Paul Wight’s AEW signing came as a shock to many fans and talent alike. Many wondered how long the former Big Show company switch had been in the works, and how his former promoter reacted to the matter.
Wight spoke on the media call following AEW Revolution and revealed a phone call conversation he had with Vince McMahon moments after the news broke.
“Here’s the thing, Vince actually called me the day it was announced that I had signed with AEW,” Wight said. “He wished me a lot of luck. He agreed that I am going to be a fantastic asset to AEW, thanked me for all the years I had worked in WWE. There’s no animosity, there’s no anger, there’s no dirt so to speak. This just came down to, you know, contract negotiations and opportunities.”
For Wight, he says he has no bad blood with WWE. At the end of the day, the switch came down to needing a fresh start somewhere new.
“Let’s face it, over 20 years in WWE, I have done everything there is to do in WWE,” Wight said. “I needed a fresh start, and for me, I think Vince understands that and understand me as a talent, and this was that opportunity for me to do that. When you follow the rules, like, I couldn’t reach out to AEW or Tony Khan when I was under contract, and I didn’t. I came to terms of a mutual dissolution of services and I left WWE. There’s no anger in it. I needed the freedom to pursue different opportunities. When that contract came to an end, that was the thing where I took a big leap of faith, and hoped that my reputation in the industry and the work that I’ve done would earn me a meeting with Tony Khan. He would understand that I would be an asset to AEW.”
Wight noted he had a sit down meeting with AEW founder Tony Khan, where the two discussed what Wight could bring to All Elite Wrestling.
“And when my contract expired, which is really great, I actually got a chance to drive up to Jacksonville, and Tony and I had a meeting at like 10 o’clock at night in his office,” Wight said. “We talked about wrestling and psychology, and what I wanted to do in AEW, and one of the big passions that I’ve had for a long time is getting to color commentate. Trying to bring my experiences from the ring like a great Gorilla Monsoon or Jesse Ventura were able to bring to commentary to help get the talent in the ring over more, and help tell their stories, I was looking forward to that opportunity.”
Beyond commentary work, Wight emphasized that he still plans on wrestling inside an AEW squared circle.
“And also the opportunity to compete with some fresh talents,” Wight said. “People that I haven’t had angles with. Some people that I can also help become better. And also, a new environment, a new place to work helps reinvigorate yourself, you know? Believe me, leaving WWE was scary, because I had so much tenure there and so much experience and had basically paid every due I needed to pay there in WWE. To leave that stock, and basically put a lot of faith in yourself and say if you’re really passionate about this and really want to do this, you need to put your big boy pants on and see if it works out.”
Outside of Daily’s Place, Wight noted he plans to continue his work with the Special Olympics.
“That’s one of the things I was fortunate enough of being with WWE for so long is I got a chance to build some great community relationships and some great partnerships,” Wight said. “One of the partnerships very near to my heart is Special Olympics, and that’s one of the conversations I had with Tony. I said, ‘Look, I know it’s going to be a bit awkward, but I’m still going to be involved with Special Olympics, even though that’s a brand that’s teamed and partnered with WWE.’ I think everyone involved with Special Olympics and WWE and AEW understands my passion and commitment to Special Olympics, so that’s not a problem going forward.
“That’s one thing about Tony. Tony understands what I bring to the table. I can only help AEW’s product by getting involved with community projects and organizations I care about. Plus, there’s a lot of opportunity for me now that, in essence, we’re building the Paul Wight brand, so I got the chance to do a lot of positive things with my own brand for things in the future as well. And I’ve got the freedom to do more movies, to do more television, to do more community aware things that I’ve wanted to get involved with. Before, a lot of those opportunities were limited because there was so much talent and so many people striving for the same things. Now, I’m not competing against the other people around me. Now, I’ve got this wide open atmosphere, and the positive reinforcement and encouragement behind it is just unreal. For me, it’s very surreal to come from a competitive market to now where it’s competitive, but it’s also very supportive.”
AEW Dynamite can be seen every Wednesday night at 8/7c on TNT. You can find the full audio from Wight’s AEW Revolution media scrum via the embedded players below: