Paul Wight is returning to the ring Wednesday night time … one thing that may by no means have occurred if not for former NBA star Xavier McDaniel, the primary particular person to inform the Celebrity previously referred to as Massive Present to enter skilled wrestling!
Wight dropped by the TMZ places of work on Tuesday and sat down with Babcock on the TMZ Sports activities TV present — forward of AEW Dynamite’s Like A Dragon Gaiden Avenue Combat match — the place the fellows mentioned the 7-footer’s begin within the sport to his in-ring comeback.
The Wight the Wrestler origin story is fairly loopy.
Paul was a middle on the Wichita State basketball staff within the early ’90s, however wasn’t precisely Shaquille O’Neal on the court docket.
Due to his play on the hardwood, McDaniel, a Shockers alum who’d develop into an NBA star after being drafted with the 4th general decide in 1985, gave Wight some invaluable recommendation … and maybe paved the best way for him to develop into a titan within the wrestling trade.
“X was all the time pestering me, and he saved telling me I ought to go into wrestling. I stated ‘Man, pay attention, I am gonna play within the NBA. That is what I’ve educated for since I used to be a child. That is what I do,'” Wight recounted telling McDaniel (this story begins across the 14-minute mark).
“[Xavier] says, ‘Man, you are gonna be the one 7-foot dude who will get reduce by the Japanese staff. He goes, ‘I am telling you what it is advisable to do. It’s essential to go into professional wrestling and be Andre The Big‘s son.’ He says, ‘Man, you appear to be Andre. That is what it is advisable to do.'”
“Xavier McDaniel noticed the imaginative and prescient on the wall lengthy earlier than it ever occurred.”
Shortly after, Paul linked up with Hulk HoganandEric Bischoff … and the remaining is historical past.
Now, Wight’s wrestling once more at 51 years outdated (it has been a bit since he is carried out within the Squared Circle, although he is been signed to AEW since ’21) … and he is teaming up with Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi, and Chris Jericho to tackle Hobbs, Konosuke Takeshita, Kyle Fletcher, and Brian Cage.
How for much longer will he wrestle? Try the complete interview — we requested him.
Along with Wight’s match on Dynamite, AEW Full Gear, a PPV occasion, goes down this Saturday … and Paul previewed a few of the matches he is most trying ahead to!