“It’s hard to have a good guy without a great bad guy,” said Big Show in a telephone interview from Arizona on Jan. 24.
On Sunday, Big Show fell to competitor Alberto Del Rio in a Last Man Standing Match during the Royal Rumble pay-per-view event in Phoenix.
The two will meet again in the New World Heavyweight Championship match in front of a hometown crowd at 1 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 3, at James Brown Arena.
Tickets are $16, $26, $36, $51 and $96 from the arena box office, (877) 4AUGTIX and georgialinatix.com.
Born in Aiken County in 1972, Big Show, known as Paul Wight to his friends, attended Millbrook Elementary School in Aiken and graduated from Wyman King Academy in Batesburg, S.C. He has been a pro wrestler for close to two decades. He has flip-flopped between good and bad guy over the years, making the latest switch to heel last year.
“It’s all about storytelling and entertainment value,” he said and laughed, adding that being the bad guy doesn’t help his T-shirt sales. “It’s hard for me to get sympathy.”
However, for friends and family, the bad guy routine is hard to believe.
“They find it funny, me being the bad guy,” he said. “I’m quick with a joke and am pretty easy-going. When they see me ranting and raving, it’s a disconnect for them.”
At 7 feet tall and 441-pounds, Big Show makes a formidable opponent and a great story for the up-and-coming wrestlers who seek to take him down.
Ironically, Big Show sees his own life as an underdog story.
“Here I am, a small-town kid from South Carolina, and I get to travel the world,” he said. “I went to Egypt and touched the Great Pyramid.”
Big Show, whose 41st birthday is Feb. 8, said he can see himself wrestling about five more years, despite the toll his career has taken on his body. He’s had several herniated discs, a torn rotator cuff and three surgeries to each knee. Despite the pain, he enjoys what he does.
“I have a lot of pride working with the younger guys. Our company is growing. I have a lot of aches and pains, but that 15 to 20 minutes, when I walk down the ramp, I feel the energy. It’s such an emotional high,” he said.
The WWE Augusta stop shouldn’t interfere with Super Bowl pre-game festivities, said Big Show. It begins at 1 p.m., and the line-up includes “The Celtic Warrior” Sheamus, “The Viper” Randy Orton, Team Rhodes Scholars, “The High Flying” Sin Cara,”The Punjabi Playboy” The Great Khali, “The Funkasaurus” Brodus Clay and the Divas.