Induction: Big Show vs. The Authority – Never mind the KO Punch, you’ll get brain damage just watching it!

34 Submitted by on Thu, 15 January 2015, 20:00

WWE, 2013

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It’s rare to see a storyline play out in WWE with that perfect combination of boring corporate power struggles, gaping plot holes, heel authority figures, stupid babyfaces, kayfabe firings, historical revisionism, gimmick infringement, and McMahon hypocrisy. Sure, you might see three or four or five of those elements in a single angle, but all of them at once?

You don’t need to be Stardust or Zodiac to appreciate such a rare alignment of the stars, but if you happen to write for a site called Wrestlecrap, an angle like the Big Show vs. The Authority feud will have you trembling in awe.

Our story begins just two weeks after The Authority began their reign of terror and oh-for-the-love-of-God-not-this-crap-again.

In one of the most exquisitely preposterous promos in wrestling history, Stephanie McMahon introduced the Big Show as “my giant” and claimed that Show, a mere four years Stephanie’s senior, mentored her as she grew up backstage at her dad’s live events at the tender age of twelve. (And, of course, the announcers never once attempted to correct her.)  showauthority04
showauthority05  So either a sixteen-year-old Paul Wight happened to follow the WWF from town to town in the eighties… 
…or Stephanie was being extremely generous with her age, putting her at 12 years old in 1999, the year of Big Show’s debut with the company. The same year she married Triple H on TV, by the way.
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Triple H’s Wrestlemania program with Chris Hansen was ultimately nixed.

 

showauthority07 There’s also a third possibility: Stephanie was retconning Big Show and Andre the Giant (who would have fit perfectly into the timeline of events given) into a single person.
At least WCW only tried to pass Paul Wight off as Andre’s son, not Andre. showauthority08
showauthority09  According to Stephanie, Big Show was now in dire financial straits due to the failure of his investments and the downturn on Wall Street. This should sound familiar to anyone having watched WWE in late 2008, when JBL made Shawn Michaels his employee under similar circumstances. As hard as the storyline of an active veteran wrestler being entirely broke was to believe at the time, there was at least an actual financial crisis in 2008. Had Big Show run afoul of the dreaded Stock Market Crash of 2013?
Steph not being content with re-hashing just one recent storyline, the rest of her promo was virtually identical to one Eve cut on Show just one year earlier about how Show, a giant freak, couldn’t possibly have a career outside of a WWE ring. Never mind that Show already had over a dozen acting roles on his résumé, but I guess Stephanie wasn’t any more impressed with Knucklehead than you or I.  showauthority10
showauthority11 I guess she’d never seen Show’s classic performance in The Princess Bride.
Oh yeah, and Steph also delivered what every wrestling fan wants to hear: a grim reflection on mortality. See, giants like the Big Show tend to die prematurely. Why, just look at Andre the… showauthority12
showauthority13 What? Who’s that, you say? You don’t know Andre the Giant? Come to think of it, that name doesn’t ring a bell to me, either.
The point of all this was that the Big Show would be forced against his will to do The Authority’s dirty work. First among their targets was the company’s number-one babyface in Cena’s absence, Daniel Bryan. showauthority14
showauthority15  Now, Big Show didn’t want to knock out Daniel Bryan, but The Authority ordered him to do so under penalty of termination. This, despite the fact that the year before, Big Show had signed what was specifically identified as an ironclad contract. In storyline, Big Show should have been the very last person whom the Authority could boss around; anyone could have been tapped for the role of reluctant warrior-slave except Show. This would be like The Joker holding a random innocent civilian hostage, and that hostage happened to be Superman.
Fortunately, Stephanie (and this is still the same promo we’re talking about) hand-waved that inconvenient plot point with a dictionary-defying explanation that had Noah Webster spinning in his grave. showauthority16
showauthority17 Thus, after that night’s main event, Big Show stood in the ring with a defenseless Daniel Bryan and had little choice but to, as Stephanie’s new catchphrase dictated, “knock ‘im out.”
Triple H and Stephanie continued their threats to rescind Big Show’s IRONCLAD contract. Later, once WWE writers remembered what “ironclad” meant, they changed their story. This time around, Triple H revealed that the ironclad contract Big Show signed the previous year wasn’t really ironclad, but was full of unspecified holes thanks to the incompetent John Laurinaitis. Among those holes, apparently, was the fact that Big Show could be fired for refusing to do exactly what his bosses said at any moment, including tasks (such as knocking out senior citizens) which were neither part of his job description nor, you know, legal.
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showauthority19 Hold on. If Johnny Ace really did trick Big Show into signing a document that Show thought gave him 100% control of his career, but which effectively made him the slave of WWE, wouldn’t that make Johnny a genius?
Since the whole “ironclad” contract still made the entire storyline wholly implausible, the plot thickened, with The Authority having bought out Show’s mortgage some time in the recent past in order to gain unfair leverage on him. showauthority20 
showauthority20b The traditional way to do that is to just put your feet on the ropes, guys.
So on Big Show went, knocking people out at Triple H and Stephanie’s behest, whether it be easy targets like the Miz… showauthority21
showauthority22 …or people whom someone might possibly not want to punch, such as 67-year-old Dusty Rhodes.
(Although exactly how conflicted Big Show was about assaulting seniors is debatable, as, three months later, Big Show would knock out 64-year-old Zeb Colter just for fun) showauthority23 
showauthority24  Keep in mind that all of this happened post-2007, when the WWE was trumpeting its new and improved concussion policy and a ban on chair shots to the head. Yet in storyline, a 500-pound man week after week knocked people unconscious at the corporation’s behest as if it were as routine a punishment as docking an employee’s pay or cutting their coffee breaks, with no on-air mention of the possible long-term consequences, such as brain damage, memory loss, depression, or, especially in the case of the elderly Dusty Rhodes, death.
And so Big Show cried… showauthority25
showauthority26 …and stewed…
…with no place to channel his irrepressible rage but this Triple H poster…
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To be fair, that Thy Kingdom Come DVD was pretty self-serving.

showauthority17 …and, of course, the many co-workers whose brains he damaged.
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Big Show could only be pushed so far, though, so during Bryan-Orton III for the vacant title, he knocked out not only Daniel Bryan (a second time), but Randy Orton and referee Scott Armstrong, as well. This, of course, would cost him his job, but it was totally worth it for the Big Show to take a stand. A stand that included knocking out his friend again, but a stand nonetheless. showauthority01 
showauthority30 The next night, Stephanie McMahon continued to play the insufferable fourth-of-George-Carlin’s-seven-words she had been for the past two months, slapping Big Show and screeching at him about crying like a baby.
She also deflected Big Show’s accusation that she had ordered him to (again) knock out Daniel Bryan, saying that she and Triple H weren’t even in the arena that night and had left Brad Maddox in charge. Can’t argue with that. Not wanting to spoil a perfectly good muddying-up of the characters’ motives (or, in Creative’s terms, “nuance”), none of the announcers pointed out that Maddox and The Authority may have had access to, say, telephones on that evening and could communicate across long distances. showauthority31 
showauthority32 Stephanie fired The Big Show, leaving him out of a job in WWE for the first time since 2012, when John Laurinaitis did the same thing.
Taking a page from the Cena playbook, Show refused to stay fired. Soon, Big Show was interrupting Raw via pirate satellite and semi-truck, airing his grievances and declaring his intentions to bring down the Authority with a lawsuit (for discrimination, breach of contract, wrongful termination, extortion, and a slew of other grievances). This lawsuit, he claimed, would result in him owning the whole WWE. showauthority33showauthority33b 
showauthority34 (Among the accusations in the lawsuit were slander and defamation, citing the time Stephanie said Big Show couldn’t perform sexually. Good luck making it stand up in court.)
He also punched Triple H along the way, which you’d think would hurt his case. showauthority35
showauthority22 You’d also think that if anyone had a strong case against the Authority, it would be one of the many people upon whom they’d ordered their employee to inflict severe head trauma.
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If Big Show was trying to get the fans on his side, he surely took a strange course of action by not only filing a lawsuit, but getting certifiable weenie David Otunga to endorse his case. showauthority37 
showauthority38 Along the way, he also co-opted the wildly popular “Yes” chant invented by Daniel Bryan, who had been screwed four pay-per-views in a row and moved out of the title picture. Vince likes to use the metaphor of “reaching for the brass ring” or “grabbing the brass ring” because in WWE, it’s much easier to do when you’re 7’ than when you’re 5’10”.
In a tense confrontation, the Big Show laid out his demands: not only would he get his job back, but he would get a title shot against Randy Orton. Remember that this lawsuit supposedly could give him control of the whole company, and Big Show agreed to drop it in exchange for his old job, a bonus, and a single title shot at Survivor Series, hoping that the same Authority that screwed Orton’s opponent in the previous four PPV main events would give him a fair shake this month. Show was seemingly eyeing the prestigious “Dumbest Babyface” Slammy Award. showauthority40 
showauthority41 If he owned the company, he could put himself over as blatantly as he wanted, whenever he wanted, yet, even standing in the ring with Triple H, this thought never even crossed his mind.
No, Big Show wanted to be the “Face of the Company” and win the WWE title, as, in 2013, WWE had simply thrown kayfabe out the window and admitted on air that anybody who had ever held that title did so not for being the best wrestler but purely for marketing purposes.  showauthority42 
showauthority43  So Big Show agreed to come back to work, resulting in immediately being booked into a four-on-one handicap match against not only Randy Orton but The Shield, the trio who, thanks to an apparent production snafu, had come to ringside ten minutes too soon while Show was in the middle of negotiating (although the presence of The Authority’s goon squad just a few feet away didn’t stop Show from re-signing).
When Survivor Series came around, the fans showed their support for the new top babyface by chanting “Daniel Bryan”, booing Big Show, and failing to muster a hint of outrage at Randy Orton’s victory following a distraction by The Authority. showauthority44
showauthority45 Then it was back down the card for Show, who a year later at Survivor Series would turn heel on John Cena just to find favor with the bosses of the company — the same bosses he could have ousted, and the same company he could have owned himself.

It’s genuinely hard to imagine an angle exploring more avenues of stupidity than this one.

Let’s just hope Big Show’s bad luck with lawsuits doesn’t continue.

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Written by

A wrestling fan ever since the days of Wrestlemania IX, Art graduated from college in the same building where Art Donovan called King of the Ring 1994. He also runs the "How Much Does This Guy Weigh?" blog, where he reviews New Generation-Era Monday Night Raws. Follow him on Twitter @Art0Donnell. Email at: art@wrestlecrap.com
34 Responses to "Induction: Big Show vs. The Authority – Never mind the KO Punch, you’ll get brain damage just watching it!"
  1. Saint Stryfe says:

    You know, lawsuits in wrestling never work. “Hey, you know that guy who can lift you over his head? Yeah, his lawyer is truly frightening. Buy our Pay-per-view!”. Has a supposed legal action in wrestling ever added anything to a storyline?

    Know why they do it? the bookers are the ones who are afraid of lawsuits, not the wrestlers or fans.

    • The Dog says:

      Obviously they couldn’t go through with it. Because putting yourself over as blatantly as possible due to being the boss (or before that, being “in” with the boss and banging his daughter) is the self-proclaimed “King of Kings” gimmick.

  2. Dizzlemits says:

    Don’t forget the worst part about the Survivor Series 2013 match: Orton’s punt clearly missed by an inch yet it was enough for the 3-count…

  3. Erich says:

    …and then they did it AGAIN, in 2014, with Brie and Steph.

    • Brian Jacobs says:

      So Big Show was the firing angle of 2013, Brie was 2014, we’re already 2015 with Dolph Ziggler, Ryback and Erick Rowan fired. Place your bets for 2016! My early prediction is both the Undertaker and Sting are fired by the Authority so to set up their big match in Dallas at Wrestlemania 32 where the winner gets rehired by the WWE. And I fear I might have given this lax WWE Creative lead by Vince another bad idea though I’m sure they got worse….I think. Great entry as it gets scarier how many can come out of just the last 2-3 years and fit the Wrestlecrap window of needing 1 year to be inductions.

      • KatieVictoriasSecret says:

        Nah, big plot twist: Trips vs Steph, Steph fires Trips and he has to make good with the rest of the roster to get his job back.

        Never forget: what TV needs is MORE Haitch and Stephanie on TV!

        (I just shuddered as I typed that).

  4. Anonymous says:

    This was such a mess. Even after reading the condensed version in the induction it still barely makes any sense.

  5. franky keys says:

    Lets not forget about the epic end to the ppv match between Show and Orton. Triple H and Steph never needed to go ringside. Just the sound of their entrance music made Big Show forget that he was in a match and had an opponent. Classic WWE finish

  6. BaltoJim says:

    Would Big Show have really needed to “make it stand up in court” in order to prove Stephanie had slandered him? I’m sure it wouldn’t have cost him too much to get Sunny or Missy Hyatt to vouch for him.

  7. Scrooge McSuck says:

    I’m sorry, I know it’s juvenile, but I just can’t stop laughing at the “good luck making it stand up in court” part.

  8. John C says:

    And it should have been settled on the People’s Court with Judge Rocky Maivia presiding. Dispensing justice and wisdom with equal ground. “It doesn’t matter who the plantiff is!!! I’ll shine this gavel real nice turn it sideways and stick it straight up your candy ass!!! Let the record show that the defendant Mrs. Stephanie McMahon Helmsley has violated several penal codes in her lifetime, 2-3 at least in the judge’s chamber a half hour ago. If you smell-el-el what the judge is cooking.”

  9. I'm Not Using My Real Name says:

    This whole thing was bad, but to me, the worst part was what happened at Battleground. You mentioned it, but I wanted to reiterate it for anyone who didn’t see that show: Bryan and Orton were having a match for the vacant championship, and they were having a good match, the crowd was into it, and I was into it too. Big Show wanders down to ringside and knocks out Bryan like the Authority wants. Orton goes for a pin and Show suddenly has a change of heart and knocks out the ref. When Orton yells at Show about that, Show knocks out Orton.

    So Bryan, is out, Orton is out, the ref is out, there’s no announcement of any kind about the match, the title is still vacant. Big Show just robbed the live crowd and all the paying customers at home of a conclusion to the championship main event of a PPV… and he celebrated. The show went off the air with Show celebrating like we’re supposed to cheer him for ruining what had been an exciting match.

    You might not always be happy with how a PPV ends. Sometimes your favorite doesn’t win in the end. Sometimes a TV blows up in Dean Ambrose’s face and we roll our eyes, but it was an ending. In my opinion this was the worst ending to any WWE PPV ever. (Yes, I’ve seen them all.)

    The only thing that comes remotely close to this was Judgment Day back in 1998. Kane vs Undertaker for the vacant title with Austin as the ref. The difference was that the fans were behind Austin and didn’t want Kane or Taker (the two men who had taken the title from Austin the month before) to be champion. So when Austin screwed both guys over the fans cheered. Then Austin got fired that night.

    The fans wanted Bryan to win. Show screwed over the guy the fans loved and we were supposed to cheer him.

    I didn’t mean for this comment to go n for so long…that ending just pissed me off.

  10. Hulk6785 says:

    How this was left off of last year’s Gooker poll I’ll never know.

  11. Down With OPC says:

    What is the Big Show crying count?

  12. Big G says:

    Nice duct Art!

    I can totally visualize the creative meetings in the lead up to this:

    “Oh yeah Ms MacMahon, you would totally pass for 26. That is a great idea.”

  13. Andrew Crow says:

    I am proud as hell to have been part of the crowd who boo’d the shit out of the Orton/Show ME from Survivor Series. I, along with HALF the audience, left before the match was finished. I hope it showed up on broadcast that the TD Garden was filtering out (and at a rapid rate) well before the final bell.

    • Alexandru says:

      Good I would have left too and asked for my money back after that debacle. And WWE wonders why they had to kill their PPV business (more or less).

  14. Christ. says:

    This was as bad as any angle in WCW in 1999-2000.

  15. KatieVictoriasSecret says:

    Another good’n!

    RE the whole angle opening with a Big-Show-mentored Stephanie thing: maybe they were trying to go back to the “Giant is Andre’s kid” well and wanted us to think that Steph and Show grew up together backstage? But that would mean acknowledging something WCW did with marginal success, and we all know how much they ‘love’ doing that.

    Good luck making it stand up in court.

    I see what u did thar.

    Watching them try to paper over that logic hole re Show going corporate in promos was delightful. “I SAW THE ERROR OF MY WAYS.”

  16. Raven7309 says:

    Big Show should’ve had Clarence Mason as his attorney: “If the iron-clad contract fits, you must acquit.”

  17. MWeyer says:

    Wight strikes me as a guy who just loves being part of the business so puts up with whatever crap they give him and try to make it at least fun. As he himself has said “look at me, what the hell else am I going to do for a job?”

  18. Doc 902714 says:

    “You don’t know Andre the Giant? Come to think of it, that name doesn’t ring a bell to me, either.”

    Subtlety at its finest. Because they did ring a bell (in fact ten times) on an early episode of Monday Night RAW in memory of his death.

  19. Jimbolian says:

    It looks like stewing Big Show is saying “Let’s go get….fish tacos!”

  20. Chad says:

    If you haven’t already, you should actually induct the whole Cena-Big show-Laurinites story as well. It made absolutely no sense that Big Show returned and turned on Cena, because if Cena had beat Mr. People Power, he would have had the power to rehire the Show as well.

  21. cavalier says:

    “Vince likes to use the metaphor of “reaching for the brass ring” or “grabbing the brass ring” because in WWE, it’s much easier to do when you’re 7’ than when you’re 5’10”.”

    That quote might just sum up Vince’s entire booking strategy.

  22. the14thListener says:

    Great work! Lots of funny details I missed, probably because I got bored and changed the channel to watch football or something.

  23. Alexandru says:

    Great induction, this angle led to me to quit watching Raw altogether. The Authority is/was boring as is the Big Slow (who at this point in his career has no business being in the ring let alone being in terrible main event matches.

  24. Bone White says:

    I liked this…and the phrase “Pirate Satellite” made me think of that Clash song

  25. CP says:

    I think there should be an induction strictly about Show’s many turns and how nonsensical they’ve usually been.

    • Bhav says:

      I think there’s a rule about not inducting a story line that’s ongoing so you’ll have to wait for the big show to retire for that one. But by then he’ll be on turn #4324395 and it’ll take to long to research and write it out.

  26. Mister Forth says:

    This was the canary in the coalmine of 2014.

  27. Cactus Mac says:

    “Certifiable weenie, David Otunga”

    Dear lord, the acorn fell miles away from the Haku tree!

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