Why Did Big Show Win the WWE Title at Survivor Series 1999?

Nov 21, 2019 - by James Walsh

On the latest Something to Wrestle, Bruce Prichard discussed Big Show becoming WWE champion at Survivor Series 1999. Originally, the scheduled main event was going to be Triple H vs. Steve Austin vs. The Rock. However, Austin’s injury forced him off the card for an extended layoff. Big Show went in as Austin’s last-minute replacement, and he ended up winning the match and the title. Below are some highlights.

Prichard on the pivot to Big Show: “Trying to do something new and different. And you’re looking at the investment that you got in Big Show. Not necessarily didn’t pan out in the beginning, and it was an opportunity to say, ‘OK. Let’s see what the big son of a b**** can do, and let’s put some steam behind him.’ It’s new. I don’t think anybody saw it, including us. So, you put him out there, you create a new champion. You try to create a new and different story. I think that people had you gone with Rock or Triple H, I’m not sure they would’ve been happy with one of them either. You know what I mean?”

Prichard on the outcome being fans wanting what they can’t have: “Right. You just hit the nail on the head. So, the philosophy was give them something completely knew that they didn’t expect. And nobody’s going to call that, and now you can create a new story with Big Show involved in it. And hopefully, there’s not going to be a comparison to Austin. He’s a giant. Big Show’s an attraction. It was an experiment. It was to try something.”

Prichard on Big Show being a big attraction playing into the decision: “I think a lot for the comparisons. I think if you kept it on Triple H, people would’ve been upset because Austin wasn’t in the match. If you moved it to Rock, it would’ve been, ‘Oh. They’re just trying to shove Rock down my throat now.’ There needed to be a third person in there. Mick might’ve worked, but I think that at the time, looking at the available candidates, Big Show probably made the most sense because he’s so different than everyone else.”

Prichard on if Vince McMahon did it to come up with something no one could expect: “I’m sure that played into it. But again, to say that I knew what his mindset was then for this particular [moment], I don’t. I think it was more of an overall approach of it’s gotta be different than Austin, and it has to be an acceptable replacement. Although, again, what’s acceptable to the biggest attraction in the business? So you just, if it’s not acceptable, than make it drastically different. We could’ve gone with a single match. I don’t know if they would’ve accepted that. Maybe they would. There’s a lot of what ifs after the fact on Monday morning. But you gotta make a decision that day and do something. We don’t have the luxury of, ‘You should’ve done this. You should’ve done that.’ Shoulda, coulda, woulda. It was done, and I think it was done to be different.”

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