The Big Dinner Show!
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The Big Dinner Show!
THE closest I had ever come to getting into a full-contact tangle with any muscleman was when I arm-wrestled Hrithik Roshan for an UpperCrust cover story in the monsoon of 2000. Hrithik, 6 feet tall and pumped up with iron and Myoplex, was no pushover. But I held my own. Long enough for a picture to be taken, anyway. However, Bollywood’s macho man was no match for WWF’s pride, the champion wrestler called Big Show.
At 7 feet 2 inches tall and weighing a frightening 500 pounds, Big Show is easily the biggest and heaviest man I have ever met. And with 22 inch biceps (Schwarzenegger, eat your heart out!), a 62 inch chest and 46 inch waist, physically also the most awesome. His shoe size, I was told, is 17; his neck, 22.5 inches; and his wedding ring size is 22.
Drinking in this information while I waited for Big Show to arrive for his meeting with me, I wondered what kind of woman would want to be married to this giant wrestler. And whether marital disputes were settled amicably at home or in the true fashion of the ring, with chills and spills and Big Show applying the stranglehold when things got ugly. I was to soon find out.
We were meeting for dinner at Nelson Wang’s China Garden at Crossroads in Bombay. Big Show, who was brought down to India by the Australian television company Ten Sports, had other engagements at the shopping mall. I believe he was smashing television sets with his bare hands as part of some promotion! At 8 o’clock I heard a commotion enter China Garden and looked up to see my colleague Mark Manuel leading Big Show into the restaurant.
I gaped at the wrestler in amazement. Nothing had prepared me for his sheer size. He filled the restaurant and blocked out the few dozen photographers who trailed in his wake. Mark Manuel is no pygmy, but he was completely dwarfed by the hulking giant who lumbered behind him, a broad grin on his big, pink, humourous face. “Hi, I’m Pail Wigha,” said Big Show giving out his real name and offering me a fist to shake that had fingers as big and thick as bananas.
He drew two chairs to my table and gingerly lowered his 500 pounds onto them, one massive buttock resting on each seat. He was dressed in black shorts and a singlet, massive tattooed arms and muscular thighs spilling out of them, like he had come straight from the ring. Edward Wang, Nelson’s handsome restaurateur son, came up with a special dinner prepared for Big Show, and I got ready to see how much food the World Wrestling Federation entertainer could put away at one sitting.
The dinner was extravagant. Big dishes of tiger prawns in hot garlic sauce, chilli fish in soya wine, stir-fried vegetables, pepper chicken, corn cream, and vegetable hakka noodles. Plates and plates of it. Edward Wang produced the dishes like a showman. “Big shrimps for a big guy,” he said, uncovering the gigantic tiger prawns. He paused, then tentatively reached for Big Show’s bicep with both hands. “Wow!” said the excited Chinaman, squeezing the full 22 inches of muscle. And Big Show, winking at me, told him, “Take it easy pal, huh? I’m married!” So, the big wrestler was also a bit of a joker.
“What’s your wife like,” I asked Big Show to get the interview rolling. “Oh, she’s like Hitler at home,” he replied, rolling his eyes. “Her name’s Bess. She’s Greek, 5 feet 9, blue eyes and gorgeous. And guess what? She’s a chef! The way to my heart is really through my stomach! Every night she asks me, ‘Honey what do you want to eat?’ And I give her the menu! I’m really a steak and potatoes guy. But because Bess is Greek, we often have Greek food at home. I love to go eating out at restaurants. But I get mobbed all the time. So I married a chef! Now I don’t have to go out to eat good food, I get it at home! Cooking for me is a full-time job, Bess complains!” He tucked into the Chinese food with such hearty gusto that Edward Wang looked at the near empty dishes somewhat anxiously. “Most nights I don’t eat dinner because I am working,” Big Show said.
“I just grab a sandwich. It’s a tough life being a wrestler. Wrestling takes my mind away from everything else. I’m travelling most of the time. And at the end of the day, I am so drained, that I just want to hit the bed.” When he was not fighting, he was training, Big Show said. Or licking his wounds! Wrestling was a profession where the worker was very prone to injury. “My neck, legs, back, shoulders, my whole body has taken a beating. Over time anything that can be twisted or broken in the body, goes,” he said.
He might have been a top-ranking NBA basketballer instead of a wrestler. And playing alongside or against such American greats as Michael Jordon. When he was 13, Pail Wigha showed great promise of being a good hooper. Then his father who was also his basketball coach passed away. And Pail’s life was shattered. Depressed, he gave up basketball and was drifting along until a chance meeting with WWF champion Hulk Hogan changed his life.
“You look like a wrestler,” Hogan told Pail Wigha. And that was that. He’s been wrestling for the WWF since then and at 30 today, is one of the big draws of the ring. Children around the world adore him because he gives them a show they won’t forget. His size (the fearsome Undertaker only comes up to his shoulder!), raw power, charisma and ability to rip up the ring and toss his opponents out, have won Big Show fans around the world. He’s been rated as the hottest wrestler on WWF this year. And the most friendly. Nobody takes his big and fierce image seriously.
What kind of food did he eat to get that kind of awesome strength, I asked Big Show. As I suspected, he said: “A breakfast comprising a 20-egg omelette, a big jar of milk, plenty of juices and a tub of ice-cream. I don’t have three main meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner. But I eat five small meals. That keeps my metabolism going. Breakfast can also be a huge dish of bacon and potatoes, fresh fruit, cornflakes, a big pot of coffee. Lunch and dinner depends. I get a lot of protein in my diet, I eat plenty of green, leafy vegetables. I get carbohydrates from pasta, sweet potato. I tend to overeat when the food is good, but I’m not a glut. I don’t drink though an occasional glass of beer makes me happy! The thing is to be hungry all the time. I’ve got the power to keep my hunger under control. Which is great because I want to lose weight. I want to come down to 430 pounds. That’s easier on my knees and my performance in the ring.”
“What was the largest meal you ever ate,” I asked Big Show. He chortled heartily. “It lasted from 5 o’clock in the evening to midnight,” he revealed. “I was meeting Bess’s parents for the first time. They’re both chefs and they have a Greek restaurant in Toronto where we ate. For seven hours, the food just kept coming. I had to make a good impression, so I ate everything they put before me. I almost passed out and slept right until noon the next day!” Clearly Greek cuisine was his favourite food. Had Big Show eaten any Indian food? “Yeah, chicken masala, rogan josh,” he rattled off, impressing me with his knowledge. Ten Sports which had brought him down to India, took Big Show to a Pizza Hut for one meal. I believe the pizzeria could not keep the pizzas coming fast enough for him!
But there were the advantages and disadvantages to being the heaviest and tallest wrestler in the world, he admitted. Getting clothes and cars that he could fit into was always a problem. “My wife’s driving a Corvette convertible that I paid for but can’t get into,” he complained. And then, when he travels, airlines have to remove three seats to accommodate him or get him to stretch out on the floor! Hotels, likewise, either make a special bed to take his weight and size or invite him to sleep on the floor. “But good or bad, we all have our crosses to bear, I’m not going to bitch about them, I count my blessings.”
“Such as,” I asked. “Such as meeting beautiful people like you and enjoying such dinners,” said Big Show growling menacingly and rising like a mountain, to pick me up lightly and easily in his arms and pose for the photographer...
Категория: Articles | Добавил: BIG_SHOW (2007-03-07)
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