WWE star Big Show spoke with Sports Illustrated following his surprising return on last Monday’s Raw, where he teamed up with Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe to face Seth Rollins and the Authors of Pain. Show discusses how much his return personally meant to him, discusses his journey back since surgery, and reveals stories from the road. Highlights are below.
His return being a total surprise to talent backstage:
That was old school. Nowadays everybody knows everything, but our business is about suspending reality, bringing people along on a journey, and surprising them. For me, this was very cool to be a part of it. They had me in an SUV with tainted windows, and I had a big Chrome Hearts hooded sweatshirt that I had over my head. I tried to hunch over and hide. Once we got back to an area that no one could see, I walked into a private changing area.
What the return meant for him:
I have fought very hard for the past two years to get back in the ring and get back to a legit competitive state of mind and state of body. My hip joint looked like a cracked bowling ball, and there were problems doing the surgery with someone of my size. I was depressed, my career was being taken away from me. I worked very hard through five different surgeries. I went through IV PICC lines for dealing with a surgical infection, to replacement joints, always believing I was going to get back to a point where I could compete. So last Monday, hearing an incredibly positive response from the crowd, I knew I was going to enjoy that moment. After two years of heartache and setbacks, that moment was everything to me. I was very calm, I wanted to enjoy that moment. Now I need to keep earning my spot and make the most of every opportunity.
Still having something to prove:
I’m being counted on to contribute, and that’s exactly where I want to be. This is a privilege. I’m 47, and there are a lot of younger guys who can do things I can’t do, so I have to prove the right to walk down that ramp. I’m doing this now because I love it, not because I have to.
His early days working with Undertaker:
I used to come through the Gorilla position after a match against Undertaker on our live tours, and Undertaker would be there waiting for me. He’d wave me over with that crooked finger, and he’d chew out my ass for the next 15 minutes. This happened night after night. It seemed like I couldn’t do anything right, no matter what I tried. And I’m a little more hard-headed than most, so it took me a while, but a lot of the lessons I learned from Undertaker put me in a position now where I can help a lot of people not make the same mistakes I made.
His time in WCW:
It was a lot different in WCW, which had guaranteed contracts. WWE was a shark tank, it was competitive. It wasn’t a locker room where everyone went to Chipotle after the show together. People legitimately didn’t like each other. I was so young in WCW, I was 22, 23 years old at the beginning. The only other young guy was Alex Wright. Macho, Hulk, Flair, Paul Orndorff, they were all in their 40s or older. It was like I was everybody’s kid brother. And I made a lot of mistakes back then. My real training happened when I got to work with Undertaker.
Hypes his fist-fight showdown for tonight’s Raw:
I have no idea what to expect for this match. I found out about it after we went off the air, after I thanked people and took selfies and signed some autographs. I came to the back for a dot-com interview, and that’s when I found out. I just started laughing when I heard it, because in my mind I’m thinking, ‘What is a fistfight match?’ What are we doing, taping our fists? Are all six of us fistfighting in the ring like a bar room brawl? I know AOP are two monsters and Seth Rollins can do anything, but other than that, I’m walking in blind so we’ll all find out together. It will probably be something where we’re asked to do the impossible in a short amount of time.
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