Big Show Q&A: Shaquille O'Neal is 'scared' to wrestle me at WrestleMania 33

Shaq vs. Big Show
Shaq vs. Big Show at WrestleMania 33? It looks unlikely at the moment. (AP)

If you thought the back-and-forth between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao dragged on, at least it didn’t take eight years before we saw a resolution.

That’s how long the Shaquille O’Neal vs. Big Show feud has stewed and it appears there’s no resolution in sight.

“Well, as far as I know on my end, I’m ready to go. It’s a situation that Shaq and the WWE have to work out,” Big Show told Yahoo Sports last week on their rumored WrestleMania 33 match.

The two larger-than-life athletes first crossed paths when O’Neal served as a guest host on “Raw” in 2009. After exchanging words (and chokeholds) in the ring, Shaq delivered an awkward-looking shoulder tackle that knocked Big Show out of the ring.

Last year at WrestleMania 32, O’Neal was a participant in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal and after a brief stare down, the two behemoths worked together to choke slam Kane.

A singles match was penciled in for the WWE’s trademark pay-per-view on April 2 after the two agreed to a match last July at the ESPY Awards, but things appear to be off for the time being.

“Shaq is a busy dude and he’s got a lot of business going on so we’ll see,” Big Show said. “Hopefully he will be able to work it out, get the courage to show up.”

In the meantime, the Big Show’s been busy shedding weight and getting into incredible shape and doing voiceover work for the upcoming March 14 release, “The Jetsons & WWE: Robo-WrestleMania!”

Big Show revealed the motivation for his recent lifestyle change and has some thoughts on Shaq’s feud with JaVale McGee.

Will Big Show vs. Shaq happen at WrestleMania 33?

Big Show: Well, as far as I know on my end, I’m ready to go. It’s a situation that Shaq and the WWE have to work out. I don’t know if he chickened out, has other commitments … I don’t know. That’s above my pay grade. I like to think personally that Shaq got scared. He saw the six-pack and realized if he faced me at WrestleMania, he was going to be Fat Shaq.

Shaq is a busy dude and he’s got a lot of business going on so we’ll see. Hopefully he will be able to work it out and get the courage to show up. Personally, I don’t think it’s a business complication thing. Flat-out, I just think he’s scared. I get it. I’ve made a lot of changes in the past year and if I were sitting in Shaq’s shoes, I would probably be pretty nervous too to face me at WrestleMania.

Have you paid attention to Shaq’s feud with JaVale McGee?

Big Show: No, is he talking trash to someone else because he’s scared of me?

He’s picking on a current NBA player. Shaq’s mom had to get involved to cool things off.

Big Show: Really? What was Shaq getting hot about? Is he just mad because he’s too fat and can’t play anymore or what? I don’t understand. Why pick on someone in the league? He’s one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Instead of picking on people in the league, he should probably focus on the guy who he’s already picked with a couple of times — which is me. I think he should focus and not spread himself too thin.

That’s surprising that Shaq would pick on someone like that. It really is. The fact that he had to call his mom to intervene says a lot. His mom would kick his ass all over the place. I wouldn’t want to get Shaq’s mom mad, I’ll tell you that much. If she told me to do something, I would do it in a heartbeat. I wouldn’t want her mad at me. That woman is serious. I’m definitely saying right now that if I had to face Shaq’s mom at WrestleMania, I will not show up. I’ll be scared. If Shaq shows up, no problem. Shaq’s mom shows up, eh, I don’t know. I think I might get the flu.

There was a funny video following “Raw” where a referee tried to pin you after you were laid out by Brock Lesnar. How many referees would it take to defeat the Big Show?

Ha. Shenanigans! #darkmatch #wwe #raw #bigshow #wtf

A post shared by Adam ( on Feb 28, 2017 at 2:08am PST

Big Show: God bless the internet, huh? That was something I called for [referees] Chad Patton and John Cone. Those guys do a lot of work with us all over the world, year-round. They do much more than just refereeing in the ring. It was just a funny little spot that I called there for them. Hopefully they won’t get in trouble for it. If anyone gets in trouble for it, I will. I did it for them just as a joke to entertain the crowd.

We used to do stuff like that years ago in the “Attitude” era. I can remember years ago after the show, The Rock and Stone Cold [Steve Austin] would go out and all the bad guys would line up at the gorilla position to run down and take finishers just to pop the crowd at the end of the night because we enjoyed entertaining. What I was trying to do was to entertain the crowd and thank them, and also send a message to the guys in the locker room that it’s OK to have fun and entertain the crowd because that’s what we are here for. Business was over, the red light was turned off and I think Vince [McMahon] had already left, so we will find out. When I get to work on Monday, I’ll find out if I’m in trouble for sure. I’ll probably get fined or something. Hopefully he will be in a good mood and understand it was all for entertainment and I won’t get in trouble.

Would you prefer stuff like that wasn’t recorded and shared on the internet?

Big Show: It’s a tough thing. The internet is there and it’s not going away. If anything, it’s better, so now people understand that anything can happen at a WWE live event or WWE TV. It’s worth the price of admission to come down and see the show. So, no, not really. It’s not a bad thing. If it’s interesting enough for people to post it, hopefully it’s interesting enough for other people to want to watch it. It brings attention to our product, so that’s not a bad thing. I’m an old-school veteran. Do I wish that I didn’t find out about some of my angles on the internet before I’m told about them? Yeah, sometimes that irritates me a little bit. That’s just the way things are. People want to know information. They will find it.

You mentioned the weight loss, what was the catalyst behind that?

Big Show: I really wanted to get in shape for The Jetsons movie. [Laughs]

A lot of personal things. I just wanted to make a change. I think when I started in June or July, I was 463 [pounds]. I sought the help of my trainer, Dodd Romero. We developed a really good training and nutritional plan and we started moving forward.

I think the biggest thing that was very cool was as I really started making improvements locally before I started posting any pictures, it was inspiring to a lot of people in the gym and a lot of people I know were commenting. They were thanking me and saying I see you making this change and it helps me believe I can do it. So that’s been a big motivator because when you realize you are doing something good for yourself but at the same time you are having a positive influence on other people who believe they can make a change, that’s pretty powerful stuff. I’m just getting started and we are going to take this journey and try to transform the Big Show and make myself the best possible shape I can be in.

What’s the biggest challenge you face in a transformation like this? Is it the diet or the working out?

Big Show: The diet I actually prepared for a few months before I started really doing it. I started researching things I needed to eliminate out of my diet, whether it was dairy or white bread or whatever it was like high fats. There were a lot of things that you had to eliminate. The first three letters in the word diet are “d-i-e.” So that’s why diets fail. They diet and expect instant changes for short-term dedication and that doesn’t work.

That’s why the diet dies. It’s a lifestyle change. You have to look in the mirror and really have an honest conversation with yourself and find the discipline to not eat things that don’t agree with you. Everyone’s different. The more you do it, the easier it gets. When I first started, the first few weeks were very difficult.

You wrestled two weeks ago in the main event of “Raw” against Braun Strowman in a match that the fans at Staples Center highly enjoyed. How does Braun at 33 years old compare to yourself at 33?

Big Show: Oh geez, I don’t remember what I was like at 33. I think Braun … other than size, you can compare Braun and I, but Braun is on another level. He’s a former strongman, an incredible athlete. Very fast and very, very athletic. I think at 33 I was on a different path. I was probably around 490 pounds and I was a monster. I wasn’t necessarily as athletic as Braun.

Braun is one of the most explosive, athletic big guys I’ve been in the ring with. He’s got a unique look and he’s also pretty sharp. He’s starting to really pick up his character and the way he works in the ring and his presence. He’s still very green considering how much time he’s spent in the ring and how far he’s gone. It’s hard for me to compare myself to anybody. I always want to be as good as The Undertaker or even Kane. I think those two guys are the two best big guys ever in the business. I always get lumped into the category of I’m not really Andre [the Giant] and I’m definitely not The Undertaker. I’m somewhere lumped in the middle, so how do I fit in?

I’m kind of that freak that didn’t really have a home. I’m more than happy to bequeath that torch to Braun and he can be the freak that doesn’t have a home. Hopefully down the road before I go, we can have a nice program. That was kind of an impromptu thing that happened but I was really happy with what we did and the stories we were able to tell. It would be nice to revisit that again after WrestleMania.

The BIg Show
Even as a cartoon, the Big Show is a big guy. (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)

What was your favorite childhood cartoon?

Big Show: I’m older than a lot of the kids now, so I grew up on The Jetsons, Scooby-Doo, Hong Kong Phooey, Thundarr the Barbarian, Captain Caveman, Bugs Bunny and Road Runner. I always liked The Jetsons and I always liked Bugs Bunny. Those were probably my top two favorites.

So, The Jetsons over The Flintstones?

Big Show: Yeah, Flintstones were great, they were really, but I used to get irritated with Barney as a kid. On The Flintstones, Dino was my favorite. I was a weird child. I always liked The Jetsons because I liked the future and I’m a Star Trek, Star Wars, sci-fi nerd. For me, it was much more attractive to think about moving sidewalks and automated showers and flying cars.

Now that you are in the best shape of your life, how much longer do you see yourself wrestling?

Big Show: I know I’m done February 2018. That’s when my contract ends as a full-time, live event guy. We’ll see what happens after that, whether I roll into an ambassador role or what WWE has for me. I know I’ve been with them for a long time and I have a great relationship with them. I also understand there’s a time for me to step aside and for other guys to step up. We got a lot of great new athletic talent that will probably be coming up at WrestleMania to be introduced. I don’t have any regrets or any shoulda, coulda, wouldas in my career. I’ve had a very blessed career with the greatest superstars this business has ever seen. And for me, it’s about giving that space up to those guys that are there to do it and me finding new challenges to help inspire and motivate me. That’s what I’ll be doing. Anything to keep from having to get a real job.