Complete Transcript of Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Sessions With Big Show! This special is now available on-demand on the WWE Network.
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Opening Monologue & Big Show’s Love For Dungeons and Dragons
Steve Austin: All right, everybody. Welcome to The Broken Skull Sessions. My name is Stone Cold Steve Austin and my guest today is the largest, most handsome athlete in the world. The one and only Big Show. How are you?
Big Show: Good, my brother.
Steve Austin: Good to see you. Don’t be afraid to lay it in there. Give me this one right here. The workers handshake.
Big Show: I haven’t done that in so long. There it is, the gimmick, don’t worry.
Steve Austin: How did that get over with you back in the day?
Big Show: Never did. The only one that could ever do to me that I was totally cool with was Mean Gene. Mean Gene would the gimmick handshake as a joke. You know what I mean? It was like our little thing. Hey, gimmick, how are you?
Steve Austin: Hey, man, it’s good to see you here.
Big Show: I love your studio. It’s nice. I love the carpentry work you did. How long did that take you to put up?
Steve Austin: Seminar and I got a lot of instructions off of YouTube. And I just came in here with a nail pouch and a hammer, then I got started. And I started pulling these materials together and one thing led to another. I can actually say with truth that I did about 1% of the work here. I hung that Texaco Sign behind you. Hey, man, I’m a little disappointed in you. I don’t want to start this show on a bad note. Disappointment.
Big Show: What did I do?
Steve Austin: You’ve been in Los Angeles for three or four days and I haven’t heard from you. Why didn’t you call a brother up?
Big Show: True story.
Steve Austin: Oh, I love when you say true story.
Big Show: Yeah. I haven’t been here since November and everybody and their brother needed to talk to me when I was out here. And I knew I had a whole day scheduled for you. So I waited for that whole day.
Steve Austin: We’ve got a whole day together?
Big Show: I should’ve brought more beer. Yeah, just got out here and got busy. Actually Monday Night, I was over at Joe Manganiello’s house playing dungeons and dragons with Vince Vaughn, Kyle Newman, Dan Wease, a bunch of other really cool cats. And that started about 5:30pm and finished at 3:00 in the morning. It’s a tough trek to go from Miami out here to LA for a game, but the games are pretty epic.
They post some of the pictures online and Joe goes all out with it. If you are a creative person and got a creative person, it’s fun. It’s something different than watching the tv or doing something else. And it’s good camaraderie. It’s funny. About six or seven hours in when the guys start hitting the scotch and the bourbon and stuff like that, it gets pretty ludicrous. Tom Morello actually plays with us, the guitarist.
Steve Austin: Man, i’ve been wanting to talk to that guy. Old Rage Against The Machine Guy.
Big Show: Yeah, Tom is an amazing dude. Amazing dude. I’ll hook you up, done deal.
Big Show Recaps His Most Return To WWE Television
Steve Austin: Let’s go back and talk a little about professional wrestling, if you will.
Big Show: I’d love to.
Steve Austin: You have been wrestling in parts of four decades. And you told me four years ago …
Big Show: Did you see DDP come out and say he’s been wrestling five decades after that? Like two weeks later after they announce that, Dallas goes five decades.
Steve Austin: Hey, he’s the tallest 6’4 guy, if you have done something, he had to do it better. Look at this, the rookie days. You told me four years ago maybe you had two more left in you. So how are you feeling? How much longer are you going to keep doing this with al the success you’ve been having out here in Tinsel Town?
Big Show: I’m great. I feel great. The body is great. I came back a couple weeks ago and did a little thing on Raw with Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe. I got that call on a Friday night at midnight. Literally, I was setting my alarm to go to the gym Saturday morning. Vince texts me, you know 12:02 am.
Steve Austin: And i’m guessing he don’t send a whole lot of texts.
Big Show: No, he doesn’t. I think he’d rather pull his eardrums out and dive on a pitchfork than talk to me. I look at the text, can you go Monday? I was like, go where and for what? I need you in a match Monday. Single or tag? Tag, yeah, i’m good. Meanwhile, I haven’t been in the ring two years bumping, working. You know there’s a difference. Don’t matter what kind of cardio shape you’re in, there’s cardio shape and there’s ring shape because your body has to learn how to breath again, taking bumps and moving, not holding your breath. It’s a thing. I get there Monday, it was real easy. Got my feet and toes wet.
Good reaction, very thankful for that. Came back the following Monday, we were tightening up the angle. It was basically to have a six-man with me, Samoa Joe and Kevin Owens against Seth Rollins and AOP. So I got to take a bump from AOP. These two big monsters and they are great guys, super funny. But i’m like I haven’t taken a bump in two years. Like, it’s not natural to fall backwards. It’s not. And I’m taking a Double PowerBomb from them. Which is not a bad bump, but when you’re sitting up there on these two behemoth’s shoulders and you’re not quite as thick as you used to be because you’re doing all this dieting to get hollywood pretty and you’re up there.
All day long i’m sweating this bump in the back of my mind. You’ve got to do it. So I kept the PowerBomb Position. I’m like a piece of steel. Clutching my chin, the whole deal like here it comes, you know, here we go. I took the bump, as soon as I hit the mat, I went, oh, you moron. Because it was just like, yeah, you’ve done this for 25 years, you know what to do. But it was like I was a citizen and then I took that bump. I was like, oh, yeah, my body knows what to do. My body completely didn’t listen to my brain at all. It just knew what to do.
Big Show’s Upbringing & Dealing With Andre The Giant Comparisons
Steve Austin: Going way back, when you were a kid growing up in South Carolina, was there an athlete that you looked up to? Was it someone in wrestling?
Big Show: Ric Flair and Arn Anderson, my two favorite wrestlers of all time. We had Turner and Georgia Championship Wrestling and World Championship Wrestling. I knew who Hulk Hogan was. Obviously, I knew who Andre was. Ric Flair and Arn, I thought Arn Anderson was the toughest S.O.B ever. Like he just had that mean mug look. And when he cut a promo, you knew he was going to get in somebody’s ass and whip it. I tell this story all the time. But when I was 12 years old maybe, I was still riding a bicycle. I didn’t have a car yet.
They used to have shows in Columbia at The Township and tickets were only like I think $8, $10 and like $12 or $14 front row kind of thing. I knew that they were coming through town. So I cut a bunch of grass and the whole deal, made some money. My mom was working in Columbia, so I had her throw my bike in the back of the car. Jumped on my bicycle, rode over to the Township because The Four Horsemen were in town and all that. Ticket sales were damn doubled in price. I didn’t have enough money to buy a ticket. Literally, like I would have gone without a drink and food. I just wanted to get in and I didn’t have enough money.
I remember standing in the back lock there on my bike. And i’m 6’2 on a bicycle, so I probably look like some kind of, you know, crazy South Carolina Hillbilly that’s grown, that’s riding a kids bike. But anyway, I remember Arn Anderson got out of a Lincoln Town Car. Had that polo shirt, that rope chain rose colored glasses and just mean mugged everybody when he walked into the building. I went back to school and said that’s the toughest son of a gun i’ve ever seen. Marty Lundy years later became one of my dearest friends and mentors.
Steve Austin: So you didn’t get a chance to get into the show?
Big Show: No, didn’t get in.
Steve Austin: You mentioned Andre. What were your early impressions of Andre? Because at that time you don’t know you’re a giant. You’re a kid, but you’re a big kid.
Big Show: It’s funny. You remember Andre did Honeycomb commercials. I remember being a kid and after that commercial asking my mom, hey, can you make sure to get honeycomb? And I like changed cereals. Like that’s a pretty big deal when you’re a kid changing cereal. She said, why? I said because I want to be big like Andre. So wish granted.
Steve Austin: There’s really only been two giants in the business of professional wrestling. And someone can argue the fact, okay, Steve, you’ve got Giant Gonzalez, there was Ron Reis who was around for a cup of coffee, Big John Studd, Giant Baba. When I think of the giants, I think of you and I think of Andre The Giant. So to me, it seems like you’re always compared to him. How is that?
Big Show: It’s a unique place to be in. When I first started, because that’s the way wrestling was done back then. And if you want to give somebody validity, they were related to someone else that had already made a name, you know. Arn was related to Ole. That kind of a thing. So it gave me some credibility. Like I came from a good lineage, so to speak as a character wise. But it was difficult because I didn’t feel like I worked like Andre. I was too athletic for my own good back then.
Steve Austin: I agree. When they introduce you as Andre’s Son, a blessing or a curse? It sounded good, but what about the backside?
Big Show: The backside of it sucked because there are so many people that loved Andre, that truly, truly loved him. And it was very hard. You know me. I’m a pretty nice guy. But it was very hard to have sincere fans come up and shake your hand and get teary eyed and tell me how much they loved my dad and loved watching my dad. I’m like, my dad was a mechanic. I’m glad he moved you that well while he was changing spark plugs.
And I get what they were talking about, they loved Andre. And I always felt a little shady, I think, because the business was protective back then. Kayfabe was actually a real thing. You know what I mean? Over the time with the internet and everybody knew better, it was a little easier. I still get that sometimes, especially through the south. I still get people who are fans for 40 or 50 years who will come up and say I loved watching you and your dad, so still there.
Big Show’s WCW Debut
Steve Austin: You said, you know, you are probably too athletic for your own good. When you came in the scene, I mean you come in and you beat Hogan in your first match. Hallowed Havoc 1995.
Big Show: That was my first match.
Steve Austin: Now, where were you on the richter scale of being an accomplished hand in the ring? Cause to me, when I see you here, I see tremendous potential, tremendous talent, a great athletic ability. But, man, I don’t see that you are connecting everything. Very, very, very green.
Big Show: Oh, super green. Like right there, I am lost right here in this corner spot, I think. Grabbed his hand and it put on my throat.
Steve Austin: That’s how smart Terry is.
Big Show: That’s how smart he is and how brave he is to work with me, who’s never had a match before. Now, i’m trying to listen, which is good. I listened good. And i’m also being a little delicate with Terry.
Steve Austin: Also you can just see the way you are carrying yourself, it’s like, man. And i’ve been there. I wasn’t a giant, but i’ve been in those same shoes.
Big Show: Everything feels good. Nothing hurts, but I’m waiting for everything to happen. You know what I mean? Waiting for everything to happen because I really don”t know what to do. I’m listening. I’m doing what i’m told. I’m trying to react to stuff that’s done to me, selling. But I have no idea what to do, what step to take and what to do next, especially in that kind of environment. Like I cringe a little bit looking back now because I look at that healthy athleticism and there’s so much I could do with it. Like there I kind of got up a little too early maybe. Back to the bear hug.
Steve Austin: The Bear Hug is a green guy’s best friend, especially if you are a giant.
Big Show: It makes sense, but you can calm down. What’s the old saying? When you think you’re going too fast, go slower. Oh, my god.
Steve Austin: That’s Ron Reis, isn’t it?
Big Show: What a great guy, man. Look how damn big he is.
Steve Austin: Great guy, but a terrible gimmick. What is this?
Big Show: He’s sitting there literally saying I love you guys so much. And I didn’t blow up at all with Hogan. But right there, that blew me up. At some point Luger said, dear god, let him go. Like Luger is begging us to let go of Hogan.
Steve Austin: He grabs hold of you in this three way and he’s vibrating and it’s a very strange visual.
Big Show: Ron was just as green as I was. Ron never had a match.
Steve Austin: What happened? Why didn’t he last?
Big Show: I think part of it had to do with the success that I had. Only one giant in the territory maybe. Ron had the right attitude, great attitude. Hell of a conditioning. He could do like 1,500 Hindu Squats. The guy conditioning wise was great. But I just think for whatever reason and you’ve seen that before. You see guys with all the potential that can’t connect the dots. They put him in different gimmicks and shit like that and it just didn’t work out for him.
Big Show’s Time In WCW
Steve Austin: Okay, so I’m watching you work some of your matches. You had some really good matches at an early age. You might have been green, but you had so much athletic ability, you could make up for it. And short picture, good. Big picture, not so great because I mean you are a giant and you had the long hair. When guys would start rocking, that hair would start flying. You are very animated. You are taking back drops over the top rope. You’re getting suplexed off the top rope. I mean you’re doing all kinds of stuff. You had beat Hulk Hogan. You beat Ric Flair. You are working with Luger, Savage, Sting, Nash, The Steiners, all of them. So what are you thinking when you’re just coming up with your style? And you’re the biggest guy in the company? One of the biggest guys in the world and you are bumping like a 270 pounder.
Big Show: I think that bumping was a mistake that I was masking in working like that because I was trying to get reactions in the match because I didn’t know how to really get myself over yet and what I need to be. So I compensated by taking shortcuts to make myself more exciting, the best I could. I look back now, it got reactions, but it wasn’t the right kind of reactions. A lot of stuff that I wish I could’ve been smarter to figure out how to work. I wasn’t a Kane. I wasn’t an Undertaker. They are so talented, it’s ridiculous. I wasn’t an Andre. I was somewhere in that middle land, trying to figure out who I was and I wanted to do well.
It was never a question of me having an attitude and a bad attitude. I loved our business. I loved the people I worked with. Everybody that I was working with were my heroes. I’m not going to tell Ric Flair how to do something and or say no to Hulk Hogan, giving me a bodyslam. Even though a lot of things I probably should have been a little more judicious on and how I worked and the way I worked, but I wasn’t prepared for any of that when I got to WWE. That’s why my transition was so hard because you guys were on a completely different level. Completely different.
Steve Austin: But sticking with WCW for a second, it is hard to say no. And I can understand a guy in your body, why you’d want to do so many things.
Big Show: It was fun, too.
Steve Austin: To try to elicit a response. Because you taking all those bumps was kind of like a guy my size working way too fast to try to get those pops. It’s the same thing.
Big Show: That’s a real good analogy.
Steve Austin: But you are just working for the moment. You haven’t put the pieces together. I’m sitting here looking back at history, but i’m thinking why doesn’t this guy slow it down. Does he not know that he’s a giant? Hey, you did. But you are just trying to fit in. You know, the guys you are working with, they’re all top guys. How do you say no to those guys?
Big Show: It’s a very difficult place to be. And it has to come from a place of respect. And you have to have a valid reason that makes sense in a psychological way to the match of why you shouldn’t do it right there or why you shouldn’t do it at all. And when you’re green, you don’t have that skillset. You don’t have that skillset to politic. You don’t have the experience to hold your ground. And if there’s a good top guy that’s working with you that is concerned about you, they will listen. And they will say maybe you’re right. If it’s a top guy that’s like, screw this kid, i’m going to get over, well, it doesn’t happen.
Steve Austin: Here you are, got Flair up for the press.
Big Show: That’s why i’m bald. You see that handful of hair he’s got, every time you press slammed him off the top, he’ll pull more hair. I’m like Ric, you don’t need to take that press slam. It’s great, it’s a big bump. You’re snatching me baldheaded. Oh, you press slammed him, too?
Steve Austin: Yea, I wasn’t strong enough. Hey, man, you start off working with Hogan. You worked with Flair. Luger, Sting, Macho. Some of the biggest names in the business. Like did you think, hey, it’s always going to be this easy? Because you’re fixing to go to WWE.
Big Show: I was disillusioned in WCW because I was the youngest guy there by 10, 12 years anyway. I was like everybody’s kid brother in WCW. Like I was a young kid. I had a good personality. I wasn’t a jackass, you know. Everybody had fun with me. A lot of guys probably tolerated me when I probably didn’t deserve a lot of tolerance looking back now. But I was a kid in a candy store. And it wasn’t until I got up north that I got my feelings hurt pretty quick.
Steve Austin: But when you were down there, whether it’s Hogan, Flair, all the guys that I just named — but because you were so big, you really had to fit into the big picture, no pun intended.
Big Show: Right, but I think all those guys saw that I had massive potential to draw money and make money. But I was still a kid. I was 23.
Steve Austin: But was there one thing that stood out that maybe a Hogan dropped on you, a Flair, a Nash, Macho, Luger? And I didn’t think Luger was much of a ring general with all due respect. He had his career. Was there one thing or anything that you took from those guys back then? Or were you still at too young of an age that, hey, i’m just doing this, i’m going through the motions, i’ll do what everybody tells me? Or did some knowledge actually sink in?
Big Show: Some knowledge seeped in but it took awhile for me to process it and put it in the right place. I listened to everything everybody said. But again, I’m giving this all these numbers and equations, but nobody has taught me how to do math yet. So i’ve got everything. As soon as I learn how to do math, i’ll put the formula together and knock it out. But, you know, Randy was really big about less is more, brother, less is more. And you think you’re going too fast, slow down. What was the other one?
Don’t try to run with the joneses. Keep that credit card in your wallet. If Hulkster wants to pay, let him pay. I used to always get upset because we go out to eat. He and Hulk would aways pay. I would try to carry my own weight. I’m not a freeloader. Randy is like, keep that credit card in your pocket, don’t spend it. Don’t run with the joneses. Let Hogan pay, you know. Years later I figured out that Randy held onto his. He still had his communion money.
Steve Austin: It’s always interesting in the business. And now, you know, we’ll get to this. But you have mentored so many people. A lot of times when you burst into the scene like you did and you worked with top guys, guys can be hitting you with advice. But if you’re not in a position where you can understand it yet, if they are giving you 201 or 301 stuff but you haven’t comprehended this, you can’t absorb that. So with as many good intentions as some people have, you’re not in a place where you’re ready to absorb it because it’s still piss and vinegar and ahhh, i’m this machine. When I watched some of the film back, I mean one of your go-to de facto things was the loud voice. Which we see a lot of Braun Strowman, right now and it’s too much. So that was kind of one of your go-to things as a time buyer or trying to elicit the response that we are all craving.
Big Show: That’s insecurity. Because you don’t know what’s next. Oh, my god, i’ve got to do something. I need a reaction. I’m still here. I’m present. Roar. As I look now as somebody who is experienced, I was thinking about what I was doing. When you are thinking in your mind, you think you just have five minutes of thought process. When you have had nanoseconds. But it feels like I need to hurry up. I need to do something. I’m not hearing nothing. Let me do something.
Steve Austin: Dude, you had such a good look. Just a young buck. See that, there’s that yelling i’m talking about.
Big Show: You know, honestly, that process right there, if I remember, I think maybe Flair wanted me to do that so he could react to it. Some of that roaring there might have been so he could react to it. Look at those good shoulders. And there’s my hair. I can’t press him any higher because he has the hair on the back of my head. I couldn’t press him any higher. But Flair could just go, man. So, so easy in what he did. And this is pretty cool right here because Ric is doing this right out of his finish, the figure four. Which I was such a mark, I almost put myself in it as soon as he grabbed my foot.
Steve Austin: Really took care of him.
Big Show: Yeah. He’s one of my heroes, man. One of the worst things I ever had to do with Ric, we had match, an ECW match where i’d have a thumbtack match with him and I had to bodyslam him into thumbtacks. I didn’t want to do it. It really tore me up inside to slam your hero as a kid on thumbtacks.
Steve Austin: I always rib Flair because one of the things I found working with him, I was somewhere between 250 and 270, he’s the world’s heaviest 240 pound guy. You try to give that guy a regular suplex, forget about it. He’s the goat, so he’s my all time favorite. All of a sudden, we would really go into the monday night wars. You would have your run. You’d do some stuff with the NWO.
Big Show: Well, that’s the thing. The NWO thing — this is why the NWO is going into the hall of fame this year for WWE. That’s great and i’m happy for those guys. But the NWO, now that i’m older, I want to give them a double stone cold salute. This is me personally talking. Great faction, Attitude Era. But you look at what the NWO did business wise, made the Attitude Era hot, all that stuff. I joined the NWO because they beat me and they threw a party on me. And then they didn’t want to give me a return. So they didn’t want the comeuppance back. Oh, what’s the best way? Oh, yeah, brother come on into the group, come on, too sweet. I was young and naive. Those guys weren’t naive, Scott, Kevin, Terry, they weren’t naive. They were like yeah, we’ll put this big guy on our side because I was green. I was easily pushed along. Should have been yeah, i’ll drop the title, but somebody is going to have to feed me eventually.
Steve Austin: So looking back, they got one over you?
Big Show: Yeah, they got one over me. A lot. And they got one over a lot of guys, too. Because I remember one time we pulled up. There was like four limos of 40 guys in the NWO. I’m like, who’s left in WCW? Sting? You know, Sting was the only guy that wasn’t in the NWO.
Steve Austin: How was he to work with? Because you got him when he was still wearing the lime green stuff with the spike and then with the crowd stuff. And y’all had really good chemistry.
Big Show: Steve was just a consummate gentlemen to me. He was very nice. Saved me from making a lot of mistakes. Steve would talk to me on the side, might not want to do this, might not want to do that. We played cards all the time. I wasn’t the Jim Duggan gin lesson that cost me $150 where I learn how to play gin. Still love that one. Hey, kid, you know how to play gin? No, you want to learn? Sure. $150 later I knew how to play. Sting was great. Sting liked to tell the story kind of like maybe a Giant Baba type of deal where it took everything to take me down. I remember Sting — I would stay on my feet, rock. Then once Sting got his offense going, he would jump from the top turnbuckle, cause you know how athletic he was. Drop an elbow to the back of one knee and I would to start to go down. And he would do that. And I would just turn and feed my back to the corners. And he would almost hit all four corners of attacking that one knee until finally I went down to a knee. He would do his woo and come with a dropkick and finally I took a bump.
Steve Austin: There were some matches where he would actually bump you and bump you again. All of a sudden, he’d go for that next one and you’d clean his clock and take him out of his boots damn near. There were flashes of, man, what really could be. All day long within a structure of a match. You weren’t there yet. But y’all had great chemistry and you had great matches. So, you know, you end up coming to WWE. WCW when they went out of business, I mean what was that? A learning process for you? Were you glad to see them go away?
Big Show: No, I was sad for the business. I was sad for the business because, as a talent, it’s never good to only have one place to work. As a talent, one place to make money. WCW is a place you can make money. Japan was a place to make money. New York was a place to make money. Now one place is gone, you know what I mean? Japan was still doing good, but Japan was on its way out, too. Within a few years, 17 different territories opened up over there or something right. When you are in one environment, there’s no place to start fresh or reinvent yourself or to get a break.
Steve Austin: When was the writing on wall? When did you say, man, this isn’t the place for me?
Big Show: When the NWO stuff was going on. Before when a heel talked trash to a babyface and the babyface gave him a look, the heel would sell and react. The NWO stuff, if a babyface did that, the heels would go, ooh. Babyface is buried, it’s done. They are cool, that’s awesome. But those are guys that were experienced. They weren’t bumping and feeding. They were getting over on promos and the microphones. The fans were loving it because all these guys are cool. Well, they are not heels. So then your babyfaces are buried. Who gets your heat? If you are doing cool stuff with an attitude, you’re not going to be a heel. You’re going to be a babyface. And this whole NWO thing —
Steve Austin: Well, that’s dictated by the crowd.
Big Show: Yeah, but they are going to like you. They are not going to root for the old guy in the white hat and white horse. They aren’t going to root for that guy anymore.
Steve Austin: You have to have a certain quality to be white meat and stay over in that capacity. When the heels are cool, and doing the thing, they just kind of pop you, they become the babies. But just from a contract level did your contract expire? How did WWE reach out to you? Because way back in the day, there was a promoter. You went to a show to see about getting in WWE. Tell me if this is true or false. That was Bob Collins. You told him that you didn’t have any experience. All of a sudden, he says no, we’ve got nothing for you. You are 7’2, 500 pound giant and he said arbitrarily we have nothing for you. Explain me that.
Big Show: I had Chicago Rosemont. I was at an autograph singing before one of the shows. It was Bret Hart, Luna Vachon, Bam Bam Bigelow and someone else. There was an autograph signing there. I showed up because I wanted to meet somebody. We didn’t have the internet, what do you do? Things were different back then. I showed up and I got the full leather trench coat on. I’m dressed nice. Not like a slob. Hair is all long and all the kids were coming up and talking to me. Who are you? I’m nobody. I’m like, I want to be a wrestler, the stupid stuff you say. And the kids were going to the autographs because the guys were all in different corners. Jeff Jarrett was there, too. But the kids were coming up and talking to me, so I was screwing up Bob’s autograph thing. So he asked me who I was and what I was doing there. I said, you know, I’m 22 years old. He said, well, we only hire people with experience, so would please leave. So I left.
Steve Austin: And Bob was a good dude.
Big Show: He apologized when I got up here so many times. I’ll tell you something even funnier. When I went to the monster factory in New Jersey, trying to get trained because that was the thing. It was trying to find a place to learn how to work. You think Larry Sharpe, Bam Bam Bigelow, Jersey, we’ll try it. I remember paying the entrance fee to train at the monster factory and then Larry Sharpe went on vacation. Yeah, I gave $5,000 and he went on vacation somewhere, that kind of thing. I didn’t really learn much. The only thing I knew how to do was hit the ropes. I literally had no offense. I didn’t have a finish. I could hit the ropes.
Steve Austin: Hey, when you started hitting the ropes, did you ever thought these motherfuckers just might break? Not too many guys your size hitting the ropes.
Big Show: A little bit. I didn’t really learn how to hit the ropes, so Terry Taylor showed me how to protect myself. Like when I got my tryout tape, I set up the video camera at the monster factory. And I just hit the ropes for like three minutes because that’s the only thing I could do. That was the tape that I showed Bischoff in Atlanta. That’s all I had because I didn’t really have a match.
Steve Austin: How was your dealings with Bischoff?
Big Show: Good. I mean I think Bischoff at the time working with me saw a lot of potential with me and what we were doing. But I think at the same time, it was a hard position for Bischoff to be in because he had a lot on his plate. I don’t think he was prepared to handle that in a lot of ways. Because he was young then, too. And Eric I felt like that time was very influenced by who was sitting next to him, whether he was sitting next to Terry, whether he was sitting next to Scott and Kevin. Those guys are the greatest, you know, make you feel like the most important guy in the room. He was like a pendulum swinging left, swinging right.
Steve Austin: Almost got caught in between a rock and a hard place. And he got himself that job and props to him. But man, all of a sudden, you jump into that deep water. There is a lot of shit going on.
Big Show: There is a lot of sharks there that know how to prey upon that stuff.
Joining WWE & St Valentine’s Day Massacre
Steve Austin: Speaking of sharks, you came into the WWE. So you’re a big story. Myself and Vince McMahon, St. Valentine’s Day Massacre and we have talked about that. But you made your entrance. You come through that damn mat and started slinging me around. Here I am buying some time. I’m talking to Vince, hey, man, is this motherfucker here yet? And I’m talking trash. I’m buying time. This is the creative way. Here you come, what a visual. Oh, see, watch. You’re about to throw me through the cage and this is what helps me win the match. Dude, you picked me up like I weigh about 30 pounds.
Big Show: Listen to that crowd, god.
Steve Austin: Now, see, we talked about this one the last time that we were on the podcast. But I wanted to just take these crazy bumps for you. But you were so strong. I mean and the distance was so short, we needed to back up from one rope to the next. And you were so strong that I was trying to take these magnificent bumps for you, but they were like shoot bumps because you are just pin balling people. Of course, I dropped off. I don’t know. We should have done something because that propelled me to stay with Vince.
Big Show: We did the following week. We had a follow up match that following week. And this is where I made a critical business mistake.
Steve Austin: What did you do?
Big Show: Vince comes in to me at catering and sits down. Says after what happened, I want you and Steve to work. Because Vince wanted to try to get you and I to WrestleMania the following year. That was his plan. And asked me what I want to do with you. Again, super green. Don’t know what to say. Just know that i’m brand new here, i’m not a jerk. I’m ready to get along which is the worst thing you can do in that place. I said I don’t know. Whatever you guys want to do, i’ll put Steve over.
Like I was trying to show that I was again a good attitude and a good business person. When actually I was a shitty business person. You were selling tickets and selling merch. You know how Vince is when he has that. This guy is not going to stick up for yourself. I’ll feed him to Steve and that was that. Then you and I were done and you went on somewhere else. I think a lot of that too, I had the look, but I didn’t have what it took to be in that spot yet and I agree with that. But if I could go back in time and know what I know now, i’d say i’ll beat the living shit out of stone cold and i’ll steal his truck and drive away, whatever.
Steve Austin: When you come into the WWE locker room at that time.
Big Show: It’s not that friendly. Everyone is making the same money in WCW. Everything is guaranteed and paid. You walk in, you’re taking somebody’s spot, somebody’s lunch money, somebody’s tv time, it was not friendly.
Steve Austin: Dude, I’m Stone Cold Steve Austin, so I am where i’m at. I see, you know, potential dollar signs. But to everybody else there and obviously, I see you have great potential. Great talent.
Big Show: You know what my boxing trainer used to say about potential? It’s a french word for you ain’t worth a shit. What is Booker saying. You’re a big guy.
Steve Austin: I love Booker. So you walk into the dressing room, man. You’re a whole different mindset because you walk in and it’s like, man, big dude. I’ll pop him. How long did it take you to blend in? Who did you go to? How did it feel? Because now you’re a stranger in a strange land.
Big Show: Well, I first started riding with Public Enemy, that’s how bad it was. All due respect, but top shelf guys weren’t talking to me. It wasn’t.
Steve Austin: How did everybody else treat you?
Big Show: Rock was good to me. Rock was very nice to me. And Rock was doing his own thing and building himself as well. It was too lightning rod hot to be friends with. I was a new guy. I was a big guy. I got in that big contract and all that stuff that pissed everybody off. So it was difficult. I end up making friends with some guys after awhile, Billy Gunn was actually pretty cool. And Billy tried to help me a lot.
Steve Austin: But you come into WWE. And, man, you have been in the business five years? Four? Okay, three. You got some seasoning. You worked a lot of top talents. But you still don’t know what’s up yet.
Big Show: I had been with a lot of top talents leading and put the match together, tell me what to do before the match. I might have one or two ideas here of something I could do, some feat of strength that I could do. But I was hand catered. I don’t know how else to explain it. I literally was a kid that was swimming in the pool with inflatable dinosaurs on my arms. And then I just got chunked in the middle of the arctic ocean with a bunch of polar bears, orca whales and sharks.
Big Show’s Relationship With The Undertaker & How To Work Like A Giant
Steve Austin: But there was one guy who took you under his wing. How long did it take to develop a relationship with The Undertaker? Because somewhere along the way — there’s a great picture of you guys damn near eye to eye. I had The Undertaker here. You’ve been in the ring with him 100 times, I have too. I think you’re probably walking to the ring, but he’s telling you something real here. He’s the ultimate learning tree.
Big Show: You see my face? I’m listening to learn.
Steve Austin: I can see the look on your face, yeah, i’m taking this in.
Big Show: I think after I fell on my face a little bit, Taker took me under his wing just because he wanted to feel me out and see what kind of guy I was. But I was also really good friends with Brian Adams. Brian Adams and Taker were real close. I think Brian Adams put in a good word for me because it was like the mafia. There are a certain group of guys and they didn’t just, hey, buddy, come on in, how you doing, welcome. It wasn’t like that. It was like who are you and what are you made of? And then I started with Taker and, man, Taker was relentless on me. My god.
Steve Austin: What kind of talks or what kind of blistering’s would he give?
Big Show: Blistering’s about bumping too much, overselling, not enough aggression, in-ring cardio, what in the f was I thinking doing that. Like I can remember having matches and like know that I screwed up. And instead of going up the ramp, i’d go side ramp because I knew he’d be waiting there. I just wanted five minutes before I got my ass ripped. Let me wipe my face off before I get chewed out. He’d be standing there with that long goatee and he’d be pulling on it. He’d take that crooked ass finger like this and he would that with that crooked ass finger. You know he’d go over there and we’d sit down.
Which was all good stuff, but it was like — you have to work like a giant. That’s great, that’s so god damn vague. What does it mean? Because i’ve got Vince telling me one thing. Pat Patterson is telling me another thing. Gerry Brisco is trying to help me. These are all people that I respect. Vince is my boss and he wants me to do this, but then i’ve got the boys, well, you can’t always listen to him because he doesn’t know what the hell he wants. For me, it was so frustrating. I remember driving my rental car down the road by myself, because I didn’t have anybody to ride with, just thinking I should just run this into the bridge and get it over with. Like literally you are riding down the road thinking — because you love what you are doing, you are in so love with the business, you are in love with watching people that can work and it and make it look easy and are having so much fun.
You know, watching you guys and Taker, you guys had so much fun. I wanted to have fun, too. You know, you have those thoughts as a talent because you’re trying to click your on button so you can get it. You are cussing yourself out. You are looking yourself in the mirror brushing your teeth. You look in the mirror, why don’t you get this? Are you stupid? Is that what’s wrong? You’re stupid, aren’t you? Are you dumb? I remember having these conversations with myself trying to figure out whatever it was.
Steve Austin: Yeah, but you were having success.
Big Show: We talked about it. I would have home runs and then I would have strikeouts. He told me you’ve got to get consistency. He says work for consistency. Now he says keep putting good matches under your belt, make it a habit. Cause you have one good match doesn’t mean that you sit on your ass, oh, I made it, I had one good match. No, it’s consistency. Again, that was a hard thing because I could have consistent good matches with a guy I have good matches with because I felt comfortable and understood what our relationship was. As soon as I would transition to a new opponent, there was always things that could go either way because I still didn’t know what was I supposed to do.
Am I supposed to sell? Am I supposed to beat this guy up? What was my role? I didn’t understand my place in the industry. I didn’t see it. You saw the place in the industry. Taker saw my place in the industry, but I didn’t see it. I’m still thinking like a young kid that’s making more money than anybody in my family has ever made in their life. I’m traveling the world. I’m going to places I have only read about in books. I see all these really cool guys having fun, like i’m marked with a contract. I don’t know how else to explain it.
Steve Austin: Well, no. But it’s interesting that you explain it like that. Mark told me when he was goes from being, Mean Mark The Punisher and all that stuff, working this big man athletic style with the flying clotheslines and all this because he was so athletic, you are too. Going back to your WCW days, man, when people had you rocking, some of the bumps you were taking, I mean y’all were blowing the roof that place. The crowd was really invested, great. For a very segmented time for a match, but to build a career off that, man, come on. That’s not where the money is for you. So in talking to Undertaker, he had to slow himself down and realize that his pops were going to be different. And it was hard on him personally when all the boys were out there blowing the roof off the place having regular matches. He’s like, hey, I can do the same stuff that so and so is doing, but less is more.
Big Show: It rips you in half as a big guy that’s athletic when you know this is a hot crowd tonight. London is a hot crowd, or when we’re in, Macon, Georgia and you know it’s on fire and it’s loud. You know this is a great crowd, like I can do this and this. I can’t. I’m going to have to have what I need to have for the card, for my character, for the business that I need to do. Because yeah, I could go out and do sunset flips and moonsaults and I can blow the roof off of it in San Antonio. You know, it’s great. But it’s a burnout.
Steve Austin: And is it going to get you to the top of the card? And to the top of the card for a long time.
Big Show: I just think it becomes a part where some people look at it and they are fascinated. It goes either way. Some fans love that stuff and they are fascinated about it. Some fans don’t understand. I think the ones who are fascinated don’t know why that stuff is cool, but you don’t invest. That’s not your favorite wrestler. They can appreciate it.
Steve Austin: Because you’re kind of limited. I guess it’s part of being an attraction. So when did you learn finally how to work like a giant? Because you did.
Big Show: This real prick I worked with in England one time, I spent two weeks working with him in Europe. He was a top guy, lot of respect for him. He was the coolest guy in the world outside of the ring. He was funny. Great sense of humor. Got in the ring with him and he treated like me so much dirt on the bottom of his shoe. I couldn’t figure out why. This guy would just stomp my ass for about eight minutes, hit me with a finish and pour beer on me and that was the end of it. This was all over europe.
I remember John Laurinaitis and Fit Finlay and all of them, are you going to fight back? You’ve got to be a giant. What the hell does that mean? You know, this guy hasn’t called anything for me. He’s not going to. What does it mean to be a giant? Do I just stand still? What does it mean? Then this guy hurt my feelings a little bit and lit my jaw up like the fourth of July and then it all clicked. A guy by the name, Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Steve Austin: Are you shitting me?
Big Show: No, it clicked that night. It clicked that night because I removed my brain from the equation. I learned in the match when you cracked me in the chin three times with those big knuckle busters you’ve got for hands and I got a little aggressive. Not in an unsafe way. But it clicked in my head. As soon as I fired up, you can laugh and say, okay, you bowed out of the situation, but I didn’t see it. When you say, there you go kid, way to fire up. It wasn’t to get your ass out of trouble with the giant. It was this is what i’m talking about. This is what I need from you.
You didn’t stoop down to anyone’s level. They had to step up. If they didn’t step up, tough, you know. And that’s one of the things that actually I did learn from you about being a giant. I don’t have to wait for someone to call me. I’m done selling. I’m the giant, I can do that. If you’re not coming, good. My turn, i’ll come. If you don’t stay on me, i’m going to come get you. Chopped meat and I don’t have to sell everything like it’s a .30-36 to the forehead. You’re going to have to earn it.
Steve Austin: But you were down in WCW. It was exciting, but it’s not going to get you here.
Big Show: No, I have done the same thing with Braun too. I jumped Braun’s ass for a long time. Working the house shows, I would see Braun be this big monster when I was working with him and trying to get him along. And he’s working with Sami Zayn. Which no offense to Sami Zayn, but he should eat Sami Zayn like a ham sandwich. And then towards the end of the match, Sami Zayn does a couple of things, a little flurry and then hits this big clothesline and Braun takes this bump. I said why? And I know his psychology because i’ve been there. He says, well, I’ve got to give him something. I said no, you don’t. In this situation, it’s not his day. When he’s working with you, it’s not his day. He can go be a fantastic superstar and work with everyone else and have great matches with Kevin Owens, which he has. That’s fine. But working you right now where you are, bad day, bro. Not everybody gets a win everyday.
Big Show Being Demoted To OVW & His Relationship With Vince McMahon
Steve Austin: You said that about as well as you can do it and that’s respectfully said. Man, you go from being one of the biggest attractions in the business to being demoted to OVW. How, why?
Big Show: Okay, well, I have my own opinion on it. My opinion was I had a knee surgery and this was years ago, just a quick scope. But we didn’t really know about physical therapy after a surgery, you know, biking and all that stuff. I didn’t know anything about that. I had the surgery and a couple of weeks after the surgery, JR booked me with Undertaker in a house show match. I think that was right around the time where Page was doing the stalker gimmick going on. So I had been off for three weeks. Had a knee surgery. Hadn’t been in the ring. I was still big back then, but you can get out of ring shape really quick when you’re not really in ring shape. The little bit of ring shape that you have can go away real fast, especially when you have an injury.
Obviously, my fault, wasn’t prepared. Full responsibility, I take it here. Taker didn’t know what he was dealing with. You know, I blew sky frigging high, blew a couple of spots, wasn’t there because my knee wasn’t right because I just had surgery. The muscles are weak. These are things that I didn’t know now, like your stability and muscles are off, fatigue. These are the little things I didn’t understand about rehab back then that I now make sense. But back then, nobody knew. Or at least nobody in my circles knew. So I missed a couple of spots, blew up. Taker was livid. I mean, livid, pissed, as only he can. Because this was an important angle with him. He doesn’t want to be brought down. Especially when this is a thing that like I might be one of the potential stalkers, so he’s on a mission.
You know, when he turns it up, it’s on fire. And I wasn’t there for it and nor should I have been ready for it then. I had just had surgery. I went from main event WrestleMania to OVW. It was really good for me because I got to kind of reprogram myself a little bit and get out a lot of bad habits that I had. I met some good guys. I met Batista, Cena, Brock. I met a lot of good guys in OVW and eventually guys that knew that I wasn’t a piece of trash, cause I had a lot of heat. I didn’t have good backers. One, I could keep up with you guys in the ring psychology wise. I wasn’t living up to expectations work wise. You know how quick people can — whether it’s true or not, a couple of wrong words in the right ears, you’re dusted. And I was in that position.
Steve Austin: So was it at this point coming out of OVW that you had a new take on the business and took it on a more serious level?
Big Show: Took it definitely to a more serious note because what I had was taken away from me. It was humbling. I went from walking in, Mr. Big Show to, like I had a $50,000 Dodge Dually with semi alcoas on it. Jim Cornette saw me and pulled the ring. My truck is worth more than your entire territory. You know what I mean? That’s what we were doing. Setting the ring up. I never set a ring up before and I did. I got my education that most everyone gets in the business before they ever get in — mine was after I already had a little bit of taste of success and that was a hard pill to swallow.
But a pill that I think at that time I needed to swallow because I think that really eliminated a lot of the frustration, so to speak and really started coming up this is like everybody is picking on me, why doesn’t everybody like me? I’m trying hard, why can’t people see that? You know what, this is a damn man’s business, I need to step the hell up. And that OVW, even though it was expensive education, but it was worth it.
Steve Austin: You can’t put a price on learning a great lesson. So when you come out of there, you know Vince. I worked in the company for a year or so before I really kind of started woking on my relationship with Vince. And once you get closer to Vince, the more you talk to someone, you can kind of say, okay, here’s what it’s all about. Some of the phone calls with him early on in our relationship, I was an idiot. I kind of started putting it together. This is not a guy you just fuck with on the phone. If you have his attention make it count. It’s the ultimate learning tree. Tell me about your relationship with Vince. Did it become closer then? Where are you right now with the guy? I know you are doing other things. But I always tell everybody — and it was told to me to when I first came to the company, man, you need to work on your relationship with the old man.
Big Show: Yeah, mine was spotty. I think Vince liked me. I think Vince really did like me and to use that famous french word potential. Vince didn’t know how to bring it out of me. Vince knew I was a good person. It wasn’t that I was trying to shoot angles. I’m just green and dumb. I don’t know how else to explain it to you. It’s not that I was a dumb person, but I was dumb to the intricacies of learning how we work. You know, Vince McMahon doesn’t call me like, hey, man, what’s going on? What you doing? It’s wasn’t like a buddy chat. He’s got X amount of time and donating his time to that.
It’s business. If you get five minutes around the coffee pot to shoot the shit, then that’s good. But right now he’s taking time out of his day to call you, it will be business minded. That took a long time. I think my relationship really didn’t start getting better with Vince until Laurinaitis ended up moving to talent relations because I think JR was really disappointed in my performances, I think, when I was there. He always on me about my weight. His biggest thing is, JR wanted me to weigh what I do now. JR wanted me under 400 pounds and live longer, have a healthier career. I took that advice the wrong way.
Back then, i’m like, why are you fucking with me? I’m one of a kind. I’m a quarter ton of fun. What do you mean? I’m The Big Show. I’m the biggest living thing on the planet. I didn’t really have any aches and pains right then. But JR was talking from a place of experience seeing how Andre broke down and passed away at 46. I think JR was trying to help me, but that rubbed me wrong because I just thought JR for whatever had it out for me. He was still trying to teach me old school lessons, but I took it as him like, what, man, I thought we were cool. Why would you do this? Like I don’t get it.
Steve Austin: In your dealings with Vince, because he had worked so closely and so long with Andre The Giant and here you are another giant, of a complete different mindset, personality and english speaking. Andre spoke english but from french. He wasn’t the most eloquent person in the world. Did he make comparisons?
Big Show: No, Vince never put me in an Andre category. From day one, my dealings, Vince wanted more from me than Andre. He saw the size. He saw the presence. But he also saw my intelligence, charisma, saw my charm. Vince always wanted more from me, not to settle. That was a big thing that pissed Vince off when I first got there because I was settled. I was just lumped in with the boys and I was happy to be there. Vince never wanted that from me when I first started. That was my fault for not really understanding the aggressive instincts that I hadn’t developed yet. It took me a while to develop and I didn’t have that skillset.
The Different Incarnations & Embracing The Entertainment Side Of The Wrestling Business
Steve Austin: Man, when i’m thinking about giants and like when I was stressing to you, when I was working with you because I’m a serious guy. When I broke three bones in my back, I started turning to some comedy that we did with Kurt Angle because I couldn’t work. You can’t get heat if you can’t do anything, so you at least need to be entertaining so you don’t flatline. But you have always had a pension for being entertaining. So you could have just been a single minded or just very limited giant.
But with your personality, you have had the ability to do so many things and it’s led you to the success you’re finding now here in Hollywood. Talk to me about just the way you have morphed through some of the different incarnations of The Big Show, that you’ve done and some of the different skits. Something, whether it was being The Showster or doing the stuff with Val Venis, the gimmick stuff. Talk to me about this. Because I mean you are one of the funniest guys I know. But sometimes when you’re doing this stuff it’s not good for business. This helped, in my opinion, your longevity.
Big Show: That helped my longevity?
Steve Austin: Absolutely. To me, your ability or your willingness to go there. You couldn’t have talked me into doing that for a million dollars, that’s not me. But you know what i’m saying.
Big Show: That’s me trying to find myself. I look at my job probably differently than a lot of people. I signed a contract to work for WWE. I put named on that dotted line. It’s kind of like an honor thing. Whatever you say. Whatever you want me to do. Not understanding that sometimes you have to be judicious about what you do. But I had a lot of fun doing that stuff. It was getting me on TV and it was making moments. It was showing a humanity to the audience that started making me endearing.
The fans have always joked, I’ve had more heel turns than Nascar. We would do that. We would take me to that funny, he’s such a fun cuddly guy, look how nice he is. We find the right time and I would turn. I would try to reinvent that monster again. We’d kill half the locker room on something. Then I would work with some guy and get him over and that would go so far. Then i’d get lost in the shuffle again.
The Proposed WrestleMania Match With Shaquille O’Neil
Steve Austin: You’ve got a chance to work with Mayweather and then I thought you were supposed to work with Shaq at one point.
Big Show: We were.
Steve Austin: Whatever happened to that? Dude, look at this matchup.
Big Show: Yeah, it’s amazing. It’s funny. I just saw Shaq down in Miami at The Super Bowl and he was doing his Shaq Fun House thing. Of course, it was a tough time because everything that happened with Kobe and stuff. I gave him a big hug and we talked. One of his oldest sons is a huge wrestling fan and a model. I said, you don’t give him a hard time for being a model, do you? He goes every day, like that. Just the way he said it, this poor kid, he’s a good dude. He says we can still have that match. I’m like, yeah, maybe, we’ll see. I think he has so many things going on. Shaq is always busy. I think a lot of it too is trying to find the time to put it together.
Steve Austin: Stylistically, how do you think that would play out?
Big Show: I think it would be very entertaining. It would be a lot of work on my part, but i’d make him look good and get the match over. That’s all you could do. I would love to do it as a tag, so we could have some bump partners in there, so to speak. Either way, it would work.
Big Show Relationships With Kurt Angle & Brock Lesnar
Steve Austin: Two people that you have an interesting relationship with is Kurt Angle. You already lit up. What was the story with Kurt Angle?
Big Show: I love him. He is literally the absolute nicest person I ever met. I love Kurt Angle to death. He’s just such a good person, such an amazing talent. My god. You couldn’t blow him up. He got this business instantly like that. He was so smart and soaked it in. And just his work rate. Here’s a guy that is an Olympic Gold Medalist that, quite frankly, could stretch all of us if he wanted to and would wear a little bitty goofy cowboy hat and make fun of himself all day. Sweetheart and such a good guy.
Steve Austin: I blew him up in Fresno, California one night. Straight up shoot. He was three shades of purple. Every now and then, i’ll get on my phone and i’ll text him, always remember Fresno. Yeah. He’ll send me the FU Emojis, i’ll save that for another show. I love Kurt. When I speak about the shooters — and he won the olympic gold medal. I always say, if I can blow you up, in theory, I could have won the ’96 gold model.
Big Show: I love your math.
Steve Austin: Brock Lesnar was another guy you had great chemistry with. You crossed paths with him down in OVW. And it would be one of those holy shit moments that stand out. He suplexed you off top rope. He was on the second rope, you guys came crashing down. I think we got some footage here. Brock is such a frigging beast and you are too, but this guy is on a different planet.
Big Show: He’s so athletic. Oh, he is on the top.
Steve Austin: There, you go. Oh, man. Beautiful. Listen to the crowd. They are going ape shit. Like Pat Patterson would say, they are going banana. What are you thinking when you’re laying there? You take the great bump. Probably felt good. This is great. When you do something like that, executed at a high level, the place comes off the place, like man that was good.
Big Show: Lightning goes right through you. Like I mean there’s no greater feeling in the world. Getting a reaction like that and doing a stunt like that, that’s why when we redid that, I was against it because I had protected the business for years because I told everybody, like what happened, well, that ring is 7,000 pounds put together and there’s a support beam that snapped. And you have 7,000 pounds of metal and wood that collapsed on itself. It’s just physics. They bought it. They believed it. When we suspend their belief on something, that’s what they watch. They watch because they get involved and it’s like a soap opera. They have their favorite characters and like the storylines. But when you can suspend their belief just for an instant, that’s when you got them.
Working With John Cena
Steve Austin: Hey, what was your favorite version of your character in WWE?
Big Show: Favorite version of my character? I would probably say, probably towards the end of my career, when I was working quite a bit before I got injured. So probably 2011 through 2014 maybe.
Steve Austin: Because you had put everything together.
Big Show: I was having good matches with anybody. I was having matches where I was getting other people that were greener. I was the guy Vince could look at and it was no problem for me to show up and deliver. Where before early in my career, I’d have that anxiety and that stress of gee, I hope it went well. There was no stress. Working with Cena, too. Like when I worked with John a lot, that was a very fun time in my career because, John and I got along great. John let me be a giant and I let him be John Cena and it was effortless. Man, I wouldn’t even talk to that cat sometimes until the bell rang. I knew he wasn’t going to do anything goofy and out of character or out of context. I knew I was going to be me. I was going to whoop his ass until he made a comeback. And then we were good.
Steve Austin: I have never been in the ring with John Cena, but his feats of strength amaze me. Some of the stuff that he’s done with you and some of the stuff he’s done with other guys picking up two or three guys at a time, that guy is off the charts.
Big Show: He’s a different kind of strength. Now, Brock is the most explosive strong guy I have ever been with. When Brock snatches you up, you get snatched. Like you might want to bend over and pick up your shoelaces because he pulled you out of your boots. Mark Henry is one of the most physically strong people i’ve ever been in the ring with. Like if he grabbed my skin, he could pull it off like stripping sheets off a bed. Cena is the most functionally strong guy i’ve ever been in the ring with. Like when John Cena has me on his shoulders, there’s no wobbly hips, the stabilizer muscles aren’t weak. His bak erectors muscles aren’t weak Like he is literally like a mechanical forklift. Ridiculous how strong he is.
Mark Henry & Working With The Special Olympics
Steve Austin: What brought you and Mark Henry so close together? Because you inducted him into the hall of fame and you guys have a real special bond.
Big Show: It’s funny. When you talk to Mark, people I don’t think realize how much knowledge and life that Mark has lived. He just makes you smile. I love him to death because he’s such a good dad. He’s such a good dude.
Steve Austin: If you guys are going to arm wrestle, who would win?
Big Show: I would. Hands down. Never been beat. I beat Scott Norton, who was the World Arm Wrestling Champion. Shoot, I’ve never been beat. Oh, that’s in that smart car. We did a thing on the pier in New York for SummerSlam or something. This was the cops’ smart car for going up and down the pier. So I walked by the car. Said, hey, let me have the keys and he handed them to me. Okay, well, wrong thing to do with me. I turn it in and cut the blue light on and was driving up and down because I was doing a thing with Special Olympics. So I got all the kids involved and I had fun. And I got Mark to jump in with me. Let’s see, i’m about 380 right there, so Mark is four bills.
Steve Austin: You look 382, but that’s me looking.
Big Show: You have a good eye for that.
Steve Austin: You brought up the special olympics. That was the question I wanted to ask you. You’re an ambassador. Tell me about your involvement with that. I know it’s a very big passion project for you.
Big Show: It is. I love working with the athletes. And I think it’s more — I love the athletes, I do. It’s the human spirit at its purest. There’s no angles being shot, no manipulations being done. The athletes, they compete, but they want to win together. They hug. They hug for real. No matter what’s going on, no matter who’s talking, could be Tim Schreiber, whoever is talking, music plays, they start dancing. Life is still enjoyable. You know what i’m saying? They don’t get trapped with a lot of stuff that we get trapped with. And the Special Olympics Organization, what I don’t think people understand a lot, it’s not just about kids competing in events and winning medals.
A lot of times these athletes, it’s the first time they get medical care because by going to one of these events from finding out that they have had the wrong eyeglass prescription for 10 years and now, all of a sudden, they can see to having hearing blockage and find out that, no, there was an overabundance of wax and now this kid who they thought was deaf can now hear. Dental, like a lot of the problems that the special olympics athletes have are dental health because it’s very hard. It’s very hard to deal with these athletes. And they just communicate differently, but they still communicate. And it takes patience and it takes understanding to listen and understand.
But I think if you spend any time with these athletes, for me it’s chicken soup for the soul. I love it. I just love being around them. I don’t have to be involved. I don’t have to be leading. I just like to sit in the group and just be around them and talk to them because this whole thing, they don’t want to be treated any different than you and I. They don’t want to be talked to like babies. A couple of them have lit me up with some jokes pretty quick. Like you’ve got to be on your toes. They have lit me up pretty quick about John Cena handing me my ass, here and there. It makes me feel good.
Steve Austin: How will you decide no more matches?
Big Show: I don’t know. Probably when this titanium blows out the side of my leg. I’m doing about 80, you know, when I run down the ramp because that’s what giants do. That will probably be the end of it. I don’t know, Steve. I’m still having fun. I mean I can’t do five nights a week anymore like I did in the past. I can’t be in the trenches. I’d like to do an overseas tour here and there, europe tour. I’m not ready to go in there and try to make the next world heavyweight champion, but i’d like to do a tag or two on one. Just do what I should be doing and just do some retraction stuff and have fun. I had the greatest time working with Primo and Epico on the europe tours. Oh, my god they would crack me up so bad.
We worked the two on one handicaps and they’ve doubled stack. Primo would pat me on the head and I would chop him and he’d take the electric chair bump from Epico. He showed up one night and we were in France. He showed up one night and he didn’t have his boots and I started laughing right away. I said I don’t know whether to kick your ass for disrespect or be proud that I’m that easy to work with that you didn’t have to lace your boots up. You know how good they are. They are so amazing. But he didn’t lace his boots up. They had me giggling the whole match because he didn’t lace his boots up. Like, thanks for taking the time, brother.
Steve Austin: Who was your favorite person to work with in and out of the ring?
Big Show: In the ring, John Cena as far as we did good business, made a crap ton of money. And it was zero headaches with John. Toughest, like I knew I had been in a fight was Sheamus. Like I was covered in bruises with Sheamus. I’m like, what am I doing? Like i’m wondering if my liver is going bad, something is wrong with me. Why am I covered in business? All my forearms were all bruised. When I punched Sheamus, he would put his elbows and he was blocking my gut shots with his elbows.
Steve Austin: He looks like he knows when to lay his stuff in, too.
Big Show: He will lay it in. I’ll tell you this story. I love Sheamus. Mad respect for him. One of my favorite matches was during our run together. But Sheamus gets really intense, you know. Like I mean just full of piss and vinegar. He’s older now and a lot smarter. But in the beginning, he would be like a hyena. So he used to do this spot where he would take a bump in the corner and he’s sitting in the corner on his butt. He wants you to come in to attack. Then he front kicks you in the knee. Well, hell, I don’t pay attention. You know, first time i’m working with this guy. I go walking in the corner and he front thrust kicks my knee. He about blew it out. I’m held together with bubblegum, paperclips and a damn prayer. Like calm down.
I tell him, hey, man, if i’m coming over again in the corner, just don’t kick because I can’t move like I used to. You’re going to blow my wheels out. He goes, just showing my fighting spirit. I’m like, I don’t give a shit what it shows, don’t do it again. So next night, same thing. You know, he lands in the corner, he’s sitting on his ass. I’m like, I told you, he goes come on. I went no, get up. Like that. You look like a dumb ass sitting there, i’m not coming in there and getting kicked. I’m talking to him just like this. You can see him go, oh, big grumpy giant.
As soon as he put his feet in, I came in and mowed him right in the side of the head with a boot. I told you not to do that, you know, i’m clubbing him. We’re laughing while we’re doing it. But yeah, just his intensity was always great to be around. He wanted to do every single thing in his arsenal when he was super motivated, everything. I’m like, you don’t have to get it all in.
Steve Austin: I had Kane here a while back. He said in his own words, Big Show is the best big man ever.
Big Show: I would disagree 100% and say that Kane is the best big man ever.
Steve Austin: Well, he puts that on you. How do you feel about that? Where do you think you stack up? When you back up, I know you’re still doing it, doing it less. But when you look back at starting off like a house afire and not knowing shit, learning the craft, learning the business, learning how to work like a giant, looking back at your body of work, you’ve got to be proud of it. You’re gonna go into the hall of fame. He calls you the best big man ever. You’re respected by all of your peers. Hey, man, you are having one of the best runs ever.
Big Show (Holding Back Tears): Yeah, son of a bitch. It’s very humbling. I think all the struggles in the beginning, loving this business so much and just loving the guys that I worked with, just loving the the magic that we do, to have somebody that I respect like Glenn, like Kane to say that, it hits you right in the gut.
Steve Austin: But did you figure you’d ever last 20 plus years? That’s surviving, brother.
Big Show: No. Vince said something to me a long time ago that makes a lot of sense. He says treat everyday like your first day of work. It’s hard sometimes when you get bogged down in the drag and the rental cars and the airplanes and the delays. It’s hard to keep that attitude. But I try to keep the attitude of I’m doing the greatest job in the world hanging around with the coolest cats on the planet, getting paid a ton of money to have the greatest time I could have.
Steve Austin: Man, I saw you come out. God dang, who is this guy? He’s fantastic. Hey, he’s taking too many bumps but he’s putting on an entertaining match. You turned and learned how to work like a giant. And yeah, you don’t quite understand the business at that point. And I have watched you on some of your interviews in the past year, when I talk to you now, you’re like a savant. You totally comprehend everything that’s going on in the landscape of the business. And you have mentored so many guys, Mark Henry way back in the day. How does that feel to be able to give back?
And coming from a giant’s perspective, you can talk to anybody at any bodyweight and explain the business to them. And I think it’s important to give back because there’s not many guys that have been around for part of four decades, 20 plus years who have been down in the trenches and see people through all the phases and some of your favorites, Marty Lundy, Arn Anderson, to Ric Flair, to beating Hulk Hogan, to have the run that you have run. How does that feel to you to be able to relate to anybody and tell them what’s up about the business? And let them sit underneath the learning tree, which is The Big Show?
Big Show: It’s humbling, but it’s a responsibility that I take seriously. I think I fought very hard to understand and learn this business. I have always loved it, loved it as a kid growing up. I was a fan. I loved being in it, even though I didn’t know my ass from my elbow. It was the single greatest thing that I have ever done in my life. When I find other people that understand it and have that same passion — because you see a lot of guys will come in here, oh, this is my favorite, this is what I want to do. Then they are off doing something else. It’s like we know who those that are are doing this business as a pit stop and then you know those that it really means something to them. It’s part of them. You see it in their eyes and it’s what they want to do.
Those are the people that I like to try to help along because I have been almost at every facet of frustration from the tippy top, to the bottom outcast, to the new guy, the whole gamut. And it’s funny I find in myself talking to a lot to the cruiserweight guys. The young cruiserweight guys will come up and talk to me. And my golden rule that I tell them, I think it’s starting to set in with some of them because it’s a different style. I can’t work their style. But some of the stuff they do is pop oriented, spectacular oriented. But my one thing for them when they are putting their match together, listen, if the biggest pop of the night in your match isn’t the finish, you’ve done something wrong.
If you put your matches together where the finish is the biggest pop of your match, you will get over because I knew a guy that I worked with that the biggest pop of the night was his finish, it was Rey Mysterio. Rey Mysterio did some amazing stuff, but your ass came out of your seat on the finish, whatever that was, good or bad. It’s good to give back. I helped Rusev along the way. Miro, he’s great. So it’s full term. When you get into this business, you try to soak it all in and you want to leave it better than when you came in. You know, I think if you are a true respective person in the business and love the business, you want to leave it better. You try to leave some of yourself behind.
Steve Austin: Hey, you’ve been all over the place traveling the world with WWE and now you’ve been out here in Los Angeles. I mean, many times. But you’re filming a show. Does doing what you are doing now satisfy you like being in the ring satisfied you? Because doing stuff in the ring, it’s like instant gratification. How is it out here for you?
Big Show: A TV Show with a live audience did. I’ve got a show on Netflix. It’s a partnership with WWE and Netflix and it’s called, The Big Show Show. You like that marketing idea, kind of rolls off the tongue. I’m telling you, i’m a marketing genius. You know how many t-shirts I sold back in the day? Anyway, regardless, it’s an incredibly fun family show. The premise is, i’m The Big Show character, retired living in Florida. I have a wife and three daughters. I have two daughters that live with me and my third daughter, who’s from a previous relationship, 16 years old, moves in with us. So it’s us in Florida with my 9 year old, my 11 year old, and my 16 year old. And dad who is usually on the road is now retired and in everybody’s way at home. There’s the family. They are good looking. That’s just luck of casting. That looks like a family, it’s crazy.
Steve Austin: How long did it take you to fit into this and y’all developed a chemistry and that bond?
Big Show: Instantly. I went in for Allison Munn’s read who played my wife and Raelynn who plays my oldest daughter. They had already cast their little juliet. She’s the star. She’s already worked with Meryl Streep and she’s got a photographic memory. She can literally read the script and she knows everybody’s lines. It’s so great. Because sometimes you get a lot going on and just before we go, what am I doing? You know, she’ll go, well, you’re doing this and she’s so cool about it. She’s my little snipper. And Lily Brooks had done some work before on Matilda. It’s got a lot of wheels. When you see the show, there’s a lot of family that comes through. People that watch the show think it’s really my family. So i’m very blessed and thankful for that. Just luck of the draw because you can get some people that you can’t work with.
Steve Austin: I believe we have already stated it and I have talked to you on the phone a few times because you have been in LA and we have been hanging out. But you really seem to be embracing this actor thing.
Big Show: Dude, it’s my groove. I had a bug for this type of show since we did, Saturday Night Live with The Rock when I was on there. That live comedy thing, like that’s one of those things where I can do this. And I’ve been driving Vince nuts ever since then — there you go. Such a nice guy. Gee wiz.
Steve Austin: For many guys, life after wrestling is not so much.
Big Show: You’re trying to find something that gives you that same passion, whether you start up a business or whatever it is, you have to find something to do with your creative energy. Because our business is creativity. We need to get that creativity out because that’s what we’ve done for so long. This show gives it to me. It’s the same kind of intensity, same kind of pressure and it’s like I never worked a single day on this show. I was there 7:30 in the morning until 8:30 at night. And on Fridays, I was there from 8:00 in the morning until midnight. First one there, last one to leave. I have developed relationships with the girls. Like the kids are like my kids. I come out to LA and I took them to the Ariana Grande Concert in December. Which I sat through an Ariana Grande concert.
Steve Austin: I love her.
Big Show: I was like, who are you and what happened to my friend Steve? That’s one of the things about this show that comes across is that, everybody that has seen it so far and come to the tapings is the relationship that I have with the kids. It’s good. And it’s funny. I’m getting a new demographic. Because you’re a marketing guy and you understand demographics. I’ve never had the 13 to 17 year old girl demographic. I’ve done my thing. A couple of shows in when we start doing our pre entrances where they introduce the whole cast, I started getting these really high pitched screams from the audience.
I had never gotten that. I never got that. That’s the Ricky Morton pops and Shawn Michaels, they get those. I’ve never gotten that. I’m trying to figure out what was going on. I was talking to one of the top Netflix executives. He’s like yeah, well, the studies are showing that a lot of people who come back to see the show ever week because it’s a guest audience. And i’m testing really good with the teenage girl because i’m the dad they want to have. I’m fun. I’m protective. I’m that cool dad. That’s a good demographic to have. So Netflix, look for it, “The Big Show Show.”
Steve Austin: My last question for you, I asked you way back in the day what was the state of WWE when you first came in and now we’re here now. In your mind, what is the state of the WWE right now? Where do you think the sports entertainment business is heading?
Big Show: I think we have never had more athletic talent ever in the entire business than we have now in WWE. It’s good if done right. But my biggest thing that I am upset about is too nice. It’s too friendly. People are too comfortable, just happy to be working there. I want to see — Vince will tell you, himself. If you don’t step on toes, you’re never going to make it in this business. I want to see some toe stepping. I want to see somebody, i’m not talking about somebody being a dick in the locker room. Nobody needs that. I want to see somebody that stands up, does business, and has that drive that, if he has eat through somebody, that’s fine. We’re not all friends. We’re not all going to Chipotle and get salads together.
You know what I mean? We’re here to make money. We’re not all going to play madden football on the computer in the back locker room. I want to see the people that are hungry. And I think we are really making good progress with somebody that i’m a huge fan of. And I know he’s the talk of the day, but I was a fan of him and saw a lot of him back in the day and knew him and saw the frustrations that he went through and really empathized with him, is Drew McIntyre. I have always liked Drew. And I know Drew has had his ups and downs and I have been there too.
But now, he looks like a million bucks. He’s experienced. He’s seasoned. He works like a million bucks and he’s snug when he works. He’s not out there, passing out flapjacks. I’m not knocking Kofi and Big E and Woods. You know what I mean? They are great athletes and they are entertaining. I would like to see Big E start making a presence of his own because he’s a big athletic powerhouse super strong guy that does 405 for a warmup. I’d love to see Big E get more aggressive and make that run for some bigger titles.
Steve Austin: Grit and determination. That’s what i’d like to see more of. God dang contest. You big movie star, you. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart coming over here. We’ve always got along. You’re one of my good friends. Every now and then, you pick up the phone when I call you.
Big Show: Well, I’m gonna start picking up the phone when I start doing Season 2 of my Netflix show. I’m going to need you to do a guest appearance, so w’ere going to have to get you on there. I know how you are about doing that acting thing and scripted thing. But, you know, you’ve got a future in that, my friend. If you don’t want to do it, I’m certainly going to bleed off a little bit and take some of that talent you got and put it on my show.
Steve Austin: You know what? After seeing Mark Henry and Mick Foley, the guys coming to the set, i’ll do a table read with you. I think I can jump on board with you with that.
Big Show: Dude, you would knock it out of the park. Mick killed it. Rikishi was hysterical. Mark, you have no idea how funny Mark is. Mark honestly, and this is maybe i’m telling tales out of school. When we do Season 2, I want to write Mark into the show more because our relationship is so good, it came across. But he is just the perfect setup for me and what we are doing. I want it so bad. A lot of things going on, but definitely want to get him back. Thanks to those guys for coming on the show. They made that episode great. That episode is actually my anniversary. I take my wife on a wrestling cruise for our anniversary. And everything that can go wrong, goes wrong.
Steve Austin: The Big Show, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Stone Cold Steve Austin. Thank you for joining us here on The Broken Skull Sessions. And that’s the bottom line, cause Stone Cold said so.
Checkout Episode 193 of The Hoots Podcast
- WWE Reportedly Purchases EVOLVE, New Wrestlers Being Signed, WWE Picks Up Video Libraries, Gabe Sapolsky’s Indie Career Ends, More
- People In WWE Said To Be Unhappy with Taz Jab from AEW Dynamite
- Sheamus On His Backstage Fight With Yoshi Tatsu
- Major Spoiler: WWE NXT Superstar Spoils Major Finish to Great American Bash Night Two Match?
- New Details on How Edge Was Injured at WWE Backlash
- The Rock Responds To WWE On FOX Asking Fans To Choose Between Him And Steve Austin
- Undertaker Talks Original Vision For Feud With AJ Styles, Finding Out His Brother Had Passed, Filming The Boneyard Match Offsite
- Jeff Jarrett Trial Against IMPACT Wrestling Set To Begin This Morning
- Bobby Lashley Discusses His Angle With Lana And Feeling Uncomfortable
- King Baron Corbin Reportedly Not Happy with Matt Riddle Feud
- Michael “PS” Hayes Responds to Titus O’Neil Comments from George Floyd Press Conference, Titus Thanks Him
- New Report On Charlotte Flair Taking An Extended Break From WWE: “0% She Returns For SummerSlam”
- Drew McIntyre Insults Lana In Response to Her Comments on Sleeping with Him
- Shawn Michaels Involved In Heated Argument at WWE NXT “Takeover: In Your House”
- Dave Crist Reportedly Removed From IMPACT Locker Room After Failing To Apologize To Rich Swann For Injury