The Way of the Dinosaurs: Four Big Men Closing Out Careers

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Photo: WWE

Last night on Monday Night Raw, The Big Show fell victim once again to “The Monster Among Men” Braun Strowman – in a steel cage match – which ended with The Big Show being thrown through the cage wall to the floor below. And somehow, it felt like we’d seen the end of The Big Show in the WWE. The fans felt it and fellow wrestlers felt it, as small tributes began to sprinkle up following the main event between two Big Men.

To add further to the speculation that Big Show’s career may be over is that Big Show has mentioned that he will be retiring when his contract expires in February of 2018. While that would lead to thinking that he still has five months left to perform, it was revealed last night that the reason for the injury spot was to write Big Show off of television – he has to undergo surgery for an ailing hip. As the Undertaker and Hulk Hogan can attest to, those are tough injuries to come back from when you’re over 40. While average recovery time is 4-6 weeks, for someone of his size and age, it will most likely be longer, especially with physio and getting into ring shape . It’s quite possible he could make it back in time for a last hurrah at next year’s Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans, but for all intents and purposes, last night could conceivably have been Big Show’s final proper singles match in the WWE. It would be fitting – he debuted in the WWF in 1999 crawling into a steel cage and left by being thrown through one. If he is indeed done, he leaves behind a remarkable career, as a 7x World Champion (4x WWE, 2x WCW, 1x ECW), 11x World Tag Team Champion (8x WWE, 3x WCW), Intercontinental Champion, United States Champion, 1996 Rookie of the Year with both PWI and Wrestling Observer, and a bona fide WWE Hall of Famer.

Photo: WWE

But Big Show’s impending departure from the WWE Universe (at least on screen) would mark the fourth departure of the year by iconic WWE Big Men – giants who helped define the WWE landscapes during the Attitude Era and the 2000s.

MARK HENRY

Photo: WWE

It kind of floated under the radar, but last week as a guest on the Sam Roberts Podcast, Mark Henry confirmed he was officially retired from in-ring competition. It would explain his absence from WWE events, live or televised – his last appearance was in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at this year’s WrestleMania 33. But he’s quietly moved backstage where he’s working in various capacities – NXT and Mae Young Classic competitor Bianca BelAir recently commented that Mark Henry scouted her and brought her into the WWE. Henry managed to overcome some terrible gimmicks and angles early in his career and blossomed in his Hall of Pain run. Henry leaves the industry as a 2x World Champion (1x WWE, 1x ECW) and WWE European champion and a beloved person off camera as well.

KANE

Photo: WWE

While there’s been no official announcement yet from Glenn Jacobs whether his WWE career is indeed over, Kane‘s last televised match was in December 2016 against Luke Harper, with his last appearances at Live Events shortly after. He has yet to appear in 2017. All of that absence can be attributed to Jacobs’ very public run for political office as the Mayor of Knox County in Tennessee – and if he wins the position (which he very well may do), then you expect Kane to bid adieu to the WWE Universe (hopefully in a retirement match versus his “brother” The Undertaker). Kane has been one of the most popular Big Men in WWE history – and one of the most decorated: he would leave the WWE as a 3x World Champion (2x WWE, 1x ECW), 2x Intercontinental Champion, and a 12x Tag Team Champion.

Photo: Joe Buglewicz/Bleacher Report

THE UNDERTAKER

Photo: WWE

And finally the million dollar question. Did Roman Reigns really retire The Dead Man at WrestleMania 33? Or does he have one more final ride left in his tank. Regardless the answer, whether it was indeed this year or next year’s WrestleMania in New Orleans, The Undertaker as we knew him is no more. He will be afforded the luxury of calling his own exit, leaving us as a 7x World Champion and 7x Tag Team Champion and arguably the greatest gimmick wrestler of all time.

Photo: WWE Network

Four iconic Big Men that represented a Vince McMahon stereotype for decades – the giant monster, whose blueprints were created by Andre the Giant, that wreaked havoc in the ring on size and brutality. But these days, the giants are more athletic, better sculpted – no more do we see Big Shows or Kanes, we see Big Casses and Luke Harpers. But no better specimen of the next era of Big Men exists than “The Monster Among Men” himself, Braun Strowman. A punchline when he started, he’s now captured the soul of every WWE fan, with his brutal strength, astonishing athleticism and ability to dish out (and take) punishment. It’s almost fitting that Big Show had his (probable) last match with Braun Strowman. It was a passing of the torch, from one Big Man to another. As four of WWE’s greatest Big Men go the way of the dinosaur, into the sunset, on brittle bones.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Um… the ending is kind of disrespectful. When Kane was in his physical prime (1998 – 2003), he was far more athletic and sculpted than Big Cass and Luke Harper could ever dream of being. Yeah, he got slower as he got older, but the same thing will happen to Cass and Harper too.

    • It wasn’t a knock on their abilities, it was a reference to the kind of Big Man. The four in question – Show, Kane, Taker and Henry – come from the old school where Big Men were booked a different way. Their size was as much a threat as their ring work. A throwback to how Andre the Giant was booked in the 1970’s. But the new breed of Big Men are used far more openly – in that they get to showcase a far more diverse set of skills – than they used to and they are portrayed more as large athletes than monsters.

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