Show also went toe-to-toe with Floyd Mayweather at WrestleMania 24. The world’s largest athlete lost again, but this time, it took over 11 minutes to do the job.
Back in 2009, Shaq hosted an episode of Monday Night RAW during the time WWE trotted out stars from the sports and entertainment worlds to host their flagship show. Shaq Diesel had in-ring interactions with Big Show and Chris Jericho, who were tag-team partners at the time, booking a match for JeriShow against Cryme Tyme. Shaq would get physically involved after their match, exchanging choke holds with Show similar to his appearance at this year’s WrestleMania. O’Neal also appeared in backstage comic relief segments with the likes of Hornswoggle, Santino Marella, and Michael Cole.
There’d be some symmetry in a Shaquille O’Neal match next year. The event, as noted, will take place at Orlando’s newly-renovated Citrus Bowl. Shaq was drafted by the Orlando Magic first overall in the 1992 NBA Draft and spent the first four seasons of his career there. Shaq would go on to play for the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat before short stints with the Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Boston Celtics.
Big Show recently said on Stone Cold Steve Austin’s podcast that he’ll retire in two years, leaving the opportunity for a showdown with Shaq at WrestleMania wide open.
[Image via WWE]