Wrestling fans often hear it from friends and family who look down on predetermined sports entertainment — it’s fake. But one of the few fake things about wrestling this month was the Big Show death hoax from a few weeks back, as the “World’s Largest Athlete” is alive, well, in great shape, and apparently getting ready for his expected WrestleMania 33 match against NBA legend and fellow seven-footer Shaquille O’Neal.
At 44-years-old, the Big Show hasn’t made too many appearances on WWE television in 2016, with the ring veteran dialing down his schedule and mainly competing in WWE Live events. And that, plus his status as a recognizable wrestler, was what probably made him fair game for a blog site simply called Formal WWE, but not affiliated in any way, shape, or form to the company itself.
According to Snopes, the site posted a “short, poorly-worded blurb” on December 10, claiming that Show was killed in a car accident. The original post has since been removed, but Snopes was able to fully quote the Big Show death hoax article, which is indeed riddled with grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors.
“Recently The Big Show was injured in a car accident and was admitted in hospital.”
“He was highly injured. He’s now no more with us Show has won everything there is to win during his time in professional wrestling, and is a member of WWE’s grand slam club. Within his many championships in WWE and WCW we find a grant total of nine tag team championship reigns.”
Aside from making the above claim, Formal WWE also posted an article claiming Zack Ryder, who is currently sidelined following knee surgery, had died. Ryder had tweeted on December 26 that he was heading out to watch Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, just a few days after his death hoax article was published.
More than two weeks have passed since that Big Show death hoax, but it’s only now that WWE has reacted to the fake news report – according to the Associated Press, WWE spokesman Chris Bellitti has just confirmed that Paul Donald Wight II, known professionally as the Big Show, is “alive and well.” Though it’s not like Show hasn’t done some confirming of his own – on Monday, the wrestler tweeted a photo of himself training at a gym, taunting NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal ahead of their prospective match at WrestleMania 33.
At the moment, Big Show vs. Shaq has yet to be made official for WrestleMania 33, but it should continue a storyline rivalry the two giants have had since 2009, when O’Neal was one of the many Monday Night RAW celebrity guest hosts WWE had invited during that time. The feud resumed earlier this year, when Show and Shaq were among the entrants in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 32 and continued in the summer when Big Show challenged O’Neal to a WrestleMania 33 match at the ESPY Awards. FOX Sports noted that O’Neal accepted the challenge, and if the match does push forward, it will allow Shaq to wrestle in Orlando — the city where he first made his name in the NBA.
All told, it looks like the 7’1″-396 Big Show, who is now down to his lowest weight since 1995, is focused on preparing himself physically for what could be his last high-profile match in WWE before he retires. As for the fake news site that posted the Big Show death hoax, it appears that Formal WWE has shifted its focus to predictions for the 2017 Royal Rumble, though the blog site does have one article claiming that Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series 2016 was “fixed.”
[Featured Image by WWE]