Recently, The Big Show appeared on Sports Talk 790AM in Miami, Florida. Among other things, 'The Giant' explained how the professional wrestling business has changed for the better. The Big Show talked about how inexperienced professional wrestlers used to get broken in and he talked about who his professional wrestling mentors have been. Also, he claimed that Triple H is probably the only person who can pull off being in his position.
"I have seen the change on how a business that was very wild west, cowboy, everybody out for themselves, from the promoter out for themselves, from the talent out for themselves, to now a system of building the athlete, building the long term athlete, and when the athletes are done, they aren't a used up husk. Now there are guys that will have invested their money properly, have a better health, will have a better quality of life after their career ends."
"Now, we have three [or] four orthopaedic doctors on staff. We have a performance center in Orlando [Florida], which is our own performance center for building our future talent, but also there's a full rehabilitation center there for post-surgery athletes, for those that get injured, like I tore my labrum two years ago."
The Big Show continued, "these young kids now coming in, they're getting financial advice for building their own 401s. Everybody's required to have health insurance. Yeah sure, we have POMCO insurance if we're injured on the job, but he [has] made sure that everybody is insured, just like he would if he's your kid. He would make sure that you're set up. The concussion testing that we take, we have our ImPACT Testing. It's done by Dr. [Joseph] Maroon in Pittsburgh [Pennsylvania]. Cardiovascular twice a year. We get Dr. [Bryan] Donohue. He's also out of Pittsburgh and he's one of the top cardiologists in the world, who comes and spends a couple of days with us and he does all the sonograms on our hearts and stuff like that."
The Big Show claimed that the improvements in the treatment of talents came soon after WWE purchased WCW.
"That shift happened right after Vince bought out WCW. Right after he acquired the biggest rival, then he started to put his plan into motion of, 'okay, I'll make an investment into the talent'. A [professional] wrestling career back in the day for most guys was two to three years [or] four years. If you were lucky, you made some fame and some promise, but you weren't on top, but you built a little bit of a name so you could still work and do other things. Vince is smart enough, and Hunter too, Triple H, as well. Both of them are so friggin smart to understand the more they put into talent, to have the talent have a better career, a longer career, a healthy career, the longer the investment pays off. We know it's business, but with those two, you definitely get the feeling that it is because they care about the athlete. Because wrestling for so many years back in the day was very carnival, haphazardness business. Harley Race used to carry a gun just to make sure the promoters paid him because sometimes, half way through a show, the promoter gets the gate, and gets in his car, and booked. Then you're standing there with your face hanging out, trying to get rent money, and the promoter's gone. So the business [has] changed. The checks always cash. You know what I mean? You are taken care of."
During the interview, the only person to have held the ECW, WWE, World Heavyweight, and WCW Championships talked about the way new performers were broken in.
"The old days, the thing was usually four guys in a car because you saved on trans, but transportation split four ways. The rookie sat in the backseat or the rookie drove depending on which talent he was with and he just kept his mouth shut and listened because you learned a lot about the business etiquette and get psychology just from being around the guys and being in the car with them. And you learned to bond with the guys. I mean, you figure most of us are with each other five days a week. That's more than we are with our families. I try to motivate the young guys now because it's a different [environment] with the training facility and the way things are being done. My biggest thing is I encourage them to be hungry, but also be patient and be open minded. You don't want to have a fast career for two years. You want to have an amazing career for 20 years. Not everybody is going to be John Cena. Not everybody is going to be The Rock. You need to be what you can be and contribute like you can. Be dependable, be versatile, and be humble."
"He still mentors me. Arn Anderson. I was trained by Terry Taylor and Triple H. Triple H always hated when I say that. He's like, 'dude, you get me heat when you say that because you're terrible', but he's doing it to be a smart aleck, but Hunter was at WCW the same time I was. He was only there a year, but he went on to become Triple H and stuff. [Triple H] trained me. Terry Taylor trained me. 'Diamond' Dallas Page had a lot to do with it. Hulk Hogan was the one who discovered me. Mentor backstage was my childhood hero, Arn Anderson, and Ric Flair. I grew up in the south. I was a Four Horsemen fan. Arn Anderson, I loved 'The Enforcer' Arn. He cut the best promos. He always looked cool because he had that Polo with the rope chain, the rose-colored glasses, and that mean beard. He looked like he'd whip his grandmother, I mean, if she got out of line. I loved that as a kid to now being able to work with him for 20-plus years, he [has] been a mentor to me, [and] one of my dearest, dearest, dearest, dearest friends."
When asked whether Triple H "married up" in marrying Stephanie McMahon, The Big Show argued that not many people could be as dedicated to WWE as Triple H.
"Here's the thing. People give Hunter a lot of crap and say, 'oh, he married up, he married up'. Let me tell you something. That dude is probably one of the smartest dudes I've ever met in my life and you've got to think about this. Yes, Stephanie is absolutely beautiful. She's intelligent. She's charismatic. She's driven. She's Vince's daughter. She's going to be a handful if you're marrying her. Then think about every Sunday dinner sitting across at Sunday dinner at the family dinner table and you've got to stare at Vince. I can go home and get away from him. Hunter can't go anywhere. He [has] always got to be on because Vince is always on. So Hunter is probably the only guy I can think of in my career that I've met that is that dedicated, that is that on, that can pull that off. I mean, maybe John [Cena], but John's different. You know what I mean? Not good or bad. Those are the only two guys that have the ability to function on Vince's level."
Click here to check out the interview. If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit Sports Talk 790AM with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
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