WWE: Analyzing How Big Show's Career Could Eventually End
In my last article regarding where Big Show is headed as World Heavyweight champion, I speculated that one eventual path could lead to his retirement. Now it's time to look at how (when it happens) his career ends.
Show's been in the game a long time.
The 40-year-old, who will celebrate a birthday shortly after Royal Rumble, made his debut in 1995, some 17 years ago. It might not seem that long, and Show certainly could have plenty of years left in the tank, but it's his size—7'0'', 441 pounds—that could ultimately influence the big man to tap out early.
Show has worked in WCW and WWE. He has gone toe-to-toe with legends such as Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker, Steve Austin and The Rock. The guy has wrestled in a variety of gimmick matches, undergone tons of changes and spent considerable time as both a heel and a face.
He truly has accomplished more than many.
Honestly, now is as good a time as any to retire. Of course, only Show has an answer for when that day will come. But this isn't a discussion about when. Simply, this is a look at how.
The Mr. McMahon Route: (Kayfabe) Death
Let me make two things clear: First, I am not condoning a death angle. Second, in this case I'm insinuating a very much worked and kayfabe angle.
It would take gumption to proceed in this direction, especially in the PG Era. But what if "retiring" Big Show meant more than just ending his career?
It's not beyond WWE. Just look at these six examples.
Of course, none of those were major players.
Recent news has Big Show slated to meet up with Ryback at WrestleMania. Imagine that slugfest. In a normal scenario, a guy as large as Show duking it out with a muscle-bound beast like Ryback would surely leave one or both hospitalized.
But this is WWE, where things are grossly exaggerated.
Don't put it past this company to tout Ryback's strength as so overwhelmingly strong that it could "end" the largest superstar in the business. Now, likely that means Ryback knocks him out of competition forever, rather than going to the extreme of using a fake death. It's been done before, by Mr. McMahon himself (See, Slide 6 of the above link).
Probability: Very low
If this were any other era, then maybe. No matter what though, Show is a bit too big to hide the rest of his life to effectively see this angle out.
The Beth Phoenix Route: "You're Fired!"
Let's hope it never comes to this.
The WWE seems to have an affinity for on-screen firings. In fact, Show's been fired a time or two already. And given that the WWE just "fired" Beth Phoenix—arguably one of the best female wrestlers to ever be employed by the company—it wouldn't be a total shock to see Show receive the same terrible fate.
Granted, Phoenix wasn't with WWE for a dozen years prior.
Still, it's all about entertainment, and looking at the Big Show's career (Pee Wee Herman and several other impersonations, his father's casket being stolen, etc.), it would appear he too is all about the entertainment factor.
The probability of Show being fired is always high; the WWE loves this angle. But the chances this is the way his career ultimately ends is low. It just wouldn't be right.
The Edge Route: A Legitimate Retirement
The Big Show has cried so many times in the center of the ring, it really wouldn't be surprising at all if he just gave an honest retirement speech filled with tears.
The hope here, though, is that it doesn't happen because it's too late and he's plagued with injuries (like Adam Copeland, also known as Edge).
Rather, it would be unique—especially in this industry—if Show simply hung the boots up on his own. No person nor his own body are forcing the issue on him. The legendary wrestler decides for himself when the time is right to retire, just as it should be for anyone in any industry.
Ideally, this would come on Raw the night after a PPV.
Show gets one last PPV match, then starts Monday Night Raw with his announcement. He's center stage with a captive audience and gets to thank the thousands in attendance and the millions at home. Then he gracefully exits with his head held high.
Probability: Mid to low
Wrestlers never seem to do this anymore, unless they are forced to by injury. Also, to go this route, Show must turn face once more.
The Sgt. Slaughter Route: Sporadic Appearances and No Real End
In the business of wrestling, it seems like no one ever really retires.
Take legends with memorable gimmicks for example. Guys like Sgt. Slaughter, "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, Mae Young and Jimmy Snuka each "retired," but they continue to show up for sporadic appearances. They're too old now and not talented enough anymore to get in the ring for long, but time after time they're called upon to show up.
It's a short enough time to not bog storylines and new talent down. It's a long enough glimpse to keep them in our minds.
Because Show is who he is—a monster in size—he has the perfect "in" to return for a role like this.
Probability: Mid to low
His size does two things that work against this theory: It would make it difficult to carry on in the ring as he ages (think of those poor knees), and it would allow him to do other things (act perhaps?) so that he doesn't have to continually appear.
The Chris Jericho Route: A Loss in a Career-on-the-Line Match
This one sometimes goes hand in hand with the firing angles, but sometimes appears on its own. That is, the infamous "career on the line" match.
These work out really well in favor of the victor. The loser puts on one last ditch effort for a memorable match, but ultimately they come up on the short end of the stick. The winner receives the reward of ending his more legendary counterpart's career, and not much does more for an up-and-comer's course toward stardom.
This could actually work right now.
Big Show took the World Heavyweight Championship away from the incumbent, Sheamus. Then again, Show beat Sheamus to retain. Now the pair will fight it out at TLC where the Great White hopes to retire the current champion.
The setup is already there.
The Big Show can beat Sheamus a third time, ending the challenger's chances for a rematch. Sheamus, then, can beg for one final match. With the monster champion reluctant to agree, the Irish Superstar can raise the stakes in a career versus career match to entice one more round.
Of course, it'd be fairly obvious who would win.
No offense to the Big Show, but his size alone is a gimmick in and of itself. It would make someone look really good to end one of the largest men to ever wrestle's career. Leave it to Show to make one last kid shine on his way out, whether that's Sheamus, Dolph Ziggler or even Ryback.
I'm not a betting man, but if I was, my money would be on this route as the one the Big Show takes to end his career.
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