Prior to working in the WWE as The Big Show, Paul Wight was a star in WCW as The Giant. The Giant's run in WCW was the main topic of a recent epidode of former WCW president Eric Bischoff's 83 Weeks podcast.
Being that The Giant was such an imposing and powerful, it was easy to make him look like an unstoppable force in the ring. The real challenge was creating a character for him, so Bischoff came up with the idea to have him smoke a cigarette on camera. Bischoff figured that would further enhance his heel persona.
"It wasn't random because Paul smoked like a chimney and that was as much my idea, I don't think that was part of a group discussion. I was trying to get Paul over. I was trying to figure out what to do with Paul to try and give him a unique character other than being 7'4, 400 pounds or whatever he was. To create this character that is so strong, so powerful, but didn't really care because he would beat people so easily that he didn't really have to work at it and was almost loathsome as a result where he was just arrogant and nasty and out of the ordinary just coming to the ring and smoking a cigarette and just crush people," Bischoff said. "That was my attempt to make him dis-likable, good or bad, clearly bad, I don't think it is up for a vote, but that was my reasoning behind it. Nobody else was really doing it. I know you are going to throw The Sandman in my face but I wasn't watching [ECW] back then, so I couldn't get it on Channel 92 at 3 o'clock in the morning. That didn't exist in my world. That was really Paul Wight's personality, but let's just turn the volume up on this and see if we can make him this big stinky, despicable giant. That was my call."
Bischoff also discussed why The Giant was left off the premiere episode of Monday Nitro. He said it simply came down to not having a storyline for him at the time because they gave focus to other superstars.
"I can't tell you why we didn't use Paul on Nitro other than there just wasn't an angle for him at the time, or a story for him at the time, which is my guess, but I don't think it had anything to do--look, we didn't plan far enough ahead with a lot of our underneath stories, and Paul Wight would have been an underneath story at that point," Bischoff said. "We didn't plan 3-4 months out with what I called our 'C' & 'D' stories because when you laid out a match you had a pretty good direction and how you were going to get there with at least 2, 3 of your top stories. Paul was not in those 2 or 3 stories back in 1995, which I think is probably the reason, but it didn't have anything to do with Vader."
If you use any portion of the quotes in this article please credit 83 Weeks with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: 83 Weeks with Eric Bischoff
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.