Over the course of The Big Show’s 25-year career in entertainment, we’ve seen him throw down in the ring with WWE titans like The Rock, Triple H, and the Undertaker. Now, it looks like the seven-foot tall gentle giant will take on Netflix’s finest family-friendly comedians in the forthcoming special Game On: A Comedy Crossover event which arrives Monday, Aug. 10 on Netflix. In the spirit of the Olympic games, the stars of family sitcoms Family Reunion, Ashley Garcia: Genius in Love, The Big Show Show and Mr. Iglesias will compete in friendly competition across all four shows in an effort to see which Brady Bunch reigns supreme.
With a full season of The Big Show Show under his belt, there’s no doubt the Big Show, whose real name is Paul Wright, and his squad are more than up for the challenge of squaring off against these other TV families. The series follows a fictionalized version of himself fresh into retirement and starting a different lifestyle in Tampa with his wife Cassy (Allison Munn) and daughters Lola (Reylynn Caster), Mandy (Lily Brooks O’Briant), and J.J. (Juliet Donefled).
Ahead of the four-part event, which finds The Big Show working most closely with longtime friend Gabriel Iglesias, the WWE superstar opened up about what to expect during the big crossover and why Iglesias, a WWE superfan, probably won’t ever step in the ring. Plus, the Big Show weighed in on his potential retirement and broke down what actually happens to a WWE championship once a wrestler loses their title.
What can you tell me about Netflix’s upcoming special Game On: A Comedy Crossover Event?
The Big Show: It’s a really unique promotional idea that Netflix came up with in the spirit of the Olympics with their family shows. We all know that a lot of things got changed and postponed because of the pandemic, but we’re able to do some crossover promotion with stars of different shows appearing on the other shows in solidarity and support. I got a chance to appear on Mr. Iglesias’ show and he got to sneak in on our show.
Who were you most excited to work with for this event and why?
The Big Show: I was excited to work with Gabriel, or Fluffy, as his friends call him. He’s always been a really big wrestling fan for the long time I’ve known him. I’ve been a fan of his comedy. I love the fact that he introduces me to a lot of Latin culture that I wasn’t aware of. Plus, he’s a sweetheart of a guy and his dogs are unbelievable. They kind of run everything. I wouldn’t be surprised if they have their own handlers that have checklists answered for them. They’re definitely spoiled little babies.
We’ve seen so many other entertainers step into the ring like Mike Tyson and Jon Stewart so are we going to see Gabriel in the ring as well?
The Big Show: I don’t think Gabriel wants to get in the ring and take bombs and do splashes off the top rope, but I would like to have Gabriel in my corner. I’d like to have him talk trash for me because he’s very intelligent and very witty. I’d like to see him just go off on a promo on someone. That would be great.
What was really fun about the first season of The Big Show Show was that we got to see you in this new element as retiree dad taking care of three girls. How does that experience compare to being in the ring and fighting sweaty guys?
The Big Show: Well, the smells were a lot better. Being around three girls is definitely a lot better than being around a bunch of sweaty guys. I think the biggest hurdle for me was learning a new skill set. I’ve done the professional wrestling thing for 25 years so a lot of things are ingrained. I had a huge learning curve that I had to learn really fast. I think our first episode that we shot in front of a live audience, I almost feel like it was a whirlwind of events between the wardrobe changes and the dialogue and the interactions with the other actors, and then the audience in between. I was blown away at how the audience was entertained in between and that it’s okay to interact with a live crowd. We interact with our crowd in WWE, but we’re still usually under a close timeframe of what needs to be done in a certain amount of time. This was a much more fun environment and it was a wonderful challenge that I don’t think I’ve ever worked as hard. But I don’t think I’ve ever had as much fun either.
Having Mark Henry, Rikishi, and Mick Foley drop by in Episode 6 was also a nice surprise.
The Big Show: There’s a lot of friends that I have lined up in the bag for if we get Season but that was my first call in. One, Mark Henry is probably my closest friend in wrestling. He’s my brother from another mother. Rikishi and Mick Foley are also guys that I know are fantastic dads and they’re just fantastic people. When we were putting this episode together, those three guys came to mind because they are three larger than life guys as far as size. We’re massive men, but at the same time, we are soft and sensitive and we’re dads. I think that’s the one message that we’re able to get through is no matter how big or how tough you are on the outside, in the inside, all dads feel the same.
You recently returned to the WWE to fight Randy Orton in an unsanctioned matched. In The Big Show Show, we saw your character express self-doubt about returning to the ring so did you experience any of that ahead of your WWE match with Orton?
The Big Show: Absolutely. I’ve been through a lot in the past few years, two surgeries per hip. I had five or six surgeries in two years so that made it really awkward for me to regain that confidence. For one, it wasn’t in front of a live crowd anymore so they [the fans] can’t really let you know that you’re doing the right thing. The environment is much more focused because it’s just you and another opponent. I think the stress level and the pressure to succeed was a lot higher for me, personally. I hold myself to a pretty rough standard so I’m pretty hard on myself. I do a lot more things than any other guy my size should do because I hold myself to a higher standard, but I’m pleased the way everything worked out.
How weird was it to wrestle in that environment given everything that’s been happening with the pandemic and how the WWE has had to adjust to the situation?
The Big Show: Well, that’s the thing. You have to adjust. We take our responsibility pretty seriously, being an outlet and an escape for people. The feeling that I’m getting from talking to the other talent is everybody’s improving. At first, it was really awkward but now you’re focusing more on what you’re doing between the ropes and honing those skills. So eventually, when we get that luxury of performing in front of our crowd back, it’s going to make it all sweeter. It is a luxury and I think it’s a good thing sometimes to have that taken away because it makes you more appreciative when it happens again. I know that I can’t wait to walk down the ramp in front of 20,000; 50,000; 100,000 people again.
You’ve had such an illustrious career in the WWE so far. You’re a former Heavyweight Champion, United States Champion, Intercontinental Champion, multiple Slammy Award winner. First of all, do you have your Slammies on display anywhere?
The Big Show: No, truth be told, you have to give your Slammy back once you exit the stage because they only have a certain number of Slammies made. But they’re more than happy to order you one to put on your mantle. I’m good. I won enough. I just find it funny that there’s a person waiting when you get off stage to take your Slammy from you and walk onto the other side of the stage to present it for the next award.
Oh, that’s hilarious.
The Big Show: It’s the same thing with a title. When you lose a title, you have to give it to the next person. It’s only yours to pack in your bag and lug through airports while you’re the champion. Once you’re defeated, your title goes to someone else. I think in our business, we’re used to that. There’s an opportunity where you can order a replica of the title that you had. Some of the guys had done that, their whole walls are covered in titles. I’ve always been more of a what’s today, what’s tomorrow kind of a guy so I haven’t put any of that stuff up yet. I’m still in it. I’m still fighting the good fight. I think once I do fully retire, then maybe I’ll build that homage to the Big Show or whatever. Just that room that I can just sit in and look around like, “Wow. Yeah. I’ve done a lot.”
With your contract with WWE ending next year, have you begun to think about retirement or is that something that’s not even in your mind?
The Big Show: Right now, it’s not on my mind, but it’s always there. Let’s face it, I’ve been doing this for 25 years. I’m not a spring chicken anymore. I have to see where our business evolves and see where I can fit in and still be an asset. Vince [McMahon] and I have talked extensively many times together about my role and what he wants from me and what I want to give to the company. And I always want to contribute to WWE and the younger talent. I’m still excited for more shows and more opportunities and more angles. If it gets to a point where it’s time to say goodbye, then I will step back and work more behind the scenes. Hopefully, they’ll give me a job backstage doing something. I mean, I might be the person that you pass your Slammy to after you’ve won. I might be qualified to do that.
Game On: A Comedy Crossover Event arrives Monday, Aug. 10 on Netflix. Meanwhile, Season 1 of The Big Show Show is currently streaming on Netflix. You can also catch The Big Show in action on WWE’s Friday Night Smackdown, which airs Fridays at 8/7c, or Monday Night Raw, which airs Mondays at 8/7c on USA Network.