It was the kind of WrestleMania celebrity showcase match which can be a bit of a mixed bag, but one that a lot of people were looking forward to for April 2 in Orlando. Alas, the Big Show vs. Shaquille O’Neal WWE seemed to set up at the 2016 Showcase of the Immortals never made it onto the card for the ‘17 edition.
In large part (pun semi-intended), the excitement for the bout was because of the personalities involved. Shaq is a basketball legend who’s remained popular thanks to his usually playful trash-talking, and Show is a wrestling legend. News this could be the Giant’s last big ‘Mania angle - or possibly his last match ever on WWE’s biggest show of the year - made it all the more disappointing when it became clear it wasn’t going to happen.
Why didn’t it go down? Show and WWE seemed to be challenging O’Neal by saying he was scared, claims they later walked back a bit before just entering the former WWE champ in the Andre the Giant Battle Royal and moving on from it.
On the most recent edition of The BIG Podcast with Shaq, O’Neal offered his side of the story. Not surprisingly, he puts the blame on WWE:
Because they kept playing. First, they said it was me and Big Show. Then, they said it was going to be 3 and 3. Then, they cancelled it so when they cancelled it, I made other arrangements. And then they tried to call back and tried to get it done, and I just said, “I’m not going to do it”. They messed it up.
It wasn’t over negotiations about booking, either. When his co-host Jon Kinkade posited the issue might have been who was scripted to win the match, Shaq - along with an assist from comic Craig Gass - laughed it off:
O’Neal: So you’re saying I didn’t want to lose? It’s for the kids, John. I would have lost for the kids. For the kids.
Kinkade: You are competitive.
Gass: The man did Kazaam for God’s sake.
O’Neal: Exactly, yes. I would have lost.
There you have it. Even the star of Kazaam doesn’t like it when you play too much, WWE.
Check out the whole episode on Podcast One here.