Paul Wight on WWE turning down Justin Bieber, Big Show Burger idea
As part of the post-WWE podcast tour, AEW broadcaster and eventual wrestler Paul Wight went into details about when he knew his WWE career was coming to an end, being turned down at bringing in Justin Bieber for a SummerSlam match, and how his AEW deal came together in 15 minutes.
Appearing on both Talk is Jericho this week and Oral Sessions with Renee Paquette last week, Wight said the writing was on the wall for him roughly five years ago when he was told by a “higher up” that wasn’t Vince McMahon that he would never main event a WrestleMania or a pay-per-view and would only be used to get over NXT talent. That was after he had worked hard to rehab from hip surgeries and infections.
He started contract negotiations with WWE’s Mark Carrano and while the money was ok, the terms and length of the deal (a year) were light. He felt like they were pushing him into a Legends contract, but given how they treat Hall of Famers, he had no interest, bringing up turning them down on Randy Orton piefacing him onto a chair during a Raw segment. He felt like they wanted to use his notoriety to do media and community work but take his passion away from him in the ring.
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He reiterated several times that he wasn’t bitter about his WWE run, saying he made a good living but was sad he couldn’t do all he could as he never felt like WWE took advantage of his recognizability and size.
“I went from not being able to tell stories to becoming a seven foot enhancement talent,” he said.
Wight recalled a story about wanting to use the Big Show brand to create a online Big Show Burger company with Wolfgang Puck helping out, a venture that would have expanded into food trucks at WrestleMania. He was surprised by the reaction he received when he brought that up, saying WWE wanted seven figures up front, seven figures 18 months later and a large percentage of the profits.
He also went into details about working out a deal with Justin Bieber and his manager Scooter Braun that would have seen the megastar appear in a six-man tag team match at SummerSlam alongside he and John Cena against the Wyatts. However, decision makers told him they didn’t see how Justin Bieber would related to their audience. He said they “jacked’ Braun around for two weeks on money before Braun moved on. Jericho then told a story of how WWE had a chance to bring in Will Ferrell for a WrestleMania moment, but they wouldn’t pay an appearance fee that would have gone to his charity.
He brought up the potential of an angle with Paul “HHH” Levesque based off a staredown they had on the Raw stage that he felt could have played out in the ring, but was told other than knocking Levesque out, there wasn’t any interest in doing it.
He loved his Netflix show experience, but said he didn’t get to negotiate any of the terms as that was handled by WWE and joked that he didn’t even get a parking space on the set. He was forced to park in a visitors’ lot and a golf cart would come get him.
After his contract was free and clear, his first conversation was an in-person meeting with Tony Khan that ran three hours late at night. Afterward, they talked three or four times on the phone for hours at a time before he drove up to Jacksonville on an off week to watch Dynamite and eat dinner with Khan. After 15 minutes, the deal was done and was the easiest negotiation of his career. He told Khan that he wanted to wrestle but also do color commentary as that’s how he sees his career eventually going in, similar to Gorilla Monsoon.
While he never talked to McMahon during his negotiations, the WWE chairman called him when the AEW deal was done — the first time they had spoken in six months. He said McMahon congratulated him and said he would do great for AEW. There’s no animosity or heat between them, but he said he knew things had changed over the last year when McMahon started calling him “Paul” as opposed to “Show.”