Ever since the Big Show arrived on the scene almost two years ago, the question on everyone's mind has been: Just how much damage could a 7- foot, 500-pound giant wreak in the World Wrestling Federation?
If you answered that question several months ago, when Big Show limped away from the Federation nursing herniated disc in his back - not to mention a bruised ego - you might have said, "Not a lot." True, Show had a World Wrestling Federation Championshipe reign to his credit, along with a list of chokeslam victims as long as his enormous arm, but he hadn't been a dominant figure in proportion to his sheer size or his semmingly limitless potential.
But, since Show's shocking return at the 2001 Royal Rumble, the real answer to that queston is now all too apparent. How much damage can he inflict? As much as the big guy feels like.
"I've got one gaol and one job, anf that is to win the World Wrestling Federation Championship, to keep that championship and not ever let it go," Show says. "There's absolutely no reson why I shouldn't accompish that. I'm the largest living prsfessional athlete in the world. There are things I can do that are just not physically possible for anyone else."
The fired-up Big Show spoke at length about dishing out wake-up calls to every Superstar who dared cross his path. But the biggest wake-up call was the one that he himself got when he was down and out, backon the farm in Ohio Valley Wrestling(OVW) - far away from the Glitz and glamour of the Federation. Waking up one morning, Big SHow discovered another face staring back at him from his mirror. What he saw was a quarter-ton athlete who possessed the strength of 10 men and an agility far beyond his size, with powerful hands the size of dinner plates that coupd crush the breath out of virtually any man alive. It was then that he realized that he should have been able to open his duffel bag and see the greatest prize in all of sprots entertainment - the World Wrestling Federation Championship belt - sitting on top, gleaming. If he - the largest professional athlete in the world - truly wanted that most coveted prize, who could deny him? It should have been his for months or even years on end.
As he stared mesmerized by the reflection of himself as a powerful champion, the illusion faded, replaced by his present self. he didn't like what the mirror revealed - failure. his Federation career was now in disarray. he had been sidetracked by failed alliances with men ranging from Shane McMahon to the Undertaker (with whom Show briefly held the Federation Tag Team Championship). He had been beaten by men smaller and physically weaker thean himself. Where there should have been rage and intensity, there was only listlessness and lethargy.
Rather then concentration on using his superhuman power, Big Show was preoccupied with what people thought of him. He wasted time better spent on maiming foes by lookoing for laughs, indulging in comedic impersonations of other Superstarts. He desperately wanted to be liked, but, like another big, domination man - the late Wilt Chamberlain - once said, "Nobody roots for Goliath."
"I tried so many times to do thing like other people do," Show fumes. "I tried to be funny like Mick Floley. I tried to be cool like The Rock. I tried all that stuff, and you know what? It just wasn't me. I'm a killer, flat-out, period. I step on people, and I make them Afraid. That's all I'm going to do from now on."
To find that killer instinct, Show used his exile to return to his roots. He ditched that soft lifestyle he had indulged in during his first Federation run, the one with the limos and first-class hotel rooms and extra helpings of food and drink. In Louisville, Kentucky - home of OVW - Big Show lived a Spartan life. He shared a small apartment with other young atheltes, sleeping on the floor when a bed large enough to accommodate his body couldn't be found. The walls of his room were covered with pictures of the WWF Superstars who were at the very top of their game: Stond Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, Kane, Undertake and others. They were there as a reminder of just what the Big SHow was capable of and who he would have to destroy to get back on top. The longer he stared at them, the angrier he became. But this time, it was anger he intended to direct with purpose.
He dieted and trained fanatically, paring dozens of pounds off his massive frame. (Lest any of his foes think a slimmer Big Show makes for an easier target, realize that taking 60 pounds off the Big Show is slightly akin to throwing a deck chair off the QE II.)
"I went down to Louisville because I wanted to get serious again," Show says. "I went to find our what it would take to get my big @$# fired up agian. I went and trained with all the young studs down in OVW. I did all the things I did when I was a rookie - the training, the drills - things I did when I was hungry. Now I'm hangry again. I was wrestling in front of 100 people. One night I wrestled in front of seven people. It didn't matter to me. It was motivation me again and getting that fire back in me."
That fire was raging, white-hot inferno by the time Big Show stormed down the aisle at the Royal Rumble, to the shock of fans and the dismay of other Federation Superstars - who immediately saw that Show was clearly not in the mood to goof around.
He didn't win the Royal Rumble, but he did issue his first Show-sized wake-up cal - to the Rock. In the weeks that floowed, Big SHow issued several more reminders to the "People's Champ" that things would be different this time around.
"I was jealous of the Rock, there's not way around it," Show admits. "That guy was getting hjuge movie deals, clearing loads of money and selling tons of merchandise, rolling around and being 'The Man.' Well, that has to end, as far as I am concerned. I wanted to be 'The Man.' I may not be as good-looking as the Rock, I may not be as cool as he is. But until there isn't another breath in my body, I will not rest until I am 'The Man.'"
A clearly livid Show rails on: "AThey're all in for it: Stone Cold Steve Austin is in for it. Triple H is in for it. Undertaker is in for it. The big, red retard kane...that fat-@$#, thong-wearing Rikishi...everybody! I will beat their @$#es night in and night out. Anybody who calls himself the big man or the big star is just putting a big target on himself. I am coming for you. I've got a whole new bag of tricks and a whole lot more intensity, and I will take you down!"
Part of his new bag of tricks is a new and devastating maneuver he calls the Final Cut, which is exactly that just about every time it connects. Added to his 10-megaton chokeslam, it make Big Show a top contender for the coveted Federation Championship at tall times. No matter who owns the title, on any given night in any given arean, that person may find himself physically overwhelmed by a very angry giant. And there won't be a thing he can do about it. There isn't a man alive who can go toe-to-toe with the Big Show. The only difference is, this time the Show fully realizes it.
"Everyone's getting their wake-up calls now, from Stone Cold Steve Austin to the Rock to Triple H to Vince McMahon himself," Show says. "Ihad to say 'Listen, you S.O.B.'s have had it easy since I was gone. I'm the Big Show. I'm Back and I'm not playing this time. You know when you walk in between those ropes that I'm going to give you everything I have. If you can't take it, don't bother coming to the ring at all.
"There's no finer accolafe than to be called the WWF Federation Champion. That's where I want to be again," Shoe rages. "and the Big Show is going to stop at nothing - and I mean absolutely nothing to get there. If I have to rob, cheat, steal, lie, flat-out terrorize and maim - whatever I have to do to become WWF Champion, I'm going to do it. Anybody who gets in my way is going to get hurt bad - real bad!