Whenever wrestling fans talk about the WWE’s living legends and their effects on pro wrestling history, they tend to mention names like The Undertaker, The Rock, Triple H and Chris Jericho.
One superstar who often gets overlooked, however, is The Big Show.
Despite being one of the biggest names who is still actively competing, Big Show hardly ever gets mentioned in the same breath as some of the all-time greats. He’s sort of become the forgotten star (or at least one of them) of one of the most successful periods in pro wrestling history.
That’s a shame because Big Show is a rare talent, and odds are that we will never see anyone match his legacy—or even come close to it.
After all, at least on paper, Big Show has one of the most impressive resumes you’ll ever see. His list of accomplishments is incredibly long, and it dwarfs even those of some guys who are already in the Hall of Fame.
Let’s take a look:
- Two-time WWE Champion
- Two-time World Heavyweight Champion
- Two-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion
- One-time ECW Champion
- 11-time Tag Team Champion (WCW, World and WWE)
- 3-time WWE Hardcore Champion
- One-time Intercontinental Champion
- One-time United States Champion
Any which way you slice it, it’s hard not to be impressed by what Big Show has been able to do during a career that’s spanned almost two decades.
Although Big Show may not have the 10-plus World title reigns that guys like John Cena and Triple H have, he’s had a remarkable career in which he’s had success at several different levels.
Of course, he’s been a huge presence in the top two promotions in the world, WCW and WWE. In WCW, he did something that no other man has done in any major wrestling promotion: Won a World title the night of his debut.
Big Show did this back at Halloween Havoc in 1995, ensuring that his debut would be one of the most historic in pro wrestling history. Although Big Show would go on to have a memorable four-year run in WCW, it wasn’t until he jumped ship to the WWE in 1999 that he truly began to put together his Hall of Fame-caliber career.
After Show debuted in memorable fashion at St. Valentine’s Day Massacre on Feb. 9, 1999, he quickly established himself as one of the top stars in the company. From that point, Big Show would be well on his way to solidifying himself as one of the biggest names in the industry.
He would feud with everyone from The Rock to The Undertaker to Mankind, and within a year of his debut, he would become WWE Champion. His first WWE title win ultimately helped spark a WWE career that is one of the best in recent memory.
As you can see by the list of Big Show’s accomplishments above, he would go on to put together one of the greatest resumes of any star of his generation—a resume that is still taking shape as we speak.
It’s easy to compare Big Show to the likes of Triple H or Undertaker and consider him a notch below those stars because his resume doesn’t quite stack up to theirs. But it’s important to note that what Big Show lacks in the championship department, he more than makes up for with a career defined by versatility.
After all, Big Show is one of the most versatile superstars in WWE history. All you have to do to understand that is look at what he’s done on the grand stage of WrestleMania.
You name a match type, he’s probably had it at WrestleMania. You name a title, he’s probably fought for it at WrestleMania.
On the grandest stage of them all, Big Show has competed for the World Heavyweight and WWE Championships, the Hardcore Championship, the WWE Tag Team Championship and the Intercontinental Championship.
He’s also faced a boxer and a sumo wrestler, and he’s competed in tag team matches, singles matches, Triple Threats and Fatal 4-Ways.
Say what you want about Big Show, but no one—not even the biggest names ever like Hulk Hogan or The Rock—has ever competed in such a wide variety of matches at the WWE’s biggest pay-per-view of the year.
This is, of course, a true testament to Big Show’s nearly unparalleled ability to be thrust into any type of feud and make it work.
A big reason why Big Show has been so successful at doing this is his ability to performer as both a heel and a babyface—the mark of a truly complete performer.
It’s a running joke that Show has turned too many times to count (a la Kane), but it’s also a sign that the guy knows how to perform incredibly well in either role.
Even some of the biggest legends ever can’t say that they had a ton of success in both roles. Big Show, on the other hand, has been very successful as a bad guy but has also put together a very good resume as a good guy.
That’s an often-overlooked aspect of Big Show’s career, which doesn’t quite get the proper respect that it deserves. It takes a very talented guy to succeed on both sides of the fence, and that’s what Big Show has done because he has played so many roles so well.
Unlike so many superstars who stay in the same role for much of their careers, Big Show has thrived in a wide variety of different ones. He’s been the lovable and goofy giant, the face of the reincarnated ECW, the dominant World champion and the most awe-inspiring big man not named The Undertaker or Andre the Giant.
Where does Big Show rank among the greatest superstars of all-time?
Some of the greatest superstars of all time will be or are defined largely by accomplishments that you can count, like Royal Rumble victories or World title reigns. However, Big Show’s impact on pro wrestling can’t really be measured by wins and losses or runs with the belt.
Rather, his career is defined more by the immeasurable things that he’s brought to the table: His versatility, his appeal as one of the best big men ever, his underappreciated in-ring skills, and so forth.
Pro wrestling today is transitioning away from the larger-than-life wrestlers who defined sports entertainment 20 years ago, and odds are that we’ll never see another superstar who’s as big as Big Show but can both wrestle and entertain.
I’ve never been the biggest Big Show fan, but I do appreciate great performers when I see them. Big Show, though perhaps not among the very best superstars ever, will never be rivaled because no one of his stature will ever do all the things that he has done.
The WWE doesn’t just find 7-foot behemoths every day, and the ones it does find often aren’t very good. The Big Show, however, has carved himself out a Hall of Fame caliber career and a resume that is unlike anything we’ve seen before.
He may not be remembered as the best in-ring performer, the best talker or the best entertainer of all time.
But Big Show’s legacy is already solidified, and it will never be matched.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!