THE BIG SHOW was ticked off. The Big Show Became World champion. Get the correlation? "I am The Big Show," said Paul Wight, recently. He should know; for the first time since joining the WWF, Show felt what it was like to wear a championship belt. "I've paid my dues, waited patiently, and been a gentleman when I've had to be. Now it's time the world paid attention to me." We are, Show, we are. Big Show's tumultuous path to superstardom in the WWF began with tears and a vow. Who can forget the night Big Show learned his fater had terminal cancer? Those were real tears the big man shed for a parent and a mentor, a man he had always tried to emulate. Then there was Big Bossman, the demon , the scoundrel who relished Show's pain, who ridiculed Show and his agony. Bossman, emboldened and impassioned by Show's vulnerability, used the opportunity to wage war against the WWF's giant. It was not a wise move. By kicking Show when he was down, Bossman only infuriated his nemesis and gave him cause to move on, in honor of his father. Buoyed by his vow to honor his father's memory, Show plowed through his competition and won the one title that would have made his father proud. The athletes put in front of him at Survivor Series had no chance of stopping him because he was that angry. "I think we saw a different side of The Big Show when his father passed," said D-Lo Brown. "A lot of people questioned Show's intensity and ruthlessness as anyone. That's what you saw at the Survivor Series. There's also a real calmness to the guy, but you have to get to know him to see it." It's not always easy to understand Big Show or to read his feelings. Many confuse the omni-present frown as a sign of anger or discontent. "Big Show puts on his game face, and he's one tough jabroni," said The Rock. "Many times The Rock has kicked his butt, but he's the kind of guy who never gives up. The people really appreciate The Big Show the way they take to The Rock, of course, but The Rock has no problem with him right now." Big Show, a people's champion? Well, maybe not. He's had a hard time establishing an identity since joining the WWF a year ago. McMahon bodyguard. Member of the short-lived and forgettable clique called The Union. Ally of Steve Austin. Evil but confused minion of The Undertaker. The one constant through these times: Show has been dangerous when agitated, but somewhat vulnerable (and beatable!) when calm. During the last few months, Big Show's been cooking up some big-time victories and developing a loyal following. Fans have come to respect his usually reasonable, yet grimly determined demeanor. No one wants to win more then Show: He'll be glad to stick a big boot in your face, silence you with a devastating choke-slam, or flatten you with a full suplex. But what Big Show is not is a kidnapper, a thief, or a villain. You'll never confuse his actions in the ring with those of Undertaker, Kane, or Triple-H. "Paul was always the big goof in high school most everyone liked," said one childhood friend of Wight. "He was usually a pretty laid-back kid who didn't look for any trouble with anyone else. He's always had a real sense of honor and fairness. Thank God he did, because the one thing about Paul, if you crossed him, he'd chase you forever. He was a nice guy, but an unforgiving one." As a youth, Paul Wight always stood out less for his skills as an amateur athlete and more becuse of his, well, his size. "I think Paul wanted to disappear into the crowd because he always stood out," said his friend. "On the other hand, he wanted to be accomplished at some trade or skill. Something he would be known for, like wrestling. There were times when people would goof on him because he was so big. Paul always tried to laugh them off, but I could tell it hurt him. I think that's why he's a cool customer inside the ring until someone pushes those buttons." Big Show silenced his dissenters by beating Triple-H and The Rock for the WWF title. It was a profound victory not just because Show captured his first WWF World title and became at the time the sixth man to have won both the NWA/WCW and WWF world titles, but because he proved he could tackle the WWF's best technicians. Historically, Show has thrived against big, slow giants while struggling against smaller, quicker athletes. What changed? "I believe The Big Show is riding an emotional wave," said Jim Ross. "This whole Bossman fiasco, coupled with the death of his father, has roused that hibernating grizzly into action. Bossman should have remembered the adage, 'Let a sleeping giant lie.'" By awakening this sleeping giant, foes such as Bossman, Prince Albert, and Triple-H have created a new WWF, one ruled by possibly its least likely king, Big Show. This normally quiet, unassuming giant is incensed because of one man's stupid and insensitive actions. Now the rest of the wrestling world is forced to suffer. "You wonder how long The Big Show will remain teed off," mused Ross. "Man, I hate to get in that guy's way now. I liked him a whole lot better when he was sort of mild-mannered. Now he's just plain dangerous. Remind me not to send the Bossman a Christmas card next year."