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Ending the War on Big Show by Howie Mandella

This column was supposed to be called “Ending the War on Big Show and Kane.” However, given the recent events of Night of Champions and last night’s RAW I think Kane’s perception is perfect right now. The groaning has ended for the Big Red Machine (for the most part), and it looks as if everyone’s favorite monster is…well everyone’s favorite monster again. Therefore, this column will be solely focused on The Big Show. Perhaps, that’s for good reason considering he gets more undeserved disrespect from the fanbase than John Cena does.

Yeah that’s right I said it. End this war on the Big Show, because I don’t think he’s going anywhere anytime soon.

Let’s be clear here that this issue extends far beneath the surface of what his role on television has been. Not only is someone like Show needed for the programming, but he’s also needed in the back to help groom the next crop of superstars. I’m perfectly ok with both. Take a look at the WWE’s main roster. How many veterans are in the locker room that are on the road with everyone else, making a conscious effort to show the future stars how to make it through the machine? A lot of the roster members with the most experience are either part-timers or they still have a few more hot runs in them.

Guys like John Cena and Randy Orton, who is beginning to lighten his schedule, fall in latter. Kane and Jericho help anyway they can, but even they fall in the former and aren’t traveling around with the talent as much as The Big Show. Even with the likes of Undertaker and Sting, The Giant is handling the real passing of the torch to the next generation. The only other guy I can think of that also fills this role is Mark Henry. However, I think we all take Show a little more seriously because he hasn’t flip flopped as bad as Henry has in the past couple of years.

I like to consider Big Show the “Ultimate Utility”, because he can fit in anywhere he’s needed, ride off into the sunset when he isn’t and come right back to fill any voids in the current booking. When Brock Lesnar needed someone big to destroy before he faced Taker at Wrestlemania 30, Big Show was there for the job. When foundation had to be laid for the huge Ziggler/Sting moment from last year’s Survivor Series, who was there to plant the seed? Big Show was when he turned on Team Cena. You can downplay that moment, but Sting’s WWE arrival and Ziggler’s big win wouldn’t have felt as special without Big Show playing the role of a McGuffin.

Or even when Roman Reigns was struggling to get fans behind him after his telegraphed push to main event status, who was there to take the heat off? For as overdone as Reigns/Show was, there was virtually no one on the roster who could get the crowd behind Roman like Big Show. Big Show took Reigns out of the main event and imposed the very same sentiment that the Internet had been for the new poster boy since the Royal Rumble: he wasn’t ready to go to that next level. From there the promos began about how Big Show wasn’t going to retire until someone retires him.That’s an excellent story that I believe will culminate Big Show’s send off from active competition.

Make no mistake about it people, the day Big Show hangs up the boots for good will be a game-changing day in our industry. He’s among the small exclusive class of Attitude Era superstars who are still consistently working in the industry today. Imagine the guys that Big Show has watched come and go. Think about all the flavor of the month flash-in-a-pans that he lent a hand to help get over only to watch them fade into obscurity. I assure you that with his longevity and proven loyalty, Big Show could be in a much more prominent role at this stage of the game. I’m almost certain that Show could’ve lobbied for more world title runs and major angles over the years, but he decided to pass them along (probably to Cena). It’s something to be said about veteran talents who are more than happy to take a backseat in the name of someone else’s ascent. They understand how to work towards making the business grow, not just their individual stock.

With that said, it means nothing for the younger talent if Big Show is known to the fans as someone who never wins. The stigma around Show’s giant aura can’t be left for the history books. WWE has a solid big man who can flick the switch from threat to enhancement when need be without it being disruptive to the booking overall. Do I like seeing Cesaro lose clean to Big Show two matches in a row? No, but I know two things. One, if Big Show’s headed to Madison Square Garden to face Brock Lesnar in a couple of weeks he needs to be going over legitimate faces that fans care about. It would be eye-roll worthy for Show to cut the promo he did last night on RAW after squashing someone like Fandango. Two, you hate The Big Show and he knows it. He knows exactly what it is most fans can’t stand about him and continues to do it week after week. It’s one of the only true heel acts we have left in the wrestling business today.

WWE acknowledges the mistakes they’ve made with The Big Show, hell even Show himself has. But when you’re growing with a company that has gone from TV-14 to PG, private to public and national to global on your watch, you can expect to go through a fair share of changes. Some of those changes may not be so great in hindsight, but you can’t rewrite history. That’s just a part of life to roll with the punches, adapt to your environment and sustain. No one in WWE has done that better than Big Show, arguably.

When you have a workhorse who stays healthy, stays out of scandal, is willing to put over talent and knows how to generate heat in this era, you not only keep Big Show around, but you cherish him.

Any thoughts on Big Show? Let me know on Twitter at @NaturalHowie or comment below.

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