Top 50 Wrestlers Of The 1990s: #44 - The Giant
WrestleMania 34 is coming up, and being a wrestling fan, I tend to get a little more nostalgic for them olden days of when wrestlers didn't have scripts in front of them. DeLorean back to my early days of fandom during the 1990s and you had a product that was hotter than a 1994 white Ford Bronco containing an ex-football star (okay, slight exaggeration, the whole O.J. thing did get an FX series after all).
So from now up until "The Grandest Stage of Them All", I will release my Top 50 wrestlers of the 1990., factoring in their impact from the kid-friendly first half to the cuss-ridden, beer drinking second half to determine where exactly your favorite heel or face fall in rank.
#44: The Giant
Hailing From: Aiken, South Carolina
Finisher: The Chokeslam
Everybody knows him as The Big Show now, but if you grew up in the 90s as a wrestling nerd, you'll always associate him with his former and somehow simpler moniker, The Giant. Originally billed as Andre The Giant's son (which 12-year-old me bought hook, line and sinker - "he's super tall and he's got the same outfit, how can it not be!?"), the artist later known as Big Show was only 23 when he debuted and became WCW Heavyweight Champion right out of the gate defeating a "still babyface in 1995" Hulk Hogan through controversial means. He'd then go on to scuffle with Randy Savage, Ric Flair and Loch Ness (one of these is not like the others).
Giant had two runs with the WCW title until he fell prey to the New World Order, dropping the belt to Hogan at the money-vortex that was Hog Wild 1996. Soon, he became a part of the nWo and then began to foreshadow his lengthy WWF tenure by turning face again, then later turning heel in unsettling fashion. Somewhere in between that however, he had a memorable feud with Kevin Nash due in part to both their extraordinary statures and Giant being dropped on his neck in extremely frightening botched powerbomb spot (a pot of coffee was also involved).
Eventually, Giant made his way to the WWF, also debuting in major fashion by helping Vince McMahon defeat Stone Cold Steve Austin at St. Valentine's Day Massacre in 1999. Considering he signed a nine-year contract with Vince, things looked extremely promising for Giant (who temporarily went by his real name Paul Wight after he debuted), but due to poor booking the man we now know as Show never truly got his proper billing.