Big Show vs. Shaquille O’Neal at WrestleMania 33 has yet to be confirmed, but all signs point to the match taking place, as the two giants square off in the ring and settle an old beef dating back to the era of weekly Monday Night RAW celebrity guest hosts. The latest sign is a video from Shaq, showing the NBA legend working out and teasing the much-talked-about, yet still-unofficial WrestleMania 33 match.
The storyline feud between the two seven-footers started on the July 27, 2009, episode of Monday Night RAW, where, as guest host and authority figure, Shaquille O’Neal was in charge of booking the night’s matches. As Bleacher Report recalled it in its list ranking RAW’s celebrity guest hosts, O’Neal had booked then-Unified WWE Tag Team Champions Jeri-Show (Chris Jericho and Big Show) against Cryme Tyme, with Shaq serving as the special ring enforcer. Cryme Tyme – the team of Shad Gaspard and JTG – won the match by disqualification and pulled off the upset, but Big Show was less than thrilled about what had happened.
“Before Show could go to work on JTG and Shad, Shaq entered the ring and came face-to-face with The World’s Largest Athlete. The crowd nearly came unglued when the two behemoths clashed, leading to both men grasping as the other’s throat.”
The feud was again revisited at WrestleMania 32 when O’Neal was one of the surprise entrants in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. One of the more memorable moments from that battle royal was the staredown between Show and Shaq, and while neither man emerged victorious, this planted the seeds for Big Show vs. Shaquille O’Neal at WrestleMania 33, as the former challenged the latter to a match at WWE’s flagship pay-per-view while both were at the 2016 ESPYs.
Cageside Seats pointed out that this was a sensible move, due to the fact O’Neal had first made his name in the NBA as the Orlando Magic’s superstar center in the early ’90s and the fact WrestleMania 33 will be taking place in Orlando. While nothing has been made official, reports have suggested that Big Show vs. Shaquille O’Neal is one of WrestleMania 33’s few sure matches as of the moment.
A video posted by DR. SHAQUILLE O'NEAL Ed.D. (@shaq) on
Now, it would appear as if O’Neal is getting ready for his debut as a WWE wrestler, as he hopes to take on the “World’s Largest Athlete,” Big Show, in his original NBA stomping grounds. In an Instagram post shared this morning, Shaq shared a video of himself listening to music while riding a stationary bike, with a short and simple caption that left no doubt as to what he’s preparing for.
“I’m coming for you, Big Show.”
According to Ringside News, there are only three WrestleMania 33 matches so far which WWE Chairman Vince McMahon is supposedly decided on – Triple H vs. Seth Rollins, Bill Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar, and Big Show vs. Shaquille O’Neal. All of these matches feature at least one man well over the age of 40 and making infrequent in-ring appearances at most, but it’s only Show vs. Shaq where both men are over 40, with Show’s matches limited mainly to house shows, and O’Neal’s wrestling experience limited to the Andre the Giant Battle Royal from last year.
In any case, the match has been something both men have been looking forward to in real life. In an interview with Rappler during a Manila visit in July of 2016, Big Show was notably excited about the prospect of facing Shaq at WrestleMania 33.
“We’re excited about it. Shaq’s always been a big fan (of WWE), he’s always been a great guy that always comes around and done a lot of stuff for our shows. For him to get in the ring and go through some stuff, that’s going to be interesting. Because I’m big enough to move him around. So we’ll have some fun.”
Few people, if any at all, are expecting Big Show vs. Shaquille O’Neal at WrestleMania 33 to be a five-star classic. But as WrestleMania is sometimes as much about big-time celebrity appearances as it is about marquee matches, it would be interesting to see how O’Neal and Big Show go about their still-rumored match and how else O’Neal plans to train for the encounter.
[Featured Image by WWE]