My favorite wrestler of all time, Bret “Hitman” Hart ,often claimed to be “The best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be.”
The NWO would remark, “Whether you like it or you don’t, we're the best thing going today.”
When Chris Jericho says “I am best in the world at what I do,” he means it, and in my opinion, he backs it up.
But there's one sound that immediately reminds you of the man that many consider better than the rest.
After 37 years, 38 titles, 16 of them World Championships, and a number of matches that fall into the five-figure range, it would be safe to say that Ric Flair has a pretty good idea of what it takes to be successful in wrestling. The Nature Boy has seen stars rise and fall, he’s seen gimmicks and promotions come and go, and his career has eclipsed that of multiple generations of entire wrestling families.
At his induction to the WWE Hall of Fame, Ric Flair went to set the record straight on several of the people that he feels deserve the title of the best. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin is the greatest of all time, not Hulk Hogan. The WWE is the best company he has ever worked for. Ricky Steamboat is the best babyface of all time. Shawn Michaels, Triple H, and Dave Batista are the best friends that he could ask for.
“Big Show…you are the best big man in the business ever!”
While many of the endorsements were met with awe-stricken stares of silent adoration, the one that stood out most in my mind was the tearful mouthing of the words “thank you” out of the seven-foot, four hundred fifty pound Big Show, Paul Wight.
To be the best in wrestling, you don’t just have to train hard, you don’t just have to have great matches, and it’s so much more than selling t-shirts. The best is the guy that a fan can believe in, good or bad. He is a pillar of the locker room. He is the embodiment of professionalism, yet he still enjoys a good rib. Most importantly, he is the man you look forward to seeing your name across from on the booking sheet.
In 37 years, Ric Flair has witnessed the careers of men like Andre the Giant, Bam Bam Bigelow, The One Man Gang, Big Bubba Rogers, Big John Studd, Kevin Nash, King Kong Bundy, Big Van Vader, Yokozuna, Abdullah the Butcher, Gorilla Monsoon, I think you get the point with how long this list can get…
Of all the endorsements given to wrestlers on the active roster (and of one off the roster in Ricky Steamboat) everyone seems to have excelled off of the words of the Nature Boy. Everyone that is, except for the Big Show.
He has tapped out to John Cena. He was counted out in a match with Kofi Kingston. He was even outsmarted by the Miz. Short of filler in three-plus man title matches, the Big Show hasn’t served much of a function.
Sounds to me like someone needs to get their head back in the game.
I believe that WWE needs to decide what route they want to take with the Big Show. As decent as Seth Green was as the guest host last week, his segment with Show was just awkward. Is he a dominating giant? Is he a cheap laugh throwaway?
On the road to Backlash, the Big Show mentioned Flair’s endorsement a few times and seemed to use it as an excuse to get better and push himself harder. Then came an unexpected heel turn and he was once again turned into top-level babyface fodder.
My proposed angle would work to advance the credibility and value of two of the most under-utilized talents on the roster. Both men are large. Both men were part of long term contract signings. Both men have never quite reached their potential since their Attitude-Era signings. In the process, it would create a sense of order and purpose to the athletic competition portion of “sports entertainment”.
Here’s my angle “Big Men, Bigger Payoffs”:
The Big Show enters the ring, microphone in hand. He addresses the crowd with a sarcastic tone.
“Kofi Kingston. Evan Bourne. What do they have in common? Could it be the unwavering support from the WWE Universe? Could it be the exciting highflying moves? Or could it be that both of them are aware of the reawakening of the best big man in the history of this business?
“Bourne, you’re lucky that your neck didn’t break, because rest assured, your well-being was not a concern of mine. Kingston, you can still walk today because you hold something of value that I want.
“You see, things started to go down for the Big Show some time around Wrestlemania 21 when I lost the United States Title after being hit with a chain by then-nobody now-cartoon hero and thorn in my side…John Cena.
“In order to exercise the demons of the past, I am re-tracing my steps to glory. That path leads to the United States Championship. Kofi, I have nothing personal against you, but I dominated you on Superstars, and I will dominate you again.”
There is a lull as the capacity crowd awaits a response from their champion. Instead, the silence is ended by the entrance music of one Mark Henry.
The World’s Strongest Man stares down the World’s Largest Athlete. Then, a challenge.
“Show, you can go on and on with this whole diatribe, but let’s just say that a lot has changed since Ric Flair proclaimed you the best big man in the business some sixteen months ago.
“What have you won Show? Who have you beat that didn’t turn back around and beat you even worse? You’ve been so distracted with John Cena, and Edge, and Vicki Guerrero, and everything but being what you claim to be and that’s ‘The Best Big Man in the Business’. You are a far cry from that at this point.
“Since I’ve been here on Raw, you’ve been counted out, you’ve been beat down with a chair by the Miz of all people…oh I forgot, you beat a man a third your size. Or…did he beat himself and you just were able to capitalize? The best big man in the business? You’re not even the best big man in this ring.
“Since coming to Raw, I’ve got a new lease on life. I looked the WWE Champion in the face and told him I wanted to make a statement. I am working hard to be the best and these fans see that. These fans see that I come to the ring and dominate better than any man on this roster.
“Finally, after almost a decade and a half of being caught up in the touring, the autograph signings, the t-shirts, the fireworks, the World’s Strongest Man is concentrating on being the World’s Strongest Man and these people have affirmed me in that with every cheer they give.
“Now earlier today, I went on the WWE.com Power Rankings and I saw that you’re nowhere near Kofi Kingston. But I also see that Mark Henry is on the rise. And the next man he has to get through to get closer to the top is none other than The Big Show.
“I like to earn what I want, and what I want is a W over you. So next week, here on Raw, in this very ring, it’s gonna be The Big Show one on one with the World’s Strongest Man…Mark Henry. And Show, you best watch yourself, because somebody gon’ get they ass kicked…”
The match would set up a chance for Mark Henry to advance to the higher place on the card creative is trying to push him to, and a loss to the Big Show gives him a purpose and a drive to get better. Now obsessed with what has happened in the past and where things go wrong, he obsessively trains and starts at the bottom of the WWE.com Top 25 Power Rankings, and wrestles all the way to the top over a course of potentially three months.
After one PPV cycle, the next superstar on the list (say perhaps the loud mouthed Miz) becomes aware that the Big Show is after him and attempts to attack the Big Show at every turn in order to get the edge at the PPV.
Not only does a match become one of rank, but carries a grudge as well. And if the opponent is a smaller man, if he has a good, solid match with the Big Show, win or lose, he too will be bettered by going toe to toe with the World’s Largest Athlete.
Now, I know that WWE doesn’t take unsolicited material, but Vince, if you want to get a hold of me, my email is email@example.com
If any of you have any wrestlers or booking situations you’d like my take on, feel free to email me as well. Also remember to check out all the great new editorials coming from all of the new writers here at Wrestlezone. See you all next week.