Paul Wight On Having Nerves In His Debut Match Against Hulk Hogan
Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Redferns
Whether he was The Giant or Big Show, Paul Wight has four decades of experience in the squared circle. Unlike many, he first had his beginning at the very top in the business against Hulk Hogan and for the World Heavyweight Title nonetheless.
The former Big Show spoke with Lucha Libre Online’s Michael Morales Torres about getting his start against Hogan at Halloween Havoc 1995 and how green he was behind the ears at the time.
“I remember being extremely nervous. After four decades in the business and 26 years of experience, you know, Hulk was crazy to take me out for his first match. He was out of his mind. I remember training of the power plant in Atlanta with Jody Hamilton, Terry Taylor, Paul, Levesque and Diamond, Dallas Page. A lot of guys were very instrumental in my early training and I remember Hulk said: ‘Alright brother, I need you to come down and Clearwater’. And this was like, I think our first match was how do we have it in October and he wanted me to come down and Clearwater. I want to say like in August and I’d start at the power plant in February. So very little training time. Very green is an understatement. I remember we just went to World Gym at six o’clock in the morning every morning. It was me, him and Savage (Macho Man). These guys were trained so hard. I remember they brought an extra bag and they were changing clothes. I thought: ‘Thank God this workout is over’. No. They change clothes for work out two. So that was my first introduction to these two guys that were relentless in the gym. We go out to eat and had a big breakfast. Then we’re on the beach when Hulk said: ‘All right brother, lock up with me’. So we locked up and he took three or four steps and on the beach like in a lock-up position and says: ‘Alright brother, just listen to me. You’ll be fine’. Back then I was nervous because I thought we were going to go over the match and talk about spots and what we were going to do you. No, no nothing at all. He called it all in drink nothing at all. So believe me. I was 22 or 23 years old and just absolutely terrified the entire time out there. I remember one time in the match, I had Hulk in the corner and I didn’t had any corner offense. I didn’t had a chop, I didn’t had an knee, I didn’t have a shoulder. I didn’t had any corner offense. Not that even the big boot to the throat to stretch somebody in the corner. I had nothing. I think Hogan saw that deer in the headlight look (on me), which when you’re out there, you think: ‘Oh my God! Everybody in the building knows something is wrong’. They don’t. Hogan grabbed my hand and started fighting with it and he goes: ‘No brother. Don’t choke me’. He put my hand on his throat and he was just super cool. I remember put him in a bear hug, and he selling a bear hug said: ‘Alright brother, turn me a little brother. I want to see the kids’. Nick and Brooke (Hogan) were in the crowd he wanted to sell to them. Just looking back now to have that kind of faith and somebody like me that was that green and that strong and that agile was pretty brave. I’ve gotten my dose of green guys over the years and I still go back to the patience that Hogan had with me, which was was pretty incredible. I started out the penthouse and probably should have retired after that match. You retire after a controversial world champion. You’ve done it. Been there; done that. Yeah”.
Transcription credit should go to Michael Morales Torres of Lucha Libre Online.
You can tune into the full conversation between Wight & Torres below: