Wight goes to court
By JOHN POWELL -- SLAM! Wrestling
Paul Wight faces an assault charge.
WWF mat star Paul Wight - formerly known as The Giant in World Championship Wrestling - had to defend himself yesterday. Not in the ring as most fans are used to seeing him but in a Long Island, New York, court room against charges of assault. According to a WB11 News report, the charges stem from an incident which occurred last summer at the Marriot Hotel in Uniondale.
The plaintiff, Robert Sawyer, alleges that Wight broke his jaw during a
heated dispute in the Marriot Hotel's lobby. Testifying at the first day of
the judge-only trial, Sawyer said that after a house show at the
neighboring Coliseum, he and other fans followed a group of wrestlers back
to the hotel located across the street. Questioned by prosecutor Michael
Garren, Sawyer (who is 6'6 compared to Wight's 7'2) admitted that he had
been drinking at the house show and at the hotel before approaching Wight.
The entire incident was caught on the hotel's security camera. The tape
shows Sawyer talking to Wight at the front desk of the hotel. According to Wight, Sawyer
was bad-mouthing him. In the footage, Wight listens briefly then turns his
back to Sawyer. Sawyer walks out into the crowd filling the lobby. Wight
follows him a short time later. Wight says he went out into the crowd to
calm Sawyer down because he was yelling and causing a commotion. The two
men confront each other. Wight claims Sawyer threatened him. Wight punches Sawyer and he falls to the floor.
Defence attorney Brian Davis claims Sawyer instigated the attack.
"This guy (Sawyer) doesn't back off. He's within a foot and he's shouting
at him (Wight), you know, 'Why don't you take on a man like me?' and we
have a witness to that effect. He (Sawyer) pushes him (Wight) and goes
after him," Davis told WB11 News.
Wight told reporters outside the courtroom that fans should leave the
make-believe world of pro-wrestling where it belongs...on television or in
"Oh, yeah. I'm a bad guy. You know, at least my mom loves me," joked Wight
in an interview with WB11 News reporter Frank Ucciardo.
The trial concludes today with the defence calling their witnesses.
Wight, a former WCW World Heavyweight and Tag Team Champion, recently joined the World Wrestling Federation as a member of Vince McMahon's "Corporate Team". Wight is to be the guest ref during the WrestleMania 15 main event of Steve Austin versus The Rock on March 28th.