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The Big Show a smaller man
By KURT NIELSEN and KENAI ANDREWS - SLAM! Wrestling


The Big Show strikes a pose at the WrestleMania 24 press conference on February 25, 2008, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Photo by Kurt Nielsen

LOS ANGELES -- In person, The Big Show is, well, BIG. Yet he isn't the man that he once was, and that's a good thing. He's lost 100 pounds since he last graced the big stage.

In fact, it's fair to say that The Big Show -- Paul Wight to his friends and family -- is in the best shape he has been in since first entering WWE a decade ago

At the WrestleMania 24 press conference at Los Angeles' Staples Center on Monday, he told SLAM! Wrestling just how this amazing physical transformation took place.

"I lost 100 pounds. I boxed. I got a nutritionist, a guy by the name of Artie Artwell out of Phantom Boxing in Miami. Hulk Hogan hooked me up with him," Big Show said. "I was trying to get in shape, lose weight. I was very unhealthy, very sick."

So addition to being able to credit Hulk Hogan (Terry Bollea) for the early monster push in WCW -- literally, as it was Hogan who "pushed" The Giant off the roof of the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit in 1995 -- Wight can also give props to Hogan for his life change.

"Everybody knows Terry and I have been good friends for a long time. Terry hooked me up with Artie," he said. "Artie started working me. Heís an older trainer -- a black guy from Philadelphia. Fast with his hands, and a good motivational guy, too. Heís into Tony Robbins, and a lot of stuff like that, just really positive motivation that got me very positive. Artie turned my life around."

Artwell and Wight started working out in March 2007. On Tuesday, via telephone from Miami, Artwell recalled the challenge of whipping Wight into shape. "He was about 530 pounds when he came in and almost seven feet tall, so that was very imposing and our first line of attack was to try to get him to you know to, drop some weight, and we accomplished that by doing some high intensity interval workouts in addition to a high protein low glycemic diet," recalled Artwell.

The weight came off Wight quickly, Artwell said. "Not the standard a pound or two a week that most personal trainers say that you need to lose. That would probably have been discouraging for him, and then after that we got him fundamentally sound into teaching him how to box."

Another lifestyle change has helped as well: Wight gave up smoking. "My last cigarette was January 10th of í07. Last one, and I havenít had one since," Wight swore.

Artwell is proud of the changes Wight made. "Yeah he quit smoking; he changed his whole lifestyle around. As a matter of fact he said to me on several occasions, he said, 'The best thing to come out of this was I met you and you actually helped me to save my life. You saved my life.' -- his words exactly to me."

The Big Show has battled with the bulge in the past.

"I tried to lose weight before, but nothing ever sticks," he confessed. "It was the conscious decision when I started to box. It was one box to win the fight. One punch to knock you out, one punch could kill you. So I said, 'I need to get serious here.' If I want to do this boxing thing, I need to get serious, first of all with my physical self."

And box he will, at WrestleMania 24, facing off with Floyd Mayweather Jr., who broke Show's nose and gave him black eyes during the start of their angle at the No Way Out pay-per-view.

EDITOR'S NOTE: We'll have more from Artie Artwell on the challenges of training The Big Show to box in an upcoming story.

RELATED LINKS

  • More on WrestleMania 24
  • The Big Show bio and story archive

    Kurt Nielsen is a Los Angeles based artist, and has battled the bulge on occasion as well, but found that overalls usually covered things up well. But they probably don't make overalls in The Big Show's size. ... Kenai Andrews is Toronto-based writer and a fan of the sweet science of boxing.