Paul Wight has revealed just how nervous he was facing up against Hulk Hogan in his debut at WCW’s Halloween Havoc PPV in 1995.
Three decades of wrestling later, Wight has undergone a role-reversal from that moment, embracing younger ‘greener’ talent in the hope that his experience will rub off on them.
The former Big Show spoke with Lucha Libre Online’s Michael Morales Torres about his explosive debut match against Hogan at Halloween Havoc in 1995, revealing how little time he had to train alongside future legends such as Triple H & DDP at the infamous WCW Power Plant.
I remember being extremely nervous! Hulk was crazy to take me out for his first match. He was out of his mind.
I remember training at the Power Plant in Atlanta with Jody Hamilton, Terry Taylor, Paul Levesque and Diamond Dallas Page. A lot of guys were very instrumental in my early training and I remember Hulk said: ‘Alright brother, I need you to come down to Clearwater’, and this was like, I think our first match was in October.
I’d start at the power plant in February. So very little training time. Very green is an understatement!
With little time for error, Wight explained how extreme the training regime was alongside Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage, working out multiple times a day, only ever stopping to feed.
I remember we just went to World Gym at six o’clock in the morning every morning. It was me, him and Savage. These guys were trained so hard. I remember they brought an extra bag and they were changing clothes. I thought: ‘Thank God this workout is over’. No. They change clothes for workout two.
So that was my first introduction to these two guys that were relentless in the gym. We go out to eat and had a big breakfast. Then we’re on the beach when Hulk said: ‘All right brother, lock up with me’. So we locked up and he took three or four steps and on the beach like in a lock-up position and says: ‘Alright brother, just listen to me. You’ll be fine’.
Not only was time limited before Wight was expected to go face to face with Hulk Hogan, but he quickly learnt that there wasn’t going to be any dress rehearsals as such – Hulk practically called the entire match in the ring as it unfolded.
Revealing the intricacies of the ‘dance’ together that night at Halloween Havoc, Wight shared a nice moment when Hulk wanted the pair to manoeuvre around a little in the ring so that his kids (who were ringside) could get a good look at their Dad doing his thing.
Back then I was nervous because I thought we were going to go over the match and talk about spots and what we were going to do you. No, no nothing at all. So believe me. I was 22 or 23 years old and just absolutely terrified the entire time out there.
I remember one time in the match, I had Hulk in the corner and I didn’t have any corner offense. I didn’t have a chop, I didn’t have a knee, I didn’t have a shoulder. I didn’t have any corner offense. Not even the big boot to the throat to stretch somebody in the corner. I had nothing.
I think Hogan saw that deer in the headlight look (on me), which when you’re out there, you think: ‘Oh my God! Everybody in the building knows something is wrong’. They don’t. Hogan grabbed my hand and started fighting with it and he goes: ‘No brother. Don’t choke me’.
He put my hand on his throat and he was just super cool. I remember I put him in a bear hug, and he’s selling a bear hug and said: ‘Alright brother, turn me a little brother. I want to see the kids’. Nick and Brooke (Hogan) were in the crowd he wanted to sell to them.
Just looking back now to have that kind of faith and somebody like me that was that green and that strong and that agile was pretty brave.
I’ve gotten my dose of green guys over the years and I still go back to the patience that Hogan had with me, which was was pretty incredible.
Transcription credit to Michael Morales Torres of Lucha Libre Online.