By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Fifteen years ago yesterday, Big Show (or Paul Wight at the time) make his shocking WWE/F debut at the St. Valentine's Day Massacre pay-per-view, tossing Stone Cold Steve Austin through a steel cage wall. He would go on to have one of the most decorated careers in WWE history, winning every major singles champion the company has had to offer and etching his name into the history books. From headlining WrestleMania to beating the best of the best, Show has seemingly done it all during his time with the company. Having said all that, is it time for Big Show to hang up his boots for good?
Any time I ponder this question, I am often met with the answer from some people, "Big Show is an attraction." I couldn't agree more. He is indeed an attraction. Some would say he is this generation's version of Andre the Giant. If you were to ask any non-wrestling fan who Big Show is, they might just tell you. He hasn't been in the media outside of the ring with the exception of a few movies here and there, but he is still very well-known. However, is it really a "draw" at this point in his career? He hasn't been booked consistently in years and he lost all his luster many years ago. No matter how cool it may be to see Big Show up close and in person at a live event or what have you (the TV doesn't do him justice), I just don't see what value he has left to WWE.
Don't take this as me "hating" on Big Show, either. It is a well-documented that Big Show irks me at times, but it is more so his lazy booking that bothers me than the character himself. While I am not much of a fan of Big Show the wrestler, there is no denying how much I respect him as a person. He seems like one of the most genuine people outside of the squared circle, and I even enjoyed his role in "Knucklehead" when many others didn't. He can be funny at times, which is why he makes a fitting face. He can also make for a great monster heel, as we saw for the latter half of 2012. The only issue is how often he switches between the two personas. I recently did a tally for how many times Show has turned face/heel/tweener over the course of his career (including his time in WCW), and it came out to be over 25. That has to be some sort of record, right?
Not only did the anniversary of Show's WWE debut spark my motivation to write this article, but also his appearance on the Feb. 10 edition of Raw. He came out with Betty White at the start of the show and introducing her to the crowd for no more than 30 seconds. He made brief eye contact with The Authority when they interrupted, but that was about it. Mind you, this came after Show was brutalized at the hands of Brock Lesnar a few short weeks ago at the Royal Rumble, where he was seemingly written for WWE television for the time being. So, this was his grand return? A forgettable segment with Betty White?
If look back at how he has been utilized in recent years, you'll see what I mean. He went from lovable babyface, to a heel feuding with John Cena for the millionth time, a force to reckoned with while World Heavyweight champion, a laughing stock at the start of 2013, a tweener while feuding with The Shield, a full-fledged heel again when feuding with Randy Orton for a month, a babyface upon his return to the ring in August, a hesitant heel knocking out old people, a Stone Cold-knockoff during his feud with The Authority (which went nowhere), the New Year's Baby, and then finally a monster face during his brief feud with Brock Lesnar. Remember, all this occurred within the span of two years, not fifteen. How is that not inconsistent?
Additionally, he has feuded with practically everyone including John Cena (multiple times), Alberto Del Rio (multiple times), Randy Orton, Kane, Sheamus, Undertaker, Cody Rhodes, Wade Barrett, Triple H, Brock Lesnar, Rey Mysterio, Mark Henry and so on and so forth. What credible wrestlers are left for him to face? Ryback and potentially Big E come to mind, but he has squashed Ryback in the past and Big E is a fellow face, though we know Show can flip flop from face to heel in an instant. Neither of those feuds excite me, and don't think of the will do much to get either Ryback or Big E over. Long gone are the days where a win over The World's Largest Athlete actually meant something. Now it is so common that it is essentially worthless. Remind me, why is Big Show still around again?
Big Show is good with media and such, but he offers hardly anything from an in-ring standpoint. That being said, I see no reason why he can't retire from the ring and take up a backstage role instead. He doesn't have to completely leave the wrestling business, but being an active competitor at this point is pointless. There are other monster faces and heels waiting to take Show's spot atop the roster, so it would be nice to see him put someone over on his way out. As previously mentioned, Show is actually entertaining at times, so I would love to see him do some more acting when he's done in the ring. Oh, and Stephanie McMahon's kayfabe remarks about he wouldn't be able to get a job anywhere else were laughable.
As the monumental WrestleMania 30 nears, I have zero idea what the plans are for Show's involvement in the event. Then again, I say that every year and he ends up getting thrown in some random match instead. I have been clamoring for years for a potential match between him and Shaq, but it has been five years since their last encounter on WWE TV, so I think that ship has sailed at this point. Aside from that, I am clueless as to who he will face.
I haven't seen Big Show go on record and said he intends to retire any time soon, but his creative direction (or lack thereof) in the last few years is a major indicator that it is time for him to call it a career. I applaud him for staying relatively healthy despite being in his 40s, but the amount of recent Big Show matches I have enjoyed can be counted on one hand. There is no doubt in my mind that he is a bona fide WWE Hall of Famer given all of his accomplishments and dedication to the company over the last fifteen years, but when that indication will come is beyond me. It might be a case similar to Shawn Michaels and Edge where he will be inducted at WrestleMania the year after he retires, but only time will tell. Show's efforts and accolades over the course of his career speak for themselves and he is without question one of the most iconic figures in WWE history.