WWE Superstar The Big Show plans to hang up his size boots following a 23 year professional wrestling career next February, according to an interview with Yahoo Sports. The Big Show, who began his career in WCW in 1995 as "The Giant" before moving to WWE in 1999, where he's been ever since, has gone through some rough times recently, with fans as recently as last year chanting "please retire" at him when he came to the ring. Fan resentment of The Big Show could be attributed partially to the wrestler being "out of shape" for a few years, often performing slow and plodding matches, as well as WWE's tendency to change his character's alignment at the drop of a hat to suit whatever storyline they wanted to use him for in any given week.
However, The Big Show has worked hard to get himself into peak physical condition as he enters the final year of his in-ring career, and an absence from live TV events for several months allowed audience hearts to grow fonder. When The Big Show faced fellow large athlete Braun Strowman in a main event match on Monday Night Raw a few weeks ago, fans were enthusiastic and his ring work received near universal praise online.
For the past year, The Big Show has been expected to face basketball giant Shaquille O'Neal in a bout at Wrestlemania in April, but recent comments by Shaq have indicated the match could be off the table, though negotiations are ongoing. Asked about the potential fight, The Big Show didn't hold back during the interview:
"I like to think personally that Shaq got scared. He saw the six-pack and realized if he faced me at WrestleMania, he was going to be Fat Shaq," The Big Show said, adding, "Flat-out, I just think he's scared. I get it. I've made a lot of changes in the past year and if I were sitting in Shaq's shoes, I would probably be pretty nervous too to face me at WrestleMania."
The Big Show doubled down on his body shaming taunts toward the sports legend when asked about a feud between Shaq and current NBA star JaVale McGee: "Really? What was Shaq getting hot about? Is he just mad because he's too fat and can't play anymore or what? I don't understand."
— "The Big Show" Paul Wight (@WWETheBigShow) February 15, 2017
It's unclear what The Big Show may do at Wrestlemania if a match with Shaq doesn't work out, but hopefully it will be something special, as it looks like it will be the superstar's last Wrestlemania as a full-time in-ring performer. The Big Show could move into an "ambassador" role for WWE after that, and is likely to remain employed by the company in some capacity even if he no longer regularly steps into the ring:
I know I'm done February 2018. That's when my contract ends as a full-time, live event guy. We'll see what happens after that, whether I roll into an ambassador role or what WWE has for me. I know I've been with them for a long time and I have a great relationship with them. I also understand there's a time for me to step aside and for other guys to step up. We got a lot of great new athletic talent that will probably be coming up at WrestleMania to be introduced. I don't have any regrets or any shoulda, coulda, wouldas in my career. I've had a very blessed career with the greatest superstars this business has ever seen. And for me, it's about giving that space up to those guys that are there to do it and me finding new challenges to help inspire and motivate me. That's what I'll be doing. Anything to keep from having to get a real job.
Read the full interview at Yahoo Sports.