Today, fans may chant “Re-Tie-Er” at Big Show, but someday, perhaps not too far in the future, they’ll chant “Please Don’t Go!” or “You’ve Still Got It!” instead. That’s because wrestling fans are a fickle, frequently confused lot who’ve been conditioned over the years to forget and/or deliberately misremember events that occurred as recently as three weeks prior. Wrestling fans are disconnected from reality.
Maybe Big Show is one of the greatest “big men” in wrestling of all time, or maybe he’s a guy who’s managed to hang around well past his expiration date even though he was never anything spectacular in his heyday. We tend to think both of those sentiments are more-or-less true! But one truism that absolutely no one can argue against is Big Show, real name Paul Wight, has shifted from “good guy” to “bad guy” so frequently, it’s kind of ridiculous that anyone still agrees to join his side in tag team matches. If you are Big Show’s tag team partner, the odds that he will punch you in the face and knock you unconscious at some unforeseen juncture during the match are about 65/35. Trusting Big Show is like dooming yourself to a big ole face punching.
Famously prone to abrupt changes in attitude as the Big Show happens to be, some of his alignment switches have occurred at significant times in wrestling history. Here, we gaze back on Big Shows most impactful swifts from face to heel, and heel to face, in more-or-less chronological order.
Is Big Show a basically okay guy who occasionally makes bad choices, or is he pretty much kind of a jerk who behaves like a nice person when it suits his agenda to do so? Or is he just a wrestler WWE writers have a difficult time treating like a consistent character? Who cares! He’s huge, and likes to punch people in the head!
15 “The Giant” Joins the nWo
One of the first of many, many, many WCW stars to defect from the company to the New World Order organization, Wight, then known as The Giant, set the standard for nWo members who really didn’t need to be there in 1996. When he joined Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, and Hulk Hogan’s then fledgling rebel group, the nWo already had its requisite really big guy. Formerly a main eventer and world title contender, Wight fell into a gratuitous enforcer-type role. But this shift is significant, as The Giant paved the way for Michael Wallstreet, Vincent, and Brian Adams, whose purpose in the group was to take up space and remain far, far away from anywhere Vince McMahon could put them to work doing something more productive.
14 The nWo kicks out “The Giant”
The innovators of the second coolest wrestling T-shirt of the ‘90s serviced The Giant his walking papers not too long after his induction to the group - possibly due to the aforementioned redundancy. Evidently, Hulk Hogan took issue with The Giant’s insistence that he was owed a rematch against Hogan for the World Heavyweight Title. The storyline wasn’t entirely divorced from what we can presume were realities backstage. Paul Wight never regained the WCW title following his induction and subsequent expulsion from the New World Order.
13 “The Giant” Joins the nWO Again
You can’t blame The Giant for being a little miffed at Kevin Nash for dropping him on his head and nearly ending his life but why did he need to rejoin the nWo, aligning himself with natural adversary Hulk Hogan to exact his revenge on “Big Sexy?” Mostly because in 1998, not a single episode of WCW Monday Nitro could pass by without at least one major wrestler changing his T-shirt - either from a black and white nWo shirt, a red and black nWo shirt, or a T-shirt advertising his own namesake.
12 Leaves the nWo....Again!
After the storied Fingerpoke of Doom, nWo Wolfpack and nWo Hollywood merged, negating the purpose for Hogan’s faction to retain the services of The Giant. Nash promptly dispatched Wight in a a loser-leaves-nWo match, and “The Giant” ended his final tenure in WCW’s version of the nWo. Luckily for “The Giant,” his WCW contract was nearing its conclusion and considering a handful of events that would transpire over the next handful of years, the timing for a jump to the WWE turned out to be wildly advantageous for the soon-to-be-christened Big Show’s financial future.
11 The Big Show Turns on The Corporation, Joins The Union
Arriving in the WWE as a henchman of the evil Mr. McMahon, Big Show seemingly decided that evil was lame and good should prevail, consequently forming a new alliance with Mankind, Test, and Ken Shamrock dubbed “The Union.” In reality, Big Show was so accustomed to membership in large factions at the time that he felt he had no choice but to join Mankind’s team if McMahon's team was proving less than optimal. The Union carried 2x4s everywhere they went, but could never wielded 2x4s with a style as suave as “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan and, consequently, the group didn’t last very long.
10 Turns Face Because Big Boss Man Ruins His Dad’s Funeral
Slightly unrelated rant, here - but what’s with the WWE trying to brand all their characters as “Big” Somethings? There’s Big Show, Big E. Langston, Ryback is “The Big Guy,” Roman Reigns is sometimes called “The Big Dog,” Ray Traylor used to be Big Boss Man, they tried to convince people to call Erick Rowan “Big Red” for a while, and I’m sure there are other examples. Why call certain WWE wrestlers "big" when, compared to normal-sized people, they’re almost all big? Nicknaming a pro wrestler “The Big Something" isn’t that far removed from nicknaming a wrestler, “The Wrestler.” Anyway, Big Boss Man made fun of the Big Show for crying when his dad died and it isn’t remembered as one of the Attitude Era’s high points.
9 Turned Heel For Unholy Alliance Team With The Undertaker
As Wight has since admitted in shoot interviews, his workrate and cardiovascular endurance weren’t quite up to WWE standards when he first showed up. In the interest of teaching their new main event attraction how to be better, The Undertaker took it upon himself to take Wight under his wing and explain to him the ins and outs. This real life-ish relationship blossomed into a kayfabe alliance and Big Show and The Undertaker formed the briefly successful Unholy Alliance tag team. Then Undertaker got injured and Big Show needed something else to do.
8 Turned Face By Dressing Like An Idiot
Everybody loves idiots, so after The Undertaker mysteriously disappeared to go stop being injured, Big Show turned into a funny guy who liked to mimic other wrestlers. Wikipedia tells us he dressed up like Val Venis and Rikishi, and we needed Wikipedia to remind us these things happened because they weren’t especially funny or memorable. Ironically, Big Show turned heel again as soon as The Undertaker returned from the injured list, possibly out of bitterness, making this a double turn entry! After all, had The Undertaker not abandoned Big Show, he would’ve had something to do other than dress up like an idiot. People may love idiots, but people also love babies, and babies are stupid and embarrass themselves constantly. So, Big Show is a giant baby.
7 Turns Face For The Invasion
As most of you remember, when WCW and ECW “invaded” WWE, all the WWE wrestlers became automatic faces and all the WCW wrestlers and ECW wrestlers became automatic heels. You would think a guy who has a special bone to pick against WCW, and a special interest in tearing down his former employer’s legacy, would’ve done something memorable during the infamous Invasion. Instead, he was just sort of there. This particular face turn - just like the entire Invasion storyline - is noteworthy mostly for its wasted potential and the staggering amount of money WWE left on the table in order to gratuitously emphasize its status as the #1 Wrestling Program.
6 Turns Heel To Join the nWo Because Big Show Never Learns Anything
Things worked out horrifically for Big Show the first two times he joined the nWo, so of course he’d figure “third time’s the charm” and be proven very, very wrong almost immediately. This particular tenure with the nWo is interesting, principally for how it ended - with Big Show leaning forward conspicuously to let Shawn Michaels kick him in the face. The fact that Big Show is obviously too tall for HBK to superkick might’ve made for a neat spin on a Big Show/HBK feud that, but for better or worse, obviously never happened.
5 Turns Heel To Help Ruin ECW
As far as ECW champions go, Big Show actually made a pretty ideal alpha heel for the extreme brand. As a longtime fixture of both WWE and WCW, he plausibly represented everything the purportedly underground, blood and guts company sought to rebel against. Simultaneously, he was entirely believable as a guy who could squash beloved ECW icons like The Sandman or Sabu in an extreme rules fistfight. In many ways, his ties to mainstream wrestling and authentic unstoppableness combined for a perfect metaphor for the futility that faced every diehard ECW fan.
Then they ruined all that by feeding Big Show to Bobby Lashley, who represented the death of ECW and its legacy in a literal way, as opposed to Big Show’s metaphorical way.
4 Turns Face By Accident Against Floyd Mayweather
Somebody who’s presumably no longer employed by WWE decided to structure an entire WrestleMania program around the idea that the WWE Universe would rally behind the objectively unlikable Floyd “Money” Mayweather. Instead, fans did the opposite and cheered on an athlete of neutral likability levels, Big Show, in his quest to dominate the boxing champ. The result was a 10 minute match that wasn’t anywhere nearly as unwatchable as wrestler vs. boxer grudge matches tend to pan out. But it was still pretty bad and notable because real world jerk Mayweather was paid entirely too much, especially to win the stupid thing.
3 Turns Face By Punching Out The Miz
It’s got to be harder than it looks to be The Miz. Everybody hates him, but not necessarily because he’s a terrific performer, even if he is some of the time. Everybody who looks at The Miz assumes he’s a genuine scumbag in real life, largely for irrational reasons. I would bet The Miz can barely grab a beer and a few moments to himself at a TGI Fridays without nine guys threatening to beat him mercilessly. Thus, when attempting to provide the WWE Universe with a bonafide reason to cheer for the Big Show, having him punch The Miz provided the fans with a moment of vicarious wish fulfillment.
2 Turns Heel By Punching Out Cena
In 2012, Big Show messed up Cena’s important match against non-wrestler suit, John Laurinaitis, who Cena should’ve been able to dispatch easily, and likely would’ve done so, had he not been doublecrossed. It's worth remembering that Ace had recently in-story fired Big Show, thus Big Show had no good reason to side with Ace. But he did anyway.
Most wrestlers have demonstrated remarkable gullibility during their careers, but when coming across an individual like Big Show, who by 2012 had swapped personalities so many times it’s amazing that he has any idea who he is anymore, was Cena profoundly stupid and next-level gullible to expect Big Show to do anything except betray him?
1 KOs Cena AGAIN a Few Years Later
Briefly, it appeared as though Big Show had been so rigorously abused by Triple H and Stephanie McMahon as they clamped down control over WWE, that he would never side with their Authority faction. After all, why help out a pair of execs who’ve gone out of their way to ruin his life, especially after almost 20 years of loyal service to their company?
Why did he punch out his tag team partner, John Cena - again - at Survivor Series 2014? Because it was an alignment switcharoo and if he isn't turning face or heel, Big Show really isn't Big Show. If we can learn nothing else from Big Show’s wrestling career - it’s never trust anyone who’s taller than you. Whatever your agenda may be, a tall person will always betray you.