On the latest Grilling Jr podcast, by the way of 411 Mania, Jim Ross recalled the time that WWE recruited Paul Wight, aka The Big Show, from WCW in 1999. According to the Hall of Famer, Vince and Shane McMahon were hot on the giant superstar at the time, and were very eager for Ross to meet up with him and seal the deal that eventually brought him to WWE.
“Shane asked me every day how things were going. And I said, ‘Shane, I told you the other day I’m gonna meet him on Friday. Today’s Wednesday. Things are going exactly the same as the last time you asked me yesterday afternoon. So everybody was motivated to get him,” Ross explained.
Ross also shared the details of his first meeting with the former WCW star. He and Gerald Brisco went to Wight’s house in Tampa, Florida, and found the wrestler eating huge amounts of protein, which prompted Ross to make a joke about his farts. It also turned out that Ross knew Wight’s college basketball coach, so they instantly found common ground with each other that made the negotiations go smoother.
The legendary commentator also opened up about his feelings toward the Big Show character. While Ross appears to have been happy with the acquisition, he — like many WWE fans — wishes that WWE creative handled him better throughout the years.
“[He] was a good hire, even though he wasn’t always booked strategically. Even though I thought he was drastically overexposed.”
Wight started his career as The Giant in the rival promotion and became one of the company’s most promising stars. He won the WCW World Heavyweight Championship and was a part of the popular nWo faction, but while he was used in some big storylines, he could never ascend above the likes of Hulk Hogan on the card.
After realizing that he wasn’t going to break through the company’s glass ceiling in the grand scheme of things, he became one of several stars in a similar position — including Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Chris Jericho, Eddie Guerrero — to join WWE.
Wight struggled to find momentum in WWE during his early years. Even though he won the World Championship in his first year, he spent a lot of time in the developmental system because he was out of shape. After returning to the company on a consistent basis, he went on to become a long-serving superstar who made a big impact.
The superstar is semi-retired at the time of this writing, and hasn’t been around since being destroyed by Braun Strowman. It’s been a while since he appeared on WWE television, but chances are he’ll make a one-off appearance in the near future.