To borrow a vintage local expression, Helloooooooo, wrestling fans!
Longtime wrestling afficionados may recognize announcer Bill Kersten‘s pre match incantation. Which brings us to the state of pro wrestling today and this Monday’s big WWE Raw Supershow at the Sprint Center.
The match features two main events – a first for Sprint – including a battle between John Cena and Kane, along with a host of WWE stars ranging from Chris Jericho, Mark Henry, The Divas and Big Show.
Speaking of Big Show, it was former Beaumont Club main man Jon Lunkwicz who helped him during his formative years in Wichita.
"He lived with me for a couple of years," Lunkwicz says. "And I helped him get through the brief years he was at Wichita State and helped him get into wrestling."
He hasn’t seen much of Big Show – his real name is Paul Wight – since Lunkwicz was hospitalized three years back, but he may catch up to him this coming week, time and the good lord permitting.
"You know, his schedule is they work about six days a week," Lunkwicz says. "And unless they get injured, they don’t really have vacations. And (Paul) is trying to develope other career opportunities outside of wrestling. He’s done some movies and he’s very intelligent and has a wife that’s very supportive. And he’s been doing a lot of sponsorships."
Big Show’s paid plenty of dues to get where he is now in the WWE just days ahead of his turning 40.
"Paul was in wrestling for 10 years before he made a dime, because he was stupid and he spent (all) his money," Lunkwicz says. "His standard fee for a supermarket or something was like $10,000. Like he helped open a casino for Donald Trump and he took his money in chips and gambled it away. He got paid a very nice sum of money, but then he gambled it away. And like Bill Gates had a bunch of wrestlers come out to his compound just to show up and shake hands with the guests, and I think Paul got something like $20,000."
But back to Monday’s matches at Sprint…
The thing with Paul is they let him be (world) champion this year for like 15 minutes," Lunkwicz says. "But they don’t like to let big people be champions very long. Usually the champions are average-sized because the American public wants to see David beat Goliath."
In Big Show’s most recent WWE storyline he accidentally ran into and injured WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan‘s girlfriend at ringside, while chasing the champ after taking a chair thumping. When he realized what he’d done, Big Show broke down in tears and cried like a baby while pretend paramedics removed her from the ring apron.
So were Wight’s tears little more than – pardon the expression – a big show?
"I don’t think so, Paul did cry," Lunkwicz says. "Paul knows how to cry. Paul is a great actor. He is an exceptional human being. If he was more like Hulk Hogan’s size he would be a movie star today. He’s articulate, he’s funny and he does great imitations – like he used to come out like Hulk Hogan.
"One time we went to see Terminator 2 and we dressed Paul in my black leather bomber jacket – this was when he weighed only like 330 pounds at Wichita State – and he stood by the life-sized Terminator standee and talked to kids. It was great, it was wonderful."
Big Show’s current girth came later, Lunkwicz says.
"He actually weighs close to 500 pounds. He can fluctuate 10 to 20 pounds in a day. There was one point when he had lypo, when he was going from WCW to the WWF, and they took 30 to 40 pounds out of each of his legs. They took like a whole human being out of him.
"He was the same size as Shaquille O’Neal in college. All the weight he put on was after he was in wrestling – all the magic juices they fed him. He (actually) had an operation when he was young so he would stop growing. They thought he was going to grow another five or six inches to 7 foot 6 inches."