JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Big Show is coming to Florida.
All Elite Wrestling announced that longtime professional wrestler Paul Wight, known as “Big Show,” has left World Wrestling Entertainment to join the Jacksonville, Florida-based promotion.
Tony Khan, AEW’s president and CEO, made the announcement Wednesday, WJAX reported. Khan is the son of Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan.
Wight, 49, a 7-footer who has been compared to the legendary Andre the Giant, made his last appearance with WWE on Jan. 4, 2021, when he was part of a Legends Night Episode of “Raw,” according to SB Nation.
According to the “World Wrestling Entertainment Encyclopedia,” Wight began wrestling for the World Championship Wrestling promotion in 1995. He won the WCW heavyweight championship twice before moving to WWE in 1999. Wight also won the WWE heavyweight title, and later worked in the WWE’s Extreme Championship Wrestling promotion. In 2006, Wight became the only wrestler to hold the WCW, WWE and ECW titles.
“It’s been amazing to watch what AEW has built in just a couple of years,” Wight said in a statement. “AEW Dark is an incredible platform to hone the skills of up-and-coming wrestlers, but I also love that established AEW talent can build out their personalities and showcase themselves in new ways on Dark. It’s no exaggeration when they say that AEW is boundless.”
Other wrestlers who have left WWE for AEW include Jon Moxley (known as Dean Ambrose in WWE), Brodie Lee (Luke Harper), Shawn Spears (Tye Dillinger), Dax Harwood (Scott Dawson) and Cash Wheeler (Dash Wilder), according to Bleacher Report.
The AEW also includes former WWE stars Pac, Dustin Rhodes, Brandi Rhodes, Cody, Billy Gunn, Chris Jericho, Trent, Jake Hager and Lance Archer, according to Bleacher Report. Former wrestlers Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard, part of the “Four Horseman” group that starred in the Atlanta-based WCW promotion founded by Ted Turner during the 1980s, are also involved in AEW.
“Paul Wight is one of the most recognizable and impressive professional athletes in the world,” Tony Khan said in a statement. “He wanted to come to AEW because he believes that we’re the best promotion in wrestling, and we believe that he has a lot to offer us, both in the ring as a wrestler and also outside the ring as a commentator, host and ambassador for AEW.”
Jacksonville has a long history of professional wrestling, particularly under the umbrella of the National Wrestling Alliance. Former pro wrestler Don Curtis staged many matches in the Civic Auditorium in Jacksonville as part of the NWA’s Florida-based promotion, Championship Wrestling from Florida.
The AEW will promote matches during a live episode of “AEW Dynamite” on March 3, WJAX reported. Shaquille O’Neal, a 14-time NBA all-star who was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball of Fame in 2016, will face Cody Rhodes at Daily’s Place, an amphitheater in downtown Jacksonville, the television station reported.
The event will have 15% capacity and fans can purchase tickets at AEWTIX.com starting at $20.