Big Shaq Daddy, aka former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal, was a surprise entrant in the WrestleMania 32 version of the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. The mammoth Shaq had a cool moment where he faced off against the equally large Big Show, before they were both eliminated and Baron Corbin eventually took home the trophy (it’s also quite big).
For a whole year afterwards, Shaq and the Big Show teased a one-on-one match at WrestleMania 33. Just weeks before the event actually took place, there were reports that the match was cancelled. Indeed, the WWE didn’t hype any kind of match between Shaq and the Big Show, eventually relegating the latter into yet another edition of the Andre the Giant Battle Royal (on the WrestleMania pre-show, no less).
So what happened? Why didn’t Shaq show up?
On a recent episode of his podcast, Shaq broke his silence about the cancelled match.
O’Neal: “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.”
John Kinkade (co-host): “And my theory all along – this is not his commentary – I have a hard time believing that somebody would read a script where he would lose in anything.”
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.”
Craig Gass (guest): “The man did Kazaam for God’s sake.”
O’Neal: “Exactly, yes. I would have lost.”
It’s too bad, since WrestleMania 33 didn’t really include any big celebrity appearances. Shaq is exactly the kind of lovable goofball that fits in perfectly with the WWE Universe, although at least we were spared of having to watch the Big Aristotle and the Big Show struggle to put on an entertaining match for five minutes. So there’s that.
As for Shaq reappearing in the WWE… well, there’s always next year. Maybe Braun Strowman wants to beat up an NBA Hall of Famer.