WWE Legend, future Hall of Famer and 7-foot giant The Big Show is the special guest on this week’s episode of After The Bell, a weekly podcast hosted by Friday Night Smackdown announcer Corey Graves.
During the interview, Graves asked about the mid-2000s resurgence of the ECW brand under WWE’s umbrella. In a surprise move at the time, Big Show was drafted to ECW television in 2006, and he went on to win the ECW World Heavyweight Championship from Rob Van Dam less than one month after his debut on the show.
“ECW hated me! They booed Bautista and I out of the building. I had to earn a lot of respect from the ECW fans, and it took a lot for me. When I had that match with Dave at the Hammerstein Ballroom, [he]and I gave them a hell of a match, but it wasn’t what they wanted to see. They didn’t give a crap. They may have liked Dave and they may have liked the Big Show independently, but not for their ECW. They wanted the guys that they identified with; that they were invested in.”
“That was the difference. It took a while to get emotionally invested with the ECW audience, until they realized ‘Eh, Big Show’s not such a bad guy – we’ll cut him a break.’ But it took me a while to not let that get to me, and just going out every night and trying to do the best that I could.”
Big Show stated that the move to the much smaller ECW brand didn’t bother him as he had “already been through worse”. Specifically, he cited being moved back to Ohio Valley Wrestling in late 2000, then a developmental territory for the company.
“I’d already gone from the WrestleMania 2000 main event, to a few months later being in OVW. I went out there one night in OVW and there was 7 people, and some guy asked because he was selling hotdogs outside – as I’m in the ring – he says, ‘Show you want me to save you a hotdog?’”
“In all sincerity, I could have taken that experience and made it a negative thing, and bitched and moaned. But you know what, in that OVW experience I got a chance to get away, to reboot, and to rethink and establish some friendships and relationships that I couldn’t make in WWE. I got be friends with Bautista, Brock [Lesnar], [John] Cena and Randy Orton – the next generation of main events. And it was good for me because I got to interact with those guys, and build relationships that made it easier for me, once it started picking up again.”
In fact, it was actually one of those up-and-coming names, Brock Lesnar, that Show credits for reigniting his career a few years later. The two would actually go on to wrestle in a marquee match at the 2002 Survivor Series pay-per-view, with Big Show actually defeating Lesnar to win the WWE Championship.
“I owe the entire resurgence of my career to Brock Lesnar. For the longest time I was still napalm when I came back from OVW. Brock’s main event somehow got stuck in a plane, and Blackjack Lanza at a house show threw me in the main event against Brock, and we tore the house down. Before that I was working mid-card, and doing Body Slam matches; stuff like that. I filled in for that main event, and Brock and I tore the house down.”
“Brock can flat-out go. Now he’s the ‘Beast’ and all that stuff, but just like Kurt Angle, the amateur wrestling background made him a better performer.”
“I remember hearing the story that they were asking Brock who his next opponent is, he said ‘I want to work with Show. He’s a giant, and you guys are idiots for sleeping on him.’ You know how Brock is. It changed a lot of people’s perceptions for who I was as a talent, and who I was as an individual. I really owe that break to Brock.”
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