The Big Show's WWE career started in 1999 after signing a big deal with WWE. Eric Bischoff recently mentioned during 83 Weeks that he had a conversation with The World's Largest Athlete at the time where he encouraged Big Show to take WWE's offer.
WWE signed The Big Show to a ten-year deal worth $1 million per year and he promptly debuted at St. Valentine's Day Massacre using his real name, Paul Wight. He emerged from under the ring, tearing open the ring canvas in the closing moments of Steve Austin's cage match against Vince McMahon where the winner received a place in WrestleMania XV's main event. Wight launched Austin into the cage causing it to break apart, helping The Rattlesnake hit the floor to secure the win and solidify his spot at WrestleMania XV. This rewrote McMahon's WrestleMania plans after winning the Royal Rumble match one month prior.
Although The Big Show was placed into a big storyline from the get-go in WWE, Bischoff didn't regret telling Wight to take the deal. At the time, Bischoff noticed Wight wasn't putting a lot into his performances with WCW, therefore, he wasn't too broken up to see The Giant leave.
"I didn't mind when Paul Wight came to me and said WWE offered him $1 million a year for ten years," Bischoff said, "I was like dude, you need to take that. You need to go now, lemme give you a ride to the airport.
"That was then, Paul's obviously matured. Paul was very young at the time and was going through a lot of other stuff. Paul's clearly gone on to be somebody you know, noteworthy in the industry. But at that time, man, he just wasn't putting a lot into it."
Wight's pay was not at the same level as other main event names WCW had at the time, therefore, Bischoff was more than willing to let Big Show go.
Also on the podcast, Bischoff spoke about an incentive process WCW initiated at the time. The initiative allowed ECW to pay wrestlers more and also help alleviate an issue they had with talent bringing in doctor's notes, which he had to accept regardless of if he felt they were genuine.
"There was an initiative or a thought process I should say to gradually create incentives in our agreements," Bischoff said. "[Their goal was to] eliminate the extended downtime that talent could take advantage of -- because they did.
"It was obvious to us when it was happening," Bischoff explained. "But, when you've got talent that comes in with a doctor's note and says he can't wrestle, there's nothing you can do about it. You can't force them to do it, you can't force them to see a different doctor, you can't challenge them on it because if they were and they were to get hurt the liability would have been through the roof.
"So you know, Turner Risk Management said -- and rightfully so -- I don't wanna mean to imply they were too conservative, but if a guy came in with a doctor's note, then only thing we could do was shorten the time frame on it on how long we had to pay them. On the flipside of that, probably perceived to be an adverse situation we wanted to offer something that was a little bit more positive beginning of our attempt to create a few more incentives and less locked-in type of guarantee."
If you use any portion of the quotes in this article please credit 83 Weeks with a H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription