May 14, 2023
How Vince McMahon Completely Botched Big Show's Early WWE Career
When the Big Show jumped ship from WCW to WWE in 1999 he became the victim of
When the Big Show jumped ship from WCW to WWE in 1999 he became the victim of indecisive booking in a series of heel and face turns.
The Big Show is arguably the most impressive big man in the entire history of professional wrestling. His mixture of size and athleticism was something not seen in many other big men his size - even amongst the likes of Andre The Giant. He has carved out a legendary career with countless titles and moments, cementing himself as an all-time great. However, when looking at his WWE career, it was far from perfect. In all honesty, things for Big Show were going downhill from day one, with Vince McMahon botching his booking very early on, which was a sign of things to come for the big man.
Prior to signing with WWE, Big Show has made a name for himself in WCW as a former World Heavyweight Champion. His booking wasn't perfect though, going down to the likes of Hulk Hogan (of course) and becoming a meaningless member of the nWo. He was the perfect template for what Vince McMahon wanted in a superstar though, with an unreal size and brilliant natural ability inside of the ring for a man of his stature. His signing was a pretty big deal, but his debut was where things started going wrong for Big Show.
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At St. Valentine's Day Massacre 1999, Big Show emerged from underneath the ring canvas to interfere in the steel cage match between "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Mr. McMahon. On paper, this was a great idea to make an impactful statement, but unfortunately Show was made to look like a fool almost immediately. He threw Austin into the cage wall, but in doing so, Austin's momentum broke the cage and allowed him to escape, scoring the victory. Show's debut was now more about the fact that he cost McMahon the match rather than arriving on the scene in a major way.
Show became the heavy for McMahon and The Corporation, which took away some of his individuality early on, with him clearly not being in the spotlight. His match against Mankind at WrestleMania 15 was another poor point, with him getting disqualified despite the fact that the winner of the match would be the special guest referee for the main event between Steve Austin and The Rock. He was once again made to look foolish in this sense. The aftermath of this match saw the first of what would be many babyface and heel turns for Big Show, as McMahon grew frustrated and slapped him, resulting in a face turn just two months into his run.
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From there, Show became part of the short-lived and unsuccessful Union faction, becoming just another name on the roster when he should have been presented from day one as a larger than life athlete who was different to everyone else in WWE. The trend of Big Show turning began before he even made it to SummerSlam of that year, turning heel and aligning with The Undertaker in the Unholy Alliance. However, this was once again short-lived and Big Show became a babyface YET AGAIN. To make Big Show look even more human and less of a monster, he feuded with Big Boss Man in which his deceased father was the topic, and Boss Man would even crash the funeral and steal the casket in an infamously crazed SmackDown segment. Things just weren't going well for Big Show.
The year closed out with Big Show somehow getting his hands on the WWE Championship. On paper, winning the biggest prize in the company within a year sounds like a dream run, but it came after countless losses, awful stories, and a complete drop in his overall stock. If he had gone on an unbeaten run up the card after debuting, it would have been far more impressive.
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Show's title win was simply just in place to stir things up rather than McMahon believing him to be the top guy in the company. This first year for the Big Show in WWE can pretty much sum up the rest of his time in the promotion. At times he would be pushed up to the main event scene, at others he was treated like the biggest joke on the roster, and he would become both a foe and ally to authority figures too if and when he pleased. The up and down nature of the Big Show's whole run in WWE all stemmed from this introduction to the company within his first year, as it played through every trope that would continue to harm him over his run.
Andrew Kelly is a writer from The Wirral, England. He is an MA Graduate from the University of Manchester, and a BA Graduate from Liverpool John Moores University, both in Creative Writing. Can be found on Twitter @andrew_kelly0WWE THESPORTSTER VIDEO OF THE DAY SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT