Paul Wight Signs AEW Contract After 22 Years with WWE as Big Show

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 24, 2021

U.S. World Wrestling Entertainment, WWE, wrestler Paul Wight, also known as The Big Show, promotes the launch of WWE's new official merchandise collection in Harrods, in London Tuesday, April 13, 2010. (AP Photo/Jorge Herrera)
Jorge Herrera/Associated Press

AEW announced the signing of Paul "Big Show" Wight to a long-term contract Wednesday, ending his 22-year stint with WWE.

In the press release, AEW noted that Wight will wrestle in addition to serving as a commentator for a new weekly YouTube show called AEW Dark: Elevation.

All Elite Wrestling @AEW

Welcome to the team... @PaulWight is #AllElite For the complete release click here https://t.co/Cru5OrCOdk Watch #AEWDynamite TONIGHT at 8pm on @tntdrama https://t.co/jYT2ltyZwv

AEW Dark: Elevation will air Mondays at 7 p.m. ET on the AEW YouTube channel as a companion to AEW Dark on Tuesdays.

Wight offered the following response to the news of his AEW arrival:

Paul Wight @PaulWight

Incredibly excited !!!πŸ’ͺ😎 https://t.co/h043IiIGSL

Wight commented on signing with AEW in the press release, saying: "It's been amazing to watch what AEW has built in just a couple of years. AEW Dark is an incredible platform to hone the skills of up-and-coming wrestlers, but I also love that established AEW talent can build out their personalities and showcase themselves in new ways on Dark. It's no exaggeration when they say that AEW is boundless."

AEW President Tony Khan also discussed the signing, calling Wight "one of the most recognizable and impressive athletes in the world."

Khan said Wight "believes that we're the best promotion in wrestling" as well.

Prior to signing with AEW, Wight had essentially become a part-time performer in WWE, with his last match being an unsanctioned bout against Randy Orton on the July 20, 2020, edition of Raw.

Wight, 49, began his pro wrestling career with WCW in 1995 as The Giant. Wight went on to spend four years in WCW, winning the WCW World Heavyweight Championship twice and the WCW World Tag Team Championships three times.

He made a surprise debut for WWE at St. Valentine's Day Massacre in 1999, attacking "Stone Cold" Steve Austin on Vince McMahon's behalf.

Wight went on to become one of the longest-tenured Superstars in WWE history, winning two WWE Championships, two World Heavyweight Championships, eight Tag Team Championships and both the Intercontinental and United States Championships once apiece.

Rather than wrestling on a full-time basis, Wight became more of a part-time attraction in recent years. His last title opportunity came the night after WrestleMania 36 last year on Raw, as he lost to WWE champion Drew McIntyre.

Wight's final WWE appearance of any kind was last month on the Legends Night edition of Raw.

In AEW, Wight can bring value as a commentator as well as a mentor to some of the younger wrestlers, plus he can still help as an in-ring performer in certain spots.

It is safe to assume that AEW will eventually set the stage for a match between Wight and Basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal, who is set to make his AEW in-ring debut next month in a tag team match with Jade Cargill against Cody Rhodes and Red Velvet.

Wight and Shaq had multiple run-ins in WWE, including a showdown in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 32.

Both men talked about a potential WrestleMania singles match often, and while that never happened, AEW can now make the match a reality.

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