Paul Wight on WWE’s Vince McMahon costing him a role in Gladiator
“When I first signed with WWE, Nick Cage had reached out to me because his son was a big fan of me. Nick Cage was trying to hook me up with this Russell Crowe movie that was being shot in Spain, but I had to be in Spain for six weeks for it. I’m thinking Russell Crowe, you knew this guy is going to be a star. Nick Cage is helping me get this part. I’ve got it and just have to get permission to go.
I go to Vince and he goes ‘I’m paying you to be a wrestler, not an actor.’ So that was the end of that. So then it’s like yeah you are paying me a lot of money to be a wrestler, I will go back to work, sir. The wrestling business was different then. There wasn’t as much crossover. For a while, WWE was very against wrestlers crossing over into movies.
Then eventually they got into the program. So I am sitting in the theater watching Gladiator, and I go yeah, that would have been awesome to be a part of that. But now with AEW, I have the opportunity to do all sorts of outside projects. Having that freedom to help build the Paul Wight brand [is good]. I don’t own [WWE’s] intellectual property, and now I have to walk away from it and reintroduce myself to everybody.