In wrestling, sometimes the biggest events come completely out of the blue. Take The Miz winning the WWE title this past Sunday at Elimination Chamber, for example. Yet none of us were expecting the major announcement today from AEW that Paul Wight, the former ‘Big Show’, is now All Elite.
The announcement, made via social media, included a press release that stated “Wight will have an extensive role within AEW, and on top of his return to the ring, he will serve as a commentator on AEW’s newest show, AEW Dark: Elevation.” The deal was also said to be “long-term.”
While the statement is pretty clear on the fact that Wight will be in the ring at some point, it seems fair to assume this will not be on a full-time basis. If you’re going to be a regular commentator on a weekly TV show, you’re unlikely to be lacing up the boots and wrestling every week on Dynamite.
This though could work to AEW’s advantage. Wight is a charismatic, entertaining presence on the mic and can heel it up as well as he can play the face, meaning he could be a pretty solid, versatile colour commentator. Also, by not having him wrestle on a regular basis, it helps to avoid over-exposing his weaknesses, which at this point are well-known amongst even the most casual wrestling fans. If he’s going to wrestle, he’ll best serve the product by being used as a special attraction in a similar way to his old nemesis Sting.
The most surprising part of the Paul Wight/AEW team-up is the former Big Show appearing for any wrestling promotion other than WWE. Having been with the company since 1999, Wight was still to be seen in a WWE ring as recently as the January 4th 2021 legends edition of Raw. Wight was considered by many fans to be a WWE lifer at this point, and it was thought he would eventually take up a coaching position or at least be some sort of on-screen presence for the company once he retired from in-ring action. All of this begs the question: why now?
Well, according to Wrestling Inc., Paul Wight was reportedly unhappy with the terms of a new contract he was being offered by WWE, and it is rumoured that it was the financial aspect that Wight was upset with. Although this is mere speculation, we can possibly assume then that WWE may have wanted to downsize Wight’s pay because they had no major plans for him at present. Wight may have felt he had more to offer than what he was being offered. Again, this is speculation on my part, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the truth falls along those lines. Wrestling Inc. have said Wight made his concerns well known at the January 4th Raw and that Wight appears to have officially left WWE around February 19th, as WWE.com moved him to the alumni section of their roster on this date.
Whatever the truth of the matter, Vince McMahon cannot be happy. While he might not have had big plans for Paul Wight anymore, it can’t be denied that Big Show was a big name for the company and his association with WWE will no doubt entice people to check out tonight’s Dynamite, if only to see what AEW have planned for him—and the novelty of seeing Wight in a ring other than a WWE one of course.
Not only that, but one of Vince’s dream matches for a long time has been Big Show vs. former NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal. There were plans for a match between the two at WrestleMania 33 which never came to fruition, and while the two have been in the ring together on an edition of Raw and during the ‘Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal’ at WrestleMania 32, the big marquee match that Vince salivated for never came to pass.
So it’s curious then that Paul Wight has signed with AEW at a time where Shaq is not only appearing on the company’s shows (something else that annoys Vince, I’m sure) but is set to appear in a big match on the March 3rd Dynamite, teaming with Jade Cargill against Cody and Red Velvet. Wight has made it clear he still wants to wrestle Shaq—even as recently as an interview with Metro, published curiously enough on the same day he was said to have made his unhappiness known to WWE, January 4th this year. Could the arrival of Shaq in AEW have been the final thing that persuaded Wight to make the jump? All I’m saying is, I will not be surprised if Wight gets involved in the match on March 3rd…
So: while not a groundbreaking signing by any stretch, the coupling of Paul Wight with AEW has potential for good things if worked right. It’s also a fascinating story in and of itself in terms of the business.
To paraphrase Sting, “the only thing that’s certain about the wrestling business…is that nothing’s for certain!”