The years-long feud between four-time NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal and WWE Superstar Big Show will seemingly come to a head at Wrestlemania 33 in Orlando on April 2, and both men are hard at work in the gym preparing for the reported clash.
The day after Christmas, the Big Show tweeted a picture of himself mid-workout with a caption tagging the Big Aristotle:
Not one to be one-upped, Shaq responded with an Instagram video of himself getting in some cardio on a stationary bike:
The bad blood between Shaq and the Big Show began seven years ago, when the former hosted an episode of Monday Night Raw. As part of that evening’s main event, Shaq served as the special guest enforcer during a tag-team match between Chris Jericho and the Big Show against Cryme Tyme. At one point, the two behemoths stood face-to-face in the ring and, after a brief shoving match, they began attempting to choke each other out until Cryme Tyme broke up the stalemate. Shaq then delivered a shoulder-check to the Big Show, knocking him out of the ring.
The rivalry resumed this past April at Wrestlemania 32, as Shaq made a surprise entrance in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Upon entering the ring, he teamed up with the Big Show to deliver a double-chokeslam to Kane:
Their teamwork didn’t last long, though. The other competitors quickly ganged up on the Big Show and Shaq, but each of them used their brute strength to clear the ring and set the stage for a staredown reminiscent of the one they had during Raw seven years prior. After both Shaq and the Big Show attempted to choke each other out again, the remaining Superstars re-entered the ring and combined forces to send both men over the top rope, eliminating them from the match.
Afterward, Shaq was none too thrilled about his elimination, saying he wanted the Big Show “for years.” He issued a one-on-one challenge to the 7-foot, 400-plus-pounder “whenever, wherever”:
This past summer, the two met on the ESPY’s red carpet, where the Big Show officially challenged Shaq to a match at Wrestlemania 33. The Big Diesel promptly accepted:
In a recent interview with ESPN.com’s Brian Campbell, the Big Show didn’t confirm whether the match at Wrestlemania 33 against Shaq would take place, but that didn’t stop him from firing a few shots at the Big Cactus:
"I’m a little worried because I’ve heard that Shaq has got like really fat. If he’s going to go into WrestleMania bigger than me, I’m going to lose my moniker as ‘The World’s Largest Athlete.’ I hope he is well, I hope he is healthy.He might want to lay off the cheeseburgers a little bit and get in the gym because I know that my record at WrestleMania against celebrities isn’t that good, but it would be a shame if he showed up fat and out of shape and took the first loss. I’m okay with that, too. Matter of fact, I’ll send him some cheeseburgers. That would probably be a better idea. How’s that for talking smack?"
Assuming the two do meet in the ring on April 2, there’s one huge question remaining: Who will Shaq tab as his ringside manager—Kenny, Ernie or Chuck? The only way this clash could be more entertaining is if the Round Mound of Rebound himself interferes and helps Shaq pull out the W.