Like Andre the Giant, the Big Show Paul Wight has acromegaly or gigantism where the pituitary gland produces excess growth hormone. Although he had successful surgery in the early 1990s on his pituitary gland, halting the progress of the condition, it still must be monitored.
Wight played college basketball for Wichita State and Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.
Because of injuries, Wight left WWE in December 2006. During his 15-month hiatus from WWE, Wight began training at the Phantom Boxing Club in Miami with the intent of becoming a pro boxer. Dropping about 100 pounds, he opted to return to pro wrestling and instantly got involved in an angle with boxing great Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The 7-0 Big Show will face the 5-8 Mayweather during WrestleMania 24 on Sunday, March 30 at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla. It is the first WrestleMania in Florida and second outdoors.
After talks ended with boxing champ and pro wrestling fan Oscar De La Hoya to be involved in WrestleMania 24, WWE turned its attention to De La Hoya's rival and another pro wrestling fan, Mayweather.
Mayweather, a consummate sports entertainer, is known for attempting different things. He competed on the fifth season of ABC's Dancing with the Stars.
Mayweather's expected payday from WWE is in the millions. Ironically, Mayweather (39-0, 25 knockouts) will face De La Hoya in a boxing rematch Sept. 20 in Las Vegas. Mayweather won a split decision on May 5, 2007.
Mayweather will be just one crossover star during the Super Bowl of pro wrestling/sports entertainment. Five-time Grammy-winner and multi-platinum singer, songwriter and performer John Legend will perform America the Beautiful. Snoop Dogg will be a celebrity ring announcer. Reality TV personality Kim Kardashian will participate.
Popular actress/singer Raven-Symoné will be part of WWE's biggest wish-granting event ever, hosting the Bacon, Bagels and Biceps Brunch on Sunday, March 30 and accompanying more than 50 Make-A-Wish children at WrestleMania XXIV.
• Other wrestler versus boxer matchups: Gorilla Monsoon vs. Muhammed Ali (post-match altercation, Monsoon airplane spins Ali). Andre the Giant vs. Chuck Wepner (Andre wins by countout in round three). Antonio Inoki vs. Ali (15-round draw). Cowboy Bob Orton vs. Mr. T (Mr. T by knockout in round two). Rowdy Roddy Piper vs. Mr. T (Mr. T by disqualification in round four). Bart Gunn vs. Butterbean Eric Esch (Butterbean by knockout in round one). Matt Hardy vs. Evander Holyfield (no contest). Thunderlips vs. Rocky (draw).
• WWE's WrestleMania 23, which drew more than 80,000 fans to Detroit's Ford Field in April, generated an estimated $29.7 million in economic impact for the city, according to a study by Enigma Research Corporation of Toronto.
According to the report, WrestleMania also supported the equivalent of 334 full-year jobs.
The $29.7-million estimate includes direct, indirect and induced impact derived from spending by non-locals visiting specifically for WrestleMania 23 as well as operational spending related to the event.
Fans from 50 states, six Canadian Provinces and 24 countries converged on Detroit for WrestleMania 23. Spending related to the event in Detroit also generated $4.7 million in tax revenue for federal, state and local government.
A crowd of more than 65,000 fans from around the world is expected to attend WrestleMania 24.
• More than 41,000 tickets were sold in 30 minutes at the onset of ticket sales for WrestleMania 24, already making it the highest-grossing event in the history of the Citrus Bowl.