During a recent appearance on the “Insight with Chris Van Vliet” podcast, Paul Wight commented on WWE nixing an opportunity for him to appear in Gladiator, the origin of his “Big Show” name, and more. You can check out some highlights from the podcast below:
On WWE nixing his opportunity to appear in Gladiator: “For so many years, being on the work schedule I was on with WWE – there were so many projects I had to step away from. When I first signed with WWE, Nick Cage had reached out to me because his son was a big fan of me. Nick Cage was trying to hook me up with this Russell Crowe movie that was being shot in Spain, but I had to be in Spain for six weeks for it. I’m thinking Russell Crowe, you knew this guy is going to be a star. Nick Cage is helping me get this part. I’ve got it and just have to get permission to go. I go to Vince and he goes ‘I’m paying you to be a wrestler, not an actor.’ So that was the end of that. So then it’s like yeah you are paying me a lot of money to be a wrestler, I will go back to work, sir. The wrestling business was different then. There wasn’t as much crossover. For a while, WWE was very against wrestlers crossing over into movies. Then eventually they got into the program. So I am sitting in the theater watching Gladiator, and I go yeah, that would have been awesome to be a part of that. But now with AEW, I have the opportunity to do all sorts of outside projects. Having that freedom to help build the Paul Wight brand [is good]. I don’t own [WWE’s] intellectual property, and now I have to walk away from it and reintroduce myself to everybody.
On the origin of the Big Show name: “That was Vince. When I first came into WWE I was Paul Wight, I just don’t think Vince liked the spelling of my name or liked my name. But what would Vince know about marketing? [laughs] But he walked by me one day and he goes ‘How’s The Big Show today?’ I go, ‘I’m good, but who the hell is The Big Show?’ He goes ‘You! You can walk, you can talk, you’re an athlete. You’re The Big Show.’ He walked off and I thought oh dear God I hope that is not my wrestling name. But it was. But think back then it was the attitude and the Monday Night Wars. Over the years, like anything, if you do it long enough you can make it your own. But now to rebrand and restart as myself, it’s a little hard. I have a great Big Show autograph. My real signature is good, but I don’t want to put that out there. I don’t want to own a timeshare in the Bahamas. I’m just trying to figure out that new identity, and for once I have a little bit of input on my character. Hopefully I won’t change two or three times in a match.”
(h/t – 411 Wrestling)