Paul Wight has detailed the reasons he chose to end a two-decade-long association with WWE, saying the company kept trying to put him in “the retirement home.”
Wight came to the then-World Wrestling Federation in 1999 after defecting from WCW where he had portrayed The Giant. A WWE Championship run was followed by holding the ECW Title and the World Heavyweight Championship twice in a career that saw him win the company’s Grand Slam.
However, with the winds of change blowing in WWE, Wight found his chances had gradually diminished and he was last seen on WWE television being berated by Randy Orton.
To the amazement of many, the next time fans saw Paul Wight on a wrestling programme was when he made his debut for All Elite Wrestling in February 2021.
Speaking exclusively to Kenny McIntosh for issue 13 of Inside The Ropes magazine, the man formerly known as The Big Show explained in-depth his reasons for choosing to seek a new challenge outside WWE:
“It was frustrating. That was one of the big battles that I had with Vince—he’s an innovator, he’s brilliant, he’s one of the smartest people I’ve ever met in my life, he understands the human dynamic—I didn’t want to be in that legends role. I kept saying, “Hey, quit trying to put me in Shady Pines. I’m not ready to be in the retirement home.” And that’s something that WWE has always done, too.”
“They will use every tool available to promote something that they’re promoting. Everything’s on the table with them. And I understand that that role was setting up what it was but it was a little bit of a humbling experience to sit on the stage and get berated for the work that you’ve done. But that’s part of what you sign a contract for. You sign a contract and you get paid to check your ego at the door. And if you don’t want to check your ego anymore, then you can leave.”
“I’ve always done everything in WWE that I was ever asked to. They signed a cheque, it’s just a job. Sometimes your boss is going to make you do things that you don’t like. The creative process with as many different creative directions that were going on, I can look through their eyes and I can understand what they’re saying.”
Paul Wight then discussed how he understands that younger stars have to be accommodated but feels he had a lot left to give especially after doing his best with creative decisions that he didn’t always appreciate:
“I mean, over the past year, I was called Paul. I wasn’t called Show anyway, you know what I mean? Because in the creatives’ minds, “We’ve done everything we can do with him, it’s time to focus on younger talent.” And I agree that younger talent should be focused on, but I don’t think you have to disregard someone that still has ability and desire and a love for the industry to basically toss them aside. But that’s business. That’s the way things are done.”
“You know, there’s so many things I’ve done creatively where I was just like, “What the H-E double hockey sticks am I doing?” One of the biggest things that used to drive me nuts is I used to always have to tell everybody how big I was in my promos.”
“I said, “I’m seven-foot tall. I’m 500 pounds.” It’s like, yeah, no sh*t! It’s a smaller guy writing for bigger guys—bigger guys know how big we are. Their philosophy was, “What if you’re the champion? You tell everybody you’re the champion. You’re a giant, you tell everybody you’re a giant.” I get it, but there was a lot of my personality and wit and humour—that’s who I am— that I don’t think I ever really got to get out. And I think now is a good opportunity with AEW to let more Paul come out and have some fun with it.”