When Paul Wight announced that he was leaving the BS – aka Big Show – behind in WWE for AEW, it left more than a few fans wondering what the promotion had planned for the supersized Kayfabe son of Andre The Giant.
Would Wight continue his wrestling career, working matches against multiple jobbers on the regular, or would he transition into a backstage role, whether that's as an announcer, as a producer, or as a pundit?
Well, as it turns out, Wight did a little bit of everything in AEW, though the role he was initially hired to fill, commentary, has been thrown up in the air a bit as AEW Dark and Dark Elevation, the Youtube shows where he would work most often, have been discontinued in favor of AEW Collision Saturday nights on TNT.
Discussing what it's like to transition from the ring to the booth on Busted Open Radio, Wight admitted it's been fun, before putting over none other than Michael Cole as the man he thought would serve as his mentor.
“Absolutely, yeah. It’s really funny how things transitioned. For years, I talked to Michael Cole about announcing. I talked to Kevin Dunne, I talked to Michael Cole. I would pick Michael Cole’s brain a lot. I always respected Michael Cole so much, just some of the little things he would tell me, the way he talked about my character when I was competing, just some of the stuff he did,” Paul Wight said via Fightful.
“So I always thought that that’s who I was going to cut my teeth under, so to speak, in announcing, was Michael Cole. That opportunity didn’t present itself. Now the opportunity to do commentary presented itself here in AEW. I’m working with Tony Schiavone, I’m working JR, I’m working with Taz, Excalibur. I’ve got so many great, experienced announcers that are giving me my own little thing. Is it a play-by-play thing? Is it more of a gorilla monsoon thing? I think what kind of works for me is, I’ve tried to roll into that. Just when I started to get my rhythm, but that’s business. I’m not mad about it. I know that I can take the time that I took on Elevation and process, and the next time an opportunity presents itself, I’ll be ready to go.”
After beginning his career as one of the most hated commentators in the WWE Universe for no other reason than not being Jim Ross, Cole has seen a pretty significant change in public opinion under Paul “Triple H” Levesque, with fans coming to accept him as the modern voice of WWE. If Paul Wight wanted someone to teach him the ropes, Cole would have been one of the very best.
Jim Ross complements former WWE standout Al Snow's job in OVW.
Speaking of Jim Ross, the long-time WWE commentator-turn-AEW commentator discussed another standout from the Attitude Era, Al Snow, who now runs OVW and has been profiled on the new Netflix show Wrestlers.
While JR hasn't seen the show just yet, he's proud of Snow and everything he's accomplished.
“I have not, but I’ve heard really good things about it. I plan on watching it. I’m not a huge Netflix guy, a lot of that is because of my technical deficiencies, but I have not seen it,” Jim Ross said via Fightful. “I plan on watching it. People I have respect for in the wrestling business have watched it, watched every episode, and have been very complimentary and positive regarding the project. I’m happy for Al Snow, and his team there in OVW, and it’s something I want to watch, it’s something I’m going to watch, I’m proud of what Al has done there, little to no budget. He’s funding it and I’m proud of him for that. Al’s a smart guy, he’s got a good head for business. He’s got all that experience over the years, created a h*ll of character and the head, and all of that good stuff. I do plan on watching it because I’ve heard great things about it.”
Once upon a time, OVW was the place to train as a professional wrestler, with everyone from John Cena to Brock Lesnar learning the ropes in the WWE developmental territory before things were consolidated in Florida Championship Wrestling and eventually NXT. While the 2023 iteration of the promotion largely lives off of that pedigree without the same built-in opportunities for advancement, getting to watch young wrestlers learn the ropes and try to “make it” will certainly be appreciated by fans and industry veterans like JR alike.