Paul Donald Wight II is an American professional wrestler and actor. He is currently signed to WWE, where he performs on the Raw brand under the ring name Big Show. Wight began his career in 1994.
He is also best known for his career in World Championship Wrestling (WCW), where he wrestled as The Giant from June 1995 to December 1998. He is the first man in the history of wrestling to win the WWE Championship, WCW World Heavyweight Championship and the ECW World Championship, even though his ECW Title win was after the company became a WWE property. Kane is the second wrestler.
Outside of professional wrestling, Wight has appeared in feature films and television series such as Jingle All the Way, The Waterboy, Star Trek: Enterprise, and two USA Network’s comedy-drama Royal Pains, Psych and the action-drama Burn Notice. In 2010, he had his first lead role, in the comedy film Knucklehead, which was produced by WWE Studios.
Paul Donald Wight II was born on February 8, 1972, in Aiken, South Carolina. Wight used to have acromegaly, a disease of the endocrine system. By the age of twelve, Wight was 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) tall, weighed 220 lb (100 kg), and had chest hair. In 1991, as a member of the Wichita State University basketball team at age nineteen, Wight was listed at 7 ft 1 in (2.16 m). He underwent successful surgery in the early 1990s on his pituitary gland, which halted the progress of this condition. His shoe size is 22 5E, his ring size is 22, and his chest is 64 inches (1,600 mm) in circumference. In 2005, Wight leased a bus and hired a bus driver because of the practical problems his size presents to air travel and car rental.
Wight played basketball and American football in high school at Wyman King Academy in Batesburg-Leesville, South Carolina. He was a standout centre for the basketball team and a tight end for the football team. He quit football after his freshman year, because of disputes with the coach. He continued to support the team by joining the cheerleading squad as a sophomore, partly from spite. He later called it “the greatest experience of my life… everybody else was riding a bus with sweaty equipment and I’m in a van with seven cheerleaders who are all learning about life”. The van (a Ford Econoline) was driven by “a mom who was deaf in her right ear and chain-smoked”.
While at Wichita State University, Wight played basketball. Before attending Wichita State University, Wight attended Northern Oklahoma Junior College in Tonkawa, Oklahoma, competing on the basketball team. At Northern Oklahoma, his averages of 14 points and 6.5 rebounds earned him all-conference honours and helped the team win the Western Division of the Oklahoma Bi-State Conference. Wight also attended Southern Illinois University Edwardsville from 1992 to 1993, was a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II Cougars basketball team, and is a member of the Xi Beta Chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. During his one year at SIUE, Wight scored a total of thirty-nine points for the Cougars in limited action.
Wight began his career in 1994. In 1995, he signed with World Championship Wrestling (WCW), where thanks to his very large frame he was known by the ring name The Giant, initially introduced as “the son of André the Giant”. In early 1999, Wight left WCW and signed a multi-year contract with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). Between WWF/WWE and WCW, he is a seven-time world champion, having held the WCW World Heavyweight Championship twice, the WWF/WWE Championship twice, WWE’s World Heavyweight Championship twice and the ECW World Heavyweight Championship once which makes him as the only wrestler who has won all four titles. Wight has also found success in the tag team division, having been an 11-time world tag team champion, holding the WWF/World, WWE and WCW World Tag Team Championships multiple times with various tag team partners. Having also won the Intercontinental, United States and Hardcore championships, he is the 24th Triple Crown and 12th Grand Slam winner in WWE history, he has also won the 60-man battle royal at World War 3 and the 30-man André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 31. Wight has headlined multiple pay-per-view events for WCW and WWF/WWE since 1995, including the 2000 edition of WWE’s premier annual event, WrestleMania.
Wight has often been compared to André the Giant throughout his career due to both suffering from acromegaly and having a similar overall body structure to André. Unlike André, who was content with his fate, Wight had surgery to halt his condition. The similarities led to WCW billing him as André’s son early in his career (despite no biological relation) and WWE involving him in similar angles as André. Wight has also stated that many older fans in the Southern United States (where Wight is from and where André made his home in the United States) not aware of kayfabe have often told Wight during autograph sessions how much they “loved his father when he wrestled”, even though Wight’s biological father was a mechanic. Wight would also outlive André, who died at age 46.
Wight is also well-known for his frequent turns between face and heel throughout his career, to the point it has become a running gag among wrestling fans. One wrestling site has estimated that through 2018 Wight has done about 34 turns since his WCW debut in 1995, four of those alone coming during his first year with the WWF. Wight himself acknowledged that while the frequent turns may have hurt his legacy and his mystique, he was also honoured with the fact that he can play both roles well and fit in wherever he is needed to put younger talent over.
Big Show has been featured in infomercials for Stacker 2 with former NASCAR drivers Kenny Wallace and Scott Wimmer, NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Elliott Sadler, retired crew chief turned Fox Sports broadcaster Jeff Hammond, and 2002, 2005, and 2011 Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart. Besides, Wight appeared on the “Thong Song” remix music video by Sisqó and Foxy Brown. Wight was featured on the game show Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, winning $15,000 for his chosen charity, United Service Organizations. He is the only contestant to appear on two versions of the game show in two different countries. On March 31, 2012, Big Show won the first-ever Slime Wrestling World Championship at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards, defeating The Miz after throwing him into a tub of slime. In 2018, The Big Show appeared in the Wizards of the Coast’s Dungeons and Dragons stream “Stream of Many Eyes Day Three – Jocks Machina” alongside Joe Manganiello, Travis Willingham, cross-fit athlete Ron Mathews, and Mike Mearls as Dungeon Master.
- Reggie’s Prayer (1996)
- Jingle All The Way (1996)
- McCinsey’s Island (1998)
- The Waterboy (1998)
- Little Hercules in 3D (2006)
- MacGruber (2010)
- Knucklehead (2010)
- Vendetta (2015)
- Countdown (2016)
- The Jetsons & WWE: Robo-WrestleMania! (2017)
- Fighting with My Family (2019)