Judge Ike Oden is the world's laziest athlete.
It's a big, big show tonight.
There are only so many jobs for a giant. Paul Wight stumbled into that of pro wrestling, and the sport is all the better for it. The Big Show: A Giant's World documents the wrestler's life and career, tackling every subject from his bout with acromegaly (the cause of his gigantic growth) to his rise through the ranks of WCW, WWF, WWE and ECW.
A Giant's World lives up to the legacy of the WWE's documentary series. It clocks in at a scant hour in length, but covers a lot of ground in the process, exploring the multiple dimensions of Paul "Big Show" Wight. The wrestler's childhood and family life are especially interesting given that Wight and his family were ignorant to his affliction (Wight thought of it more as a blessing) until his freshmen year of college. Following the correctional surgery that, while saving his life, took away much of his athletic stamina.
The documentary gets really interesting when it explains how Wight was plucked from obscurity as a used car salesman by Hulk Hogan himself and signed to a contract with the WCW. Interspersed with the story of his wrestling career are testimonials from Wight's friends, family, and fellow wrestlers (including Triple H and John Cena).
While the documentary always works, it does gloss over a few details about the Big Show's career, which may in turn irk fans. His WCW stuff is never really explored to its fullest depths, the politics of the business are barely touched upon, and many of the wrestlers Wight claimed to be his greatest mentors—such as The Undertaker—aren't on hand to offer their opinions. A lot of cross-promoting Wight's WWE film vehicle Knucklehead doesn't help matters much. These flaws are pretty minor given the quality of the feature's content, but hold it back from being anything more than your typical, slightly shallow WWE documentary. A copious amount of deleted material accompanying the film A Giant's World addresses some of these criticisms, but not as many as I'd like.
Where the package really shines is in the bonus discs, which features six hours of the Big Show's most important matches.
The matches start in the WCW era. While I have some fond memories of the show, this footage shows off Wight at his weakest as a wrestler—lumbering, chopping, and choke slamming slow and sloppy. In fact, it reminds me of how weak-sauce a promotion WCW was. None of it ever gets into Wight's involvement with the nWo, which is disappointing, and the matches are almost completely out of context, weakening whatever drama could potentially elevate the matches. The most interesting match of all these is the first, against "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan. It begins with a monster truck sumo match, has the giant fall off a roof into a river only to re-emerge and take Hogan's title belt. It is utterly ridiculous, even for pro-wrestling, and almost redeems the WCW stuff in its retro-active suckiness.
The rest of the matches on the set have their ups and downs, but mostly ups. The Big Show entered the WWF during the Attitude era, meaning we're treated to matches featuring the likes of Stone Cold, Undertaker, Mankind, The Rock, Mr. McMahon, etc. This roster of superstars all push Show's abilities and we see him grow as a performer with almost every match. Sure, there are a couple of dead weight choices, but on the whole, these offer some damn good wrestling. A far cry from the WCW stuff, anyway.
From there, we move into the ECW revival era, which cemented Show as a formidable heel and pushed his performance even further. Some of his matches here are a little awkward. Given his size and lack of speed, The Big Show has a tough time keeping up with hardcore performers like Rob Van Damme. The matches are a little more inconsistent than the Attitude Era material, but Show varies his game enough to make each match a bit more unpredictable.
The set rounds out with his post-ECW return to the WWE. Here, Show experiments less with his wrestling than with his persona, going from face to heel to clown to heel back to face, and finally landing somewhere in between all of these personalities. We have his parody of Hulk Hogan ("The Showster"), his classic WrestleMania battle with boxer Floyd Mayweather (who breaks his nose in a preceding altercation), and matches against Rey Mysterio, Jr., D-Generation, Batista, and many other prominent performers of the modern age. These matches range from decent to great, with the exception of a few stilted tag team matches I could do without.
These closing matches bring a fully realized view of Big Show, a wrestler that's as a likeable as he is powerful. Also, the guy broke a ring. What's not to like about a guy so big he can break a ring? This is a great DVD that does him justice.
Not guilty choke slam!
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• Bonus Matches
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