AEW News

Paul Wight Says Shaq Match Is “Closer Than It’s Ever Been”

Paul Wight staring down Shaq at WrestleMania

AEW’s resident giant Paul Wight thinks the long-awaited encounter between himself and basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal is closer to happening now than ever.

For years a match between the giants of professional wrestling and basketball had been rumoured but as of yet, a one on one encounter between Paul Wight and Shaq has never happened.

In his previous life as The Big Show in WWE, Wight took on a variety of foes from other athletic endeavours including WrestleMania clashes with sumo Akebono and boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather.

The Big Show did get his massive hands on Shaq during the NBA great’s one official WWE match when O’Neal was a surprise entrant in the AndrĂ© The Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 32.

While the two giants tried to gain the upper hand on one another the rest of the field sensed blood and banded together to eliminate the brace of behemoths.

Speaking exclusively to Kenny McIntosh for issue 13 of Inside The Ropes magazine Paul Wight thinks AEW is the place where the match could finally happen:

“Absolutely. It got very close to happening. I think we dropped the ball a little bit on communication. Shaq’s a real busy dude, he’s got a lot going on, a lot of brands. I think the biggest thing was aligning WWE and Shaq for what WWE’s vision was of the match they wanted us to have.”

“Around WrestleMania season it’s usually a tough time for Shaq because there’s basketball going on and a lot of things that occupy his time. I think with AEW we don’t have as much red tape. I mean, Shaq’s already competed in AEW. I think this is an opportunity for us to have that spectacle match and have some fun with it. Honestly, I think it’s closer to happening than it’s ever been.”

Shaquille O’Neal competed in a tag team bout back in March when he teamed with the impressive Jade Cargill in defeating Cody Rhodes and Red Velvet.

Wight went on to add that he feels the pressure of people’s expectations should the match take place and says he needs to get cracking in the gym:

“So now the big problem will be all the pressure that everybody wants to see this, it better be really damn good. If not I better burn my boots, move to Tibet, and become a monk or something. I mean, I’ve already shaved my head! So there’s a little bit of pressure to make that happen. I’m ready for it. I’m sure Shaq is, too.”

“I know the last time I saw him, he’s been training a lot, working out in the gym, which gives me a little bit of an identity crisis. I’m used to being the big guy and I’m like, “Holy crap. He’s going to have like 20 pounds on me now, I’ve got to get my ass in the gym!”

To read the full interview with Paul Wight you can order Issue 13 of Inside The Ropes Magazine here or take out a monthly subscription to get great wrestling interviews, features, and a whole lot more delivered to your door. Alternatively, Inside The Ropes Magazine is also available as a download.