Wrestlers Who Were Able To Body Slam The Big Show
A near 30-year career in wrestling has seen The Big Show, also known as The Giant in WCW and his real name of Paul Wight in AEW, successfully step out of the shadow of Andre the Giant. Big Show and Andre will forever be linked as pro wrestling "giants" in the sports entertainment era, and wrestling fans became originally acquainted with the former as the storyline son of the latter in WCW. Like his predecessor, Big Show suffers from a condition known as acromegaly. Unlike Andre, however, The Big Show underwent surgery on his pituitary gland in the early ’90s to treat the condition, stopping his excessive growth. As a result, the 50-year-old Big Show is able to live a routine life while being excessively larger than his acquaintances.
Much like Andre, The Big Show has cultivated a reputation as one to give back to the industry that made him a star. The best way he knows how to do this is by giving shine to the stars of tomorrow and like Andre, The Big Show developed into a sound wrestler. Because of his size, it continues to be a major happening any time a wrestler is able to hoist the seven-footer up for a body slam. With Big Show’s athleticism, legitimately strong superstars are able to make lifting a man who once weighed more than 500 pounds look easy.
Here are 19 wrestlers who have been able to successfully body slam The Big Show.
Given the fanfare surrounding his WrestleMania III match with Andre the Giant, it made sense for "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan to be the first man to body slam The Big Show, known as The Giant at the time. The Hulkster’s body slam of Andre is one of the most recognizable moments in WWE history.
The first instance of Hogan slamming The Giant came at WCW’s "Halloween Havoc" in 1995, which coincidentally happened to be The Giant’s in-ring debut. A member of Kevin Sullivan’s Dungeon of Doom stable, The Giant immediately challenged for the WCW World Championship against a babyface Hogan, approximately nine months before the formation of the New World Order. The Giant dominated the majority of the match before Hogan connected on his patented big boot. Following an eye rake to a still-standing Giant, The Hulkster motioned for the body slam, looking to replicate the climax of his match at WrestleMania III. He then proceeded to hit the slam with greater ease than he did in 1987.
Similar to Hulk Hogan, Lex Luger was no stranger to body-slamming abnormally large men as a means of getting over before he slammed The Giant. Luger may have peaked in the WWF when he slammed the 500-pound Yokozuna aboard the U.S.S. Intrepid on July 4, 1993. Despite a massive push that led to one of two WrestleMania main events involving Yokozuna in 1994, the fans ultimately chose Bret Hart over Luger, paving the way for a Luger return to WCW in 1995, just in time for the NWO angle that commenced the following year.
Prior to the NWO angle kicking off in 1996, Luger found himself in a feud with The Giant over the WCW Championship that culminated at Starrcade in 1996. By this time, The Giant aligned himself with the NWO, adding a new element to the feud with Luger chief among the WCW crusaders. After The Giant handled most of the early offense, Luger made his comeback. He first knocked The Giant off his feet with a neckbreaker before hoisting him for the body slam, which play-by-play announcer Tony Schiavone effectively sold on commentary despite Luger not being the first to accomplish the feat. Luger ultimately won the match with the aid of a baseball bat after a cavalcade of interference from both Sting and the NWO.
Sting, a wrestler who came into his own during WCW’s final years, is one of a handful of wrestlers to have body slammed The Giant on multiple occasions. "The Stinger" actually attempted to slam his giant opponent in their first meeting at WCW Slamboree in 1996, but crumbled beneath The Giant’s weight. When the two faced off again in 1998, things changed drastically with both men on opposite sides of the stable war that defined WCW programming in 1998: NWO Black and White vs. NWO Wolfpac. While The Giant rejoined the Black and White stable after being fired from the group in 1996, Sting made his allegiance known by joining his friends in the Wolfpac.
Sting and The Giant had two singles matches during this feud, both of which saw Sting body slam the big man en route to the victory. The first instance took place in the main event of The Great American Bash in June 1998. The winner of the match would be granted sole possession of the WCW Tag Team Championships the duo won before falling in with their respective factions. The second instance happened on an episode of "Thunder," three days out from Halloween Havoc that October. Sting set up both slams with a Stinger Splash in the corner and used The Giant’s momentum against him to drop him on his back in two of the most impressive feats of strength in "The Icon’s" career.
Bill Goldberg and The Giant were frequent opponents throughout 1998, particularly when it came to dark matches and house shows. While they met one-on-one three times on WCW television (all of which occurred on "Monday Nitro,") they wrestled one another on at least 20 other occasions. As a result, the precise amount of times Goldberg slammed The Giant is unknown, much like the number of wins Goldberg totaled in his WCW winning streak. Unlike most others, Goldberg had a variety of ways to get the big man off his feet, namely with his heavy strikes and patented spear, one of the most devastating versions of the move in wrestling history. He even hit The Giant with his finishing move, The Jackhammer, in their final televised singles match against one another in November 1998.
Goldberg’s body slam of The Giant occurred during their second meeting on "Nitro" in October 1998. Like many who have slammed The Giant, Goldberg required the additional momentum, sending the larger man into the ropes with a turning side kick. When he rebounded back to him, Goldberg lifted The Giant above his head at a high angle and redirected him to the mat with a degree of authority seldom seen before or since.
Kevin Nash faced off with The Giant in a one-on-one capacity three times in WCW from 1998 on. Nash, a former stablemate of The Giant’s, stood out as a giant in his own right at 6’10, though the future Big Show still weighed roughly 100 pounds more even at Nash’s heaviest weight. The match when Nash body slammed The Giant, which also happened to be The Giant’s last as a member of the WCW roster, is often overshadowed by the giant tandem’s meeting at Souled Out in 1998. While Nash would have to wait until 1999 to finally body slam The Giant, he managed to win the match with a botched Jackknife Powerbomb. Nash lost control of The Giant on his way up, causing the big man to land squarely on his neck as "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan shouted "I taught him that move, yes I did," from ringside.
The third and final match between the two occurred on an episode of "Monday Nitro" in January 1999. Unlike the Jackknife-gone-wrong, Nash managed to slam The Giant with what appeared to relative ease. "Big Sexy" did experience some visible recoil after connecting on the move, though it proved to be an impressive display of strength, nonetheless. The Tony Schiavone-led commentary team did not sell the maneuver to the same extent they did for others, but it is key to remember The Giant had already been slammed by five other men by the time Nash accomplished the feat.
Kane, a man who went on to hold tag team gold alongside The Big Show, is also the first known wrestler to body slam The Big Show in the WWE. Kane, who was billed at seven feet tall during his 20-plus year run in the WWE, was one of a small handful of wrestlers who could measure up to the size and physicality of The Big Show. As a result, "The Big Red Machine" left a strong impression with incredible feats of strength at the former WCW giant’s expense virtually every time the two big men shared a ring.
Kane’s first recorded body slam of The Big Show came at the British pay-per-view, "Rebellion" in 1999, less than eight months after the former WCW star’s debut in the company. Kane went on to body slam The Big Show at least twice more at the Royal Rumble matches in both 2000 and 2002. As X-Pac (his tag team partner at the time) looked on, Kane body slammed The Big Show in the middle of the ring in the 2000 version of the match to a massive reaction from the fans at Madison Square Garden. However, he managed to body slam Big Show over the top rope and out of the ring at the 2002 Rumble, which garnered perhaps an even larger reaction from the crowd.
The second man to body slam The Big Show during his initial run in WWE went on to become a massive star in wrestling, but at the time was known as one of the company’s top prospects in Ohio Valley Wrestling. Leviathan, better known to wrestling fans as Batista, had the opportunity to wrestle a special one-off match against The Big Show at Night of the Demon in 2000, a show co-promoted with the NWA. Leviathan, a powerhouse in the mold of a Bill Goldberg or Ultimate Warrior, seized the moment against his main roster opponent, ultimately winning the match thanks to a timely body slam.
Interference from Leviathan’s stable, the Disciples of Synn, helped set up a spear from the monster that brought The Big Show off his feet. From there, Leviathan managed to successfully get The Big Show up before planting him spine-first onto a steel chair and finishing the match with a jumping elbow drop. The Big Show squared off with Batista several times more on the main roster in the years to come, but his first meeting with the future "Animal" is perhaps the most significant. By body slamming The Big Show, Leviathan joined an exclusive club that included just six wrestlers at the time, all bigger stars than him to that point.
Brock Lesnar’s once-in-a-generation blend of power, speed, and technique made him an obvious candidate to body slam The Big Show when the time came. As it turned out, Lesnar went on to have several high-point moments that involved feats of strength at The Big Show’s expense. Lesnar hit "The World’s Largest Athlete" with his finishing move, the F-5, with moderate regularity despite it involving him lifting his opponent into the fireman’s carry position. Additionally, Lesnar’s ring-collapsing superplex to The Big Show on an episode of "SmackDown" in 2003 stands the test of time as one of the greatest moments in the history of the show.
Roughly one year into Lesnar’s initial stint on the WWE main roster, he faced off with The Big Show in a stretcher match at Judgment Day in 2003, the match where he joined the exclusive list of men to body slam the near-500 pounder. The predictably physical affair eventually spilled over to the entrance ramp. In an effort to inflict punishment on his larger adversary, Lesnar successfully body slammed The Big Show onto the orange stretcher and later went on to win the match, albeit in unorthodox fashion. While perhaps not the cleanest example of a Big Show body slam, Lesnar executed the maneuver without the benefit of an Irish whip off the ropes, making it all the more impressive.
John Cena became the third member of the absolutely stacked OVW Class of 2002 to body slam The Big Show when he hit him with his finishing move, then known as the F-U, for the first time at WrestleMania XX at Madison Square Garden. The move, which today is known as the Attitude Adjustment, is essentially a body slam performed from the fireman’s carry position. Like many before him, Cena needed the momentum of the big man ricocheting off the ropes but managed to convert the move with relative ease to cap off a star-making WrestleMania performance.
Cena executed his finishing move on The Big Show several more times in the years that followed. However, he has also hit "The World’s Largest Athlete" with a more traditional-looking body slam. Footage online exists of Cena executing the move at a "WWE Raw" house show in what appears to be 2012. The captured footage depicts Cena wrestling The Big Show, Lord Tensai, and John Laurinaitis in a three-on-one handicap match, with Cagematch reporting the match to have occurred on at least eight different occasions that year. As for the slam, the footage shows Cena executing with relative ease, but given the move’s close proximity to the A-A, it makes sense as to why Cena did not use it more in televised matches.
While he may not be a "Class of 2002" member like the three wrestlers to body slam The Big Show before him, Bobby Lashley is nonetheless another successful product of the OVW system. Lashley has been as solid as ever between the ropes deep into his 40s, but initially found his footing with fans thanks in large part to his feud with The Big Show over the ECW Championship. While the lone WWE ECW pay-per-view, December to Dismember, went down as one of the worst wrestling pay-per-views of all time, it did manage to serve as a vehicle for Lashley to become ECW champion, setting up a program with The Big Show.
Two days after the abomination of a pay-per-view in December 2006, Big Show had a rematch against Lashley with championship gold up for grabs. Big Show’s immense size, particularly at the time, enabled Lashley to put his immense strength on full display in a manner unique to him. Twice previously in the match, Lashley attempted to deadlift The Big Show. The first time saw the giant collapse on top of him, while the second time saw Lashley drop his opponent to visible disappointment. However, the third time proved to be the charm as Lashley successfully body-slammed the big man, pancaking him to the mat below for the three-count without any momentum assist.
It should come as a surprise to no one that Mark Henry is one of a few wrestlers to body slam The Big Show multiple times throughout his career. With monikers such as "The World’s Strongest Man" and "The World’s Largest Athlete" the real-life friends made for a natural foil for one another throughout their time in WWE. One such match took on the identity of a "Body Slam Challenge," harkening back to the days of Big John Studd.
The match occurred on the Bob Barker-hosted episode of "Monday Night Raw" in 2009. In a Body Slam Challenge, one wrestler simply has to body slam the other to be declared the winner. Henry went on to win the match emphatically, slowly elevating The Big Show above his shoulders before planting him on the mat in one of the strongest-looking slams of The Big Show of all time. Henry went on to slam The Big Show on three more occasions, one of which occurred in the 2010 Royal Rumble match.
It seemed like only a matter of time before Triple H joined the club of wrestlers to body slam The Big Show, though his slam of the giant came long after he established himself as a main eventer. Triple H’s slam also flew under the radar because it occurred during a house show and only surfaced online in 2022. Judging by the footage, which features blue ropes around the ring, it can be assumed the slam took place during Triple H’s tenure on "Smackdown" between 2008 and 2009. According to Cagematch, Triple H defended the WWE Championship against The Big Show more than 10 times on house shows during that span.
While he struggled with injuries at different points in his career, Triple H appeared to be in peak physical condition during his WWE Championship run on the blue brand. As a result, there may not have been a better time for him to hoist The Big Show up for a body slam. "The Game" executed the slam with authority, hardly needing any additional momentum to complete the maneuver. The rebound-off-the-ropes method seemingly became less prevalent over The Big Show’s years in WWE, perhaps pointing to his development as an in-ring talent.
There is perhaps no greater evidence of what WWE officials thought of Ezekiel Jackson’s potential in the company than his trio of Big Show body slams in 2011. Jackson debuted in WWE as a bodyguard for The Brian Kendrick. Following Kendrick’s 2009 release, he transitioned into a run as the final ECW champion before joining The Corre, a new "SmackDown" group derivative of The Nexus faction. While The Corre never reached the height of The Nexus, Jackson fit nicely into the group as the power player and parlayed his status into two televised body slams of The Big Show, putting him in rarified air.
One of the slams occurred outside a match the night Jackson joined The Corre. While the group’s other three members struggled to subdue The Big Show, Jackson intervened, planted The Big Show on his back, and became an official member of the stable. Later in 2011, Jackson body slammed The Big Show in a one-on-one match as Kane, Big Show’s tag team partner, looked on from ringside. He also executed the slam at Extreme Rules in 2011 when The Corre took on Kane and The Big Show in a lumberjack match for the tag team gold.
"The Celtic Warrior" Sheamus is unique in that he has a number of ways to get The Big Show off his feet, much like Goldberg and The Undertaker, a wrestler who surprisingly never body slammed "The World’s Largest Athlete." His Brogue Kick has long made for a logical way to get larger wrestlers off their feet, but at 6’3 and 267 pounds, Sheamus is no small man himself. While he has also hit The Big Show with his other finishing move, The Celtic Cross, on a few different occasions, Sheamus did manage to body slam The Big Show at one event: TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs in 2012.
The slam itself seemingly came out of nowhere. While many have used the body slam spot to set up a finish, Sheamus elected to deadlift "The World’s Largest Athlete" towards the first third of their match. After smacking The Big Show with a steel chair shot across the chest, the impact sent the giant careening into the ropes for Sheamus to catch him with the body slam. "That is brute strength right there by the Irishman," color commentator John Bradshaw Layfield commented after the ensuing pinfall attempt. "441 pounds. Unbelievable by Sheamus."
By the time Cesaro got around to body-slamming The Big Show, the feat seemed almost unremarkable. After all, 14 other wrestlers had beaten him to the punch. Nevertheless, "The Swiss Superman’s" slam of the giant is one of the most impressive given the stakes of the match combined with the fact that Cesaro is likely the lightest man to meet the criteria. Cesaro’s slam of The Big Show occurred during the climax of the first-annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 30, which has taken place at all but one WrestleMania since 2014. On a night when Brock Lesnar conquered The Undertaker’s WrestleMania unbeaten streak and Daniel Bryan stood tall as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Cesaro’s big slam is still remembered as a high point in the night.
As one of the final two wrestlers remaining in the match, Cesaro needed to eliminate The Big Show to claim his WrestleMania moment. A common trope with wrestlers the size of The Big Show in battle royals has always been for the wrestlers in the ring to eliminate them as fast as possible. This time, however, The Big Show lasted to the end of the match. Unphased, Cesaro deadlifted the giant and tossed him over the top rope to etch his name into the history books. While he never became the marquee star he perhaps could have based on the outcome of the match, at least in WWE, the moment solidified Cesaro as one of the pound-for-pound strongest wrestlers of his time.
When it comes to the original members of the Wyatt Family, Erick Rowan’s resume pales in comparison to his former stablemates, Luke Harper and Bray Wyatt. Harper came to WWE with built-in respect following his run in Ring of Honor and in the independents. Wyatt, meanwhile, evolved into one of the most popular stars of the modern era with his irreverent vignettes and antics. However, one claim the 6’8, 315 pound Rowan is able to make over his two former stablemates is that he is the only member of the original Wyatt Family to have body slammed The Big Show.
The slam occurred on a 2014 episode of "Raw" that saw Harper and Rowan take The Big Show and Mark Henry. The two teams met twice on televised episodes of "Raw" during the year. Rowan falls into the category of wrestlers to slam the giant without momentum assistance, which made the accomplishment all the more impressive. As the Big Show slowly approached Rowan mid-match, the bearded strongman was able to lift him with ease, depositing him to the mat below while Henry, another member of the elusive club, looked on. As Harper made his way back to the apron, he too was able to catch the tail end of the slam, perhaps unaware he just witnessed wrestling history.
In 2017, Jinder Mahal came out of the woodwork to win the WWE Championship, establishing himself as the top heel on "SmackDown" for a short period of time. One week prior to becoming the number one contender to Randy Orton’s WWE Championship, Mahal wrestled The Big Show in the only known singles match between the two at a WWE Live event in Champaign, Illinois. The match that played out perhaps prophesied Mahal’s run at the top of "Smackdown" as while The Big Show ultimately got the nod, Mahal became just the 17th wrestler to body slam "The World’s Largest Athlete."
The company streamed the match live and streamed it to the official WWE Facebook page. The slow, methodical pace of the match foreshadowed many of the matches that made up Mahal’s title reign. After The Big Show broke out of a Mahal rest hold, "The Modern Day Maharaja" began to size the big man up for a body slam, which he connected on with a small assist from the momentum of his opponent bouncing off the ropes. The feed cuts off immediately following Mahal’s slam.
Braun Strowman is similar to Brock Lesnar in that he has used his seismic in-ring collisions with The Big Show to help transform himself into a star. One such match saw Strowman duplicate Lesnar’s superplex spot on The Big Show during an episode of "Raw" in April 2017. However, the superplex proved to not be the only feat of strength performed by the 6’8, 344-pound Strowman during the match. The former strong man lifted The Big Show up over his right shoulder and slammed him to the mat with a vicious power slam, a move that is essentially a falling body slam (sometimes while running). While impressive, Strowman went on to execute the move on The Big Show on several different occasions.
Strowman has also managed to execute a more traditional body slam on "The World’s Largest Athlete," although the circumstances were unorthodox. After defeating The Big Show in a steel cage match on a September 2017 episode of "Raw," Strowman took to the microphone to send a message to Brock Lesnar ahead of their upcoming Universal Championship match. He then took out his frustrations on The Big Show by body-slamming him through the steel cage, causing the entire cage wall to collapse to the floor.
Drew McIntyre is the most recent pro wrestler to body slam The Big Show. In doing so, McIntyre became the 19th wrestler to accomplish the feat. Having just won his first WWE Championship from Brock Lesnar on the second night of the COVID-19-impacted WrestleMania 36, the Scottish superstar sought to make a statement at The Big Show’s expense with a title defense the following night on "Raw." Like many before him, McIntyre succeeded in connecting with a body slam on "The World’s Largest Athlete," further cementing his status as a credible main event player in the industry leader.
Despite having his patented Claymore Kick in his back pocket, McIntyre caught "The World’s Largest Athlete" off-guard, countering the chokeslam with a body slam that immediately brought him to his knees. The match would be The Big Show’s final shot at WWE gold before leaving the company for All Elite Wrestling in early 2021. He leaves behind a special legacy as a giant who succeeded in using his unique size to help create some of the defining stars of future generations.